Thursday, August 18, 2011

Another Rescue Auction

Hey there Boxerpeople...
I'm doing another auction to benefit rescue.
I'd like to tell you about it and also encourage you to share wherever you can.

This time, its to raise money for a boy named Casey.
He was languishing in a high-kill California shelter because of a bum leg.
Our few rescues here are all stuffed to the gills right now, and there was a very real possibility of Casey being put down without ever having a chance.

Until Tracy Hon of Chico Boxer Rescue, Marta Nettlefield of Boxer Rescue Canada, and a whole lot of willing volunteers stepped up to save him.
Casey is now safe in a foster home and has a busted femur. Surgery will help save his leg and alleviate his pain, but of course its not one of those inexpensive surgeries.

So, this is where the auction comes in.
This time its not a raku boxer, its something much more personal.
I'm offering to create for the winner a personalized dog bowl.
I'm currently working in stoneware clay, and my work  is currently influenced by the Mexican Day of the Dead (Dia de los Muertos) holiday.

After the auction ends and the winning bidder has paid, I'll contact you by email to discuss your dish.
Just about anything goes - within this style. I've made various items (mugs, bowls, plates etc) depicting dogs, cats, people, alpacas...just about any critter from A to Z!
(I can also do a simple dish similar to the second one pictured here if you prefer)

Please have a look at the auction here:
 and feel free to cross post here, o Facebook - wherever you can.



Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Supporting Arts Education

Hey folks,
I received the following email from a student at our local high school and, with her permission, I'm posting it in hopes there are some other artists out there who might be willing to pitch in.
I think its a great senior project, and while its an absolute shame that the school has lost its arts funding, its wonderful that this kid understands how important they are.
Please contact Kaylee directly if you would like to donate.

"Hi I am Kaylee Sedler a Senior at Bret Harte High School, each senior is given a senior project that benefits the community. My senior project is an art show where we will be selling art as well as doing a silent auction. This art show will benefit the Art Department, for the art department no longer has funding.The art classes keep on getting bigger and bigger, and our art supplies are barely holding up. I am emailing you asking if you could or would like to donate artwork to sell to raise money for the art department. We would be deeply honored!! Please let me know if you would like to donate art, the art show is October 14th-16th. I am creating a form to email to artist who would love to donate artwork. 

thank you and love 

Kaylee Sedler : )"

Monday, August 1, 2011

Where I Am now

This post is for my mentor, David Beumee.

I went through many images of pots past in the last couple days, and it was pretty revealing.
I've decided to start about a year back and show you where I was then, where I am at this point, and what I have going into the kiln over the next 3 weeks or so.

A Year Ago...

A year ago, this was my best piece.
I was (and still am) enamored of tea bowls.
This one was accepted into the Kansas City Clay Guild  Tea Bowl National in 2010.

I was pretty emotionally attached to it for a while, but now its kind of hard to look at.

I was struggling a lot with form, proportion and glaze application then.

I was also beginning to explore some embellishments based on Dia de los Muertos figures (more on that in a bit...).

I knew my work was not strong, and I was struggling in several area, but I wasn't exactly sure where I was going wrong, and didn't really have anyone to bounce ideas or questions off of.

So I started looking online at various potters who's work I liked, occasionally purchasing a piece, and asking questions where I could.

The Day of the Dead stuff continues to develop, and I'm very enthusiastic about it now,  but I also like very simple pieces and the potters and works I gravitate towards are pretty simple I think - 
come to mind.

So, we move forward to the present.
Over the last year, I've spent quite a bit of time on glaze fit and form.
I see improvement!
I started by eliminating the bisque firing.
I don't exactly know why single-firing works better for me, but I do seem to get better fit and more consistent results by glazing greenware rather than bisqued ware.

I also started spraying most of my pieces rather than dipping, though I do pour most interiors of cups.

I've also stopped trying endlessly to add "wow" glazes to my palette.
A look at other posts in this blog will show that I spent quite a bit of time trying to find spectacular glazes. I think I'm more inclined to have a smaller, more consistent palette now.

To that end, in the last few months, I've started doing more ox firings, have worked with some porcelain, and have spent some time refining form a bit:

I'll say that right now, this mug is the best piece I've produced.
Its porcelain, with Hayne's White inside and out, and Tenmoku over that.
Its balanced, feels wonderful in the hand, shows, I think, some individuality and "signature", and I use it every single day.

It very much feels "right" to me, and like something I want to be associated with me as an artist.

And its a style I'm exploring more, as with this yunomi, and some other cups I have in my Etsy shop.

So, feeling pretty good about that little mug, and getting lots of positive feedback  and some commissions from the Day of the Dead exploration, about a month ago I decided I needed to set up an exercise for myself to hammer out the details of the figures and also compel me to make a lot of mugs in that same style.
So I decided to make Alphabet Mugs, with each mug having a skeletal animal representing a different letter of the alphabet. You can see them here: I just finished them this weekend.

These have generated a lot of interest for me, and its looking like I will be participating in an invitational mug show, similar to what AKAR does with their Yunomi Invitational, in the spring. Much of this commotion has happened since I submitted my mentee application. I'm enjoying doing them (I'm thinking about a "7 Deadly Sins" set next), and they are likely to pay for my propane and and materials, which is just wonderful (just ask my husband!),  but they are the polar opposite of the simple, clean, quiet works I find myself drawn to aesthetically.

So that's essentially where I am now. Lots of improvement, 3-4 loads of greenware to glaze and fire, some commissions and pre-sold items in there, but a sense that I'm sort of wallowing a bit and am more hit-and-miss than following a definite vision.

And I'm not sure if any of this helps you at all David.
I do know I'm very excited and determined to make the most of your time and knowledge and expect I'll come out the other side a much more focused artist.
And you'll probably come out of it with at least a skeleton mug ;)

Monday, June 6, 2011

More Skeletal Fun!

 Crap photos, I know - my new camera arrives Tomorrow!

I'm getting lots of positive feedback on the Dia de los Muertos themed plates, and have had a lot of requests for the motif on more functional ware.
I was reluctant. First, I feel these pieces should tell a story, not just be plastered on whatever. Second, well, I'm not sure how I feel about such bulky ornamentation on functional ware.

But sometimes ya just gotta jump in right?
I really just started out warming up on the wheel after a couple weeks of hand building with some mugs. I'm still figuring out proportion and scale with handles, and I need to throw every day for the next month to be ready for a workshop I'm attending next month.

So, I decided to play with a couple of the mugs and see how it went.
An artist friend wanted bunnies, so I went there and posted the pics on FaceBook here:
and have gone further with the idea here:

Started on a Boxer themed one and had it sold as soon as I posted this pic!

I'm still unsure how they'll come out of the kiln, but I'm definitely warming to the possibilities.
Not sure I want to plaster these on everything, but on these big mugs, I think they may do.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Live, Laugh, Bark, Howl

First, you can see the process of this plate coming to life by visiting my Live, Laugh, Bark, Howl FaceBook album. Lots more photos there!

Not exactly a commission.

Earlier this year I put the "Mi Casa" plate up for sale, and a dear friend bought it.

Due to carelessness on my part, it broke during shipping! She sent it back to me and I was able to repair it very well.
We both decided that rather than risk sending it again, we would wait till we were visiting and hand -deliver it to her.

Meanwhile, I hung it in the bathroom, figuring it would be safe there.
Not so - it was bumped and fell off the wall, shattering into a billion pieces! So, I'm making a replacement piece for my friend.

She is a consummate dog lover and supporter of rescue.
She's had, to the best of my recollection, four wonderful rescue boxers, and there have been a couple of very special pointy-nosed hounds in her life too. She's also gaga over hockey, and just has a giving, positive, make-the-world-a-better-place spirit.

Taking all that into account, I'm working on this plate for her.

Its currently drying, and then will be treated with a glaze wash like the Cat Plates.

And I'm brimming with more ideas!