Monday, May 30, 2011

Nine


Well we officially have a 9 year old in the house.  He no longer needs a car seat.  It's his last year as a one digit number.  And he is growing very tall.  For his birthday he asked if he could have breakfast in bed.  The novelty wore off pretty quick, and soon he was at the table to eat the rest of his 'hungry-man's breakfast' that he had requested.  Eggs, bacon, and pancakes with blueberries, whipping cream and maple syrup.  Seriously.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Pretty blooms


Hello there!  I trust you have had a good week! The rain in Vancouver has not quite dampened our spirits, although it's getting pretty dreary, waking up each morning to dark clouds.  My yard is currently in full bloom- I counted 5 different shades of Azalea's blooming and 4 Rhodos alone.  Of course, the weeds are beginning to take over... anyone have any helpful hints about getting rid of morning glory??

Some lovely mentions this week:
Studio Sweet Studio
first came love
Also a new shop just opened in Halifax- congratulations to Inkwell Boutique, where you can find my striped bottle vases along with a whole host of lovely hand-made products from Canadian makers and designers!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

I'll be here...

photo taken in 2009 by Sherri Koop
Things will be a little busy in the studio this week: a few more shop orders to get out the door, some custom work being made, and a group of visitors attending this conference want to come by to see my studio.  In the midst of glazing all my work, the studio will need to be cleaned up- a daunting task to say the least.  Glazing never looks pretty- buckets and bisqued pots everywhere, glaze drips on the floor.   And since I went to pick up shipping supplies last week, there are stacks of boxes and packing peanuts (the earth-friendly ones;) taking up a fair bit of square footy.  Not to mention my painting supplies. 
Anyways, I have a couple of posts planned for this week, but things might be a wee bit quiet.  I hope you are having a great week! 

Monday, May 23, 2011

Shop up-date & Poppytalk Handmade Market

Hello and happy Monday to you! I just thought I'd pop in here to let you know that my shop has undergone a little transformation, along with an up-date in time for the Poppytalk Handmade Market that's happening this month! Hope you swing by for a peek- I have lots more goodies coming soon!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Recent Uploads



Some recent i-phone uploads for you.  The orange Vespa is in constant need of repair, but it looks oh so cool.  The kitty is well loved and is enjoying the outdoors now that the weather is better.  And coffee with a friend does wonders!
Anyways, I hope you have a wonderful long weekend!  If you are passing through the Airport, I just dropped off a bunch of work! And the up-date on the Anthropologie Store (great post on decor8 with photos on the new shop) was that my vases are selling quickly! Thank you Vancouver for such a warm response!  I also just dropped off more striped bottle vases down at Room6 in Deep Cove.  Megan is just about to launch her new website- can't wait to check it out!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

For days like these

There are days when things didn't quite go as I would have hoped.  Like the timing wasn't quite right.  Like I just wasn't on my game and wasn't trusting my gut.   
 For those days there are flowers and gardening.  There is eating dinner on the porch in the late evening sun.  There are dripping little bodies just out of the pool and fresh boyish haircuts.  A cat to curl up on my lap.  A bath to soak in.  A good-night kiss. These are the things that will be remembered.  Not the regret or the disappointment.  There's plenty of that in this life without dwelling on it.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Back Alley East Van





We happen to love the Vancouver neighbourhood that Fredi and her family live in.  Back in my Art school days, Dean & I rented a suite in an old house a few blocks down the road and we would always walk around this area and think that we would like to buy a house there one day.  It used to be called 'the forgotten triangle', although I daresay it's not so forgotten anymore.   We couldn't help wandering up and down the back alleys admiring all the character this old neighbourhood has to offer!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fredi Rahn's Studio Sale




I hope you had a great weekend! I took some time on Saturday to swing by Fredi's studio sale and thought I'd share some pics with you.  I managed to come home with some lovely little plates (the 'star/hexagon' plates that you might notice in the photo with the cake stand) and I'm looking forward to using them all summer long.  They are the perfect size for olives or veggie sticks, a small brie cheese wheel, or even as desert or snack bowls.  I might have to go back for more, since they stack so well and I love the feel of them. Such lovely ceramics at Fredi's sale.  I also had my eye on a rectangular serving dish, but clearly it is not my birthday yet. And how great are her fence toppers?  They function to protect fences from the rain, and to make you look twice when you walk by.  I love when ceramics takes you by surprise!
Hope your monday is great!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Anthropologie sneak peek

My vases at the new Vancouver Anthropologie Shop
I was going to write a post on Friday morning to give you a sneak peek of the new Anthropologie, but Blogger was down and my Thursday post and some comments were missing so I left it until today.  I was at the opening of the shop with the mad frenzy of women loading up their arms with lovely clothing- clearly Vancouver's Anthropologie was much anticipated!! It was great to catch up with a couple of people I knew and to see my vases beside Holly Becker's new book Decorate, which I'd been wanting to check out since I heard about it on her blog.  Lovely!!  I didn't brave the line-up for the till- after all, it's not a pop-up shop, it's here to stay.  I'll go back when all the buzz and hooplah has subsided and I can actually browse the shop and try stuff on without standing in line for over an hour. 
I'm spending the weekend and early week finishing up a few other orders that really need to get out by the end of the week.  In the meantime, I've been waiting to hear back on a couple of magazine publications that were supposed to come out in June perhaps showcasing my vases.  If anyone reading this blog has a 'Real Simple' subscription, can you give me the heads up when you get your June issue?   It would be in the summer gift guides- perhaps weddings?  Not sure, I sent the work their way to be photographed about 3 months ago and you never know with magazines what makes the cut!
Thank you for commenting on my blog lately, apparently I've had more comments then I've realized with previous posts and I wasn't paying attention.  Somehow more people are finding their way here and I appreciate your presence here. 
Have a great weekend- here's to hoping it doesn't rain for the entire weekend out here again!!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Mastering Clay

While I was doing my BFA at Art school, going on to do my Masters in Art was something I was planning on doing.  Considering I was pregnant with our first son a mere 4 months after graduating from my undergrad, I knew it was going to have to wait a while.  And here I am, 10 years later, and my head is starting to think about it again. Questions like 'Why would I do a Masters program?', 'What would I work on in a Master's Program?', and 'Is a Masters really going to make that much of a difference for my career?' have been floating around my brain.  It's a discussion I need to have with myself before I would embark on such a venture, especially considering that I've never had anyone ask me if I have my Masters before they bought my pottery. 
I know that the decision of whether or not to do one's masters in art is extremely personal.  My own journey of art-making, specifically ceramics-making, has been 17 years long.  I've had numerous instructors and been to countless workshops, spent hours and hours learning a variety of techniques, while developing my own in the process.  I feel as though I've already come up with my own voice in the medium.  I also feel as though my time away from the academic realm has been rather refreshing.   I've had time to really decide what is important to my practice and have had time to listen to customers, rather then getting caught up in rhetoric.  So there's a big part of me that wonders what I would accomplish for myself by doing my Masters.  Not to mention the cost.  Or the time involved (=time away from my family).
On the other hand, I do see that there is a level that is reached by people with their Master's that may take me that much longer to reach.  And there is that little voice inside my head that is telling me perhaps I could teach if I got tired of the business side of things.  So while I haven't made up my mind about it, and I really want to aim towards doing a residency for a month (perhaps next year??) before I even think about applying for a Masters' program, it's in the back of my head every now and again, and I thought I'd talk it out on my blog.  I would be curious to hear what you think too- not necessarily about me and whether I need/don't need my Masters, but perhaps you have a reason you went for it or not. 

Creamers

Recently animator Hilary Moses contacted me about a commission to make some mugs for a project she's been working on... for the past 10 years.  She's hoping to finish a short animation all about a woman named Ester who works in a ceramic factory making creamers and is day-dreaming of doing other things while she's making them.  All of the animation in the 14 minute film is hand-drawn and digitally hand-coloured to give the film a hand-crafted look.  So while the premise for the animation is about making ceramics, it's also about animation and some of the tedious and repetitive processes that both mediums face.  Quoting from Hilary's blog:
"Creamers is about process and artistic aspiration. The process of painting, the daily repetition of painting for a living and the desire to elevate oneself to a higher form of expression. In Ester’s case the move up is a winding staircase that leads through a mysterious haze to teapots. The part of the studio where patterns are designed not painted."
Needless to say, I'd like to see the animation.  There are concepts within the film that totally relate to what I do, albeit I'm not usually daydreaming of being somewhere outside of the studio, I'm usually dreaming up new designs while I'm making the old ones.
So I wanted to help get this film finished.  And you all can too!  Hilary's hoping to raise her goal of $8000 to complete the film and she's very close to that amount (she's at $6205 with 45 days to go as I write this post).  Please watch her video about the film and tweet/facebook or blog about it. Perhaps you can offer some financial help to finish the film.  You may even get a handmade mug by yours truly as a thank you if you do!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Things are growing




Hello!  How was your weekend?  Around here things were pretty low key.  You know, a walk to the library, attending a history fair, watching movies, dinner with the neighbours, floor hockey for the boys, and some serious gardening when the rain finally let up.  With all the pruning and weed-pulling, and planting, the garden is finally starting to look ready for growing!  Now all we need is some sunshine and warmth, of which we have had very little.  Nope, not complaining, just wishing...

I'll be working on a few things at the studio this week- namely getting some new work finished for the Crafthouse YVR Airport Shop and the Gardiner Museum Shop.  In the past couple of years I've begun to realize there are seasons within my work: show season and shop season.  I'm currently in 'shop season' or wholesale season, which means that the bulk of my studio time is spent filling orders for galleries along with a few online orders that come by.  And while I was hoping to do a show this spring either at the studio or somewhere in the city, I don't think I'll be planning for it this year, considering that things are so busy already.  I'm glad to have some time on the weekends to spend with the boys, work on the garden and hang out with the neighbours. 

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!



I'm signing off for the weekend and wish all the moms out there a very Happy Mother's Day this weekend!  Tomorrow is a pro-D day for my boys and I'll be spending a good chunk of time with my family this weekend.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

New Summer Studio Assistant: Sarah Péloquin


I seem to be 2 for 2 in the studio assistant department.  Last year I counted myself very fortunate to have had Kelly Austin as my part-time spring/summer assistant.  Kelly is graduating with a ceramics major, and I can't wait to see her final project in a few days when the grad show opens.  Kelly is beginning to sort out her own career path and I'm looking forward to seeing what she does over the next couple of years!
This spring, realizing that I'm again a bit swamped in the studio, I emailed the ceramic technician at ECU to ask if he had any ceramic student recommendations.  Sarah Péloquin's name came up and so she'll be helping me out a day or 2 a week over the spring and summer.  Sarah is extremely keen and excited to have her hands in clay over the long 4 months of summer break and I'm so glad to have her capable hands to help!  And isn't her work lovely?  You can see more on her flickr site!

Monday, May 2, 2011

Ideas in a bowl





The last couple of years I've been making bowls in spring for Project Empty Bowls, a fundraiser to provide meals to people living with HIV/AIDS in the city.  Although I've never been to the fundraiser, it's a simple concept of soup made by renown chefs served in a hand-made bowl donated by local potters.  Since whoever attends gets to take their bowl home with them, people who come year after year would get the pleasure of filling their bowl cupboard with a wide variety of handmade bowls!
This year I thought I would take the opportunity to create little prototypes or 'sketches' of glaze ideas I've been thinking about with a new bowl shape.  I have a few more in the studio, but these were the ones that I pulled out of the kiln this past weekend.  It's a good way to flush out an idea for me and to find out if my stripes always need to be vertical or have a curved edge.  I chose to stick with subtle colours, but of course, all that could change next time around.
On another note, I have a minimal shop up-date with more on the way. My very big order for a very big shop turned out almost perfect...but not quite (I've linked to a poem by the children's poet Shel Silverstein here- Dean and I have a running commentary about this poem and my own idea of perfection). My pale pink glaze gave me grief so I'm onto round 2 this week as the drop-off and big announcement will happen on Thursday. It will be a big relief when it's all done, I tell ya!