Saturday, September 28, 2013

summer fairs are over

Bruce and I have just unloaded the van, after the last outdoor fair.  Hard work.  But I love doing the fairs:  I get to talk with people (which I don't, working in my studio), and I get to hear their stories.  and what I hear are the most amazing stories--often of resilience, in the face of extremely hard times (theirs, as well as the state of health care and politics).  People who have had to leave a job because of health-related problems, which aren't fully being solved, and who now have to find more work, because they aren't old enough to 'retire', and people who, as artists, have had to stop doing one form of art, because of incredible physical impediments, so have figured out another way to work.  I am just amazed by the tenacity and ingenuity of all of us!

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

a great honor!

I was one of the ten chosen for the award of excellence at the Original Art (Street) Fair in Ann Arbor, this year (ten categories, ten awards).  Now back to work!!1

Friday, July 12, 2013

I'm showing at the Original Art Fair in Ann Arbor!

and here is the link to copy and enter in your browser:*MnZk8jQ

or the link to click on:
 Ann Arbor Original Art Fair, booth A-257

I am by the bell tower, Booth A-257, on Ingalls Mall, between E. Washington, and North University The Fair runs from the 17th of July through the 20th; hours are:  W - F: 10 - 9, and Saturday: 10 - 6.  See you There!

Thursday, June 6, 2013

So, Finally, I got my kiln rewired!...

So, Finally, I got my kiln rewired!!  And it wasn't really all that hard.  (Remember how bad it used to be? Elements looping down along the inside wall, totally out of their grooves? It was still reaching temperature, until that fateful firing during Art-O-Matic in Toledo this spring......) So I finally ordered the replacement parts to do the entire set of 6 elements (but not the switches--they were fine)  I also ordered a replacement kiln sitter ceramic sleeve.  They came from Runyan Ceramics in Clio, Michigan.  When they came, I set aside a day to work on the kiln.  It all went very well (and thanks to Paul at Runyan's for the technical advice!)   I just wasn't able to  cut off the end of the loops on each end of each element, nor crimp the sleeve that goes over the element wiring and the wiring to the switch, connecting the two.  So, I got Bruce to do that for me  (though I understand, from my friend  Robert Rueger, who roasts coffee and sells it at the Toledo Symphony, that there are $150 ratcheting crimpers which would do the job very nicely, without the bone-crunching effort.)  Now the kiln not only looks good; it fires like greased lightening. 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

demi-lune, in progress

I'm finally finishing a demi-lune that has been sitting on my glaze table for about three months (or more).  And because doing landscapes is hard (you don't see exactly what you're going to get), I usually work on several at a time, and get ideas from one to the other.  Here are two photos: one, of how the demi-lune looked for several months, and, another, of how it appeared after more color and structure had been added.  The next blog will show the finished tiles; however---I have to say, my old kiln which needed rewiring finally broke during the glaze firing, yesterday, and never quite reached temperature.  I may have to re-fire.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Yunomi Invitational--more to come--opens on Friday, 19 April 2013

4/19/2013 - 5/17/2013
2013 Yunomi Invitational
(ONLINE ONLY) 200 Potters, 5 Yunomi each for AKAR's 2013 cup show. Donations to Studio Potter Magazine.

the show is open, now, and work is selling!  

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

a landscape tile--a second look

 In the early evening, as the sun is going down, and the light through the west windows is warm and encouraging, I sometimes sit in the old chair that my dad used to sit in (with his kitty, Gus, who now lives with Janet Kelman) and share a glass of wine with Bruce, and take a moment to reflect on what I'm doing, and at such a breakneck pace.  I often miss seeing things that I might really like, but for the fact that they didn't sell last season, and are now hanging on the wall just opposite the chair, and, I have the chance to take another look.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Oval forms: final finishing work-----Part three

a. smoothed and ready for the handles
Here is the final explanation of the making of an oval form (hand built, not using the wheel).  The first two parts, # 1, here, and # 2, here, are used to illustrate the way one might work through this project.    And now for the third, and last part:  once the clay oval form has dried enough to pull away from the walls of the plaster mold, I can gently lift it out.   I now have to smooth the outer joint between the walls and the base, as well as the joint at either long end where the two sides came together.  Sometimes a little extra clay can be added to make the joint area smoother.  In addition, the underside of the base is pressed in, to give it an area which will be glazed (see illustration 'c').
Then I pull long coils, and twist two together.   Two lengths are cut simultaneously, so that they will be even, and with a little vinegar I add them to either end of the casserole form (illustration 'b').  These are the 'braided' handles.
b. adding the handles
the finished leatherhard form
c. the under side of the casserole, which is glazed and decorated..

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Oval Forms; slab-built: part two

cutting out the patterns
bevelling the edge
(this is the second part; part one is here)
    Once I've tested the patterns with an actual clay trial form, and know that the patterns are going to work, I roll out a clay slab, flipping the slab over each time I roll it.  To keep the slab even, I use two 1/4 inch  dowels on either side, like train tracks, on which the rolling pin can roll.  The table surface is a piece of granite, smooth, and slightly absorbant.  The sheeting (part polyester--doesn't wrinkle as much....) makes it easier to lift the slab, each time it's rolled out, so that I can flip it over before I roll it out, again.  Then I cut as many forms out of one slab as I can fit--I hate having to recycle the slabs if I don't have to!  The oval base goes into the bottom of the plaster mold, and its outer edges are pressed and thinned once the base is in place.    The side pieces get a bevel cut at each end, where the ends will overlap each other.  The top edge of the curved side piece is smoothed, now, as well.
placing the cut shapes into the mold

 Once all the pieces are in place, (I scrub the areas to be joined with a toothbrush dipped in vinegar) they're smoothed down, and pressed against the bottom and side with my fingers.  I also put a soft coil around the oval, at the inside base of the piece, and up the sides at
 the joining of the two sides. 
fitting the side pieces on top of the base
 Then I dip a small blue (or red) rubber rib into water, and smooth all of the inside. The top edge is smoothed, again, with a chamois, and the the top edge is fluted.  At this point, I have to let the piece dry out enough so that it can be lifted out of the mold.  If I'm done working for the day, then I cover the mold and clay form with a sheet of plastic, and come back to it in the morning.  Otherwise, I can let it sit out for a while until the wet/leatherhard clay will release from the plaster.

 Final work on this piece will continue in a third post.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Oval forms; slab-built

this first form was cast from a flat pan (seen to the right)

some of the oval shapes I work with; the one on the right is the commercially made mold
 In the following 3 or so posts, I will be talking about constructing an oval, flat-bottomed form which could be used as a casserole without a lid (though a lid could be added).  I'm intrigued by the oval  because it is not something which can be made on the wheel (unless you intentionally distort the form after it is thrown). I'll start, here, with some of the forms which I make using a plaster mold.  One of the molds was a commercial shape; the rest are forms which I have cast, myself.  All the patterns for cutting the clay to put into the mold were made after the plaster mold was finished.
 In order to make the patterns, I first work with a lightweight paper like newsprint. To start, I push a slightly larger oval  piece of paper into the bottom of the mold.  Then I run my fingers around the outer edge of what I perceive to be the bottom until I can see where to cut the oval base shape.  Then I take a pencil and draw the cutting line, and then cut the shape, itself.  I then do the same thing with one-half of the side.  The shape of the side is something like the shape of a lampshade that is laid out on a flat surface.  It's like a rhomboid (OK, not really, but...) with a curved top and bottom edge.  These first thin paper patterns are done on a trial basis, and, after using them to cut out the initial clay forms, and after pressing the clay forms into the plaster mold, adjustments can be made so that the pieces fit together more precisely.  The third image, here, below, shows the final patterns, (along with one of the finished and fired pieces).  The final pattens are made from a sort of plastic paper: impossible to tear, and fairly easy to cut with sharp scissors.  It was 'paper' given to me when I was a den mother for Pete's cub scout group.  I was never able to figure out what to do with it with the boys, but, years later, I discovered that it made good patterns for cutting out clay shapes. It's strong enough to be laid on wet clay without wrinkling up, and strong enough to have a needle tool run around its outside edge, over and over, without distorting. In the next post, I'll show how the clay is cut and placed into the plaster mold. 
Here is the mold (which I call 'long'), with its patterns, and with the finished pot

Saturday, February 2, 2013

mid-winter gallery displays, part 2---

The American Gallery
This coming Saturday, 2 February, from noon til 3 pm (what could be easier!), the American Gallery will be having its 8th annual jewelry trunk show! (they also carry my pottery, pictured above)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

a new shape

the new plate shape
Over Thanksgiving, Bruce, Pete and I stopped at a garage sale on the way to the Mazur's, and I found a new form to use as a press mold.  It's one of those papier mâché dishes made in Japan in the 50's and 60's.  I have tried about 5 or 6 of them, and this is the decoration I like the most---

Friday, January 25, 2013

patterns for inspiration--from Alisa

 I had finished a number of the four-legged pots, and now needed to decorate them.   Because of their form, with the little legs, and twisted handles, and the inside/outside aspect, there are all sorts of ways I can approach the problem.  This winter, for Christmas, from Alisa Mazur, I received a set of hand-made cloth zippered bags which had a very intriguing set of patterns, so I decided to take them out to the studio and try some of the combinations of stripes, flowers, and colors.  Here are a few of the beginning applications: 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Mid-winter gallery displays, part 1

my work on the beautiful cherry table at the Hudson Gallery, downtown Sylvania, OH
It's the middle of January; time to take stock!  Several local galleries have collections of my work which will be on display during their openings this winter.  Hudson Gallery, 5645 N. Main Street, in Downtown Sylvania, Ohio,  ( will be having an opening this coming Friday, January 25th, from 6 - 8 pm, for the 'Group of Nine'.  Next week, I'll post photos from another local gallery.  In the meantime, I am finishing the decorating on a number of pots that were either made before the studio sale in December, or in the break after the holidays.  Some of this work has been for orders!  (I'm late in finishing them..)  When they are done, and the glaze firings are caught up, I'll start on raw clay work, again.  There have been several galleries which have asked that I participate in shows beginning in May, or that I re-supply them in May before their summer sales season begins-----so I have lots to do before then.  This is also when I make work for the summer fairs.  And, if there's time, I'll also get some experimenting in--new shapes and surface designs.  More to come!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

demi-lune finished in late November, 2013
One of the recently 'twigged' demi-lunes, using cuttings from the wild grapes that are taking over some of the wild crabapples. They are meant to hang over a door, or above a sink , or cooktop  (though I wouldn't keep all the little extensions, so near the stove top).  Customers have sometimes bought the 2 tiles of the demi-lune, without the backing and the twigging, and have set the tiles into the wall, itself:  a more permanent arrangement.