Tuesday, March 31, 2020

The Magic of the Kiln

This is how am I am dealing with the stay at home venue that Covid 19 has presented us all. I am working in my studio here in Sedona, AZ. What else does one do? My galleries have closed but we all hope things will reopen....eventually.
These are newly glazed, porcelain pieces being loaded into the kiln. You can see how low the first shelf actually is. This is the biggest, most powerful electric kiln I could purchase. It stands about three and a half feet tall, so it is a reach down for me. I got it many years ago and have rewired it often.On the inside you can see  the electric " elements" that heat up, as I gradually make adjustments. Nope, No computer here. I am the master of the firing . 
I always need more mountain mugs, so they fit nicely around the large bowl. These items are dipped in what will turn out to be a nice turquoise color.I also have some lovely white bowls in this load. What exactly they will turn out like will be up to the kiln gods. I will not see the results until about 20 hours later . When it gets over 2000 degrees it is best to cool slowly, so nothing cracks from rapid temperature changes.Next step...the magic.

Wednesday, February 26, 2020

The Art of Film

Here I am at the Sedona Film Festival, 2020. I must confess I am a total movie  fan and always have been. My Mom would drop me off at the Saturday matinee. (probably respite for her, also) 
I often wonder if it was the movies that subliminally  influenced  my decision to move here after just one week?
Once again, back when I was a young girl, I would stay up for the  " late show". I think I saw every movie ever made here. Jeff Chandler as the noble Indian; Debra Paget as the lovely captive. All very politically incorrect , but boy did that influence my desire to ride horses, and go out to the wild west. 
I did have a long  stop over in Los Angeles to go to university and live at the beach and start to be a working artist, both in Clay and Calligraphy. Once again, a movie town.We were too " cool" in Venice beach to pay attention to the movie people, which is why they liked it there, I think.That and the movie called Life that seemed run every day there with all the unusual "assortment" of humanity. 
So here I am some 35 years later , going into the wonderful world of of every film festival; Learning new things and being transformed into new dimensions. The art of film.

Thursday, January 9, 2020

A Turquoise and Porcelain Bead Necklace

Here is a sweet choker I made using my own porcelain beads along with real Arizona turquoise and small crystal chips.
I guess you could say this is a necklace that comes from the earth.
Using a white porcelain clay body, I am able to roll it out to a very thin consistency. 
  I work with very basic tools, the rolling pin among my favorite. Many lucky ceramicists have fancy slab rollers. I don't. After working with clay so long I seem to feel when I have arrived where I want to be. If not, I do it over.  
 Next I add the texture.The "how" is a bit of a professional secret. Choosing several lengths of a "somewhat" consistent nature, I cut them off with a very sharp edge and let them dry out somewhat.It is best to clean them up when they are in this "leather hard" stage. I smooth off each end with care, but  sometimes they break. Tedious work. 
As you can imagine it takes a Lot of beads to make any necklace,  bracelet or earrings. And I do all three so there are sets, as well as individual pieces.When dry, they enter the kiln for the first " bisque" stage. After that, there are not so porous and I can add the iron oxide stain.There is a final, high fire stage to make everything totally hard. I think these beads will survive longer than we do.
 These are  colors of the red rocks of Sedona, AZ. , where I live and have my studio. No two beads are ever exactly the same, and  the small differences make each piece a unique creation  by yours truly, V. Norton

Friday, December 13, 2019

Windows of Words

Here is my latest mixed media creation, "Windows of Words." Nine, small metal boxes covered in handmade , or other intriguing papers.Inside are provocative quotes and  I even wrote a poem myself.
 It is now showing  at the Jerome Artists' Coop  Holiday Show in Jerome AZ. for December 2019 and January, 2020.
As a professional calligrapher for the past 35 years,  I am always collecting quotes; tin boxes; papers and more, and then some more..... Remember opening those  little windows at holiday time? This was my theme. The wood has a slightly tree shape if you notice. Using several alphabets such as  Roman , Uncial and  Italic it  was fun to interpret these sayings in a  different style. I invite the public to stop by and explore this interactive art. 

Monday, November 11, 2019

The Art of the Small Pitcher

Here is a fun little pitcher from my latest firing.My hand shows the relative size. 
As I went to the icebox this morning to add milk to my tea, and I had to lift up the whole carton, I thought " a pitcher would be a handy thing about now". But not this pitcher, this one goes up to the gallery.
All around the base are the hand carvings of the red rocks of Sedona, AZ, that I see outside my studio. I have also incorporated this design into my mugs , with the turquoise glaze, and the oxide to color it.This is high fired porcelain clay so it can go into the stove of microwave.I used a clear glaze inside so the  contents are visible . It is actually the clay itself with a clear glaze over.
Of course it is totally food safe. Standards are very high in our country for glaze materials. Who knows what you get in a store or which  country they are made in and what are their rules? 
Since this is our Veterans' Day holiday, I would say "Support 
our service people... and your local artists! "

Saturday, October 19, 2019

The White Pueblo

I just unloaded my kiln and  found  this little jewel, my
"White Porcelain pueblo".  It is made from porcelain,

This style of my handmade bowls came from my artistic imagination and the environment I live in.The color you are seeing is actually the clay itself, with a clear glaze over. I like the smooth, modern feel of this basic image. 
As I say in my description tag, "...This is the view from outside my studio here in Sedona, AZ. I see our town, or pueblo, red rock silhouettes , cactus, and critters .The outer stain is the red iron oxide that colors our red rocks."  There is a bit of artistic license here, but truly this is what I see all around me. The critter is a little snake, which lives somewhere around  here, even when we don't see him. 
 I find with clay, it often tells me how to shape it. I make this style in three sizes. All fit so nicely in your hand,  and the clear color shows off  food or other items one might hold within. Although there is a similarity in my style within  this series, each pot is totally a one of a kind, signed by yours truly, V. Norton.