Sunday, December 5, 2010


Those words of an old blues song came back to me as I tried to fit this big piece in an already 1/2 full kiln. Luckily it's paperclay so I can repair it. I was anxious to fire the kiln because I'm trying a porcelain slip over the rather uninteresting surface of the paperclay. I should do tests, but I want to see this in full size. 

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


All my "children" have come home for the holidays and the accommodations are pretty crowded. I guess I need to build more shelves...or sell more artwork. the other device I use is to triage my work and decide who is no longer show-worthy. These pieces go out to my garden where I can still learn from them and perhaps recall them into service at some later date. 

Sunday, November 14, 2010


My big pieces use a lot of table space and they can't be moved while I work on them. I get antsy to work on something while I wait for them to dry between stages.
Earlier this year I saw a demo by Lori Alcott Fowler and saw how she did some great small scale pieces using metal in the legs. I am exploring the process and trying to make it my own. I allows me to work quickly and move things around while waiting for my large pieces to develop. I am always open to what happens along the way.

Monday, November 8, 2010


I have been working a lot lately. My work tables are full and the kiln is almost full as well. It's kinda like storing things in the dishwasher to get them off the counter.I store finished work in my kiln and when it's full, I fire it. I have been pushing my forms (perhaps allowing them) to be more abstracted. I take more license with anatomy and see where it leads.

Friday, October 22, 2010


I have just had a brief affair with my old love, oil painting. As much as I love color, it detracts from what I am saying with form so I am back to thinking in earth tones again. That doesn't mean that a little bit of color won't show up. I think it enhances the piece if kept in the background. You probably aren't even aware of it unless you look closely... as in this recent piece.
The other reason to leave oil paint behind is a concern for my health. It's like bad love...toxic.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010


I  started painting pieces that I had resigned to the garden for one reason or the other. At first my attempts were too garish. The color was exciting, but it overwhelmed the piece. Then I did some undercoating and I experimented with a different approach to the paint application. I found what I was looking for. Color that excites but still allows the form of the sculpture to read.  

Sunday, October 3, 2010


I was reviewing my slides this past week and had the overwhelming desire to see my figurative work "in the flesh". So I pulled out some of the canvases and set them around my old painting studio upstairs. I thought I had left these works behind me, but I feel the need to try to bring it full circle by painting on my sculptures. I will choose something from my cast-off pile and give it a try.

Friday, September 17, 2010


It was a very special event for me. A huge room full of wonderfully diverse clay sculpture ( and wonderfully diverse sculptors) For the space of 3 days, we shared our work with each other and the thousands who came to view the show. On the last day we were running around like high-school seniors getting each other to sign our copy of the catalogue. If you would like to see photos, go to  

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I have been deciding which work will be show at the Ceramics Annual . My largest just came out of the kiln yesterday and the others are being fussed over, photos sent for the, catalog, pedestals painted, etc, etc. My everlasting thanks to John Toki at Leslie's Ceramics who has volunteered to transport pedestals. I barely have room for all the sculptures in my vehicle. All my pretty girls want to go to the ball and the coach will be full.

Monday, July 26, 2010


To date, I have not been very successful making big pieces. Anything taller than 27 inches must be sculpted in two pieces that will fire separately and then stack. The engineering is tricky...and I have to make it up as I go along. 
I have big two pieces on my table right now and they challenge me to use everything I have learned. If I fail, the clay will be recycled and I will consider the time well spent because (as I have heard quoted) your failures teach you more than your successes. But there is a still small voice inside me that says "please let it work".

Monday, July 12, 2010


This past weekend was the annual Palo Alto Clay and Glass show. Thank you to all who visited me.
 The work of finishing the new pieces, building foam lined boxes for transport, and finally setting up the booth payed off for me when I saw my biggest and best on display. I liked watching people as they moved past my booth. My work has no neutral observers. It's either completely off their radar (they are looking for that perfect casserole dish) or it stops them dead in their tracks. The emotional quality I have worked so hard to foster seems to grab and hold the viewer.  

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I have been doing some risky pieces lately. I only try to do them because the same image keeps showing up on my sketchbook. OK, OK...I'l do it. Somehow the impossible becomes possible. I find a way to balance the piece and give it strength. The one on my table right now scares me. Every addition of clay to the structure seems fated to disaster, but somehow it works. I have to trust that the image came to me for a reason and that the energy will somehow fulfill itself through me.

Saturday, June 12, 2010


As I look for shows to enter, I steer clear of the ones labeled "craft". Is it a fair assumption that my work will not be understood by jurors with a craft background? Is form only understood when there is a function?
Earlier this year I had two pieces in the Mesa Contemporary Craft Show and one of them won a jurors award. On the strength of that success, I entered the RAC Innovations in Contemporary Craft and was rejected.  I know there is no formulae for what any given judge on any given day will choose, but I do ponder the Art vs Craft conundrum.

Sunday, May 30, 2010


I have had the nagging feeling that it's been a long time since I posted on my blogsite. When I checked in I saw the evidence of how long it's been. The entry about building in sections showed the headless piece I was working on at the time. that pice is finished, fired, photographed and entered in a show.What I learned about this piece is that in adding the heads, I changed the nature of it. the single slab that holds the mask-like faces created a bond between the figures. The clay continues to inform me and impose it's will.

Monday, March 1, 2010


27 inches is the height (and width) of my kiln. To build larger than that, I must find artful ways to add a layer that can be fired separately from it's base. It's a skill I Haven't yet fully mastered, so I have been making pieces that fit in the kiln...a weak premise for creating art.
My new device (a bead dangling from a light fixture) tells me when I am approaching the 27 inch mark. I can, then, decide how to section the piece. It looks like this one will have removable heads.

Friday, February 19, 2010


Once in a while a piece will come out of the oxide firing with a mottled surface. I find this distracting so I will use whatever is at hand to smooth out that appearance. I have let go of the idea that only fired effects are valid. For me, the final appearance is more important than how I got there.

Saturday, February 13, 2010


The paperclay symposium hosted a reception for the artists who presented and demonstrated their work during the weekend. The weather was unseasonable to say the's Laguna Beach for god's sake and it's raining so hard that they are starting to worry about road closures.
It was so very interesting to see and hear how other artist are using this remarkable medium. They are my new extended family.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Like laundry, warm from the dryer....unloading my kiln on a cold rainy day Is very satisfying. What happened in all that heat. Is everybody OK? Some get prettier and some fail to reach potential. Some surprise me. The series of three figures I used to work out a construction puzzle now look like a group that could easily go out into society. I learn to never judge until a piece is finished.

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Tomorrow I take down the Marin MOCA show. I had six pieces and more than a little trauma about how to display them to their best advantage. Most pedestals weigh more than the piece they display. And they're unwieldily, take up space in your studio, your truck, van or car. I had to make do with what I had and what I could borrow, but as this photo shows, a higher pedestal would have been better. I am on a mission to find a better solution. Lightweight, folding pedestals...Time to break the time honored tradition of wooden pedestals before they break my back.