Sunday, April 15, 2018

Birds in the Air, and on the Wall





The birds are in the air now, but this one is hanging on a gallery wall here in Sedona, AZ., where I live and have my studio.
It is part of my "Birdman " series of miniature ceramic masks. It measures around 5 inches tall- fits in the palm of your hand, if you so desire. Much less likely to fly away than the real one.
I started  making my smaller masks some time ago. I love working big, yet  everyone seems to have too many larger items on their wall.  I enjoy creating an item that can fit in the palm of your hand, or find a tiny wall where they could "perch". People seem to be drawn to birds, as I am. So this seemed a good art piece  for springtime.
I create these creatures from porcelain clay, my preference for all things ceramics. However, I want the bright colors and contrast with the dark background. Hence, this little guy is fired at a lower temperature, and then goes into the primitive firing with combustibles.
After that, I make the hanger,  and decorate with feathers. Since birds naturally molt, I get the colorful ones from my friend with an aviary.
Now my customer can look at birds in the sky, or maybe on their own walls. 

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Here is another side of my creative brain, and hands, and thoughts...
It is my latest  ceramic sculpture entitled "What's on Your Mind". It was recently in a show held at the Sedona Arts Center, here in Sedona, Arizona.
Standing  almost a foot tall, you see a pleasant looking, glazed woman's head,  with a wee person sitting there.
This little celadon green figure, a female by anatomy, has her tiny feet dangling into a lovely, purple colored pool. Artistic license on my part. Who knows what colors are inside our head? 
What inspired me was that little voice that talks to me.  It can  give me  good advice, or not.
In Sanskrit it is called the Citta Vritti, which translates to mind chatter. I think this is a universal condition, so I decided to interpret this in my medium of clay. I chose to use low fire glazes for the mood they set.
  As I  create, the more I enjoy art that makes me, and others,  smile. Then perhaps it makes us interpret things in a new way. So I would say to you as you look at my art  "What is on Your mind ? "

Thursday, March 8, 2018

My Newest Handmade Book


Here is my newest hand made book that I just finished making this week. I actually started with finding and decorating the box in which it rests. Then I figured out the content. The design of the book is an accordion fold, with a turned up " pocket" on the bottom of each page. You can that in the photo.That way, you can slip in and out the different papers as you wish.There are sixteen pages in all.                       
I chose lots of color for this project. All sides of the box; the red book cloth; even the dyed porcupine  quills on the front. My paper was brown wrapping paper because that was all I had long enough for the folded pages I chose to complete in one sequence.                                            Necessity is a good teacher.                                     
The topic I chose was American Indian sign language, based on a book published in the 1920s  by William Tompkins. Growing up in the Dakota Territories, he learned to sign with his neighbors, the Sioux Indians. I took pages from the Dover edition and printed them on colorful paper, choosing words and expressions to give an introduction to another new language. I did learn the sign for book. Both hands opened flat, next to each other. So really this a book of communication. If you are interested in seeing more, you can contact me  on my blog, here in Sedona, Arizona. 


Tuesday, February 13, 2018

The Art of Gems

Here I am at the Tucson Gem Show, a far way from Sedona. Here is a world of temptation, with people from all over the world selling beads, gems, and all manner of jewels. 
I have always made jewelry, primarily using the handmade porcelain beads I make and fire in my kiln. 
My horizons are expanding.
I am also now creating my "Jewels" using glass beads, like this gold set to the left. I like the idea that with  an earring and necklace set, you can feel " put together" as you walk out the door. 
It is really not as simple as putting some beads on a wire. There is the color scheme to choose. The choice of spacing  beads can also make an impact. What is the desired end result, simple or dramatic?
It has been an interesting path for me. I think part of the appeal  is that it doesn't take  months from start to finish.  Often that is the time frame with my ceramics. I can actually see end results sooner than later. That is very fulfilling to me to get some gratification before the sun sets.
As I continue to sort and choose my beads , like all art, the medium tells me which direction to go. It is a fun learning process, the art of the gems,


Sunday, December 31, 2017

A Look Back, and then Forward....

Here it is the last day of 2017  here in Sedona, Arizona. Like many, I get kind of nostalgic about how fast this last year " slipped by". This is a poem I wrote and penned in calligraphy  that seems to sum it up, especially these last  verses:    "Who could have imagined?   There was always more space                                          Out there in the future, No, it's gone with no trace."
           "Where did it go, that ten years ago? "
"Amazement at life's passage, No regrets, well maybe some
But that ultimate question, How much yet to come?...

So many pieces to create, and who ever knows our time frame? I have been very active in my head these last two months. Ideas are taking shape and yet I have not gotten into actually going through the final task of Doing them. Sound familiar?
My friend calls this " Artistic tension" , when your stomach churns and you don't know how you will possibly follow through and create the reality of what is in your head. 
But it will happen, next year, I'm thinking.
Not only a resolution, but I say this With resolution.
And you: what dreams do you plan to carry out as a whole new year commences?


Thursday, November 16, 2017

The Art of Origami in a Handmade Book

This is my latest handmade creation in the wonderful world of handmade books I make as an extension of my art of calligraphy. After all, the writing was always put in handmade books back in the very early days.
Known as the  Bookboard  style, with a slip knot binding, there are  12 pages, made out of a sturdy cardboard.
Since each side is covered with a decorative page, there are really are 24 images to view. Finding all the decorative paper was a challenge. I ended up buying a notebook of these designs, which I decided to mix and match, using  with a crystal  theme. Purples, and greens and pinks! The edges are sprayed with a gold paint, and the binding a consecutive slip knot  made from green embroidery thread. 
 What makes this one so intriguing, is that the inside is filled with origami foldouts on many of the pages. While this appears facile, making the exact folds is really tricky. I  used the thin, shiny origami paper, which takes the folds so well. The instructor has a notebook full of these patterns she shared with us.
This is a new learning process for me , and will take some practice. I did manage to  put  different designs throughout the pages. Not quite complete, I am still thinking of what  surprises to add for the finishing touches.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Flourishes in Calligraphy

Here is my hand on the page doing calligraphic flourishes. You know, all those elegant designs done with your pen that make a word or page stand out. 
I was lucky enough  to recently take a day's workshop with Paul Antonio, a six foot tall Englishman who creates calligraphy for the Queen of England. Their country has a long tradition, and appreciation, of handwritten work. Plus there is all that nobility and honors they give out. 
He really starts with the basics: how you are sitting; what is the position of your hand, and the pen you are holding. We used the pointed nib, commonly used in Copperplate styles going back to  the 16th century. The rules  apply to using a  broad nib also. Then there is  breathing: Upstroke -inhale; down stroke- exhale.  Ever notice we often hold our breath when we are working on fine art details? I know I do. That's a lesson I want to hold onto. 
Paul pays lots of attention to the mathematical shapes and angles involved. We began drawing ellipses with a pencil, that later become those same patterns  in ink. Teach the hand through repetition.
I like to refresh my calligraphy  by taking a course when I can. Living in Sedona always means travel to the teacher.  We all get into habits, often not very good ones. An English accent makes that critique a bit easier. 
He recommends 20 minutes every other day of practice. I'm on it. Ideas are dancing in my head about how to apply these lessons. Ah hah. The holidays Are coming up...