Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Preparing for the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show in Raleigh, NC

Just picked up my rental Metrovan.  Kevin and I will fill it up with art and booth furniture tomorrow and head to Raleigh.  Bodyguard, Caroline & Grace and Max & Gizmo will make their debut at this show.  I'll also bring new big dogs, teeny ornaments, and small dogs and llamas.  Also, my blackware--inspired by potters of the pueblos in the American Southwest.

I know I have not kept you up to date on studio happenings in the last several days--had so many things going on, I didn't have time to write about them!

We've put in some late nights, but it has been rewarding to see the work finally finished and the set up ready to go.

Hope to see you in Raleigh!

Sneak preview below--photos by Jason Dowdle

Bodyguard--the first in this new body of work, People and Their Companion Animals.

To give you an idea of scale, this piece if 21 inches tall.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, my brother thinks the girl looks like me in high school--even before the piece was glazed.  I had not noticed it, but he is right. 

Caroline and Grace

Max and Gizmo

Caroline & Grace is 15-16 inches tall and Max & Gizmo, 17 inches in height.  

You would not believe how much time I spent picking out colors, including colors of the dog collars! I considered what the character would choose, what glazes are available, what works well with colors of dogs, enough contrast, not too much contrast, etc.  Made many, many test tiles and, will be doing more, as the new batch of clay has a different formulation, so may give different colors with my glazes.  Not such a big deal for clothing, but people's skin tones--wow--so many colors that looked good on the test tile did not work for larger areas.  So I will be testing a lot more.  I am currently using mostly Amaco underglazes, but if anyone has suggestions for good skin tones, of all colors, please drop me a line.

The dogs' tags have the numbers 2912519, corresponding to letters of the alphabet for BILES:  

The ladies' dogs have heart shaped tags, but Gizmo's tag is bone-shaped.  It is unintentional, but Max bears a striking resemblance to Kevin's father (though Max's face is much fuller).  Also, Kevin used to have a vest almost that color.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Quick Update

Whew--I've been so busy, I have not been able to post lately.  Within the past week, I've taught many very talented second graders at a school in Raleigh--they made wonderful sculptures which we will paint on December 3.  

This past weekend was the Whimsical Women show, in Winston-Salem.  The show is legendary for its superb organization and incredible food (made by the artists).  All of the artists help with some aspect of the show--which gets us out of our booths and, yes, even do some shopping ourselves!

I got to visit with artists who I knew for a while, hadn't seen for a while, or met at the spring show, held in May, in the Chapel Hill area.

Many, many thanks to Luli Sanderford, our hostess, and her sister, Linda Palladino.  Also the many other organizers...I'm afraid to name them for fear of leaving someone out--except I have to mention Brenda Moore--who I met through classes at Sawtooth many years ago.  She makes exquisite maiolica.

As I write this , I am taking a break from unloading the van.  

With the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show coming right up, I spent some time this morning repainting pedestals.  Had repainted the wall panels earlier this week--will take and post a photo if I have any time or energy left.  Needless to say, the studio is a sea of white.  Once dry enough to handle, we'll arrange all this "furniture" and set up a mock-up booth.  Would have like to have done this weeks ago, but too much going on!  All good problems!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Carolina Designer Craftsmen Art Show

This is my third year of running with the big dogs.  The Carolina Designer Craftsmen will host its annual  show at the North Carolina State Fairground in Raleigh from November 27 to 29 (Friday through Sunday).  The hours are:

Friday, 6 p.m. – 9 p.m. 
Saturday, 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. 
Sunday, 11 a.m. – 5 p.m. 

To learn more about the guild, please visit their website:

There is a two-year jurying process--you are accepted first as a probationary member, based on images you submit.  Once the jury sees your work at the show and approves, you are a member.  Still, there is a standards committee who reviews artists' work every three years.  So standards are high.

I am bringing what is the beginning of my new body of work, People and Their Companion Animals.  What with research, sculpting, glazing and at least two firings, each takes several weeks to create.  I hope to have three of those pieces completed in time.  One will be in the Masterworks section and the other two in my booth, number  N-3.  

Also, I've made a couple of medium-sized and smaller sculptures, as well as several dog and bird ornaments. (I have to admit, they are cute, and I'll have trouble parting with them!)   So, I'll have something to offer at all prices.

The cost to produce such an event is high, so there is an entrance fee--$7.00 for a day pass. Sorry about that!

So come by, no pressure to buy, but remember, I have a lot of hungry mouths to feed!  ;-)

Seriously, I've been out of the social loop for a while and would love to see you.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Saxapahaw Holiday Open House

I've been attending meetings with a group of other artists and business owners living and/or working in Saxapahaw. On Saturday, December 12, we're hosting a Holiday Open House. 

People will be able to see us in our studios or workplaces, enjoy holiday refreshments, see demonstrations, taste local wines, attend free classes, see art shows, share in a pot luck dinner, enjoy music, go on a canoe ride for free, and do some shopping.  And this is all within a few square miles.

We thought this would be a great way for people to see what our small community has to offer.  

So far, participants include: 

Benjamin Vineyards & Winery - Winetasting, including seasonal Spice Wine and two new dessert wines, Twelve Days of Christmas Art Show features more than 35 pieces, representing the work of over 20 local artists. 6516 Whitney Rd. 12 noon - 5 p.m. 336-376-1080.

Elementary Dance Education Academy. Rivermill.

Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co. - Guest Appreciation Day, with potluck, gear swap and free 2-hour paddle trip. RSVP requested. Saxapahaw Community Center. Noon-5:00p.m. 336-260-6465,  

The Hawbridge School (tuition free public charter school)- art exhibit and launch of student-run business, featuring sale of student-designed dyed silk scarves, photo greeting cards, recycled art works, and large art works. Proceeds from sale support educational programs.  1735 Saxapahaw-Bethleham Church Rd. 1-6 p.m.  336-376-1122 or

Out of the Fire Sculpture Studio - Clay handbuilding and sculpture  demonstrations, free mini classes. 6035 Church Rd. 10a.m.-5 p.m.  336-376-9091 or 

River Landing Inn - coffee, tea, Christmas cookies, snacks. 5942 Whitney Road Graham, NC 27253. 12noon to 4p.m. (336) 376-1502 or

Roxy Farm Antiques - A Dickens Christmas Carole Open House! Fine southern antiques, including primitives, baskets, quilts, hats, vintage photos, brasscandlesticks, tree ornaments from Mexico, and much more. Tiny Tim, Scroogeand the Ghosts from Dickens', A Christmas Carole, will be singing Christmas carols. Join us for some Yuletide cheer with locally-grown wines from Benjamin Vineyards & Winery, along with homemade holiday hors d' oeuvres. 5768 Church Rd., 10a.m.-6p.m. (336) 264-7731. 

Benjamin VIneyards and Riverlanding Inn have been great supporters of local artists, with multiple shows throughout the year.  Benjamin Vineyars has its Twelve Says of Christmas Show up, with a Meet the Artists reception on December 13, from 1-4PM.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

We Create What We Know (Even If We Don't Realize It)

In an earlier post I mentioned that my brother thought the girl in Bodyguard looked like me.  Recently, I saw the photo again and it was uncanny.  This has happened many times before--several pieces I've made resemble relatives, friends, etc.  Even hands and feet--though all unintentional.  

Here is the photo Dave was talking about:

Me, in high school, with hair almost down to my waist.

 And here is Bodyguard:

Monday, November 2, 2009

Update on Bodyguard and Caroline and Grace

As I write this, Bodyguard is in the kiln at a toasty 1200 degrees.  

Here are some photos of her just before she went in.  She received more layers of underglazes, including many fine details here and there and some very stylish highlights in her hair.  Don't worry, they won't be so contrasty after firing.

The girl's skin and tee shirt will be a little darker.

There are two shades of black on the dog's body.  The result will be almost unnoticeable.

Caroline and Grace have received their first layer of underglazes.

I did not add her pupils--creepy, I know.  Her irises are a color I haven't used before so I'm running a test tile in the kiln right now with Bodyguard.  If I don't like it, I can glaze over it.

Caroline and Grace, side view.  Max and Gizmo are drying in the background.

Looking at photos of fawn chihuahuas, I glazed Grace's nose dark brown instead of black.  Either color, or even more of a pinkish shade, would have been correct.  I love the curve of Grace's body--she is really cuddling Caroline!

Bodyguard--more glazes and second firing

As expected, Bodyguard needed a little dermatology to clear up her blotchy complexion.

I added more layers of underglazes to the piece to even out her skin tone.  To add depth and interest, I added underglazes in colors related to, but not the same as, the first layer to the girl's eyes, tee shirt & hair, put more dark brown and black in the dog's ears, and used a slightly different shade of black in the dog's body.

Kevin loaded her into the kiln yesterday--he was able to carry her from the studio this time.  We still set up a pedestal for her to sit on before he lowered her in.  Clay shrinks when it is fired, but she is still 20 inches tall.

As I write this, Bodyguard is warming up in the kiln, preparing for her second firing, today.