This year’s started off a little challenging. A few weeks ago, my kiln broke down during a firing. This was pretty stressful since the only kiln repair shop within a couple hundred miles, Seattle Pottery Supply, isn’t doing house calls due to the pandemic. If you need your kiln fixed, you have to bring it to them. Fortunately, a really smart guy who works there was able to diagnose the problem without even looking at the kiln. With James’ help I was able to buy the parts and repair it.
With my newly repaired kiln, I’ve been able to glaze most of the tiles for my flag reclamation project. Just a few more perimeter trim tiles, and it will be ready to assemble. This month I’ve also begun to experiment with small versions of my tessellating tiles, handmade beads, and some new stamps. I’ll be posting some photos of these projects in the weeks ahead.
I’m very excited to be participating in this year’s CVG 2021 Juried Show. Each year Collective Visions Gallery in Bremerton, WA invites artists throughout the state to submit work in three categories: Photography/Digital, Two-Dimensional, and Three-Dimensional art. Black and White Llamas was selected for the Two-Dimensional category.
If you have some time, I encourage you to check out this virtual exhibit. There are so many beautiful pieces in a wide range of styles and mediums. https://www.cvgshow.com/gallery
So I took the advice of my husband and finally started listing ready-to-ship tiles on my Etsy site. I have to admit, he was right – they’re drawing a lot of interest. If you’re looking for a lovely little handmade gift for a friend or family member, be sure to check them out.
These two vessels came out of the kiln yesterday. They’re first attempts at experimenting with underglaze transfers. I saw a demonstration on Facebook of a similar technique and thought it would be fun to try. Basically, you fill a small squeeze bottle with thinned underglaze and draw on newsprint. When the drawing dries, cut around it with a scissors or Xacto knife and position it on your pot. Using a fairly wet sponge, carefully press it onto the surface. When the newsprint is wet, it clings to the pot. Using the sponge, or a soft rubber rib, gently press on all areas of the transfer. After a couple of minutes, you can peel the newspaper away and your image should be on the pot. I did notice that the longer a transfer sits after drying, the longer it takes to “rehydrate” it.
I started this blog over seven years ago and, in recent years, have tried to post something at least once a month.
It’s been really nice having this journal to look back on. A few of my old projects are a little underwhelming to me now [for example, some of my early tessellation tiles, furniture pieces, and jewelry ideas] but many still give me a real sense of accomplishment. It’s also great to look back at things with a fresh eye and think about how I would do them differently a second time. This blog has been a very useful tool and I hope to continue posting regularly.
In addition to this blog, I plan to start posting images on Instagram. I’ve hesitated to take on this task because I’d rather spend my time doing things other than looking at my phone. However, I do find myself using this app more often these days as I look for inspiration in ceramics, tessellations, and nature photography. I think I’ll be posting mostly process photos to start as these are some of my favorite posts from other people. This app also allows me to post short videos which might be a fun thing to try. I hope you’ll consider following me. 🙂
Last week I finished mounting the new tessellation tiles. I also made a new octopus and squid board since I no longer have one and they’re two of my favorite tiles :).
I combined several finishing techniques in these tiles. First, I applied underglazes to the bisqueware and wiped them away, leaving the colors in recessed areas. Next, I sprayed light coats of underglaze to highlight textures like fur that have been carved into the molds. Lastly, I splattered underglazes with contrasting colors on some of the tiles for more variation. I think it works well on the sea creatures.
I’m already starting to think of other configurations for these new tiles and hope to have some additional boards to show in the coming months. As always, thanks for looking!
I’m currently working on eight different tile boards and will post some images when things are a little further along. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few photos of the fat quarters that arrived in the mail today. In case you’re not familiar with the term, a “fat quarter” is a piece of fabric made by cutting 1/2 a yard of fabric into two equal pieces. I think it’s a hilarious term for a big swatch.
Back in December, while participating in a holiday craft show, glass artist Connie Munford suggested doing something with the tessellating patterns I use for my back drop. I researched companies that print custom designs on products and came across Spoonflower, a company that lets you design your own fabrics. Back in February, I ordered a sample of my walrus pattern to see what the quality is like. It turns out that the quality of their fabrics is very good and I made a pillow cover with the sample.
Not long after the pillow cover, I mustered the courage to make my first quilt. I’ve been inspired by quilt patterns for years but thought it would be too difficult to make a quilt without a lot of sewing expertise and special equipment. While browsing the shelves of the Elliot Bay Bookstore, I came across a good book for beginners called Simple Geometric Quilting by Laura Preston . I considered designing custom fabrics for the quilt but given the cost of the fabric and my own lack of experience, I decided to use old sheets and pillow cases instead. It was a challenging project, but I learned enough to make a simple twin size quilt. With my new (and very basic) sewing skills, I was also able to make a few dozen face masks to donate to local hospitals at a time when masks were hard to come by.
I’m not sure what I’ll do with the new fat quarters. Each is a different type of fabric. There are a couple of canvas samples, a linen, and a denim. All are quite nice and will probably make good pillow covers but I think I’ll be ordering lighter fabrics in the future. It will be fun to make some tessellating pattern face masks and, at some point, I’d love to make another quilt. Now that I know I can do it, I’ll invest in the custom fabrics.