Saturday, December 15, 2012


I'm on a journey.

It's a bit unnerving to tell you the truth.  I started this leg of my life somewhat unprepared for what was in store.  I had a grand idea.  I wanted to do something completely different with my life.  Shift my focus away from the corporate world.  Sell art.

Not that it was that easy.

I spent the first few months overcome with doubt.  So much doubt that I lost my way a little bit.  Panicked, I interviewed for several open positions that would take me back to my old life.  By the time I resurfaced and set my priorities I was in the midst of the holiday crunch.

I've learned a lot those first six months and I've learned even more this past year.  I suspect that this time in my life will teach me more than I've ever learned in the past.

It's a bit unnerving to tell you the truth.  Just when I think I've got the formula worked out.  When I feel good about the direction my art is taking, my application gets rejected.

Rejection feels like a knife stabbing you in the gut.  It's swift, it's sharp and it gets you right where you are most confident.  At least it does for me.

I trust my gut instincts more than I trust any thought rattling around in my head.

It's a bit unnerving to tell you the truth.  To move forward and wade through the feedback, at least there was feedback, provided to make improvements.  What does that mean?  I've been told the exact opposite by others.


I've come to grips, if you will, with this most recent rejection.  I've begun to process the feedback.  New ideas are in progress at the studio.  The part of me that hates to do the same thing over and over is loving all of the ideas drying, waiting to be bisque fired.

It's still a bit unnerving to tell you the truth.  I guess I need to get used to never being comfortable again. After all, I'm on a journey. 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Out of the Kiln - November 2012

The outcome of the latest round of color scheme tests for my stained glass series are out of the kiln this month.  Check them out below!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Darting Under the Eaves

When I told my mom that I was going to start teaching a handbuilding class a few months ago, one of the first things she said to me was that I would probably find all sorts of new ideas for my own work as a result.

Mom was right.

The other week found me demonstrating to my class how to create slab built mugs from their own paper templates.  The sample template I cut out was for a cone shaped mug with a waaaay too big opening at the wider end.  Oops!  Luckily I quickly thought of how to use the error as a discussion point about how they could refine their own templates when one of my students asked if they could "dart" their mug.

Darting in clay does exactly what it does in sewing.  Removes clay and creates a tapering of the piece just like darts do for skirts and shirts.  While it is a technique I'm familiar with I hadn't pulled it out of my tool bag for years until incorporating it into a class lesson on vases the prior week.

Since it had obviously stuck with my students as a cool process, I demonstrated what darting could do if used on my too wide cone.  I flipped it around to have the super wide end as the top and proceeded to add darts until the mouth was a more functional size and shape.

The class dispersed to start work on their own templates and mugs with my parting, "once you refine your templates keep them so you can make more later."

Good thing I took my own advice.

Just before the next class, I pulled out the template to re-make the mug again.  I wanted to re-demonstrate making and adding handles since my students' mugs had been a little too wet the previous class.  As I added darts to the mug, comparing placement to the original as I went, I was reminded of how much I liked the shape.

Those darted mugs seemed like they might be a finished design.  Little did I know they would stay in the back of my thoughts to re-emerge while I sat under the eaves at the Desert Art Center this past weekend.  

My view that day consisted of bunches of palm trees with haircuts.  At least that is what it looked like to me, trees with haircuts.  The dead palm fronds trimmed like split ends to prevent ragged ends of palm fronds from hanging down.  As I sat there pondering why landscapers hadn't just pulled off the dead fronds instead of giving them a trim, it hit me.

Trimming.  How could I incorporate this idea into my work?  My darted mugs popped back to the front of my mind.  I pulled out a pad of paper and started sketching some different options to trim (dart) mugs into interesting shapes.

So much for my "finished design."  I can't wait to try out some of these other thoughts to further develop my next mug series. 
At least the hard part is done thanks to my students and my palm tree view from under the eaves ... the title. Need you ask?  I'll call them Darting Under the Eaves, of course!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Out of the Kiln October 2012

Fewer pieces out of the kiln this month since my big glazing push was last month, so I could ensure having pieces in time for Art, for Heaven's Sake.  I do have some fun results to share though!

New stained glass inspired pieces in wall hanging form and with new designs!

Below are more pieces from out of the kiln the last full week of October. You can see some of my class demo pieces (mugs, tree stump vases) as well as my latest stain glass inspired pieces.

Also out of the kiln this month is a custom order for two vases and three luminaries. They will be adding to the decoration of a massage therapist's massage room!

Monday, October 1, 2012

Out of the Kiln September 2012

September has been all about glazing.  So much glazing that the next time I glaze will be too soon!  Don't worry though, I can't stop making work that will need to be glazed, so I'm sure it will pass. : )

I've been playing around with different glaze color and firing temperature options to achieve different effects on my stained glass inspired pieces.  I've broken down the results of all this testing for you here.

High Fire to Cone 10 is my glaze temperature home!  I fire most of my work to Cone 10 (that's just under 2400 degrees) and love the depth of color that can be achieved at this temperature.

My glaze results vary in color here mainly due to clay body vs. firing temperature.  The lighter color pieces were all created with porcelain which provides a great backdrop for what I like to think of as the original stained glass inspired series look.  The darker, kind of mysterious colors, are all on stoneware clay that has a ton of iron oxide at to the clay for a deep red tone that also deepens the glaze colors.

Low Fire to Cone 06 is my most recent experimental glaze temperature.  At this lower temp (around 1800 degrees) I can create bright colors with a wider range of shades.  I really like this option for the greater variety in the color palette than what is available at high fire.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Phew! Is It Tea Time Yet?

September's week long madness, otherwise known as CRAFTfest, ended on Saturday.

All craft fairs are an experience with a capital "E" and CRAFTfest was no exception.

I meet interesting people both customers and fellow vendors from whom I gain advice and tips and suggestions.  Personally, I find all of it helpful.  It might be hard to believe, but I do truly find all of it value-added even if the offered words never find their way into my work or display.  Every word and comment is processed and incorporated or very thoughtfully not incorporated, but all of it leaves me in a better place as an artist, as an individual.

CRAFTfest certainly did all of these things for me, but it was different.  There was a true community among the stallholders that doesn't exist to the same extent at other events.  The success of this past week relied almost solely on the amount of time each of us was able to devote to social media and "other" media promotion.  A much more collaborative environment that I hope to take with me to other fairs this year.

I observe everything in a different way.  I don't know if I can explain it adequately, but I suspect that every person who has ever sold their services or art will understand immediately.  As you're setting up your display focus shifts from viewing your work through the eyes of creation to viewing it through the eyes of a buyer.  Potential customers never, and I truly mean never, see the same things you put into your work.  They have their own past experiences and filters.  It always delights me when they decide to share with me their "take."  This perspective shifting helps me refine my designs, color schemes and even launches new product ideas.

I missed this aspect during CRAFTfest.  Sure I got some comments on photos and in group forums, but absent the live interaction it felt strange.  I participated in an Art Walk in Claremont on Friday night and found myself hungrily engaging in those conversations I had been missing.

I work pretty hard.  It might not seem like it to the customer, but each art fair starts with going through current inventory to assemble the right mix for the event, double checking pricing, packing up my car, getting up really early to drive to the fair, unloading my car at the fair, setting up my display, fielding questions, selling, restocking, tearing down the display, repacking unsold work, repacking the car, driving home, unloading the car and finally putting unsold work back into inventory.  Phew!  Major run-on sentence there.

CRAFTfest seemed so appealing initially with the no getting up early in the morning and none of that loading and unloading were top of my "that's cool" list when I signed up.  It does seem like I worked just as hard, if not harder for this show though.  Taking pictures, listing inventory in my Etsy shop, uploading photos to my stall and all of the hours logged on social media.  It might not have been physically demanding, but there was definitely work involved.

I laugh and have fun.  This is without a doubt the best part of participating in art fairs, okay well aside from selling work, is how much fun it can be.  It is easy to forget sometimes amidst all of the work or when you're not getting many sales, but it is an absolute blast.

Thank you, thank you to all of my fellow stallholders for making me laugh throughout CRAFTfest from crazy computer glitches and "bum" comments to support on writing fancy HTML for stall descriptions to the mini Twitter vs. Facebook debate.

As CRAFTfest closes, I will be taking everything I've learned forward to my work and social media strategy today as well as to the next CRAFTfest in November.

To my fellow CRAFTfesters like Debbie from D&D Designs, I wish you all many sales as a result of all of the activity this past week.
Image Copyright D&D Designs

Monday, September 3, 2012

Houston, We've Gone Coral

Today I'm featuring the blogs and CRAFTfest stalls of some fellow members of the Coral Team.  Please take a few minutes to stop by and visit these wonderful artists.  Their work is simply great and each, in their own way, have provided inspiration to me for CRAFTfest and my work as well.  I hope they will for the rest of you too.

First, I'd like to feature Scarlet Wolf at The Crystal Cavern for awarding me with the "I love your blog" award.  Scarlet creates beautiful and truly unique jewelry for both men and women, so be sure to check out her blog and CRAFTfest stall.

The I Love Your Blog Award goes to Ana at Channelled Creations.
Ana creates some of the most positive and uplifting work!  Be sure to check out her CRAFTfest Stall.
Other absolutely wonderful members of the Coral Team to check out!
Sal at The Beaded Bounty
Sal leads the Coral Team and works tirelessly to ensure our whole team is set-up for success!  In addition to keeping us all in line, she finds time for her own jewelry creations as well!
Check out her work here and CRAFTfest stall here.

Ines at Little Creatures
Ines creates the cutest pieces out of polymer clay with all of them at tiny size, but big personality.
Check out her blog here and CRAFTfest stall here.

Helene at Chic n Trendy
Helene's style is all about nature, no wonder I love her work!  Don't miss her wonderful wreaths!
Check out her CRAFTfest stall here.

Hannah at Hannah Smith Stone
Hannah carves her designs out of rock to create sculptural objects, wall hangings and coasters.
Check out her CRAFTfest stall here.

So, there you have it, a little taste of the many, many finds available from the stalls of CRAFTfest.  I hope you will, like I did, find a little bit of inspiration as well as you visit each!
 Houston, We're Signing Off

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Out of the Kiln 8/21/12

First, I'd like to share the first of the group of test mugs with you.  Same wonky style that twists and turns, but with the addition of my different textures.  Also noteworthy is the shape of the mug.  Not too obvious in these photos, but I am loving the improved height and width ratio.  Much, much better for holding your favorite drink without sacrificing whimsy.

Also, out of the kiln this round were some absolutely gorgeous tree pieces.  Two of them, my favorites, are done in the new stained glass inspired style.  One is a tree cut out!  And the fourth is a two-toned tree bowl.  On a fun note, these "out of the kiln" pictures were taken inside the kiln!

No firing would be complete without some hearts and pendants.  Here is the mix that came through this round.
Phew!  The first of many for the next several weeks.  Inventory build for the holidays has begun!