Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Boots

I was asked to participate in an exhibition fund raiser. The gallery is the Great Art and Frame. A portion of the proceeds from the show are going to the Quantum Leap Horse Farm. Quantum Leap among other things uses horses as therapy for disabled vets. Anyway, my friend, the owner of the gallery, Joose Hadley talked to me about what sort of things I could submit. The theme of the show is the Divine Equine. Most of my art buddies are submitting paintings or photos of horses. But Joose said that I could expand the theme out to such horse related items as horse shoes, cowboy boots, etc. My first thought was to make a horse, and I found out that horses were definitely out of my comfort zone. Then I tried making a boot. Then I made a boot, Then I got worried, what if the boot exploded in the kiln, cracked, what if I drop it, what if, what if, what if. So I made a second boot. I'm happy to report that I made a boot, I made a back-up boot and both survived. I'm also happy to report that neither boot exploded in the kiln, survived me carrying them from drying shelf to kiln and all other potential dangers that can befall pottery while it's in the making. Because the boots are patterned after a pair of my boots, I tried to stay close to their models and painted them in the same colors as my boots. Also, I was forward-thinking enough to make a right and a left, so they are a true pair. Now, all that's left is delivery to the gallery and the opening of the show, which is Friday, July 23rd. If you're in the area, please stop on by. There are a lot of very talented artists that are part of this show and it's guaranteed to be a fun evening.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Unloading the Kiln

It's not that often that I have a kiln load that's dedicated to custom orders. I guess today was the exception to the rule. I had three orders that were in yesterday's glaze firing load. There's a certain amount of anxiety that comes with doing custom orders. I want the pieces to live up to the expectations of the customer and I don't want any unexpected problems, because that'll just delay delivery. So yesterday's glaze firing was dominated by the butterflies. I took this as a good omen, when I saw a Monarch butterfly fluttering through our front yard right before I opened the kiln. It's like Christmas, unwrapping the presents that the kiln delivers. First shelf looks good and ironically are two Monarch butterfly plates; second shelf looks good, third shelf looks good and finally fourth shelf looks good. I can now take a breath. One slight problem with the non-butterfly yarn bowl. Perhaps that will be a lesson to me that the butterflies prefer to be on their own, no outsiders allowed.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Spilling Oil

It's hard when disasters occur that are devasting and life altering because as human beings we have an inate urge to do something to help. The straw that broke my back with respect to the BP oil rig explosion was the online slideshow of the birds, fish and dolphins that were covered in oil. The images brought tears to my eyes. I wanted to, needed to do something. Luckily a group on Etsy banded together to try to raise money to help. A brand new shop was opened. The word spread like wildfire. Artisans and members of the Etsy selling community flocked to donate items to the new shop, Help The Gulf Coast, was created. So far they've raised over $2,000. The first of many contributions has been made to Oxfam America. Our individual contributsions are tiny in comparison to what this disaster will end up costing the Gulf. By pulling together, we are making a difference. Check out Help The Gulf Coast's blog

And visit the Etsy shop at

Together we can make a difference.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Something Old... Something New

One of the wonderful things about being in the art community is the amazing atmosphere of sharing. Every artist that I've ever run into is ready and willing to share techniques, experiences, and information. One fun new discovery that I recently made, thanks to an art friend, Roxanne Tobaison, is the glass tile pendant. I ran into Roxanne at an art festival and spotted her pendants, this was the first that I had ever seen them. Roxanne explained the technique. At first glance I thought that Roxanne had gotten into glass fusing, but she set me straight. A little bit of time went by and I started to do some research on the internet. Lo and behold I found a plethora of information, online tutorials, suppliers for the glass tiles and all of the supplies anyone would need. What fun.

When my orders arrived I went to work. Learned a lot about how to create the proper glass tile, then moved on to scrabble tiles, then moved on to wire-wrapped glass tiles and on and on. True to the artist that I am, I even came up with a few new ideas. One that I'm really excited about is a glass tile mosaic. Another idea that I had was to create the tile out of clay and in the process add the channel for the wire wrap.

As with all of those that came before me in the world of glass and scrabble tiles, one piece of information that I will share is actually a cautionary statement, be careful if you use Super Glue. I was a bit messy, got some on my fingers and I've been spending the past hour trying to de-glue my fingers. Live and learn.

Monday, March 29, 2010

A Day In The Park

This past Saturday, March 27, 2010 to be exact, I was a participating artist at the 2nd annual Arts in the Park at the Carrollwood Cultural Center. I don't usually do outdoor shows, festivals, or fairs so this was a real treat for me. It's a lot of work packing and unpacking and setting up and I have a real sense of admiration for those artists that make the curcuit doing art festivals one weekend after the next during the spring and summer months. It was great to get out there with my cats, fish and butterflies and get feedback from the passers by and customers. I also got to catch up with some old friends. We really got lucky with the weather on Saturday, it could not have been a more beautiful spring day. We were oh so lucky that the event was on Saturday, because as nice as the weather was on Saturday that's how crumby the weather was on Sunday. Now it's back to work in the studio to replenish stock.

Friday, March 5, 2010


Sometimes I get to feeling like I'm stuck in a rut. Happily that doesn't happen to me very often. During my latest rut I was lucky enough to have some activities that made me get myself cleaned up and out of the studio.

The art group that I belong to just finished installing a group show at Ruth Eckerd Hall. It's so much fun to get with my art buddies and see what everyone's been up to. This is a big show for our group. For more info on the show head over to our group's blog:

Yesterday's outing was to get back into the routine of volunteer work at the Tampa Museum of Art. The Museum was closed for reconstruction and the brand new Tampa Museum of Art has reopened. I must say that it is wonderful. The special exhibition is A Celebration of Henri Matisse. I led a tour yesterday and had a blast.

Visit the museum's website:

After a busy holiday season it's hard to keep the EverReady Bunny going. Major lesson learned here is that in order to be energized sometimes we have to step out of the rut and into something new and different to recharge our batteries.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Putting Things Into Perspective

When things go wrong, I get upset for one reason or another, and at that very moment it seems like the absolute worst thing that could ever happen, I'm reminded that it can always be worse. In my own life, having survived Hurricane Andrew, I know first hand what it's like to have your house destroyed by wind and rain - but we rebuilt, we had insurance and we had a place to evacuate to after the storm passed. Sure we lost a lot of our possessions, but it tought us an important lesson - it's just stuff. Everything was OK. Even when you think it's the worst that it can possibly be, it can always be worse.

Well, for the folks that live in Haiti it's about as bad as it can get and a lot of people are realizing that as residents of this planet we need to come together to try to help. There's been a group on that has started up a shop called Hearts for Haiti. Members of the Etsy selling community are donating items for sale. The shop has raised a tremendous amount of money in a very short period of time. As of the writing of this post the shop has sold 1,660 items. There's a lot to choose from and new items are being listing daily. It's a great way for those of us in the Etsy community to make a small difference, that collectively has the potential to make a big difference.


Friday, January 22, 2010

It Breaks My Heart

The process of working in clay and making your way through the various stages of development can be so tricky. Things go wrong. This is one peice that broke my heart. There's a pair of sunglasses adorning the fish. The arm of the sunglasses broke. I tried to repair it and in the firing the two pieces stayed together, just slipped ever so slightly to make a definite crack. The crack is covered with glaze, but the underlying crack is visible. Now, I don't like to sell flawed pieces, but I love this teapot so much and don't have the heart to smash her for the mosaic makers. So, I'm doing something that I don't normally do, I'm selling her as a "factory second." A lot of people wouldn't notice the flaw, but I know that it's there and that's all that matters in my book.