Saturday, May 31, 2008

Finishing up....for now

Things are winding down a little in the studio here in Charlotte before the baby comes (just two weeks from the due date!). Last weekend I dropped off my final 2 gallery orders up in the mountains of NC and this past week I've been working on finishing those last few personal orders that have been on my plate for some time. Above are beer steins for my uncle and family friends in Ohio, and a canister set for my mom. These are currently in the kiln drying to be fired (things have been drying very slowly). I'll glaze on Monday. It'll be fun to send these home with my mom for her new kitchen when she comes to visit in June.

I'm also working on a special project for a show at Lark and Key that they are presenting in July called the "Songcatcher" show. They've invited artists of all media to create a work that is directly inspired by a song. I've been throwing around several songs- all by Radiohead, of course. I'll be spending a good bit of next week working on that, but, overall, it should be a relatively relaxed time in the studio from now on. I've gotta take advantage of what little time is left pre-baby to kick my feet up!!!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Artist residency comes to an end

Last Thursday my residency at Garinger High School came to a close. We celebrated with an ice cream party hosted by the members of KCCI- the group that funded the residency. Overall, it was a very good experience. We completed several projects on the way to creating a prototype for the trash receptacles that will begin creation in the fall. Each student completed a personal tile of their own design:
Some of the completed (or almost complete) paper mosaic prototypes:
Our finished tile prototype. We'll be using this design, plus a couple of variations, on the fronts of the receptacles and the sides and back will have a more simplified surface of probably a solid color with a cut tile pattern.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Yes, she's that cute and that little

Here's my sister-in-law Tammy trying out the new kiddie chair this weekend. It was pretty funny to see her sqeeze her little tush into it (let's just say mine didn't even remotely stand a chance)!

Oh yes!

After pining for a piece of hers for what seems like forever, I finally broke down and bought a plate from Ayumi Horie. She makes amazing earthenware pots and has a really smart retail system set up on her own website. I've decided that she's a total genius because not only does she make completely charming and really well-crafted work, but she also creates a not-so-small frenzy when she posts new pots in her shop. Yet another clay hero of mine......
The only downside to this pot is that I think I'm going to have to fight Brian for it at every meal!

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Handmade for our little one!

While in the baby's room (which is a total mess as of now!) this weekend I noticed that we've received a good number of amazing handmade gifts for our little one. I love the idea of having things around him/her that have been made with care from family members and friends.

First off: a wall piece (sorry, it kept uploading vertically) made by our friend Terry. It's based on one of her favorite books that she used to read to her son when he was little and also includes our "family crest" in the middle- featuring pottery, music, a cross, and hammer and nails. We can't wait to hang it!
This is an amazing little jacket and hat that Brian's Aunt (and godmother) Maryanne made for us: We've gotten a lot of beautiful quilts and blankets- the one on the left was made by one of my handbuilding students, Donna, and the one on the right was a quilt made for me by my grandma Martha when I was little:This blanket on the top left was embroidered by Brian's Aunt Mary, the ABC quilt on the bottom is another one that my Grandma Martha just recently made for our little rascal and the blanket on the right was made by my sister Leslie.I don't want to be biased (but I'm pregnant and allowed to do that, aren't I?) but I think my favorite handmade gift for our baby was this little chair made by Brian's cousin Steve. It's pretty incredible. He said that a little fat kid, or a skinny one with teddy bears stuffed in the side, would fit perfectly. It's super cute!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


We grouted the mosaic this afternoon- I'm working here with Tia and Sam: Ummmmm. Black gritty goodness in all the cracks:
Here's the mosaic wiped down, but not fully cleaned. I'll post a picture once it's fully finished. It's amazing how bright all the colors look with the dark lines breaking up the space.

Mosaic update

This is my last week of residency at Garinger High School- while it's a little relieving to have one less commitment on my plate, I'll really miss the students and two teachers I've gotten to know over the past 6 weeks. We're moving right along with the prototype for the public art project I'll be working on in the fall. Here's the mosaic pieces glazed, but not yet fired: Yesterday I spent time attaching the fired tiles to a frame that Brian built for me. We had to bulk up the base a bit because it's pretty heavy. I learned a lot through this process that will help me once we start work on the actual trash receptacles. The biggest lesson was that it's a bit difficult to keep even spacing between the tiles when they're relatively big and have both rounded and straight areas on the same piece.
Today in class we'll be grouting the piece with black grout, and then I'll finish up the edge somehow (probably with some trim or I may just spray paint it black to match the rest of the frame).

Crazy difference

I was looking over an old post from last spring from the Circle of 8 blog and ran across this picture of me at a show. It was really weird to see how different I looked not too long ago, compared to now- almost like a completely different person. This pregnancy has been overall an amazing experience for me- the due date is coming up quickly (on Father's Day)! I'm getting clumsier (and a good bit more and more forgetful) by the minute and often forget that I have a belly that can get in the way: yesterday I had to have Brian tie my shoes!!!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Weekend fun and tips for new moms.....

This weekend was filled with all sorts of fun activities: a baby book shower, folk art show, movie fun, and a mud volleyball tournament (no worries, I was only a spectator- but that was really hard!).

The baby shower was great- all sorts of friends brought lots of fun books to jump start our little library. We got poetry, fables, lullabies, stories, etc- all with amazing illustrations. There were also a couple of books with helpful lessons and tips for me as a mom. My friend Jeanene generously provided me with the following information. I hope anyone who is around babies under any capacity will find these tips to be helpful:

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mosaic prototype at Garinger High

Some of the students, teachers and I finished working on the prototype for the tile mosaic public art project. Here it in the drying process. We ended up combining several of the students' designs to come up with this one. There is a stylized sun in the middle of a circle, with radiant lines emerging from that. The border design is a stretched image of the "Charlotte crown" which appears all over the city- on street signs, etc- because Charlotte is the Queen City. I like how it first appears as just a border design, but then can be recognized as the crown.
Here are some of the pieces in the kiln. It looks so different when they're mixed and scattered. Don't worry, we labeled the backs of each piece by 4 quadrants- it would be a difficult puzzle to put back together otherwise!

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Sale this weekend

Saturday was the Barn Sale in Charlotte- I was lucky enough to be right next to Jen, so we had a fun time hanging out. It was a nice day, but I acted like an irresponsible teenager and spent the first half of the day sitting in the sun with a tank top on and totally fried my back! Of course it was already too late when customer after customer kept saying that my neck and back were really red. Doh!

I need to say thanks to my "show posse" of Brian and our friends Catherine and Clayton, who were in visiting from Houston, who helped me set up and tear down. I'm very lucky to be surrounded by people who are so helpful- it's sometimes been difficult to accept so much of the help that's needed to lift and haul things (among other stuff) while pregnant. I've been humbled by the generosity of many of my friends!

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tomorrow's gonna be the best

Oh yes it's true. Tomorrow's a day many of us here in Charlotte have been waiting for some time: RADIOHEAD!!! is coming to town- as well as our friends Catherine and Clayton from Houston, and Anna and co. from Athens, GA. A grand time will be had by all- this baby needs to get blasted with some awesome music!


Tonight I'll be doing an artist talk and demonstration at the Cabarrus County Arts Council at 7:00. Should be fun- I have a short powerpoint presentation of my work and inspirations, and then demo making several pieces. If you live up that way, come on out!

Tile show

My friend Jeanene, who's an awesome interior designer, recently had a job designing a show space for Orchid Ceramics. This was for a tile show taking place in Orlando, FL where tons and tons of tile manufacturers are represented. As part of the extremely large show space (it was 40' x 40') was a "gallery" of work. Jeanene was kind enough to choose one of my large sculptural installations to include in the gallery. While I wasn't able to see it in person, it's really fun to see the piece in a different context- it worked pretty well. Here are a couple of images:

Monday, May 5, 2008

New tool for the studio...

Although the big round, green bump looks scary in this picture, it comes in quite handy in the studio. I've found that my belly conveniently turns the banding wheel while working. All you have to do to create this tool is...well, you know. Yet another perk to being pregnant (sorry guys, you can't have this tool). What am I going to do once it's gone?

This past weekend

Brian was away this weekend at an Appalacian Service project (putting 6,000 sf of metal roofing on their volunteer housing in Chavies, KY), so I had the house to myself. Friday evening was perfect outside- one of those "Carolina blue" days, so I sat out on the deck and ate dinner. I felt like a little kid because I would take a bite of food, lean back in my chair and stare up at our beautiful pin oak while chewing. This picture hardly does justice to this tree. It's massive and creates a canopy over much of our front yard. I was able to get a good bit of work in the studio- preparing for the Barn Sale this coming Saturday. Here's a few items ready for stamping and handles.
A few dessert plates drying...
Hopefully I'll finish up most of this work today and tomorrow. I won't have much time after that in the studio due to teaching all day Wednesday and Thursday, a demo at Cabarras County Arts Council Thursday night and friends coming in town Friday for the RADIOHEAD!! concert. Not that I'm excited about that or anything. This baby needs to hear some good music before he/she meets the world.

Friday, May 2, 2008

More at Garinger High School

Yesterday and today marked the start of one of the clay projects with the Garinger students. We're currently working on personal tiles that each student will complete for themselves. We're using several techniques: an acrylic gel medium resist, stamping, and constructing additive sculptural elements. The students seem to really be into working with the clay- can't blame them!- and two of the young ladies even already completed 2 tiles! Here's a student wiping with water over the gel resist. It leaves a subtle relief on the surface.
Next week we'll start working on the actual mosaic prototype while the students are finishing up their own projects. I'm a little nervous about coming up with a united idea among all the design ideas, but I'm sure we can pull it off.

I have a crazy Friday evening ahead of me: time in the studio! I'm gonna throw pots for the first time in a while (two weeks or so), so it'll be interesting to see how much my belly gets in the way. We'll see.....

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Something a little different

Recently, I haven't been spending as much time in the studio as usual because I've been working on a special project. The Arts and Science Council here in Charlotte commissioned me for a public art project (see Central Ave.) that will take place in 2 phases: phase one is a 6 week artist residency at Garinger High School going on right now and phase two is creating and completing the actual artwork.

More on the actual project: The ASC and another organization, the Knight Creative Community Initiative , have deemed the stretch of Central Ave. from Eastway to the Briar Creek Bridge as the "Eastside International Corridor." There are many different cultures that live, work, own businesses, etc. in this area, but it doesn't have a cohesive "identity or brand" that would represent the area as a whole. I've been hired to work with the students at the local high school in the area (which happens to almost be in my back yard, so it's really exciting to be working on a project in my immediate community) to help with coming up with design ideas for the identity of the area. The actual art making, for me, will happen this late summer/fall when I start working on completing tile mosaics for all the public trash receptacles along this corridor- 12 in all. There are also plans for a large mural and maybe some cut metal banners for the light posts in the works. Overall, this project will add much beauty to the area.

So, in the classroom, we've been working on several projects- a drawn design idea, a paper mosaic to emulate what the mosaic design may look like on the trash cans, and we're starting a clay project today. As a group we'll decide on a design and complete an actual ceramic mosaic prototype that will be installed at the school. Here's a picture of my paper mosaic example I used in class:
This is one of the student projects. I'll post more when they complete them.
While the ultimate design is up to me, I'm excited to have some input from all these students. They've been great to work with and have come up with some nice ideas, as it's a challenge to come up with one image that represents such diverse cultures. I'll be excited to be surrounded by images of their work in my studio to be inspired by.