Thursday, January 29, 2009

Bodhi Leaf

I am so blessed! A little while ago, Erin, from Every Heart Crafts, hosted a give away of 6 of her porcelain Bodhi leaf pendants and I was one of those fortunate enough to receive one of them. Mine was here waiting for me on Sunday, after a bit of time away. Oh, and what a nice little package it was. Inside was my bohdi leaf pendant packaged up in a lovely little deep red bag with a wonderful description of the Budhist story of the Bohdi tree. Such a sweet treat!

And I just have to say, from a potter's view, this is just such a really well made piece. Just the right weight, lovely smooth finish, and a satiny glaze that is just perfect. In fact, I do not want to do any thing with it right now. It feels just too nice to be able to pick it up and hold in my hand. For now this little beauty is going to join my collection of Thai budhas.

I'm holding on to my Bodhi leaf, but you should have a look at what Erin has done with them. She has made some beautiful necklaces. Check her blog for the most recent creations. Each of her pieces have just enough and nothing more, so beautiful!

Thanks so much Erin!

Cheers, LeAnn


Four little clay models later, one nights sleep, and I am still pooped. I spent yesterday making more models for buttons and pendants. They are small 1-2" size and take forever and a day to make, about 2-3 hours each, a lot of squinting, hunching of shoulders. It is tedious work, mind numbing, but still I really love the process of bringing a little sketch to life.

I've made a few smaller sizes of the daisy buttons, thinking I might turn some of them into pendants or charms. I've also followed up on the William Morris acanthus wallpaper fragments. I'm not sure about those models. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Meanwhile this is Alice, my studio assistant with the non-opposable thumbs. She is doing her best to model how I felt after yesterday's marathon model carving extravaganza. I actually think I'd like to crawl back into bed and strike that pose for a few hours.

But there is work to be done, models to be cast, coffee to be drunk!

Have a good day all, LeAnn

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Morris on my mind

I confess. I have a never ending fascination with William Morris (1834-1896), particularly Morris & Co wall paper and textile design. He led an extraordinary life as an architect, writer, poet, publisher, artist, designer, and founder of the British Arts and Crafts movement. Through out his life, Morris sought to unify art and craftsmanship and railed against what he perceived as a loss of this ideal in the industrial revolution. Morris believed that the creative labour that went into producing beautiful things had the power to improve the lives of individuals. At a very deep level this appeals to me as a designer and maker of quite utilitarian things.

My work yesterday is a direct extension of my love of Morris & Co and Arts and Crafts design. I was absolutely obsessed with the acanthus leaf and all its design possibilities. The acanthus leaf is seen in many examples of Morris design as a background, border scrolls around text, wallpaper. The use of the acanthus leaf as a design motif date way back to Greek and Roman architecture. I just happen to really like the Morris versions. I found myself repeatedly isolating fragments of these designs in sketches and some of my scribbles are making their way into clay models for buttons and pendants.

I’m pretty excited. I’ve been scribbling these leaves for years and just didn’t know what to do with them. And that Morris philosophy of designer and creator justified an otherwise pretty slow day. Maybe even improved my life a little….certainly justified staying swaddled up on the sofa on a bitter cold icy day.

If you’d like a bit more info on Morris, the William Morris Society is a great start.

Happy day to you all, LeAnn

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


Our son with my Dad's WWll dog tags in Mosul. He carried these with him as a reminder of family and home while he was away. (Photo Maya Allueruzzo/AP photo)

I can't think of any words that describe my feelings other than simple gratitude. We've just come back from a week of welcoming home our son from Iraq after a 15 month deployment. I never imagined just how deeply thankful I would feel to have him back home safe and sound.

Now it is back to the studio! There are buttons to be made, ideas to be explored. I am looking forward to getting back into it. But I must say, once I've had a little break in my routine it can be oh so hard to get off the sofa in the morning. I'm thinking the cold, gray, snowy day we're having isn't helping one little bit.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Look what came in the mail!

And in the prettiest package ever!

It was such a treat to open this up and hold in my hand the necklace from Lorelei that I had been coveting. I could resist no longer! Oh and it is a beauty. I am just in love with it. It is really well designed and made with a wonderful pendant from Earthenwood. The balance is perfect. The fit is perfect. The colours are perfect. Well you get the picture.....I could go on and on.

Thanks Lorelei!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

What is that?

Up at 5 am, unable to sleep.....did I pull it off? You see I've got a guild member show going up this weekend at the Louise Hopkins Underwood Center for the Arts and I yet again I am pushing the limit for getting my piece done. How long have I known about this? Ummm, a year. Did I have sketches, ideas, things I've been working on? Ummm, yeah. Did I do anything in a safe, predictable, even timely way? Ummm, no. Do you ever do this to yourself?

This little pile of tiles is totally new work in everyway. Only the images and textures are the same as used in my other work. They are made in clay I've never used before, they were constructed in way I've never done before, they are glazed in a method I've never used before. Oh my this was a recipe for disaster. BUT, yipee, they came out all right. Not perfect, but OK. Relief, but now I have to figure out how to arrange them. Being modular, with 12 tiles in 2 sizes there are lots of possibilities. So I'm just gonna push that one to the limit again. And decide at the last minute, like tomorrow nite, when I deliver them. Living on the edge, once again.

And what about those buttons? Soon, I promise.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Little Jizo

Little Jizo is a beloved bodhisattva in Korea, China, and especially Japan. He is regarded as a protector of children, travelers, and women and helps those who are working through life problems, illness, or disability. He plunges fearlessly into any situation to help those in need, and is known for his unflagging optimism, fearlessness, and gentleness. Little Jizo is usually depicted as a child monk. A bodhisattva devotes their life to freeing others from suffering and are an inspiration to awaken the qualities of an enlightened being that are inherent in everyone. (Source: Zen Community of Oregon)

I’ve been carrying around my own Little Jizo for a while now. What I seldom talk about is the really rough year we’ve had because there just seem to be no adequate words for it. Our son has served for the last 14 months as a medic in Mosul, Iraq. I can not even begin to describe what his platoon has been through or his experience as medic in one of the most violent sectors of Mosul. Only a handful of them are coming home unharmed. Our baby leaves Mosul in a couple of days. We are filled with gratitude.

I got my Little Jizo from a woman called Petra who lives in Sweden. At the time I had no idea what a Little Jizo was. Petra contacted me about a trade for buttons from her Etsy shop, LillaJizo. The Little Jizo figure features frequently in her art and the one I have just spoke to me. He just quietly sits in my hand, lending more comfort than I can convey. How such a simple tiny object can give me so much quiet is a mystery, but one that I am thankful for. Thank you, Petra

What ever the source, may all of our soldiers over there and coming home experience some of the Little Jizo comfort that I’ve had.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Why Blog?

I’ve been struggling with this for a while. I follow a few blogs and enjoy the experience but often feel like I’m lurking in the shadows. I make a few comments, when I feel moved to do so. I offer my goods for sale on Etsy and follow the forums about using blogging to market your goods but it all just feels so empty and, well, just commercial. Why not just take out an ad here and there?

But then I read
Lorelei’s post this morning on friendship and it all just clicked. She talks about the community of ‘us’ out there and the challenges of making meaningful friendships as adults who’ve moved beyond our childhood and college year social circles. And, yeah the older you get, the harder it is to forge those new relationships. And she is grateful to those of us who read her blog. As if it weren’t a true pleasure just to get up in the morning and see what she’s been up to!

Blogging has become one of those wonderful ways that we can reach out to kindred spirits. Thanks Lorelei. You’ve inspired me to share just a wee bit of myself!

Oh and Lorelei makes just the most wonderful jewelry! Here’s one of my current fav pieces. You should hop on over to her
Etsy shop and buy at least one piece of her beautiful work.

OK, so assumi
ng I’m not just talking to myself, here’s just a little teaser of what I’m going to post about next (sometime soon?) This blog is intended to be a bit about my studio life, which tends to spill over onto my dining room table and other things personal. So as I get to know you better I’ll share more and more secrets, and we'll chat like old friends.

Cheers and see you later!