About The Artist

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I am a jeweler, a potter...an artist I suppose. I have been creating hemp, glass bead and wire jewelry since 1996 but have only been throwing pottery since the Spring of 2008. I plan to open my own gallery and workshop within the next five years but for now I make my work out of my home and sell in galleries and online. I sell my work to feed my hobby and because I am running out of room for my creations in the house. My art, like this blog, is in it's beginning stages and I hope that as my reader you will join me in my journey as an artist and enjoy it as much as I know I will!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Throwing Again!

Well my faithful readers, I offer you proof that I have begun to throw on my wheel once again! This past Saturday I finally had a few free hours and the energy I needed to throw on my apron and get covered in pottery clay. And fortunately for me my sister was home and agreed to take a few pictures for me.

I was not having the best hair day, it looks like I have an afro. I also did not make anything really worth mentioning, unfortunately.

This piece you see on the wheel in the picture above actually ended up being boring and I flattened it (see photo below). I ended up making a small bowl instead, with a swirl in the center. Nothing fancy, but at least I got going again.

Saturday Mom is coming over to help fire up the kiln and we're going to make some clay jewelry. I'm really excited about it and will take tons of pictures of the process! So have a good week readers and check back next weekend for another blog!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Kenilworth Open Studio Tour

Last weekend I took a trolley ride through Kenilworth and toured some of their Artist Association member's studios. Ultimately the trolley was hard to find but a fun ride though sort of sporadic and Mom and I did more walking than riding. Other than that though, the studio tour was great!

We really enjoyed the beautiful Kenilworth neighborhood and were amazed at the homes in the area. I wish now I had done more house hunting in that neighborhood, it was so gorgeous! And what amazed me is how many artists ended up living in the same place. Everyone I talked to said it was not planned that way but somehow they all found out about one another and started this studio tour several years ago.

Everyone in the tour had an amazing studio, whether it was in their home or in a separate building near their home. There were painters, potters, jewelers, glass blowers, wood turners and so on, all within several miles of one another. Each studio was different but all seemed to have a lot of windows and felt so warm and calming. I'm not gonna lie, I was jealous. I think part of my reason for lacking motivation to throw at this point is my work space. My basement is by no means stuffy but it is a little dark and sadly, not very inspiring, especially compared to the studios I saw this weekend! I'm thinking maybe I need to paint my basement walls a brighter color and see if it helps...I smell a summer project coming on!

But anyway, the studios were wonderful and it was great seeing the artist's work spaces, not just their work. That's one thing about going to shows, you never get to see where the artist works and for me, it is one of my favorite things. Its the reason I enjoyed my project for ACCEDP so much in the summer of 2007 (the project I have yet to blog about but promised I would).

I also loved the demonstrations and that was one of the main reasons I wanted to go to this tour to begin with. Seeing other artists work is the most inspiring thing for me and talking with other artists is always fun. My favorite demo was the glass blowing, glass working I should say. Max Trainque makes glass pendants (I bought one!) as well as larger glass vases, shot glasses, etc. We ended up watching him for over an hour while he made a small glass vase and then a shot glass. I asked him tons of questions and he was great at explaining the whole process. Not that I think I could do what he does now, but it is something I would like to try someday.

The picture above is Max with the nearly finished vase. He started out by forming what looked like a little shot glass from a hollow tube of glass. He then too white and pink glass that, when heated, was softened and he draw lines into the shot glass with the colored glass. He then heated the shot glass and swirled the pink and white lines. He did a little glass blowing to get the final vase shape.

The glass blowing was set up outside under some tents so I didn't see that studio. It was set up at Graham Lawing's house and had a lot of his work for sale. He made these great glass tumblers and I really would like a set for my house. He also had a lot of ornaments and vases like this one:

Their pieces were by far my favorite of the work at the studio tour! I wanted to buy one of everything.

I recognized some pottery from the brochure, Batton Clayworks. They make very unique pieces and are in the Southern Highland Craft Guild. I've seen their work at the Guild show as well as a craft show in Weaverville and in several galleries. Their work is very whimsical and so fun and this weekend I got to see their studio and talk with one of the artists! It is a husband and wife who actually make their living off of their pottery! Here is one of many of their fun and funky teapots:

There was one another potter we saw as well at Center Point Studios (love the name!). She did a demonstration but we only caught the tail end of it. I did get to talk to her a little bit about throwing though and we talked about the clay we both use and how we fire. She had a wonderful garage studio with so much space! And on the other side of the house her husband had his wood turning workshop.

We watched him demonstrate for a while as well before going back to the glass blowing. That was when we saw Max make the shot glass.

We didn't continue on the tour after that though. Because of the trolley we lost a lot of time waiting for it or walking and chose to leave after the second glass blowing demo. We'd seen most of the work I had wanted to see though so I was happy. All in all it was a fun experience and I will most likely go back again next year. Though I'll be wearing sneakers next time and not bothering with the trolley...

Thursday, May 13, 2010

I Guess This is a Permanent Arrangement...

After surviving my third tax season, I have accepted the fact that from January to April of every year I will drop off the face of the blogging planet in order to work over time at GK. I hope you, my readers, can forgive me. However, it is now officially summer and tax season ended a month ago on Saturday so I figure now is as good a time as any to get back into my art.
I have decided that I will start by going to the Open Studio Tour for the Kenilworth Artists Association. I've never been before but someone left a brochure for the event in the lunch room at the office and I thought it looked great. So next weekend I will be riding around the Kenilworth studios in search of a little inspiration!

I will then begin work in my home studio once more. This summer my goals are to get my kiln in working order, make more snap-on charm jewelry with jewelry boxes and find at least one more gallery where I can sell my pottery.
Check back for updates on my progress and thanks for you patience!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My New (New To Me Anyway) Kiln

A friend of my mothers, Tiffany, sold me my pottery wheel nearly two years ago and recently offered me a kiln. She purchased the two together but was unsure if the kiln even worked and when I first bought the wheel I didn't have the space for the kiln as well. However, now that I have moved in to my own house I have the whole basement as a studio and was hunting for a kiln when Tiffany offered to let me have hers. She did not want to sell it in case it didn't work but did not have a use for it herself so I decided to take it and give it a shot.

This kiln is a very old Duncan kiln. Duncan was bought out my Paragon and are no longer made but from what I read they are decent kilns. Paragon still sells parts for these kilns and even had a manual for my specific model on their website so I was happy I had some guidance.

The kiln was designed as an energy-saving kiln and is made out of what seems like a heavy-duty styrofoam that supposedly NASA uses as isolation. It is very lightweight and small. It is a manual kiln so I will have to fire on nights or weekends since it cannot be left unattended. That part of it is not ideal but I can make it work.

I brought the kiln home about two weeks ago and have read the manual cover to cover. Tiffany even turned the kiln on before I picked it up and said it did get hot so it does work. I just haven't been able to find the time to try it out for myself.

As I wrote in my previous blog, I plan to never again fire work at the Odyssey so I am banking on learning this kiln well enough to use for all of my work. As I said, it is very small and will most likely only fire two or three of my pieces at a time but I never make more than that at a time anyway so I think it will suffice.

So I vow that now that my special orders are complete I will take some time to enjoy the holidays and then learn how to use my new kiln. It seems like quite a process and I feel like I will learn the most from trial and error but I am up for the task and I look forward to learning how to fire my own work. So have a Merry Christmas my readers, and keep checking in after the holidays and I'll keep you updated on my progress.

Finished Flowers!

There is no better feeling than knowing I did a job well and making a customer happy. So last night when my friend, Greg, picked up his special Christmas order and loved the final result, I was thrilled!

Greg ordered a half-dozen clay lilies from me over a month ago as a Christmas present for his girlfriend. They are her favorite flower and these lilies will never wilt so I thought it was a wonderful gift idea. I was excited to take on the task of making clay flowers, something I had never done before. Though, as usual, the process of making this order was anything but smooth.

I find that with special orders I tend to really stress out. I am always so worried about having a deadline for a piece and I hate that I have to rely on the people at the Odyssey to fire my work on time. This order was no exception.
I made the first set of lilies without a hitch and they turned out beautifully in their beginning stages. However transporting them when bone dry proved to be an issue and one of the original five broke during transportation. So I made two more in an attempt to get at least one replacement from them and they both broke as well, those even before I got them out of the house. So I finally wised up and made two more replacements and brought them to the Odyssey while they were still wet and let them dry at the studio. Those two both survived their first firing!
What stressed me out the most though, was that the final two lilies did not come out of their first firing until Thursday of last week! So I went that day and glazed them and prayed they would come out of their glaze firing on time! I couldn't pick them up any later than Wednesday because they still needed painting and I was supposed to be going to Waynesville for Christmas vacation. And Greg had wanted to pick them up Monday which made it even more stressful! Luckily Greg is a good friend and when I explained the situation he assured me that I had time. However, Monday afternoon I dropped by the studio, doubtful that the flowers would be ready, and found them on the glaze shelf ready for pick up!

So last night I painted the final two lilies and baked all six flowers to seal the paint. Greg came over just as they were cooling and he loved them! He said he knew where to go from now on if he had more gift ideas.

I still cannot believe how well the lilies turned out! They were a lot of work but so much fun and now I can add clay flowers to my portfolio. And I also have some great news...the two final lilies were also the last pieces I will have fired at the Odyssey because I now have my own kiln! I used the Odyssey to get this final piece finished but from here on out I will be doing all my own glazing and firing!

So this final piece of which I relied on the Odyssey's help to complete was a success and a great way to start a new chapter in learning this craft. Merry Chirstmas everyone!