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.

Meet Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Ceramics

Today, I’m sharing the work of Jamie Kelly. I’m a huge fan of his work and I first met him a few years ago when he became a member of the Colorado Potters Guild. This spring, I finally snagged one of his gorgeous soda fired bud vases.

Jamie Kelly Red Beard Ceramics
Jamie Kelly Red Beard Ceramics

Meet Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Ceramics:

I’m James Kelly and I’m a potter living in Denver CO. I’ve had a love for ceramics since I took my first class in high school in Michigan. Working with clay is a like working with no other medium, there are endless possibilities. I moved to Colorado after college with a friend looking for a new adventure. The reality of life set in and I ended working all sorts of jobs and clay took a back seat to life for about 10 years.

Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Studio - Mod Mugs
Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Ceramics – Mod Mugs

I finally got my nerve up to apply to the Potter’s Guild and was accepted in 2010. Shortly after that I met my beautiful wife and we were married in 2013. We then bought a house and converted the garage into my studio. Since then I have been working to create work that I feel is good enough to share with the world.

Jamie Kelly Red Beard Studio Space
Jamie Kelly Red Beard Ceramics’ Studio Space

We are both members of the Colorado Potters Guild. How many years have you been a member of the guild and what does it mean to you to be part of a local clay community.

I’ve been a member for 7 years. For me being a member means being part of a community of like-minded individuals. We all share the same desire to create, and the guild provides us that opportunity.  It’s gratifying being a part of a group of peers that all have a passion for clay.

Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Studio - Soda Fired Bud Vases
Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Ceramics – Soda Fired Bud Vases

How many years have your been working with clay and do you have a formal education in clay/art or how did you acquire your skills?

I’ve been working with clay off and on since 1991 and have a BFA in Ceramics from Northern Michigan University. Though, I first fell in love with clay in high school where we had a fully functional ceramics studio. 

 

Meet Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Studio
Meet Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Ceramics

Your ceramic business is “Red Beard Ceramics” – I get the obvious correlation. 🙂 How did you name your business?

 
Choosing a name was something I hemmed and hawed over. I wanted to have something that identified myself without having to use my name. Ultimately, it came down to REDBEARDceramics or REDBEARDstudio. I like them both and am still using them interchangeably at the moment. The only problem with my name is that my beard is turning grey at an alarming rate so a change down the line may be in order.
 
Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Studio - Soda Fired Bottles
Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Ceramics – Soda Fired Bottles

How do you work (techniques/glazing/firing methods)?

Most of my work is either wheel thrown, hand built, or a combination of those two processes. I primarily work with porcelain and fire my work in the soda kiln. I spray my work with various combinations of slips and glazes to create flowing surfaces that are enhanced by the soda firing process. Soda firing is a process where soda ash is dissolved in water and sprayed through ports in the kiln near the hottest point of the firing and the soda ash is vaporized and swirls throughout the kiln reacting with the glazes, slips, and raw clay to create unique surfaces that capture the essence of the firing. 

Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Studio - Tea Pot
Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Ceramics – Tea Pot

Who or what inspires you?

I draw inspiration from all sorts of places. Certainly my college professor Sam Chung has had a lasting impression on me. I am inspired by the simple clean lines of mid century modern architecture and furniture, as well as the random organic shapes found in nature. 

Jamie Kelly's Cliff May Mid Century Modern Home
Jamie Kelly’s Cliff May Mid Century Modern Home

You live in an neighborhood enclave of mid century modern homes in Denver (Harvey Park). How has renovating your home and living in such a mod space influenced your current work?

 
Moving into our Cliff May home in 2014 was a turning point in my ceramics pursuits. We moved from a 600 sq. ft. condo downtown and this was my first opportunity to have a home studio. The simple clean lines of the mid century modern architecture drew us in after seeing so many brick boxes that lacked much visual interest. The space has a one car garage that I gutted and insulated, ran a gas line, and upgraded the electrical with a sub panel for an electric kiln. While the space is rather small it functions great for my needs.
 
Jamie Kelly's Living Room in His Mid Century Modern Home
Jamie Kelly’s Living Room in His Mid Century Modern Home

The house in itself is a piece of art and is a inspiring space to work and live in. Through learning about this architecture, furniture and decor of the 50’s I’ve drawn all sorts of inspiration. I love simple, minimal forms with little embellishment in this space. Seeing my work on display in my house has driven at least some of my work to try and be simple, modern, and aesthetically pleasing in the space.

 
I’d like to incorporate some of the color schemes going on in my house into my work. Subtle shades of grey and white contrasted with bright lime green. I gutted and redid the bathroom and that process really made me think about how important finishes and color choices matter in architecture, the same is true with ceramics. Living in this house is a joy and a wonderful space to create art.
Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Studio - Bud Vases
Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Ceramics – Bud Vases

Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you or your work? 

 
I’m still trying to figure out my niche as far as where my work is going. I tried an art fair last december and had a positive experience. While I’ve yet to sign up for any this year, I intend to pursue that avenue more in the future.
 
Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Studio - Booth Display
Jamie Kelly of Red Beard Ceramics – Booth Display

Currently, I’m selling work through my Etsy Shop at and have been trying to develop a website. I can be found on Instagram @redbeardceramics and that’s where I post most of my current happenings. Going forward I hope to keep honing my craft and develop lines of work that I can reproduce consistently at a high level of quality. I enjoy experimenting, but perfecting certain ideas along the way is something I need to spend more time focusing on. I love working with clay and the endless possibilities it holds. 

Where else can people find your work?

  • Facebook
  • Other than the two annual shows put on by the Colorado Potters Guild I try to participate in a few local craft fairs throughout the year as well as trying to get into a few gallery shows. 

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. Interested in being featured? Visit the Apply for Feature Fridays page for more information.

Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters + Thoughts on Consignment

CeramicScapes - Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters for River North Workshop
CeramicScapes – Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters for River North Workshop (photo credit: River North Workshop)

Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters

I make private label stoneware planters for a local Colorado business, River North Workshop. What is private label? After making these planters, I stamp RNW on the bottom instead of my name. I also worked with the owner to develop a style and aesthetic, that is frankly very dissimilar to my more graphic work. The shape of the planter is one that I make for my own work, but the more minimal glaze and effect is something that I agreed to do just for RNW.

River North Workshop

River North Workshop is located in the RiNo, or River North Art District in Denver, CO. For those of you that may be unfamiliar with Denver, it’s an industrial area that is undergoing massive redevelopment north of downtown.

If you’re in Denver, check out the shop – it is a really thoughtfully curated, independently owned homewares shop. River North Workshop also hosts fun one day classes – check out Dabble Denver for offerings.

I recently received a purchase order for more planters and decided to bust these out this week so that I can deliver them this Saturday before summer really kicks off.

How I Make Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters

When working on a wholesale order, I know that I need to make sure that all my deliverables are the same or similar size. Basically, I need to make sure that they’re consistent. I’ve worked out a system, where I know how much clay I need and then use calipers and a ruler to ensure that they’re similar. Obviously with handmade objects, there will be variation. I also always make a few extra just in case something happens during the firing process.

The following is a pictorial synopsis of my process.

CeramicScapes - Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Brown Stoneware Clay
CeramicScapes – Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Brown Stoneware Clay

I measure out 1.75 pound balls of clay which I then wedge and form into balls.

CeramicScapes - Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Clay on the Wheel
CeramicScapes – Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Clay on the Wheel

I have found that it helps to use bats with inserts to throw and remove the planters once thrown.

CeramicScapes - Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Opening the Clay
CeramicScapes – Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Opening the Clay

After I “cone” the clay, I start opening the center.

CeramicScapes - Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Measuring the Base
CeramicScapes – Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Measuring the Base

After compressing the bottom of the planter, I use a caliper to make sure that I have the same size for the base of each planter.

CeramicScapes - Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Measuring the Opening
CeramicScapes – Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Measuring the Opening

I also use the calipers to measure the rim of the planter once I’ve pulled up the walls.

CeramicScapes - Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Measuring the Height
CeramicScapes – Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Measuring the Height

Finally, I check to make sure that the height of each planter is the same as the others. 

eramicScapes - Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Drying
eramicScapes – Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Drying

After removing the bat inserts with the planters, I let them dry until I can safely remove them with a wire cut off tool. I can typically remove the planters after about 4 hours or so.

CeramicScapes - Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Private Label for RNW
CeramicScapes – Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters Private Label for RNW

I clean up the bottoms and the edges and stamp RNW on the bottom of each planter.

CeramicScapes - Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters in the Kiln
CeramicScapes – Wheel Thrown Stoneware Planters in the Kiln

Once they’re bone dry, I bisque fire them in my kiln to cone 05. 

Tomorrow, after the kiln cools, I’ll glaze and fire the planters again. 

Thoughts on Consignment

Over the past year or so, I’ve slowly started to decline gallery invitations and am smarter about accepting new wholesale agreements. (Though…if it is a super star gallery, I might reconsider.) I want to remain true to my work and also not over promise what I can deliver. There is also a monetary consideration. Most galleries operate on a 50/50 split and do not pay the artist until the work is sold. What this means for many artists is that inventory is tied up with the potential for compensation at a later calendar date. 

I want to make it clear that I don’t begrudge galleries the commission split because I know that the owners have expenses such as rent, insurance, staff salaries, utilities, marketing and more. I do have a problem with consignment though. 

Consignment Conundrum

What other business model operates on consignment where a shop owner has free inventory (until sold)…besides an art gallery or consignment shop? I would wager that consignment shops don’t have consigners who are attempting to make a living. I do understand this model for higher end art work such as paintings and sculpture. It would be prohibitively expensive for a gallery to wholesale art work. But, for items like pottery, jewelry and similar fine crafts, I think that consignment is tricky.

I have worked with some really terrific gallery owners who are very conscientious and thoughtful. Again, I don’t have a problem with the commission split. At the same time, I understand why many artists agree to do consignment. Having a venue to sell one’s creative work is important, especially when first starting out. Also, having work in a number of galleries across a larger geographic area can expose one’s work to a larger audience.

Over the course of the last few years, I have made the decision to only wholesale or to sell my work myself in person or online. I just can’t make enough work to have it tied up somewhere where it isn’t earning an income for my family. 

Enter wholesale – which has a similar split as consignment agreements. I gladly agree to wholesale my work now because I get paid up front for work that I deliver to a shop or gallery. Once the work is in their hands, it’s theirs to do with it as the shop owner sees fit. This said, I’m very thankful for my relationship with River North Workshop and enjoy switching up the clay type in my studio for a few days.

 

100 Days of Patterns Late May Update

It’s been a busy month getting ready for two shows, doing the shows and then allowing myself to decompress. Through it all though, I’ve been keeping up with my 100 Days Project that I started on April 4, 2017.

Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Patterns Late May Update
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Patterns Late May Update

100 Days of Patterns Late May Update

If you’re just finding this post, I’ll recap my project. For 100 days, I am basically making marks in black and white that I plan to translate to paper clay tiles. I decided to break up the 100 days into 20 day increments. Each 20 days, I concentrate on a different shape or mark. So far, I have done circles, lines and now I’m working on triangles.

Some of the shapes definitely cross over – especially lines. When I was working on lines, it became apparent that lines can make shapes too. See below.

Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 38
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 38

Here are a few of my favorite triangle drawings

Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 50
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 50
Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 49
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 49
Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 48
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 48
Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 46
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 46
Cindy Guajardo - 100 Days of Pattern 44
Cindy Guajardo – 100 Days of Pattern 44

It seems like a really simple exercise, and at the same time, it’s challenging to draw the same thing differently for 20 days straight. Some drawings definitely inform new ones. For example, the chevron pattern (drawing 49) evolved from the small triangles (drawing 44). And then the line work in drawing 50 is a direct result of mapping out the chevron pattern.

I’m not quite sure what my next 20 days should be, but I am hoping that inspiration strikes in the next week. 🙂


Next Event

On June 17th, I’ll be doing an in store pop up shop at the West Elm in Cherry Creek.

Where & When: 
West Elm Cherry Creek
2955 E 1st Ave #101
Denver, CO 80206

June 17, 2017 – 12:00 – 4:00 PM 

Meet Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery

Today, I introduce the beautiful garden and fantasy themed pottery of Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery. Karrita lives and works in tropical Florida and is inspired by her love of gardening and literature.

Queen Bee PotteryMeet Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery

Hi, I’m Karrita Renzelmann, the maker behind Queen Bee Pottery.

Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery in her studio
Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery in her studio

We have something in common. We both previously worked for United Airlines as flight attendants. My own clay journey is full of starts and pivots. How did you find clay and make the transition?

Cindy, I think that this is such an interesting coincidence that we both had long careers flying with United Airlines and both ended up working in pottery. I often miss flying to some unknown international city for a day or two of exploration, but probably wouldn’t have discovered clay if I were still flying.

Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery - Fairy House 2
Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery – Fairy House 2

I found clay when my husband surprised me with a pottery wheel for my birthday in 2006. I had recently resigned from flying and now had the ability to be home consistently and take a weekly class in ceramics & pottery at the local community college. It was love at first touch!

Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery - Mug
Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery – Mug

I’m always interested in how people name their creative businesses and I love the name of your’s, Queen Bee Pottery! How did you settle on a name for your pottery?

I have a deep connection to nature, gardening and femininity. I thought that the name ‘Queen Bee Pottery’ combined those pieces of me well and also had a memorable ring to it. Although, I did question the common connotation of what a ‘Queen Bee’ can be thought of in our society. I chose to go with it and let my work convey what Queen Bee Pottery means to me.

Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery - Bird Houses
Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery – Bird Houses

Your work has a really strong theme – everything to do with the garden. This must really help you organize the items that you make. Can you explain how your garden and love of plants influences your work?

Plants, nature and blooming flowers are what visually bring me the most comfort and wonder in life, and I somehow hope to convey a bit of those feelings in what I create with clay. We have the toads in the garden, so we need a toad abode, then we have the flower fairy spirits in the blossoms, so of course, we need a few fairy houses and then there’s the birds, and the lizards, and it goes on and on with all the inspiration to be found in a garden.

Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery - Toad Abode
Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery – Toad Abode
Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery - Fairy House
Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery – Fairy House

When my daughter was younger, we loved making fairy houses in our garden after reading several books about garden fairies at our local library. We would also construct them at nearby parks out of found materials. You make delightful ceramic fairy houses that are becoming collector items for your fans. How and why did you start delving into fantasy?

I think my curiosity and imagination were piqued by fantasy as a child, starting with classic fairy tales, flower fairy images for the alphabet created by Cicely M Barker, and continuing with books in the science fiction and magical realism genres…I’m still a sucker to this day for anything by Alice Hoffman or Marion Zimmer Bradley. The love of magical realism meets the love of nature when I see flowers blooming and imagine Ralph Waldo Emerson’s words “Earth Laughs in Flowers.” Sounds a bit saccharine, but really is true for me.

Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery - Fairy House Detail
Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery – Fairy House Detail

I bet you remember the excitement your daughter had about fairies and creating spaces for them…there’s something magical about a child’s unquestioning belief. I recently made a fairy house for my 4 nieces and threw them a fairy garden making party…their glee, curiosity and belief were priceless to witness and be a part of!

Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery - Clay Sprigs
Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery – Clay Sprigs

You have a second successful Etsy Shop where you sell bisque clay sprig molds, clay texture rollers and press molds. Why did you decide to dip your toes into the ceramic supply realm?

I took a bas-relief tile making workshop given by an amazing potter named, Jan Kolenda. I used the skills learned from that workshop to start making ceramic sprigs for my own work and then realized that I had a product to offer to the clay community that no one else was offering at the time. The bonus part for me is that sales of the bisque sprigs can support purchasing all the clay and glaze I needed for the Queen Bee Pottery business.

Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery - Berry Bowl Colander
Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery – Berry Bowl Colander

Do you sell any of the sprigs that you use in your own work in your supply shop? If so, are you worried that others will try to replicate your style?

I don’t offer sprig molds in the ClayStamps.etsy.com shop that I use in my own work. They say, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery”. Sometimes I have wondered with mild irritation why someone would copy, but now I try to look at it as just sharing inspiration.

People have reached out from across the world to show me photos of their work, modeled from mine, who were just plain excited to have been inspired from my work and share that with me. There’s something special about that kind of invisible interchange. We have no control over what others will do and in the end, the feeling and vibe in one’s work really can’t be replicated.

Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery - Berry Bowl
Karrita Renzelmann of Queen Bee Pottery – Berry Bowl

What do you do for fun outside of pottery?

I love to garden, be in nature, eat incredible food, play games (Scrabble & Backgammon) and spend time with my closest friends. Also, I travel occasionally…I’ve recently fallen in love with the hot springs found in Costa Rica near the Arenal Volcano. Hot springs in the middle of a lush, tropical setting…pure bliss for me! I’m going back in a few months to celebrate a milestone birthday!

Where can people find you? 

Etsy Shop: QueenBeePottery.com
Instagram: instagram.com/QueenBeePottery @queenbeepottery
Facebook: facebook.com/QueenBeePottery
Pinterest: pinterest.com/QueenBeePottery
Etsy Supply Shop: ClayStamps.etsy.com


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. Interested in being featured? Visit the Apply for Feature Fridays page for more information.