Bloomin’ Festival This Weekend

We’ll be at the Bloomin Festival this weekend on Saturday and Sunday, from 9 – 5 each day. We’ve just unloaded a kiln full of great new pieces, so stop by and see us if you can!

This really is a great Spring Festival (rain or shine)! Check out their website…

http://www.bloominfestival.com/

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From Fresh Clay to Flower Pots

Later this month, Chad and I will be in an art show called the Bloomin’ Festival, a yearly spring show held at a local prep school campus. Since the show is named Bloomin’ Festival, we figured it would be a logical decision to stock up on more of our flower pots for the occasion.

With Chad busily throwing on the wheel, I was actually able to obtain a few pictures of him in his work space (or natural habitat, as I like to call it). Of course, he claimed that my camera flash was making him nervous, but he nevertheless allowed my intrusion.

Thus, we have the step-by-step process of creating a flower pot…

Ready-to-use clay

1. All of Chad’s pieces start off as big ole’ chunks of clay fresh from the pug mill (a machine that helps get rid of those pesky air pockets).

Drainage plates

 

 

 

 

2. His next step is to throw the drainage plates for the flower pots.


Throwing on the wheel

 

 

3. He then throws each flower pot, making sure to add a rim at the top and a drainage hole at the bottom.

A completed pot

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. The last step is to add a face to each pot. Once that’s done, they can be dried, fired, glazed, and fired again.

A finished planter

A finished planter, bottom view

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This Week’s Kids’ Class…How to Draw a Snow Leopard

Snow Leopard Demo in Charcoal - our project for Kids' Classes this week.

 

As most artist would agree, drawing is a fundamental key to almost any art form, so we like to have our kids’ classes practice it at least once every month or so.

Many of the kids grunt and groan quite a bit during drawing weeks, but as they really get into their drawings, they usually end up being quite proud of their work, and their drawings always turn out to be incredibly impressive.

I think that their initial reticence stems from the fact that drawing something like the snow leopard above can seem very intimidating at first.  In order to decrease that intimidation factor, we lead the kids through many of their drawings step-by-step, starting with basic shapes and ending with shading and highlighting.

Although it’s quite messy, the kids really seem to enjoy using charcoal during drawing week, and the results are usually much more striking and dramatic than plain graphite…I’ll try to post some of their work later in the week.

 

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New Glaze Preview

Chad and I have been aiming to increase our repertoire of glazes this year, seeing as how our number of current workable finishes tops out at about 3 (1 of which seems to highly enjoy toying with us every once in a while.)

We’ve been revamping a green glaze that we mix at the studio, but in the meantime, we’ve ordered a pre-mixed white powder glaze to which we only need to add water.

Here are a few pics of how the glaze turned out this week…

White glaze mustache man

This guy cracks me up. Although the white doesn’t contrast as much with the eyes and teeth as the other glazes do, I love how the mustache and goatee really pop out on this mug.

White and Black glaze combo

 

White and Black, back view

 

 

The White and Black seem to work very well together, creating a tan color where they overlap. This mug actually has a white bottom, black top, and red inside.

 

 

White and Red combo

 

White and Red, back view

 

 

 

This is probably my favorite combination. I love the deep amber color that results from the overlap of red and white.

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Behind the Scenes at the Studio

If you’re one of those people who likes to get an occasional behind-the-scenes glimpse of an artist’s studio or creation process, then you’ll likely enjoy the next few snapshots that I managed to obtain.

Chad unloads the kiln.

Although Chad wasn’t quite thrilled about my camera-laden invasion, he nevertheless consented to a few quick pics of him unloading our kiln. As you can see, the kiln is quite deep, and Chad require a step stool, as well as some key yoga moves, in order to unload it. He also occasionally steps inside the actual kiln (after it’s cool, of course) to do repairs and unload the farthest reaches. However, I don’t think he was too keen on my taking a picture of such an  interesting feat of acrobatics, so I considerately left that one out.

Mugs dry out for a bisque firing.

 

Of course, before a mug can be loaded into the kiln, it must first be created. These are a few of the pieces that Chad’s been working on this week. They are still a little damp and have a bit more drying to do before they can be loaded into the kiln. A night in front of the good ole’

Freshly-made bunny cups.

trusty box fan should be enough to prepare them for the bisque firing scheduled for tomorrow. Although I didn’t manage to get any pics of  Chad’s personal work space, I plan on possibly obtaining some of those in the near future.

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Fun-Filled Art Projects

We’re always looking for great new ideas to use in our art classes and have lately been inspired by a wonderful website for artists and teachers that I discovered while searching for projects. http://www.artprojectsforkids.org/.

Full of creative ideas and step-by-step instructions, this site has been a fantastic resource for us. If you’re ever looking for some fun art projects, or just want to browse through some inspiring ideas, you definitely need to check it out!

Chalk and oil pastel lilies on black paper.

A recent project that has turned out quite nicely are these chalk and oil pastel lilies on black construction paper (inspired by these Kandinsky cityscapes http://www.artprojectsforkids.org/2008/11/kandinsky-cityscape.html). After first drawing the lilies with black oil pastel, we then filled them in with drawing chalk to create this striking effect.

Landscape collages on wooden panels.

These landscape collages (http://www.artprojectsforkids.org/2007/12/landscape-collage.html) were truly fun to make. Instead of old books, we actually watercolored old newspapers (text only), then cut out simple shapes to glue onto wooden panels that we had painted with blue and green acrylic paint. As you can see, the project above is still in progress, with the newspaper ready to be cut out and glued.

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Happy Spring!

Morning view from our front porch.

The first day of Spring always seems to be filled with such potential – especially when it’s beautiful, sunny, and warm. Taking advantage of my Spring-inspired energy burst, I enjoy using this season to check inventory, clean out our studio, and make plans for the rest of the year (not to mention add a little tan to my winter paleness and recommit to my exercise goals).

I also enjoy planning new items to include in our repertoire, and I have to say that my favorite new pieces this year have definitely been Chad’s planters.

Wendi, the planter.

Peter the planter.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Complete with a drainage hole and plate, these guys give me the itch to start gardening!

http://www.etsy.com/listing/95424478/ceramic-springtime-planter-garden

 

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