Thursday, December 31, 2009

Yunomi for AKAR

The maiolica colorants are applied onto the unfired glaze, working, first, with areas to be waxed, then with the larger color areas.  Details are added last.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Yunomi, glazed.

Once the tea bowls are glazed, I begin thinking about all the ways I'd wanted to decorate them--a little brainstorming---more photos of the decorating to come.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Getting ready to decorate:

I am taking photos of our compost pile in the bricked garden that Peter made for us---we move the pile around every year, and this time we circled some old wire.  This afternoon I'll be decorating the glazed yunomi (every day tea bowls) for the AKAR Gallery, using the compost as inspiration. 

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

My Neighbors!

The Bieber boys have been working in the studio with me and their mom, Sheri!

Sunday, December 20, 2009


I'm working on a set of Japanese tea bowls for 'every day use':  they're called yunomi.  They are taller than the tea bowls used for the traditional tea ceremony.  When they are done, they will be shipped out to the AKAR Gallery in Iowa, and will go onto an online sale in February.  This year I am using our compost containers for inspiration.  We put two new ones up, using some old fencing that we'd gotten a number of years ago to put around an older garden so the puppies wouldn't run through just after a planting. 

Saturday, December 12, 2009

In 1958 I was given a penpal from Finland!  Her name was Raija and she was studying English; I, French.  We wrote to each other steadily for ten years, through high school, college, and her marriage and birth of two sons, while I went to graduate school.  In the following thirty years, we lost track of each other, until Bruce received a grant from the school where he was teaching, so that he could travel to the International Horn Symposium in Lahti, Finland.  I wondered (since I was going to go with him) whether or not I would be able to find Raija again. When I wrote to her old address, she was still there!  We were able to visit with her during our trip in 202, and we continue to write. She has recently retired and has been drawing, more.  Over the summer she sent me a postcard with her artwork, which I then put onto a tile, now on it's way to Helsinki.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


After the party's over, Paulie relaxes for a little snack.  Thank you, everyone, for supporting our efforts!  I'll be mailing work out to the gallery in Red Lodge, Montana this week, and delivering to the American Gallery in Sylvania, OH, and will still have work for sale in my studio.  About mid-week, I'll begin to decorate for the next glaze kiln firing, finishing up the ornaments that our customers decorated during the sale, and working on tiles and the rest of the plates and bowls.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kiln Accident...

One of the carrots tipped over during the firing, and rested on the adjacent shelf, simultaneously  adhering to the nearby pitcher.  We served miso gravy in it Friday evening, and various names came up  (gravy with a carrot on the side--Ted Ligibel's addition).  The carrot's perfect horizontal alignment (though something that could be arranged if the carrot had been attached at the leatherhard stage) is a fluke, but amusing....Usually, kiln accidents are much more dramatic, and unforgiving.  The rest of the carrots, after the firing, are resting in a narrow casserole.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Kiln Fills Up

Decorated pots fill the kiln, as the final shelves are loaded up and the kiln is ready for firing.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A kiln load of bisque--

It's Sunday noon, and the bisque is unloaded from the kiln, and waiting for the waxing.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Unloading the bisque kiln

On Sunday, I'll be unloading the last bisque kiln before the holiday sale:  more platters, covered containers, and some work done by Sheri's three boys, plus anything else I could fit in.  Carrots for the rabbits, mugs, etc.---photos to follow, tomorrow.  Meanwhile, here's a picture of Blue, my friend Barbie's miniature horse--he's quite special!

Monday, November 2, 2009

More about the Rabbits~~

I have a new person working with me in the studio--Sheri Bieber--she lives just down the road to the west of me, and is learning about the pottery business! Of course we spend a lot of time talking, but we work, as well---here she is, cutting clay mini-slabs to be pressed into the bok choy plaster cast, which are then used as ears on the rabbits. She has also been learning how to roll and cut the clay tiles, and has pugged clay with me. She has a good sense of working with the clay, and is not afraid of trying things on her own initiative! I know I'll be learning from her, as well as she, from me!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

more about the garden rabbits:

After the rabbit forms are thrown, they are trimmed at the bottom end to remove the extra clay, then paddled and scraped smooth. They're then plopped on their side, with a small pinhole in the formerly bottom end, to allow some of the air to escape. This hole will be covered by a tail made from clay pressed into a plaster cast of a tree fungus which I made while we were living in Connecticut. The ears are pressed into a mold of bok choy, made at about the time I built my studio, in the mid-80's. Max the Cat holds down the other side of the worktable.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

hallowe'en visitors!

After I'd gotten the handles on the mugs, our friends, the Ligibels, came over...with a surprise visitor!---Ted's mom, Angela---a.k.a. the Fuller Brush Woman! She'd been visiting her grandkids' school, and was still in costume---what a great Hallowe'en Treat!

Friday, October 30, 2009

New Projects

I'm beginning several new projects, though they are forms which I have done, before: mugs (drying upside down, and without their handles), both short and tall; tiles for an outdoor round table, which I hope to have finished for my December sale; and garden rabbits. The rabbits are a more involved form, so I will be showing some of the phases in the next few posts, and talking a little more about how they got started. The body of the rabbit is thrown, so what you see, here, is a collection of five rabbit body and head forms on end. They began as an extension of some pottery which belonged to a woman whom I was taking care of, and who owned a set of Dedham Pottery ware. She was Helen Tee-Van, an artist from the '20's, and lived near me in Connecticut. to be continued.....


Monday, October 26, 2009

autumn, around the studio and house

Fall is here, and I AM working in the studio, though lots of work has to be done in the yard, as well. Our maple in the front yard is once, again, a glorious golden color--always a surprise after a spring and summer of green. (We don't, apparently, have very long memories.) In the studio, I am throwing plates, bowls and mugs, and rolling slabs for platters. A young woman who lives down the road is starting to work with me making tiles; photos will follow towards the end of the week.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Last weekend at the Erie Orchards

This is my last weekend at the Erie Orchards, in Erie, MI---I've been next to PeeWee the deer, and am surrounded by apples, and pumpkins, and people! In the studio, I am getting clay ready for throwing, and for slabwork. Most of the bisqued ware from August has been decorated and fired, so, now I'll be thinking about shapes and forms that I want to make for the next two months before the studio sale. I still have a few orders, but hope to try out some new forms which I've been thinking about.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

pea vines from the fall garden---

I'm finishing up the decoration for the last of the glazed bisque ware (or, trying to), so that the shelves will be clear before I begin to make more work. Orders from this last batch are done, so I have some time to try new patterns, and the garden has had a 'rebirth' since August, when we finally pulled the last of the weeds and replanted! Peas are growing, as are the cold weather salad greens, and the lavender looks grey and bushy. I am working, here, on a large platter, with the pea vines, and will do a similar pattern on the teapot and mugs.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I have sad news: last Thursday, our old kitty, Zippy (the Zip, Zipster, Missizippi, and other endearments), died. She was 17 1/2, and I got her from Bill Shively who worked at the 577 where I was teaching. He brought four little kittens to work one day, in the back of his station wagon, with litter and food, and, for a dollar, I picked out the lively little black one. She was to be a gift to our son, Pete, who loves kitties. He was graduating from the 8th grade. I wryly thought this would be a good gift for him even though some of the other kids were getting computers;  our budget was a little more limited. After almost 18 years, I think Zippy outlasted, and gave more love, than those old computers! Zippy lived in the house, at different times, and in the studio, and was the boss of all the other kitties and dogs who came, and went. She was fiercely attached to us, and put up with our inconsistency and silliness. We miss her.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Time for orders

Now that fall is here, I am working on orders (at last! some say..) Here are some photos of a set of bowls: first, being thrown, then, being decorated after the bisque. They will match a mug sold earlier this summer, and one will eventually be chosen for the set of mug and bowl.

Friday, August 28, 2009

tiles being decorated for small, framed images

In the lower photo are several of the tiles that are being decorated for small frames. Their colors look dusty and pale before the glaze firing. Then, in the top photo, the tiles can be seen after the glaze firing, and after the framing and grouting. The small, irregular, unframed tile is a piece that broke from a larger landscape and which has been re-done.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Kelly and Randy in the studio

Several Weeks ago Kelly and Randy came down to finish decorating the tiles Kelly made in a class this last fall---Their work, along with mine, are finally in a glaze firing (and the lid of the big kiln, raised up in the middle of the photo between Randy and Kelly, is now down). I worked on a number of tiles, as well, which will go into tables. The next post will show not only my tiles, fired, but some of the tables into which they will be set.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Porch News

some of the things on our porch in August--the night-blooming cereus is from Budd Gauger--

Sunday, August 9, 2009

August, and it's finally heating up!!

I'm back from the Suttons Bay fair, (one of my favorite), and will be catching up in the studio until my next 2 fairs: Franklin, MI, and the Black Swamp. After that I will be showing on the weekends at the Erie Orchards, in Erie, MI--a new venture!
Judy Donaldson visited several weeks ago, and we had tea with honey that Judy's daughter, Shawn, sent, and we looked at pots. (whose hand is that, hovering over the felted nest Shawn made?)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Meghan at Crosby Gardens Festival

Meghan's last day, and her help with the fair at Crosby Gardens

Today was my last day with Ann, which came surprisingly fast! She showed me her method of recording and organizing expenses for her business (which comes in handy for doing taxes) She had me go through her receipts from January and categorize them to get a feel for how to do it---it was actually kind of fun. After I finished that, it was on to the last bit of decorating for me. I still had a few tiles left, and Ann was nice enough to hold on to them and fire them for me. Can't wait to see how they turn out! I've definitely enjoyed my time working with Ann, and I'm looking forward to getting back into the studio at Adrian in the fall to keep implementing the techniques she taught me.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Glazing the big pots:

It's summer, with fairs every weekend, now, and decorating in the studio inbetween. I'm starting to put the colors onto the large flowerpots----yellow around the rim, which adds another layer of glaze which is mixed in with the colorant. Meghan will be in later today to finish up some of her work, and we will be loading the kiln for a glaze firing.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

and now we decorate (like mad, so we can get the kiln loaded on time)

Ann and I spent today decorating pieces to finish loading the kiln. I got a few tiles painted as well as a little dish I made in the first week. My internship with Ann has gone by so quickly---it's crazy to think I only have one more day.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Maiolica Colorants for decoration on the unfired glaze:

Ann and I got started right away today prepairing the glaze and colorants for the upcoming glaze firing. She had me mix and sieve the glaze to take out any lumps, and then I dipped a few tiles in to decorate later. Most of the day was spent remixing colorants, which we also sieved...but I did have a little time at the end to decorate a few of the tiles I dipped. Hopfully they come out as nicely as the first ones did.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Meghan's back! and getting ready for a glaze firing---

Today I worked on finishing the casserole dish I started last week--I had to smooth some edges out after taking it out of the mould, and then I added the handles and a decorative lip around the top. It'll be interesting to see how my first one turns out... I also spent time scraping some kiln shelves and waxing the back of a few tiles to prepair for the upcoming glaze firing.

photos to be posted later this evening (when I get back from the Mud Hen's game!)(Ann)