Monday, November 30, 2009

Last day of November

A big thank you to those of you who came by Portobello Market this weekend!  It was a good weekend for me so thanks to all the new and familiar faces who came by to buy my pots!  In the meantime, on the last day of November, I leave you with the very dreary and wet day that it started out as.  We had sun later in the day, but poor Sasha (my 5 year old) and I got wet to the bones taking the bus and seabus over to the studio today to tie up loose ends:(  It was pretty miserable and left me ready for some Christmas cheer! More on that in the coming days... Hope you had a better monday!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Expecting good things at Portobello this weekend!

Ok so I'm a part of the Portobello Holiday Market this coming weekend and after browsing the list of other folks there, I'm really excited to check out this work in person (instead of just online)!
Above- don't you just adore this hand-knitted sweater?? Ok so I'm saving up for a new pair of glasses and must remember that when I dearly want that sweater... Deer Love Sweater and Toque by Granted Knitwear

I've been meaning to get my passport up-dated, with one of these and a ticket to a tropical island I'd certainly have the incentive to stand in line: Petit Ecole Friends Passport by Noei

A beauty of a bag by fiveleft -while we (Dean) already own a lap-top bag and wallet by fiveleft, I'm thinking a Christmas wallet for my brother-in-law...

I think I saw these on Poppytalk a while back and am really looking forward to taking a gander by the Henderson Dry Goods table... again, will try to restrain myself from spending everything that I sell:)

And of course, I'll be there with some new work out of the kiln, some of my tile frames, and my new photoprints on bamboo frames:)
Oh, and check out this little link while you're at it! 

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Charming Phaulet

I first met Paula Gonzalez from Phaulet this past March at a 2-day show that we were in together and right away noticed her warm smile and her beautiful jewelry.  We keep bumping into each other around town, and then I found her on Etsy the other day and asked if I could feature her on my blog! Her resin pendants and earrings with collaged images from old books are different and lovely- I think the pairing of the modern format and the classical or vintage imagery is really feminine and playful.  There are two sides to each pendant, with two different images that seem to tell a story when put together.  Phaulet recently got featured in the Georgia Straight in an article that describes how her concept and background from Columbia play an important role in her designs!

shop Phaulet

Ornament Winner

Ok, so while there weren't hoards of Ornament give-a-way comments to draw from a hat, I'm still pleased to give-a-way 2 of my new ornaments to Heather who wrote this: "My favorite ornament is a Playdoh/Playdough sculpture I made when I was three. I made it into the shape of my cat and my mother baked it in the microwave. I think it is a bit more special to me now (as opposed to ten years ago) because I'm a ceramics student and it's awesome how something you enjoyed when you were three can somehow influence your choices in studies nineteen years later."  Love it!  Please email me with your mailing address so I can ship my new ornaments to you (

I've been getting ornaments from my great-aunt since I was 14; she gives me an ornament or two each Christmas and usually they are either an instrument or an angel- most often an angel playing an instrument.  I must say that when I moved out on my own, it was really nice to have ornaments that meant something to me to hang on a few branches at Christmas time.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bedside Inspiration

The ideas are starting to form regarding some Christmas presents of the non-ceramic variety.  I can't quite commit to do anything until the middle of December, until after all my shows are finished, but in the meantime, it doesn't hurt to think and plan what I might make and for who...
P.S. I've been trying to work on my photography today and re-took some photos (sans darkness and rain) of my Tree Ornaments and the give-a-way which I will announce tomorrow...  be sure to sign up:)

Monday, November 23, 2009

Culture Crawl 2009 Pictures!

Thank you to everyone who made it out to this year's annual Culture Crawl!  Despite the bad weather Friday night and Saturday, it was great to see the crowds come out in full force, especially on Sunday. People were able to find me in my 'new' studio building and it was great to see some familiar faces and reconnect with friends! Here are some pictures of the studio transformed for the event...  now it's time to put everything back in it's place and to get back at it for Portobello West next weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Eastside Culture Crawl starts Friday!

Please come on out to the Eastside Culture Crawl this weekend if you are in the Greater Vancouver area- you won't be disappointed!  So many studios to visit, so many artists to chat with, and so much to see!  My building is the Mergatroid Building and I'm on the ground floor (965 Vernon Drive) so don't forget to swing by and say 'hello'!  It's going to be a busy one and I'll try to post pictures of the studio in it's completion.  (Today I had our building landlord up on a ladder fixing my lights and putting up a track lighting system for me- which I'm so glad and grateful for, but which put me behind in my set-up a bit:)

Out my window

I'm doing a little work from home before heading back to the studio to get ready for the Studio Crawl this weekend, and I wanted to share the photos I took this fall of my lovely Japanese Maple Tree transformed over the past 3 months. So beautiful in each state- from the green leaves with yellow tips in September, to the bare, red bark now in November, it's my favourite tree in my yard these days. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New Ornaments and Give-a-way!

Every year I try to make a new tree ornament- last year it was a pear and a cardinal, this year my ornaments have been inspired by winter conifers and shrubs, namely Pine trees and Holly shrubs. I first made a stamp that I carved my original design into, then pressed it onto translucent porcelain and cut each one out. They have been glazed with a pale blue glaze that pools into the carved areas of the design. I really wanted to add something special to these ornaments and so this year, these went back into the kiln with gold lustre painted on the 'frame' of the design. They look simple and elegant with the golden brown ribbon I found to hang them onto your tree! They can be bought at my shop on Etsy!

The give-a-way: I would love to give a way one of each design to a lucky reader as a great start to the Holiday season!  The give-a-way will run until next week and I will announce the winner on Wednesday morning! Please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite Tree ornament on your tree!

Monday, November 16, 2009

What would I do without you?

There are so many people that make my life really full and wonderful! The past couple of weeks has really proved that for me once again, that I'm not just a solo show, but that my work is inspired and made better by the people around me. Here are just a few of the people I need to thank this week...
First things first, my studio is part of a co-op, so I share 2 kilns with 5 other ceramic artists. Our glaze kiln has been kaput for about a week now and, what can I say, but that we've all been panicking considering THE STUDIO CRAWL IS ONLY 4 DAYS AWAY- Yikes! The week previous, I had enlisted the help of my dear friend Disa, who I went to Art school with, who knows me so well, and who is extremely qualified in the area of ceramics, to come and help me out at the studio for a couple of days. We plowed through glazing 2 kiln-loads of work- some of which got out of the kiln without a hitch, and then some of it, was left waiting for the kiln to be fixed.
Today, the dear Claire from heyday designs in the studio upstairs came by to offer me the use of her kiln while ours was being fixed! Huge! And while all this was happening, Jacqueline, the trooper, was re-wiring and fixing our kiln (a 4 hour job!) so that those who need the kiln this week can actually use it. It's been a team effort- everyone has been attempting to pitch in and help out and what can I say but THANK YOU! Needless to say, thank you gifts are in order. I'm not sure what yet, but this pie from Uprising Breads that Disa and I shared on our lunch break the other day was mighty good tasting...

Saturday, November 14, 2009


Please, before watching this old film footage of a ceramic factory making their wares from start to finish, please turn off the volume (I think I might have for you, but just be warned). Who ever put this together with the gaggy music almost makes the film cheezy. It's not- it's quite remarkable how this ceramics gets made! Talk about man-power and crazy machines that made the process somewhat simple and fast-looking.

Friday, November 13, 2009

New Cafe in Town

We found a new cafe close by called the Cafe for Contemporary Art (down on Esplanade, on the East side of Lonsdale in North Vancouver) and have been spending the past couple of Thursday nights there, while our boys attend a kids club for 1.5 hours. It's got really good locally roasted coffee and a large exhibition space with new exhibits rotating monthly. The owner is a contemporary/conceptual artist/curator himself, and it was great to find some common experiences with him, one being that we both were at the 2001 Venice Biennale the same year. The Biennale is the most prestigious by-annual Contemporary Exhibition world-wide and it was a long-held dream of mine to go to Venice to see it! Reminiscing with someone else (other than Dean:) brought me back to how art can transform your experience, create memories and change perceptions, beyond what you would ever expect!
Speaking of transforming your experiences, Dean was engaging in one of the installation pieces which made him a little bug-eyed for a good 10 minutes afterward. Ahh Art.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Local Etsy Outfit...

It's nice to make connections online, and the other day I thought I recognized Heidi Denessen's name through her husband Ron, who I went to Art school with. Heidi has a sweet Etsy shop where she sells some of her artwork along with some great practical items such as fingerless gloves, hats, notebooks and decals.
On November 29 12-5 PM at 1495 Richards Street in Yaletown Heidi and her friend Jody of the Etsy shop Nanna are hosting a Holiday Sale. I think their work goes so great together, don't you?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Reasons to curl up on the couch

Broken kiln, sniffly nose, dark overcast day, kids home from school, nachos in the afternoon, Remembrance Day, Dean being home... did I mention the kiln is broken?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yellow Ginko Season

It's the time of year when the Ginko trees all turn shades of yellow. We have a few in the neighbourhood and down the street at the Park & Tilford Gardens close by where I get my coffee. I've been collecting a few and having them dry out, and then this morning while dropping off the kids at school, one of the moms gave me one from her yard. That's her tea set in the photo! And I've just taken a few more of these large bowls out of the kiln this weekend! They will be available at my studio during the Crawl!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Round 1

I just posted 2 of the Porcelain Vases with the Folk-Art inspired monoprints on my Etsy shop. I made 6 forms in all and decided not to put all my eggs in one basket by glazing them all at the same time. I really like the subtle pale transparent blue highlighting the drawn design, but was surprised that my turquoise stain turned more on the dark navy/grey. I wonder what would happen with other stain colours- must do a test tile next...

Vespa Transformation!

If you ask both Dean and I about the Vespa, it will soon become apparent that it is a hot topic, a point of contention. You see, the scooter is supposed to be our 2nd vehicle for 6 months of the year. But sadly, it sits by the side of the house, looking pretty, not working. Because scooters, you see, need a whole lot of tinkering with. They need a keen mechanical person to constantly be fixing it up. And that, my friends, is why this chair is a brilliant idea!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

November Calender

Clearly we are in the midst of Fall on the Pacific Northwest! We've had such great weather in Vancouver this year, many clear and sunny days and a lot less rain than usual, but I think that's about to change for the season. Today was a really dreary, wet and windy kind of day and with the darker mornings and early darkness by 4:45-5pm, it really feels like November! Ahh- November already!
The Eastside Culture Crawl is really only 2 weeks away (Nov 20, 21 & 23)! It is a 3 day show involving more than 30 studio sites in the Eastside of Vancouver, with over 300 artists in their studios to visit! The show is free and fun and interesting! As an artist it is really great to have the public visit me in the 'comfort' of my own studio. It's great for them to see where I get inspired, along with the space that allows for my work to happen! It is great for me to have hundreds of people walk in my studio door and instantly have the chance to engage with my work. I'm in a new studio this year and hope that it will have a similar vibe and be as interesting for people to visit!
The weekend after the Crawl will be Portobello West's first Holiday Markets (Nov. 28-29)! I always look forward to this show as it feels so festive and is great to get in the holiday mood! I'm always excited about doing my Christmas shopping at this show and I always find just the right gifts for some of those hard to gift people in my life!
So, November, here I come... ready, steady...go!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

New directions in clay

This past year hasn't given me a lot of time for veering off in new directions, trying new things and gaining new inspirations. It's been a lot about making my 'trademark' designs of Poppies and Ginko stems and shipping them off to galleries and shops or for shows as soon as they've been made. Which is good, don't get me wrong, but as an artist at heart, I have been craving new experiments, trying things for my own inner satisfaction, not necessarily for the satisfaction of the next sale. Since there is always a reason behind everything I try, I thought I'd give you the background before these pots have even gotten in the kiln for their first firing!

Some background: Technical
A couple of years ago I had the privilege to attend a 2 day workshop with Paul Scott, the author of Ceramics and Print. It was an inspiring workshop with some hands-on approaches to printmaking and clay. I was excited about trying some of his techniques out in the studio, but with my current work evolving nicely, I set his book aside for another time. I was feeling like that time had come again, and I have been wanting to explore the monoprint technique with clay. For the most part this technique seems to work best on flat, rolled out clay where you can press down your print and it nicely adheres itself to the clay in a clean way. My way involved some newly trimmed vessel/vase forms out of this very white, translucent porcelain I decided to try a box of (a new clay body is always a good reason to try something out of the ordinary with). Using only stain and a little water brushed onto a smooth surface, I left it to dry while I drew my inspirational Dutch Motifs onto the smooth side of tissue paper. Gently placing the tissue onto the now dried layer of stain I redrew the pattern with a pencil. When you lift off the tissue, the drawn line appears underneath with the stain and you can transfer it onto a damp piece of clay! I found it helpful to use a scraper over the tissue, and although my lines didn't transfer on perfectly, there is something really fresh about the drawing on the clay.

Some background: Pennsylvania Dutch Folk Art Book
I have a great Aunt who was a potter living and working in Ontario. Years ago when she found out that I was taking a ceramics class at college, she started shipping me supplies, books and even a wheel that she didn't need any more in order to inspire me to keep at it. I still use several tools that she sent me on a daily basis. One book I have from her is called Pennsylvania Dutch American Folk Art and it's filled with images of furniture, quilts, tin crafts, pottery, and etched glass, along with these beautiful and simple motifs of animals, flowers, people and designs. Also in the book are drawings my aunt made of some of these motifs or patterns that she was planning on putting on her own pottery. My great aunt phoned me recently, just to talk pottery with me. She lives in a care home and is no longer mobile, but her passion for pots is still just as strong.

I'm hoping to put these pots in the kiln and will glaze them (pretty minimally- probably just my celadon glaze on the inside and over the edge and either clear on the bottom or unglazed) over the next week. Will post the results later, but as always, appreciate your thoughts and feed-back!