Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Studio Spring Cleaning Fever Continues


It's spring fever. That is what the name of it is. And when you've got it, you want - oh, you don't quite know what it is you do want, but it just fairly makes your heart ache, you want it so!

from Mark Twain's Tom Sawyer

Monday, March 28, 2011

Friday, March 25, 2011


clay bits scraped to the bottom
 rim softened and exterior textured with a wooden pestle

brushing thin layers of terra sigillata

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Polished pebbles, burnished clay

  using black polished pebbles for burnishing

pear burnished until glassy---white earthenware fig drying from first layer of gray terra sigillata

burnished pear on terra-cotta plinth
  with pebbles used

Monday, March 21, 2011

farewell to winter and hello to spring

I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape. Something waits beneath it; the whole story doesn't show.   Andrew Wyeth


Spring is here and winter went out with a mighty storm around here.  The photo was taken by the Pacific Ocean on Hwy 1 in Northern California.  I printed it with saturated color on cheap printing paper and had it on the work table.  Breaking for lunch, I placed a fig I just burnished on top of the print.  It went together and I had to take a picture.  The fig is still greenware---it hasn't had a firing.  It has about five layers of terra sigillata each layer burnished with a polished pebble. Right now it is cool to the touch and very glassy. Once fired it will lose some of its shine and deepen in color. Its warmth waits underneath. 

Friday, March 18, 2011

Coil building a bread bowl

"To work with clay is to be in touch with the taproot of life.'' ~Shoji Hamada

There is this feeling of connection when working with clay simply.  The rhythm of rolling out clay, pressing it, building little by little, pinching, paddling---it fills a day, a year, a life. It is just a bowl, but a bowl with life rolled into it. It is the gift clay gives to me.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Clay dancing with thoughts of poppies

Last year I bought some lovely green poppy pod stems.  I loved the green purples of the bobbing heads.  Wonky stems, marking their own crooked pathway to the sun, with their pods heavy with black seeds.  John Keats wrote of the full flowering poppies in a field.  Bone-dried, cinnamon in tone, these pods still look as if dancing. I started to do some pots inspired by the poppies. We'll see what happens. 


Through the dancing poppies stole a breeze most softly lulling to my soul. 

John Keats

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Carnation in a sgrafitto teacup

Lilies and roses all gone
one carnation left
Last of the birthday flowers

Monday, March 14, 2011

Fern Clay Stems

These are very easy and very fun to make.  I make coils of different clay bodies.  They are bisqued and then I use a wash of black iron oxide/gerstley borate.  Fire again (they fit in between firing sculptural work.) Third time is a charm, I add another stain in the case of the pinkish one--red iron oxide. The other ones have ochre and bernard clay.  When there is a bunch in a vase they look whimsical and fun.  Plus they are a way to test stain colors.  All these stems are made from B-Mix with Grog Cone 5.

Friday, March 11, 2011

"Life has loveliness to sell, all beautiful and splendid things,  blue waves whitened on a cliff, soaring fire that sways and sings, and children's faces looking up, holding wonder like a cup."             Sara Teasdale

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

terra cotta blues in hyacinth

The grape hyacinths are blooming.  My little lawn is mossy,  The wheel and the potter are rusting (or do I mean rusty?)  Need to play around with some clay.  Pinch pot time. Terra Cotta blues are gone.....

I find that a small mister is all I need when coil building. I work with a damp washcloth, too.  Wiping my hands with a damp towel returns a little moisture to my fingers and keeps the rim from cracking as much.  When the hands are dry it can dry out the clay, especially when pinching the rim.

My old  rice paddle has a long history of dishing out rice and traveled with me from household to household. It is now dedicated to spanking pots into shape. The first pot it helped shape was this one:

Ginkgo Leaves Vessel  (little bigger than a basketball) made in 2000, smoke-fired in a trash can

Making the simple coiled pots were time consuming, but wonderfully satisfying.  I haven't done any large ones for some time and I think I will start one this week. First I need to 
f 0 cuS on finishing some pinch pot cups.

Last week for ACGA@MAH

This is the last week for the Association of Ceramics and Glass Artists' exhibit at Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History.  There's nothing like seeing so much clay and glass in a large gallery. It's well worth traveling to see and looking around Santa Cruz.   

There is a review at Linda Jensen Online blog with some good photos of the exhibit.  Please check it out.  She mentions Legerdemain

Friday, March 4, 2011

Blooming blue day with no clay

There is no clay today.  Only grape hyacinths on my mind.  I am doing some small paintings of flowers and taking photos with my little camera (Nikon CoolPix) to use as references.  I am thinking about clay and have done some sketches.  It's just that it's cold in the studio and the sun is out.  And all the little hyacinths are blooming blue.  And I can't forget the forget-me-knots!  So today will be a blooming blue day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pinch Bowl with Clay Pear---it's all a balancing act

Sieving Hat with Pinched Bowl/Pear

Last chance to see the ACGA National Juried Ceramics and Glass Exhibition in City of Brea Art Gallery in Brea, California.  Runs through March 4th.  The photo below was taken by a member of the ACGA and is on the ACGA blog.

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