I just came back after a week away in Doylestown, PA from a course with Lisa Naples. She is a ceramic artist that I have long admired and I had a wonderful time. We were there a week and the seven other participants (along with me) all making our choice of sitting animal sculptures. We didn’t know what the others were making until we got to the class. There was a kangaroo, a sea otter, a ram, a chipmunk, a bird and three foxes! I was one of the foxes.
I learned so much from this course and look forward to making many more animals in the coming months. I highly recommend not only this course, but just taking a course once in a while. It doesn’t even have to be in the discipline that you work in. A couple of years ago I took a linocut course and it was a revelation!
I’m pleased to be taking part in the 2019 Victoria County Studio Tour again this year. It takes place the two weekends of September 28-29, and October 5-6. I am a guest artist at Janet Tysiak’s studio at 35 Lagoon Drive, Fenelon Falls.
I had a wonderful time last year meeting lots of people and I hope to welcome you again this year. Janet sells stained glass and jewellery and Janice Addison is a painter, so there is lots of variety at the location to choose from.
A ceramic friend of mine dragged me (quite willingly) to a quilt shop recently and while I waited for her to choose which materials she wanted, I was drawn to a quilt that was hanging on the wall. It was a beautiful pattern and made in such soft material. I am not a sewer and tried to talk myself out of buying the kit (that included the squares and border for the front of the quilt) telling myself I had no time for any further hobbies, but I ended up walking out of the shop with it under my arm.
In the end I thoroughly enjoyed a different type of art. It was a fairly simple pattern with different sized squares that I had to cut out and then mix and match with other colours, and I was re-introduced to the sewing machine that I’ve had in a closet unused for more years than I care to admit. It needed to be oiled but I managed to make the quilt in a couple of weeks in between the studio tour I was in, and it was so lovely to be making something so totally different (and cleaner) than clay. I also managed to keep it secret from my husband, who I was giving it to for Christmas.
Broadening your horizons and trying new things is fun. Did I do everything right the first time? Heck no, I made a major mistake and had to pick out almost the whole thing and re-sew a lot of it because I misread the pattern and because my sewing wasn’t perfect, but even that was okay and taught me not to be so cocky. I’m not going to become a quilter in future, but I’m also not saying I may never make another one. I learned so much and now have a real appreciation of why quilts are so expensive to buy (they cost a bit to make unless you are using all your own material that you already have) and the time you have to put into it. And it’s good to be aware of how much work goes into any art work as you are buying someone’s time, materials and the years of learning that it took to get there. And that is worth a lot.
I’m excited to be part of this year’s tour in Victoria County. We aren’t a county any longer and it isn’t really called that, but it’s a tradition. I’m at the studio of Janet Tysiak in Fenelon Falls and I’m a guest artist along with Janice Addison. Janet is a stained glass artist, and Janice is a watercolour painter. I’m keeping busy making lots of my usual bear mugs, as well as a lot of new pieces. I’ll post some images when I’ve done a few firings. Check out the studio tour’s website and all of the 33 artists that are taking place this year. (and with my other job as web and graphic designer, I designed the brochure)
I’m concentrating on pottery at the moment (as my second job) and it needs focus. All that drying and bisquing and glazing. But I like art of all kinds. And I won’t do pottery forever, I’m sure. So last week I took some time out to take a class at SmoothOn in Macungie, Pennsylvania.
Wow, what a great course. I took beginners mold making and casting and it was so much fun. Not only did we learn about every product (pretty much) that they make, we learned how to mix up rubbers, silicons and resins carefully. We also got a tour of the premises and met a lot of very talented people. I had a great time. While a lot of this won’t apply to my pottery, some of the techniques used for mold making will be a big help.
We started with a Buddha head and little decoration, and then made a mold and then cast from the mold. The Buddha on the left had copper powder brushed on the inside of the mold before casting in black resin, and the one on the left was a marble technique.
I was recently listening to the podcast The Potter’s Cast, about a potter, Angela White Wenger. She’s doing something amazing, which is capturing spider webs and transferring them to clay. And I got to thinking, where do all of our ideas come from? I immediately wanted to go out and try to do the same, but really, it would just be copying her. (and she gets up at dawn to capture these and I’m not a morning person, so I’d have to hope those spiders waited for me)
My ideas are generally gotten from hearing about ideas like this. They are jumping off points. I think to myself “well, I can’t do that exact same thing, it’s been done, so what could I do that would be fun and different”. And off I go. She lives in Northern California, but her work will be included (maybe in the gift shop?) in the current show at the ROM called “Spiders: Fear and Fascination“.
I’ll have my work at the Marshland Centre at 64 Hague Blvd in Lakefield on May 5 & 6. I’ve made lots of new pieces, which I’m pleased with. Take a drive as the weather is finally getting better! There are lots of different artisans, including wood turners, gourders, weavers, sewers as well as a number of potters.