Sunday, November 22, 2015

Lush Life

A new piece off to the Patricia Rovzar Gallery for the group December Show. "Lush Life", ceramic and copper, 12x8x3".

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Making & Attaching Copper Antlers

I am loving antlers on many of my ceramic figures lately. There is a suggestion of wildness that I like about them. So I thought I'd show my way of attaching them to my ceramic figures, since it is a pretty simple process.

First I cut 10 gauge copper wire and lay it over an antler sketch I made.

Then I braze the wire segments together and use a belt sander to grind the ends to points.

Then I slide a small copper tube (or 10 gauge wire) through the holes that I made in the ceramic figure. The holes were made when the clay was wet, then the piece was fired.

Then I anneal a small copper strip and drill holes in the ends so that the small copper tube will slide through. Before brazing the tube to the strip I round the corners off with my sanding belt and fit it to the ceramic head.

When I braze the rod ends to the small copper strip, I take my time and heat the strip up slowly. I also hold the oxyacetylene torch flame a good 5-6 inches away and focus it only on the copper strip. The fired ceramic can take a lot of heat, but hitting it with a direct flame can make it crack and or chip, so one has to be careful. Many times if the copper area I'm brazing seems too small, I'll hold up a 'protective' scrap of copper sheet to keep the flame from hitting the ceramic directly. So I braze both sides of the copper rod and then while the small copper strip is still hot, I carefully braze the antlers on top. Then I let it cool and use my belt sander to grind down the extra copper tube hanging out.

I may or may not clean off the fire scale, depending on how I like it, and then seal it with a boot waterproofing wax/oil.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Kevin Snipes - Big Inspiration

In my mind Kevin Snipes is the king of the mishima ceramic technique! The rich layering of color and his delicious line quality. More of his work can be viewed here. He is a huge inspiration.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Ceramic Direction

I've been experimenting to make the technique of 'mishima' work for me in my ceramics. Basically where one scratches the surface of a fully dried greenware piece and then paints the engraved areas in with an underglaze. Excess underglaze is then scraped off with a metal ceramic scraper, leaving only the line work. I've been loving it! Seems a lot of my doodles can be transferred to the clay this way. Here's pictures of some of my pieces so far.

This one has been fired and the contrast of the writing gets enhanced.

These 3 above have yet to be fired, still in the greenware stage. Metal pieces will get added after the firing. The third piece down just has some metal pieces set on top - I was exploring ideas of what to do with it. I'm excited to see what they look like after the firing!

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Next Direction

A couple of weeks ago I read a blog by artist Nicholas Wilton about moving forward with one's work. He talks about looking back as a way to clarify where you want your work to go next.  I'm a big believer in that technique, but realized I haven't done it in a while. Which is weird because I think/worry frequently about where to take my work next.

So I picked up my notebook of all my photos of my work for the past ten years and took a look. As I reviewed it I asked the question, "What do I continue with and what do I move away from?" To my surprise, the answer was crystal clear and immediate.

1. I want to make my work more raw and truthful.
2. I want my work to be more edgy in execution, i.e. more rough edges to make it look old and also have a rawness to it.
3. I want to continue with my mix of ceramic and metal (and found objects in some cases).

Wow. The clarity is surprising to me. Now I need to work toward these goals. I think risk-taking is a huge part of this for me. I'm excited to move forward and hopefully not beat myself up when it unfolds more slowly than I want.

"Sitting Here Risking Being More Me"  from 2013

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

New Ceramic & Copper piece

The ceramic part of this piece has been hanging around in my studio for several months now. It felt like forever. The head and torso ceramic pieces I really liked one day and then the next thought it was just OK, then back and forth, back and forth. Finally I grabbed it a couple days ago (because I had a tight photo/publicity deadline), and just started moving metal pieces around it. I tried weed seed pods and antlers which I found didn't work with the expression. Then ladders, that surprisingly worked for me! I like it! A miracle. The title is "Visualizing Higher Ground". It will go off to the Patricia Rovzar Gallery for a group show in December.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Full-on Ceramics

This past week I've been starting the process of preparing for my Open Studio sale, the first two weekends in December. Lately I've been enamored with the mix of ceramics and metal, so that will be my focus. Here's a studio photo. Pretty much mayhem. I'm excited about these human-headed creatures that will end up having some kind of metal headdress. Antlers? boxes? plants? seeds? Also some kind of saddle with perhaps something brazed on there…but first, under glazing and the bisque firing.

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Head Pieces

I've been playing around with a new way of attaching head ornaments. Basically just using a copper rod that slides through two holes on either side of the low fired ceramic head and then brazing other copper pieces to it. A pretty strong way to support other structures without a lot of fuss. Yes! to no-fuss.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A Real Vacation!

I just got back from a 10 day vacation to Italy. I haven't taken a "real" vacation in quite a number of years (like 15), so this felt very, very precious to me. I unplugged my iPhone. Didn't even turn on a TV. Just immersed myself in a different culture and took in the sights. I took a few pictures on my iPhone, but mostly trusted myself to remember the emotions of the daily journey and wrote about it in my journal. I think this might be a first to not worry how I might be inspired, or how I might 'incorporate' this into my work. Honestly, I have no idea!! And that's OK. I am refreshed and ready to dive back into the studio. That seems like a major gift.

In Venice


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Group Show!

A very happy me to have gotten a piece of my work on the cover of the SADA (Seattle Art Dealers Association) Magazine this month! I have a group show titled "Adaptations" at the Patricia Rovzar Gallery in downtown Seattle that opens tomorrow. 8 pieces of mine in the show.

There are 7 other fabulous artist showing with me: Tracey Adams, Susan Freda, Jan Hoy, Rachel Brumer, Rebecca Szeto, Chris Maynard and Brenda Mallory.

Artists' Reception: Thursday, July 2, 6-8pm. The show is up July 2 - August 3, 2015
Looking forward to the opening and I hope to see you there!

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Back to Figurative

I've moved back into the figurative after my experimentation with tiling recently. My first figure out of the gate is "Type A". It is a wall hung piece, rich with a lot of detail, mostly due to the etched brass surfaces. I'm definitely liking this direction, and "Type B" is in the works.

Copper, torch-fired enamel, glass, mixed media.

Monday, March 9, 2015

The Tile Experiment Update

Last week I finished the second of my 2 tile pieces. I've decided that I like them, but there are so many repetitive actions needed to create even one piece that the process doesn't thrill me. Lots of cutting of the squares and drilling of the squares….then there's the jump rings one needs to make in (what seems like) massive quantities. However I'm glad that I gave it a try. Maybe in the future I'll pick up where I left off, but for now I'll move on.

The first set of pictures is the piece "My Creative Well". Representing how I feel that creatively I draw on everything: the emotional, physical, nature, the universe, the intuitive, the subconscious, my ambitions. There's a small hanging bucket that attaches to the well tower.


This second piece is "Good Under Pressure 2". Instead of using a fair amount of color transfers like I did in the first piece, I fired up all the red, orange, yellow enamels and used the iron-based fired transfers exclusively. This piece is about my awareness that under stress I really want my physical body to hold up - I'm holding the thought that it is! Hanging from the top cross beam is a mini submarine, the best icon I could think of for good under pressure while going into the depths of me.


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Upcoming Class: Constructed Narratives

Next month I'm excited to teach another class at Pratt Fine Arts Center, April 18-19. The class description is as follows:

This unique workshop will blend technique-rich demos with discussion of concept and design in small dimensional work. The instructor will share her sculptural and narrative focus in ways that will appeal to enamelists, jewelers, mixed media and multi-disciplinary artists, and others interested in stretching in new directions. Learn braised copper construction, unusual assemblage options, torch firing of enamels, surface design and patina techniques, and use of found objects in your work. This is an opportunity to work on a new scale, with new materials, and to make a new kind of statement in your work. Make samples or design a new piece.


Also I created an e-book to entice you further! Click here to view.

 Click here to view.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Grid Exploration

 When I first started doing my artwork full time about 17 years ago, I never dreamed I'd have to work at keeping passionate. But now I know that boredom with myself and my metal work will creep in if I don't take time to nurture myself. So every year I usually take January/February and do some kind of exploration, just to see what pops out.

I love grids and squares and have used them in my work previously, but my short little detour last year into jewelry-making made me want to treat those squares in a looser way. I struggled for a couple weeks (my good friend told me after hearing me complain, "Walk away! Walk away! Let you subconscious chew on it!"). Finally about a week ago a structure that would allow me to hang the squares versus attach them to a board came to mind. I roughed it in and instantly got excited. Here are some photos of my explorations so far. I know the whole concept needs some refinement, but I'm excited! (and for me that's half the battle).

First piece prototype. Torch-fired enameled copper squares with either inkjet color decals or iron-based fired decals that turn sepia. Many jump rings!

First piece prototype. Adding an outside frame of brazed copper pipe that lets the squares hang 2" off the wall.

Same, from the side. I'm thinking a bit over-built at this point.
New piece with the concept of it representing my 'creative well'. It will hang in the same manner off the wall.  Still working on refinement to the outer structure.
Close up of tiles.
One of the other thoughts I've had is to hang or braze letters/words off of the support structure, or even branches or other small dimensional pieces that relate to the piece's concept. Onward! Excited!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Wood Net Floats

About a year ago I found some old wood net floats at my local second hand store. They sat in my studio all lined up next to my desk and every time I tried to include them in a piece I was working on, they just didn't seem to work. They all had great patinas, some black, some white and others a rich blonde wood. It was the shape that was throwing me. Then one day I was packing them up to take back to the second hand store (I do this a fair amount…buy something/take it back/buy something/take it back), and it struck me! Cut the buggers in half! It was a major moment for me. All of the sudden I could make something out of them. For the last several months I've been making these wheeled creatures mostly, with a few other variations thrown in. Very fun.

"Reason to Believe"
"The Coming of Abundance"
"The Places I've Been, the Places I'm Going"
"The Universe Inside"
"Inner Workings"

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Commissioned Copper Boats

This last October I finished 6 boats for the Mystic River Complex out in Boston. I had a wonderful time creating them! The complex is full of high end stores and is being built in the old industrial area where clipper ships, bricks and even Edsel cars were once built. Quite the history. The firm doing the design work is Foreseer headed up by the amazing Paula Rees. The place has an essence of steampunk, patina,  and reclaimed objects throughout. My work fits right in!

Copper, enamel, glass, optical lenses, brass
"Good Under Pressure"
Copper, pressure gauges, enamel, brass
Copper, enamel, glass, brass
Copper, enamel, glass, brass
Copper, enamel, optical lenses, steel
Copper, enamel, optical lenses, mixed media