Saturday, May 28, 2011

Me, My Cast, and Crew

I realized that I haven't written very much about my life and the people that are a big part of it... Or myself. So here goes:

Has anyone ever asked you to sum up yourself in three words? I was first asked that question about 15 years ago. I've been thinking about it since! I've come up with a good one: Creative.  I need to be creative; it is a huge part of me. When I am making things I feel very balanced, and when I'm too busy to be creative it starts to seep out of me. I used to work in a real estate office. I would make paper clip sculptures or copy paper origami- I found all sorts of unintended uses for office supplies! Shortly after quitting that job (in order to preserve my sanity) I began to teach art to kids at a private non-profit art school called Clementine Studio. I don't think I've ever loved a job more! Of course I go through lulls and ebbs of inspiration, but I know that if I'm triggered I could stay up all night working on a project without realizing the time.

Another word that describes me: Mom. I became a mom at the age of 19. When I was pregnant I had the invincible attitude of a teenager- I thought I could do anything. How hard could it be? Bjork became a mother at the age of 19, therefore, so could I (I honestly thought this!). I guess I was right about being able to become a mom- I did it. My daughter, Hana, was born June 5, 1997. I was so wrong about the difficulty of it though. I had no idea how hard it would be to be a mom... I'm sure every parent knows the challenges of having kids- the way that kids just know exactly which buttons to push and when to push them for maximum effect. And still you love them so dang much it's heartbreaking. Since becoming a mom that's part of who I am. I ask my friends if they need a coat. I encourage everyone to drink a glass of water with their beer. I caught myself giving my roommate unsolicited advice the other night. It's annoying, just like moms sometimes are!

I'm still working on the third word.

Until then I will introduce my little family:

This is Hana, my daughter. She'll be 14 next week!

Hana is a fabulous, funny, smart person. She's an incredible drawer, has recently become addicted to Glee, loves Indian food and sushi. Her hair color and style changes weekly- currently it is black with hints of "coon tails" (sort of striped and feathery).

This is our dog Rosie.

Rosie makes us laugh every day. We've had her for almost 3 years and she has made our lives so much better! I chose these photos because they sort of show her personality. Rosie weighs about 50 pounds and thinks she's a lap dog....She loves to have her pink pig belly rubbed... And she has these soulful eyes that are impossible to resist.

Friday, May 27, 2011

More Mugs

These are the latest mugs I've gotten from the kiln! They will all be posted in my Etsy shop over the next few days. I just got done posting this one:

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

New Work!

These are a few of my new pieces! I have more that still need to be photographed that I will post soon.

Moroccan Pottery Part One: Tagines

I have always been fascinated and intrigued by Morocco. The more I learn about it, the more I want to know... I've cooked Moroccan recipes, I've been to Moroccan restaurants (If you live near Denver check out Mataam Fez. They have amazing food and a fun experience!), I've collected books about Morocco, and since buying a Moroccan Wedding Blanket (shimmery and magical!) from Maryam, I'm a regular reader of her blog, My Marrakesh. I can't figure out how I've never looked into Moroccan pottery, which it is famous for. Again, the more I'm learning about Moroccan pottery, the more I want to know! It is so multi-faceted! There are gorgeous design elements influenced by Berber, Spanish, French, Islam, and Portugal. Beyond the design, there are pottery pieces and there are tiles. Because it is so multi-faceted I'm going to break it down into parts. 

Moroccan Pottery Part One: Tagines
Tagines are a culinary dish, and also the name for the pottery it is cooked in. In Morocco, the word 'tagine' means 'stew'; I think of it as a crock pot of sorts. A tagine consists of two pieces- a wide, deep plate, and a cone shaped lid with a knob at the top. These are examples of great tagines by Clay Coyote, found HERE on Etsy. The description says a lot about tagines, so I included that with the photos.

"The tagine is rooted in Moroccan history and symbolic of Moroccan cooking. The big advantage of the Clay Coyote flameware based tagine is that you can do any high temperature pre-cooking like sauteing onions, garlic, etc., then lower the heat to cook the traditionally simmered tagine all in one pot! This enhances the flavors, and makes for easier clean up.

Tagines are traditionally done on the stove top so the moisture condenses on the cool top and drops back into the dish. The lid on the Clay Coyote tagine is specially designed inside to encourage this condensation. The necessary moisture loss (to thicken the broth) occurs in the fit between the lid and base.

Here is a link to our blog for a wonderful Moroccan spice blend, La Kama.
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Some tagines have more detail and intricate designs, like the one below, however, they are used for decoration or serving, not the actual preparation of a tagine.

This tagine can be found and purchased HERE.

Next up: Moroccan design!

Monday, May 23, 2011

One of those weeks

It has been one of those weeks. The kind in which my computer got a nasty virus that totally disabled it, I broke up with my boyfriend, and my teenage daughter is being well, a teenager. So that's where I've been- dealing with life. I now have a computer to do some necessary things on, but it is old and slow. I have some new work that I'm itching to share, the story of my art adventure at Caroline Douglas's sale last weekend, and some updates on the studio. I will post pictures as soon as I think my patience can tolerate it!

Friday, May 13, 2011

Monday, May 9, 2011


One of the great joys I get from making pottery is getting my pieces out of the kiln after a glaze firing. It's sort of like opening a present when you have a pretty good idea of what is inside!

Do you recognize the mug in the middle? (It's from THIS post.) I was nervous about firing it because I put so much work into the carving. I didn't want to mess it all up with the wrong glaze. It wasn't quite as striking as I thought it would be- the glaze turned brown in some spots- but overall I like it. And the more I look at it the more I like it- the brown is growing on me!

I'll have better photos of all my work tomorrow, and will possibly start listing some of the new pieces in my Etsy shop as well!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Planter Inspiration

Piece in progress

While painting my studio the pesto color, I had an idea to make pesto and grow my own basil in cute little hand made ceramic planters. We'll see where it leads... In the meantime, I checked over at Etsy for some inspiration.

(Click on the descriptions to connect to the shops!)

Groove Planter in Mint Green, kimwestad

Andrew B King

And just for fun I might just put a few ceramic mushrooms in my plants!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Artist of the Week: Caroline Douglas

Lemur and His Dreamer, Caroline Douglas

Slow Boat to China, Caroline Douglas

Ganesh and His New Hat, Caroline Douglas

Evening At Home, Caroline Douglas

This week I chose a local Boulder artist (even though she's known internationally!), Caroline Douglas. She has been working with clay for more than 25 years. Caroline's sculptures have a sense of humor, whimsy, and magic! I've loved her work since I saw it hanging in the downtown public library several years ago- she had created a sculptural tile for every day of the year. Some were momentous, (like her children graduating), some were just ordinary days. I'm intrigued with the idea of making something each and every day...
I've had the pleasure of seeing some of Caroline's work in person, visiting her home during the Open Studios Fall Artist Tour, and having some quick chats with her. All of it was delightful! When I visited her house it was filled with her work! She had so many pieces I imagine that she spends A LOT of time on her ceramics. It wasn't like she was just cranking out mindless pieces either- she had large sculptures with intricate designs, hand painted glazes, and details details details. It was very impressive and inspiring.
Currently Caroline is preparing for a home sale on May 14th. In order to create space she is posting a piece every day that you can buy from her website. If only I had a million dollars! I'm hoping to be able to go to her home sale. If anyone else is in the Boulder area and would like to go with me let me know.

Where you can find Caroline Douglas:
Facebook HERE
Etsy shop HERE

Mud Cloth Mug

This sweet little mug is now in my shop! (click on the photo for more information)

And tonight I'm going to list this mug in my shop. It's one of the 'ding mugs'- I put an intentional dent in the side and then carved around it.

Monday, May 2, 2011