Sunday, February 7, 2016

Sherar Gym Mural

In 2007, some of my students proposed, designed and painted a multi-section mural in the foyer of Sherar Gymnasium on the Yakima Valley Community College Campus. This year it was painted over. I have been in a sort of mourning over the unexpected loss for about a month and I think that showing some images of the mural and the process might make me feel a bit better about it's removal from the physical world.


The mural was painted way back in 2007 and since then my website has changed several times as has my computer. I was unable to quickly find the mural images or a way to transfer the .html pages that described the process, but I did have a PowerPoint of the mural process. So that is what I am sharing here, with minimal editing:




















That's our project. The slide show used to end with an invitation to visit the mural in person. You can still see my students' Yak heads on the doors, but the top banner sections are gone. If you got to see them, I'm glad. If you never did, now the invitation is to visit them in here the virtual world.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Kid Decorations on Small Bowls

in the kiln after firing

My daughter helped me quite a bit with this last kiln load. She was going to cut out some ornaments, but then got sidetracked into drawing pictures into the wet clay of a bunch of tiny bowls. Most of these are destined for particular people for the holidays so the drawings are Christmas or relative related.

lots of drawings

After the drawings were done, I let the bowls dry and then applied black underglaze to the surface. I wiped away the underglaze gently with a damp sponge, which left black in the impressions and also served to soften some of the slightly sharp edges of the drawings.

 
two drawings

I particularly like the way my girl writes the sound a cat says. Her airplanes apparently look like unlikely Bert Rutan creations (that's my husband's assessment; I had to look up the guy).

a cupcake with gingerbread men leaning against it
  

The bowls mostly exist because I was making some bowls for teabags at my brother's request. The project took off, but my daughter points out that the bowls can hold nuts, cookies or a single satsuma.

bowls in action

My daughter was at school when I was finishing the decorating, but the whole batch of work is still pretty much kid oriented, with primary colors and plenty of trucks. 

more trucks

Monday, December 21, 2015

Cone 6 Celadon Mugs & Teabag Holders

new work just unloaded from the kiln
I fired some mugs to cone 6. I used mostly two celadon glazes and slip trailing. The results are pretty good where I avoided the non-celadon glazes.

two split rim mugs

I made a couple of mugs this summer with a sort of split rim that makes it look like there's one mug inside another one. I saw something similar in a show in Illinois when I was in the midwest for the Milwaukee NCECA in 2014. I hadn't looked at the cup since 2014, but I was able to quickly pretty quickly retrieve the image I took at the show. The artist's name is Lee Rexrode.

Lee Rexrode cups with split rims.
I just did a couple of these split rim cups. The other shapes vary based on what else I was trying out this summer. I'm happiest with the mugs with green interiors and colored slip trail "drips", but I think I could have mixed the green celadon with the colored slip trailed drips.

mugs with celadons

The newly built pieces from last week are the little tea bag holders. I made five to hang off the side of the mugs and, with my daughter's help, I made quite a few small bowls that simply sit on the table. 

mugs with tea bag holders

The hanging bowls are a bit of a mix-match because I was trying out the new glazes, new shapes, and thinking of my nephew in coming up with some of the designs. My work generally features fewer trucks than this batch of work does.

tea bag holders on their sides

A few of the pieces I glazed were neither handled mugs nor newly made tiny bowls. I had one thrown bowl with purple underglazes under the celadon, and a few handleless mugs or vases. During one throwing session this past summer I sliced the surface of a couple of pieces and then continued throwing to expand the cuts. These I highlighted with blue underglaze and it looks pretty decent with the celadons.

sliced surface mugs

As a result of the dual influence of the holiday and the kids, I made a couple of Christmas tree shakers (with tiny balls inside to make noise). The noisemakers got stuck inside the big one, but my daughter has claimed that one anyway.

tiny Christmas trees


Thursday, December 17, 2015

December Firing

small bowls or tea bag holders

YVCC finals ended last week but the kids still have school this week. That means I had some time to either clean the house or work in the clay studio. The house is still messy.

bisque mugs after slip trailing but before glazing

I had some mugs and bowls leftover from the stuff I made this summer for they Archie Bray workshop. I had fired a low-temperature load earlier this fall, but I didn't have time to get all the cone 6 stuff glazed.

my home glazing station


I glazed a shelf full of functional work, but I used up almost half the kiln with new work. My daughter and I made some ornaments and I made some items that might be gifts if they turn out ok.

glazed tiny bowls

My daughter drew some pictures on some of the small gift/ornaments, but because we didn't plan a lot of time, these had to be once-fired, meaning I glazed everything before it had been bisque fired. I only have four cone 6 glazes, so I used mostly a couple of celadons and some underglaze colors.

tea bag holder designs being glazed

One of the new forms I tried in this round is a portable teabag holder. The idea is that it can hang off the rim of the cup while the tea is carried to a different room and then it can be set down on the table with the tea bag inside. I tried two different designs, one that contains the teabag best when being transported, one that hangs when empty but must be set down to hold the tea bag. Since I didn't have time to bisque, I'll have to try them once they are out of the kiln so see if they work well.

the mostly-full kiln before firing

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Santa's Workshop

Next weekend, Sunday, December 13 at Larson Gallery, join us for the 3rd Annual Santa's Workshop Event. Santa, Crafts, Cookies, Fun and it's all FREE!

Santa at last year's event

Bring your camera for pictures with Santa. Bring your kids to make some fun crafts. If you don't have kids, bring your parents or your friends or your neighbors and they can make crafts, too. 

tree ornaments made in preparation for the event

There will be cookies to decorate, and eat. There will be crafts to make, but you shouldn't eat them. We will be collecting for Toys for Tots, so bring a new unwrapped toy for a kid in need and you can get some used toys of your own at the Christmas rummage sale.

Rudolph the red-nosed triangle

We have two crafts planned, though there may be a surprise third craft planned by YVCC's student government. The crafts I have planned are popsicle stick ornaments in the form of trees, stars or Rudolph. Kids (or adults) can decorate them however they choose. 

wire stars of various types

We also plan to make wrapped wire star ornaments. I have some prototypes made, but I might tweak the plan a little before the event. These stars are a bit more complicated, but with some help, the kids should be able to do them. 

craft stick stars

I hope to see lots of people at Larson Gallery on Sunday. Spread the word. The event is free and the last two years we've had lots of fun!

Saturday, December 5, 2015

Holiday Shows & The End of the Quarter

Happy Holiday Season
If you'd like to see (and buy) some of my work, come visit one of my galleries this month. I have some functional work and a few small pieces at Oak Hollow Gallery in Yakima. The holiday show at Oak Hollow features a range of artists and mostly small or functional works and some holiday themed pieces.

some of the work I took to Oak Hollow

I also have some sculptural work at the CORE holiday show in Seattle. The CORE show is open through December 19. 
the CORE Gallery show (with my work barely visible on the right)

This is my last month with the gallery as I am not planning to continue in 2016. It was nice to be a member of the gallery, but I've decided that it wasn't worth the time and energy to stay with the gallery. Additionally, I wasn't able to spend much time in the studio this summer and therefore I wasn't comfortable with what kind of show I would have been able to put together.

some work I took to Seattle

This summer my energies were divided between my studio, the throwing workshop I participated in at Archie Bray in Montana, and getting the new studio ready at school. This spring and summer I anticipate being able to carve out a bit more studio time than last year.

the entrance of the new building in the evening

At school were really are settling into the new building. Next week is finals week, marking the end of our first quarter in the building. I am happy to say that all of our kilns, equipment, and venting are now fully functioning. We had a surprise visit from the fire department before Thanksgiving, but there wasn't an un-contained fire; just an alarm from a sensor in the kiln room while we were firing the gas kiln.

fire fighters checking out the kiln room last week