Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Sketchbook Project 2012

Today was the last day to mail off our moleskin notebooks for the Sketchbook Project. In case you've forgotten that I took on this project, it's that little cloudy looking button down there on the left hand side (scroll way down). It was my intention to post my sketches on the blog as I did them, but that kind of fell by the wayside. It's a bit of a miracle that I finished doing this at all (which, technically, I didn't - I only managed to get half the pages colored, though I did at least ink them all). 

I drew most of the sketches on my break at Fedex when I was still working there, shortly after Maddy was born. Having a little girl really influenced me thinking about stories, and girls, and gender, so the sketchbook is full of flame haired girls riding giant cats and taming alligators. Some of the images might even turn into stories for Maddy one day. I keep saying I'd like to make a book for her and illustrate it. Maybe this is a jumping off point.

The theme I chose for my sketchbook (you are asked to choose one of the themes provided) was "Fill me with stories." I didn't write any literal stories, but I did draw a lot of illustrative images that could become stories one day.
Filling him with stories, literally.
I have a thing for drawing girls on cliffs.
I used these awesome acrylic inks for all the color. They're super vibrant, and water soluble,  so I can get nice delicate watercolor washes and deep opaque colors.
Maddy will probably not have flame red hair. I just like drawing flame headed girls.
I included a secret note for anyone who checks out the sketchbook from the art library. So the sketchbook tour comes to your city, look for it!
The main branch post office downtown is supposed to be open until 7pm, but I live in Indianapolis, and the Super Bowl is this weekend. The post office is around the corner from the stadium, so it was closed. Of course I waited until the last minute to mail this thing, which must be post marked today to be included. We dropped it in the box in the hopes that it will be postmarked for today, since the pickup time was supposed to be til 7 (we dropped it in at 6:50pm, 'cause we're that good). Fingers crossed.

I'm just happy I drew on every page this time around. I didn't even submit my 2011 sketchbook, and I was sad about that. I'm proud of myself for getting this done! Maybe next year I'll do even better, with full color dreamscape pages from cover to cover. 

For pics of all the drawings, visit my Facebook page!

Monday, January 30, 2012

Too busy today - here's some Pinterest stuff.

Yesterday I did a private workshop (and neglected to take pics), and today I'm doing taxes (Yay! I am so grumpy about this, and my husband thinks that's hilarious. Why should I be grumpy about getting lots of money back? Because I HATE DOING MY TAXES.) So I'm slacking a bit on the blogging front. Never fear! Here are some pretty things from my Pinterest for you to look at. That's just as good, right?

Ugh. Taxes. GAH.

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Not really mastering cone 6 glazes?

One of my duties as artist in residence at Beech Grove is to formulate studio dipping glazes for student use. Now, glaze chemistry has never been my strong point. I've no head for math, and I'm just not a very precise person, so in college I didn't have much luck finding glazes that I liked or had use for. All that repetitive testing just seemed tedious to me, and given the kind of surface treatments I prefer, not very useful. Except now I need that information for a job, and probably will many times in the future. So I better brush up on it, right?

I've always been the kind of person that will happily hit the books (or the internet) if there's something I don't know how to do. I really love learning, and usually pride myself on being able to pick up new skills easily. Several people have recommended Mastering Cone 6 Glazes to me as a really great resource, so I asked for it for Christmas, and I'm just now getting around to cracking it open.

Oh man. I'm slowly starting to think that once you have a baby, your brain just turns to mush and slides right out of your ears.

I woke up yesterday morning, fed Maddy, and after she went back to sleep, I figured I had a couple quiet hours to spare before she woke up again. I thought it would be an excellent time to sit down and finally begin reading this book. Next week being my break, and with my new (currently not working, but fixable) test kiln, I figured it would be the perfect time to get some glaze testing done. I sat down with my cup of coffee, and started reading.

And could barely register a word of it.

I can barely even remember what I read! What is wrong with my brain! I gave up in frustration, but several friends and potters assured me that it was probably not a good morning read, so I tried again in the afternoon (after many cups of coffee). Slightly clearer then, but still daunting.

Don't get me wrong. Clearly there is a lot of good info in this book. The base glaze recipes they include will probably be a lot of help. And they clearly intended this book to be simplistic so that anyone can use it and formulate their own glazes.

But my brain must be broken. Or stuffed with fluff.

Maybe it's just not the sort of thing you should read cover to cover. Maybe I need to look at the appendices and apply some of the practices in studio to really understand what they're talking about.

I know everyone says this a great book. But I can't remember the last time I've felt so stupid!


Friday, January 27, 2012

Student projects, and blogging is a pain in the butt

I'm really not so great at this whole daily blogging thing. It's all well and good to upload a few pics from my cell phone everyday. But to actually write something, something that is thought out and is something of quality... Well, maybe i'm just shooting a bit high. With Maddy around, a lot of my typing is one handed these days, and therefore fairly rushed. Or, its done on my iPhone, which is a royal pain to type at any length with. Oh well. This is still better than posting one or two sparse blog posts a month. I just miss the days of actually enjoying the writing part of blogging. I really do love to write, and if you look at my first several blog posts on this blog (look at this wordy crap!), they were insanely lengthy with no pics at all. One day, I'll find a balance. In the mean time, it's just nice to have a record of what's going on.

My teaching session is over, so I get a week off before the new one starts. I'm hoping to get the surfaces done on all the bottle forms I've thrown recently over the break. I think I have six in all.

Check out some of the member work from this session! I've got some very talented people in my classes.
Connie's dragon. 
Mike B's pineapple vase. I had no part in helping with this project - this was all Mike!
Shonda is making a series of 3 beavers. Pretty adorable, right?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The 12" challenge

Class challenge inspired by another pottery blog whose students set this challenge for themselves. I can't remember where I saw it, so if you're reading this and you just wrote a blog post about your students doing this, let me know so I can give you credit!

Turns out this challenge wasn't as easy as I thought! I threw one 12" bottle on Tuesday first try out of red clay, but it was pretty wobbly. Yesterday I used porcelain, and I've always struggled with getting much height from porcelain. My first try flopped, but I got it the second time around. Both the other students managed to succeed with at least 12 inches as well. Mike B has been throwing for years longer than I have, so he did the challenge quite nicely. It's humbling having students who are better throwers than I am! I'm looking forward to getting to that point where I've got 15 years experience under my belt.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Baby Foofaraw

My daughter is 10 months this week. Everyone always says "They grow up so fast," and I've always thought that was such a cliche thing to say. Of course they grow up fast, that's what kids do. Then you have one of your own, and you just can't stop thinking it to yourself. I feel silly every time I think it, but I can't seem to help myself. It seems like Maddy masters a new skill daily these days. This week, she discovered how to clap all on her own, out of the blue. Just a minute ago, she was a chubby little amorphous blob that made grunts and growly noises, and now she's learning how to walk. It's pretty amazing to watch.

Maddy at 2 months.

Maddy now.

I forgot to bring a camera or pull out my iphone, but I brought Maddy to class with me a couple weeks ago. She wanted to be right next to me most of the time, which made it difficult to do a throwing demo with her hanging on and wanting to touch every sharp object within reach (of course, she went right for the needle tool first.) But she put her hands on the clay as I was pulling out a flat disc for my citrus juicer demo, and the wet slip slid under her hands as the wheel turned, and she went "ooooooooh." She was totally mesmerized by how it looked and felt. It was adorable! I don't think it'll be long before I'm teaching this girl how to throw her own pots:D There are three year olds that can throw, right?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Stephen Wolochowicz

I'm installing the new show in the gallery at BGCW this week. I've seen images of Stephen's Inflation sculptures, but they are something else entirely to see in person. Very exciting to have his work in our gallery! He'll be doing a demo and slide lecture at the end of the show in March. I'm really looking forward to seeing his process, and hearing more about his inspiration for these pieces.

Stay tuned for more info on the upcoming show, closing reception, and Stephen's demo. I'll certainly be taking lots of pics.

Monday, January 23, 2012

My shiny new kiln

I got a new kiln last week, I'm so excited! I've been looking around for a smallish test kiln for ages, something just big enough for a few cups or for doing decals and lusters. A few weeks ago, a friend of mine from art school posted a status message about having a kiln for sale. I almost dismissed it, since I figured I really don't have much money right now. But I went ahead and asked about it, purely for curiosity's sake. Turns out it was exactly the size I've been looking for, and was within my means with a little creative budgeting. So exciting to have a kiln of my own again! While I know I have access to the studio kiln, it will be nice to be able to fire small things at home when I need to (like for those last minute deadlines I like to procrastinate on, heh.)

The nice thing about buying this kiln is that it not only helps me out, but buying it helped out a friend who was in serious need of some cash. I know he wasn't happy about having to sell his baby, but he was glad to know it was going to a friend. I even let him know I'd be happy to fire work for him anytime. I know what its like to not have a way to fire your stuff.

Haven't had a chance to fire it yet, but I'm hoping to get it going sometime this week, once I figure out where to put it, and where I can plug it in. I'll let you all know how it works out!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

What's the haps in the studio?

This session at Beech Grove Clay Works is drawing to a close - this is the last week. It's been a fun session, and with the majority of my students being interested in wheel throwing, I've been really pushing myself to try wheel thrown forms that are out of my comfort zone. I've spent hours trawling the Internet for ideas, videos, and how-tos. Pinterest and YouTube have been invaluable resources,  (not to mention majorly addictive!), as well as Ceramic Arts Daily's archives. Most recently, I've demoed throwing a citrus juicer, tall bottle forms, and a combination chip and dip bowl and cake stand (the idea is it will flip over to function as both - haven't quite worked out the logistics of how I'll fire it, but it's an experiment!)

I've also been trying to do more handbuilding, which I'm really enjoying. I love the soft, pillowy effect you get from building with soft slabs! I think it's a direction I'd like to explore further. I shied away from handbuilding for the longest time, so it's been really liberating.

All in all, a very rewarding session. I love how teaching has made me stretch myself. I hope my enthusiasm shows in my classes! Definitely looking forward to the new session, and continueing to find new things to share with my students.

Saturday, January 21, 2012


It's been two weeks since the opening of our three woman show at the Earth House. I've been meaning to blog about it ever since, but I never seemed to be able to get around to getting the pictures off my camera card and editing them all. It's hard to do anything computer related for any real length of time when you have a baby, and her crib is right next to the desk! Luckily, Maddy took some very long naps, and I finally got around to uploading them all.

If you missed the opening... well, it's hard to describe how awesome an event it was! More like a party than an art opening, which was fantastic. We really tried to structure it as a family friendly art event, since all three of us have kids. Vanessa has many years of experience dragging her kids to to First Friday art openings, and they always get whiny and bored after awhile. (I get whiny and bored at gallery openings too when they don't provide enough free booze, heh.)

So yeah, we kinda went all out on the kid theme, with cardboard cutout creatures for people to color, a piñata bash with three handmade piñatas by Monfreda, and these adorable monster cupcakes made by the very talented Ellen Nylen. I also hid little ceramic birds around Earth House for the kids to find and keep.

We also had DJ Kyle Long, whose music I'd never heard, but I kept hearing great things about him. Not only was he kind and friendly, but his music was killer! Our event turned into a latino dance party! Furniture was pushed out of the way, and people started salsa dancing in front of the stage. It was great! By the time the night was over, the floor was covered with glitter, candy, and bits of paper. (We stayed to help clean up. Earth House staff assured us they had a very good vacuum cleaner.)

Absolutely the best art event I've ever had the pleasure of being a part of. The place was packed, and lots of people got to see our work. I had several people introduce themselves to tell me how much the like my stuff, which is always awesome. I even had a little girl make me an owl cutout as a present because she liked my stuff so much, and she was so happy to get to keep a bird.

If you missed it, and you want to check out the artwork, here are some pics of the event and the art. There are many more on my facebook page. If you're here in Indy, go see it in person! The show stays up thru the 31st.

Vanessa and I spend an afternoon drawing and cutting out creatures.
Beatriz Schlebecker's breathtaking papel picado banners. You should really see these in person to fully appreciate them.


My favorite little roboninja.
All my new mini jars.

Vanessa's imaginary friends were everywhere, brightening up the rafters.
My sister-in-law Mariah, taking the killer swing.


Mariah with her niece. Maddy got pretty dolled up for the event!

Ellen's killer cupcakes!

My owlet present. It's hanging in my studio now:)