Where have I been? Clay Camp! Every summer I teach an intensive ceramics class at my work studio. ( As opposed to my home studio) Its great fun, a lot of work, and a bit tiring. I just startled mysefl awake in a chair, iPad in my lap. When did I fall asleep? Whatever...
2 sessions. 10 days each. 1.5 hours a day in class. 2 classes a day.
ages 6-9 - sculpting and hand building/ sculptural and functional work.
ages 10-17 - same as above with wheel throwing in the mix and taking priority.
The saving grace - I have 2 ( yes - 2!!!) fab student teacher's aides! Sweet! And I can pay them in clay...
So I thought I would show you exactly what we have been up to...
The first teen project was a relief tile - inspired by reading, and loosely book shaped. Here is Jo - during the laborious painting process. This took at least 2 hours, painting the details in underglaze. The finished tile is outstanding and full of symbolic images in every space. It looks better in person! (Can you find Orthanc? Boromir's horn? A swan ship? The Eye? )
Center the clay, open the clay, raise or pull the clay... repeat. Get dirty. Enjoy!
Wheel thrown pieces by the teen age group. Dipped in the high fire ^10 glazes! Awaiting kiln loading!
Dry. Fire. Glaze. Dip. The hardest challenge of clay camp is drying. The humid weather forces me to break a few rules, and dry pots fast, on a hot kiln. Generallly this is a no-no. But the first week we are sculpting and throwing - I have to get things fired so we can glaze them!
New work from this week in Session 2. The book project tiles - expanded a bit to include the favorites Dr. Who and Star Trek. A coffee monster pinch pot. (How did you know it was me? ) And 2 sleeping creatures - an elephant tucked in with radio at his head, and my sample - a bunny reading a book, that I hope to finish tomorrow!
This is Emma, my teacher's aide, trimming pots for the teens. In the time we have - I choose not to teach trimming right away. We clean up the pots on the wheel, and by hand a bit as needed. Some I trim, and now Emma volunteers. It IS rather Zen... So while Emma trims - her mom, artist Sarah Dressler, carves intricate designs into Emma's thrown porcelain pieces. Sweet deal! And a great way to pass the time as Sarah isnt teaching this session...
So - in a week or so I will be fully immersed in bead and pendant making - getting ready for Beadfest in Philadelphia. But for know I am playing with clay, loading kilns and just having a good time. See you soon!
What do you mean June is almost over? I have been in "Clay Camp" - a 2 week pottery intensive class that I teach - and time seems to have flown by without me...
This month over at Art Jewelry Elements - the Component of the Month was provided by yours truly. There was great team response, and our special guest bloggers who won free charms as well! Please take a look at their offerings!
Here is what we were working with...
As to mine -
simple. organic. dangles. words.
My favorite kind of earrings.
Mismatched charms stamped from eucalyptus pods. Words stamped with intention into silver. Earthy aqua glaze...
(With a nod to AJE team mate Diana Ptaszynski for the mismatched inspiration...)
What words would YOU wear dangling from your ears? I would love to hear...
This month for our book selection, Andrew Thornton chose "The Bucolic Plague" by Josh Kilmer-Purcell. The real life tale of 2 Manhattan executives who became... goat farmers. I had heard of Josh and Brent as they starred in a reality show "The Fabulous Beekman Boys" depicting the cycle of growth and chaos on the farm. Raising heirloom vegetables, parenting a diva llama and a herd of adorable goats, and creating "Beekman 1802" their line of goats milk based bath & beauty products - all taking place on the former Beekman estate in upstate New York. They also ran... and won... "The Amazing Race"! Quite a multi faceted pair, these two...
The book was a fast and engaging yarn. Josh tells their tales, all the ups and downs, with honesty and humor. I dare anyone to read the scene about the baby goats in the truck on the way to the Martha Stewart Show - and NOT be compelled to read the rest! It was heartfelt in the telling of the trials and tribulations of this dream turned reality, and didnt candy coat the all too real stresses that this journey put upon the partners. I applaud that honesty, and was all the more engaged; feeling I was allowed to see the real deal. As someone who left a full time lucrative (art) teaching career at its prime to allow myself to be a full time artist - I respect and admire their risks taken and rewards reaped.
I was struck most by the contrasts in the book and the attempts to reach compromise, middle ground and a general sense of balance. And this was an evolving journey, with no clear solution - just 2 loving, inspired, creative, energetic, daring adults trying to make a dream a reality. And a life for themselves, and then some...
From the city to the country. And back to the city.
From close partners to long distance partners, working partners...
The polar opposites of Martha Stewart's Stepford-like perfection to Oprah's "Best life" with a dash of Wabi sabi.
"Country" - Hand painted watercolor, under mica; with gems. Inspired by the goat barn, and the grassy border of the "Beekman 1802" logo. (Shown below).
"City" - watercolor sky behind a copper NYC skyline; with gems.
*Disclaimer -I designed this piece to be two sided. Country/city pendant... and I drilled the holes incorrectly. Jeez. Embarassed. As I thought it over - trouble shoot or do 2 pieces? Inspiration struck...)
The finished "Country " piece - the copper backing is stamped with "Best Life" typos and all. I wanted to pay homage to the idea of doing what you love, doing what makes you happiest - even if its not perfect or always pretty.
The finished "City" piece. "Good things" come in all shapes and sizes... and should be appreciated, honored, and recognized. The city became a bit of a necessary evil to Josh as he spent weeks working to financially support the farm/his dream, while Brent was doing the day to day... yet it was Martha's own "good things" that helped launch the soap business initially.
But this story wouldnt have occurred without both sides of the tale, both people, both environments. A sense of contrast and a sense of balance achieved!
Congrats to Brent and Josh at their upcoming wedding at the infamous Beekman Farm!
Please take a look at my friends and colleagues' offerings this month! The full list will be posted on Andrew's blog.
Thank you for stopping by - I would love to hear what you think!
Welcome to clay camp.
Well - its my primary focus for the next 5 weeks. I have up to 24 students in 2 age groups. Ages range from 6-17. They are with me for 2 weeks - one of creating, sculpting, wheel throwing, hand building; and another of finishing, glazing, decorating.
And in my off time - I am making things like mad in preparation for Beadfest in Philadelphia in August...
Last Friday I did a post over at Art Jewelry Elements blog about the loading of the ^10 high fire reduction kiln. We unloaded today! It was a great firing. Not a ton of reduction - so out copper bearing glazes flashed more green then red. Simply beautiful in my opinion!
The first thing I saw this morning!
Taking it apart - shelf by shelf.
I am so happy with my organic porcelain charms! There are coral prints & sea urchin, in 4 colors. And I didn't "Lose" any stuck to the shelf or chipped, etc. Many of them have 2 holes. I want to make earrings with dangle, and bracelet links...
Coffee is done. Headed to the studio. I'd love to hear what you think!
This week: Green Taken in the ceramics studio courtyard on a break from loading the big gas kiln.
Jenny here. I know I have been MIA. This weekend is the first in 2 months that I have been home without a show, or company. Posting on a Saturday would mean having it all done in advance... and you see how well that works for me. So this week I wanted to jump back in, catch up... I have posted many of these on Instagram, but I am not sure if many of the Focus on Life groups is there ( I know some of you are, Hello!)
Yes, the purpose of this year is to live and look mindfullly in the "now" during the week. And I have been for the most part. Its getting better now, summer, as my schedule is settling in: teaching "Clay Camp" and making things for Beadfest. So here is a glimpse. Thanks for your patience and understanding.
Foodie: I am a coffee snob, its so very true...
Reminisce: Last weekend my 2 college roomates were here for our annual Girl's Weekend. Alison summed it up best: " Talk, eat, drink. Repeat." It was wonderful to see them, and catch up - yet also feel like no time had passed. We have been friends for over 20 years....
Looking up: This was a hard one. I was having trouble seeing interesting things. Until Oscar decided he wanted a snuggle as I was lying on the sofa... I also used the Percolator app on this one.
Hope: What better symbol than the blossom about to burst open in all its natural glory?
Hope to see you around more often! If you are on Instagram - look me up! ( I am jdaviesreazor over there!)
Have a lovely week everyone.
PS. I still "owe" you typography... still looking.
I had a feeling I would like this book. Gemstones appearing, magic and mystery, myth and legend come to life. These are motifs that have fueled my work and inspired me since I was a child, with renewed interest in Art School, studying on England, doing my own research... I expected the inspiration for a piece to come easily, and actually it did not...
The book is quite engaging, filled with rich characters that have depth, revealing their secrets over time. The locale is both here and now, a city you can imagine readily, and a fantasy landscape of the imagination. I was drawn into the story, and thoroughly enjoyed it...
When I finished the book - I had little time remaining with which to design and create a piece. Where to start? I was drawn to the moonstone as it’s one of my favorite stones and I have a lovely cabochon waiting for a setting. But that was to easy for me, too clear cut and evident. I try to truly challenge myself when I am doing a blog hop, an event like this. It becomes my time to experiment, to play, and to be free of the constraints of shows, schedules, inventory. To make a piece for myself - whether it is a success or not...
The scene I found to be the most evocative was Alasdair in the Womb of the Mothers. I was thrilled to read the names of so many goddesses, with respect and reverence. They were represented as many faces of the archetypal Maiden/Mother/Crone goddess. I work with the feminine divine frequently in my artwork, surely my inspiration would come from this scene? I have a stellar piece of lapis - as Alasdair gave his personal lapis life stone to the Cat Goddess. But my Muse was silent.
So I went back to the beginning:
“Alasdair left the apartment at midnight, well into Hekate’s hours. She was present tonight. He had felt her from the moment the sun sank beneath the horizon, had seen her in the waning crescent of the moon, had heard her owls calling from the hills... And it made sense that she’s be comfortable here. The city was , after all, a crossroads of sorts, and she is a goddess of crossroads.” (page 25)
This was the first goddess reference in the book, and it was exciting to me... It set the tone of myth and magic come alive, of scholarly fact interwoven into the fiction of the tale. This - Hekate - was my inspiration.
Hekate & Cerberus, Apulian red-figure krater
Hekate is the goddess of the night, the moon, the Underworld, and magic. She is the dark moon, and with Artemis (Maiden) and Selene (Mother) makes up the Triple Goddess. (She is partnered with Persephone and Demeter in the same way). This three fold nature continues in Hekate’s associations with crossroads where 3 roads meet, and with seeing the past, present, and future. Crossroads are liminal areas, areas of transition; Hekate governs life, birth and death. She welcomes souls to the Underworld, yet carries a torch to light the way to the future. One of her symbols is a key - to unlock inner mysteries.
The key and her role as the goddess of the Dark moon, the crone, the wise woman... was where my inspiration lay. I chose to use a large black labradorite stone - as a stone was essential based on the book - and this stone evoked the dark moon.
I sculpted a polymer pendant - three cornered for Hekate’s crossroads. The stone is set with a wire staple and then an additional polymer bezel. It bears the marks of stars for her mother - the Titan Asteria (Star). and is crowned with 2 crescents to represent the other aspects of the Triple Goddess. A key dangles from the bottom of the pendant. The polymer is hand painted, and finished with Gilders paste for a subtle sheen.
I plan to finish this with a necklace of gems. Moonstone, labradorite, hematite, pearls, garnet perhaps - but there was no time...
"The Night of Enitharmon' Joy" (aka The triple Hekate) by William Blake. 1795. Pen and ink, watercolor on paper.
This is one of the iconic Art History images I always associate with the goddess Hekate.
Thank you for reading my ramblings! I am sorry I did not get the piece done - I am very happy with the results - this one is for me although I may make another similar version. Please check in on my colleagues and freinds who are also participating! It should be a very inspired and inspiring selection this month after such a good read!
Mary K. McGraw http://mkaymac.blogspot.com/
Mary Harding http://maryhardingjewelrybeadblog.blogspot.com/
Jenny Davies Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog/
Judy Campbell http://www.macmillanmarie.blogspot.com/
Jeanne Billeci Steck
Andrew Thornton, Laurel Ross, Terri Greenawalt http://andrew-thornton.blogspot.com/
Participants will also be listed here.
A-muse-ing Grace Gallery ( The Art of Thalia Took)
Welcome! Its that time of the month again! I seriously dont know where time has gone... The Art Jewelry Elements Component of the Month is an event I look forward to! ... and yet always feel rushed...
I was happily out of my comfort zone with the colors. Orange and olive. The shape of the bead was a bit floral to me, and I knew I wanted to place it "flat" so the whole bead would show... Here are my sketches:
I try to use words more and more in my work - this is no exception. I found a quote by Marcel Proust that touched on the friends I have made in AJE and the floral associations I had formed with the bead.
"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."
Here is a close up of the bead and the copper washer I have framing it. The spiral wire will be the soft rivet to hold this into the polymer I am planning...
The polymer: I wanted to use the orange and green again, and embrace a palette that isnt my usual. The polymer is 2 layers, textured, hand painted. There are copper tube rivets at the top, and two dangles at the bottom. (There was supposed to be one. I drilled off center. Now there are two. )
The necklace echoes the colors - yellow jade, a seed pod, carnelian, and mystery stones - agate? Jasper? (I hate when I dont label it all carefully after the rush of shopping at a show...Sigh.)
The back of the piece, stamped with the quote. It is upside down when worn - another adjustment I had to make. But if you are showing the piece to someone while wearing it - it is convenient to simple turn it over instead of flipping it up... ( Nice way to justify... )
I love using Sue's beads. Last year we were table neighbors at Beadfest Philadelphia in August. The time is coming soon... hope we are neighbors again!
Please share your thoughts! I am working from home lately and love to have some Internet time to chat... Stay tuned for next months AJE CoM - organic ceramic earring pairs by yours truly!
2 parts "Travel" Reserve one, set aside.
Season with city traffic, add ferry ride for garnish.
Marinate in equal parts sunscreen and salt water. The more time the better. Coat lightly with sand.
Spice things up with Trivial Pursuit games, and epic sessions of "Angry Birds". Serve with a micro brew Heiffeweissen.
Savor the weekend with family on the Texas Gulf Coast. Enjoy!
Return home rested, pink, happy tired... with many memories!
That magic moment.
The kind of moment when you step outside yourself and realize this moment is so incredibly amazing and you want to record it in your memory. The split second when magic happens - the magic bean taking root, the dragon hatches, the apple is bitten.
A few weekends back I had a moment - I slipped away from my tent, my art and wares, my job... to sit with Carolyn Turgeon and Charles Vess. They were doing a collaborative "talk" on magic in the creative process at the Spoutwood Farm May Day Faerie Festival. I have met them each on numerous occassions and wanted to see what they would create in a tent, on an idyllic farm, on a sunny Sunday...
Carolyn is a fabulously charming, witty and very talented author. Her work most recent work takes classic characters from fairy tales and reinvents them in a style all her own. Captivating! She was reading from her novel "Mermaid" and Charles was drawing - a touch of pencil and then Sharpie! Carolyn read the scene of the mermaid's transformation - and stopped at that magical moment before the potion is consumed. She asked us to imagine that moment and what we would create from that point.
Where did I go - since you saw me over Charles' shoulder, scribbling away on my 3x5" card...
I plan on making this piece - as close as can be without harming any mermaids... It was a lovely creative respite from a fun filled festival day. I count myself lucky to be in such good company!
Did I mention my sketch is on Carolyn's blog? And a huge thanks to Carolyn for the pictures!
Charles website: Green Man Press
"Mermaid, a twist on the classic tale" on Amazon.
("The Stolen Child" by W. B. Yeats)
For the last two weekends, I stole away with the Fae. I returned, and while I didnt turn to dust upon touching mortal ground - I DO feel like years have passed while I was away. So many Muggle chores and work items to catch up with... So I steal a moment or two to chat with my fae friends on the Book of Faces each day and it keeps the spark of magic alive until next time. Thank you all for being my friends and family, my tribe, my community.