Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Hey, remember me?

My newest challenge:  a long distance client, and work that must be performed without benefit of live, in-person review of designs chosen.

So I'm making several design options for a coffee table, which I will scan, then e-mail for approval.

For the colors I've selected underglazes that would work with their palette, and put them on a tile,  then fired the tile with a clear glaze.  I'll mail the tile to them within this next week.  

The clients can tell me exactly which of the variety of shades they like from the tile, and all can be approved long distance.

I also did several layers of color, so they can decide whether they want one layer, to make it look more painterly, with the brushstrokes showing, or more layers, which has a solid, more graphic look.  

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Where have you been?!!!!

I just love this photo.  It's so very pretty.  

How's that for procrastinating?  I've been holidaying with my family, and going today to do some more holidaying.

Have done absolutely nothing of note, planning to get back into it again next week.

Have three commissions, plus 2 benches to do, so it's not like there's nothing going on.

Just too much party.  Poor me!  

See ya next week.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Not so mellow yellow

One of the most difficult colors to get in high fire is yellow.

A friend told me about this underglaze that actually comes out yellow in the glaze firing instead of disappearing.  So I'm going to try it on this altar. I haven't finished the underglaze yet, but I think I'll be able to get it into the last firing before class lets out for the holidays.

Then I can see if this brand actually works.  I certainly hope so, because it's expensive!  $12 for a teeny little container.  

I'll post the results when I get them.

Happy Thanksgiving all.  Hope you have a wonderful day, and no tummy ache after.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The last hurrah

This is the last bunch for Christmas gifts.

Two are from clothing fabrics that I have, one from a photo I took at DBG, and one because I love turtles.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A fantastic sale

The student sale was a huge success.  We had 19 participants, and made the most $$$ ever!!

Here are two of the "experienced" students.  Neal was our treasurer:  good job, Neal, and Toni displayed on one table and helped with set-up.

Bobbie's picture is below.  I think she had the most artfully arranged table.  She was also one of the top sellers. 

Next time we'd like to get more beginning students to participate as well.  All of the newer students who participated made sales, which doesn't hurt your ego at all, right?  

Monday, November 14, 2011

Success! and Surprise!

The two pencil classes I taught at Vision Kidz went exceptionally well.  Evidently I haven't totally forgotten how to do this, which is good.  Afterward went home, totally whipped, changed clothes and went to my daughter's house for a birthday dinner.  Little did I know it was a surprise party - for me!!!!!

Lots of family, friends, good food, laughs and tears.  What an amazing day.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

More sources for ideas

I'm always searching for ideas, especially when I have multiples on a project. If you look around your house, you'd be amazed at all of the themes available, just waiting to be explored.

This time I used a small flower on my new dishes as inspiration for another trivet tile.  This makes better use of the new red that I just got.  

Just one more to make, then I'm DONE!

Teaching a class next Saturday at Vision Gallery.  Pencil basics for kids.  Should be a lot of fun for all of us.  Until then I'm outta here!  Hubbie's taking me to Taos for my big birthday.  I'll come back with great pictures and even greater ideas for new work (I hope).  Hasta.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Latest kiln results

Hi there.  I've been working a lot on our new group project for the City of Chandler:  10 new benches in front of the Chandler Center for the Arts.  If you want to see what they're going to look like, go to
There's a selection called In Progress and it show drawings of what we're working on.   

I just got this bunch out of the kilns.  I'm trying a new red on my vases.  It's a little more tomato-ey than the last red.  Trying fewer combinations of colors too.  'So, like or not like?  

Also close to finishing my Christmas gift trivets.  Kiln firings are getting finite for this semester so I'm really pushing to get stuff in and done. 

Friday, October 28, 2011

Biggest bugs

Desert Botanical Gardens had a free day on Tuesday, so Tom and I went for a stroll.  

One of the current exhibits is a group of about 8-10 immense bugs made out of polished wood.  They are incredibly cool, and scattered artfully throughout the garden.

So if you're into bugs, I recommend a trip over there. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

At the gallery

Here's a picture of my stuff before the artist's reception last Friday night.  There were a lot of people there, and I got a commission for two of the littlest altars.  So that made me feel good.

Herberger turned down my latest submittal.  Oh well.  Try again later in the year.  I can't get picked every time.  

Starting to make the new hummingbird tiles for our latest group project.  We're doing 10 more benches:  prefab this time.  They're going to be placed on the main patio area in front of Chandler Center for the Arts. 

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sources for ideas

Our ceramics instructor went around the group during the last class asking "where do you get your ideas?"  

For these tiles, I'm having to come up with 15-20 different ideas, so I've gone to my idea book.  As a class assignment a few years back we were to put together a book of ideas to use as a resource.  Since then I clip patterns from magazines as I read them.  (My own magazines, of course!) Those that catch my eye employ colors or shapes that appeal to me.  Fabrics are especially good:  the design flaws have already been worked out:  I use them as jumping off points, utilizing some of their color combinations, or design concepts.  I saw something like this on a summer sundress.  

Another source for ideas is truly basic.  Pick something you love, and go with that.  I truly love quail.  I think they are the neatest looking little birds.  This is the first time I've tried to paint one.  Not bad for a first effort, right?  


Friday, October 14, 2011

Working on Christmas

I got three more tiles out of the kiln, so now I only have 8 more to do.  Then I'll have enough trivets to give all the women in my family for Christmas, plus a few girlfriends.  The bench is from my backyard.

It's a good learning experience regarding composition.  I have to keep the subject simple, easy, yet interesting.  Some have failed, so I may have to re-do a few.  We'll see.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Positively the last one

This is the last altar I did.  It  didn't make it out of the kiln in time to get into the Day of the Dead exhibit at Vision Gallery, but I'm glad it turned out so well.  This is the one for my brother.

At the studio we finally got confirmation on the date of our huge Student Ceramic Sale.  It will be on Thursday, November 17, from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m. at the Student Center at Chandler Gilbert Community College.  If you're looking for Christmas gifts, this is the place to come.

I'm coordinating the set-up and tear down this year, which is a new experience for me.  

Still working on Christmas gifts.  Will post some pics next time. 

Thursday, October 6, 2011

New series

I'm getting that old urge to try something new.  I'm thinking acrylic for this series.  

I've always wanted to take pictures when I see concerts on TV, because I love how the lights fall on the faces of the performers.

I took a series during the last Rolling Stones concert I saw and they're a little blurry, but still gave me some great images to play with.  What do you think?  Would this work or not?

Monday, October 3, 2011

2nd attempt succeeds

I re-did the shot glasses with the pattern on them, and just used one of the new glazes:  green blue black.  The one on the right was dipped in tan matt first. 

I'm much happier with these than the ones I spent such a huge amount of time on.  

Another lesson learned!


Thursday, September 29, 2011

4th one, 3rd one

Here's the fourth altar.  This is the one for my father.  He's been gone the longest.  I tried to make the colors more "boy".  How'd I do?

And this is the next trivet.  I love calla lilies.  Their forms feel so graceful, like dancers.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Last one and next one.

Just pictures today.  No time for verbiage.  Got a case of peaches on Saturday and today I'm making jam.  A lot of jam.

This will be my last altar, I think.  It's for my brother who's been gone for 8 years now.  It's not fired yet, so the colors will be a bit richer.  It's also my biggest one.  

Also a pic of my next trivet, Golden Barrels and Lantana.  I think it turned out OK. Damn. Sideways picture again.  You can tilt your screen, right?


Friday, September 23, 2011

One down...

So, my first trivet is done.  I like how the purple turned out as a shadow, but I need to blend my colors a little better.  

Got two more in the kiln and one to take today.

Only 11 more to do.  

Put in a proposal for a big job this week.  Keeping it mum until I get the OK, then I'll let you know what it is.

Oh yea, they've also given us the go-ahead on the 10 benches for Chandler Center for the Arts.  Gonna be a busy winter!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's in the mail!

I just sent my entry in to Herberger Theater Gallery's Aging in America exhibition for 2012

I've titled it "From Anticipation to Reflection".  Both subjects are from photos of my husband at different ages.  Then and now.  

I think the finished drawing turned out pretty well.  What do you think?  

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Holiday planning

I'm thinking what to make for some holiday gifts, and I thought of trivets.  You can buy the frames at for not too much.

And, instead of making the tiles, you can buy those too.  Then all you have to do is underglaze, glaze and fire.  Voila, a one of a kind gift.

This is my first one, done yesterday.  Have to take it in to get fired, then I'll show it when it's done and assembled.

I adapted it from an agave photo I saw in a magazine.  I think I'm going to make them all desert themed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Work in progress

I'm working on a drawing for submittal to the Herberger Art Gallery.  

The general subject is:  Still Here, Aging in America.  So I took two photos that I have of my husband, one taken in his 20's, before we were married, and one taken last summer, and put them on the same bench.  

Both photos were done by his best friend from college, Dan.  

I'm calling it "From Anticipation to Reflection".  What do you think so far? 

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Magnum Opus

I think I'm getting close to done with this piece of old lace.  I love the pattern, but it's time to move on and explore new things.  I have two more altars to complete for Dia de los Muertos, then I'm done with it.  But I think this last piece turned out really well.  I'm very happy with the colors.

I also have to start working on some tiles for the new bench project.  We're in the design phase and should be moving into production within the month.  

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


My shot glasses didn't turn out nearly as colorful and fun as I had envisioned.  And something made the underglaze bubble a lot.  It probably would have worked much better if I had low-fired them instead.  But then they wouldn't have been food safe, which kind of defeats the purpose, ya' know?

But I also tried a new glaze, that Sam and Diane made, called Beads.  Put it on some shot glasses I had made, over Ted's Super iron oxide, with Magic White on the inside and rim.  They turned out fantastic!  

What a nice surprise!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Got the altars back.

The altars turned out OK.  I'm not totally in love with them, but they aren't horrible.  Sometimes I get disappointed when what I envision with using certain underglazes doesn't meet my expectations.

What I do find interesting is that combining different colors within the same pattern can give such a different look to each.

I think I like the black background better than the light. It seems to give it more punch.  What do you think?


Monday, August 29, 2011

Last one! Maybe....

I did one of these tall luminarias before, not so much color, but it ended up being crooked, i.e., useless.

So Saturday I spent the whole class painting this, using some new color combinations.  We'll see how it turns out, but I think I'm finally getting tired of using this cut work lace piece.  

Even though these pieces have been a lot of work, it's essentially being lazy, because I'm not trying to invent something of my own.  

I'll show it to you when it's done.  And I think my two altars will be out of the kiln this week as well.  

Friday, August 26, 2011

Bull noses

Progress on the tiles for our new (and not yet built) BBQ island.  All of the tiles are made.  56, YAY!

Did a test run of bullnose tiles for the edging to see if the Andie's blue glaze would work with the blue underglaze I've been working with.  I think they look great! So now I'll finish up the rest of the bullnoses.  32

Now darling hubby has decided we need a backsplash, so I'm thinking they can be the solid blue like the bullnose tiles.  So I go in today to make 20 more tiles.  

Have you seen the movie, "The Never-Ending Story"?  This is the NEVER Ending TILE JOB!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A lesson learned, I think.

I put three layers of color on each shot glass, all different, then sanded with a superfine sandpaper.  

Here's the lesson I learned:  because the underglaze was only one coat of each color, I quickly, and TOO easily, sanded through all layers.

If you're going to do this, do a couple of coats for each color applied, letting dry thoroughly between each coat.  

These will be bisqued this week, then I'll try to do a little more light sanding before I  clear glaze and re-fire.  We'll see how they turn out.  

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Number Two

This is the second altar.  I've just finished the underglaze, then it will be brushed with a clear glaze and fired.

I made this one larger, so my concern is whether it will slump more in the glaze firing.  I put additional braces in the back, and have my fingers crossed that they will be enough.  

I also used a black background instead of leaving it white like the first one.  

This one is for my favorite auntie.  I named my daughter after her.  

I'll show it to you after it's been fired. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

Remember me?

Sorry for the long break - I really wasn't doing anything to show - but I've started a new project.

Last year one of the students in our Ceramics class hosted a cordial party.  A lot of us were making cordials from the fruit in our gardens.  Each person made enough shot glasses to share and brought them to the party along with their cordials. (And designated drivers!)
This person mentioned a couple of weeks ago that they'd like to do it again.

And since I'm always on the hunt for something new to try, I ran with it.  I handbuilt these 4, using a roller stamp for the pattern.  Then I brushed on a layer of underglaze.  I've since brushed on two more layers of color on each, alternating light and dark.  Today I'm going to sand them to expose the different layers of color.  When they're bisqued I'll sand a little more, apply clear glaze and fire again.  I tried this technique a few years ago, but never went further than one attempt, so I'm excited to see the results. 

Sunday, August 7, 2011

First altar done

This is the first altar, completed.  I just got it out of the kiln yesterday.  It's the smallest of the three I've made so far.

I don't know whether to tart it up, i.e. the Day of the Dead stuff is all about how junked up you can make it look, or just leave it as is.

The other two are larger.  One is going to be for my Auntie Marge, my favorite aunt.  And the other will be for my first mother-in-law, who was the most fun person I ever met.  

I may yet make one more, haven't decided.  

Friday, August 5, 2011

A celebration

Just a quick note:  they did like the new vase shapes and took all three!  Think maybe I'll rethink deleting this design from my repertoire and make some more.  Yay! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

New look for the gallery (I hope)

I experimented with a new shape earlier this year, and now have expanded on it with larger pieces, scalloped edges, and cut out parts that emulate the cutwork lace I used for the image impression.  

Today I'm sending this image (I know, I know, it's not the best) over to Vision Gallery to see if they would like to show them.

Cross your fingers.  I hope they like them, and I'll let you know. 

Friday, July 29, 2011

Christmas card, check.

Got it finished Wednesday afternoon, and decided not to add the wreath.

I know my daughter can find me something small and Christmasy to glue on the printed cards, and I can leave my original in it's pristine state.

So...... what do you think?  I'm almost 95% happy with it, which is pretty good for me.  


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Something old, something new...

Here's the bbq tiles I painted a couple of weeks ago.  

I finally got the first bunch out of the kiln.  Unfortunately the new assistant put them on cookies and they warped a bit, but that's OK, I can still use them.  

What I wanted to show you was how the color changed.  Since I only used one coat of underglaze (on purpose), they look more painterly and rustic, which is what I wanted.  The finished tiles are below.  

I am also starting a new project to do a few altars for Vision Gallery's Day of the Dead exhibit.  Here's the first one, just finished making it.  It's porcelain, so I don't know if it will hold or slump in the firing.  I wanted to try porcelain because the finished colors will be so much brighter.  Cross your fingers and I'll keep you posted.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Santa Fe, Steps 3 and 4

I worked on this for a couple of sessions this week, and then again yesterday.

I still haven't decided if I'm going to use this watercolor for my Christmas card.  Here's the dilemma:  I can add a wreath by the door, or maybe even colored lights around it, but then it would be useless for anything else, i.e. SELLING IT, hopefully.  Or I can keep it as it is, and just use it anyway.

Bottom picture shows my progress from yesterday.  I think it's coming right along:  I'm happy with it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Back to watercolor

Was it last summer?  Anywho, we went to Santa Fe and I took a bunch of pictures, hoping to do some paintings later.  This was the only building shot that I wanted to use.

So here are Steps 1 and 2 of the new painting.  I'm trying to decide if I want to put in a wreath or colored lights around the door and use it for my Christmas card this year, since I haven't even started on that yet.  

Also, I know the door is crooked.  It's supposed to be, only not quite this much.  I think I can fix it pretty easily.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Frida and me.

For those of you who live in or close to Chandler, and LOVE Frida Kahlo (as I do), they're having a great Frida exhibit at Vision Gallery this month put on by the Phoenix Fridas.  There's fabric, paintings, bead work, sculptures, and.... this fun Frida you can stick your head through.  

Well worth the visit.  

Also totally finished my coffee table for the patio, so I took a picture (see below).  There's the two tables I did, plus the new pillows and the new planter I made in ceramics, all in one place.  

I'm so happy with the finished look.  What do you think?.....

Thursday, July 14, 2011

One more step

The tiles for my table came out of the kiln perfectly!

So we've gotten the table put together, the base in, and the tiles glued down. 

Now we're in the process of putting in the grout and Voila!  It will be done and I'll have a coffee table for my new patio furniture.  

So, now it's on to the next thing... whatever that might be.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Island beauty

My husband is building an addition to our patio in the back yard, so that we can install a bbq island.  We (he) decided it would be nice to have a tiled top.

So guess who gets to do the top.  Uh-huh.  Here is the first round of tiles with underglaze.  There will be three flat surface areas approx. 2 feet square.  So I took my love of doodling and went to town.  Since this underglaze has a lot of cobalt, it will turn much darker in the glaze firing. I only applied one layer of underglaze, hoping to achieve a "painterly" affect when it is all finished.  
I was going to alternate colors on the tiles, using blue, then brown, but I got talked out of it.  Now I'm glad I did it this way.  Thanks, Steve and Sue!