Saturday, November 26, 2011

First Annual Virtual Craft Fair Starts Today

From November 26 - December 3, Lori Anderson is hosting an online craft show featuring 70 artists/crafts people. Each day during this time, Lori will be listing all the shops and sales going on which you can view by going to her site.
I've got a bronze dragonfly bead to giveaway. 
You can find out how to enter to win this and other lovely prizes over on Lori's blog,  Pretty Things . Be sure to stop back everyday to see what's up for prizes!

Psst, I'll update my Etsy shop on Monday morning and you can use the code CRAFT10 for a 10% discount  when you check out!

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's almost time!

7 days, 70 artists, 70 give aways and it all starts this Saturday, November 26th. Lori Anderson of Pretty Things is hosting her First Annual Virtual Craft Show. 

On the days of the Virtual Craft Show, Lori's blog will be dedicated to the show. Each day will be filled with designers and crafters and you'll be able take at advantage of  any discounts they may be offering. You'll also have numerous ways to enter to win some fabulous giveaways. You may even discover some new artists. 

Yeppers, some of my work will be up there as well. But I'm sworn to secrecy until the day that the prize is revealed. And not even I know what day that will be. So I do hope you'll mark your calendars and stop by Lori's blog each day of the Craft Show. I'm really looking forward to this.

I want to extend a huge thanks to Lori for organizing yet another great event. She rocks, she really does.

Friday, November 18, 2011

We are excited!

It's only two days now and this little girl will be here to visit Nana and PaPa. Her Daddy is off in Texas doing some training for two months and she's decided to come visit us in the middle while he's away. Oh, and she's bringing her Mummy too. We can't wait to see her and her Mummy. We have big plans. The studio will be operating at full capacity making Christmas presents. Think squishy finger pots and hand print ornaments....all decorated in the gaudiest, ummm, I mean the brightest glazes, we can conjure up. They will be the finest things ever to come out of Summers Studio. I am certain of this.

We'll have a pretty full house for Thanksgiving. My son, aka Daddy, will be flying in on Wednesday night for a couple of days. My daughter won't be able to make it home. That sweet girl bought her brother a plane ticket instead so he could be here with his family. It brings tears to my eyes to think of  what a loving and generous soul she's grown up to be.

My son's visit will be a short stay but action packed. We've two birthdays to celebrate on top of Thanksgiving. We've a tree to decorate the day after Thanksgiving. We've got a turkey to brine and a ham to glaze. We've got pies and cakes to bake.  Did I mention how excited I am?

I'm off now to finish the grocery shopping list. Turkey, animal crackers, sweet potatoes, crackers, cheese, pumpkin, chocolate chips......Really, did I tell you how excited I am.

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

BTW - Naked

Fresh out of the kiln, a piles of naked stoneware beads just waiting for me to dress them up in glaze. Guess what  I'll be doing for the next couple of days.

Friday, November 11, 2011

I am listening now

Why is it that I have a hard time listening to my body? On Wednesday I started aching in my neck. Just thought it was from sitting in one position too long pressing out clay pendants. So I move on to something else. And keep working. Then my body starts aching all over. And I move onto another thing despite the fact that I am now tired as well as aching. Then I wake up with the snuffles and chills and I try to push through to meet a self imposed deadline. It is too early for the cold and flu season. Hermits aren't exposed to enough germs to get a cold anyway. But by late morning, I started listening and went to bed. Sleep felt good. Reading a book and dozing felt good. It was a rainy day and what could be better than dozing with book snuggled up in the comfort of my bed?

 I feel a bit better today. But I wonder if I am in the only person that just ignores the signals our bodies give us. I suspect not. When I get sick my mind seems to travel on all sorts of philosophical journeys. I wonder about things like what it really means to forgive someone. Do I truly know the definition of compassion? And I wonder why everything I make reminds me of those lovely Dutch windmill ginger cookies. Is my body telling me something again?

Have a lovely weekend all. Don't think too much, listen to your body, and go get some cookies.

Meanwhile listen to this. Did Nirvana ever sound this good? See? Weighty philosophical meanderings. I love these guys.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011


It's been a while since I posted a Bead Table Wednesday. I think that mostly has to do with the thoroughly disreputable state of each and every work surface in my studio. There is actually a reason why you only get to see this tiny little snippet of my table. Can you guess? That's right the rest of it is in pure chaos.

I've had lots of little scraps of paper accumulating with drawings and scribbles and even some fairly good ideas. Or at least at this stage they've seemed like good ideas. So yesterday I started inking some of them up to turn them into molds. This is absolutely not at all what was on my list of things to do yesterday. But sometimes I just have to go with what holds my interest the longest. Can you guess what that drawing is? It's not finished. Think spring. I know it's not even winter yet but we have a secret here at Summers Studio that it is too early to talk about. And it makes me think of spring and happiness and all sorts of warm thoughts. So I'm not actually going to tell you what that is. In a month I will though. Promise.

Here's some more drawings. Some of them are just a whisper of an idea. The bottom one is pretty much ready to go. I have some deadlines looming that I want some new designs for. I think these designs will all end up as ceramic pendants. I'm working on some new techniques so these are all quite different from how I usually work.

Today I'll make these drawings into molds like these photo polymer plates. No clean work table needed. When nobody is looking I make them on my kitchen bench. There are many many off label uses of our kitchen. If you want to know how these are made you can go here where I showed some of the process.

So what's on your bead table? Is it messy? Come on you can tell me if its messy. I won't tell anyone, not even your mother.

Friday, November 4, 2011


Sometimes when I work with metal clay I feel a little like an alchemist. I do love this process of taking a lump of moist clay, shaping it, then putting it into the magical black box and coming out with a solid metal.

I've been making a lot of drawings lately. I haven't turned all of them into molds yet. Some of them aren't really ready and some of them just aren't go to make the cut. But, there is just something so satisfying about taking a drawing and turning it into metal.

Those little bronze snowflakes are a new design. I had a snowflake pattern in the past but I was never satisfied with it. That particular pair of snowflakes is going some place special next week.

This stage before I fire the pieces is one of favorites in the process. Not in this picture, but in person you can see tiny bright specks of metal. It's so fragile that it's hard to believe that it will become solid and substantial.

Then there is that moment of truth stage after the pieces have been fired. I packed this last load a little differently and wasn't sure if the pieces would survive. Bronze can be a bit finicky when it comes to firing. But I think I've got it down for most pieces now. It's pretty ugly fresh out of it's charcoal bed. All kind of crusty and rough.

But the tumbler takes care of the ugly part. It's like another black box. I put those pieces in there and let them go for an hour, sometimes more. If something is going to break it's probably going to be in that stage of the process. It's always exciting to dump those pieces out and dig for the shiny treasure among the steel shot.

Then there is the next ugly stage. These bright shiny pieces get bathed in chemicals and made all sort of black and nasty looking. This is actually my least favorite part of the process. It's kind of smelly. It makes a mess on my work bench. If I don't wear gloves then my hand turn orange. And I don't like wearing the gloves. Don't know why. Just don't like it.

Alchemy! Transformation complete. Now if I could only figure out how to transform bronze into gold. Heck, I'd be happy with silver given today's market prices.

Have a great weekend, all!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Clearing out the skeletons from the closet

We love Halloween. Have loved it since we were kids. Loved it even more when the children were young and we went with them around in the neighborhood to 'Trick or Treat.' Each year Peter dons his skeleton gloves, black turtle neck, and has about as much fun as the children.  He's quite the hit with the young ones.

Every once in a while I get my deep thinking hat on and question this whole business of Halloween. Because there is absolutely no question in my mind that Halloween in the USA,  is one of those big marketing holidays that we are all encouraged to buy up. But does it have any meaning at all?  Don't get me wrong. I love seeing all of the children in their costumes. I love hearing their awe of Peter's skeleton hands. I love how much Peter loves this couple of hours of doling out treats. I love the pageantry. We do love this holiday.

But is there anything more? Well, I rarely, go into the philosophical on this blog, let alone anything that even approaches the spiritual.

Recently, we had the opportunity to hear a Wiccan perspective on Halloween, or Samhain. Among other things, it is a celebration of bringing the light forth from the dark. In the northern hemisphere we are approaching the days of the least sunshine. It's harvest time and we bring in from the fields those things that will sustain us until the spring ushers in the bounty of the growing season. It's a time when we can put to rest the darkness in our lives and celebrate the light that will come with spring. The things that will nurture us through the through the dark months ahead.

So my thinking is, that, it doesn't really matter what your faith path is. In this quite commercial holiday, there is room to clean out the skeletons and cobwebs in your closet. Bats and zombies, too. They can be banished as well. It's a time to become aligned with the change of season and look towards the light.