It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything so it’s definitely time for an update.
Since I last posted, I’ve been spending most of my time making monkey tiles for my client, Susan Yeley Homes in Bloomington, Indiana. I was surprised, and delighted, to hear that the tiles will adorn the walls of what is certain to be the coolest laundry room ever imagined. Making 720 tiles involves an entirely different set of skills than the panels I typically make but it’s been a really fun challenge. One thing’s for sure, I’ve had to get a lot better at multi-tasking in order to meet my deadline. The tiles should be finished in a week or two and I’ll post more photos when the job is complete.
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
There wasn’t much to celebrate this past year. No live music or theater. No art shows, museums, or galleries. For the most part it’s been a pretty solitary year. I was able to get in a pottery class before things shut down in early March but aside from that I’ve just continued with tile making and I’ve started to design fabrics. Making things has been somewhat inconsistent because I’ve been largely distracted with politics throughout the year. My final piece of 2020 is a large tile panel of the American flag. One of the most upsetting things to see this past year was how this symbol of freedom and democracy has been co-opted by a political party that has done nothing but undermine these values. With new leadership in Washington, I’m optimistic that things will get better in 2021. Happy New Year.
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.
I don’t know if it’s just me, or all tile makers, but I love the relationship between hexagons and right triangles. The geometries are simple but so versatile. In this series of tiles, the softness of the insects is a nice contrast to the rigid geometry of these two shapes.
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!
After months of spraying and layering underglazes and glazes, I’m so happy to finally post this series of panels. The baby birds are the only tiles in this series that were designed this year; the other panels were explorations of new colors and patterns. I’m especially pleased with the Ray panel. I’ve always liked this tile but, until now, had never set aside the time to make a large enough panel to display them properly. After overcoming years of being afraid to experiment with color, I now find it a challenge to show restraint. I’m glad I was able to hold back on this piece.