Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Working in an Imaginary Studio

quails running down the road towards my house

It took only 30 days from open house to final closing and handing over the keys.  The house even went through a short bidding war.  The buyers were so happy and eager to move in.  We donated some furniture to the botanical gardens pack rat sale and my first Skutt 818 kiln to a newbie potter.  I then wrapped up my vegetable container garden consisting of one "Better Boy" tomato plant and headed north.  We made it safely here, my kilns, my pottery wheel and ceramics.  My buddy "Better" now sits out on the picnic table next to my temporary outdoor studio.

black-tailed deer hanging out by future studio

Building the indoor studio got delayed because the one acre lot next to us came up for sale and we bought it. My thoughts ran into building a tiny home-studio on wheels (no property tax increase.)   Then I realized I really need a proper studio with a solid floor and a sink.  A small wood stove in the corner for those 300 days per year of cool mornings.  The south wall...a garage door with glass so I can roll it up on sunny days or more likely, foggy days.  When it's down the natural light will stream in.

Shirley Poppies glorious in the morning fog

I don't know if I would get any work done.  Maybe it will turn out too perfect.  I won't want to mess it up with clay bits and glaze making. Perhaps working in my imaginary studio is more fun on paper and in the mind.  When all is said and done, all I need is a little space, a work table, a bag of clay and a small kiln.

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Walk in Wild Beauty

Walk in Beauty
20" x 17" x 5"
Earthenware and porcelain, terra sigillata, engobes, glazes

Half of me is filled with bursting words and half of me is painfully shy.  I crave solitude yet also crave people.  I want to pour life and love into everything yet also nurture my self-care and go gently.  I want to live within the rush of primal, intuitive decision, yet also wish to sit and contemplate.  This is the messiness of life---that we all carry multitudes, so must sit with the shifts.  We are complicated creatures, and ultimately, the balance comes from this understanding.  Be Water.  Flowing, flexible and soft.  Subtly powerful and open.  Wild and serene.  Able to accept all changes, yet still led by the pull of steady tides.  It is enough.                
~Victoria Erickson (writer of Edge of Wonder: Notes from the Wildness of Being)

Monday, May 16, 2016

Clay and Glass 2016 and on the move...

Ceramics: Lana Wilson, Jenni Ward, Gregory Roberts, Ashley Kim, Bill Geisinger, Wyatt Amends and (: me :)
Glass: Ellen Blakeley, Candice Gawne,  Reddy Lieb, Nanci Schrieber-Smith, Studio Bel Vetro, Matthew Szösa

My studio is all packed up and heading north. So far, this unpredictable year of the Monkey, has had some crazy days, weeks and months.  It is hard to keep a house in order, work on work and keep calm.  Things (you know, those this 'n that things) kept popping up making confetti of my need to-do lists.  It is surprising how much one can do without little sleep.  Maybe not perfect, maybe not on the mark, but done.  We are selling and moving finally.  This house looks so brand spanking new and clean it makes my eyes water. I mean, shine.  

The lilac I planted 15 years ago finally bloomed.  It never bloomed in all those years.  I never had the heart to take it out. Every year its leaves would unfurl with dark green perfection. It made the nearby butterfly bush's leaves looked very shabby. In all honesty, the leaves were prone to curl and shed. Leaving bare twigs and branches. Looking very unattractive. That said, this butterfly bush without shame and hesitance, shot out huge majestic purple blooms every year. I could not bear to uproot that tattered butterfly bush, not because of its magnificent blooms, but because it reminded me that beauty waits...

I planted that lilac the year a family member took her life. And this year, on the anniversary of her death, I dreamed of her.  We walked down to the beach and she wanted to drink the sea water. I knew she was here for her mother.  I woke and felt uneasy.  Later we got an early morning phone call and knew.  Two days later I noticed the lilac buds. 

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Porcelain Halo and Copper Ears

a blah porcelain halo before 23kt. gold-leafing

charlene doiron reinhart
 Cardinal's Halo
14" x 4" x 2"
ceramic, porcelain slip, underglazes, gold-plated copper wire, 23kt. gold leaf

 Copper Pipe Crown
waiting for final touches
copper band stamped: caritas abundat in omnia
translation:  love abounds in all

“You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby.
But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand...”
                                             ―The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams 

Friday, April 8, 2016

Hummingbird's Clay Heart

charlene doiron reinhart
Hummingbird's Heart
14" x 4" x 3"
wall hanging
ceramic, underglazes, glazes, wood (beak)

charlene doiron reinhart
Back in January, I started making these bird-hooded people. The thought came from watching the birds at the feeder.  There are several different kinds of birds that gather around my postage stamp of a backyard.  It always seems that they are gossiping (oh, those naughty doves are making cooing sounds at each other again) or arguing ("hey, this is my roost, beat it!) The scrub jays, regal in their blue and gray, hop about and shout in their native tongue "What's all the racket?"  Then they spend their time searching the yard for a raw delicacy or two called escargot to some.

see post January 26, 2016 click here

Raven's Medicine Spoon (spoon comes out)

There are 12 done. They look good grouped together as though standing on a high wire.  Each hold something precious to them. An ordinary object that speaks without words---an unspoken conversation and relationship with the bearer and viewer.  I didn't spend too much time sorting out details.  Just kept at it until each felt right.  Besides, they are meant to be ironic or sweet or bizarre or thoughtful or silly...a momentary flight of fancy... :)

 Canary's Wish

 “We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
Anais Nin

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Paper, Scissors and somewhere there's a rock made of clay

charlene doiron reinhart
14" x 17"  
pencil, ink, gouache, paper cut-outs 

“To draw, you must close your eyes and sing” ~Pablo Picasso

charlene doiron reinhart

“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart…” ~William Wordsworth

Spent two weeks gardening, spring cleaning and watching grandchildren at the beach.  We did some tide-pooling and drawings of mermaids, whales and anemones.  We also hiked the fern canyon, took photos of wild flowers.  Evening entertainment was looking for the Big Dipper, Milky Way and Orion.  We watched the ravens tidy up their huge nest in a 90' high Bishop pine.  And on the beach, carefully skirted around the messy plover's nest.  The jack rabbits were plentiful and some wild turkeys passionately showed off their beautiful tails to seemingly uninterested she-turkeys.  In the early mornings, I longed to get back to doing my work, but knew these moments away fed my heart, too. 

Thursday, March 24, 2016

All the possibilities of clay and metal

You begin with the possibilities of the material.
Robert Rauschenberg

Still working out the details in the Copper Ears piece.  Since these photos were taken I have changed this piece several times. I was hoping to emboss the copper band with some lettering, but it still wasn't right.  I decided against the birds, bird house and gloves.  I made a porcelain band that has stamped lettering.  I like the possibilities of using the copper ears.  There are ways for me to use some glazes to get a coppery finish, but not the same.  So I trudge on.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Red Poppies who walks in beauty

Last two weeks I spent in a battle---me vs flu.  It wasn't pretty.  I really wanted to get 2 more sculptures completed, but working in clay was not possible. While I was coughing up half a lung (or at least it felt that way) I did some sketches and cut out paper dolls (Matisse channeling, I guess.)  It reawaken an interest in doing some collages and paintings in the near future. 


I did think for a feverish moment that I should give up clay.  It is so much work at times---mentally exhausting as well as labor intensive.  Then I realize I only think this way when I am not working creatively or have the flu.  Once I get down to work I forget time and space.

When the woman you live with is an artist, every day is a surprise. Clare has turned the second bedroom into a wonder cabinet, full of small sculptures and drawings pinned up on every inch of wall space. There are coils of wire and rolls of paper tucked into shelves and drawers. The sculptures remind me of kites, or model airplanes. I say this to Clare one evening, standing in the doorway of her studio in my suit and tie, home from work, about to begin making dinner, and she throws one at me; it flies surprisingly well, and soon we are standing at opposite ends of the hall, tossing tiny sculptures at each other, testing their aerodynamics. The next day I come home to find that Clare has created a flock of paper and wire birds, which are hanging from the ceiling in the living room. A week later our bedroom windows are full of abstract blue translucent shapes that the sun throws across the room onto the walls, making a sky for the bird shapes Clare has painted there. It's beautiful.

The next evening I'm standing in the doorway of Clare's studio, watching her finish drawing a thicket of black lines around a little red bird. Suddenly I see Clare, in her small room, closed in by all her stuff, and I realize that she's trying to say something, and I know what I have to do.” 

                    Audrey Niffenegger The Time Traveler's Wife

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bit by little bit of clay

Like a river flows
Surely to the sea
Darling so it goes
Some things are meant to be
Take my hand,
Take my whole life too
For I can't help falling in love with you
For I can't help falling in love with you

Elvis Presley

(can't seem to get this song out of my head)

“You may not be a Picasso or Mozart but you don’t have to be. Just create to create. Create to remind yourself you’re still alive. Make stuff to inspire others to make something too. Create to learn a bit more about yourself.”       Frederick Terral

There are times when I avoid going out to the studio, because I am not sure I will find what I think I've lost.  Does that make any sense?  In any case, I needed to get down to work.  Just go for it because I had nothing to lose (as I thought I had already lost it!)  I am still making small wall hangings, but I really needed to get started on some larger pieces regardless how wishy-washy I am at the moment.  At one point I was considering giving it all up.  Silly Charlene.

This piece has taken some time.  I just couldn't get the face right.  The hands were saying something else. The face was heavy and so unsure.  The hands expressed something far deeper inside---of words floating away.  I decided to give it a rest and covered this piece tightly and come back to it later.  That worked.  Next day I redid the face and there it was---that lightness of self and a surety.  

"She walks in beauty, like the night
Of cloudless climes and starry skies"
Lord Byron

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Through Clay and Pencil

Still having some technical difficulties.
  It is probably a good thing.
I am getting more work done (including housework and drawing.)

 Started some small wall figures about 14" in length. 

There are now 6 done and 6 more to finish.
All with different bird heads. 
The beginning of this year's series:
Unspoken Conversations.

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Verity and a little bit of clay

"Oh, when she’s angry, she is keen and shrewd!
She was a vixen when she went to school.
And though she be but little, she is fierce."

William Shakespeare from A Midsummer Night's Dream

12" x 6" x 3"

This piece had such a look on her face I dared not even try to give her any adornments.  Not a twig.  Not a stone.  Flowers---out of the question.  Only a pink sundress and red lipstick.  And that look---that sidelong glance that hints all and nothing.  Verity.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

The Clay is Always Greener when it's wet

Tried list-writing today:

1. make things based on my rambling thoughts
2. query then make
3. fix, mend then re-make
4. keep the clay greener than it is

grass vases for air plants I made while thinking about lawns
We are having wireless problems.  I had to hard-wire my laptop to use it, making it not portable. It is not the modem or the provider.  Just interference.  We were told maybe atmospheric--quasars? star dust?  ions? No, rain.  Rain?  That wet stuff coming out of the clouds? 

frog's eye view of a lotus pond

Rain has changed our hills into a lush chartreuse landscape again.  Verdant.  Vivid.  Velvety plush green.  Last January,  they were brown and we had not a drop of rain.  Not one drop.  Today it is sprinkling with big splashy drops in-between.  Maybe it is the rain interrupting transmissions. Not romantic/scientific as star dust and quasars. Just plain old, wonderfully renewing, Nature.

"The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself."
                               Henry Miller

Thursday, January 7, 2016

Greetings 2016

And now let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have ever been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious, and great things.
~ Rainer Marie Rilke

successful firing of 2016 of  Lil (the test kiln)
bottom layer

Raven with Olive Branch
ceramic, terra sigillata, porcelain slip
5" x 7" (sold)
at the Tiny Show---January 8-28, 2016
 Pence Gallery, Davis, California

We go out bird-watching around the wildlife reserves and sanctuaries of California in December and January.  We look for Sandhill Cranes and Tundra Swans.  They are such regal birds and trumpet their arrivals and departures in a cacophony of honks and trills like no other bird.  We have binoculars and a spotter, but sometimes I just watch them from afar unaided by fancy tools.  I listen to their triumphant calls as if to say look out we are here, we have survived and we have conquered another year! 

photo by me:  Sandhill Cranes at Woodbridge Ecological Reserve

In another month most of the cranes and swans, in their wild and intrinsic ways, migrate to greener pastures leaving behind the resident birds---the common backyard species of sparrows and finches, robins and blackbirds.  And here, on the coast, the fledgling ravens grow tall to 20" in height, croaking their wariness and remaining year round never hearing the call of a distant land.  They roost high in the redwoods and 100' shore pines with an outstanding ocean view.  The few feral mute swans, aggressive and hungry, stay for a while near Pudding Creek where it flows out to the Pacific.  They are considered invasive and destructive, species detrimental to this particular habitat. Tourists biking across the bridge stop to look, perhaps a bit astonished to see swans among the sea gulls and egrets.  They take deep breaths, filled with brine and sea weed aromas, then simply pedal on.

feral Mute Swans near Pudding Creek (that's the Pacific Ocean)

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to 
what lives within us.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson

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