Friday, April 30, 2010

Badass Bald Bitch

I have wanted to do this for years, but I was always too chicken.

I shaved my head today! Now I know why dudes do this. It feels AWESOME.

I also bought some refill pans of watercolor underglazes, and did another portrait mug. This is my friend Kat.

It's been a pretty good day.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sexy Butt on a Polar Bear Rug - Lookit!

Zombiekate, one of my favorite artists on Deviantart, was kind enough to ask me to do a pin up for her comic, 1322 Knob Lick Ln, which she is revamping and printing in a bound volume. SQUEE! My drawing's gonna be in print! I was pretty freakin' honored by the request. I've been such a big fan of her drawings and comics for ages, so the fact that she actually asked me to do this was a big honor. Anyway, here's what I did:

Pull is a little boogieman guy that lives in the house with Bulla and Brie. Honestly, my first inclination was to do a drawing of the punk girl character, Zoe, but then I thought "Everyone is gonna want to draw Zoe! I'll do something different." So Pull gets the cheesecake treatment.

I was pretty amused by it;)

Also, here's two more portrait mugs. I'm having fun making these:D

Coming up next, I have to make some presents for a couple people, and one of the things I want to make is a sake set. So I did a little image search just to get me going, and look what I found!
From Hello Kitty Junkie


Sunday, April 25, 2010

New techniques and new toys

I went to Harbor Freight the other day with my hubs and got a new toy. I love that store so much! Hardware stores are like art supply stores but with bigger toys - I wander through them and get all excited thinking about all the possible things you could make if you had all this stuff! We could have easily dropped several hundred there between us if we didn't have a tiny bit of willpower, and the knowledge that we cannot fit large powertools in our little duplex.

What I bought, besides a dry wall mixer attachment for my drill to mix up slip, is an engraving tool. I thought "How cool! Now I can draw straight onto all my thrift store mugs! I gotta try this." Upon getting it home, I managed to draw on two small cups before it became clear that this thing was gonna conk out on me (I only paid $7.50 for it, and it runs on two AA batteries. What did I expect?) I did realize, however, this its basically just a pocket low power dremel with a diamond bit. I have two dremels that I used for doing woodcuts, and I'm almost positive I have a diamond tip bit somewhere. I wonder whether the dremel would work, or whether it would be too powerful and damage the cup? Oh well, we'll soon find out!

After drawing an octopus just for fun (because I'm obsessed with this video), I decided to use the engraver to draw a portrait of a friend. I've collected facebook pictures of a bunch of people I know, and I've been drawing them on cups. It's mostly practice for me to help me bone up on my drawing skills, and I also really like drawing faces. It's also giving me a feel for how I want to place drawings and images on a surface. I hope to get a little more experimental with the portraits as I make more of them. Anyway, here's my friend Erin on a mug:
(Sorry for the crap cell phone pics. My camera's gone AWOL.)

So far this week, I've done three new cup portraits. Here's the other two.
I'm not terribly happy with this one. Goes to show I do indeed need practice. This is my friend Sharrona's little girl, who is much cuter in real life.
This one is Lacey, who is making a sad face because her freckles came early this year. I did this drawing using mishima (carving lines into the leatherhard surface, covering them with black slip, or in this case black underglaze, and then scraping it away with a metal rib). This is a technique I enjoy, but feel like I need a lot more practice with. I'm hoping I can sand the surface a bit once it dries, so it doesn't look all scrapey. I've been drooling over Brooke Noble's work again lately, and I read somewhere that she uses mishima, so I thought I'd give it a shot.

Have any cool ideas for things I could do with this portrait project? Let me know!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Beekeeping, mugs, and sketches

I've been trying to draw or make something everyday, and I've been relatively good this past week. I've really been on top of my mug making. Made 12 in the hope of having 10, but so far 4 have fallen victim to clumsiness or general bad luck, leaving only 8. Oh well.

I have really bad luck with mugs. The handles always break off, or I crack the sides when I'm attaching the handle ( I guess I press too hard). I had gotten really good at pulling handles, but they're usually so wet they collapse, and if I leave them to dry a bit, I forget about them and they dry too much. Or the cup and the handles dry at different speeds, and the handles pop right off. I've tried wrapping the cup and handle in a wet paper towel, to varying degrees of success. One tiny but very useful thing I keep neglecting to pick up at the store is a spray bottle, just so I can mist these bastards after trimming and before I wrap them up. I really need a damp cupboard or an old fridge to keep my pieces from drying out. In the mean time, I'm trying to get better at sculpting handles, rather than making pulled ones. I do really enjoy the fluid look of pulled handles, but making them from fresh clay right out of the bag seems to be a little closer in dampness to the leatherhard mugs. We'll see whether these survive the drying process.

Nich checked on his bee hives over the weekend, which I always enjoy watching him do.

One of the hives is doing great, but the other one died. We opened it up to find hundreds of dead, slightly rotten bees and a lot of wax moth larvae. Poor things. We were pretty sad about it - I don't think we took good enough care of them last summer, and we've recently read that it's not good to have too many hives on a small property. I guess having three in your backyard just wasn't a good idea. Hopefully we'll learn and make less mistakes as we go along. Here's a shot of some of the honeycomb we pulled from the dead hive, which I thought was beautiful, despite the belly up bee.
I hope our other hive does better. I love that we get to keep bees - it's one of the coolest things I've ever gotten to do. They're so fascinating! It's also nice seeing the whole of Nich's parents backyard blanketed in tiny wildflowers.

I forget which day I drew this one. I think it was on a day I'd already done a journal entry, so I didn't bother to date it. I'm trying to push myself to practice drawing from life so I can bulk up my drawing skills a bit. Nich and the cats are always freely available models, and I enjoy drawing them (though Nich never likes my drawings of him much - he thinks I make his nose look too big). The beer bottle was left over from when I made beef stew. I wish I liked beer, because I love those adorable little Red Stripe bottles.

I hope the majority of my pottery comes out decent. I just applied for another craft fair today, so wish me luck! It looks like fall is going to be a busy time for me if I can get into most of the fairs I apply for. I have got to bust out ceramics like mad this summer!

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Mr. Neil "Scary Trousers" Gaiman

Last night was the Indianapolis Marion County Public Library's Annual McFadden Lecture, and *joy of joys!* Neil Gaiman was the lecturer. The last time I heard him speak, it was at a crappy (and now defunct) convention in New Orleans nearly 10 years ago, so I was pretty stoked. I could listen to him talk all day - he is a charming dude. We became Friends of the Library last week in order to get preferred seating (and because we both really love the library, so it was nice to make a donation to them), so we got to sit just three rows back and directly in front of the podium. Totally worth it:D

My husband was grumpy and annoyed by the throngs of people there (I was a little too; I'm not terribly fond of crowds, especially crowds of overly enthusiastic and often obnoxiously loud comic book fans), but once the talk began, he couldn't stop smiling. You can't help but be won over by Neil. He's a great storyteller, he's funny, and a he's little dorky, but in a totally endearing way (I think he has that whole bumbling British thing working for him). You get the impression that he is a genuinely kind and decent human being. I wish the talk could have gone on for another hour.
I finally bought a copy of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish while I was there, which is by far my favorite of his children's books. Unfortunately, he wasn't doing any signing, but they did give out little signed sticker bookplate thingies, so I can stick it in my new book. Nich is appalled that I would mar a newly purchased hard cover, but I love my books hard and don't expect it to stay in mint condition. I still have my now well worn autographed copy of Sandman: Dreamhunters, which is dog eared and bent around the edges. I have no intention of ever giving either book up, so I don't think it matters much what condition they're in. They're both just mementos of really awesome days, and really really enjoyable books:)
I tried drawing Mr. Gaiman during the lecture twice, but neither drawing is any good. They don't look a thing like him.

As you can see, yesterday was a pretty kickass day. Today should be as well - my friend Laura is picking me up to go to a Record Day and craft fair in Broad Ripple. Should be fun. I have no cash, so I won't be coming home with any other goodies, which is probably just as well - we spent more than enough yesterday!

I didn't do any drawing Thursday, but I did bring over some shelves from the old house to put my ceramics on.
Lookit all that stuff!

I'd like to have those shelves overflowing with pieces before the end of the week. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dead Rabbits Don't Talk, and other stories

Had what started as a very melancholy day. Some personal (and really stupid) drama (that I'm not going to elaborate on.).
However, it gave me an idea for a ceramic series I want to do. So that's good. Please ignore the wonky anatomy, and really lumpy badly drawn clothing. I know her head is too big, and it's just lazy drawing on my part. But it's a sketch and an idea that was in my head, and I'm not willing to do tons of research and work on a daily sketch. Bleh.

I just finished reading Scott McCloud's ZOT! yesterday, in which he complains constantly about his limited drawing ability (which is freakin' amazing compared to anything I can do), so I'm feeling a a little critical of myself. I'd really like to draw more, practice more, and start doing comics or zines. I don't want to give up ceramics; I just feel like I'd be more comfortable telling stories with pictures and words, and I can't figure out a good way to do that with clay. I need both mediums. I love comics way too much, and I've always wanted to make my own.

The rest of my day got much better, because I listened to Three Ninja's new album, Smarter Than a Lettuce, that I purchased on iTunes today. I wrote a review for it that is a fine, fine piece of writing. I then decided that today was a good day to finish the lineart for the Three Ninjas CD cover (that I should have finished ages ago, but, well, I'm much better at procrastinating than I am at actual art). So here it is, in all it's glory.
Still to come is coloring it, adding a city background, and adding text. But I'm happy to be done with the stupid, tedious, completely unintuitive pen tool. Stupid pen tool. Jeez.

Anyway, Three Ninjas is my friend Jason, who talked me down from my ledge and made me realize I was being ridiculous today. He cheered me up immensely. Thanks, Jason.

I hope you all go over to iTunes right now and buy his album. It's 9.99. You won't regret it. It made my day better, and it'll probably save your life, or even save the world.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Day 102 (I think)

I went to Bloomington on Friday with Nich and our friend Laura. While sketching on the way back home, I realized how many things I saw that were cats. We ate at the Runcible Spoon (a reference to the Owl and the Pussycat, a poem by Edward Lear); stopped into the art supply store Pygmalions, whose mascot is a cat, and they also have two shop cats wandering around the store; saw a cat with a rose t-shirt and a maneki neko necklace at a vintage clothing store whose name I forget; and had bubble tea at a chinese food restaurant called Chow Bar with a maneki neko on the counter. We also went to an awesome volunteer run bookstore called Boxcar Books, where I bought two zines and a pack of postcards called "The Cutest Sneeze in the World" and has 30 different postcards with little cat comics on them.

Yesterday I drank chocolate cake shots with my husband, watched A League of their Own, and drew this little guy on one of my cups before I got too tipsy to hold the pencil. I also threw 12 more cups, which I let dry for too long to add handles to, so they're all gonna be tumblers as well. Good thing I really like handle-less cups.
Today was semi productive. I woke up much later than I intended, and I spent way too much time on the internet. I did make some little octopus tile thingys, and got all my cups trimmed.
I did a couple of drawings on cups - one is an official visual journal entry about how I left eggs on the stove boiling until they exploded (it sounded like a gun shot! Scared the crap out of the cats), and the other is from a pin up style pic of my good friend Courtney.

It doesn't really look like her. I guess I need to sharpen up my drawing skills.

I'll probably add color to these tomorrow.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

The Lovely Blogger List

My friend Eef sent me a link to a blog called Lovely Clusters, which has been kind enough to put together a list of creative bloggers. I'm questionably creative, but I do have a blog, and I do go around telling people I'm an artist so they'll think I'm cool and not just the huge dork and social retard I appear to be. So here's my submission to the list:

My name's Lori, I'm 28, and I'm a ceramic artist/potter originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, now living in Indianapolis. I've got a big ol' fancy BFA in Ceramics from the Herron School of Art and Design at Indiana University, which is where I met my weirdo punk husband Nich. We live together with 5 bastard cats, 2 goldfish, and a Leucistic Texas Rat Snake that looks awesome, but is cranky as hell. I make stuff out of clay, and I'm working towards doing pottery as a living full time, but I'm trying to content myself with learning as much as I can and knowing that making stuff everyday is pretty cool, even if I have to eat ramen to do it.

I create a lot of cups, which is sort of an obsession of mine (hence the blog title). I lean mostly towards making functional art - I love well designed tableware and things that enhance your everyday life. I occasionally make things that are more conceptual, but I can't help but laugh at myself a little when things get too deep - who am I kidding? I can't even keep my shoes tied half the time, so who am I to comment on the ills of society? My conceptual work is usually concerned with my own life experiences, my struggles with mental health and being bipolar, and things like memory and emotion. I started off as a painter, so I draw and paint a lot as well, and keep a daily drawing journal which I post on this blog.

I get really inspired by music, animals, the whole crafting and DIY movement, graffiti, street and underground culture (whatever that is anymore), and looking at other artists in as many different mediums as I can take in. I'm also an obsessive reader, so I've always got a stack of books, graphic novels, and zines next to my bed, in my car, and scattered in random places where I might be sitting.

In case you want to stalk me, you can find me on Facebook, Twitter, Etsy, Flickr, and DeviantArt. You'd totally be stroking my ego if you visited them all.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Forgive my temper tantrum.

The last few days has caused me to give some thought to my little outburst regarding the Handicraft Exchange. I thought I was ready to do this full time - I thought my work was good enough. I'm realizing just how ridiculous that assumption was. I must be delusional.

Since I quit my second job and have decided to have a go at this as close to full time as I can, I've realized just how lazy, ADD, and completely inept I am as a potter and an artist. I need a lot of work! Sitting down at the wheel everyday has shown me how badly in need I am of serious practice and attention to detail and craftsmanship. I'm a beginner, I have to be honest. That BFA means nothing. It was just a start. I can't even throw a proper teapot, or keep my handles from cracking off of my mugs (no matter how many layers of plastic and damp paper towels I wrap them in!) It's laughable for me to draw something I want to throw, and then sit down and actually think I can throw the form I had in mind. I'm still making beginner's mistakes like forgetting to compress the bottoms of my pots after opening the center (HELLO S CRACKS!), and leaving my pots to dry with nothing to cover them, so I end up with bonedry rims and wet feet.

This is not to say I'm despairing here. I love getting my hands dirty everyday, and I love drooling over all the things I might be able to make, one day, if I keep working at this. HARD. I'm just saying, maybe it's a little premature of me to set my sights as high as the biggest and best craft fair Indy has to offer. Dreaming big is nice, and it can keep you going, but without hardwork and dedication, it's just dreams. I've really got to focus and stop being so damned lazy.

Well, enough about all that. Here's my drawings for yesterday and today.
My sister-in-law Mariah, looking like a regal African queen, if queens wore t-shirts and sat on the couch watching Dancing with the Stars. (All joking aside, she's really beautiful, don't you think?)
I didn't do much drawing today - I actually drew these on break at work last night, but since it was after midnight, it technically counts as today.

Just to end things on a ceramic note, here's a few things I've been drooling over.
From Shinzi Katoh Design
From Peppa Studio
From Shannon Garson

Monday, April 5, 2010

Work in progress - SO MUCH CLAY!

I had a nice family Easter lunch with Nich's family today. I then opted out of going out drinking tonight so I could come home and throw. DO YOU SEE HOW DEDICATED I AM TO THIS?!? AREN'T YOU IMPRESSED??? Right now, my husband is consuming mass quantities of alcohol and raspberry BBQ while I wait for pots to become leather hard. I hope you're impressed, because I'm impressed with myself. This is willpower, damn it.

I got so much marked off my huge list of things I want to try making today. That list is seriously diminished. I really am proud of myself, because I'm so freakin' ADD. It's really hard to keep throwing when I could be checking my facebook or eating a sandwich.

I did a teapot with a tealight warmer for it to sit on, a bunch of bowls, 3 bird bottles (colonial birdhouses that are bottle shaped - I'm a bit obsessed with these right now),  and a juicer thingy (you know, to juice oranges. What do you call those things?)

 Also, here are some of the cups I made yesterday.

Check out that longcat stamp! I think it's the crappiest looking cat ever, but I like it:D

Finally, while googling bird bottles so I can get a better understanding of exactly what features they need (how they hang, how big they are, etc), I found lots of ceramic birdhouses that were pretty sweet and well designed, and I also found these amazing ceramic lanterns. I wanted to make ceramic lanterns for my wedding so bad, but I just ran out of time and energy. If I had seen these back then, I think some other decorations would have been put aside.

From Thai Happy Design
Colonial Bird Bottle on Flickr

Man, this entry is pic OBESE! Once again, would anyone like to join my cup swap? If you're a ceramic artist and you make cups, or you'd like to, just send me a message, and we will trade one of my cups for one of yours. I'll keep posting pics in progress - maybe once you guys see I don't make total crap, you'll be willing to swap.