Sunday, December 21, 2008

Holiday Ornaments at Heart & Soul

On Saturday, December 13, 2008, I held a Creative Souls class at Heart & Soul in Pasadena. We each made 2 different types of ornaments. Unfortunately, they did not photograph well, so there is only one picture of my second ornament.

For the first ornament, we took images from holiday cards and glued them to paper mache ornaments. We then applied a special double sided sticky tape to the image and covered it with tiny clear glass beads -- giving it a very reflective quality.

For the second ornament, we found a small image that was cut down to the size of a monocle. A special crystal clear glue was applied to the glass and then the image was adhered to it (see below).

As a bonus, I brought my Revolution die cut machine with the template to cut gift tags. Donna and Vicki really had a blast cutting out the tags from old Christmas card images.

Happy Holidays!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Surface Decoration Class - Decals

Over the past six weeks, I took a course at Xiem on Surface decoration. The final class was to create decals to fire onto pieces of pottery glazed pottery. With a little help from Pottery Barn (hey, I've been busy), I applied my photos of my artichoke in the progression of blooming to these 4" plates.

The image is sent off to a guy who makes the tranfer "paper" and then it is applied and fired.

These are not for sale, yet. But check out my new blog.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Creative Souls Workshop - Spirit Houses

Yesterday in the Creative Souls Workshop at Heart & Soul, we created Spirit Houses. This idea came from a ceramic artist I met many years ago. He was selling Spirit Houses that would welcome in the souls that came for a visit.

I've been looking for a way to recreate the concept (not using clay) and I finally came up with the idea of using chip board (heavy cardboard) and decorating the house with paper and other embellishments. I used a ginger-bread house pattern to cut out each house. They were pre-assembled for the workshop, so we could spend the time on creative part of decorating the house.

Each is Spirit House is a unique work of art, inspired by the artist's own vision.

Vicki had an idea of using twigs and moss (which she brought to share), but she ended up working with the papers and embellishments provided to create a little house with siding (see below). Her sign above the door says "Dream".

Joanne used all sorts of papers to create a colorful house. Both she and I capitalized on Vicki's idea of using the moss. We used small mirrors to represent windows.

I started using the dark rose paper on the roof - completely intrigued by the rich color. My little sign says "Believe".

There are additional Spirit House kits available for $15.00. If you are interested, please contact me directly at
The next Creative Souls Workshop at Heart & Soul is December 13, 2008. We will be making Christmas Ornaments. It is sure to be a lot of fun.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Stupid Hearts, Cute Boxes, etc.

Few things are more frustrating than being foiled in your vision of a piece of art work. "The Stupid Hearts," as they have come to be known around here, were processed similar to the butterfly and flower ornaments featured in the last posting; however, something went horribly wrong.

I applied 4 coats of a low-fire glaze called "Red Dragon". Let me just say that applying low-fire glazes takes a considerable amount of time as each coat must be painted on and then allowed to dry before the next coat is applied.

When I went to pick-up the "Red Dragon" hearts, they were completely white. The red colorant had burned away in the firing. I was devastated. So many hearts, so little time.

Junzo, the kiln master at the studio, suggested I refire the hearts using a glaze called "Hot Tamale." So, once again, I spent a huge amount of time painting 4 coats of glaze on each heart. As you can see below, most of the hearts turned out okay, but a few have broken spots within the red glaze (probably caused by dust).

Despite the drama, "The Stupid Hearts" came out looking pretty good.

Somewhere in this process, I was inspired to create small boxes, using the same cookie cutters I had used to make the ornaments. It required cutting out thicker pieces of clay and then stacking them on top of each other. The lids were made at the same time -- the knobs made from a Sprig mold.

Once the stack of clay was leather-hard, I carved out the inside. This is more time consuming than reglazing "The Stupid Hearts." They are still drying on the shelf at the studio, so I am not sure how they turn out after being glazed. After my disappointment in the hearts, I am hesitant to invest my heart into their success.

Last night, I started my six week course on Surface Decoration at Xiem Clay Studio. I think it is going to be a good class and I can take what I learn to apply to my other pieces.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Preparing for Xiem Studio Sale

As ceramics (on my schedule) take about 5 weeks to complete, I have been working on pieces to sell at the Xiem studio sale in mid-November.

I used cookie cutters to cut out the shapes of the flower and butterfly ornaments and then carved out the petals and wings. They are glazed with a low-fire glaze to get the brilliant color.

Brilliant Black on the bottom and then the bottle was dipped in Rutile Pink.

Apple Green Celadon Vase

Kei-Ito Red Bowl

Matt-Black on the bottom and then bottle was dipped entirely in Korean Blue Celadon.

Matt Black with Non-Iron Blue

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Update on Pottery

Here are my latest pieces of pottery with notes on the glazes used.

Unfortunately the glaze ran on this cute little jar, so the lid is now permantely attached. Bummer! Obviously, this photo is pre-glaze.

Some new shapes are emerging.

This is Brillian Black with Korean Blue

Brillian Black with Non-Iron Blue. It has almost a greenish cast to it.

Glossy White and Kei Ito Red

Brillian Black with Rutile Pink

Matt Black with Rutile Pink

Matt Black with Korean Blue

Matt Black with Korean Blue

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Creative Souls Workshop - Family Tree

Saturday, June 7, 2008 - Family Tree

The goal of this workshop was to reconnect with your ancestors and to create a tree that reflected who they were using different color and patterns for the leaves.

Joanne, Laurel, Vicki and Heather participated in the workshop. It was held at Heart & Soul Healing Art Center in the back yard under a GIANT Fig Tree. The weather was perfect and the session quiet as we each reflected on where we came from and how it is part of who we are.

Each tree is as unique as the individual who created it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

May Pottery

I have spent most of May at the Pottery Studio working on Scottie ornaments to take to the Scottie Convention in June.

Earlier this month I purchased Hydro-Bats. They are made of plaster and have the pin holes for the potter's wheel. They are far superior to the plastic bats I had been using when throwing as they do not flex when you remove them from the wheel. They have take some time to get used to as the clay does not adhere in the same way. I have had two pieces near completion that have flown off the wheel and been lost.

My first two successes with the new bats are this small lidded bowl thrown with Black Mountain clay and glazed with Korean Blue and a hanging bowl for a plant (not pictured). The hanging bowl is thrown the reverse of a traditional bowl. Instead of pulling the walls out, the walls are pulled in to form a dome over the air pocket and it is sealed until the clay is leather hard. At that point, it is trimmed and the holes are made for the wire (to hang it) and drainage. I will photograph it once I have it strung up with wire.

Below are three pieces thrown on the hydro-bats and trimmed, yesterday. The texture is called chattering. It is done when the piece is trimmed to add interest. It is hard to understand the size in these pictures, but these are some of the largest pieces I have thrown. Also, the vase is the lightest piece, I've ever created. The secret is to trim away the excess clay without going through the piece. I get nervous about going through (which I have done), so my pieces remain heavier than they should be. These were thrown using Nara porcelain. Once they are completely dried they will be bisque fired, glazed and high-fired.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Creative Souls Workshop at Heart & Soul

This past Saturday at Heart & Soul Healing Art Center in Pasadena, the Creative Souls Workshop made crowns from lace and other found objects.

Everyone started with a chicken wire base and used wire cutters to create the shape of their crown. You can see how each crown reflects is as unique as the person who created it.

#1 -- Veronica
#2 -- Donna
#3 -- Marie
#4 -- Heather

Most of the lace and jewelry was found at the Rose Bowl Flea Market.

Next month, Saturday, June 7, we will be putting together a family tree. Hope to see you there.

Most Recent Painting

With moving this past year, painting has gotten pushed a bit to the side. However, last fall, after my friend David Cammack passed away from Liver Cancer and I knew I had to paint this landscape.
Only a year earlier, David had returned excited from a trip with his partner to Canada. He shared his pictures of his partner's family home. We talked about how the one photo would make a great painting. He was hoping to paint himself, but the chemo treatments and cancer did not allow him to do so.

I only hope I captured what David imagined "A Different Life" would be.
"A Different Life"
Oil on Canvas
30" x 24"

Recently Completed Pottery

As I have mentioned in prior posts - a piece of pottery (with my schedule), takes approximately 5 weeks from throwing on the wheel to it coming out of the final firing. These are a few pieces that have come out of the process more recently.

#1 -- Matt Black/Korean Blue Genie Bottle
#2 -- Matt Black/Rutile Pink Genie Bottle
#3 -- Pete's Celadon with Turquoise Ink in Crackle Genie Bottle
#4 -- Pete's Celadon Pitcher
#5 -- Matt Black/Turquoise Vase
#6 -- Kei Ito Red/ Blue Gloss Lidded Jar

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Mask Workshop with Marlborough Theatre Class

As a result of my last mask class posting, I was asked by a friend who has a daughter in the Marlborough school theatre production to come in and assist the students in making the masks needed in two scenes in their upcoming production of "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings."

It was great fun and the students needed very little guidance and their masks are all unique and spectacular. Check out the pictures below.

To see more photos from the session, go to: My Photo Album.