Updates from the studio

Remember all those parts I’ve been making? Well, they’ve started to find their way onto the studio walls…

This installation is far from finished but a few hundred pieces are up on the wall. It’s been fun to play with how far off the wall the parts are and the subsequent shadows become a part of the piece. The overall form is inspired by a water droplet and the outward waves of ripples.

I’ve also got my own jellyfish aquarium going here with a whole new batch of Medusas swimming through the studio. These guys are so fun to hang out with in the studio all day!

Life in the studio these days

I almost thought that there wasn’t a reason to even write a blog post this week about what was happening in the studio because for me it’s like Groundhog Day in here. Making hundreds of parts is tedious and monotonous and that’s about all that I’ve been up to. But then I scrolled through my phone photos are realized that I do have a few things to share. So here ya go…

These are the latest batch of Medusas to make their way out of the kiln and I’m pretty happy with them. I love the variety of their wire tendrils and how they add movement to the pieces. Right now these are resting on a towel in the studio but eventually I’ll get them all hung up so that they appear to be drifting through the studio.

I’ve also been experimenting with embedding my porcelain planktons into ice. The trick is making clear ice so that you can see the pieces, which I’m kind of getting the hang of. This is a small block, but I’m hoping to work towards getting a big ol iceberg going. If anyone has any tips or ice related info to share, I’m all ears… who knew freezing ice could be so tricky!?!

And yeah, remember all those parts, still working on that. The piles are getting bigger though!

Video: Work In Progress – making plankton parts

Just a quick, fun video of each of the steps of making my radiolarian (single cell planktons) inspired porcelain parts. Starting with a thin slab of porcelain clay, I roll it even thinner with a rolling pin, then cut out the forms and scrape the edges even thinner with a metal rib tool so they are translucent when they are fired. Next I perforate the circles with even more circles using an x-acto knife, smooth each of the holes with a bit of water on both sides and then set them aside to dry and eventually be fired in the kiln. Hundreds and hundreds of parts later they will be used to create a large scale wall installation, but for now I’m just going to be over here making parts… lots of parts. Enjoy!

Throwback Thursday: First Solo Show circa 2006

It can be embarrassing to look back at work you’ve made in the past, like really embarrassing sometimes…but it’s also a sign that your work has grown and evolved. These images are from my first solo exhibit in 2006 at a gallery that doesn’t even exist anymore, it was a space that had a lot of challenges – mainly ‘how do I put sculptures on a wall?’ since that was the only space available to place work in and I was building very three dimensionally at that time.

But, that challenge led me to designing floating pedestals that my husband made and I still use to this day. It also led me to working with high temperature wire not only as a design element but also as a structural element to attach the pieces to the wall, allowing me to go big (and secure) on the wall. Lots of things were learned in the process of putting this show together.

I still have a few of the vines in my studio and get to visit a number of the other pieces at friends and families homes, I still think about what I could do better or different with all of these works, but overall I’m still pretty pleased with these pieces and really not too embarrassed.

work in progress… so, so, so many parts!

Just a quick video to share what’s going on in the studio these days….

There are literally hundreds of porcelain parts in this video piled up on the studio shelves, and I need sooooo many more for upcoming projects. They are all hand cut with an an xacto knife, smoothed with water and some have spiky appendages added on, some of them are drying and some are fully fired, eventually they will be piled up on all the shelves I’ve got. The good thing is that it’s pretty repetitive and meditative to make them, so while I’m working, I can be listening to a book or podcast and be able to pay attention to both things. Stay tuned to see what I end up using all of these for!

Public Art Work in Progress Update

The studio has been taken over with the process of prepping three 26″x72″ panels for the public art piece that will be placed in a new health care building here in Santa Cruz. I have literally been watching paint dry for days on end, building up the layers to get a beautiful blue surface to place my porcelain pieces on. I’ve finally been able to start on the layout of the pieces and get a nice flow between all the panels that mimics the Santa Cruz County coastline.

Once I’m happy with the layout, every piece will get adhered to the panels. Some of pieces lay flat but some have rods attached to the backs so they will be drilled into the panel and float off the surface creating areas of depth in the piece. Excited to see these finished and send them off to the framers for protective plexi boxes and their mounting hardware.

public art work in progress…

My days in the studio right now have been bouncing between a few upcoming projects but the piece that is occupying most of the space is a wall mounted work for a new health care building in Santa Cruz. I’ve been making all the ceramic parts and playing with size, layout designs and balancing all of that with the clients needs. It’s a really fun puzzle to work on and it’s starting to come together. It’s also amazing just how much work goes into placing artwork into a public space, like, a gazillion emails, testing, testing and then testing materials some more, plus all the design changes, to make it all just right. In the end, it will be so worth it to see the work shine in it’s space.

back panel tests, the space & sample porcelain pieces

Below is the photoshopped version of what is to come, there will be hundreds of porcelain pieces placed on three separate panels mounted above this workstation that spans approximately 20 feet across. The final piece will get encased in a plexiglass frame to protect the pieces. The curve of the line is based on the shape of the Santa Cruz County coastline while the pieces are based on the skeletal forms of a variety planktons that live in all oceans. I’m pretty excited to start in on this endeavor, entitled ‘Marine Drifters’, and I hope that it makes for an enjoyable place who will work here and see the artwork on a daily basis.

Photoshopped mock up of the final approved design

work in progress…

A few things are going on in the studio these days…

All of these Bone Series parts will be going towards two different exhibits, one is a public art piece for a wall installation at a new health care building in Santa Cruz and the rest (plus many more) will be used on a site specific installation at an exhibition at UCSC’s Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery this fall.

I love how parts sitting around the studio catching the morning light can be just as beautiful as any planned installation I might create. The shadows become just as important at the pieces themselves and it makes you see the pieces in a whole new way.

In additions to all the porcelain Bone Series parts, the big Umbels came back into the studio from their showing in the This is the Anthropocene exhibit and now I’m working on designing stems for them so they can be displayed at Sierra Azul’s sculpture garden as part of Sculpture IS: 2022. It will be fun to see these guys up off the ground and outside.

And on the side, I’m also running some experiments with fusing glass in the kiln. If you’ve seen my resin pieces with the porcelain parts embedded in them, the plan is the same with these pieces but using glass instead of resin. It will be a challenge to get them to be successful but I’m excited about the idea of using a material that isn’t plastic while still getting a similar layered effect with glass… we will see what happens here…fingers crossed!

wrapping up another weird year…

Well, it was better but it was definitely still a weird year.

Despite the weirdness, I was still able to have a pretty successful art year. I had work in five exhibits including one in Taiwan, participated in the Open Studios Art Tour for the first time in two years, installed a large scale site specific piece in Washington State, self-published my third art book, taught a workshop in Mexico in person, taught my first workshop virtually, and I got a new big kiln. Looking back, not too bad…

Outside of my life in the studio, I was thrilled to get vaccinated and be able to see friends and family that I hadn’t seen in a long time, but we also lost some people this year who are dearly missed. And while this year was not nearly the amount of travel and adventure that we normally do, we did get to go back to some of our favorite camping places that had been damaged by last years fires, and spent a few weeks on our property in Mexico, which is my new happy place. And we got a new dog; Bowie, who has become the best studio buddy and hiking partner.

Onward and Upward. Happy New Year everyone!

wip: umbel series

I’ve been working away in my freezing cold studio building large scale Umbel pieces that are bases on fennel flower structures and I’ve started to make some progress. These pieces will be exhibiting at the Harris Center for the Arts Gallery during the NCECA (National Council on Education in the Ceramic Arts) conference early next year. My plan is to have three of these in varying sizes installed and I’m about halfway through the second one. If you came by the studio during Open Studios this year, you saw the first finished piece (pictured below).

The second one is larger, five feet across and I’ve been playing with modifying the glazes on this one too. So my days are filled with cutting hundreds of feet of kanthal wire into bits and making -literally- a thousand tiny flower heads that will be placed into each of the larger flowerhead forms. I’m also testing glazes and building the flower body forms which are thrown on the wheel and then trimmed to create a rounded top to the form. In addition, my husband has been welding up the steel structure that all of these parts will get attached to. His math skills have been put to the test getting all the curves and spacing balanced but I think he’s doing an amazing job!