Tuesday, September 21, 2010
I have to admit I've been a bit frantic lately. With our first Baby due
in about 5 weeks, the list of To Do's seems to be getting longer
, rather than shorter
. Overall, I feel I've managed to stay relatively calm and low stress.
But I found a nice, unexpected bit of advice in the Ethan Allen catalog that showed up in our mail last week...
Granted, they are referring to furnishing a living room, but I instantly saw how this could apply to my life.
See, I'm planning to take a 6-month maternity leave. To do this, I'm trying to make sure the galleries I work with
are well stocked and ready for the holidays and beyond. This means that
I'm trying to make 6-months of work in about 8 weeks. (And finish all
the projects my husband and I had started around the house, and put
together a nursery.)
250 tile plaques in various stages.
I've been cutting, burning, and polyurethane-ing like crazy!
then "Relax. You don't have to do it all at once." Though I understand
that life as I know it it about to change forever, I do not have to get everything
done before Baby's born. Things will be crazy and new, but we will find
our way, settle into a routine, and I will get back into the studio.
for me, unfortunately, posting to this blog is one of the first things
to go when the list gets too long. I realize I still haven't written
what I wanted to about my July residency in Montana
or my more recent classes at Arrowmont and Penland
(which were both great by the way!) Or a post on how I made the slab-built tumblers. Or talked about the Fall Open House at CURVE studios & garden
in Asheville this weekend. But I'm doing what I can.
So, with that, I'm off to the studio. With the majority of the backings complete, it's time to switch over to making the tiles.
Cheers! And thanks for listening!
And they're out of the kiln. Overall, I'm still very pleased with the
potential of these new lowfire test tiles. I've got to be careful not to
overdo the layering or they start to get a little muddy looking though.
They look a little jumbled shown all together like this - seems better to process them individually.
We'll, gotta run. We're off to the Bray Bash
So, I mentioned in yesterday’s post
that I was able to finish a record 60 plaques
in just 8 studio days! And though this was definitely a rush job, the quality of the tiles was in no way compromised.
the opposite is true. I believe the plaques are getting better with
each firing. I have a lot fewer “duds” – tiles that just don’t work for
one reason or another. Warping seems to be under control. The patterns
and line-work are stronger. And most glaze problems have been resolved.
me, these tiles are a way to experiment with pattern, texture, and
color. Because of this, even the “duds” are important. By studying them,
I’m able to evaluate what works and what doesn’t; learn from my
mistakes. I’m happy the success rate it up!
I’ve been making
these plaques for 4 years now. People often ask how long I will continue
to make new ones. And the answer is the same for all my work. I will
continue to make them as long as I feel challenged creatively and I see
room for growth and improvement. When I get bored or dread the process,
it’s time to move on to something new.
Been getting kicked from all directions lately! Some exciting. Some stressful.
Felt the baby kick for the first time last week. And let me just say, that might just be one of the coolest feelings ever! Baby decided to get my attention for the first time while I was in line at the bank irritated with the teller. Guess he/she is already teaching me about patience.
(Cut, burn and polyurethane wood backings... check!)
So, I finally sat down and took control of my to-do list! Feeling overwhelmed with everything that needed to be done before I leave on Saturday, I divided my list up into daily tasks. This has made managing my time much more productive! Now I know I’ve got time set aside to finish the work in the studio, pack and relax with my hubby before flying out west.
(Organize to-do list.... check!)
I’ve got around 60 glazed tiles cooling in the kiln right now. The metal and wood backings are finished and the tiles should be cool enough to unload this afternoon. I’m right on schedule! Whew! It’s amazing what can be accomplished with the pressure from a deadline.
(Cut and polyurethane metal. Attach to wood backings... check!)
Ok, I’m off to yoga (ahhh!) and to run some errands while the kiln is hot.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Finished up these tile plaques this week. This series of 6" x 6" x 1"
plaques incorporates kiln cast glass and slumping, so I thought I'd
share a couple pictures of the glass process today.
Finished Wall Plaques
Check it out here
In my kiln, this firing is set to Program #5.
kiln castings after the glass has been taken out of the mold and
cleaned up a bit. Each "brick" is between 1/2" to 1" thick.
Slicing the cast "bricks" with a table top tile saw.
favorite part of the process. So loud and messy!)
it's worth it! The colors and patterns of the glass castings are
revealed after they are sliced open. They've always reminded me of
I have the slices, they 're cut down to size with a hand held glass
cutter/scoring tool. The windows are also coated with the same
primer/kiln wash that is on the shelves. This allows the glass to slump
through the clay opening with minimal stress and cracking on the glass.
pre-fired, glazed tiles are loaded into the kiln upside down, with the
glass covering the window opening. They are then fired to 1300o
This is Glass Firing Program #2
firing, the kiln wash/shelf primer is cleaned off with a damp sponge
and the glass is glued back in with 100% silicone adhesive.
Here's a tile without the steel backing.
there's a very quick runthough of what I've been up to this week in the
studio. If you have any questions about any part of this process,
please just let me know. I'm happy to share info!
Thursday, August 06, 2009
I've spent most of the week happily glazing away in the studio. Many more Mini Sculptures
and Tile Plaques
in the works! And while I've talked to many potters and ceramic artist
who find glazing/decorating tedious, this is my favorite part!
the clay has been bisque fired, I organize the work by size and style
and then get to work labeling. (Those of you that know me are laughing
at the words 'organizing' and 'labeling' - I know, I know, I cant help
using a pencil, I go through each piece, decided which glazes will be
used where, and then write a code or abbreviation for the glaze in that
spot. I have about 70 glazes mixed, but really only use about 35-45 of
these on a regular basis. So there are a lot of codes, most of which
would look like gibberish to anyone else!
I go through each glaze one at a time, applying it with a small #6
brush. It becomes a "glaze-by-number" and I'm able to sit back and enjoy
my favorite podcasts (This American Life
, or Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me
, etc.) or listen to audio books. (Recently I listened to and loved Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver. Thanks for the recommendation Betsy!)
found that listening to podcasts or books during the day passes the
time extremely quickly, I learn a lot of information, it keeps my mind
focused on positive things rather than worrying (see previous post
) AND I'm able to get tons of glazing done! A Win-Win situation all around.
you have any routines, habits, or techniques that make "tedious" tasks
pass with more ease and enjoyment? Or, any podcast or book
Well, those ceramic tiles and Mini Sculptures
are in the kiln now, so I should probably go check on them. Thanks for
reading a bit about my process.
Wednesday, March 04, 2009
Finished up some plaques with my newer tile style
yesterday. Thought I would post a few quick pics of the process.
Sketching ideas - thinking about design, layout and composition, line, texture, mood
Tiles drying and waiting to be bisque fired.
The backs of the bisque fired tiles with glass inserts.
clay tiles were rolled out about 3/8" thick so that I could carve a
place to inset the glass for slumping. Here the glass has been fused,
slumped, ground down to sit flush with the back of the tiles, and then
attached with 100% silicone adhesive. (sorry, I forgot to take pictures
of all of those in between steps.)
Side few of tiles showing added dimension with the slumped glass.
Finished group of Tile Plaques
The glass I used for these pieces was created the same way as my line of fused glass pendants
. I hope to eventually write a post detailing that process and technique. Until then, you can see pictures here
Thanks for finding a moment in your busy day to check in on what's been going on here.