Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm so ready for spring!

I don't know about you, but this winter thing is getting old. And my mind has turned to little tastes of spring. These beads were made thinking of cherry blossoms (sakura), an image I love because often they are among the first trees to bloom. I don't actually have any cherry trees but I do have pear, peach, and apple. I love the whites, pale pinks, against the branches of the trees. Oh spring! Where are you?
I couldn't resist glazing a few of these beads in a spring alternative. Mostly, because I love this glaze and have this need to glaze everything in sight like this.

These have been on my to do list for a long time now. I've been wanting to make ceramic clasps with bronze or copper toggles for a while now. Well the toggles are yet to come. I made these and looked at them and said to my self, you know these have some potential as small pendants or connectors. I have some ideas of putting a small dangle off the bottom and making them into pendants on simple snake chain or leather. We'll see.

And what could be more spring and Easter than an egg? These were very fun. The brown that is in there is a spatter painted glaze. Remember using a paint loaded brush and spraying it across your paper? Very messy but very satisfying. That's the base for these eggs and then they are over coated with another of my favourite glazes.
Gosh, I'd love to have a hand model. Look at those nasty cuticles, the pudgy fingers. Well when you work in clay, I'm afraid that a nice manicure is just a dream.

The perspective of this bird bowl is a little odd. But I am quite pleased with the bird bowls. All I need now is some Cadbury eggs to fill them with. That would be your original creme eggs, not the minis, not the caramel. I like my original and have a very well defined ritual for eating them.
Have a lovely weekend, all! And those of you who are buried in snow up there in the NE, I recommend sleeping in, having a cup or to of hot chocolate (don't forget the marshamallows) and snuggling up under a nice comforter. Meanwhile, I will be thinking warm and sunshine thoughts for you all.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Just for my own amusement

I know, I know, perching birds on the edge of a bowl is not particularly original. I can think of half a dozen potters who do this. But I made these just to amuse myself. These are tiny little pinch pots. I think it has been something like 15 years since I made a pinch pot. Sometimes it feels good to just go back to the beginning. Pinch pots are the first thing most people learn how to make in a pottery class. It's a great way to get the feel for how clay works. Besides, they are rather fun. I'm thinking these would make great little Easter baskets for one Cadbury creme egg. Not the minis. The biggies. If I'm going to have one I am going whole piggy with mine, thanks very much.

If you were thinking that background looks strangely like the stem of wine glass on a sideboard, you would be right. It has been cold again. It snowed 2 inches yesterday. Too cold for working in the studio. So my dining room table is covered with glaze jars and other non-dining stuff. I know you Northerners are smirking and saying to yourself 2 inches of snow is nothing. Get a grip. But you know, one of the perks of living with 100F summers is that our winters are mild. I want my perk!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Come on Over and Win Some Beads

The clock is ticking. If you haven't already, you should head on over to Barbara Lewis new blog Painting With Fire. The very talented Barbara has three sets of her beautiful enameled beads ready to go to new homes. Just click that link up there and Barbara will tell you all about it. Personally, I'm cheering for myself. But I'd be happy for you to win a set as well.

Friday, February 19, 2010


No, not that kind of hooters. This is a nice clean blog, ya know. I used to live in a rural area where we had barn owls. They are huge and absolutely magnificent. I used to watch them at dusk come out to hunt. They circle, glide, almost like they are floating in air. And then suddenly swoop in for the catch of the day. Quite awe inspiring.

These little owl beads are my small tribute to the barn owl. They've gone through a few renditions until I was happy with them. Yes, I know owls generally do not have green or blue tummies. But these are my owls and in my world owls can be whatever colour I choose. I like their round little colourful tummies.

These are made in a similar way to the bird beads. Except the the face gets molded and then the wings are added later. These have even got tail feathers.

As long as I've been on a bit of bird kick lately, I thought why not add some nests? Sometimes it just happens that way for me. One idea leads to another, and then an entire day is gone. Spring will be here soon. I see signs all around me. Those birds will need some nests, right?
Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Tiny Treasure

This little book showed up in the post today. It comes France from Esther at Mes Illusions Baroques. I love books and when I saw this one I had to have it. It even has little pages inside its gold embossed leather cover. Little keys and a pearl hang ftom the bottom, tiny little treasures for a little treasure.

Esther creates the most amazing things. You really should check out her Etsy shop. Except it is closed right now while she moves house. But you can sign up to be notified when she's back. Meanwhile, go have a look at her blog. She posts all sorts of things that she makes. If you don't already, you should follow her. I find all sorts of inspiration in seeing and hearing about her work.

Thanks, Esther. I love my tiny little book!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Making Birds

I love making these little birds. So I thought I might just show you how they are made.

They start out as lumps of clay. See those out of focus pieces there in the back? I squish the clay into something that has a vaguely bird like shape. These little pre-birds get set aside for an hour or two, until the wet squishy clay sets up a bit.

Then I use modeling tools to shape the wings and make then stand out a bit from the body of the bird. Oh and I give them eyes. Because I think they'd look a bit funny without them and it helps you tell the beak from the ....., well, other end.

Holes get poked through the body with a needle tool and then this hole gets drilled out and enlarged with a tiny drill bit. You don't get to see the drill because I forgot to take a picture of it.

These birds then get set aside, usually over night until they are bone dry. But I confess, that sometimes, I am impatient. In those cases, the birds get put in a cold oven, heated to 170F, and held for 20 minutes. Hey, I can't make cookies, but I bake a mean bird.

Once the birds are dry, I sponge them until they are nice and smooth all over and all the nasty rough edges are gone.

These little birds are all ready to take their first trip to the kiln. I love seeing them all lined up like this. My little flock.

I started making these birds last November for personal reasons. They became like little talismen and I have one in particular that isn't a bead. It's just a bird that I sometimes hold in my hand just because it feels nice. Several of you who have these birds have mentioned how you like to touch them or just hold them. You know, that makes me happy. It's like getting a little hug. Thank you!

Friday, February 12, 2010

First Friday Winner!

The beads in this little bowl are going all the way to the UK because Angela was number 75 of 177 comments. You'll just have to trust me on the random pick because my thingy that captures a pic of the random number generator has mysteriously gone missing from my computer. Wow, you all must really like beads. I am a little overwhelmed at the number of comments on this. I wish I could send beads to all of you. But you can have another chance at another fabulous prize next month because we'll do First Friday Freebies again. Thanks everyone for stopping in. I've really enjoyed hopping around all of your blogs and meeting some new people.

Congratulations, Angela! Email me with your address and I'll get the goodies out to you.

I have been a very busy girl this week making and firing beads, copper, and bronze. And I learned a new thing. Do not load a kiln when you are tired. See those beads down there? They are all stuck together. There are several sets like this. I am trying to think of them as impromptu sculpture.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Look what I found!

Late Sunday, when I was frittering away time on the blogs, I came across necklaces by two designers who used some of my porcelain pieces. I am always tickled pink when I see what other people do with my little things.

This heart pendant went all the way to Australia. Vicki, of Sasha + Max, made this piece. I love it’s simplicity. And I love how the wood beads pick up the brown in the pendant. Vicki is from Sydney, one of the best cities in the world, second only to Melbourne. Vicki is an interior designer by day and Sasha and Max are her assistants (Maine coon cats, by the look of them). Sasha and Max have been known to be quite naughty in directing the purchase of jewelry components. If you don’t know Vicki, you should check out her blog where you can see all sorts of beautiful jewelry design.

These two pendants went all the way to Finland and were transformed into, what I think are very elegant necklaces by Gunilla, at gbkoru. What I find so interesting about these two pieces is that Gunilla used essentially the same colour palette and achieved two very different feels. The first is all winter, snow and ice, and the second is definitely cool sea breeze. If you read Gunilla’s blog, you can get a very good feel for where these cool colour choices come from. She’s got some fabulous photos of snow and ice in Espoo.

But wait there is more!

Just today I saw this bracelet by Lorelei. The square focal bead went all the way to upstate New York. Lorelei always pleasantly surprises me with her mix of materials. This beautiful bracelet kind of has it all. Glass, ceramics, brass, and my favourite, chirimen cord. I think this would be very fun to wear.

Thanks Vicki, Gunilla, and Lorelei. It makes my day to see you all elevate my little pieces into wearable works of beauty! You make me smile.

Friday, February 5, 2010

First Friday Freebie!

Yeah!!!! It’s a give away.

I have been blogging for just a little over a year now and it’s been a wonderful experience. I have made so many friends, from all over the world really. You’ve all given me such amazing support and have truly nurtured my creative soul. Now I’d like to give something back.

This is the first of a bunch First Friday Freebies that I’ve got planned. Why First Friday? Well, one I like the alliteration of the F words (nice F words mind you). Also, the First Friday of the month is one day of the month I generally can remember. I don’t know why, but other Fridays can get lost in a drift of time. No I do not have dementia and I am mostly quite oriented to reality. Time just isn’t one of those things that always holds much relevance to me. So there you have it.

This first give away is for a mystery bowl of beads. It is a mystery because I haven’t finished firing all of my beads this week. So not even I know exactly what will be in it. But you all like a surprise, right? I promise it will be a nice surprise.

Now for the details. You have until midnight Thursday to comment here and you will be in the running for this beady goodness. Any ole comment will do. I’d love to spread this beady goodness around. So if you’d like another chance at this you can blog, tweet, facebook it. What ever you would like to do. Just come back and leave another comment about it and you will have another chance. On Friday next week I’ll randomly pick a winner. So be sure to come back next Friday.

Have a lovely weekend everyone!
Hi again. A couple of questions have come up. Everyone is eligible for this. I will ship these beads out anywhere. So don't hestitate to enter if you are not in the US.
Also if you blogged, twittered, or whatever, be sure to come back and leave me another comment so I can give you another chance.
Thanks everyone for participating.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Birds and Drops

But not bird droppings! I unloaded the kiln this morning. And I really could not be more pleased. These are a couple of the new bird beads in an aqua glaze. Each little bird poked and prodded into a wee little bird. Coaxed into being from a little lump of clay. Very smooth and tactile. I like that. I like beads that just kind of beg to be touched. Is that weird? Well if it is, then I am definitely on the weird end of the spectrum.

And then there are the drops. Rain drops, tear drops, I am not entirely certain how you name these. It's new. I don't entirely know where these came from. I do know that one day this little drop shape just sort of begged to come into existence. Sometimes it just happens that way. And many times that is just a lot of alright.
And speaking of drops. Well, we are raining today. We are sleeting today. We are snowing today. Well, Madame Weather, please make up your mind. I need some just straight ole, same ole, same ole weather. Non of this wintry mix, please.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

My New Brain

Just this morning I was wondering what happened to Monday. This is not uncommon for me and one of the many reasons I need a new brain. That digital gizmo up there is the new brain. Up until very recently, I fired my kilns manually. I didn't actually mind except for the staying up to at night to make sure I didn't burn down the studio. But after I got my little metal clay kiln , which I can program to fire in any way I want, I asked myself do you really, really want to keep doing ceramic firings in the old school way? Well no, actually. It is in fact tedious. So finally I have entered the digital world of firing and outfitted my kilns with a programmable controller. Yee Haa! I am modern. The brain is doing my job right now while I have a glass of wine. How cool is that?
There are 4 new glazes in there, a couple of new designs, and a bazillion beads. Actually, there are not a bazillion beads. I exagerate. But it feels like it. I'm always excited when there are new things in the kiln. I'm kinda like a kid waiting for Christmas. Opening the kiln is a little like opening a present. It's the anticipation. I don't always get what I hoped for but there is usually something interesting.
And speaking of interesting. After several days of 50F weather, the weatherman says that we are going to do the rain, ice, and snow thing all over again. This is truly not the interesting I would like to see tomorrow through early Friday morning. The weather related interesting I would like to see is 70F weather and bright blue skies.