The Burden of Nothing and Lightness of Many, Many Things

"Her drama was a drama not of heaviness but of lightness. What fell to her lot was not the burden, but the unbearable lightness of being." ― Milan Kundera, The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Cache, coil-built ceramic, porcelain parts, terra sigillata, slips, glazes, silk-screen porcelain, twine


Sometimes a piece doesn't get a photo shoot.  This piece was the last piece out of the studio and nearly didn't make it to the gallery.  We had already packed the photography equipment.  I quickly took a couple of photos on top of an old desk.  The twigs wrapped around the head.  On top there's a rolled up piece of "paper" tied with twine.  There's the usual arrangement of rocks and a fortune cookie, couple of leaves.  The glaze I used on some the twigs is a simple one:

 Peeling Paint (cone 08-01)
 Gerstley Borate        80%
 Titanium Dioxide     20%

Toothpaste consistency.
The titanium dioxide I have fires yellow.  I mean yell-ow. Some of the twigs have this glaze with a topping of burnt umber wash to tone it down. In some areas I used a crawl glaze:

Crawl (06-01)
Magnesium Carbonate   33.3  (33)
Borax                              26.7  (27)
Gerstley Borate              33.3  (34)
Silica                               6.7   (7)  (it doesn't add up to 100%, but it works for me)

I freshly make this crawl glaze.  I make up a batch of 100 grams, stir it up and leave it dry.  When I need to make up a small amount---I stir it up take out 2 tablespoons and add water.  Let sit couple of hours then apply.

In this application I used it thin instead of the normal thick. It looks more crackledly (is that even a word?) than crawl over the red art sigillata.  It makes my artist's eye sing "I just got a feeling deep inside of me..."


I started this post in July and can not believe it is now August.  During the month many, many things happened.  Just the everyday things that happen to all of us one time or another.  Yesterday, I did an artist's talk and demo at the Healdsburg Center for the Arts.  It was such a welcoming, delightful and visual interaction with art lovers.  I could feel their thoughtful energy.  I feel that writing this blog and all of you that have left comments---such lovely, friendly comments---I felt as if each of you were sitting right there and so inspired me to share the best of all us.  So I want to thank you, my blogger friends, who inspire and give me a bearable "lightness of being."


  1. I enjoy each of the blogs I visit and learn something from every one including yours, nice to have gotten a photo before the piece was sold, I unloaded my kiln friday nite and needed to pack it right away, the weather had finally cooperated for me to fire; glad you show the close up, love those chartreuse leaves and the wash over the twigs, great idea to mix up a batch and keep it dry and then only mix what you need for the piece.

    1. Hope you had a good firing, Linda! Chartreuse reminds me of new life and joy. I am really taken by it.

  2. She is truly exceptional!!
    It is an honour to know you and your incredible work from afar, Charlene.
    Artists impart (even a little) of their own qualities or essence, as they "breathe" into their work, which to me says you are an incredible person with much heart and kindness of soul - your ethereal, soulful work embodies that.
    You are an inspiration to all and are there with you in spirit for sure ♥

    1. One of my pieces--Storyteller's Bowl---has a new home in Australia! I was thinking about you when I made that piece, too, Vicki. You inspire me.

  3. One of the things I love most about your work is the way you capture the essence of the piece through the facial expressions. Then looking at the adornments and the colors you choose (the subtleties that tell the story) is just delightful. This piece is wonderful!
    And I wish I could have been a smiling face in your audience!

    1. I feel the same about your paintings---you capture the essence of moment--a feeling of wonder and poignancy through skillful use of color and texture. This piece came out of its second firing so screaming yellow it made have frightened the other piece to come out good and finished. "Cache" had this expression of past and future---so the hirigana scroll, stones and fortune cookie were added along with an oxide wash for the third firing.

  4. Hi Charlene,

    Lucky me, I WAS one of the smiling faces in your audience last Sunday... and I enjoyed every minute of your presentation. Thank you for so generously sharing your time, wisdom and expertise with us. While you spoke I was acutely aware of the presence of one of your beings hovering nearby. Her name, aptly enough, is Between Heaven and Earth. She seemed to be trying to get my attention, and she succeeded. Today I returned to the Healdsburg Art Center and invited her to come live with us - and she accepted. Very exciting!

    1. oh, Kate, I am so happy that "Between Heaven and Earth" is going home with you! I had planned on doing a post on her next week. She encompasses quite a few things and kept me straight and true. So glad you found a connection with Between Heaven and Earth.

    2. I hope you will still do a post on her. I would very much like to know more about her creation and her meanings for you.

      Will you be at the gallery next Sunday for the closing tea (2 to 4 pm)?

    3. I will not get a chance to go to Healdsburg this Sunday and it sounds so nice to have a closing tea. I will try to do that post soon. Thank you, Kate---I am glad that Between Heaven and Earth found you.


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