Friday, April 29, 2011

Tea Party for the Royal Wedding!

In honour of the Royal Wedding today, I thought I would post some photos I took of my mom' s teacup collection over Easter.  Growing up, my mom used to tell us that we'd better have good manners at the table because you never knew when you might be invited to have tea with the Queen.  This line doesn't seem to have any effect on my boys and their manners though...
Our one Royalty story took place around 10 years ago when Dean and I and Marty, a good friend of Dean's, traveled to London together for the first time.  Marty insisted that we go and visit Buckingham Palace on our very first day in London, much to the dismay of all the other things we wanted to do that day.  When we got to the Palace things seemed a little busier and grander then we had imagined, and sure enough, the Queen and Prince Phillip drove right past us in their Rolls Royce.  Turns out the Chinese President was visiting the Queen for the first time (in years? ever?)  and all the Royal carriages and such were heading out to meet him and then would be coming back.  We waited around, camera in hand, ready to take a picture of the Queen and sure enough, that golden carriage started heading back towards us.  Just as I began to take a photo, someone who was protesting the Chinese president stepped in front of us, the Bobbies stepped in -horses slid in alongside the Queen and I never got my photo to prove we had visited the Queen and seen her on our very first day in London.  

Anyways,  I trust you will have a great weekend- it's supposed to be nice out here.  My spring sale (code springsale) is only on my Etsy shop until the end of the month (that's tomorrow!!)   The shop is looking a little bare, but I put a load of work in the kiln yesterday so I'll have an update again soon! 

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Waterloo Potter's Workshop Spring Sale

Little Owls by Vlodek and Danuta Tydor
Blue Iris Studios

Chris Hierlihy

Pottery by Monica Adamo
 To say I geeked out on Pottery while I was in Ontario a couple of weekends ago, is an understatement.  It was a pottery tour made possible by my great-aunts involvement as a potter for over 30 years.  And since she's not well, my dad's cousin was generous enough to drive me around from craft show to craft gallery to pottery studio to meet everyone! Wow, I had no idea that region of Ontario was such a Pottery hub.  It was great to meet the successful studio and shop of Phil Yordy in St. Jacobs who's been potting inside an old wheat elevator for 40 years or so.  I mean, how cool is that- having your gas kiln inside the shaft of a grain elevator??
It was also great to see some new work coming out of the Waterloo Potter's Workshop Spring Sale.  I didn't take too many photos, just a couple on my iphone  (sorry about the filters- not sure what mode I was on there) of some of the work that I caught my eye, with links to their websites if they had one.  If you are in that region of Ontario you won't want to miss the Potter's Market in Guelph, Ontario that's happening May 28/29th.  

On a personal note, things in the studio have been a little crazy for me lately- I've got a number of projects that I'm juggling while also finishing up my taxes and getting back to a number of potential shops with wholesale line sheets.  There are a lot of balls in the air at the moment and I'm hoping that they won't all crash down on me. So if I'm a little absent here on the blog, it's because I'm trying to keep it all together on the home front and the studio front. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Teapot Throwing Demo

Throwing a Teapot from Heather Dahl on Vimeo.
A little throwing action for you today-  I rigged up my iphone in the studio the other day when I was throwing teapots.  I start with a larger amount of clay than I need and start by throwing the spout and then the lid- cutting twice so I have something to lift it off the wheel with.  Later I peel that part away and am left with a spout that I cut and attach to the body of the teapot.  I also trim a foot when the body of the teapot has firmed up after for a day or so.  You may notice that I don't measure lids and openings for my teapots.  I usually end up making a few extra lids and find ones that fit along the way.  All my teapot lids are glazed white so that I can have extras in case they break or warp or end up not fitting the way I'd like. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

the Gardiner Museum

Just a couple of pictures from the Gardiner Museum of Ceramics in Toronto.  The museum shop carries my work and I had been wanting to pop in there to actually meet the manager and staff who I've been emailing back and forth with over the last couple of years.  It was super helpful to hear what was working, and also, what I need to change on my end to make orders process more smoothly.  Nothing like a good face-to-face!

We had the chance to check out the Betty Woodman Exhibit happening right now at the Gardiner, and both my friend Disa and I thought her work reminded us of the Vancouver artist Gathie Falk (here for some of her paintings). They are both of the same generation so it kind of makes sense even though one is is from Vancouver and Betty Woodman is from New York.  There were some lovely pairings of her small teacups on porcelain with historical ceramics that I liked- perhaps I'll show them here on the blog.  It's not easy to capture images of anything with glass in front of it, but you would get the idea. 

The Porcelain collection at the Gardiner is truly amazing.  Going back to the 1700's and perhaps even earlier, it was hard to come away without seeing every idea I've ever had having been executed already 300 years ago.  Even the glaze colours and combinations looked so contemporary compared to their age.  I'd like to work on a little pairing of the historical ceramics with contemporary look-a-likes.  It would be interesting, indeed!
I'm still sorting through some of my photos from the trip- I'll be back with those next week.  In the meantime, I'm signing off for Easter weekend.  We are hunkering down at home together this weekend- we've either been on holidays or had company or I've been away or Dean's been away for the past month.  So a little family togetherness at home is certainly in order!
Happy Easter!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

A visit at bookhou

There is something really wonderful about meeting people you know you are going to like before you've even spoken or met in person.  My visit with Krystal and Arounna was just that- we greeted with hugs and it was as though we'd always known each other.  Here are a few pics of the bookhou shop with Arounna's beautiful textiles and silk-screened designs.  Arounna graciously showed us around her studio, introducing us to her family and talking about how they are able to make a living from the shop!  It was amazing to see her store-front studio/shop, along with a glimpse of her family home upstairs, in the heart of Toronto.  There is so much to be said for having the vision for a creative life and being able to bring it all together under one roof! 
Krystal and I are hoping to have a 'show' (part of the featured artist series they run) together sometime next spring at bookhou- both of our work speaks a similar language in clay, while at the same time having it's own voice.  And while planning the show was the main purpose of our visit together, we couldn't stop from talking about so many other things- we could have talked for a few more hours!  It was too bad I had a train to catch and just made it to the station with 5 minutes to spare.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

my boys

I missed my boys while I was away!  I needed a break from family life and it was lovely to do things without worrying about feeding the kids or planning my day around them, but they are part of my heart and I'm not the same without them.  I got home to Dean being away (I'm so thankful that my dad helped me out yesterday!) so it's been a bit of a jolt to come home.
It's taking me a bit to get back to normal posts here.  Things in the studio are a little crazy with 3 large wholesale orders that need to be started this week- one being a new retailer that I'm so thrilled to be making work for.  More on that in a little bit... in the meantime, thank you to so many of you who have ordered work from me during my 'spring sale' this month!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A little glimpse

I took a few photos in Toronto with my iphone- something I purchased before I left for TO.  Actually, Dean got the new iphone 4 and I took his iphone 3.  I didn't feel like I needed all the extra bells and whistles but had kind of wanted one for a while. Anyhoo, I had a great trip and will post 'real' pics this week.  For now, a little sample of my visit with Disa and the sights around Toronto, which is a city that mixes old with new quite well.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A Weekend in Toronto

Well I'm off to Toronto tomorrow for a quick weekend trip- just me, on my own.  It's going to be a great trip and a hard trip all in one.  First off, it's a trip that's been in the works for years.  The whole reason behind the trip is that I am going to visit my great-aunt.  She was a potter for over 30 years, until about 9 years ago when a terrible illness took her zest, her vitality, and her passion from her.  It would be really sad to say that the illness just took her ability to do pottery away, but the illness also took her ability to walk and think and do away as well.  
The last time I saw my Aunt Nettie, she taught me how to throw a really large pot.  She gave me glaze recipes and wedged clay with me in my college clay class.  A few years later she shipped a second-hand wheel to me, along with a bunch of pottery books and a ton of tools. To this day I still use many of the things she sent me- tools that still have her name on them.
Recently my Aunt Nettie has been asking that I come and visit her on the same weekend as her old potter's guild show and sale.  So this coming weekend I'll be attending the Spring Sale at the Waterloo Potter's Guild on behalf of my great-aunt, who can't go herself.  I'll be staying with my dad's cousin and visiting my great-aunt for a couple of days.  It's one of those trips that will be hard and good all at the same time.
On the way to Kitchener, I'll be visiting my good friend Disa in Toronto for a couple of days!  Disa moved to Toronto last spring, and we are really looking forward to catching up.  There are a few studio-related visits and meetings going on while I'm there, so I should have lots to share when I get back.
In the meantime, thank you to those of you who have taken advantage of 15% off my Etsy shop (code SPRING SALE)! The sale is until the end of April: I have a nearly full selection of striped bottle vases in stock if you are interested in those for Mother's Day or Easter!  I'll be shipping all orders that I receive this week out when I get back on Monday, April 18.  

Monday, April 11, 2011

Renegade SF

Photo from Renegade Craft Show's Flickr Site
I'm pretty excited to let you in on a few things that are in the works for me- the first being that myself and my studio neighbour, Grace from Eikcam, were accepted into Renegade SF together.  As first-timers to Renegade, and also to doing a craft fair down in the US, we are sharing a 10X10 booth and I'm pretty excited and a little nervous about the whole experience!  The show isn't until July 9 & 10th, and it will be the only summer show I'll be taking part in this year with all the other stuff I've got going on.  I'm also pretty darn excited having a reason to be in San Fransisco again too!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Oh so tropical

There are not a lot of tropical plants or flowers just blooming by the road here in Vancouver, so seeing cactus or tropical flowers on the side of the road in LA was a nice change for my West Coast eyes.  Also loved seeing all the palm trees everywhere.  It reminded me of when I was a kid and we lived in Fresno, California for a couple of years while my dad did his Master's degree.  Palm trees and pomegranates in the courtyard where we lived.  Good memories...
I hope you had a great week! For the most part I recovered from our holiday and made a huge dent in organizing my taxes while managing to glaze some new work.  I'll be in the studio most of the weekend loading a glaze kiln for a shop up-date on Monday.  In the meantime I have a little sale in my Etsy shop until the end of April:  15% off if you type in the code 'SPRINGSALE'.  Just in time for Mother's Day shopping, don't you think?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

the Barbee's

Barbee Dahl Boys: Ages 4, 6 & 8

Oh yes, and we can't get away without a silly shot...
The one little excursion we took as a family while in L.A. was to visit our friends Ray and Stefanie.  Ray Barbee is a professional skateboarder, musician and now photographer- his wife Stefanie is equally talented as a teacher in an inner city LA school and is an amazing mom to their 2 boys.  We got to know Ray about 10 years ago when he came up as a Pro for an early Skate Camp that my husband Dean started.  Ray has such an amazing ability to weave his art with his life in the best possible way.  He was showing us some of his photographs- all in black & white film, which he develops in a college dark room.  I'm looking forward to seeing where his art takes him, considering the success of his skateboarding and music career so far.  You don't often meet someone who has his hands in so many things and can do them all so well- pretty inspiring! Check out his music video- he plays all the parts. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Despite my initial skepticism about Disneyland, we all managed to have a great time together- all 16 of us.  Yes, we wore matching shirts the first morning with the words "Dahliday 2011" on the back of them.  Super-cheese but it was easier to stick with the group, I will admit.  The first 2 days were smoking hot, which was a wonderful change from the dreary wet Vancouver Spring we've been having.  Although, when you're not used to the heat and you are walking on acres of concrete (we were clocking over 10km a day), going on crazy rides, eating crappy food, and being over-stimulated by Disneyland paraphernalia, it got dizzying in a hurry.  The boys and I would retreat in the afternoons to the pool at our hotel and this made it a little more manageable. 
It was most definitely a once in a life-time kind of trip.  I have a feeling if the we all decide on doing another 'Dahliday' together it would be Hawaii or somewhere with a beach.  But probably not for a little while yet- we're all going to need a little time to recover from this one!!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Ready for Spring!

I'm finally back from being away for a while and wanted to say a big thank you for still finding your way here despite my absence!  My 'business/craft/art life' is so part of who I am that I find it hard to break away from being at the studio or blogging or being in touch by email on a daily basis.  On the other hand, time with family and friends without any work distraction has been really good for my soul.  I've really enjoyed the time that has been spent with everyone, including my own boys, but am really glad to have things settle back to normal.  I have lots of work to do in the next month in the studio and I'm looking forward to it! (A few Disneyland pics to come soon...)
Speaking of friends- a couple of weeks ago a little gift came in the mail for me from Eva at Sycamore Street Press for doing a couple of guest blogs for her while she was taking a maternity leave- so good of her! I've been a big fan of their letterpress cards and prints and can't wait to find a frame for their Little Green Garden letterpress print that she sent me- isn't it so pretty and lovely?  Even matched the Tulips my mom had brought for me.  And 100% of the proceeds from this print are going to Japan Relief with the American Red Cross!  It's a gift that keeps on giving! (Would be perfect for Mother's Day too!!)

Friday, April 1, 2011

the happiest place on earth...

back in 1979.  I'll be back on Tuesday from our dahliday to disneyland.   Hopefully it will be just as happy as it was then!
Have a great weekend and thanks for stopping by my blog and for all the lovely comments this week!