Friday, May 28, 2010

Peony Princess

The palest of pink peony in my vintage Korean celadon bud vase has even our little kitten stopping to smell the flowers...
Hope you have a great weekend.  It's Johnny's 8th birthday today so we are planning and getting ready for a slumber party complete with mini golf and movies!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Cross-stitch Pendants in the works...

OK so it's been a loooong time since I've made porcelain pendants. I only made them for one of my retail shops by request a couple of years ago and really lost interest last year when the production for my functional work picked up.  Frankly, I'll admit that jewelry seems to be that go-to thing for ceramic artists wanting to appeal to a different kind of clientele.  People at craft fairs often hum and haw about whether they have the cupboard space for another mug or a bowl, but when it comes to jewelry, the impulse to buy something they can wear seems to be an 'easier sell'.  Now I know what all you jewelry designer's are thinking- the market is extremely competitive out there and that most craft fairs are totally inundated with jewelry.  I'll be the first to say that I'm no jewelry designer, per say.  But every now and again I'll make something that is small and lovely and think- wouldn't that look lovely in soft white porcelain with a pretty silver chain. So that's what happened here, I started silk-screening these lovely little cross-stitch designs and before I knew it, I was making porcelain pendants again. 

**These aren't for sale quite yet... this was the first batch and I think the screen needs to be a little darker and possibly a few more colours (black?).  What do you think?  Feed-back would be swell!

My week with the boys

Well, Dean is back and my stint of single parenting is over until July!  It's amazing how having him around in the morning makes all the difference in getting these boys out the door. When I'm trying to get them off to school I feel as though I am a broken record saying 'please get dressed. or get your shoes and socks on. or where is your back pack?' several times over.  Yesterday I finally made a list for my oldest son to follow with all the steps written out (why hadn't I thought of this sooner?) and he managed to complete all the tasks on his own.  I think that will be my strategy from now on, so much easier on my patience level. 
When I had young toddlers I thought that once the boys got into school things would get so much easier for me as a parent.  I don't think that any more.  It's been a challenging year with my oldest in school.  His ability to retain information in school has been quite slow and he was recommended to the school learning psychologist to sort out why he is having trouble retaining/retrieving information.  After filling out 2 long surveys about my son's behavior, I started to wonder what kind of issues he has that will affect his time in school and in life from here on in.  We meet with the psychologist next week to find out what the results from all these tests will be.  
The one thing I've thought about in all this is that I really need to step it up in terms of finding an outlet that my son is really good at so that school doesn't feel so painful.  He is amazing at sports, and I've really hesitated to want to put him in organized sports because of the time commitment and over-scheduling that I resist against.  I can't stand the thought of driving my kid around from soccer to baseball practice, eating fast food in the car because we don't have time to sit down and have a proper meal.  I also don't like the thought of our kids being so over-scheduled that they don't have time for 'free play'.  Like the photo above, where the boys took a whole Saturday to find boxes and build themselves a fort on the drive way.  If we had soccer practice and swimming lessons on Saturdays, that wouldn't have happened.  As I think about this next school year, I'm already thinking about how to sort out this dilemma- the innate talent I see in my son for all things sports-like and my resistance to want to sign the whole family up for all the practices and games that organized sports requires one to commit to.  Well, I have the summer to think about it and hopefully in the end I won't have any guilty feelings either way...

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

fiddle heads

Such characters these guys were, pocking out all over the place!

Monday, May 24, 2010

studio shop

It's been in the works for a couple of weeks now, a group of designers and makers from our studio building wanting to get together to have an open studio event before summer gets started!  I'll be posting more details here this month, along with some little insights and interviews with some of these great artists and designers (more than just pictured above).  If you are in Vancouver June 26th and 27th, you'll be sure to want to come by the Mergatroid Building to kick start your summer off! 

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

DIY Gardening Ideas for a long weekend

I really like succulents and mosses.  So when I saw these planters the other day at our local public garden, I was pretty excited about trying it out. Since the May long weekend is coming up (yep you can start planting those beans and tomatoes soon) I've been thinking a lot about making some planters for our front porch and these might be perfect. I've found a few instructions that might help:
here with some really lovely ones here and finally a bit more info right here.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


We've had 6 people stay over for the night (on our living room hide-a-bed) in 2 weeks.  Today Dean left for a week of skateboarding in Mexico with a crew of guys.  So I'm just hanging in there this week with the boys and some recent orders that have me crunching time at the studio yet again.  I hope to have time to touch base and blog but I was feeling overwhelmed yesterday and today, I'm feeling a bit foggy after a 5 am drive to the airport.  Hope all is well in your neck of the woods!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Happy Weekend to you!

One last back alley gate for you with rays of sunshine to bring you into your weekend! I'm hoping to do a little more gardening this weekend, some more spring cleaning and purging, but will most likely get in a little more studio time to finish up the work from this past week.  I'll also be reading this book a little more in depth- it came to my doorstep VERY quickly from the time of ordering and seems to be an amazing resource!
I posted a link on my facebook page about a tutorial I found about printmaking on clay using photocopied images- really cool!
Hope you have a beautiful weekend!

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Noticing: Nest

I'm still not sure where this wasps nest fell from- I found it in our yard under a tree and noticed it before I nearly stepped on it.  Wasps are usually unwelcome guests when we eat outdoors, swarming our food and making the kids run for cover.  But I couldn't help notice this nest and think about what part they play in the life cycle.  Can't say I really know what they do, but with the shortage of honey bees and the impact that can have, no doubt these guys are around for a reason too.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mr. Adorable

Hello!  His name is Mr. Adorable and yes, he's really cute, especially since he's found his smile.  Just had to post his little smiley face here to make your day a little brighter.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Work in Progress

I don't have a lot of time or space to work on really large paintings these days like I used to when I used to rent 2 small studio spaces- one for my clay work and one for painting.  Since I needed more space for clay work last year I pulled everything into one studio with high hopes of being able to pull out some paintings a few times a month to work on it. Unfortunately I haven't made a practice of doing this and frankly- clay dust and painting don't really work together really well.  So I've started to do some painting at home on my desk. Just some small watercolours.  Just for my own sake, when I can fit it in, sometimes in between school pick ups or when the boys are in bed for the night.  Sure beats watching TV or doing laundry:)  It's got me all inspired to do more.  The photograph of the 'look-out tower' was taken recently on a visit to my sister's in Nanaimo.  I love that in paint you can re-arrange and change things to suit your composition or painting.  Usually I take a photograph of something I might use in a painting.  Other times I paint purely from memory of a place or a moment in time.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Noticing: Water and Rock

Reflections of trees and sky on a meandering stream made me slow down and really look at this beautiful place.  In the midst of loud and busy boys, a sometimes frantic schedule, and my to do list a mile long I'm trying to slow things down, be more observant, and to stay in tune with the things and people that matter the most to me.   This is my goal over the next little bit, to find some quiet time of noticing the little things worth noticing.  I'll be posting those little bits of moment as I find them.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Happy Mother's Day!

That's me and Oliver up there- just getting re-acquainted.  My sister and new nephew are here for his first visit to Vancouver from the Island.  I'm enjoying spending time with them again and it is great to see my sister as a new mom! Hope you have a great weekend and hats off to all you mothers out there for your dedication, love and care that you give to your children!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Shop up-dates...

I've up-date both my shops here and here with more work to come over the next couple of days as I unload another kiln!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Black & White

The studio is calling me but I just wanted to pop by and say hello to today!  I've been on the hunt for a smaller sized white kitchen hutch for the multipurpose thought of display for my booth at Christmas shows and photo-shoot staging and maybe even something that I can have on the porch here at home for the people in the neighbourhood who keep wanting to stop by to pick out some pots.  Consequently I have boxes of pottery just laying around the house awaiting a pick up-which can last a couple of weeks.  With the kitten loving boxes and bubble wrap and the boys doing gymnastic routines through the living room, I'm thinking some kind of cabinet would make sense. 
I also got a little excited when I saw this little plate in the thrift store.  How lovely is that?  I recently bought a Majolica black 'under/over glaze' by mistake- usually I use a little stamp on the bottoms of my pots with underglaze for my dh (dahlhaus/heather dahl) and noticed that this other stuff turned out glossy like a glaze but didn't stick to the kiln shelf. Hmmm.  According to the instructions it is possible to use this Majolica stuff on top of a glaze before you glaze fire.  I love how 'mistakes' in pottery give way to inspiration.  What would happen now if I silk-screened this stuff onto a glazed surface instead of silk-screening on bisque ware and putting a clear glaze on top.  I'll let you all know how that one plays out. In the meantime, this plate is my inspiration and I'll be off now:)

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Kelly Austin

There is a reason I've felt a lot more relaxed over the past 2 weeks- I've had some extra help in the studio! My new studio assistant is Kelly Austin, a 3rd year ceramics student from Emily Carr University.  Kelly's own work is a really lovely, minimal combination of both throwing and slip-casting.  I love her use of coloured slips in shades of grey on her slipcast work. Soon you will be able to purchase her work at Walrus! Yay! 
I'm really pleased she has agreed to help me out in the studio for a couple of days a week over the spring and summer months so I can get ahead on my busy fall schedule.  So far she's been awesome at picking up on my methods of making.  To boot she has to listen to me say 'It's not rocket science, but it felt like it was when I was figuring it out!' a million times while I show her how I do things. 

Monday, May 3, 2010

back alley gates

Our walks in the evening have me looking at back alley gates, some much nicer than others.  These ones caught my eye.  Back alley's seem so luxurious when the value of the land where we live is so high.  We have been fortunate enough to rent a small 50's style house in this neighbourhood for 4 years now.  As the boys grow bigger, the house feels smaller, and sometimes we start thinking about what is next.  All I can say is that I will miss the back alley views...