Thursday, March 31, 2011

back to nature

Here are a few more from our time on Vancouver Island.  Most of the photos were taken at an estuary by the ocean.  The Seagulls were feeding on herrings by the ocean and despite the wind and coldness, it was a very cool spot to check out. 
The signs warning of a tsunami, along with the Japanese flag hanging below the Canadian Flag that we saw from the beach had me thinking about all the people who have lost their homes in Japan.  I've been reading Euan the Potter's blog- he's an amazing writer, potter and father of 4 kids who's home and studio has been destroyed by the Earthquake.  It's heart-breaking to read about how the radiation levels have made it so that his family will have to re-locate. 

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

good neighbour thrift

The good neighbour thrift store is something to behold.  If you aren't really observant you might miss the signs to the back warehouse where 'couch. chair' are located.  There you will walk in as though you are walking onto a stage with an entire audience of couches facing you.  Scores of chairs to sift through, I managed to find myself a 'fixer-upper' with good bones worth doing a little re-upholster and possibly paint.  For $15.  Although I had my doubts as I was trying to get it into the back of our car, knowing that our luggage and Dean's bike still had to fit into the car...somehow it all managed to fit in:)

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

canister love


I was pretty excited about doing some thrift-store shopping while on Vancouver Island.  Not only are there tons of thrift stores to check out, the prices are really reasonable.  At this point it's all about exercising a little control.  There was much more I would have liked to have brought home with me, but our house is pretty little and I don't plan on opening a vintage Etsy shop any time soon.  Anyways, I did bring a couple of things home with me that I wanted to share with you here.  I'll start with the tea and coffee canisters that I picked up.  As you can see, they go perfectly on my counter.  In fact it's a little hard to decide where the yellow begins and ends. 
If we owned this house it would be hard to know what to do about this kitchen.  It's really cute as it is, but it's badly laid out, has no dishwasher:(, and has a very small and cramped space for a kitchen table.  The flooring got re-done a few years ago by my well-meaning landlord, so it's not as 'retro' as it should be given the colour of the counter and the tiles.  Oh, but the tiles!  I mean, how great are they?? I just take one look at the tiles and the other annoyances I have about our kitchen are gone. 

Monday, March 28, 2011

shades of green

I could not pass up Mr. Gumball at the thrift store on the Island for $2.  Complete with green eyes- most likely a grade 10 woodworking project.  Just turn the nose and a gumball comes out of his mouth.
Some other photos I took while on Vancouver Island. Lots of moss and greens everywhere we look.  Reminded me that I need to make some more green glaze tests and expand my green glaze options.  

I'm only back in the studio for a couple of days before our extended family takes off on our big 'Dahliday'.  All 16 of us are embarking on a 'right of passage' for the kids, so to speak.  Heading over to 'D-land'.  It's something the grandparents have been planning and saving for for a long time, to take the whole family on a holiday.  The grand-kids are all the perfect ages- between 7-16 years of age, with some aunties and uncles sans kids to help out if need be.  So we are going to brave the rides and parades, despite it not being entirely 'my kind of thing', and I'm quite sure that in the end it will be some fun.  I'll be preparing some posts this week with some more Island pics, but just so you know, my shop and up-dates work-wise won't be in full swing until next week, after I've recovered from 2 weeks of spring break and 1 week of Disney. 

Friday, March 25, 2011


Photos from our friends' place in Campbell River.  We've known Eden & Paul for a long time- 14 years or so.  Eden and I met in 1st year French in College.  She was one of those people I knew I could be friends with right away. 
Eden's got great style and is an amazing cook.  Her gift of hospitality was well felt by us all- the fresh apple juice from their own apples tasted like gold, the lattes were delicious, pancakes amazing, not to mention the strawberry cake.  
We are just finishing up our visit to the Island with my sister and her family.  I'll be back next week with some more bits of inspiration that I gleaned from our time here.  Hope you have a great weekend!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mirrored Mountains

We had to stop by the side of the road to take pictures of the mountains and the train bridge reflecting on the lake.  When we drove back an hour later, the lake was all choppy and it was raining, so we just caught the calm before the storm, so to speak.  I really like mirrored images, kind of like ink blots, when it comes to lake and mountains.  Last year I took these photos when we were in the interior. 

We've made our way up to Campbell River and are staying with our good friends there.  Off to do a little thrift store shopping today and possibly building a fire on the beach this evening.  It's been good to feel relaxed and like we are on 'island time'.  On Vancouver Island everyone drives slower and life is generally at a much slower pace then in the city.  I could get used to this..:)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Island Time

Just popping in with a photo from our hike yesterday.  We are on Vancouver Island, enjoying staying with friends and hiking in the rain forest and exploring the rivers and beaches.  I'll try to post a few pictures here and there along the way- so much to photograph and enjoy.  Hope you are having a great week!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Handmade for Japan Auction

Stunning bowl to be auctioned by Munemitsu Taguchi
There is an auction on eBay being organized by Ayumi Horie and friends with 100% of the proceeds going to Global Giving Japan Earthquake/Tsunami Relief.  Quite the selection of lovely ceramics along with a few paintings/drawings and photographs.  If you are looking for a way to reach out and have been wanting to purchase some beautiful hand-made ceramics the auction starts at 8pm March 24th and runs until Sunday March 27th at 8pm. (edit on the dates- sorry about that...)
There are a number of shops on Etsy also giving proceeds to various charitable organizations that are working in Japan.  Jan has posted a number of them on Poppytalk here.
I also appreciate what Ellen of the Long Thread said on her post about how best to help out.  

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy Birthday Oliver!

My little nephew is a St. Patty's day baby- he turns 1 years old today! What a sweetheart he is!  It's so remarkable to see how much babies grow in one year. Yesterday I visited my good friend who just had a baby last week- he was so small and tiny at just 5 days old.  Looking at these Oliver pictures today made me realize how amazing that first year really is!
We'll be taking off for Vancouver Island over the weekend to visit with my sister and her family, and some good friends of ours.  I have a couple of orders to get out the door before then, but otherwise, things might be a little quiet around here. 
My thoughts are with Japan- there are a few auctions and fundraiser's I'll be highlighting here if you are looking for ways to help out.  Otherwise have a wonderful week and I'll have some photos and inspiration for you when I get back! 

rain drop love

Megan from Room6 has out-done herself with the window-display...
If you've had your eye on my striped vases- please swing over to the Room6 shop to purchase!  I have up-dated my Etsy shop to include the 4 vases (only 3 colours available) that I have left, but I won't have the whole collection in stock until the beginning of April now.  And my shop will be 'on holidays' from March 20-26, and then again from March 30-April 4th.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Room6: special delivery for nice people

One of the first shows I did when I was thinking about launching my new ceramic work, before it was officially 'dahlhaus', was at Room6.  It all started out back in 2006 with 'the red dot collection', a series of work inspired by a circular shape in my paintings that stood in for a connecting point between people.  For me, the series was all about connecting around the table as you passed around a bowl or a platter, and while the work was in it's really beginning stage of development, and I had only just gotten into my own studio, Megan at Room6 was generous enough to host the exhibition at her shop.

Room6 has been showcasing independent design from all over the world since 2005.  It's an ever-rotating mix of lovely products that make really great gifts for that special person in your life (oh, and you are special too!).  As you can see, I'm dropping off a whole crate of colour-wheel bottle vases that you can purchase through the Room6 website  or in person at the shop in Deep Cove!  I can't wait to see the display idea Megan has for them- I'm sure it will be amazing!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Spring Break week 1: Etsy finds

Desk organizer by Less and More
Pocket sized Sewing Kit by Polly Danger Notions
Playground Print by Dana Laymon
Dreaming by Cabin + Cub
Kitchen Notes by inhauspress
My plans for our first week of Spring Break include catching up on sleep, baking, sewing, making some art and playing with the boys.  I have a few things to do studio-wise but am keeping my work expectations a little on the low side.   Next week we'll be off to Vancouver Island to visit friends!  I'll be blogging here and there, and hopefully have a shop up-date...

Saturday, March 12, 2011

More than broken pots

It's hard to know what to say or always what to do when major world catastrophes happen around the globe.  For myself, I only listen to the news on the radio or catch a bit of what's happening via the internet and often I'm a little delayed in my knowledge of what is happening.  There is so much going on right now- earthquakes and tsunami's, political up-rising and civil wars are certainly what come to mind off the top of my head.  I know that my life is not immune to such massive, life-altering changes, and yet, I find it hard to know how to reach out in each of these cases.  The 'power of one' seems like such a tall task, like me with these 2 hands of mine can't possibly do enough to help such huge problems and devastation.  I know that together we all can, and that each person doing their part to reach out can help even one other person. (The Canadian Red Cross is a good place to start.)

A few months ago I sold some mugs to a wonderful and lovely mom of 2 from Japan.  She actually bought 2 mugs, and then ordered 4 more and it was a delight to send them her way with such appreciation coming from her.  Yesterday I email her through Etsy to see whether she and her family were safe- and she replied right away to say- yes! They were safe and so were the mugs, much to her relief.  I know this isn't the case for many families in Japan or in New Zealand for that matter.  Not only is the death toll rising but also the absolute destruction showing that people have lost it  all. That many of their precious belongings, that their family treasures were destroyed.  It really makes one think about what matters most and what we hold dear to our hearts.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Have a Happy Weekend!

Photo in film via Sherri Koop Photography
My good friend and photographer Sherri Koop launched her new blog this week with the image above- recognize the cake plate? Beautiful! That's what it's all about for me- ceramics that celebrates life around the table!

Speaking of which- I am pulling out 3 shop-orders (2 new shops for me- tba next week:) from the kiln this morning and will be delivering new work to the Gallery of BC Ceramics and Crafthouse YVR today, so if you are heading into or out of Vancouver this week for spring break, be sure to check out my new lovely pots over at the airport!
I should also have a few extra bottle vases up for grabs on my Etsy shop this weekend- they have been a hit!  Check out some lovely mentions this week on Modish, Birch and Bird, and Somewhere Splendid (where they spelled 'dahlhaus' wrong, but put together a lovely plug nonetheless..:).  Thank you all!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A revelation in gray

Same gray glaze.  Different results.  Sometimes a smooth and satin-matt- consistent throughout, sometimes pin-holed and pocketed.  I've been wracking my brains all fall and winter trying to figure this glaze out.  I've wrecked countless pots on the attempts.  Ruined 3 custom teapots on it.  And sacrificed my level of quality control in some cases just because I felt so disheartened. Seriously beautiful when it's worked out, and so unfortunate when it didn't.
So I kept thinking that my kiln had hot spots.  That this glaze really doesn't like to be over-fired.  Or that it needs to be really thinned out.  Or that my recipe needed tweaking.  Just when I thought I had things figured out, I'd have a couple of great pots with this glaze in the kiln right beside one not so great pot. 
And last firing I finally figured it out.  Clay body.  I've been using 3 different clay bodies in the studio, one being my slip-casting clay body (image 1), the other being the original clay body I've used for the past 7 years or so (image 2)- I make all my bowls and large pieces with this clay body, and, the culprit: a porcelain clay body (image 3- look close: see the pin-holes?).  I had started using this clay a couple of years ago when my supplier for my other clay body went out of business and I could no longer get clay #2.  Then after a few months a new clay supply store, in a very inconvenient spot, opened up and started carrying my old clay body.   I quite like the porcelain for a number of reasons- my poppies have a sort of glow to them on the porcelain, but in many other ways, #1 being warpage, this clay body is a real pain. There are so many factors that go into a good pot- sometimes I forget that at the base of a good pot is the clay itself.  What a relief to know that I don't have to change much here- I just have to remember which clay is which.

Kiln is cooling today with plenty of striped bottle vases to go off to new shops and back in stock on Etsy!  I'll be announcing some new shops that will be carrying my work soon!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Weekend projects

I did finally get to sewing a tote bag out of fabric that I had dyed this last summer.  I used an Ikea cushion cover that had a broken zipper on it for the lining.  It feels good to re-use something for another purpose or another life. 
This weekend the boys and I took a trip to the Family farm.  Johnny has a school project that he's working on about documenting a family treasure- he has to interview someone about the treasure, take photos and tell the story behind the treasure.  So out of a few possibilities he chose a friendship ring given to his Great-Grandmother as she left Russia to come to Canada in 1924.  We looked through old letters from family that stayed behind during Soviet Russia.  One of her brothers who was thought to have died in a work camp during Stalin's reign was re-united with our family about 12 years ago, only a few years after the death of his sister. 
I particularly liked the wallet that the ring was found in- such a great design.  Each of those corner flaps opened up to a pocket.
And check out the 'Rules for the baby' Great-grandma Dahl got when she had one of her son's in 1949.  'Most important of all.  Leave Baby alone.'  It really is a wonder babies survived with advice like that!