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.
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.
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
I’m still recovering from last weekend’s three day spring Colorado Potter’s Guild Sale. It’s like having a hangover, if one can actually over indulge in pottery. But, there is no rest for me this week because I’ve been getting ready for this weekend’s Spring Horseshoe Market which takes place on Saturday, May 13, 2017 from 9am – 4pm. This event is outdoors and luckily, good weather is in the forecast.
ceramicscapes Will Be At The Spring Horseshoe Market
I really enjoy participating in one day market events and I especially like the way Horseshoe is curated and organized. There will be over 120 vendors including me and my booth mate, Sarah Christensen Ceramics. Sarah is also a member of the Colorado Potter’s Guild.
What am I bringing?
In some ways, I will have completely different work than what I brought to sell at the Colorado Potters Sale last weekend. I’m going to have new ceramic/macrame hanging wall art work, 6 hanging planters, wall planter pods, a handful of mugs, and various sizes of dishes (ring – platter sized).
The finished ceramic macrame wall hanging above is the first one that I made and it sold at the Colorado Potters Guild. I just fired my kiln yesterday and have 5 more. (see above) My kiln is still just a little too hot to unload right now, but fingers crossed, they all survived.
Larger Wall Planters
Also, I made three larger wall planters as a prototype for a client who is interested in replacing some that she purchased elsewhere that cracked over the winter. In the end, the ones I made are not large enough. Mine are approximately 9″ wide. I took a photo of a standard wall pod next to it for scale comparison.
Horseshoe Market Swag Bags
At every market, the organizers of the Horseshoe Market give away “swag bags” to the first 50 customers in line to get into the market. The bag itself is screen printed with the market logo and can be reused as a market or grocery bag. The bags are filled with goodies that vendors donate. I am donating 50 ceramic heart gift tags.
They’re easy to make and it takes an extra couple of hours out of my making cycle to finish. I do it for the good will and the hope that at least 50 people will be curious enough to check my booth out. 🙂
That’s it for today. On Friday, I will be sharing the ceramic work of Jackson Gray who hails from San Diego, CA.
This is going to be a short post today because I have been working very hard to make work for the next two sales I am participating in this weekend and next weekend. In today’s post, I’ll be sharing a 100 Days of Patterns Update.
100 Days of Patterns Update
Today is the perfect day to share some of my daily sketches for the 100 Days Project. I am breaking the project into 20 day blocks. For the first 20 days, I concentrated on circles and dots. Currently, I am exploring line work for the second 20 day block.
Ultimately, this project is an exploration in mark making. By keeping the color palette limited, the project is more cohesive and also takes out a lot of guess work for me.
After my two shows are history, I plan to start making paper clay tiles using my clay scraps and recycled paper scraps that I’ve been collecting. Then, I’ll begin the process of translating my 100 Days of Pattern sketches to the tiles. I’m pretty excited about this project. It feels ambitious, but at the same time doable since I’m breaking up the project into modules. My next 20 day block will include geometrics.
Here are a few of my favorites in the line work block:
True confession though…I worked ahead this week on my sketches because I can not see a way for me to draw the daily sketches during the Colorado Potters Guild show. I volunteered to be the show chair this spring and I have to keep too many balls in the air, so to speak. The days are long. While I love meeting all of our customers and catching up with guild members, it’s also exhausting. I’m not sure if this is considered cheating, but it sure makes my life a bit easier.
You will find me at the Colorado Potters Guild Spring Sale May 4-6, 2017.
First Plymouth Congregational Church
3501 South Colorado Boulevard
Englewood, CO 80113
(Hampden + Colorado Blvd)
May 4 – 4:00 – 8:00 PM (Opening reception)
May 5 – 9:00 AM – 8:00 PM
May 6 – 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
On May 13, 2017, I’ll be sharing a booth at the Horseshoe Market in Denver with Sarah Christensen Ceramics.
Olinger Moore Chapel
4345 West 46th Ave
Denver, CO 80212
9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
I missed last Feature Friday’s blog post. Unfortunately, my guest has a very busy show schedule too and was unable to participate due to time constraints. I hope that I’ll be able to share her work in the near future because I’m such a fan.
In the mean time, despite my busy schedule, I’ll be sharing the work of Noelle Horsfield on May 5, 2017 for Feature Fridays. My post is already formatted – all I need to do is hit publish. I can’t wait to share her work and interview with you.
This weekend marked the very last making push in the greenware stage so that I can finish everything before my next two events.
I’m doing back to back sales in May. My first show is the Colorado Potters Guild Spring Show that runs May 4-6, 2017. I’m also participating in the Horseshoe Market one week later on May 13, 2017. What this means for me right now is that it’s crunch time!
I’ve been making as much work as I possibly can so that I have enough ware for both shows. Inspiration strikes at curious times for me – often when deadlines are looming. So, this weekend really was my last making push with greenware. My goal is to bisque fire my kiln this evening, glaze tomorrow and then we load the soda kiln on Wednesday afternoon at the Colorado Potters Guild.
Did I mention that I’m also the chairwoman of the Colorado Potters Guild show this spring? It’s always a busy time right before the show, but now it feels doubly hectic.
New Forms – Creative Exploration
My schedule is busy and also why my creative muse always seem to show up when all pistons are firing…or maybe it’s just procrastination on my part? I’m not sure, but I’m starting to feel the crunch. This past weekend was really the very last opportunity for me to work on any “wet” ware. Of course, I took the opportunity to explore another form that has been lurking in my imagination – again based upon seed pods.
This form (see above) doesn’t exactly look like it did in my imagination. I’m going to fire it, but I don’t expect to make it again. It’s just too fussy for my taste. I probably could have used my time a little differently this weekend, but I’ve learned to answer creativity’s call when it happens.
I’m keeping this post short today, but will return next Monday when I’ll share some of the process of getting work ready to fire in the soda kiln on Thursday at the Colorado Potters Guild.
Several months ago, I had an idea while I was out walking with my dog to create some ceramic wall hangings. Initially, I imagined that the ceramic pieces would stand alone. The idea makes sense to me – especially since I already make ceramic wall art. Then, I became fascinated with the resurgence of the art of macramé.
Yes – the art of knot tying that had its heyday, most recently in the 1970’s!
A friend of mine from high school tagged me in an Instagram post of a macrame owl wall hanging that she made in the 1970’s with her grandmother. Isn’t this awesome? What a sweet memory and I love that she still displays her owl. To me it still looks fresh…but I do remember the art form falling out of favor in the 80’s.
History of Macramé
According to Wikipedia, “Macramé comes from a 13th-century Arabic weavers’ word migramah meaning “fringe”. This refers to the decorative fringes on camels and horses which help, amongst other things, to keep the flies off the animal in the hot desert regions of northern Africa.”
So, it’s actually a decorative and functional art that’s been around a long time. The art form later moved to Europe via the Moors and then to other parts of the world by sailors who passed their time making gifts using rope which was readily available on a ship.
So, as a ceramic artist, I decided to combine clay + macramé to create some home decor pieces. In preparation of trying my hand at adding fiber/cord to my ceramic work, I made a couple of stand alone wall hangings using some simple knots.
My first attempt was just okay. I was much more deliberate with the second one. My daughter loves it, so I gave it to her and she hung it up in her dorm room.
Can you see my vision? I don’t think that I could have made the ceramic components without first trying my hand at making some simple macramé wall hangings and practicing making various types of knots.
I even purchased about 600 feet of 3 strand cotton rope to finish my ceramic wall hangings. Also, I borrowed a couple of macramé books from the library to use as reference. I’m excited to finish these and perhaps make them a regular part of my online shop.
Today, I share some of my botanic inspired ceramic work in progress – and some finished work from my last soda firing at the Colorado Potters Guild.
All of the work in progress is “green”, meaning it hasn’t been fired yet. Greenware needs to be “bone dry” before undergoing the first firing, also known as the bisque firing. At this point, if I mishandle or bump one of my fragile, bone dry pieces, it will break.
Bisque firing makes the work slightly stronger and able to withstand bumps etc. Glaze firing pieces makes ceramic work vitrified, or water tight and much stronger. Of course, being ceramic, all work will break if it’s dropped on a hard surface.
I’m having a lot of fun with these. In a sense, it reminds me of my childhood a bit. I could spend hours and hours playing by myself in a world of make believe. I would create environments or rooms using my cracked open books for my dolls. The end papers of my books made beautiful wall paper or even a forest. I developed elaborate story lines that could last for days until I decided to move onto a different activity.
Today, I’m using some of the botanic or flora photographs as inspiration. In some cases, I attempt to replicate what I see, in others, I take artistic liberty to depict a flower or seedpod. In truth, it is really hard to make the real thing better.
Other Botanic Inspired Ceramic Work
I’m also fully aware that I am not the first artist to attempt to capture seed pods or flowers in clay. Just check out my most recent Pinterest search. What I find incredible, is the range of interpretations. Each person has a unique life view and will interpret the exact same subject differently. We each have our own way of working with clay – our touch is different, our tools, our mindsets, our preferred color palette and even our firing methods. All of these inform our making and interpretations which makes ceramic art (and all art) really exciting.
Finished Botanic Inspired Ceramic Work
Why have I moved in this direction? I’m not sure, is my honest answer. I have been content to explore drawing and clay. In fact, I still am. This newest work seems to be an tangent of my sculptural explorations and my stacked ceramic totem sculptures. It’s fun and joyful which makes going to “work” in my studio a great day.
One of my goals for this work is to create functional ceramic objects that are also beautiful on their own.
A few days ago, I randomly noticed a post on a Facebook group that I belong to announcing that former and current students in the Make Art That Sells e-courses were participating in a 100 Day Project. I don’t exactly need one more thing added to my to-do list, but I signed up anyway.
The premise is that for 100 days, participants will post an image of their project. Participants choose their own themes for the 100 days. I chose 100 days of patterns with the notion that I would use this exercise to work on surface design for my clay work.
History of the 100 Day Project
According to the 100 Day Project website, “The 100DayProject is a creativity excavation. It’s about unearthing dormant or unrealized creativity by committing to a daily practice everyday for 100 days.”
I like this so much that I couldn’t really improve upon the description. The website and idea is in its fourth year right now. It’s so popular, there are literally thousands of posts on Instagram that use the tag #100dayproject.
100 Days of Patterns
I knew that the time that I can commit to the project is limited. With that in mind, I decided to choose patterns as a jumping off point to explore clay surfaces. I intend to spend no more that 15 minutes a day on each sketch and will do it first thing in the morning. Sketching first thing in the morning over my first cup of coffee is also probably a much healthier alternative to signing on to my computer. It’s a warm up exercise to start my day creatively.
100 Days of Patterns – Beginnings
Translating a 2 dimensional surface to clay is limited to using slip, underglaze, glaze and texture instead of pen, ink, etc. I can explore circles, squares, lines, and other shapes at leisure. Since I have 98 days left, I’m spending the first part working with circles or dots. I’m also limiting my color palette to black and white for consistency.
After I decided to work with a square format – mostly chosen for sharing on Instagram, I had a crazy idea on day 1.
I’ve been meaning to play around with paper clay and to explore the non-functional ceramic art realm. What if I used the 100 Days of Patterns as a jumping off point to explore paper clay? I can use the structure of the 100 Days Project to make a large body of work that can be shown together, but also broken up into smaller groupings.
What if I made paper clay tiles and used the images from my 100 Days of Pattern to create 100 tiles? Maybe, I could propose a gallery exhibition locally that featured all 100 tiles and the accompanying sketches. What gallery and where? I’m not sure, but I have 100 days to figure out how to make my idea a reality.
Currently, I’m reading (rather listening) to Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert while I work in my studio. It’s a bit woo-woo, but the book is speaking to me. Yesterday, I listened while she hypothesized that the universe flows with inspiration and ideas looking for a vessel for expression. Being open to inspiration and embracing the challenge is good and maybe even cosmic intervention.
Many people have similar ideas, but each of us expresses them uniquely. Part of expressing an idea is to welcome it, announce it to the world and to act on it. Creating habits, like 100 Days of Patterns is my first step at realizing this lightening bolt of an idea that popped into my head when I started drawing on day 1 of my 100 Days Project.
Nature is pretty darn interesting and makes beautiful artifacts. I’ve been collecting images of plant seeds and seed pods for visual reference to use in my ceramic work. This direction is a new one for me, but one near and dear to my heart as a former landscape designer and Colorado Master Gardener. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to translate these to clay, but decided to use the winter months to experiment and the following ceramic seed pod wall art trio is the first incarnation.
Originally, I started this exploration with the intent of making ceramic garden stakes for use outdoors. Each one has a hole in the back in which I planned to attach a 3 foot long rod that could be planted in the dirt of a garden bed.
Being a bit of a pack rat, I had saved a dried lotus flower seed head that came in a flower arrangement I had received last year for future use. I think the form is interesting and provided a jumping off point to begin sculpting.
Making the ceramic seed pods was slow going for me. I’m a novice sculptor and translating the likeness of a seed pod is tricky.
In fact, I asked myself why I would even want to try? It’s not to improve upon an already interesting form, but I want to translate the essence of nature’s artifacts at a larger scale for permanence and decoration.
Decorating and Glazing
When I was sculpting these, I learned some (new to me) techniques that abstracted the forms in clay.
Throughout the process, I continually reminded myself that these were destined for the soda kiln at the Colorado Potters Guild. I thought about how to glaze the forms and how the soda ash would affect the surface of the ceramic seed pods.
Final Finished Ceramic Seed Pods
When we unloaded the kiln about a week and a half ago, my firing partners remarked that these would be really interesting as wall art. While I originally designed these as garden stakes, I have to agree. I make a lot of ceramic wall installations and would like to expand this direction and think that this is a good start.
On a technical note, the two enclosed forms on the right hand side of the photo above are rather heavy. I have some technical issues to resolve and think that working with paper clay would help lighten the sculptures.
With that in mind, I picked up a new book on paper clay by Rosette Gault to learn a bit more about the medium. I haven’t been able to dive in, but am really excited about the possibilities!
During the month of February, I’ve been making some more experimental work. I’ve felt drawn to stacked ceramic totem sculptures as a form and method of arranging components which is entirely new for me.
Since I’m not quite sure how to execute larger ceramic totem sculptures, I decided to repurpose some table lamps that my husband and I were going to donate to our local thrift shop. The size and shape of the lamp base is perfect for a table top ceramic totem sculpture.
My husband kindly removed the electrical bits of the lamps and yesterday, I started to play with the placement of the ceramic bits that will make up the pair of sculptures.
While, the minimal white of the components in the video is beautiful, I envision a more graphic composition. I’ll be working on the decoration today. Stay tuned.
After this firing cycle, I plan to work on a ceramic totem for my garden and think I have figured out how I will anchor it in the ground. There just doesn’t seem to be a ton of info out there, so I’m drawing on my experience in landscape design to figure out how to anchor the sculpture so that it does not topple during weather events.
Meanwhile, check out my Pinterest board where I’ve been collecting images of ceramic totems.
What is a totem?
“A totem (Ojibwe dodaem) is a spirit being, sacred object, or symbol that serves as an emblem of a group of people, such as a family, clan, lineage, or tribe.”
While it is somewhat controversial for me to use the cultural term “totem” to describe my sculpture, it’s descriptive of a tall stacked sculpture and easily understood. I will need to really think about the language that I use as I finish my pieces in the future.
More appropriate terms include stacked ceramic sculpture, columnar sculpture, garden tower or garden stacks. Ultimately, I want to be thoughtful, respectful and deliberate.
I’ve let the last two weeks worth of sketches accumulate without documenting them here on my new blog…but I have been working hard to translate some of the imagery to my pots. I blame my deadline for my fast approaching group sale for the lax posting. The pots in the photo above are currently cooling in the soda kiln at the Colorado Potters Guild as I write this. My compadres and I will be unloading them on Monday, April 27th at 2pm – just in time to inventory them for our Spring Sale happening April 30 – May 2!
An interesting thing happened when I was working my sketchbook imagery to my clay work – the mark making has to be simplified when adding it to a pot. Conversely, I started getting a ton of ideas that I wanted to explore in 2D once I started adding surface interest to the pots. My sketches have become increasingly more colorful, playful and detailed.
I’m having so much fun with these and am considering recreating some of these as prints. The one thing I keep asking myself is why haven’t I keep a sketchbook before? I’m past the 30 days of sketching and often have ideas lined up for future drawings. It does take some discipline to make time to draw everyday, but it feels like such a great investment.
Since I haven’t kept up with my posting, here’s a quick 15 second Flipogram to highlight the first 30 days. I am going to make a concerted effort to post at least 3 times a week going forward.