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!

Los Gatos Muertos

My first commission!

First, to keep up with the progress of this project, visit the Dia de los Muertos photo album on FaceBook:

I was contacted by someone who say my "Mi Casa" plate on FaceBook and was taken with it.
She wanted something for her home, and was particularly interested in something depicting cats (she and her husband have 5).

After some thought and brainstorming, I came up with an idea for a triptych of plates in porcelain, showing her cats. I wanted something with a lot of energy and chaos.
I showed her the sketch, and she gave me the go-ahead to do the plates.

The plates are completed now, and drying slowly.
I'll be adding the feed today and then they'll finish drying.
Once they're dry, I'll wash on a satin black glaze and remove most of it, then wash on a thinned clear glaze.
The plates will be single-fired in oxidation, hopefully next week.

This has been such a fun project, and it gets me back to mt roots as a 2-dimensional artist and my days of drawing. And its garnered some attention out in the real world and generated some sales and potentially some more commissions.

While I'll post a pic on the blog of the finished plates, do check the photo album link to see the process as it goes along!

Keeping it Simple, Playing with Porcelain

The last few weeks, I've taken a break from both stoneware and reduction firing.
I needed to create a wedding gift for a favorite cousin, and to make it extra special, I decided to use porcelain instead of stoneware.
Porcelain is its own beast - it contains very little organic material, so it stays very white and smooth. I tell people it is to clay what portland cement is to concrete.

Too obscure?

Anyhow, I wanted something very elegant, and I knew something very white and clean would appeal, so  porcelain and oxidation just seemed fit.
I think the cup above  - Tenmoku over Haynes white - is probably the best piece I've ever made. I'm in love with this cup, its form and its subtle glaze, and use it every day.

I'll just share a few other pieces from this little oxidation journey with you as I then want to post about a couple of commission pieces I'm working on.
I'm really having fun exploring this glaze treatment and form, so stay tuned for more in the next few months!

The Wedding Gift

My cousin and her new hubby - both of whom completed their respective doctorates the week before the wedding - are moving from the west coast to Washington DC to begin their new life. I know they entertain, but I just didn't feel compelled to make a serving dish, and I was a little unsure of their aesthetic.

So, knowing  space in their new digs will be limited, I opted for practical.
Kitchen utensil jar, spoon rest and sponge holder seemed like a good option.
Of course, I needed to practice a bit before whipping out the final product in $30-a-bag Coleman porcelain, so I made several, both in stoneware and in porce;ain, and I'm really happy with them. This white set went to the happy couple, and I also played with the set in matte white, oribe, satin black and tenmoku.
All-in-all, I'm happy with the forms and how they work individually and as a set.

I also wanted to explore the white glaze with a few other glazes and got some really interesting results.

Like this yunomi, with an Oribe glaze sprayed over the white.
The white BTW, has a rather chun-like quality, with crystals floating in it.
Its a bright white with patches of white crystals in places.

Though in the top of the kiln, it underfired slightly and remained a matte white. Still very nice I think...

And again, the white with Coleman teadust sprayed over it. This is a different tenmoku than the one in the cup at the top of this post, and frankly, I don't like it quite as much.

Then there were a couple of really unexpected results that I'm keen to play with some more!
First is that plain white glaze sprayed over a carbon trap shino. No reduction here, but the result is really pleasant!
Talk about character!
And while its tough to see the subtle shimmer and turquoise hue on this last one, the white sprayed over the satin black is really wonderful I think.

The pics are a little fuzzy because my good camera bit the dust that day and my new one hasn't been delivered yet.

And speaking of photos...
I've opened up a second Etsy shop to hawk some of my photography.
I'm definitely just someone who gets lucky with a camera on occasion. I have no real skill, and can only fumblingly adjust things like f-stops and apertures, but I have made a few sales, and 20% of each sale goes to a charity near and dear to my heart, the Boxer Rescue Foundation , so if you've a mind, please come have a look!

As always, comments, critiques and suggestions are appreciated!
Stay tuned!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Chun Red Results (and a little more...)

This post is primarily about my "test" of Michael Coffee's Chun Red recipe.
You can find the recipe HERE.

A little set up first.
You can click on the firing log image to see it enlarged. The red line is the reduction.
Everything was single-fired to cone 11 in my 7 cf propane updraft kiln.
I used a couple of shelves at the top, about 2" below the flue opening to sort of contain the flame and hopefully encourage reduction. I finally had to back off the redux because I was not able to get to cone after 13 hours or so and needed to go to bed.

I had to make a change to the recipe and I am not sure if that effected the results.
I didn't have any Potash Feldspar, so after some research of the ClayArt archives, I substituted Neph Sye.
I'll be talking about the specific flaws on the pieces in hopes of some insight from you all.
Click on any pic to enlarge it.

The Hakeme Bowls 
OK, so I have 8 bowls here. All are an iron rich clay body.
The inside of each was coated with a porcelain slip and then "Hakemed".

The outside of each bowl was dipped in a satin black glaze.
The Chun glaze was poured into each bowl and swirled around twice.
The glaze was mixed fairly thickly and heeding Michael's notes, I tried for a medium thick coating.
The overall effect of the glaze was pretty spectacular, if not exactly what I was expecting.
Michael's example is a lovely deep, even red that breaks on the rim of the cup.
You can see, I got an almost verigated effect between the red and the celedon.  I wonder why...
I really like it, though I think its too much over the Hakeme texture.

However, it crawled like crazy.
On some pieces, its very obvious and just blech.===============>

<=========On  others, I kinda
like it and think it works.

And then there are some where its just enough to turn an otherwise
lovely bowl into an ashtray =============================>

FWIW I should mention that I do rinse all my greenware before glazing it.
Its dust-free and bone dry when glazed.
Anyway, its these little bare spots at the bottom of the bowl, where the glaze is pretty thick that puzzle me the most.

Here are a few more pics of the Hakeme bowls before we move on to the other things:

The Big Bowl...
So, satin black glaze was poured into the bowl.
On the outside, the glazes were sprayed.
The top 1/3 was sprayed with a yellow glaze that tends to run like an ash glaze. It pinholed something crazy.
The lower 2/3 had the Chun Red sprayed on it. I sprayed a thin-medium coat and then resprayed the middle 1/3. Wanted to keep it fairly conservative because I know this glaze can run when thick.

I guess I could have gone thicker overall.
While I guess I don't call whet the glaze did on this piece actually crawling, it is really thin in places.
I don't know if that bothers me or not, or if I should even consider it a flaw (though I feel it is).
I think its just sort of too much going on on the surface.
This bowl was dead center in the kiln, with ware above and below it, and extra posts all around it to sort of create a bit of sagar effect I suppose.

Now the rest of the load...

Kitty Dish...
OK, this is kind of interesting and something I need to play with more.
This is the Chun Red over Malcom Davis Shino.
The shino was sprayed on fairly thinly (I like that peachy mottled look), and then the Chun was double-dipped on the rim. It breaks nicely on the edges and is a deep, oxbloody red without being too irony red looking.

Soap Dish...
This dish is butt ugly!
I was just really lazy in glazing this - its Michael Coffee's Nuka over Ohata Red. But, I went back and brushed the Chun on the swirly bit and it just crawled on off. Wonder why...

Lint Feeders...
These make great test tiles sometimes ;)
So this one has that satin black on it and before I put it n the kiln, I decided to dip the part around the opening in the Chun.
I applied it really thickly. I knew it would run, but that was OK - just wanted to see what would happen.
Since it hangs on the wall, it looks sorta cool. But again, that crawling!

 Funny - all three of these lint feeders were on the lowest shelf. I would have expected much more reduction.
This one has Malcom Davis Shino on it. I like!

And a little Tenmoku.
Thought I might get some tea dusting as I did a bit of slow cooling at the end of the firing, but no.
That's OK...its still a nice piece, with some subtle hares fur going on. It will look great in the sunlight!

And lastly,
I've been watching ShyRabbit talk about firing pieces multiple times. Last load, I had some little cups, in a shino glaze, that were just blech. I decided not to kill them and just set them aside. So, I pulled one out, dipped it again in the shino and threw it in the kiln this firing. It is much improved and show's some interesting flashing. I don't know that I like the cup any better, but it sure was fun to see the results! And the inside is that nice peachy color.

So, there ya go.
Some will admonish me for not testing the glaze first, but, well, I did - just on bigger pieces. All I'm out is some propane (nothing to sneeze at BTW), but I'll sell the lint feeders and that will pay for the firing, so...

Now, I'm hoping you will all give me your invaluable thoughts and insight into what happened here. I am liking this glaze enough to want to keep playing with it, but could use a little direction.
And I want to thank Michael for being so generous with his recipes and knowledge and time!