Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, Part Three

On Friday I went to the Denver Art Museum's special exhibit Marvelous Mud: Clay Around the World. This is Part Three of my highlights from the exhibition Overthrown: Clay Without Limits

This piece is titled Mast Year by Mia Mulvey. At first sight it was sweet and cute, then upon closer examination and seeing the birds and butterflies tied to the tree with cable ties it became quite a bit darker!

I LOVED this piece! I couldn't find the definite marker for it, but I believe is by Del Harrow, titled Copper Fade. This piece was allowed to be touched, which I always enjoy! Maybe it's the tactile part of me that helped me become an artist in the first place. 

And finally, a piece by the beloved Jeanne Quinn. She never stops impressing me! This piece is called You Are The Palace, You Are The Forest

That concludes my highlights of the exhibit Overthrown: Clay Without Limits. There were many more pieces in the show that were amazing... I highly recommend visiting the Denver Art Museum to see it for yourself! 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, Part Two

On Friday I went to the Denver Art Museum's special exhibit Marvelous Mud: Clay Around the World. This is Part Two of my highlights from the exhibition Overthrown: Clay Without Limits. 

Mille-Fleur made by Kim Dickey was the next impressive piece. It was breathtaking with the size, the beauty, and the amount of work that went into it. I should have stood in front of it to give you a sense of how large this was! I can't even guess, everything is out of proportion at the museum, but maybe 8 feet high and 14 feet long. The front and the back were covered with handmade flower shapes that were about an inch and a half square. It reminded me of French impressionists.

Tucked away in a little back room (that we almost missed) was a very interesting installation. This area was darkened, so the lights shining inside of the pieces illuminated the room. It was titled Itinerant Edens: Hermetic Garden by Walter McConnell. More than 5,500 pounds of moist clay were inside 3 plastic enclosures. The first one was the largest and had the most clay. There were a lot of flower forms and organic shapes piled on top of each other, creating a sort of environment.  You could see mold forming on some parts of the clay, striations of color and layers, it really showed some properties of clay that some people might not consider if they hadn't worked with it.

Again, to try and understand the meaning of this piece I had to look up some vocab!

From Wikipedia: An itinerant is a person who travels from place to place with no fixed home. The term comes from the late 16th century: from late Latin itinerant(travelling), from the verb itinerari, from Latin iteritiner (journey, road).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, Part One

I visited the Denver Art Museum on Friday for the special exhibition Marvelous Mud: Clay Around the World. The first exhibit we visited was Overthrown: Clay Without Limits. I was immediately impressed! Outside the doors to enter the exhibit was this piece titled Footing by Nathan Craven:

Yes, that says to walk on it! I was very nervous doing that, it felt wrong. It was also really fun! The pieces fit snugly, but there was a little movement that gave the slightest noise of clay clinking together. I felt like I should step lightly, think airy thoughts. As I was walking very carefully a kid came running at full speed and jumped as high and hard as he could! It was fine. My heart was beating quickly though, again, it felt wrong in a delightful naughty way. 

After entering the exhibit the first thing I saw was a case with many (I think 12) very delicate pieces. All of them raised the question, "How the heck were these made?"  

RELIC HEAP by Cheryl Ann Thomas looked like fabric and it was as thin as paper. The only way I can imagine this being fired was if it was supported by something that burned away. But I still can't figure out how it was transported, how it was even removed from the kiln. I should mention that they were fairly large too- at least a few feet high and wide. 

RELIC HEAP (white) by Cheryl Ann Thomas

RELIC HEAP (black) by Cheryl Ann Thomas

RELIC HEAP (white) and RELIC HEAP (black) by Cheryl Ann Thomas

untitled thumbnail by Benjamin DeMott
The next piece that was very impressive was made by Martha Russo, titled Apoptosis. Her materials included Porcelain, paper clay, glaze materials, pigments, paints, assorted vintage tools, steel, hardware, silicone, LED lights, compact fluorescents, electrical cables, wires and conductors, utility poles, abaca paper, and beeswax. The definition of 'apoptosis' from is:

Noun1.apoptosis - a type of cell death in which the cell uses specialized cellular machinery to kill itself; a cell suicide mechanism that enables metazoans to control cell number and eliminate cells that threaten the animal's survival

Understanding the definition of apoptosis helped me make sense of this piece. It is LARGE, from floor to ceiling (and the ceilings were very high). I read in The Collective (DAM's blog) that 175 boxes of objects were brought in for this installation! 

Martha Russo is full of vivre. She came to talk at my college and I remember thinking that she was wacky in a very lovable way. She talked about getting membranes and  cow stomachs from the local butcher and using it in her art, laughing about the butcher's reaction. Russo definitely has her own unique vision! 

I'm realizing that this is becoming a looong post and there are still many more pieces from that exhibit that I'd like to share. So I guess that makes this Overthrown: Clay Without Limits, Part One. 

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Denver Art Museum-Marvelous Mud

Footing, Nathan Craven, 2011
On Friday I went to the Denver Art Museum for the special exhibit: Marvelous Mud, Clay Around the World. It was amazing! I already have plans to go back next Saturday (the museum is free on the first Saturday of every month, FYI for those of you that live in the Denver area!). I left feeling very inspired. Because there was so much to see, and because there is so much that I want to share, I'm going to break this up into parts. I will highlight my favorites from the exhibitions that I was able to see:

 Overthrown: Clay Without Limits

Artists push the boundaries of clay to create large-scale installations that respond to the museum's dynamic architecture.
Marajo: Ancient Ceramics from the Mouth of the Amazon

Delve into the elaborately decorated earthenware ceramics from the people who occupied the Brazilian island of Marajó from A.D. 400-1300.

Focus: Earth & Fire
There's more to Marvelous Mud than ceramics. Celebrate the myriad artistic responses to nature and its elements, including mountains, earthquakes, volcanoes, and forest fires.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Fabulous DIY

Proenza Schouler's Fall Collection has a gorgeous baroque necklace- it is big and gaudy and I want it! Unfortunately, I'm not rich (yet)... But fortunately there is a DIY at I'm totally doing this! Except with porcelain.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

New listing: Octopus Bowl

My cupboards are filled with bowls that I've carved and slip trailed and made individually. I'm not sure if any of them match or stack nicely. But that's the way I like it! I can choose my bowl according to my mood. I keep hearing encouragement to create matching sets... While it's there in my mind stored away, I'm just not sure I'm a matching set kind of gal. I like the unique things. So in that spirit I've added a one-of-a-kind octopus bowl to my Etsy shop! I hope there are more people out there like me, the ones that like having precarious stacks of dishes.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Artist of the Week: Diem Chau

Grasp 2010 / Porcelain plate, organza & thread / 18"H x 6"W x ¾"D  
This piece can be purchased HERE

Union 2010 / Porcelain teacup, organza & thread / 3½"H x 3"W x 2"D 
This piece can be purchased HERE

Legacy 2010 / Porcelain plate, organza & thread / 14"H x 6"W x ¾"D 

Sisters / Porcelain bowl, silk, thread / 6.25" Dia x 2.5" H

Diem Chau was born in Vietnam and came to the US with her family in 1986. I love how she combines delicate embroidery with clay. I was scratching my head for awhile trying to figure out HOW she makes these- I believe that she embroiders and sews onto a very thin piece of fabric and then places that over the ceramic pieces.

Diem Chau's website can be found HERE (all images are from Diem Chau's website)

 Chau's work reminds me of one of my favorite songs- "One Red Thread" by Blind Pilot. It is in my playlist titled 'Arting'- GREAT music to create to! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Mug in Action- Emily

This is Emily on her birthday. She received a mug (made by me) as a gift. Such an honor! It was very sweet of her mom - she chose this one because Emily's middle name is Rose. Happy birthday, Emily! I hope you get to drink all sorts of yummy things from your very own mug. 

In Progress

This guy is finished and drying. This weekend I'll fire my first bisque load! I'm a little nervous thinking about the things that could go wrong... But that's part of the excitement of working with clay. Or at least that's what I telling myself! 

Monday, August 22, 2011


Right now as I'm beginning this venture I'm trying to put everything I earn right back into the 'business'. I sold my Mehndi Mug and bought pyrometric cones (for firing my kiln).... I sold my Japanese Waves Mug and then bought cinder blocks to build a shelter around my kiln. It's rewarding to have actual things that will help Mud Whimsy grow. Every time I load my kiln and place one of the cones I'll think about the two mugs that are making it possible! So thank you, once again, to those of you that have supported Mud Whimsy. Without you I couldn't keep growing.

("Let Your Love Grow" printable art by PrintYourHeartOut can be found HERE)

Thursday, August 18, 2011


Lately I've been wanting to make a bear. I'm thinking a wall piece, but who knows what will end up happening! I love their cute faces. Currently I'm in the process of making a snail, a planter, a couple mugs... I feel like the more I make the more ideas I have.

The photo of a smiling bear can be found at Esalon Photography (click on the photo to go straight to the listing!).

Monday, August 15, 2011

Photo Shoot

My boyfriend, Brad, is finding his way in the photography and film world. A few weeks ago he quit his comfortable job to pursue his passion, work for himself, and do something creative. It is an exciting time! Brad asked if he could photograph me in my studio to help build his portfolio, and of course, I obliged. I knew the photos would be great, but I think these are pretty amazing.

Here I am, at my kick wheel. This was the first time I'd thrown a pot in my studio so I was happy to capture it (and happy to be able to share with you!). Now that I've broken in my wheel I've been obsessing about when I can throw more!  More, more, more! I thought that going back to my kick wheel would be a tough transition from working on an electric wheel. While it is more physical, I like that. I feel more connected to the clay and what I'm making.

This photo is simply beautiful. I love the texture of the clay, the messiness of my hands, the quiet moment captured. It seems meditative to me.

If you are interested in promotional and/or art photography check out:
Brad Nielson

Artist of the Week: Michaelene Walsh

Mikey Walsh has been one of my favorite artists for a long time.  She gives honest and open interviews about how she ended up where she is: a professor at Louisianna State University and an active exhibitor of her work. Her work has a tinge of darkness, while still being playful and sweet, in it's own bizarre way. 

I especially love her artist statement that I stumbled upon:

 elegy    n. pl  (
1.     a mournful, melancholy or plaintive poem
2.     poetry or a poem written in elegiac meter.
3.     a sad or mournful musical composition

 If you have eaten ice cream, marveled at a monkey, played with a doll, drawn a heart, or written a secret note on blue lined notebook paper, we have something in common, at least on the surface.

I think of my best work as creating an opening or clearing a path for what is heartfelt and poetic in the ordinary to come through. Yet, I know too that latent within the ordinary are bittersweet and paradoxical feelings that betray these simple sentiments. Sweetness and pleasure felt in seeing or recalling certain objects or experiences often intermingle with feelings of sadness, loss and regret. 

I am compelled to make something that words can’t pin down- the paradox of a visual poem.

(artist statement at Dubhe Carreno Gallery)

More information can be found at Mikey Walsh's website HERE.

All images are from

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Chasing Bliss

I talk a lot about dreams. Not the kind of dreams we have while we're asleep (though those are interesting too), I'm talking about the kind of dream that makes our hearts flutter. The kind that we hope will come true some day.  I'm a big believer that dreams do come true. Maybe because of this I encourage everyone to follow their heart, chase their bliss, and take risks in order to achieve the dream. It might be foolish, but at the same time, it might be foolish not to follow a dream.

What is your dream? (I think realizing what you want is a big step towards achieving it!).

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cruising Around the World Wide Web

 This morning while my daughter sleeps in I am using her computer (it's ridiculous that my daughter has a brand new working computer and I have a 6 year old crasher!), and catching up on all of the internet loves I've been missing out on since my computer died. I would post pictures, but I haven't figured it out yet! I'm a little tech slow... But I do know how to post links. These are some of my favorites:

This post made me laugh out loud
LOVE this studio (and all of the paintings by Michelle Armas)
A beautiful mug
Such a cute idea!
Her words are always so sweet and calming (her work is very sweet too)


Tuesday, August 9, 2011


Lately it's been really hot. A great thing about Colorado is that when the sun sets we get a little relief from the heat. Because of this, I've been spending time in the studio mostly at night. Looking around I realized how beautiful everything looks...

(This is my lightbulb light... Still in progress)