Monday, January 28, 2008

Grandma's Hands

I always loved my grandma's hands. The loose translucent skin like a roadmap, the blue veins and wrinkles were her journey. I remember watching them at work, kneading dough with a rhythm that was hypnotic. I don't remember the sound of her voice anymore but I remember her working hands. Even as a child, I thought those hands were beautiful. They were strong yet delicate, methodical yet inspired. It wasn't the product of her work that kept me propped at the table mesmerized. It wasn't the bread with honey or pastries that kept me from joining the other children's games. It was that I wanted hands like hers, confident, efficient, and able to create. I look at my mother's hands and see a similar journey. Though she could never match my grandma's homemade bread, my mom still produces a garden as vast as the fields my dad harvests. Her hands tell of her work ethic. Finding myself far from the prairies and running my own household, I glanced at my hands tonight. The skin was not yet loose but was dry from wedging clay. As I rubbed lotion into my artist's hands, I noticed the rhythmic, habitual motion and I was proud. I studied the wrinkles, the creases still superficial, much like the smile lines at the creases of my eyes. My hands made me smile. I may slather cream on my face every evening to slow the aging process, but my hands, I look forward to seeing them weather, documenting my work ethic and mapping my journey.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

What color are you?

I am all about color. I love Johannes Itten's books on color theory. I know, I am a geek but I can't help it. I even have Menza color puzzles flashcards on my coffee table. So here is a new little personality test to find out what html color you are. Its just a little fun so check it out when you have a minute. HTML color quiz

Here's my results:
you are lightskyblue

Your dominant hues are cyan and blue. You like people and enjoy making friends. You're conservative and like to make sure things make sense before you step into them, especially in relationships. You are curious but respected for your opinions by people who you sometimes wouldn't even suspect.

Your saturation level is lower than average - You don't stress out over things and don't understand people who do. Finishing projects may sometimes be a challenge, but you schedule time as you see fit and the important things all happen in the end, even if not everyone sees your grand master plan.

Your outlook on life is bright. You see good things in situations where others may not be able to, and it frustrates you to see them get down on everything.
the html color quiz

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Time to create!

There are times in the year that I just wish that the days were longer. I need to find about 4 more hours in my day to be able to make as much stuff as I would like. It is final exam time at the school where I work so I am swamped with marking assignments and papers while I just crave some time to get into my studio. I need to make a batch of mugs and olive trays, I need to mix up some more glazes, I need to test a few new glaze recipes and I have a couple custom order that just need to be glazed and fired. I feel very fortunate to be doing so well but I just wish I could find a few more hours in my day. I know what I will be doing this weekend...

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I Couldn't Resist

Really, I just couldn't resist this beauty. I hate every light fixture in my entire house. Actually I have never found a fixture that I actually liked. I find them all too clunky or ornate or boring or generic or.... until now. I was strolling online and found the Garland Shade Light by Designer Tord Boontje in the MOMA store online. I couldn't help myself. It is whimsical and organic but not huge and ostentatious. And, I could order it online while still in my PJs. I love online shopping! I'm not sure where I am going to put this fabulous light but wherever it goes, it will be the only light in the house that I adore!

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Back in the Studio

I had a great Saturday in the Studio. A whole day to myself while my hubby works at his computer trying to make a deadline. I love Saturdays! I stay up late on Friday night for no particular reason, just because I can. Then I sleep in on Saturday. I love this simple pleasure. Hubby makes coffee for me and then I head down to the Studio. I am always productive on Saturdays because there is no pressure. I don't have to squeeze in an hour or two before running off somewhere. I take my time and enjoy experimenting a little more than usual. I have a few new prototypes on the go but am keeping them a secret until they are finished. But here are my new ramekins. They are a special order but I made a few extra for me. I have always wanted dishes to make baked apples in. Yummy!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Here piggy piggy piggy

So here is the little piggy I was talking about. I plan on making him into a fridge magnet just for me. I'm not sure what color to make him yet though. Just not the traditional pink. Hmmm..any suggestions?

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Tool Talk - Cutters

I have found a new obsession with a certain clay tool and have started to hunt them down. I actually plan on making them into a collection. I plan to start perusing ebay and craigslist with a newfound passion. I had forgotten that my Mom left me a few in her box of old ceramic tools but now I plan to search those out too! It is a tool that is scavenged from the kitchen (like most of my favorite clay tools). It is the humble cookie cutter!

Now I don't plan on just taking the cookie cutter and cutting away and that is that. I will use it as I do any other tool. I will manipulate, texture, score, attach and who knows what else will happen to the clay on its journey to a final piece that is fired. The difficulty of using the cutters is to find the right size. Clay shrinks up to 15% throughout the drying and firing process so I have to be able to consider the shrinkage when I am contemplating a new cutter. I know how to make my own stamps and textured tools but cutters are a different world to me. I love that they have a sharp edge that cuts cleanly into clay. It is a bit tricky to get the clay out of small cutters without distorting the image, especially since I texture them prior to cutting.

My favorite so far are the vintage animal cutters. I just love my little pig and am waiting to complete my first piggy ring. Hilarious!

I would love to be able to make my own cutters so if anyone out there knows anything about making them please let me know. Otherwise, keep your eyes open for any cool vintage animals. I am on the lookout for bunnies!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

New listing

Finally I have had a chance to list a new item on Etsy. It is a beautiful little bowl that I think would be perfect for ice cream. Everyone knows how much I love ice cream - especially Ed's homemade gelato! But I digress...

I was talking about inspiration and thought I would share a few books that have been recommended to me. I always find reading to be inspirational. It is easy for me to fall into new worlds and I think it accesses the creative part of my brain when I read. I always come up with new ideas for pottery when I am reading a really good book. I don't even have to try, the ideas just come to me. So, here are a few books that I haven't read yet but know I will love them:

The Red Tent
Eat, Pray, Love
Light House Keeping
Post Birthday World

If you have read any of these, please let me know what you think. The best books are always found through a friend!

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Happy New Year

Well, I made it through the tremors and shakes of studio withdrawal. Two weeks away from the studio doesn't sound that bad but it sure is tough. There are quite a few side effects. The first thing I noticed is that my fingernails started growing back. When I am throwing pots, it is essential to keep them short so I can move the clay walls properly. I have been told that I have great genes wen it comes to my nails. They are thick and strong and grow very fast so in just one week I had to get used to functioning with long nails again. I even polished them bright red for New Years. It felt like they were glowing. I was also able to use my sketchbook more often. I have had a little moleskin book in my purse since last Christmas. It was too beautiful to use just for everyday list making so it has been taking up space in my purse waiting for the day I would be brave enough to make a mark in it. Luckily, a five hour plane ride was the perfect time to find those great ideas. A few days out of the studio let my mind relax. Instead of thinking of that long list of things to do, I could let my thoughts wander. I had so many great new ideas that I filled half of my sketchbook in my two weeks off. Now I just have to finish my laundry before I get back to throwing again...