In the pink with Rutile Sun

Dahlias in bloom at the Mendocino County Botanical Gardens-photo by CDR

“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”
Anais Nin 


Inspired by sea anemones, dahlias and grasses.  Guided by the Anais Nin quote.

I took a risk on this piece.  I glazed it with a satin white.  My intent was to leave it all unglazed.  I rarely glaze an entire sculptural piece.  I mainly use terra sigs or engobes with small areas of shiny glazes.  Lots of color.  Lots of texture.  However, it needed a hard glaze to insure that the tendrils stayed put.

Reluctant at first, I began to open up to the process of brushing on layers of white satin glaze. While it dried I stained a terra cotta figure laying next to it with rutile. I returned to this piece and forgot I had a brush full of rutile in my hand. One stroke onto the white surface without thinking. Oh no!  Now I wasn't going to wipe it off and start again. I didn't have the time. After a few anxious moments, I went with it.  


When I opened the kiln I thought of sunshine and my grassy meadow drying out in the summer heat.  I was surprised by the intensity of the yellows.  Just a little Rutile, Mason Stain 6440 and Red Art slip mixed with some white satin glaze. Peachy salmon tones here and there from the Red Art, goldenrod yellow from the Rutile.  Bright, confident  primary yellows peeking out.  All this from a mistake--a little mishap and a decision to go with it.  

trial wall pieces done with colored porcelain clay, terra cotta and basalt clay, stoneware


  1. Those dahlias are amazing! But even better is the happy accident that made this piece so amazing - love that yellow. And that Anais Nin quote is one of my favorites. I'm also liking the trial wall pieces.

  2. Yes, the dahlia garden is beautiful. Given the setting of the coastal pines and sea breezes make these flowers remarkable resilient! This quote is one of my favorites, too. I loved the process of making the trial pieces--their object/abstract feel. Thank you for comment on them. I will now seriously consider making more!

  3. The piece looks like sunflowers just about ready to open with the yellow and white and when I first saw the piece I thought that was what you intended, sometimes happy accidents are just the ticket aren't they

    I can just imagine how long it took you to glaze the piece, as my layered pieces have to be hand brushed to get all the crevices and not miss any spots, I wear magnifying glasses and luckily the white clay has just a tinge of pink so I can see I have missed a spot.

    that dahlia looks like pompom it's opened so wide, wonderful

  4. The dahlia pictured is called a pom pom. The garden has an amazing array of dahlias from dinner plate to 2" pom poms and so many colors. My favorites are the pom poms and the deep burgundy ones.

  5. That's a beautiful quote echoed by a beautiful work of art.

    "A mistake"? Perhaps. I like to think of it as our intuitive, knowing subconscious, coming forward right at that very moment when our more controlling conscious mind rests.

  6. You may be right about that as I seem to have these mishaps almost daily! I am very drawn to color and love to use it. That little splash of rutile if washed away would have remained a mishap and I would never seen this result---this little bit of magic.


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