Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Cheeping Box

Awww....so sweet!

The workers in our local post office never smile. They can be down right mean if they want to be, especially if your box isn't prepped properly and they aren't feelin' in the mood to deal with it or you. You know you're in the city then. Today however, I got the pleasure of watching every single one of those attendants smiling with joy as my peeping little box was carried from the back of the station to the front window. My attendant had the biggest smile on his face as the box cheeped and peeped away with my new babies inside.

We now have pet chickens. Adorable. Sweet. Cheeping away happily at life pets. Nothing like a wonderful pet (or houseful of them) to make your day and keep you happy and healthy!

Cheep! Cheep! Cheep!

Cheep! Cheep! Cheep!

Hmmm....is it wrong that I am topping off a great day with yummy Cornish Game hens for dinner? LOL

Saturday, September 26, 2009

They Played It!!!


YES! They played it!

They played my most favorite song AND a few other favorite oldies at the Giant Stadium concert. The concert, in a nutshell, was......AMAZING! I was in my glory and I have been reliving the concert through other people's vids cause my phone just didn't capture anything well. Perhaps I was just too excited and was shaking too much. The person who took this vid though had such a great view!!! Our seats weren't as great as I had hoped. Note to self....row 41 at Giant's Stadium on the 1st tier...SUCKS!!!

But never fear....when with cuz Angela you make do and MOVE! We hopped down a bit and was able to see the video screen and that really saved me from going insane. Gotta see what's going on! The tailgate party was really rockin too with yummy finger pickin' food from cousin Stevie's restaurant. What a night! Good memories and I'm fully inspired.

Cousin's Tom, Livia, Stevie and me

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Another Reshoot

Another re-re shoot on the JAH cover. I'm spent and frankly numb. My mind won't stay focused. I'm honestly allowing it to flow into thoughts of Bono and the boys. Tomorrow is the big U2 concert. I've been dying to see them since I was a kid. My favorite albums? October and The Unforgetable Fire, of course. My favorite U2 song of all time? This one. I hope they play it.

UnForgetable Fire

YouTube won't let me embed the vid. :(

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Thinking Christmas

Photo table


It's hard to think about THAT holiday again, especially when last year's was an abomination, but alas this week I've had Christmas things on the brain. Not by choice, cause I'm still weeping about the pool being closed this weekend and holidays are the LAST thing on my mind, but Im thinkin' Christmas because of the need to complete a JAH cover.

This year's Holiday Horse is a pretty take on the Nutcracker Suite and I've been asked by Breyer to shoot something rather festive. I am so thankful for good friends because if it weren't for my good friend Vanessa the reshoot on this project would have been...well...just torture without a small Christmas tree she was able to procure for me. It was the one request from my editor that I didnt have and I was besides myself on Thursday.

It turns out that that little tree not only saved the photo, but it opened up new doors of ideas for me for future shots with trees in the background. It seems to work nicely in the backgrounds without any decorations. Good ideas flowin and a cover done before the middle of a beautiful Saturday is my kind of perfect day!

Friday, September 18, 2009


Extreme SM Remake


Really! I'm thankful it's finally Friday. The week was a hectic one with a new school schedule that has been difficult for me to get used to. The weather has gotten brisk and I'm feeling rather under the weather.

I'm missing summer. I really am. I'm not sure if I'm missing the pool, the fun, the constant flow of family to the water or the endless hours soaking in the warmth of the sun. Not sure, but I can tell you I've been cold since the weather changed and I can't wait to complete all my chores and deadlines today so I can sit in my sauna. I have it all ready. I just need to complete a few things. The moment I get in there I'm going to sigh a sigh of relief and say, "TGIF!"

Here's to a great weekend!

"Commission Me" Imp For Sale
Interested? Need details? Contact me: studiodanza@optonline.net

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Weekend Inspirations

"Bacchus" my new stallion

Did I mention that the summer partying was over? Hmm...well, I think I spoke to soon a few blog posts back. This past weekend we went to yet another cousin's party and boy, it was inspirational to the maximum for me. I'm not sure if it was the company, conversation, chickens or just that Jersey air, but I sure came back home to the studio with alot of ideas and the will to put them in motion like, ASAP.

First off, I finally finished my Lucas horse. The darned thing has only sat in my studio storage room for over 5 years. Probably more than that, but I've honestly lost count of the time frame. Time just seems to fly here and the more work I take on the less my own personal stuff sees completion. With "Bacchus" I started adding color to him and found myself getting picker and picker as the project wore on. This past week, after having a wonderful visit with cousins, I decided I'd stop with the picky attitude and just finish him. I'm very pleased with his color. Yep, he's a sun burnt black. As much as I love to paint appies and roans there is something so true (and difficult) about producing a good black colored horse. I wish you could see him in person. There is a strange softness to him that can't be captured on film. He's my new pet this week. I love-em.

Handmade "rose" box
Gift to my niece

Necklace made with raku beads

My other new pet project has been beads. I guess it was bound to happen sooner or later. Me...making ceramic beads in raku. What can I say? It's fun and no matter how odd the raku bead it sure seems to look damned good placed together on a string in the form of a bracelet or necklace. I'm currently making a ton of new beads. I'm rather excited about this pet project. It's a relaxing and quick way to get that raku "itch" satisfied when it strikes up and I don't have any ceramic pots ready for the fire.

Ahh...my other new pet project? Chickens!
I fell completely in LOVE with our cousin Jen's Rhode Island Reds over the weekend. They strutted around her yard nippin at bugs all day and were just so beautiful to watch. I won't even get into the fact that Jen's house butts up against the woods and not ONE of us got bit by a gnat or a mosquito all day or night.

I grew up thinking that chickens were dirty, smelly, hard to take care of/train and above all nasty. I mean, NASTY and none of that was true. Jen's chickens were just lovely. They loved being picked up and would stay under your arm as long as you wanted to hold them. They didn't peck or crap on any of us when held. I found my mind wandering on their form and color. The amount of color in their feathers was mind boggling to me. It was far too much information for my brain to handle at that moment. I literally had to walk away cause I was totally falling for the animal and had no idea what my husband would think should I utter the words, "I want chickens".

The ladies struttin' around the yard

I figured that once I was back home in Brooklyn I'd forget all about those chickens, but I didn't and spurted out those three little words to my husband. To my surprise he was into the idea. I guess less bugs and more eggs around the house was a super selling point. That evening I found myself eyeing up the old discarded dog coop in the back. No one has used it in over 4 years and all of a sudden it had HUGE potential to be something great. Before I knew it I was neck deep in making my own hen house out of that discarded box. Using other recycled materials from around our yard I was able to come up with something fairly competent. The physical labor has been a bit intense, and I still want to put a second layer on the coop, but the vision of chickens free rangin' in our yard has been the push and major inspiration in all that I am working on this week.

Smiling for the camera

Good start to the hen house

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


"View from a Balcony"
Mixed media on bristol




Once I swim through these tight deadlines I can chat a bit more until then I can tell you I finished one horse for myself and had fun making that JAH remake. I enjoyed having my brother-in-law visit from Ohio and had a blast with our cousins from NJ over the weekend. Cousin Jen has chickens.....I became totally enamored with them.

Well, my mood is grumpy and I feel like I'm turning on that ever spinning wheel here. So deadlines must win out today.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Grind

Sneak Peeks
at up coming things

The summer is over.

After the table is cleared on Labor Day something just happens psychologically. The mind just doesn't want to be in the sun any longer. The body has had enough. The pool is no longer inviting or fun and the urge to hide away in the basement at my desk is strong.

The urge hit me yesterday and my son and I hunkered down to work. He made Christmas ornaments in clay while I chopped away at some stablemate sized horses. It was fun to be working again side by side and to be chopping up critters, letting my mind flow with creativity.

Be sure to join Just About Horses a publication of Breyer Animal Creations to read all about how I transform a stablemate from one pose to another. I believe its safe to say...it's extreme!

Finished Raku bead bracelet

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Party Weekend


Yep, another weekend and another set of parties!

We kicked it off with a visit to the 18th Ave festival last night. Food, rides, games and stuff to buy. I went nuts at the one handmade booth. Hand sewn finger puppets of every animal imaginable. I curbed myself and stopped after finding a donkey, a mouse (with cheese....squeeeeee) and a rattie! Finds like this always jump start my imagination.

So, have a great Labor Day weekend everyone!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


Raku sculpture

Thursday already.

Where the heck did the week go? When you love what you do it sure flies. Between trying to finish up lingering summer commissions and pumping out new raku and stoneware for the fall season, I've been busy. Of course, I always seem to be up to something that keeps me rather occupied. A part of me is gearing up for the start of a new school year for my son. A part of me is whining at the thought of summer ending. Our fig tree has yet to produce ONE good fig to eat. It was just too cold and rainy in June to pump that little tree along. I'm bummed. Its not summer till you eat a warm sweet fig from the tree. Yum.

Of course, fall means more commission openings in the equine department. I may open things up to at least one Traditional sized piece this time around. I like painting them. I just enjoy painting the sm sized pieces more these days. I guess I like a powerful punch in a tiny package.

Well, dinnertime. Enjoy your evening!

New lidded stoneware

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Other Desk

Shot before the circus

Today we went to the circus at Coney Island. We had a fantastic time and I loved that it was a one ring circus. All the action in one location. We had so much fun.

Before we left though I had about 2 solid hours of commission work. Managed to really make progress on a ton of stuff. Below are just a few of the horses Im working on at my other desk. (The blog has been very "pottery" heavy lately but there IS model horse stuff going on here too.)

So...not much else to write about today so I'll let the photos do the talkin':

Black with simple white markings

Peasant Stomper

Tumlinson Arab

Stormwatch resin

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The Process...

The Raku Process with a Small Electric Kiln

I have been asked several times what raku is and aside from giving the textbook definition I thought I'd give a visual description of the process. At least, the process that happens here in my studio.

Now, those that are familiar with the process will most likely balk at the mere thought of using an electric kiln (gasp) for the process. It's truly the best that I can do with the whole: "living in the city and trying to find propane" issue. It works and I'm making beautiful art. Albeit small pieces of art, they are still extremely satisfying and beautiful.

Before any other discussion I do have to say that safety is a huge concern with raku. Glowing hot vessels, fire and smoke are all serious. I wear my protective gear at all times and will always suggest any artist do the same with ANY art they are making that revolves around a dangerous process.

And with that, here is how it is done:

First the wares are glazed with special raku glaze.

Wares glazed with raku glaze

Then my station is prepared including the combustible bin. Shredded papers are my favorite.

My paper shredder
has become my best friend

Because the electric kiln is so small I can only fire one ware at a time. The nice part about this particular kiln is that it has a "quick cool down" feature so by the time my piece has finished burning in the bin the kiln is ready to fire up another.

One ware added to
Paragon Quickfire base

After a few minutes I begin to physically check the kiln. When the glaze becomes molten it's ready.

At 1800 degrees or so...
lift the lid and take a peek

Woooo.....so ready for the combustible bin. Look at it glow!!! You have to see it at night! It's really cool.

Glaze is molten and glowing hot

The ware is carefully added to the bin and it automatically catches on fire.

Add it to the bin

The bin is then closed and allowed to smoke. If the cover is lifted at any point there is the danger of the fire flashing up again. I normally don't lift the lid once it's on. I like the results with a bit of flame in the beginning then smoke.

Cover quickly and let it smoke

After approx 20 minutes the bin is safe from flashing to open. This is my favorite part of the process.

Peek in bin

The ware will stay red hot for quite some time so I handle them with care at this stage. I also don't immerse in water. I find that I loose too many pieces to cracking this way. I let them cool down by themselves.

The finished product

And that is it! Raku ware is never safe for food or drink and is only meant for enjoyment. There is something so ancient and timeless about the finished pieces. It is, by far, my favorite ceramic method. It is truly pure enjoyment for me.

Recently finished raku pieces currently in my store.