Saturday, February 26, 2011

Bead Kiln!

Actually, my kiln has not arrived yet and the dogs have fallen asleep, mainly because I am not getting up each and every time I hear a bark. I am now listening for the characteristic Fedex truck door slam. Of course, the Fedex site is quite coy about whether I am getting the delivery today or later. It says "out for delivery" on the site, but then it also says "Delivery for Next Business day". I am confused but I so want the kiln NOW that I am waiting at my desk, no earphones on, waiting and waiting. *sigh* GIB NOW!
The kiln I am getting has a little front door and the computer control is under the kiln, which means it is very trim and will take up very little space. I also fires up to cone 8 and does all of this very fast. I have already made beads and pendants in anticipation! My awesome sister funded this new addition to my studio! Many loves and hugs to her! I really needed one, if not only for beads but also for testing glazes and making small masterworks that are better off isolated from the occasional chaos of the big kiln.

Oh and the bead kiln needs a name. I will be thinking about it.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Trying to Find My Gallery Charming

I set aside a few hours this week to visit galleries/folk art stores in my area. Seattle is crawling with galleries, open the yellow pages (when you can find them these days) and you'll find page after page from West Seattle to the waters of Lake Washington, from SoDo to Northgate. So, I picked a few and visited. Some observations so far -

1. I am not comfortable in galleries. I spend most of my art existence with other artists, reading about other artists, online looking at art, in museums or through having studied art history. I have never really been a creature of the gallery scene, unless passing by and looking at cool things in the window counts. Being a person from modest means, I have always regarded galleries as places rich people go - I feel like a barbaric invader when I enter some of these places.
2.  In some of the galleries there's a tendency to have rather oppressive, large pieces hanging high above,  which makes me feel I am about to be crushed by something very modern and avant-garde. At least I will die fashionable.

3. I am starting to figure out that Seattle is not into color. Whatever accounts for taste in color likes cream, gray and certain blues. Orange, red, turquoise and spring greens are not welcome - if they are invited, they will be found in a back area or on the notecard rack, their racy contents tastefully half hidden by envelopes. Apparently Seattle killed the color wheel and replaced it with neutrals.

4. The tendency of a gallery to set up in a narrow space. I guess maybe when a new gallery owner looks for real estate they drop the r in gallery and look for a galley. Because, after all, nothing is better for your customer than when they bend over and catch their bum on the sharp edge of a projecting sculpture.

5. New age music. I am generally not a fan of it, especially not moaning voices and chimes. With the acoustics of some buildings, it sounds like bad plumbing and someone trying to get a penny out of a coke bottle with a butter knife.

6. Pretentious setting for art that is beautiful on its own. I feel bad for the art and the artists in these settings. It's as if the gallery owner says "SCREW THE ART,  LOOK AT MY DECOR!!!!111!!! I AM SO KEWL!!"

7. Next to the smelliest restaurant in town. Victims of circumstance, these galleries smell delicious, but you have the impression that anyone who buys a canvas or any cloth art will live the rest of their natural life with a house scented with the #8 dinner special.

8. Folk Art stores - they're the most cluttered and crazy places. Now, these are the sorts of galleries where my work sells, so I am always attentive to them BUT they are incredibly chaotic, with bits and pieces of stuff that erupt from walls and any spare shelf space. You could go crazy in any one of these places! There's one shop with pottery next to cloth dolls, organic face cream, bonzai fertilizer and jewelry. O.O

9. Flat art only. These make me sad since I am a sculptor. Paintings only and weirdly two of these so far had by far the nicest and chattiest owners. Wish I could paint.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Based on a True Story

I promise I will get off the silly doggy stuff now! There will be more clay cartoons! However, this happened to me and I had to document it - it seemed more funny in pictures than in writing. My aussie dog Nami really IS EVIL and obsessive when it comes to toys. My poor hair, it's still frazzled on one side from that ball!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Analog Tuesday

Uh oh, I have been drawing again! Hide your pens, hide your paints!

This week, some dog comedy, in particular dogs that like to fetch obsessively. These are all ACEO cards 2 1/2 x 3 1/2 inches

This one is The Bribe. Balloons, roses? Play frisbee?

This is more or less my australian shepherd Namio, the king of the mountain. He tends to collect all his toys into one place and lay siege to me until he gets to play. If he could have a mountain of tennis balls, he would be very happy.

And this one is just a pretty white dog and three barn swallows. Just because.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day

For everyone I love and even if I have never met you I still send my love - a little movie of the most primitive animation possible, featuring a cameo by Pixie and Moon the cockatiels. Another star of the show, Remington, is apparently very shy - he spent the whole film off screen screaming at the top of his lungs - or maybe he is just the biggest prima donna ever - his crest might have been crooked. "I can't go in front of the camera looking like this!"

It's just a lump of porcelain and it took me about two hours to create - most of which was editing 65 snippets to create the whole thing - each clip was about 3 seconds. It was fun and reminded me of the time I made claymation in high school.

I hope everyone is spending time with the ones they love today!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Fairytale Kiln

Once upon a time, there was a very happy kiln. It was full of pretty things, big things, tiny things, some things that broke but were beautiful anyhow and a ninja.

BUT, hiding in the kiln was a witch. Everyone said she was really mean and her cat familiar was mean too.

But Esmerelda did not think she was mean, she just cackled a lot and people found it scary. so they made up stories.  Someone who believed ALL the stories was Little Red Riding Hood, who believed everything she heard, why, she even believed the wolf when he said he was a nice wolf and we all know how that ended up!

So when Little Red heard that the witch was planning to eat her, she talked to the wizards and said "OMG SHE'S GOING TO COOK ME IN A GINGERBREAD PIE!!!!!11!!!!"

The wizards had more important things to talk about, but eventually they decided to approach the witch and tell her to stop scaring children.

"So, my dear lady, stop scaring the children." One of them said after flourishing his staff, because wizards are oh so proud of their staves.

"I am not your dear lady." Esmerelda said, "and if you know what's good for you, you'll leave me alone!"

"Woah ho! She shows her evil side!" Said the other wizard, who not to be outdone, also showed off his staff by stamping it on the ground. "Begone foul witch!"


"No? You're supposed to flee from my righteous magic." The wizard looked confused a moment and then raised up his arms, "BEGONE AGENT OF SATAN."

"I am not an agent of Satan. I'm not an agent." The witch rolled her eyes. "Will you go away?"

"Uh...." The wizards shuffled their feet, unsure what to do next. "Okay. Can we tell the poor little girl that we vanquished you?"

"Absolutely not." She scowled at them, "Out."

"We showed her!"

"Right on, she'll behave from now on! Hurrah!"


Meanwhile, in another part of the enchanted forest, Mrs. Death woke up to find that Mr. Death was gone. She looked under the earth and then looked outside to see if maybe he was polishing his bones in the sunshine, but no luck. She went back inside with a sigh, wondering if he was with that floozy vampiress he had been oggling. Just then, a bony rap on the door, so she opened it up and there he was with a single rose.

"Happy Valentine's day!"

"Oh, you sweet thing!" She gave him a passionate, but rather lipless kiss.

So the peaceful land of the kiln carried on, with many stories within its bounds.

The End.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Don't watch the kiln, the kiln is watching you

I will first admit that I already peeked inside the kiln because I HAD to check on it. I closed the lid quickly, just as soon as I heard the first little TING!  Now, the kiln is made for heat but it is not made for rapid changes in heat, so this can damage the bricks and hardware inside. I am well aware of this, and yet I almost always peek because it's like Christmas morning as a child, eager and full of wonder - what is inside the box that has been closed for the last 24 hours? Did that one really neat sculpture turn out, did the new experiment with glazes turn out? Does little red riding hood at 1/2 inch tall look totally adorable?

All these things I want to know, but I won't know for another couple hours! *glares at kiln*

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Analog Tuesday and a half

I hang out on the Guild Wars 2 Guru forums on occasion. I particularly like the fan art forum and recently there have been art challenges. This week it is sea creatures. I had no intention of doing it, but then the image of a city being born along by a gigantic jellyfish occurred to me and I just had to draw it. Silly but, sometimes you just get an urge!

I did the piece in washes of gouache, followed up with details added in pen and ink. I then scanned it up and made a couple tweaks with photoshop (very few, tbh since I suck at PS). The monsters are my take on the aquatic species of skale that are common in the Guild Wars world.  

And last week's challenge was a guardian sylvari. Sylvari are plant people and the guardian is a type of fighting class in Guild Wars. I just couldn't not draw it. 

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Things that get lost in the Studio

Yes, I misplace my sponges all the time, I love the little hand size round yellow ones. I have no idea where they go, so I imagined some possibilities.

Glazing today. But first I will get some coffee!

Have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Bird Watching and creation continues

Went to Discovery Park today and walked a mile or so with Namio dog and binoculars. I saw very few birds but I heard much more than I saw. Hearing birds and knowing them by voice is a pleasure, like hearing a secret language that others around you don't know.

Birds heard but not seen - Northern flicker, hairy woodpecker, Stellar Jay, Scrub Jay, chestnut backed chickadee, anna's hummingbird, bush tit, song sparrow, white crowned sparrow, winter wren, bewick's wren and one of my favorites of all time - a nuthatch with its silly neep neep neeep call.

I saw crows (of course), robins, red tailed hawk, black capped chickadee and English sparrow. In a shady area there were birds rattling in the dry leaves -  around here you think instantly of the towhee - so I was not that excited but decided to get a visual to confirm  (first clue that they weren't towhees - towhees have a very distinctive call and are fond of giving it). After moving around and crouching for a better view I saw some orange - again thought towhee but then everything snapped into focus - STRIPES of orange - a varied thrush. I adore these birds - they have a song that rises over  the morning chorus of the old growth forest around here - such an amazing song that I have used adjectives like 'transcendent, ringing, dreamy, incandescent, ethereal' to describe it. They are also beautiful and quite scarce around here, so what a pleasure to see them!

Really great photo of a varied thrush here and hear their song here. The only comment I have is that yes it is very loud song, but when it is heard with other songs, in the morning with the fog and forest canopy muffling it, there is no better music.

When I pulled up to my house there was a big ray of sunshine and a mixed flock of ruby crowned kinglets, golden crowned kinglets and bush tits were foraging around and under my rock rose. That was a nice treat!

Working on making more bowls and I also made a couple big platters - one engraved and one with sprigged on peacock feathers. The engraved one is still drying out and it has flattened a bit so I am considering boring holes in it to make it a wall hanging. Also, drop plates are on the agenda, as are small animal pendants.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Analog Tuesday

Winter Foxes



Drawing is nice, you get results in a couple hours rather than the days and weeks that are counted in the ceramics process. I've been wanting to do some pen and ink drawing for a while. I have to say that I feel much more restrained when I draw than when I am sculpting - not in an unpleasant way, but I can tell that a different part of my mind is engaged! I used some photo references but everything is freehand, and I didn't sit there and ruminate over the drawings for an hour before inking them - I'm just as impatient with pen as I am with clay - I like to just go go go!

I drew them on ACEO cards, so they are available for sale as a group. I added a black border in editing for a neater appearance in the blog - they don't have that in real life!