Particular stones are gathered from the beaches of cape cod Massachsetts in order to create these amazing pieces.
In my efforts to collect beach stones I have ventured out over last year, in some pretty chilly weather. Bundled up with winter coat, water boots and earmuffs during the late fall and early spring, and during the summer it quickly changes to shorts, tee shirt and flip flops ( my favorite) . Below is a picture of my rock collecting gear, include bucket, water boots, sunglasses, head band, pales, and bags….I do look interesting.
We finally had snow today. We expected 2-4 inches, and well, the missed, we got 10.
If your not a snow lover, this winter has been perfect. Below is a photo of one my Garden Totems, with the little bit of snow we had gotten until now.
It has been a few years since Peter Bloch and I collaborated in creating 4 beautiful lamps. Each lamp base was comprised of the clay beads that I use to make my garden towers, and his beautiful wooden lampshades.
Oct 2 – Dec 18 there is an exhibit at League of NH Craftsmen Headquarters showing the work of many collaborations and the work of the individual arts and their own work. It is spectacular. Amazing things happen when artists work together
It has been a wonderful summer, full of great weather, great friends and quite a few trips to the beach….my new office. Trips to the “office” have a purpose other than soaking up the waves and sun. My new work requires a lot of beach stones, the more the better. There are certain specs that have to be met, before I toss them in the sand pail. Flat-oval-thin. Black, white, green, or red. Occasionally a stray stone, one considered “amazing” will find its way to the pail.
My new obsession is just an extension to my old beach combing days. I felt a sense of urgency last week, as the water and weather will be getting colder, and it will not be a place for flip-flops for another 6 months.
It took nearly a year of sketching, day dreaming, imagining and collecting “just the right beach stones”, but we finally have it. I am quite happy with how things turned out. Each piece was thrown on the wheel, trimmed, carved and worked on to create a channel. Then each was burnished, fired, glazed inside only and fired again. The finishing touches are placed in the channel when complete.
Like most of the country winter has been difficult here. Sometimes after snow removal projects there is little energy and desire to do studio work. Some work got done, maybe more than I realized. New ideas are swirling in my head, we will see where that goes. Most of the time I feel a bit frazzled because I feel very far behind.
Below are some photos of new Patio Lanterns, the will be in two sizes and two colors….for now.
I thought it would be fun to look back at images of 2014, the work, the process, and the results. Thank you to all of my friends, family and supporters…..you have no idea how important you are to me.
It amazes me how fast the year goes by. In the pottery world, when preparing for shows, we have to plan months ahead of time. We generally don’t fire our kiln unless it can be fully loaded, as it would be a waste of energy otherwise. We have to make our work, trim our work and let our work dry. (depending on the weather conditions, this could take over a week.) We then do our first firing, called the bisque. After that work cools, we then prepare and glaze our work for the second firing. If all goes well, we then pack our work for our next show or for gallery sales.
Here we are staring the Holiday Season in the face and I am certainly not ready. I have 3 small shows to prepare for, and several galleries that need stocking.
leries and shows. There will definitely be a few special added treasures as well.
Not always am I aware of where my inspiration comes from. Sometimes sketches, but more often the sights and images I observe during my day and life. Visits to the beach are always filled with shell hunting and perfect (in my opinion) beach stones. Sometimes I pick my head up long enough to take in other sights. I was fortunate enough to notice that some of my work mirrors or imitates some really great works of art, by nature and man.
I am currently wrapping up my preparations for the largest craft fair that I participate in . The League of NH Craftsmen Fair, located at the base of Mt. Sunapee, in Newbury NH. Aug 2- Aug 10. 10-5:00 each day.
I have been creating work for the fair for 6 months now. Some pieces are similar to years past, but of coarse we have a few new items too.
Small Bird Baths and Smokey Owls are new this year. If you can make it to the fair, please stop by booth 440 and say hello!
We wish for summer all year long, and when it comes I am completely distracted. I have taken two trips to the beach already, and find myself lost in my gardens. I am finding my to-do list growing by leaps and bounds.
I continue to create work for the League of NH Craftsmen fair in August, but I have given myself a deadline concerning the fair as June 30. Firing an electric kiln during our summer brown-outs quite annoying….and who needs that.
Castles, toad houses and some new owl pieces are in the works. Keep an eye on my Facebook Page to get the most up to date happenings.
My favorite distraction.
Spring. We wait and wait all winter in hope that spring will come sooner than later. Well for here in the North East and much of the country, spring is having a difficult time arriving.
Many of us tend to look into our seed and flower catalogs (or on line) with high hopes. I to, wonder what the possibilities will be. New plantings, replacement plants, mulch , a of coarse weeds.
Over the winter I created some interesting pinch pots. I loved them, but what can they be used for? During a recent trip to my local garden center I spied some air plants being displayed in assorted containers, and I thought….of coarse. Perfect!
At first I thought that toad houses would not be very popular, but I was very wrong.
I have been pleasantly surprised by the interest.
I am no fan of winter, I find it a distracting time and usually don’t get much studio work done. This year I am off to a better start than usual, thankfully. Below are some photos of work drying……Actually the truth is, I like my pottery more before its fired and glazed. There is something about the clay itself that I love.
November is a sure reminder that winter is on its way. They best part of November are warmer days, 50 and 60 degree days make me smile. The wild birds are at the feeders entertaining us. The squirrel is also at the feeder, annoying my dog Penny.
Though I missed my intended deadlines, I managed to make my final holiday delivery yesterday…..what a great feeling. I have a new place to sell my work. Its not a gallery, but a florist in Dunstable MA, Rose of Sharon. A lovely country florist, quit sweet.
I am also doing one last show for the season. I have been asked to participate with friends on December 7th at the Picker Building Holilday Market, in Nashua NH. The Picker Building is where I once taught pottery classes at the Out on a Limb Pottery and made numerous friends in the building. I am greatful to be included in this event filled with incredibly talented artists.
December 7, 12-5
I enjoy what I do, working with clay, working for myself….it allows freedom, so they say. I think it requires an incredible amount of planning. Planning for shows, creating new work, supplying galleries. Making sure they are all set for the holiday season and the gardening season. My brain feels a bit frazzled now and then. But its all okay, I love it.
Almost every firing has a surprise or two. Not always a good surprise, but over the years one just accepts the fact that the ugly stuff goes to the trash. Now and again, a wonderful surprise happens when testing glazes and I cant believe how great something came out.
Sometimes something tips over in the firing. I use stilts under some of my items so that it can be glazed on the bottom of the piece as well. (We usually dont glaze the bottom of pots, bowls and mugs, because they stick to the kiln shelf) (Actually stick is an understatement….become part of the kiln self is more acurate). Recently while firing some bird feeders, one of the stilts failed and now we have two feeders forever stuck to eachother. Not sure if these two will hit the trash barrel, or I might just put them in a tree and fill them with seed. The birds and chipmunks dont care….the people care more about what the feeder looks like 🙂
I am completely out of clay, but most galleries are stocked for the upcoming sales season. Hopefully next week new clay will arrive and I can start making some small porcelain bowls that have become quite popular. At this time only two galleries carry them, and well, my studio also has them…..please keep me in mind this fall/winter when your doing your holiday shopping.
Many times (more often than we wish) odd surprises occur during a firing.
Sometimes a test glaze comes out really great, sometimes a test glaze that expect to be great turns out horrid.
Sometimes a test glaze comes out great, but the record keeping has much to be desired, so one really doesnt know how to recreate that wicked cool glaze.
Sometimes bad things happen, but in the name of jinx, I wont say a word.
Sometimes equipment gets old and you know it needs replacing but its going to cost money or you havent just sat down and ordered what you need – in time.
Recently I would walk by my box of kiln stilts (little three legged supports for pots that have glaze on the bottom), and I would say, hmmmmm, they are looking pretty lousy, I really should order more… Stilts tend to weaken over time, due to the heat of the kiln and weight of the pots.
We now have a birdfeeder duplex! Stuck together until the end of time, OR a hammer gets close enough. 🙂
Its okay, stuff like this happens, and I am greatful for how infrequent.
I ordered more stilts yesterday!
As most already know, garden totems are a successful piece of art I make. The customers love them. I love making them. Each bead is a small piece of art in itself.
Some folks have mentioned that some of the beads look a bit like sea urchins. After hearing that a number of times, I decided to do something about it. I cleaned up the studio in order to switch over to porcelain and I got to work. I made only a few of these but they do look great. I think I may be on to something. But what to do with them….more totems, or the wall. Stack a few together? I asked my facebook followers for ideas. I got some wonderful input. Yup, totems, shadow boxes for wall mounting, place a grouping on a wall-free of frames…..I cant wait to hear your opinions. Stay tuned for more photos as things progress.
If you have any ideas, I would love to hear about them. As things progress over the next few weeks, I will keep you posted. I will also focus on trying to figure out how to make this blog look a bit better.
Its far to warm in the studio today for me to work, so I decided to work on my website in my air conditioned house. Life has changed a lot since I was a kid….air conditioning?! Fans and hanging out in the basement were the way to stay cool….unless you knew someone with a swimming pool. I am fortunate to be where I am today.
This also got me thinking about how things have changed since I started working in clay. I did not have a computer. I had to go to the library – a good one, or purchase books and magazines to stay connected with the clay world. Classes and being with potters was the best way to stay in touch. One had to learn how to photograph their own work with film or this new very expensive gadget, a digital camera. Today, I have a computer, I have my own website I control (poorly), an email address, a blog, a facebook page, and now I find myself lost in the time sucking world of Pinterest, Google +, Linked In, and oh, did I mention facebook….yikes. My photography skills are still poor. Our daughter that went to school for photography still shakes her head at my efforts. So….I purchased a smart phone! Yup, its the greatest toy I have ever purchased for myself. Great photos and staying connected while on the go. I am eyeing those really cool tablets too….
My work has evolved and changed as much as technology. Words of encouragement and overwhelming inspiration and ideas have taken me from one form of pot making to another. First I started out making traditional cups and bowls, while trying to find a direction to go in. I dont think I have any photos on my computer of my earliest work…which is probably a good thing. As my work improved I had a huge goal, to be come good enough for the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen. It was very important to me to find my voice, create artistic work that would be accepted by the jury. Here are a few photos of what I offered the jury and through many reviews, was accepted into the League.
I still make some of this work, but not as often as I used to. I do the sgrafitto as a means of relaxing, I really look forward to it. The ugly part about being a craftsperson is the selling. As stock builds up, one tends to feel they need to sell their work in order to move on to make more and different work. This happenes to me as well, so I had to learn some small business practices. Speaking to gallery owners and applying to shows has become part of the norm…its kind of fun, in a scarey sort of way. Over time, I found that I wasnt selling as well as I wished, so it was time to start thinking of a new direction to go in. I love gardening and plant growth, I love the beach, the sand, the whole thing….I am starting to love glass, glass beads and other pretty things…..One day while lost in ciberspace, I came across a totem created by a potter, made of clay birds and other shapes. It made sense to me. I love the idea. I started dreaming and drawing and came up with something that just took all my favorites and put them together, creating my garden totems of large beads, with texture reminding me of the ocean and seashells, and plants.
The totems make a great partner with the Castles I have made over the years, as well as bird feeders, toad houses and other outdoor items I am creating this year.
Happy New Year! Great ideas are brewing in my studio. I thought it would be
fun to look back at some of the events and creations of 2012 as we look forward
to a new year of great ideas and a lot of art in our lives.
The photo at
the top of this post is that of one of my Toad Houses that found its new home
in the garden of a friend of mine in Nashua NH..
I just love the spoon placed
nearby adding even more fun to the space.
Here is a photo of how my booth appeared at the Merrimack Valley Artisans show in October. It is the first time I offered the new Wall Pieces for sale. I enjoyed the process of pressing flowers and creating tiles.
One of my castles will be displayed in and exhibit called A Child at Heart, at
the Craft Center of the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen.
runs January 11 – April 13 2013.
Gallery hours are Monday – Friday,
Saturday 10- 4:00p, during exhibits only.
The Gallery is
loated at 49 South Main St., Suite 100
This is a beautiful lamp that was created by Peter Bloch and myself. We displayed it at an exhibit called
Living With Crafts. It is the first time I have collaborated with another
artist. I hope it wont be the last. Peter is a wood turner who creates
stunning lamp shades as well as other pieces.
I certainly am looking forward to a creative 2013, and I wish the same for you.
Thank you all very much for taking the time to support me this year. It is wonderful to see you at shows, and hear from you on facebook.
Happy Thanksgiving to All.