26 October 2006

the suspense is over


Here it is!

It may seem a little strange, a calendar? " But I thought she made ceramics?" Well, I do both. I have been venturing into the world of graphics and illustration on and off for the past few years. I actually produced a calendar in 2005 and they were sold in Japan and I sold a small number of them here. I had the good intentions of having one for 2006 but last year I had only gotten eight months done and that sums it up for my life last year, I got about eight months done. It all worked out though because I had a head start for this year and this is the result. They are for sale here. I have a limited number of them and they are going to be in the December issue of
Domino Magazine's gift buying guide this year so come and get em' while they last.

24 October 2006

sneak peak

This is all I can show you for now. I have to get all my duckies in a row before I can let the ca_______ out of the bag. he he, I love the suspense! Oh and by the way, it was pointed out to me today, by this lady, that boxes from Japan have their very own lovely and unique scent. So, when I wasn't working on preparing for the unveiling of this surprise I could be found with my nose stuck in the boxes, sniffing away.

23 October 2006

post office love

My packages from Japan arrived safe and sound today. Yay! I'll be back soon to tell you what's in them.

22 October 2006

too many things

It has been an eventful week over here in One Black Bird land but I don't have any new photo's to prove it. I have been busy with things that are not very photogenic. Things like dealing with paper work. Yuk! I updated my blog (did you notice?). I spent way too much time trying to get my own personalized header to replace the generic one but could not figure out how to get rid of the original header. I kept ending up with two headers, very frustrating! In the studio, I have been slip casting vases and setting up forms. Well I could have taken pictures of that but forgot to bring my camera with me. I cooked dinner for this lovely person who just had her knee replaced. I don't think she wanted me taking pictures of her knee. I am waiting for an exciting package to arrive from Japan which I will announce when it actually gets here...seems there is something funny going on with the post office and they are threatening to send it back to Japan. PLEASE DON'T! Can't take a picture of something that isn't here yet. I am trying to get some website stuff done too, but not very successfully. I am kind of like a hamster running in place. Being a one woman factory can be a bit overwhelming and keeping up with the details when my hands are full of clay can get a little complicated. I promise pretty new things to come soon and I promise to take pictures of them.

13 October 2006

damage control

A little over a year and a half ago I was preparing some new work for a show. I set out to make a collage of six platters that would hang together as one unit. I formed the platters, lovingly painted and etched them, then bisque fired them. When I removed them from the kiln they looked as if they had been exposed to some sort of horrible radiation. All of the underglaze had bubbled and puckered and big chunks of it were falling off of their surfaces. My first reaction was, oh my god, how awful, they are all ruined! I tried to hold back the tears and put them aside on the table feeling frustrated and at a loss. I did not know what to do. The show was in two weeks, all the work I had done was ruined and on top of it I had orders to fill. Oh and did I mention, I was also going through a painful breakup. I was not only presented with dilemma of what to do for my show but also with the question of; what is going wrong with my process? Everything had come to a halt and some serious reevaluation had to take place.

After looking at the platters for a while I started to think they were kind of interesting with all the unintended marks that the firing had caused. They were not something I could sell as functional but never the less the surface of them took on a whole other beauty. In an effort to get some advise and feedback I invited my studio neighbor over, who is a painter, to take look at them. He looked at the platters, looked at me, looked back at the platters and then said, echoing my thoughts, "They are kind of beautiful like that". He then suggested that I paint in the spots where the underglaze had peeled away. Hmmmmm, the wheels in my head began to spin. I took his advice. When I finished painting them I liked the result but thought the birds look as if they had been shot and were bleeding. I had intended them to look like red wing black birds by using the red. I thought they were interesting but felt self conscious about them at the same time. They made me feel exposed. I decided to show them anyway and then as I was hanging the show I was told (by the heart breaker) that they looked like "damage control". I became insecure about them and pulled them from the show at the last minute.

Eventually I figured out what had caused the peeling problem. A combination of things, mainly the recipe of my clay body had changed which in turn affected the underglaze. I've since changed clay bodies.

When I returned home a few weeks ago, after being gone for the past year, I looked at these pieces again and felt a deep tenderness for them. The birds still look bloody to me but somehow my feelings have turned from self consciousness to compassion. I like these pieces even more now. Perhaps it is because they mark a time when I was feeling so raw and tender and those emotions presented themselves in my work even when I had not intended them to. Perhaps it is because they embody chance and risk, or maybe because in my effort to "control the damage" I wasn't able to and was forced to challenge myself and to learn from the experience and to see the beauty in it.

06 October 2006


I have a friend that says, "it takes two weeks for your soul to arrive after your body gets there." It has taken about that long for me to start feeling like I have really arrived back home, my body has been here but my mind was still traveling. My perspective is different than it was before. This is good. This is what I had hoped would happen by leaving. Actually part of me never left. I could still see, in my minds eye, the streets and the buildings and sense the cool air that this city is so famous for but my heart feels different. Different in a good way. This is the best feeling of all. Though honestly I am not sure how I feel about being back in San Francisco. Now that my soul has just arrived, it has to have a meeting with my body and they need to discuss everything that has just happened. That may take a while.

In the mean time I am whittling away at the pile of tasks, bills, responsibilities that are stacked up everywhere on my desk but most of all in my mind. It is hard to feel creative when there is so much clutter. Not necessarily bad clutter, just clutter. I went to the studio the other day to see how it looked. I couldn't remember how I left it. It wasn't pretty...I have some cleaning to do before I can get started. I went in, looked around for about ten minutes and then decided I could not deal with the mess right then and left. You know, sometimes it is enough to just go visit the space where you create and just sit there. That can be helpful in your process. The pressure to continually create can be stifling and this is something I have to deal with now that my Art has become my livelihood. I sometimes feel like I have to be ON all the time. Everyone is different and has different rhythm's and ways they work. The key is finding out your own rhythm and honoring it. For example I work in fits and starts. When I work, that is all I do, this can go on for months. When I stop, I stop and that is all I do, well I do other things in that time like catch up with friends, bake and go to movies. Some people approach their Art like a nine to five job. Other people are night owls, loving the silence that night time brings. I always wished I was one of those night owl types but I am not. I am a morning person so I honor this. My creative energy wanes after about seven o'clock in the evening. I don't fight this anymore, I just go with it.

Another thing that I have been doing since being back is revisiting my older work. It is wonderful seeing things with fresh eyes and being gone has afforded me this pleasure. This is a photo of my glowbowls. They are something I have been making for the last six or so years. When I designed them it was a response to the muchness of my work. I wanted to give my eyes, my hands and my mind a break. Something to contemplate without images and color. They are called glowbowls because they hold candles and when lit, glow. Lately have been lighting them at night as I wait for my soul to arrive.

04 October 2006

you wanna' dance?

You know what excites me...Other than the rear ends of trucks? People who are self defined and have a passion for what they do and find a way to do what they love even if it is after a long day's work. Tonight I had the honor to sit in the living room (a very lovely living room at that!) of someone who embodies all of these qualities. The lovely Lisa. I am not the first to sing the praises of Lisa, there are many out there who admire her and rightly so. She does it all, she does it well, she does it with grace and passion. So good to have made a friend who is so inspiring and who still likes to go dancing...Even at our age!

01 October 2006

october first

Yay, it's October! I love October...Actually I think a lot of people love October. The weather is usually somewhere near perfect, it is in between summer and winter, all of summer's bounty is coming forth, it is a time when I am busy with studio projects and it's the month of my birthday (hint, today). I am slowly getting back into the flow of things. I have a lot of catching up to do after being gone for the past year. Gonna get back into the studio this week. I have new molds to make. I had to leave a lot of them behind in New York because the were too darn heavy and weighted my Jetta down making it look like a low rider without being able to do the tricks low riders can do. When the car bottomed out going over a small bump I knew it wouldn't be a good idea to bring the molds with me. It is a drag to have to make them all over again but that's life. I got home safely with my car intact and that's what counts, right! Besides, it's October and all is good. OH and how could I forget, another good thing to be happy about in October; my dear, dear friend, who has inspired, encouraged and supported me for the past twenty two, count 'em, twenty two years, has just started her own web log. What does she talk about? Something near and dear to my heart, ceramics... Her own lovely and amazing work. Check it out here. Welcome Josie!