Let the Beauty of what you Love be what you Do...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

When Your Apartment Becomes Your Studio

Had more work to do in the studio last night, but was hungry... so I thought I'd take it home with me so I could eat and work in the comfort of my own place. There is a reason potters don't work out of their apartment! I was standing up, pulling messy handles at the kitchen sink~

Trimming my cup on the other countertop~

Slipping & scoring all my "coffee beans" at my dining table~
(& no, I didn't make the plate the beans are on~ it's by "Mara" out of Mexico. I do love the design though... all nature scenes & animals... I have a complete set & each piece is different.)

Applying the beans~

And~ the semi-finished piece.

 Still need to trim & clean a bit then off to the kiln. If it doesn't blow up in the kiln, or suffer some sort of glazing mishap... I'll post the finished work in a couple of weeks.
Have a great day everyone & thanks for visiting!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Out of the Kiln!

Finally, after a month of class... we're getting some finished work out of the kiln. This is both exciting & frustrating. Exciting of course 'cause after a month it's really fun to see a big pile of finished work... fruits of your labor if you will. Frustrating because we have only 2 weeks left of throwing (the last 2 weeks of class are critiques/glazing & studio clean up) & since I've decided to try out many different clay bodies, the time for testing to see how each glaze works with each clay body is severely limited. :( !   
Here's a bit of work~

I wasn't really happy with the glazes I chose for the small dipping dishes on the left, but was pretty happy with the rest.  These below were my favorite of the bowls~

And some cups... our assignment was to do half with handles, half with "built in handles"

I keep a ceramics journal so I can keep track of what glazes I'm using on what clay bodies & how they turn out. So far, I've tried 4 different types of clay this quarter: Stony White for the bowls, Soldate 60 for the cups, B-mix for some plates, & Dark Red for some larger bowls I'm working on. I decided for future reference it would be a good idea to photograph the work w/notes rather than rely on my memory down the road, so I took many images like this~

Oy~ on this last one... I liked the results, but forgot to write down which glaze I used & had to guess. We do have a series of test tiles, but this didn't look much like any of them! It has been a fun process overall, and I'm getting tons of work done... though sometimes I'm a bit frustrated at my lack of ability to center & pull up my walls consistently. Practice, practice, practice!

Sunday, April 25, 2010


My mom emailed me this picture, and it was too cute not to share. She had ordered these potatoes in December, and they've been sitting in the garage in a closed box, waiting for right time to plant. Now that the ground is warming up, she went to get them out... and found this! These potatoes clearly thought it was time to start growing... no matter that the conditions weren't ideal... being in a bag in a box in the garage! I love how these little sprouts have found their way to the holes in the bag (click on image to enlarge), and are reaching, growing, searching for light. Despite the adversity of their situation, they were going to keep right on growing! I thought of it as a metaphor for life...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Day Trip to Crater Lake

"Everybody needs beauty...places to play in and pray in where nature may heal and cheer and give strength to the body and soul alike." 

                                     ~ John Muir

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Photo Etching~ The Good Stuff~ Take 2

Here are the results of my 2nd print... still a ways to go, but I really liked the way this one turned out. I am a little partial though, due to the subject matter... 'cause it's my mom! This picture was originally taken about 36 years ago, sometime in the early 70's by my dad using slide film & an old 35mm camera. I just recently got it printed & had a digital file made. I love this picture... mom barefoot & raking the yard! Even though we didn't have much compared to what everyone has these days, we had what we needed, and I am glad to have grown up this way. We had a very small house (my brother's room was the hallway!), but we had lots of open space... and dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, goats and a garden. As a kid... it felt like a little farm... and since there were no tract homes, just open space around... there were lots of places to run free & explore. But, I digress! Back to printmaking. So here's what the photo looked like after transferring from slide to digital to print:

Then~ etched, inked, wiped & ready to print~

And~ The Final Print!

While this technique is extremely labor intensive ( it took about 10 hours of work for the whole process to get the print of the van below, & the print of my mom shown here) I am really liking where this could go...

Friday, April 16, 2010

Photo Etching~ Getting to the Good Stuff!

I know, judging by the title for this post, you're all expecting to see great results here! Ha! Tricked ya! :) But we did begin learning how to etch actual photographs this week. Once I have had more practice, I can see where maybe I'd have some pretty cool results... but for now... well, you know. When I was back visiting family recently, I borrowed a few slides from my dad from "back in the old days." We had this cool old '58 VW bus... and mom & dad used to pack up us kids & the dogs & we'd go on these mini-adventures. Probably where I got my wandering tendencies & adventurous spirit! :) Anyhow, I thought it would be fun to etch some of these old memories... so I had the slides transferred to digital, put the image into photoshop, deleted all the color info, increased the contrast & printed it onto a transparency... and, well, you know the rest!

Since this is the first time I've ever done this, I cut myself some major slack here. Because even though there are places where I hadn't got the film applied properly (dark spots/air bubbles) and I don't know what happened to the front of the van (will find out monday)... I can actually tell what it is!

It's a start!!!

Photo Etching~ Learning New Techniques: Assignment # 2

Our assignment last week was to play with text & image by using ink, toner, sharpie & so forth on frosted mylar... to see how those marks translate once we expose the plates, develop & etch them. Also just continuing on with working on applying film correctly to our plates, getting our exposure times times down and so forth. My results were far from earth shattering, let me tell you! But, I kinda felt that way in Print 1... when everything was new. And, this is a new technique with many directions you can go... so, I tell myself... "Patience... Grasshopper... Patience." :)

Basically, you just draw, write, ink up this mylar~ place it over your plate (plates shown here without film), expose it, develop it, etch it, clean the plate (takes forever!) and then, finally get to print it! I had to do 2 plates with text- neither of them worked well. I think it had to do with the translucency of the marker I was using. Aye Carumba... the learning curve strikes again!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Chasing Rainbows

Sometimes its hard to get a good rainbow shot. But I never tire of trying, so when I see one I always try to head off in the right direction to capture it. Saw the tail end of one yesterday on my way home, but by the time I got turned around & headed in the right direction... it was gone. Dang it! This one was a bit more persistent, though a little faded by the time I got in the right place for a decent shot. Beautiful just the same... and within moments, gone.

Friday, April 9, 2010

In the Flow!

Our assignment in Ceramics yesterday was to throw 10 bowls by next class session... I threw 20... the same day.  Today, after working in the Print studio all morning, I thought I'd head on over to the Ceramics studio to do some underglazing of mugs I was working on, & get to work on trimming my bowls. After I was finished & getting ready to leave, I glanced at the clock & was shocked to see it was 7:00~ I thought it was maybe 5:00, at the latest. I lost track of time! Then I smiled. What popped into my head was Mihaly Csikszentmihaly. What? I heard of him years ago in a recreation class at SDSU (Challenges of Leisure... what a great class!) He pretty much coined the term "flow," or "peak experience." I'm sure you've all experienced this feeling of flow when you are engaged in doing something you love~

“The idea of flow is identical to the feeling of being in the zone or in the groove. The flow state is an optimal state, where the person is fully immersed in what he or she is doing. This is a feeling everyone has at times, characterized by a feeling of great absorption, engagement, fulfillment, and skill—and during which temporal concerns (time, food, ego-self, etc.) are typically ignored.”
We all have our "things" in life in which we experience  that "flow..." and it's different for everyone... but I bet we can all agree that we need more moments in life in which we feel this way!
( for more on Csikzentmihaly & Flow~ check out: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology)

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Photo Etching~ The Process

A week & 1/2 back into school, & boy am I ever busy! In order to squeeze as much learning in as I can during the short quarter ( the state budget cuts have cut about a week off our terms, in addition to tuition hikes~ nice!)... I am spending monday through friday in class or in the studio... about 40 hours per week for 2 classes... and then I work all day on saturdays. Sunday I rest!

Photo etching, a specialty printmaking course taught here only once a year, has proven to be interesting already, as I had assumed it would. There are so many different directions one could go w/ Printmaking... it almost mind boggling!  We are starting with learning the basics of photo etching before we go into photographic images.

So, whatcha do is, take your copper plate, prepare it as you would for any other etching process... then apply a light sensitive film to it (we're using Imagon.) Then you take objects & lay them on top of the plate & expose them to light... similar to the old black & white film technique. You know I love documenting the process, so here we go! Here's where we lay our prepared plate to expose.

I did 2 images, one where I simply placed items on top of the plate... and one where I used a vacuum technique for finer detail. The plates below have been exposed, developed & are now into the etching & aquatint process. (If you are now thoroughly intrigued~ hee hee~ and want to know more about aquatinting I do have a post on that too!)

After the lengthy aquatint process & the plates are cleaned, you are ready to print. The first one I did, I wasn't really happy with... but I'm showing it here anyhow because I really enjoy documenting the process & seeing where I started from & where I end up. So, I printed a few & will now recycle the plate for another project. Here's how it turned out: 

My idea was kinda "things that can save your butt in the wilderness..."
My other print below was an a random idea, but I liked the way it turned out much better than the first.
It's just a tea bag, with the tea emptied. With this process, I used a vacuum sealer when it was being exposed, which allows for greater detail, but this technique can only be used on very thin items.

Then I just played with some color a bit on the same plate... it gives it a much different feel.

So, that's it for now! We're learning more techniques this week, so with any luck will have some finished by next week!

Monday, April 5, 2010

Shades of Gray & Sunshine

This is what the sky looked like today in my little town... and yes, this is an actual photo... looking straight up. It actually looks like this many days during the long winter! Various shades of gray.

Having lived here through the entire winter... I now know they weren't just making up that "Seasonal Affective Disorder" thing... I'm tellin' ya, it's for real! I don't just recognize it in myself.... but everyone seems to be just a little happier... a little more optimistic when the sun is shining! After a stormy day all day on friday, the clouds parted & the sun made it's most lovely appearance! I LOVE IT when that happens!!

So, of course I thought I'd better get out & document it!

I drove up & out of town... camera in tow.

I am a sucker for big puffy clouds & landscapes!

The view above town~

Looking forward to Wednesday!!!

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