I have a stalker

An Etsy Stalker, that is!

Yes, I got a friendly (not at all creepy) message from the lovely ladies over at Etsy Stalker that my Hefty Beer Stein was featured today on their post: Beer + Etsy  = Great Gifts for Guys. And who doesn’t agree to that?

Actually I really love all the pieces they picked out… But I’ve already got a little something something in the works for D. (shhhh!)  Maybe next year, honey!

Stalked!

Published in: on December 15, 2009 at 12:12 am  Comments (2)  

Sneak Peek

Think I’ve haven’t got some new wares to introduce this holiday season? Think again!

Yes, I’ve got my plate over-full many areas this time ’round, but I have been finding a little time to sneak into the studio. Luckily, some things are just coming out in time to feed the shopping rush! Look out this week for some brand-spankin’-new beer steins over in my Etsy shop, like the sexy red mug, above.

I think around the holidays, many women face the question: What the heck kind of handmade gift can you really buy a man? Problem solved!

 

Published in: on November 25, 2009 at 12:40 am  Comments (1)  

Got attitude?

damn soap fs

Well, this soap dish does. I don’t really know why I wrote that particular message on there – maybe tired of someone using my expensive bath products in the shower?

Either way, I rather like it. A soap dish for those of us who are righteous and grumpy in the morning…

Published in: on November 9, 2009 at 10:37 pm  Comments (4)  

The Installation Goes Up!

dennis hanging birds

While I slave in front of the computer screen this week, D. is out on a ladder, making sure that his show looks perfect in time for the big opening day this Friday.

He spent several consecutive days hanging his porcelain birds and they look fabulous! So many people stopped to check them out, stare and ask him questions. I can’t wait until we have the lights up and it’s nighttime, and people can walk in and under the entire sculpture! Also at night you can’t see the microfiliment (fishing line) that they hang on – it just looks like a flock of amazing birds taking off from the center of the park.

The head of our gallery also encouraged him to install the project again in the spring for a major ceramics conference that is coming to Philadelphia  – a huge compliment for his first public work!

These photos are from the first day, so you can’t get a sense for the entire finished design. But I think you can see where he’s going with it, and how realistic and lively these pieces look as they’re hung. Watch out for more pics of the finished work later this week!!

dennis hanging4

birds hanging2

Published in: on September 1, 2009 at 7:14 am  Comments (4)  

Opinions needed!

porcelain test

Okay folks, here are the results of my glaze testing! Now, you may be interested to know that all of these samples are the exact same glaze recipe. Yes, it’s gram for gram the same, except for tiny adjustments to the amounts of two colorants – Rutile and Iron. Some of these have a little more of one, or a little more of the other, or a balance between the two.

Above, you can see the results on test tiles made of porcelain clay (most of my current work is in porcelain). Below, you can see the dramatically different results these glazes give you on dark stoneware clay:

stoneware test

Personally, I’m leaning towards the recipe with 3% rutile and no iron at all. It looks good on porcelain AND stoneware, and I think the soft porcelain look would contrast nicely in a bowl or cup containing a bright glassy blue on the inside. It also has a beautiful almost “snowflake” crystallization going on:

duo2

It would look equally good on stoneware, albeit a much earthier, natural effect:

duo1

Some other close contenders include this iron heavy, reddish/black version:

iron test

And a matte, earthy green with a lovely texture:

green test

What I pick may wind up being my dominate glaze for a new holiday line of work. What do you think? Which are your favorites? Can’t stand one? Inquiring minds want to know!!

Published in: on August 23, 2009 at 10:00 pm  Comments (9)  

Something new afoot

Remember this bowl? You may not, because I made it all the way back in June 2008. But it’s a favorite of mine, and when I was pondering some new design ideas, it immediately popped into my head. I love the way the soft, earthy brown texture contrasts against the tropical glossy center.

The problem is, these glazes were fired in a special kiln, where compounds of salt and soda are sprayed inside during the hottest point in the process. I did it at a special workshop, but our normal kiln is not equipped for it (or rather, if we did it once, the chemicals would permenantly contaminate every future firing. So you need a kiln dedicated entirely to salt or soda).

So what to do? I consulted my studio’s glazing guru, an old hand with years of pottery experience. With her help, I came up with half a dozen possible glaze recipes. She also suggested spraying the pieces with a water/table salt solution to mimic the type of firing I like.

I finally had a chance to mix up all the glaze tests I need, and I should be able to see the finished products Friday afternoon. I’m super excited, because if I like the results I may be able to serve up a whole new line of work just in time for the holidays…

Published in: on August 20, 2009 at 11:35 pm  Comments (3)  

Aha!

stein_canonshot

I got the new Canon Rebel working tonight and even had a friend come over to help show me how all the buttons work! I’m still a little confused, I admit. But the good news is that, without a single adjustment needed, it already takes some beautiful shots!

I was fooling around with the flash setting and this is one random snap I took (auto mode, no flash). I love how crisp it is and how true to life the colors are! I feel like I will finally be able to give my Etsy customers a really good view of this glaze’s depth – the dark valleys as well as the honey-colored highlights.

This camera is literally going to save me hours of repeat shots and post-processing (this photo has none). Sooooo excited!

Published in: on August 13, 2009 at 12:11 am  Comments (4)  

Hello, Hello!

bisque

Wow! It’s been a while! I didn’t really mean to take such a long hiatus, but you know how it goes…”Life is what happens while you’re busy making other plans.”

I’m  happy to say that this summer has been packed to the fullest. I enjoyed a nice vacation at the beach with my family, took my GRE’s (and was pleased with the results) and enrolled in two website programming courses.

I bought a used Canon Rebel from B&H Photo and got a fantastic deal – less than 50% of a new camera! And it arrived not a day too soon, because I promptly dropped my old one in a lake! Whoops!

Speaking of lakes, I just got back from a cottage on the New York Finger Lakes. All I did for two days was pick 8 lbs of blueberries, eat barbecue and go swimming in the gorgeous warm water!

And, lest you think I haven’t been busy in the studio as well, let me put your concerns to rest! I got a custom order that gave me the kick in the pants to glaze and finish a bunch of work that’s been hanging around. Here’s a series of photos from the glazing…the finished products look gorgeous but I need to figure out how to use my new camera before I can share them with you!

bisque beer

Beer steins for the holidays! Here they are before the glaze.

The glaze is stirred vigorously!

The glaze is stirred vigorously!

Each cup gets a dip!

Each cup gets a dip!

Different colors get different glazes.

Different colors get different glazes.

Ready to be fired in the kiln!

Ready to be fired in the kiln!

Published in: on August 9, 2009 at 11:35 pm  Comments (2)  

Head Exploding

As D. and I redesign my work space, we are improving my photo setup too. He’s re-working my homemade lightbox a bit, and I went out and bought a professional photography background for just about $35. I’m eyeing up some camera tripods on Craigslist, and the obvious next question is…. Camera upgrade?

My current camera is a real challenge to focus at macro settings, and I want something that will give me really close-up, really crisp hi-res images. Maybe with the potential for doing some print postcards and posters using my nifty new InDesign skills.

But I’ve been doing some research and my brain is swimming. To SLR or not to SLR? New or used? How many megapixels? What kind of lenses? What kind of macro settings do I need? How heavy do I want? What brand? Do I want to connect directly to my computer while I take the shots?

And, most importantly, can I get what I want and still afford to eat afterwards?

Any thoughts or suggestions would be great!

Published in: on July 13, 2009 at 9:46 pm  Comments (6)  

Starry Starry Night…

Ooo, the new work just doesn’t stop around here!

Here’s a new riff on my little dip bowl sets  –  a set of five, joined into a star! This was a real pain in the a$& to make, so you can bet you’ll only being seeing one. It was inspired by my popular photo for the original little dip bowls, which I had arranged in a star formation. I think this would make a really fun earring organizer for the top of a dresser.

Hmmm, you know what else just occurred to me? A really hot jewelry craft show arrangement using different formations of these little bowls. Plus a porcelain necklace tree? Maybe I gotta get together with a jewelry artist in the Philly area and make that happen….

Published in: on July 11, 2009 at 11:06 pm  Comments (4)