It’s Time For Another 100 Days of Patterns Update

Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Patterns Update
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Patterns Update

To date, I’ve completed 85/100 Days of Pattern Sketches. Phew…I’m really nearing the finish line right now. After I finish, however, I’m not done. I still need to make 100 paper clay tiles out of my sketches. 

I decided to fly out to the east coast to visit family in July just in time for my Mom’s birthday. I won’t reveal which one since that will date both of us. 😉 When I return, I’ll have a little less than a month before I start my new art teaching job. My current plan is to start making the tiles when I get back from my trip.

Although, now that I’m writing this, I just realized, that I really won’t have a lot of time before things get more regimented around here. I also hope to make and stock pile some pottery for the fall Colorado Potter’s Guild Sale. So many goals, so little time. We’ll see how this plays out in real life.

It’s Time For Another 100 Days of Patterns Update

In the mean time, here are a few favorites from this past batch of 100 Days of Patterns sketches.

Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 72
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 72
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 76
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 76
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 77
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 77
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 84
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 84
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 85
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 85

Guess what? I think that I’m going to make it to 100/100 sketches. I’ve managed my creative ADD pretty during this challenge.

Up next

I will have a selection of handmade pottery at the Horseshoe Summer Market in  about 3 weeks. My next event after the Horseshoe Market will be the Fall Colorado Potters Guild sale in November. I will be adding inventory to my Etsy Shop once the Horseshoe Market is on the books.

Where & When: 
Olinger Moore Chapel
4345 West 46th Ave
Denver, CO 80212

July 8, 2017 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM 

New Contemporary Mailbox Design With Extra Large Mailbox

You might be asking what this post, “New Contemporary Mailbox Design With Extra Large Mailbox” has to do with pottery. Allow me to explain how excited I am about this mailbox. 

As an independent artist, I sell my work online throughout the year. After moving to our new home last summer, I realized that our standard sized mailbox just didn’t cut it for placing outgoing mail, particularly large packages, in it. 

I started researching contemporary mail box designs on Pinterest (where else?) for ideas. I searched for designs that would complement our mid 1960’s home. 

After sharing my efforts with my father in law, he offered to build it for me if I could come up with some sketches. I thought about busting out AutoCad, but, he works well with a loose idea, provided that he can improvise slightly. As an artist, I get that impulse. 

New Contemporary Mailbox Design With Extra Large Mailbox

This spring, I purchased this mail box online and gave it to my father in law. The dimensions are 17.91″L x 12.6″W x 14.17″H which is perfect for most items that I mail.

I also shared these sketches. 

Cindy Guajardo Mailboxes Sketches
Cindy Guajardo New Contemporary Mailbox Design With Extra Large Mailbox Sketches
Cindy Guajardo Mailboxes Sketches 2
Cindy Guajardo New Contemporary Mailbox Design With Extra Large Mailbox Sketch

I happen to be married to someone who has an aesthetic opinion in regards to what we bring into our home or what we build – including in the garden. So, we hemmed and hawed over the design, ultimately agreeing on a version of the sketch above. It morphed somewhat due to the logistics of the size of the mailbox, but my father in law loves this kind of a challenge and we gave him free reign as long as it was an approximation of our intent. 

Getting Closer

After months of sketches and reviewing models. Yes, my father in law made little maquette versions of what he thought would work. I’m only sorry we don’t have photos. We ended up tearing them apart to build a version of our final design before thinking to take photos. As a former landscape designer, I really appreciated these models!

Final Reveal of Our New Contemporary Mailbox Design With Extra Large Mailbox

Cindy Guajardo Contemporary Mailbox
Cindy Guajardo New Contemporary Mailbox Design With Extra Large Mailbox

My husband and father in law installed the new mailbox last weekend. I LOVE it! It’s amazing and so much better than our old one. 

Old Mail Box
Old Mail Box – Isn’t it sad?

In the meantime, I’ve added some plantings to the area to freshen it up and so many of our neighbors have commented positively on our efforts. Our mailman also approves. 🙂 

Cindy Guajardo Contemporary Mailbox Before Staining
Cindy Guajardo Contemporary Mailbox Before Staining

My father in law used redwood to build the mailbox since it’s weather resistant. He also decided to stain it. I don’t love the color, but it does go well with the red brick of our home. He also had a say in part of the design since he built it after all. 

Cindy Guajardo Contemporary Mailbox Adding Numbers
Cindy Guajardo Contemporary Mailbox Adding Numbers

We purchased floating numbers from Home Depot. I can’t remember the brand, but If I find it, I’ll share.

Wait, so what does this have to do with pottery? 

  1. I can put large packages in the mailbox 
  2. Time saver – I don’t have to arrange to have someone pick it up or take packages to the post office myself
  3. It’s a good cross over exercise to sketch a design and then execute the object in real life. 

 

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Big Announcement and Big Changes!

Hi Friends, I have some big news! I’m going to be an art teacher at a local Fort Collins, CO K-12 charter school. I’ll be teaching art and art history to middle and high school students for the 2017/18 school year.

Backstory:

Around the end of April, I was at a paella party (yum – how awesome is that?) hosted by friends with whom we had recently reconnected. My husband and I went to high school with the husband of the pair in Germany and when we moved to Fort Collins, CO last summer we remembered that they lived here and made a mental note to reconnect. It’s a small world.

Tradtitional Paella
Tradtitional Paella – Yum!

When we arrived at their party in April, we mingled and made small talk with their guests. We didn’t know anyone, but I can have an engaging conversation with a brick wall. (Thanks United Airlines! My first real job that forced me to shed my shy shell.) At one point, I was speaking with a women who told me that she is a high school science teacher and of course when the question, “What do you do?” was asked of me, I responded that I’m an artist. 

She mentioned that the school at which she teaches is hiring an art teacher. Also, to backtrack, the hostess of the party teaches Spanish and French at the same school. The two of them explain to me what it’s like to teach at the school and should they send out any feelers. 

Fast forward:

After thinking about the position for several days, checking to make sure that I had the minimum qualifications, talking with my husband about what it would mean to our family and researching the school’s website, I decided that I did want to apply for the position. When I told my daughter about the position, her response was, “remember your motto”. 

You might as well try…the worst thing that can happen is that they say  no and you go on with your life.

Application process:

It was a fairly complicated application process. Honestly, I expect this since schools want to make sure that they hire the best teachers for their students. The hardest part was updating my resume, gathering all the supporting documents like transcripts and recommendation letters, writing a cover letter, writing a philosophy of teaching statement, creating a teaching portfolio and providing a prompted writing sample. 

Let’s face it, I’m rusty. I haven’t applied for a job in a long time!

The easier part was interviewing – twice. Once with the principal and then again with a panel of school stakeholders. What I mean by this is that the interview wasn’t necessarily easy, but I was prepared.  And again, I can talk with almost anyone about anything. 

I also had to design and teach a 30 minute lesson to a group, of mostly 9th graders, while being observed. Initially, I was nervous. Once I started though, I forgot that I was being observed and the students were polite and participatory. I loved it and felt in my element.

Last week I was formally offered the job and I accepted.

Cindy Guajardo Sketches
Cindy Guajardo Sketches

What does this mean for ceramicscapes?

No doubt, I will have less time to make art work. Also, I imagine that the first year is going to be challenging for me as I find my teaching groove and adapt to a regular schedule.  Practically, I expect that:

  • I will be making less art work.
  • My plan is to make more personal art work like the 100 paper clay tiles that I’m going to make for my #100daysofpatterns sketches.
  • I will still make pottery, but mostly for the Colorado Potters Guild shows and maybe the occasional summer art market.
  • Blogging will be less frequent.

Meanwhile

We spent a long weekend in Phoenix with friends during this process and my daughter is home from college for the summer right now too. Between traveling, spending some time with her and applying for the teaching job, I had to make some schedule adjustments.

I notified West Elm Cherry Creek to let them know that I can’t participate in their pop up which was supposed to happen this weekend. As much as I like to think that I can do it all, I can’t and I am disappointed that I had to cancel this event. The event has been removed from my public calendar. My planned art market schedule has also been scaled back for the rest of the year.

Up next

I will have a selection of handmade pottery at the Horseshoe Summer Market in  about 3 weeks. My next event after the Horseshoe Market will be the Fall Colorado Potters Guild sale in November. I will be adding inventory to my Etsy Shop once the Horseshoe Market is on the books.

Where & When: 
Olinger Moore Chapel
4345 West 46th Ave
Denver, CO 80212

July 8, 2017 – 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM 

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Meet Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura

Introducing Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura, a Maryland based ceramic artist and teacher. Laura has been getting her hands muddy since she was fourteen years old in a Saturday clay class at the Corcoran School for the Arts in Washington, DC. She is well known for her highly textured and colorful pots that exude joyfulness.

Introducing Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura

Meet Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura

I’m Laura Silberman and I call myself a clay artist. I create FUNctional ceramics for home and garden. Primarily, I use hand-building techniques embellished with lots of texture. Using a low fire clay and a bright color palette have helped me achieve a personal style that is often recognized by my customers and fans as a ClayByLaura creation. Sometimes I add mixed media elements to the pieces I make. People tell me my pieces are fun and make them happy! I’m glad to know the pleasure I get from making pottery translates to the finished work!

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - Bird Houses
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – Bird Houses

I read that you have been working with clay since you were 14 years old. Do you have a formal education in ceramics, or have you acquired your skills through community classes, workshops and by working by yourself?

My journey to full time clay artist began at a kid’s class at the Corcoran School of Art in Washington, DC when I was 14. After earning a bachelor’s degree in Communications at Goucher College in 1978, I pursued a career in audio-visual production followed by a freelance career and full-time motherhood. During that time, I took a variety of clay classes and workshops.

I gained valuable technical knowledge from a variety of teachers along the way but I think regular practice and experimentation with my craft has also contributed to my success. My original home studio was outfitted with a used wheel and kiln in the 1990’s. 

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - Studio
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – Studio

Initially, the potter’s wheel was my clay workhorse as I exclusively threw pots on the wheel. I began to explore and enjoy hand-building techniques over the last ten years. It is now my primary method of clay making. My trusty Northstar slab roller is in constant use and has lasted more than 20 years with a few spare part repairs here and there.  I joke that my potter’s wheel has become ‘the treadmill’ of my studio. I won’t give it up, but it sits in the corner and is covered with various studio ‘stuff.’ 

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - Hand Building
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – Hand Building

When did you realize that your clay hobby could become a business?

Over the last decade, I worked seriously to develop my own creative style. Prior to that, I had been selling my pieces at occasional open studio shows. When I helped found and run a co-op art gallery in Bluffton, SC, in 2008 sales of ClayByLaura started to take off. I began to participate in juried craft shows and developed a business website to further market myself and increase sales opportunities. 

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - Craft Fair Booth
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – Craft Fair Booth

Many potters start out selling their work on Etsy. I noticed that you are using Squarespace as both a selling platform and website. Why and how is it working out for you?

I have an ETSY account, but decided to focus website sales through my own Squarespace developed site. While I appreciate the fact that ETSY has the potential to draw customers from a wide net, I decided to consolidate ‘my brand’ through one platform.

I am able to publish my weekly studio blog post, track statistics, receive inquiries, and comments from potential customers all from one source. I really love Squarespace. It is very easy to navigate and update. If I ever have a question about my website, the tech crew has been very helpful in resolving any issue. 

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - Close Up of Texture
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – Close Up of Texture

Similarly, how do you market your work?

I sell and market my pieces in numerous ways. I write a weekly blog post about myself and what is percolating in the studio. It is published through my Squarespace website, posted on my Facebook page and mailed to a customer email list through MailChimp. I started it more than 3 years ago.

Pottery Making Info repeatedly mentions and rates my blog in their monthly review; they have awarded it as a top pottery blog the past two years in their annual review. In addition to the website, I sell through shops, galleries, pop up shops, occasional craft fairs and private home shows. 

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - The Maddux Welcome Posts
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – The Maddux Welcome Posts

I’m very interested in your public art project that you have been working on with a local school. This is an avenue that I would like to pursue. Did you put together a formal proposal or did the school contact you directly to work with them? Can you share your experience designing and executing the tile totems with the students?

I recently completed a public art project for a local private school. A friend of mine is in charge of fundraising for the school and she approached me about creating a tile project to beautify the front entry of the school.

We came up with the idea of having the children (pre-school – 2nd grade), their parents, and teachers decorate pre-made bisque tiles with underglaze. The 4 x 4 tiles were then used to decorate 3 wooden posts of varying heights at the entry of the school.

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - Public Art and Fund Raising Project For School
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – Public Art and Fund Raising Project For School

The opportunity to ‘paint’ the tiles was sold at a fundraising gala as a way to help raise money for the school. I provided the materials, guided the ‘painting’ activity, glazed and fired each tile. I also made some of the tiles with the school name and logo. Finally, I adhered the tiles to the planted wooden posts. This project is emblematic of projects and new ideas I tackle. “Can you make?” is a question I love to explore with customers. 

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - Garden Bell Class
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – Garden Bell Class

I notice that you also teach clay classes and just read about your “Garden Bell” class on your blog. Do you host your classes in your studio or at another location?

Over the years, I have taught classes and workshops to other clay enthusiasts sometimes at my own studio or other teaching venues. Most recently, I have been teaching quick project classes in tandem with a local shop in Frederick, Md. called The Muse. The owner, Whitney Bingham, hosts regular craft parties for customers featuring all kinds of art projects including jewelry, painting and fiber through her store.

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - Garden Bell
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – Garden Bell

The classes are held at the Frederick, Md. studio (near The Muse) of another local fiber artist, Margaret Hluch. With these particular classes, I create a bisque fired item that students decorate with acrylic paints. The textured surface on the clay responds beautifully to layering and wiping away a variety of paint colors.

These items are not meant to be used for food, so we have made several different garden items in the classes including a pot sticker, wind chimes and a garden bell. Buttons and beads are some times added to embellish the finished pieces. In a few weeks, I’ll lead a jewelry class; we’ll be making a wrap bracelet using a central clay medallion and recycled bits of fashion jewelry. 

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - Garden Totems
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – Garden Totems

I’m particularly drawn to your garden address number totems. These are so clever…and I might need to make one for my own home. 🙂 I assume that these are custom orders that clients work with you to design?

I began making outdoor totems about ten years ago. What started out as simple house numbers stacked on top of each other has morphed into many other creative outdoor garden shapes. I work with an individual client to customize a design just for them. Words, numbers and a variety of shapes can be stacked to create a beautiful outdoor adornment. Some of the pieces are finished with mixed media to complete the design. I have created, installed and shipped numerous totem combinations throughout the United States!

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - Greenware
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – Greenware

In perusing your website, I’m so impressed by your range and creativity. Who or what inspires you?

I LOVE making things with clay. It’s my favorite part of the process. As I mentioned previously, I get input and inspiration from my customers. Additionally, I tend to make items I like to use. Bright colors and lots of texture make me happy and led me to my current use of low-fire clays and glazes. Texturing clay reminds me of different fabric patterns I combined when I used to sew clothing in my younger years. I like to make many of the texture tools I use. Pinterest and Instagram are other great inspiration resources.  It’s helpful to see what other potters have made to spark an idea.

Clay by Laura - Blue Cake Stand
Clay by Laura – Blue Cake Stand

What do you do for fun outside of pottery?

I love to cook which is another reason I like to make pieces that are FUNctional. I want people to use my creations in their everyday lives and I often include a recipe with pieces I sell. This gives people an idea of how to use a particular pottery piece. Additionally, it’s another marketing tool. My recipe cards include a photo of one of my recipe boxes, my name, logo, and contact information!

Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura - Yarn Bowls
Laura Silberman of Clay by Laura – Yarn Bowls

I am also an avid knitter and I knit every night when watching television with my husband. It is a meditative and relaxing activity for me.

Also, I putter in my garden. Digging in the dirt and planting flowers keep me busy and give me an excuse to spend time outdoors!

Where can people find you? 

Online:

Galleries/Shops:

Upcoming events:

Making a Wrap Bracelet – The Muse Craft Party – June 21


I publish interviews with artists whose primary medium is clay once a week, every Friday. This regular segment is named “Feature Fridays”. Find past interviews on the Ceramicscapes Blog using the category search function on the right hand sidebar. Would you like to be featured on my blog? Visit the Apply for Feature Fridays page for more information.

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100 Days of Patterns Update

 

Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Patterns 52-60
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Patterns 52-60

100 Days of Patterns Project Update

I have a really big day tomorrow. I can’t quite share yet what I’m doing and what it might mean for my career, but it’s exciting.

In the meantime today, I scanned and uploaded the latest round of sketches for my 100 Days of Pattern project. I’m on number 64/100 right now and can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. 

I’ve wrapped up exploring triangles, and have now moved onto the square. It makes sense after drawing iterations of circles, triangles and lines.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Patterns 52
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Patterns 52

I lost my intended pattern on this one and then just had to go with it.

Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 54
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 54

I like the combination of solid shapes and line work.

Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 58
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 58

The inspiration for this one is the “flying geese” quilting pattern.

Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 59
Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 59

This one is simply a riff on the flying geese pattern.

Cindy Guajardo 100 Days of Pattern 60

I like this one because it feels like a harlequin pattern with the varying shades of gray.

If you’re just landing on my page, check out my 100 Days of Pattern Page where I’m documenting every drawing.

That’s it until Wednesday – see you then!

 

 

Back From Vacation in Arizona

View of Arizona Landscape From Plane
View of Arizona Landscape From Plane

My husband and I just returned from a long weekend visit to Phoenix, AZ where we visited long time friends. It’s was a great get away and I’m so in awe of the Arizona landscape. It’s desert, but, WOW is it ever dramatic from the incredible sunsets to the plant and wild life and dramatic colors.

Today’s post is just a recap and I will return to my regular blog schedule next week.

Saguaro - Desert Landscape
Saguaro – Desert Landscape

On first glance, the landscape is just brown with a touch of dull green thrown in. On further inspection, however, the plant life and surrounding landscape is teaming with texture and color. Luckily, we didn’t meet any wild life up close and personal. (ie. rattle snakes, coyotes, etc.)

Home Built into Boulders in Carefree, AZ
Home Built into Boulders in Carefree, AZ

We visited an enclave of homes built into a hill side in Carefree, AZ. We were told that these are $1,000,000+ homes, but it sure was fun to look and dream.

Ak-Chin Pavilion Sunset
Ak-Chin Pavilion Sunset

One night, we attended an outdoor concert at the Ak-Chin Pavilion at sunset. The temperatures hovered near 100 degrees F during the day, but cooled off dramatically in the evening to around 65-70 degrees. Just in case you’re curious, we saw Dead and Company with John Mayer.

Moon at Ak-Chin Pavilion
Moon at Ak-Chin Pavilion

This is a later view from our perch at the Ak-Chin Pavilion. 

Phoenix Sunset
Phoenix Sunset

There was even a nice view from our friend’s back yard – an those plants!

Pool Time
Pool Time

Though I’m generally not a pool person, I took advantage of our friend’s pool to cool off during the day. The large flowering tree is an oleander which I’m told grows like a weed in Phoenix.