Saturday, October 30, 2010

Happy Halloween!

We are carving pumpkins and putting up decorations for tomorrow's Halloween festivities.  The boys are both 'ninja spies'.   We'll be at the neighbour's place for some fireworks after the kids do some trick-or-treating in the neighbourhood tomorrow night- should be fun:)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Introducing: The Stem Collection

You know how they say that necessity is often the mother of invention.  Well that's a little bit how my latest stem series started for me.  I had a few too many bad batches of my red glaze this summer- the glaze I use for my poppies and the only commercial glaze that I use.  After several frustrating firings and a whole lot of bad poppies, I felt I had to come up with an alternative.  Plus, after making pots with poppies on them for 2 years now, I was getting a little tired of making them.  Don't get me wrong.  The poppy design came out of an old painting of mine that I re-worked into a glaze design on a mug, so my heart is still into making that series. I just felt like a change had come.

The stem series is kind of like a 'variation on a theme' for me.  Taking elements from both my Ginkgo stem design- namely the stem, and playing around with the shape of the poppy- making it more of a teardrop shape with the center of the bloom coming out of the stem, and thinking about a hollyhock- which has flowers and leaves coming off a tall stem and voila! the idea was formed.  Playing around with the glaze colours was next.  I'm such a turquoise/yellow/green kind of gal.  Really, pinks and purples don't even enter my wardrobe, let alone my ceramics.   I hummed and thought and tried and failed a few times before coming up with these glazes colours.  Literally there were sleepless nights.  But I'm pleased and loving the combos.  Best of all I like that I can switch it up a whole lot.  Blue, dk brown or pale yellow centers, with a few different turquoise blooms.  Green stem and leaves.  And I'm loving it!

I've just started putting the work up in my shop and on my Etsy shop- more to come soon... It's ready to ship- get it before the holiday shipping costs kick in, I say:) And please, let me know what you think about the new work! 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

It was a good mail day today!

A lovely wallet from Arounna at Bookhou who had a little give-a-way on her blog that I won- Thank you Arounna!  I love the one you chose for me!
And Sandra Juto's Wrist Worms.  I've been wanting a pair for oh so long.  The sale was too tempting. I may not take these off my hands now that they are on...

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

In good company

I'm taking a break from launching more of my new work today to get my images sorted and passed on to my web-developer before he leaves for New Zealand (jealous!).
Instead, I wanted to point out that I'm in great company over at Poppytalk Handmade's Winter Market this month, and while there are tons of things that I would love to splurge on, I was thinking  (hint* hint*) that who ever picked my name this year for Christmas might need a little nudge to consider some of the above items!

Paige Russell's table features some amazing ceramics designs.  I love her new Muzo Collection of wildlife animals that you and I could possibly win over at her blog give-a-way ! Hello!

This hand-printed Tea towel by Katharine Watson totally appeals to my folk art sensibilities!

How cute is the packaging on Nostalgia Organics' lotions and soaps!

And I've been loving up in the air somewhere's paper mache bowls for a while.  These are totally sculptural and lovely!

Hope you have a lovely day!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Introducing: The Stripe Collection

Here's a sneak peek of my latest Stripe Collection that I'm fully launching this fall! Graphic and colourful, I'm really having a whole lot of fun with glazing here!  My studio friends who know how I get the stripes of glaze onto the pot think I'm a bit nuts for all the work that is involved in this series, but I'm smitten, and think it's totally worth it!

My love of stripes goes way back to the striped paintings I did in my 4th year at Art School.  Playing with stripes on my ceramics this past year has been a move away from florals and back to a more abstract aesthetic for me.  Thinking about my ceramics as a paintings is the way that I create my composition of line and colour. Sorting out how to finish the ends of the lines or figuring out where the line will go is something I think about with each of the forms.  Playing with how the stripes accent the form or navigate around the form has been what I've been most interested in here.  For instance, the large scalloped striped bowl has the stripes going all the way underneath the foot.  Diagonal stripes on my mug forms had to find a new direction after a while, and the striped fan with thin stripes has me thinking about gradations of glaze colours (next time:).

The whole collection will be up on my website soon but a few pieces can be bought on my Etsy shop for now!  Let me know what you think, folks!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Shop Up-date & Poppytalk Handmade Market

I've recently up-dated my Etsy shop to include a few of my newest pieces.  I'm still waiting on my new photos to fully up-date and launch the new work, but am excited to be part of Poppytalk's Handmade Market that happens starting Monday.  It's a 'Holiday' themed market- the season is getting closer as we head into November, but it still feels like fall around here. 
I'm heading off to celebrate my sister's birthday on Vancouver Island today- Happy Birthday Heidi!  I get to cuddle with my little nephew Oliver and spend time with her before the rush of the season starts for me!  Thanks for all your comments over the past few weeks, it's been great to hear your thoughts!  Have a great weekend.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Looking up at the new Vancouver Convention Centre

The new Vancouver Convention Centre is pretty spectacular, I must admit.  As the new venue for the One of a Kind Show this year, I was awe-struck with the huge globe hanging in the lobby, the wood blocks as walls, and the eggs sculptures floating from lofty ceilings.  Contemporary architecture, BC style (lots of wood!).

One of a Kind poster child

Well, what can I say... I'm pretty darn thrilled to be included in this year's One of a Kind Show's marketing campaign.  They chose 5 or so items from this year's show to use and my Poppy Teapot was among the list, which means... (drum roll please) work is going to be on the side of a bus!! And on a billboard!! It wasn't enough that at the Interior Design Show I walked in and saw this huge sticker on the carpet with my teapot on it, and that one of my latest bowls was included in the booth promoting the show.  So photos will no doubt ensue.  Pictures of me, beside a bus with my teapot on it.  Just wait for it, people.  It might just get a little cheesy with all the shameless self-promotion. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

photoshoot time!

Monday was my big photo-shoot day at the studio with my good friend and photographer Curtis Hildebrand.  Planning for a professional photo-shoot takes a little effort- to be able to have enough work, and enough new work to warrant a photo-shoot has been a challenge to achieve when my time is normally spent making work and then selling work.  I've often thought it be so nice to have a set up so I could just photograph the work as it comes out of the kiln.  Every time I do a photo-shoot, however, I realize that there is a reason to hire a professional.  Not only do I get extremely professional photos, but all the tweaking that goes into getting the background just right is something worth paying for.  Plus, it's great to be able to support other artist friends of mine who are really great at what they do. 

Monday, October 18, 2010

IDS West

I'm quite confident that the IDS West show is just going to keep getting better and better each year.  This year there were a few booths that stuck out in my mind as being great examples of what an Interior Design show should be about, but I still found myself yawning when I'd come around the corner and to find an appliance or fireplace booth.  Possibly I would have been in awe if I felt that those booths fit in with the current trends in interior design- but clearly, I was not their 'target market'.

I really love some of the trends that are shaping Interior Design at the moment: the use of natural materials like wood, stone, glass, metal, wool, linen and burlap. I'm so glad that a more eclectic mix of patterns and styles can be part of creating a great space.  And colour!  I like the all-white look, but have been craving hits of colour for some time.  That said, the turquoise hits in the photo above by the store Parliament Interiors were totally calling to me. 

I took more photos but realized that most of mine overlapped Jan's over at Poppytalk, who made sure she actually got the names, websites and links- oops. She's got about 5 posts up already of cool finds- Part 2 shows most of my favourites if you are interested!

Friday, October 15, 2010

It's Friday!

Well the week has gone by fast and furious.  We've been nursing our kitty back to health after a nasty encounter with a racoon or alley cat- (we had different opinions from 2 different vets).  She's lost one of her 9 lives but she will be just fine and is already to play and chase the kids around the house albeit with a cone around her neck.
It's a weekend away for Dean and I to celebrate our anniversary, but I'll be back on monday with pics from the Interior Design show- Can't wait to see Sarah Richardson!  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Studio Visit: Ted Driediger

Last weekend, while at my parent's place for Thanksgiving, I visited Ted Driediger's Pottery studio and thought I'd share it here with you.  Now, I spent my teenage years in this small, rural town of about 2000 people.  It's a town with a couple of restaurants, 3 gas stations, a small community bank and post office, 1 elementary school, about 4 churches and a wack of potters nestled in between the Vedder Mountain and Vedder River.  Back when I lived in Yarrow, there were only 3 Potters in town.  Ted Driediger was certainly one of the first- having been potting there for 40 years now.  Yes, you read that right, the man has been making and selling his pots to the community for a very long time!
He doesn't have a website or even an email address.  His 'marketing strategy' is printing off a postcard twice a year and snail-mailing them to his mailing list to advertise for his Spring or Winter Pottery sale.  He doesn't sell his work in any galleries or shops.  Yup, he's old school.
I have a deep respect for what Ted has done over the years.  The humble potter lifestyle that he began back in the 70's and has been able to maintain all these years was something I dreamt about when I was first starting my career.  To wake up in the morning and walk outside to a shed-like studio, start the gas on a reduction kiln, sit down at the wheel to start throwing and then chat with a neighbour who drops by to purchase a gift for an up-coming wedding- how great is that.  He raised his family making pots in his studio by the house. 
I'm making pots in a really different generation that Ted has done, starting my career where this kind of lifestyle doesn't quite seem realistic or possible.  And I'm not really sure that it's how I'd like my career to be anyways.  It's so refreshing, though, to visit someone who's not really concerned with much in internet land.  He's got his glaze tests out, his tried and true methods, he's still eagerly making work (and lots of it), he works hard, and at the end of the day, he's a happy man. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Line up of new work

I took the opportunity of a pleasant Sunday on the Family farm to take a few shots of my recent work.  I have a professional photo-shoot booked next week but it will be a little bit before the work makes it on my website.  So here's a little idea of what's to come.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


As is a Thanksgiving weekend tradition for my family here in Canada, we often go around the table and say what we are thankful for before a harvest feast ensues. 
I'm thankful for so many years of wedded bliss to a great man, father and friend.  I'm thankful for healthy kids that are growing like weeds.  I'm thankful for my extended family - Happy Birthday goes out to my Mom this weekend, along with a brother and sister-in-law! I'm thankful for a home to live in, food on my table, ways to give back to my community, and opportunities to give over-seas.  I'm thankful that I love what I do and that being able to create is still a joy and a gift every day.  I'm thankful for the other artists and friends in my building who greet me for a little 'pep talk' around my studio door, to talk shop and to encourage each other in each of our businesses.  I'm thankful for friends far and near and for people and new friends that I've met through this blog. 
I've got so much to be thankful for- I hope you do too!  Happy Thanksgiving Weekend!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Noticing Series: Morning light

Who needs a headboard when the sunrise casts such beautiful shadows on the wall?

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Finds & Fancies: Vintage Maps & Atlases

I'd been looking around in thrift stores for an old atlas for a while and hadn't spotted one until  my trip to the Sally Ann today when I found 2 of them.  One of them is a 'Canadian Oxford Atlas' from 1957 and the other, a 'Reader's Digest' version from 1977- both being a really large size, perfect for using for craft or art projects! I've had a few ideas about using them as gift wrap, covering books or making cards out of them.  I'm sure if I really got into it I could frame some of the ones I really like, or use them as a back-drop for a collage.  It's kind of nice to have 2 of them- I get a little sentimental just looking through the maps and start to getting cold feet about actually cutting pages out of the books, but with two I can save one for just looking through and one can be for making crafts with.  I know this isn't a new idea to use vintage maps for projects; just typing in 'vintage maps' on Etsy brought up a whole list of shops and makers that use maps in their work.
Here are just a few craft how-to ideas I found to use vintage maps with:
How to make a bangle from a vintage map by the CraftStylish blog
Vintage Map blocks for kids by the Craftzine blog
Map Coasters by Martha Stewart Crafts
I'll let you know when I actually get around to getting crafty with my new atlases. 

Monday, October 4, 2010

Coffee dates and lasting love

Dean and I have been sneaking in the occasional morning coffee date after dropping the boys off to school.  Our favourite little spot happens to be Moja, which serves the most amazing Thomas Haas croissants.  It's quite the treat and feels oh so luxurious.
We are coming up to a pretty big anniversary, Dean and I.  We've been planning an anniversary weekend in a couple of weekends and have booked ourselves a great hotel in the city to celebrate. Coming up to a milestone in a relationship has me thinking about how fast the time has gone, especially once our kids were born.  And here we are, 15 years later, still looking forward to our coffee dates and little nights out. I'm very thankful for how 'easy' we've had it in the relationship dept.  We truly were in love when we got married and have been able to foster that love and have it grow over the years.  It's truly a gift.
We've had a lot of friends separate over the past few years and we still feel shock and sadness when we get the news (I guess we're not numb quite yet). You never know what happens behind closed door, if people are really happy together, if they really love each other, or if they are staying together out of obligation.  It's all sad and part of life, but somehow, when you attend someone's wedding, you want it to be for real and for always.  There's something so great about lasting love and the hope that brings.