Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

Just in time for halloween, we found this creepy Spider book at the thrift store yesterday (with such great font), along with a book called 'Creep Crawly Things' by National Geographic- all about snakes, lizards, frogs and turtles. Perfect for curious little boys!
We are working on a Yoda and a Robin Hood costume for tomorrow, have some glow-sticks to pass out to the kids so they are safe on the roads, and are looking forward to a few fireworks outside to celebrate the season!

For a good, good laugh, check out the Engrish site!

For a little eye candy of my ginko stem mugs check out this lovely plug here!

To check out my up-dated dahlhaus art shop take a peek here! (P.S. I have a 15% off until November 15th deal happening there- enter code word FALL09 to redeem:)

Have a Happy Halloween and see you next week!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The factory...that is the studio

I'm like a busy bee over at the studio these days and have been determined over the past 3 weeks to glaze a good enough base of work for my up-coming shows as a start to the season. I actually managed to endure 3 weeks of glazing (about 4 glaze firings) and still love what I do- a real miracle in itself. I think the beauty of working as a ceramic artist is the variety of stages you have to go through to get the work finished. That variety usually keeps me entertained enough in all the manual tasks that it can sometimes require- wedging, throwing, trimming, altering, drying, loading kiln, bisquing, unloading kiln, wiping clean, waxing bottoms, glaze inside, glazing outsides, loading kiln and finally firing and then unloading to see whether it all turned out. There are all these tiny little processes that make the outcome successful or not and time is definitely one of those main factors. Rushing ceramics is like rushing your 2 year old on a walk. Goood luck on that one. The 2 year old just wants to doddle along, discovering little sticks and bugs and leaves, saying hi to everyone you meet- and a huge tantrum will break out if you try to rush that little one home.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

give-a-way on Poppytalk

There's a lot of really sweet stuff over at the Poppytalk Handmade Market and the folks at Poppytalk are doing a SWEET give-a-way to mark their 3rd Year of blogging! They are giving away a $100 gift certificate towards anything at their Market to be used within the next month! What a score! Head on over to the Poppytalk Handmade Market, choose something that you would want to buy with the cash and post it on the Poppytalk comments. I think 'tweeting' about it also get's you an extra spot! A draw will take place this friday, so hurry! shoo! come on now! get going already!... bye:)

The Grape

This weekend we drove out to Yarrow to pick up the boys from my parent's place and, of course, we had to pick up more grapes. We've already made grape juice from 20 lbs of grapes this year... and it's a lot of work... but when you see these grapevines full to the brim of these juicy concord organic grapes it just makes you want to do something with them.
You might just be asking what we are doing with all this juice? Well, we usually manage to make a couple of batches of Grape jelly for the year with a few extras to give a way to friends and family. But also, the grape juice is really amazing. It's like eating a bunch of fresh grapes, it tastes that fresh and delicious.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Produce Market inspired Ceramics

It's the week of Halloween and while last year we found pumpkins at a local pumpkin patch, this year I'm wishing I could own one of these ceramic pumpkins by Daniel Reynolds. I love his clever idea of creating molds of fruits and vegetables that he finds inspiring at his local produce market and then slip-casting them into vase and bowl forms! Nature is so beautiful in porcelain, isn't it?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The new music room

We've made a few changes around here since learning about our son's troubles at school. On the school front, he did get moved into a new reading group this week that better matches where he's actually at for reading, along with being closer to grade 2 reading levels. It seems that some of the extra help and incentives we were giving him at home paid off, and probably, he wasn't really that far behind to begin with. There is a bit of hope at the end of the tunnel after-all. He still isn't keen on going to school every morning, but I feel like we need to get through the fall and re-assess before considering a bunch of other options.
The other change I made was that I tackled the play room which was so littered with lego and stuff that you couldn't even walk inside of it. Yikes, I had really let this one go far too long!
For a while I had been wanting to set up the keyboard for the boys. Not to put them in formal piano lessons yet, but just to give them the opportunity to play music whenever they feel like it! I can't stress enough how good this switch has been- a little music room of their own for them to pull down whatever instrument and play.
The last pic shows you some of the little treasures that the boys make at the studio while I try to get a few things done. I finally found a little home for some of them to be displayed in, made by Dean's folks a few years ago as a Christmas present.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

needle, hook, wear

I caught myself at the library the other day, picking up and looking through a 'teach yourself to Knit' book. Who am I kidding?
That said, I love hand-knit scarves and with the chilly fall weather coming up, this 'Nomad Cowl' by Seed Knits is exactly the sort of thing I want around my neck! I'm loving the grey hues and soft Peruvian wool! I also love the fact that you can pull it over your head like a hood as one side is wider than the other. It doesn't have any long scarfy bits that could get in the dishwater or clay, so I could wear it indoors too.
Stephanie from Seed Knits informed me that she will be at the Portobello West Market here in Vancouver November 28th & 29th! (I'll be there too:)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Niche Awards, Finalist!

I just received the great news that my Poppy Bottle Vase was chosen as a finalist for the 2010 Niche Awards, Molded Ceramics Category! Chosen from over 1000 entries... I must admit, I'm a little surprised, but really pleased! The final award is based on these three criteria:
  • Technical excellence, both in surface design and form
  • A distinct quality of unique, original and creative thought
  • Market viability (professional entries only)
P.S. These vases can be purchased on my online shop or from Etsy!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Indie Love

The Poppytalk Indie Love Market opened this morning with some really lovely hand-made items brought to you in time for a little early Holiday shopping! I know it's only mid-October and there is lots of time to shop, but if you are like me and try to avoid the Malls at all costs, online shopping is the way to go! And better early than later or your shipping costs and time-frame get tighter- that's stress I could do without!

I did another attempt at a photo-shoot yesterday afternoon- it was pretty cloudy outside, and while it's certainly not anything close to my professional images, there is a bit of a 'charm' to them. Anyways, it's still clear to me the home photo-shoot is something I have to work on this coming year- I might just have to buckle down and buy some lights and a good backdrop!

On the studio front I finally came up with a good Christmas Tree Decoration for this year. I do try to come up with one every year and this year I was drawing huge blanks. I really didn't want to do a cookie cutter ornament, let's just put it that way. So some prototypes are in the works and I'll post photos when I have some samples!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Weekend Shop Up-dates...

I'm spending the weekend trying to up-date my Etsy shop with some new work that came out of the kiln on Friday, just in time for the Poppytalk Handmade Market that will open on Monday! This sweet pair of press-molded tile frames felt like they belonged together. You can purchase them here!
Happy Weekend!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Keepin it real...

Life here at the real Dahl house has been a little crazy as of late, I must admit. I won't go into long lists of what we all have to manage each week to keep these active boys fed, to school on time, picked up, to swimming lessons and kids clubs, to clean clothed while also trying to keep on top of everything that needs doing at the studio... I will just elaborate on some of the unfortunate news I received from my son's teacher regarding how behind he is as a student this past week.
I will admit that I was surprised to learn that my son's reading level puts him back to the beginning of grade 1 when he is in grade 2. Same teacher as last year. No big warning signs on his report card last year- yes he has been in Learning Assistance for reading, but really, back to grade 1?
So I've been asking around about what best to do, what to look out for in the way of learning lapses or problems, sorting out what his learning style might be, and generally trying to keep him happy about school these days. It's not easy- again tonight he asked if he could quit school. Quit school? In grade 2? Yikes, we've got 11 more years of this school thing- somehow we've all got to make it through.
My research has led me here if you are interested in more on boys and literacy...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


I'm re-posting this one, due to a little trigger-happy post I did early last week... the official launch of the website and the postcards was this weekend, and now that I have all my facts sorted out, I can do this for realz this time:) Here it is:

The Shiny Fuzzy Muddy show started 10 years ago with current members being Laura McKibbon, Astrosatchel, Kari Woo and Arleigh Wood. Each year they invite a crew of other artists, designers and makers whose work fits in with the adverbs shiny, fuzzy, or muddy to join their holiday show! This year it's at the Heritage Hall on Main street in Vancouver on December 12 & 13.

P.S. If you would like to receive my quarterly newsletters (via email), and/or be mailed this lovely postcard via email, please email me at with your postal address or just your email. I am hosting a 15% off until November 15th sale on my etsy and dahlhaus shop which all subscribers can benefit from no matter where you are from!

Monday, October 12, 2009

One of a Kind: What I would have bought edition...

I went to the One of a Kind with Amy- we went last year together and both years I had to apologize for holding her up with all my visiting. It was really great to see a lot of familiar faces at the show- many faces that I see when I do other shows. Great people and good work aside, I literally marched through the place in under 2 hours, so here are my more limited picks if I actually had a wee bit more cash in the wallet:

First off, really nice to meet Ella from Little Red Caboose face to face! I did a post back in May about Ella's Matryoshka dolls- since then we've been corresponding here and there, mostly about our boys. I really love these Matryoshka dolls- they are made with such love and hand-crafted so well!
Next, it was also great to catch up with Arleigh Woods at her booth and admire her lovely paintings! Arleigh's work is a combination of a photo-transfer technique using her own photographs, painting into the image and then sometimes carving, along with encaustic. The paintings are so multi-layered and really show off a richness and depth. Her photo-transfer technique is also golden- seriously she's got that one down!!
I didn't get a chance to stop at this booth for long, but was really smitten with the Patouche cloths for kids! Her concept of every day dress up really suits my 5 year old these days, and I was really drawn to the wonderful fabrics and well-made designs! I just found out they have an etsy shop and are soon to be launching an online shop too!

There's a lot more I could have wanted to buy at the One of a Kind show this year, but for now, this is what stood out to me! I thought the show was much better than last year for many reasons, but am still not convinced that Thanksgiving weekend is a great weekend for Vancouverites. The Ferries were swamped with travelers and the roads leading out of the city were a gong-show, which makes me wonder if there were any shoppers left to come by to make it worth it for all that hard work and money dolled out to do the show. It's always tough to pick and choose your shows, and who knows, maybe next year I'll be in line to do the One of a Kind here in Vancouver, except that it will be our 15th wedding anniversary and I have a feeling that being at the show for 4 long days won't sit so well with the hubby... priorities, I tell ya!

One of a Kind: What I bought edition...

I'm doing some back-tracking on a post I should have done after I raced through the One of a Kind show on Thursday afternoon, but was too crazy busy from friday until now to actually put together, so here it is: the first edition being what I bought with my limited budget, the second posting (tomorrow) will be about what I would have bought, had I more time and money.

First off, I did manage to pick up a copy of Uppercase Magazine from the good folks over at the Uppercase Gallery booth! It was a great read over the weekend and I am considering subscribing to it. There's a lot to be said about a great quarterly magazine/book. With all the stacks of magazines I have stored or that I pass along to good will after I tire of them, it is nice to know that there's still a magazine that interests me with the designers, illustrators and craftspeople that it highlights and that I won't be wasting my money having to sift through a wack load of advertisements. And I have to say that I'm really looking forward to the new book they are going to put out on Camilla Engman this coming November. It will be at the top of my Christmas wish list, lets just put it that way...
The next thing I managed to pick up were some Abeego flats! I've had these as my favourites on Etsy (Abeego Etsy shop) for a while now, but seeing them in person really convinced me that these were great! A really great alternative to plastic wrap, I've been using them all weekend for all the Thanksgiving leftovers! Also, a little birdy told me they will soon be available at Room6, which is good news because they might be my go-to Christmas gift this year (shhhh...)

Thursday, October 8, 2009


It's a week of celebrations- 4 family birthdays, Thanksgiving and our anniversary! Dean and I have been married for 14 years now- you may be a little surprised by that number, but that's how we roll! We met when I was a mere 18 year old, fell in love and 2 years later we decided we were meant to be together for the rest of our lives! So we got married. And here we are today, 14 years later with much to be thankful for in our lives and lots to still be in love about!

I'm hoping to stop by the One of a Kind Show today or tomorrow, so I'll post about that after I get back!

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Happy Birthday Mom

Happy 60th Birthday to my dear Mom! I recently found these old photographs of my Mom as a 4 or 5 year old back in the 50's. Her poise and grace is still characteristic of how she carries herself today! Have a great day Mom & lots of love!

Monday, October 5, 2009

The Game of Art

It's film festival time here in Vancouver and we were lucky enough to get in a film on friday night called The Great Contemporary Art Bubble. Ben Lewis, the British Journalist and Art critic turned film maker, interviewed people within the inner core of the Contemporary Art scene to understand the false markets that were being created during Art Auctions. In exposing the business of buying and selling high end Contemporary Art, it became clear that it was not only the galleries and collectors driving up art prices in order to over-value their own collections, but that the artist at the top were just as entrenched in the game as everyone else. They would often over-saturate the market by making multiples of work, so the collector who had bought the painting for $3 million previously would start bidding to raise the price to $10 million at auction in order to raise the value of their other work. Galleries, collectors and artists seemed in cahoots, driving up prices in the high millions for work that .
This film describes a world that seems so far removed from the average existence of many artists. Historically most artists never see such an amount of money that their work could generate during their life-time. It really seemed like a big boys club throughout the entire film: not one female artist was mentioned with a large price tag involved and most of the collectors and gallery owners mentioned were also men. I can appreciate the work of the exclusive list of high rolling art stars as their work has made an impact on the art world at large, but is paint on canvas with some butterflies pasted on it really worth $14 million dollars?

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Red Friday

This is the last day of Poppytalk's Autumn Colour challenge and it's been kind of fun to take part! Next week I'll be back to normal posts, with some up-coming shows, and a little behind the scenes look at things, a good local etsy find and some goodies from the record collection!

So for the red portion of this post, I just received my Plywerk version of the painting above, called Red Stairwells, and I'm pretty impressed. The Plywerk print is actually the photograph of my painting, mounted to a bamboo frame. It's 11X16 and while it's a lot smaller and slightly cropped in than my original painting, there is something really lovely nice about it's format. It was kind of a trial run for me- a way to see whether 'prints' of my architectural paintings might be a good option. I've really wrestled with the whole 'print' idea for a long time because I feel so strongly about the original painting, the brush strokes, the quality of the painting the lighting etc. My work is so focused on being geared toward a gallery audience that I struggle with how it can relate or be accessible to my more average client. I've been in a number of gallery exhibits, but lets face it, the gallery has really taken a hit during this financial rut we've all been in, and it's pretty clear that artist need to fend for themselves and not rely on the gallery to make or break them!
Price point wise, I would sell this print for way less than the original and it would give clients the option of still owning one of my paintings without having to fork over bigger dollars or even find a large enough wall space to house the original (which in this paintings case is 40"X54"). Anyways, I'd love to hear thoughts about originals verses prints from other artists out there that use prints as a way to gain a wider audience. I'm still undecided about whether or not to print off a few more of these for my up-coming open studio sale: the Eastside Culture Crawl and would love some feedback! I'll try to photograph the Plywerk version so you can all see that later this week.

Brown for Thursday

You can't talk about brown with out talking about coffee. I'm a big coffee fan and snob, I might add. Our favourite local coffee roaster, JJ Bean, makes one of the best lattes in town, with latte art to boot. That was my inspiration for these low latte mugs of mine. Low so that they fit under the home espresso machine, wide so you can attempt to make that foam look pretty. Look pretty that is, until you pour the raw sugar on top and have to stir:). Dean drinks espresso- no milk and no sugar. I'm determined to make more of these little brown espresso cups in time for Christmas, but they are usually at the bottom of my list. I'm still not sure about the design too- will have to tweek out a few thoughts on these once I get at them!
And last, my new uniform for the fall, this great Ralph Lauren Plaid shirt I found at Value Village for $4 that feels too cosy to even take off at night. I know you can't really tell what it looks like on me here, but my good friend Sherri did a swell job of making it look great on me here!