Saturday, November 29, 2008

A look at the past...

It's been a while since I have posted some antique photos from my collection. As always be sure to click on the images to see them up close and personal.

First up, above, we have Dot and Helen. Not only are they adorable in their Mary Janes and giant bows, but they are each holding a bunny! Does it get any better?? Little Helen even has her hand on a toy rabbit down by her feet to further highlight her love of rabbits. I have a feeling that these two little girls grew up to be great bunny advocates (not to mention outstanding mavens of fashion). Notice the Easter baskets by their sides. (psst! please never give a rabbit as an Easter gift)

Next up is young Harold. His name was written on the back of the photo along with his age, one year. I love the fact that he is pointing at the camera. He shows a lot of spunk for a little boy with a bad bowl haircut, fancy button up shoes (which I LOVE) and a pretty white dress. Rock on Harold!

Above is a lovely scene on the beach. At first I though this was an image of a young mother and her children but after examining her outfit (I have several other photos with her) I think that perhaps she is a nanny. If anyone has any insights on this please feel free to chime in! Anyhoo, it is a wonderful image. I bet the older boy and the doggy took off running the second this photo was shot.

This last photo is one I purchased for no reason other than that incredible curtain that hangs behind the family. It is covered in butterflies! And that makes me happy. :)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Making the day...

SPOILER ALERT! To those who are participating in the trade with Andrew Thornton - you may not want to read any further if you have not received your package yet. I don't want to take away some of the surprise for you so LOOK AWAY if you don't want to blow it. :)

OK.

Today I came home to the most wonderful little package. It was a package full of splendid goodies from artist, Andrew Thornton. Last week he announced on his blog that he wanted to do a trade for his incredible ACEOs. I was fortunate enough to be one of the first people to respond and I secured myself a coveted spot. (yay me!)

There is something quite marvelous about receiving surprise goodies in the mail. And when those goodies come from someone I only know via his art and writing they take on a magical quality. The fact that a total stranger could put together such a thoughtful and inspiring collection of things warms my heart on this very cold and extra Black Friday. After spending the day out in the world of commerce, seeing the less attractive side of humanity it was a saving grace to come home to Andrew's gift of tea, music and art. Thank you so much, Andrew!

(This little painting is just incredible. And the likeness to me and my hair first thing in the morning is uncanny!)

Thursday, November 27, 2008

New pretties for your most fashionable turkey

Today was a fairly quiet day, with less work than usual (just a little) and a lovely dinner of Cornish Game Hen (you MUST! try this simple recipe if you are a meat eater). Paul and I both have shows tomorrow (me with my jewelry and he with antiques) so we opted to stay home this holiday and keep it simple.

I did mange to complete some new earrings and I am quite in love with each and every one. You can see the evolution of these pieces here and here.

Red Pin Cushion

I hope everyone had a nice, stress-free holiday! :)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Look at all the pretty things!

I am in day two of a nasty migraine which has rendered me entirely useless. Not wanting to neglect my blog I thought I would show you some loveliness from one of my favorite jewelry makers, Holly Yashi. I have been collecting Holly's work for years and it always remains fresh, original and inspiring. I am especially enamored with her Bohemian Chic collection.


I recently purchased this gorgeous pair of earrings and I can't stop looking at them. :)

Have a great day everyone. I'll be back tomorrow hopefully headache free and thinking clearly. (keep your fingers crossed for me!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Next...



I'm done with my trunk show and now I am off to set up for my studio show. Roberson Museum Clayworks is the studio where I work as an assistant and we have a big pottery sale twice a year. During the holidays it is spread over three weekends. Thankfully I can keep producing and replenishing during that time as my stock is starting to show signs of thinning. Oh no! I have one more show in the middle of it all so I will be doing double duty which means I need more inventory.

Will I ever sleep again? :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Challenge - Steampunk

The theme for this month's challenge at The Art Bead Scene is Steampunk. I was pretty excited when it was announced as it combines my two styles perfectly. I have always vacillated between a Victorian/antique influence and the modernist movement that began in the 1930s. I have never felt the need to choose one style and focus solely on that. I would be bored in minutes. When I first heard about Steampunk earlier this year I was struck by how perfectly my two styles could now work together and it would be cool and trendy, not just odd and mismatched. (It's funny how odd and mismatched can become commonplace when just a year ago I would have thought it strange:)

Anyhoo, my entry for this month has a lot going on, as you can see. I envisioned astronomical maps with lines and circles crossing the pages... celestial bodies joined by lines of light... the possibility of time travel - first going back, then coming forward only to decide that the past is where it's at. I wanted to make a piece that looked both ancient and modern but, most importantly, is completely wearable.

I first selected four of my own porcelain pieces that I felt worked together harmoniously and fit within the Steampunk theme. Two of which were made from molds I made from Victorian pieces, another features a fly relief and the focal, modernist piece was handbuilt in two pieces.

Adding handforged copper rings and "dart" links gave the piece that feeling of navigation I was looking for (does that make any sense to anyone other than me?) and from there it was just a matter of bringing in some natural stone (gray fossil for the truly ancient look and some lovely chrysocolla) and my favorite Czech glass beads (they have that antique/religious feel I love so much). Oh, and I almost forgot my favorite little touch - a small antique mother of pearl button. :)



If you would like to see a breakdown of the components I used in the making of this necklace please check out this photo on Flickr. :)

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Trunk Show!

I will be doing a trunk show at East of the Sun, West of the Moon in Owego, NY this Friday evening (during the Third Friday Art Walk) and all day Saturday (10-5).

For the past 20 years East of the Sun has thrived as an American Handcraft gallery specializing in pottery, jewelry, glass, wood and much, much more handmade goodness. Owego is located 30 minutes from both Binghamton and Ithaca - if you live anywhere nearby come on down and say hi. :)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Peace, baby

I had another terribly long day at the studio. In by 10:30 home by 8:30. I unloaded the pieces I fired on Sunday, glazed at least five million pieces (for real) and loaded and started another kiln before I left. I also worked on some new pendants which feature peace signs. In several weeks I am doing a show that is hosted by the Syracuse Peace Council so I thought that maybe I should make something a little peace-ish. I hand carved the peace signs freehand to give them that "it's all good" circa 1968 kind of vibe. They should look pretty cool glazed in transparent green. Cool in that "it's all good" kind of way. :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Long day...

Time for bed. I can't wait! I was at the studio from 10 in the morning and got home around 7:30 in the evening. I had a giant bowl of Brussels sprouts and finished off a bottle of wine (Fat Bastard, my new favorite) and now I am ready to sleep like a baby.

I worked on a lot of little pieces today - cleaning them up, preparing them for the bisque firing. I stared the kiln before I left and will go unload them on Tuesday. Then I will spend the day glazing. Then I will fire them again. It never ends..

There is a new Chinese restaurant in town called Rice. Not the most original name but man oh man, is the food excellent! Perhaps even more exciting (to me) are the take-out containers. They are large and have locking lids. In other words they are perfect for holding my unfired pieces! Needless to say we have been eating a lot of Chinese take-out lately and my container collection is growing nicely. :)

Here is a parting shot of me in the studio today, looking super thrilled. I can't seem to help the look on my face - I am naturally grumpy looking though I can assure you that in my heart I am squealing with delight and doing leaps of joy. :)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Calling in sick

This weekend was kind of a freebie. I didn't think I had a show-free weekend until the end of December but this one popped up and it was free free free! Well, kind of. I was supposed to be at the Farmers' Market today but my never-ending cold and throbbing shoulder kept me home. My apologies to my Market customers who have been waiting for my return - it will be while before I will be back - I will most likely be there the two weeks before Christmas.

On another note, I took a clue from Charmaine, my favorite High Desert Diva and added a "follow me" widget to the right on this page. I am not entirely sure how it works but I think it enables you to check on your favorite blogs when you sign into Blogspot. Possibly. I don't really know. But it looks neat, right? All those little faces... So feel free to follow me and add your sweet little face to the mosaic! :)


Thursday, November 13, 2008

Color, Texture & Technique

I've been listing some new large pendant chokers in the shop this week and I thought it might be fun to share some of them with you. Each piece was glazed and fired in a different way. The versatility of clay makes it so wonderful for me to work with - boredom doesn't stand a chance.

The top piece, though it may be difficult to see in the photo, has billowing crystal-like flecks throughout the blue area. This is due to the high amount of rutile in the blue glaze. It's always a thrill to achieve this look since it's rather unpredictable and depends greatly on the conditions inside the kiln - in this case how fast the kiln cools. The same blue glaze when applied heavily tends to cause imperfections. The pendant below is an example of that, though I tend to view imperfections as stunning one-of-a-kind gifts sent from the heavens above. :) If this glaze combo had been applied to a vertical piece most of the blue glaze would have fallen off and melted into a lovely pool on the kiln shelf. However, since this piece is flat it had nowhere to go and instead created this drop dead gorgeous piece of porcelain perfection. (over the top much?)

The piece below is a fine example of a reduction glaze. In a nutshell that means that the color of the glaze is dependent upon the atmosphere inside the kiln - how fast oxygen leaves the kiln and how much oxygen remains. When there isn't enough oxygen for the flame to feed off of oxygen is then drawn from the clay body and glaze thus creating brilliant colors (especially reds). If there had been little reduction during the firing of this piece the areas that are red would have been green. Interesting, eh?

The piece below is part of my Savoy line. A fancy name that simply means that I used a savoy cabbage to create the interesting texture in the clay. I made many of these pieces a while ago and still take delight in glazing them.

This last piece below has very subtle shading that was achieved by airbrushing several layers of glaze. I used to airbrush glaze all the time on my larger pieces of pottery but have found it less than convenient on my smaller pieces. These large pendants are really the only pieces that can showcase the cool effects that can come from airbrushing and I will be doing some more in the future. This piece is also a great example of a reduction glaze that did not get much reduction. I was hoping for a red blush, instead it stayed green. Which is just fine. I like green too. :)



Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Forcing the issue...

OK, so I am determined to get this brooch thing up and running. As you may know, I made a gigantic amount of brooches for the show I did over the weekend. How did they sell??? (I am sure you are all waiting with bated breath for the answer...) They sold pretty well. I didn't sell astounding amounts but enough sold that made me think I should keep them coming. So today I had a fashion shoot with my headless dress form (it belonged to my grandmother - it was cast from her body when she was 16 years old - you would not believe how tiiiiiny the waist is!) to show how excellent they can look.

The most common question I heard all weekend was "Can you show me ways to wear pins? I really like them but I don't know how to wear them." Well, just stick them on, I say! Anywhere! You can wear them on your Winter coat, your jacket, blazer, at your throat, on your collar, on your handbag, to hold a shawl closed, to gather a full skirt on the side, in your hair, on your hat, on your scarf, on your belt... whew! I could go on. But I won't. The point is this: brooches are awesome and I encourage everyone to wear one and all my fellow jewelry designers to make them. So there.

(could it be that I have had a little too much cold medicine today? It's time for my nap.)

All three brooches are now available in my Etsy shop.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Recovery

I'm home from my very loooooong show. It felt like it lasted for days and days with no end in sight. The building was super cold and by the end of yesterday I was pretty sick with a cold and couldn't wait to get home. Overall the show was very good. There were moments resembling a mob scene and moments looking more like a vacant library but between the two it rounded out to be a pretty decent show.

I was happy to be set up across from my friend Beth of Lilipad Creations. We did a little trading and I managed to score one of her wonderful handbags (like this one in her Etsy shop only pink and brown :). I immediately filled it with all my junk and am happy to report that it does its job like a real trooper.

I was extra prepared for this show so my display was very full and I was able to continually replenish as things sold. I just love being able to do that! And it helps to tell customers that you are always putting out new things. Especially on the last day when many people think that all your best work is gone. They become very happy when they realize that you have just put out new items.

My beloved birds necklace (above) that I made for last month's Art Bead Scene challenge sold on the first day. I am a little sad about it. That rarely happens to me. Once I make something I am happy to send it out into the world but this piece was special to me. I take comfort knowing that the woman who bought it is completely in love with it - I have never seen such joy over one of my pieces before and when she put it on it looked like it was home. The two were meant for each other. :) I will move on... In fact, I am very anxious to begin working on this month's challenge today. Steampunk! Can't wait to get to work! :)


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Preparations...

This Friday, Saturday and Sunday I will be at The Holiday Shoppes 2008 show hosted by the Junior League in Syracuse, NY. It will be held in the Horticulture Building in the NYS Fair Grounds so swing on by if you are in the area. This is an excellent show, one I really look forward to and I have been working nonstop to ensure that I will have one kick-ass variety of pretty things.

The earrings above were a bit of a happy accident. I ran out of the earwires I usually use with these little pieces and decided to put them on extra long kidney wires. I just love them! Why haven't I done this before? It's funny how you (me) get into patterns and set ways of doing things. I have used these earwires for other styles but never with these little pieces. Duh...

After seeing this photo of my bracelets (above) it becomes very clear that I like the color blue. I never intentionally set out to glaze everything in cool colors but once I have it all together I see that my color preferences win out. It's something I will have to work on. :)

I have made good on my promise to make large brooches (above). Now let's see if people like them. If not I will be adorning myself and everyone around me with pins whether they like it or not.

Gotta get back to work. Have a great day everyone! Change is in the air...

Monday, November 3, 2008

Working on the weekend...

This past weekend was a full one. Full of work, work and some more work. I have a big three day show (more details later) that starts on Friday, next week I have a trunk show (hopefully) and the next three consecutive weekends after that I have shows. Can I possibly have enough inventory to get through and still be able to maintain a large selection in my Etsy shop? Will I ever sleep again? When I do sleep will I ever dream about anything other than clay and glaze?

Eh. Whatever. I love what I do. I'll take this work over pretty much anything thing else any day. :)

Last week I made a ton of new molds and I was anxious to try them out so I took the molds straight out the of the kiln and went straight to my latest work area (I'm still hanging out with Finchy) and got to work. I am very excited about some of the new designs - you can see a few of them above. I have many, many new ideas brewing and it is very hard to focus on what needs to be done when I have new toys I want to play with and exciting new designs to work on. Thank god I have a never ending supply of inspiration. Just watching the continuing games of Follow the Leader and Monkey See, Monkey Do on Etsy is enough to make a person crazy. I consider myself very fortunate that I don't know how to play those games (but less fortunate that others feel the need to make things that look just like mine. Although I have to say, it can be very amusing when the copiers start coping other copiers - that makes me giggle a bit :).

On another note... below are a few new necklaces that I put in the shop yesterday. The blue and red pieces show a few of the new glazes that I have been playing with. I love both of them, but the blue makes me especially happy. And when put together they make the most beautiful purple! Purple makes me even happier. :)