Saturday, February 27, 2010

New work

Here's a little sample of some new work that has been listed on my shop along with my regular work that is now in stock and ready to ship. More in the works!

Hip Hostess Give-a-way

The Hip Hostess blog has all sorts of great entertaining ideas, from recipes to table decoration and they are celebrating of  2 years of blogging with give-a-ways for the entire month of February!  Today they are hosting a give-a-way with my lovely Poppy Bottle Vase, so hurry and swing on by- the  give-a-way ends tomorrow!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Just the beginning...

I was pretty excited when these came out of the kiln.  Black, white and grey.  Lines that give definition and allow for pattern emerge.  Simple, modern, smooth and silky feeling.  Plus lots of room for me to expand the series. I've been working towards this series for a few months with no good results until now!  I have more work to photograph tomorrow and will let you know when it's all up in the shop!

More big news: we got a new kiln at the studio!  I'm so very excited about it- it was exactly the kiln I was hoping for- a large Skutt computer kiln in really good shape even though it is used.  I can't say enough great things about our landlord who fronted the money to buy the kiln for all of us!  It has been frustrating to fit my limited studio schedule into everyone else's kiln schedule along with only having 1 working kiln for 6 of us.

Freshly squeezed

To beat the winter cold bugs I've been drinking freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice in the mornings.  The colour of the countertop, our juicer and the pink grapefruits has been good for my mental health as well.  Along with the occasional visit from our neighbour cat, popcorn, who keeps popping up in the window by the sink to say 'hello'.
I'm unloading the kiln with some new work later today.  I hope to have a shop up-date by tomorrow with lots of 'freshly squeezed' pottery- finally! 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Spring chicks & baby kittens

My 'new' orange clogs that I found at the thrift store are proving to be the perfect slip-on shoe to be out in the yard with.  Our miniature daffodils are blooming and the new baby chicks have arrived at Dean's folk's place. 
And which kitten would you choose to take home?  Our neighbours cat had 3 kittens on February 14th and we've been patiently waiting to have a new kitty in our home since our cat of 14 years had to be put down last June.  Sasha and I are partial to the grey one, Johnny the one with the black head and Dean the one with the orange flecks.  They are so tiny and won't be able to go to new homes for a little bit yet.  Lots of time to decide...

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pen & Ink

Here are some more glimpses into the past with some photos of notebooks that once belonged to Dean's Grandparents.  Mostly in german and almost illegible, there is such a beautiful flow to the letters and numbers.  This last image with all the numbers is actually music notations with the words to old hymns in German.  It has inspired me to dig around in my supplies cupboard for my old nibs and ink again. 
I know there are a number of very talented artists using calligraphy and pen & ink these days.  Here are just a couple that I've found recently:
I just remembered that there is also a great article with some other calligrapher's in the new Uppercase Magazine...

Playing in the Sand

 One of the best things about living in and around Vancouver is that we aren't far from the ocean.  There is something so therapeutic about heading down to the beach on a balmy February day and making a sandcastle with the boys.  It was great to see their faces and imaginations at work as they built tunnels and roadways, borrowing buckets to see whether the water would make it through their canals. 
Today we celebrate Sasha turning 6.  It is amazing that the time has flown by so quickly and every time he grows a year older I feel a little sad that he can't stay 3, 4 or 5 for a little longer. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

facing the past

These are just some of the photographs that had belonged to Dean's grandmother of her friends and family through the 1920's in the Prairies of Canada.  Some familiar and unfamiliar faces of the past re-appear for us now as enlarged prints since Dean's mom scanned her mother's photo album into digital format.  We've noticed details within the photos that weren't clear before- little mysteries about who the faces are and what they are doing have made us more curious about our past heritage. 

Thursday, February 18, 2010

In Process

It seems like my week goes by so fast these days and I am scrambling to keep up by thursday.  I've been meaning to glaze these new wheel-thrown vase forms in a new soft 'satin Matt' glaze that I mixed up in various shades of grey.  Hopefully that can happen today or tomorrow.  Won't they look lovely? Out of the 10 or so vases that I threw last week, I was happy with these three as a grouping.  Must make some more!
I must link today to the Luxirare blog- perhaps you've already found this AMAZING blog- for which I'm blown away by the Cuisine portion of the blog- the Pie Pops are stunning and look amazing, the Parfaits were jaw-dropping when she starts making juice 'caviar'... anyhow- photographer meets scientist meets packaging designer meets chef and I am absolutely blown away!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Chasing Pirates

We weren't actually 'Chasing Pirates' more than singing the song as we scoped out this old ship from Russia, complete with teenage Russian Cadets, that is parked in the harbour during the Olympics.  It was quite a sight to see and the boys were so excited to run down the dock to check things out. 
There's been lots to see and do here in Vancouver.  Unfortunately, having 2 boys with colds that are still busy with school and swimming doesn't really lend itself too well with seeing all the free concerts and being part of the masses of people downtown sharing the excitement of the day's medals.  Oh well, Jay and Kat came over for dinner and wine and we watched 2 hockey games and men's figure skating in their good company.  It made for a great evening!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Poppytalk International Art Market opens today!

I've got a bit of new work (and more to come this month) over at the Poppytalk Handmade Market that opens today! My new 'racing' stripe mugs and espresso cup and saucer have just been posted on Etsy over the weekend and I'm really excited to be introducing this new 'line' into my regular work.  I started this series in December as a custom set (2 Mugs, 2 latte mugs & 2 Espresso cups/saucers) for my photographer from his wife.  I made a couple of extra Mugs and espresso sets for Dean and have had rave reviews from men on these mugs.   I know there are men out there that use my Poppy mugs, but won't necessarily admit that to all their buddies;) 
After a quick peek over at the market, this is what caught my eye:

Lines By Davis : Geometric Pillow -love that scarf too!

Paper Cuts and Hand-drawn Maps By Studio K

There's so much more to see over there so go and check it out!
Poppytalk Handmade Market

Friday, February 12, 2010

Happy Valentines Day

Just a little pre-Valentines post with the loves of my life photographed by the talented Sherri Koop this past summer.  Dean and I met 17 years ago and he's been the guy for me ever since.  He still makes me smile and laugh nearly every day.  I know that it's a rare treat to be married to your 'soul mate' and I'm extremely grateful to be in that place.
Happy Valentines Day to those of you who read my blog. Thanks for the comments over the past month- it means a lot to know when something strikes a chord with you as it does with me.  May your  weekend be filled with the encouragement of those who love you! And hopefully a sweet Valentine will come your way too!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Clearly Seen

There's an opening for an art show tonight that my good friend and painters Fiona Ackerman, and  Zoe Pawlak are putting on at On The Rise Artist Collective titled 'Clearly Seen'.  It's a show combining both abstract paintings from both artists and a couple of figurative ones by Zoe.  It looks like it's going to be a really exciting show, with both artists collaborating on a painting- live on the side walk outside the gallery over the week!  They will be having a silent auction for this painting with proceeds going to Haiti relief efforts! I'm hoping I can make it- the opening is from 5pm-9pm at 2231 S. Granville St. in Vancouver.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

An Exciting Day!

We were very fortunate to be able to catch Karen Magnussen, former Canadian Olympic Figure Skater and silver medalist in the 1972 Olympics, carrying the torch through our neighbourhood today!  She continues to coach and train figure skaters locally and it was really wonderful to see her carrying the torch!  I'm starting to catch Olympic fever especially after Jan's post over on Poppytalk!

Along with the Torch excitement we've had, I also have received great news about some of the shows I've been applying for this year!  This spring I'm starting with the Blim Markets at Heritage Hall in March, April and May (hopefully I can keep up with this schedule).  The Markets will be on the 4 Sunday of the month from 11-4pm but I'll keep you posted.  I'm still waiting to hear back regarding my summer market schedule, but I'm really thrilled to be doing the One Of A Kind Show in Vancouver December 9-12 at the new Convention Centre!  I'm also a proud recipient of their New Artist Scholarship- so exciting!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

A taste of Spring

The Olympics begin on Friday and we've had an incredibly warm winter.  So warm that many of my early spring flowers and trees are starting to bloom.  These were taken just today while we had sunny skies and enjoyed playing at the park with our neighbour friends without jackets on. 
Tomorrow I get to watch the torch relay with the boys.  Should be exciting!

Monday, February 8, 2010

In the mail

I just got my 'Uppercase Issue 4' in the mail today.  It's beautifully done once again, and I especially love the fold out 'calender of perpetual calender'. I'm looking forward to an inspiring afternoon looking through all the pages more closely!
On the home front, we are battling another flu bug and Dean leaves tomorrow for a  5 day trip to Dallas for a course he's taking.  It's going to be a long week, and possibly not much will get done.  My molds are drying out and I have a few new things in my studio-mate Grace's Bisque kiln that I hope to test glazes on later in the week.  Fingers crossed.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Making pretty molds

 Mold-making is something I don't normally do to make my ceramics, but it's a skill I'd like to develop.  Every now and again when I've done an intense stint of steady wheel-throwing, trimming and glazing and I get that nagging feeling in my wrists and elbows and a sore back I realize that my body has limitations.  I can't always do it all. And yet, the work doesn't just make itself.  
I got into slip-casting last year when I had a master mold-maker make a mold of a bottle vase form that I'd been wheel-throwing and then altering for a while.  It was an investment to get someone else to make the molds for me, however, the molds that he made were... perfect.  With barely a seam to clean up, and with the prototype being exactly 12% (shrinkage rate) larger than my original, it was a good intro to slip-casting for me. 
I've been wrestling with the idea of making other molds, for instance,  making my mug designs into a mold, but I can't really get over the lack of throwing lines on the inside of my mugs that wouldn't be there in a molded mug.  There is something about holding a mug and seeing the hand of the maker and the process that I get all nostalgic about.  Being that I feel so strongly about the work of mine that would be handled the most staying the most hand-made, I decided to give some slip-casting on a 'mini-series' or a little grouping of vessel forms that are outside of my regular work a try.  
So here's the start of this process- I'm working on a little set of dishes for my kids- and most likely other kids out there once I work out the kinks.  A small plate/bowl/cup, all 1 part molds to keep things simple and stackeable.  The molds above are the handle and bowl, I'm working on the plate and then cup over the weekend.  The molds all have to dry out before I'll be able to tell if they worked, but it feels like a good place to start. 
About the process: I used a broken plastic sheet from a flourescent light as the forms around my mold. Basically I used clamps to keep it 'round' a plastic bat or base. You have to seal the seams with clay so the mold won't leak when you pour in the plaster, but the pattern of the plastic make your mold look real pretty!  This idea is great for 1 part molds but L shaped forms are best for 2 or more part molds.
To make 2 or more parts to a mold, you can use "Murphy's Oil Soap" brushed onto the plaster approx 3 times (letting layers dry in-between) so the plaster doesn't stick to itself.  I also cast an 'overhang' top- no technical terms here, but a portion that allows the slip to stay above the lip when I'm pouring it in.  I cut off the excess with that top part on and it allows my lip to be even and nice.

Friday, February 5, 2010

'Poppies Up-date'

Just a quick up-date on the 'Poppies Award'- I was so glad (relieved & thankful) to see my favourite HANDMADE ceramic artists on the podium over at the Poppytalk blog.  Both the jury and people's choices were all really amazing shops highlighting my favourite artists and creators.  Congratulations to all of them:) especially the ceramic shops- Diana Fayt, Ayumie Horie, Up in the Air Somewhere, Ray Dunn and Brooklyn Rehab! Yay for handmade!

**UP-DATE: Faythe Lavine included all her favourite choices on her blog and my shop was in her ceramics category!  It makes me so proud- thanks Faythe!**

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Scenes from the studio

A few ideas in the works.  I've made some time this month for some new work and ideas- it doesn't quite feel right to start the year off without some 'experiments'.  Today I hope to try to make a 1 piece plaster mold to get back into mold-making processes.  This video was the inspiration.  I'm also hoping to make a little mold-stamp out of the bottom of this vintage bottle I found- 'Made in Canada' which I only recently actually turned over and 'discovered'.  And a few vase form ideas inspired in part by Lucy Rie and also a 'bulb vase' concept. 

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Researching Contemporary Ceramics

You might have noticed a lot of slip-cast ceramic images for various contemporary ceramic artist these days on my blog. I'm working on some designs for a collaborative slip-casting project with my good friend Disa, and in the process of my research I've been finding some really great work out there that I don't necessarily see on my usual design blog jaunts.  One thing I should say here is that I really enjoy doing a lot of research while I'm designing.  First off I think it's really imperative to know that your ideas are really your own, not just something that another artist is already doing.  It also is an important test of whether your work will hold up beside the work that's already out there. 

Anyways, here's the Dutch product/ceramic artist and designer, Ruth Lodder's work- which I think is really lovely.  It's interesting how she caught onto the trend of using 'found objects', in her case various jello molds, glasses, teacups, etc., then stacked them together to create her molds from.  Very clever and really lovely as you get all those references to classic shapes that are easily recognizable without being too simplistic!  The gold luster and patches of colour are also great- I'm always one to want to use colour to make my work my own and in her case, I think its stunning!