Monday, January 20, 2014

Latest Batch of Art Out of the Kiln!

New buttons and other ceramic artwork fresh out of the kiln! I'm really excited about some of the new shapes I'm using now. Rectangles (pictured above) are fun to work with and they go through a buttonhole much easier than some of my other, larger buttons and embellishments!
Pictured below, some new triangle buttons:
And some more beads! I love making these, they're sooo much fun to shape and paint with different colored glazes. But with my current setup, I can only fire a little over a dozen beads at a time. I do adore these little treasures...
Owls, anyone? This is a new shape I'm experimenting with. It will be fun to hand-carve a new rubber stamp design to use with this shape.
I also made a couple of jar frogs, just for fun. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with this term, a jar frog is a disk with large holes in it (as pictured below), which you place over a medium-size jar filled halfway with water. Then you run flower stems through the holes and into the jar. The jar frog makes it easier to arrange flowers into pleasing designs.
Round and oval buttons are always popular:
And here's a fun new shape: skull! I only made two of these buttons because they're huge and I'm not sure how well they'll go over with my customers. I guess I'll find out when I put them in the quilt show taking place Feb. 7-8 in San Jacinto, California:
Also made some more square buttons, because knitters and quilters seem to really love them:
Diamonds are a knitter's best friend, right?
And flower power is here! I love the idea of embellishing a hand-knit hat or hand-quilted purse with a big, bold ceramic flower:
My absolute fave is this spiral-flower button in turquoise glaze. The clay is basaltic black, which I just love:
So that's it for now. I have another batch in the kiln today, but I won't be able to open the lid for two days! It takes a really long time for a kiln to cool down after firing up to cone-6, and if you open the kiln too early the thermal shock (from cold air hitting hot glaze) will cause cracking and breakage. It's a bit challenging for me to resist opening the kiln for a peek at my new creations, but I've found that if I practice patience I won't regret it...

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

NEW: Beads & Buttons Out of the Kiln!

It's always exciting (and scary) to open up the kiln for the first time and see how your latest glaze firing went... and today was exceptionally so, for this was my first glaze firing of 2014!
It's taken a while for me to get this one going because I had to have new heating elements fitted into my kiln. Once that was done, I could get busy. I made hundreds of buttons and this post will only show a fraction of my finished pieces, but here they are!
Pictured above are my new oval buttons in two sizes; pictured below, some pretty new squares:
Diamonds are a brand-new shape for me this time around, and I also made them in two sizes:
Hey, I made some cute little beads too, just for fun:
Here are some pretty round buttons:
And one of my favorite shapes, triangles:
My very favorite pieces to come out of this kiln load were the brand-new rollup beads I made some time ago, and finally got around to glazing. I won't be selling my beads, but using them in my jewelry to sell in my etsy store soon. Stay tuned!
This was a fun batch to work with. And I'm excited to offer my buttons now in eight different California yarn stores, with more storeowners signing up all the time. I'm also offering my buttons for sale at the Valley Quilters' 34th annual quilt show in San Jacinto (next to Hemet and near Idyllwild, California) on February 7-8, 2014. Mark your calendars! I'm offering a whole bunch of brand new buttons in new shapes and colors at this show, before they debut in the yarn stores this spring.
Hope to see you there!

Monday, January 13, 2014

New Article in Step by Step Wire Jewelry Magazine!

Super excited to let you know that I have an article on page 50 of the brand-NEW Step by Step Wire Jewelry magazine!
I shared my technique for making super-quick and easy "Squiggle" earrings using coiled wire and the beads of your choice. Fun and lightweight, these are easy to wear with practically anything. Make your earrings long or short, using copper, sterling silver, gold, or brass wire. Add pretty pearls or sparkly crystals, and you'll have a super-fun pair of earrings!
My article is found in the February/March 2014 issue, which should be on newsstands any day now. You can also order this issue by clicking here.
Happy wrapping,

Friday, January 3, 2014

Dad's 93rd Birthday!

No, that's not a forest fire you see—just a picture of Dad's chocolate-chocolate-chocolate cake with a blaze of candles signaling his 93rd birthday! My friend Joy (another chocolaholic) is shown holding the cake for Dad so he can more easily blow out the fire.
Oftentimes at this time of year you hear of folks making new resolutions to diet, get out of debt, etc. or setting goals to blog more (or less), run a marathon, spend more time with the kids/make more art/travel more/volunteer, etc. I usually set some new goals myself, but I also like to spend this special time reflecting on the things I'm most grateful for.
My family comes first, and I'm so blessed to have both parents with me still—Mom just turned 81, and you know how old my dad is—which I never take for granted. I'm also grateful that we are all enjoying good health, that we live in such a beautiful place in the mountains, that we have time and energy to pursue our interests, and that we always have opportunities to love and serve others. I'm grateful for my friends. I'm also grateful for my students, who never fail to inspire me!
Here's to a terrific new year, full of new opportunities to be creative, to love others, and to grow.
Happy 2014!