Biting off more that I can chew.


6 years ago, our family relocated to SF Bay Area. The thought was to slow down and enjoy watching my kids grow up, going to basketball games and getting started in my second career in ceramics. To my delight (i think), my career in ceramics turned into… 3 exhibitions, Ceramics Symposium in China, 9 sales opportunity per year, 2 workshops and 2 teaching sessions, 2 board positions for ceramics and a part-time job that includes inviting visiting artists, scheduling and organizing workshops, sales and exhibitions.

End of last year, I made a mental note to slow down.

January saw me on the bleachers for my boys’ basketball games. High School basketball season is up to 3 games per team per week. I watched a lot of basketball. Enough to lose my voice for days!

In February, California takes a Mid-Winter Break that used to be called Ski Week. Apparently, it’s when Californians go skiing. We went to Hawaii. 10 days of hiking, biking and eating our way around Maui’s Road to Hana, Haleakala, and the sites around Honolulu and Waikiki Beach. Most of the time in the rain.

My March and April was all about the Wood-Fire Workshop at the Art Center and Spring Valley Anagama and then the 15 day Visiting Artists workshops and exhibition (more on that another time), coordinating my son’s basketball team tournament, finishing April with a Pit Fire Workshop.

May finds me at the Silicon Valley Open Studios…all three weekends! Even on Mothers Day! (See details at the end of this post.)

June has me demonstrating Saangam Style at Clay Carnival presented by Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild. This year held at Clay Planet in Santa Clara. (www.ovcag.org)(Clay Carnival 2018)

July is ACGA Clay & Glass Festival in Palo Alto. (www.acga.net)

August sees me in Paris and Bordeaux, France. (Follow on instagram)

September finds me leading another Hands-On Pit Fire Workshop. (Info to come.)

20 days in October spent in JingdeZhen, China for a Teapot Workshop and Exhibition! (I will have to catch you up on my time in YiXing last year)

November starts with the holiday sales season that continues through December. (See Events page for update)

Maybe next year, I’ll slow down.
Until then, hope you will visit me at one of my events…and to start, visit with me this weekend, SVOS Site # 176, 842 Stendhall lane, Cupertino, CA.

This weekend is the third and the final week of Silicon Valley Open Studios. I will be Cupertino, CA with three talented clay artists, Lisa Molaro and Cindy Percival. If you missed me in the two other weekends in Los Altos, this is your chance.

Saturday, we will be welcoming a special guest, Luisa S. Borja, a Bay Area Stylist and Floral Designer. She will be giving us a styling demonstration using fresh flowers. You will find me working on the wheel throughout the weekend too!

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Am I there yet?


Sometimes, my life feels like a super drama. Pick a daytime soap and drop me in. Ha! There might even be an evil twin who was abducted by aliens…you never know. In real life, I have it good. No, I have it better than most. Is it ideal? Maybe not, but seriously, who’s is? And isn’t one’s ideal, another’s discontent?

The masks we wear everyday get old and tired. We hide behind makeup, smiles and curtain of emotional shields hoping it will protects us from what scares us. But it’s our own insecurity that we can’t face head on. Looking for reassurance, acceptance and approval.

We define ourselves by our environment and circumstances. But when we create the identity lead by our heart and passion, our true self is realized. Am I there yet? No. Will I get there? I hope so.

As my day come to a close, I reflect on how I spent my hours and minutes that get me to the midnight lights out for the sleep that had been calling for me. Being a mom, wife, grand mother and a studio assistant keeps me busy.  And on occasion, I am reminded that I’m a potter too. The day is done, but I am acutely aware that too many things are left undone.

Maybe tomorrow I will get the slurry of clay between my fingers and feel a sense of accomplishment and pride in my hearts passion.

Because today, I am left undone.

Soda Fired Teapot, March '16
Soda Fired Teapot, February ’16

Let’s finish on a positive note…

I am pleased to announce that I have been accepted in to Two exhibitions that open next month:

– Purposeful Pottery presented by Blue Line Arts at the WestPark Workshop Gallery, 405 Vernon St. #100, Roseville, CA
Dates: April 16 – May 14, 2016
2016_AnagamaTeapot3_a 2016_RedTeapot5_a

Sun City Lincoln Hills Exhibition in conjunction with America’s ClayFestIV at Orchard Creek Lodge, 965 Orchard Creek Lane, Lincoln, CA
Dates: April 16 – May 14, 2016
2016_SodaTeapot1_a

 

 

I do Pots…


Yes, I do pots…and bowls and cups and trays and…

At the beginning of this year, I found myself exhausted from last year’s activities, trying too much too soon. A quick review found that I…
– juried and accepted into to ACGA-Association of Clay and Glass Artist of California
– 8 show/sales including the San Carlos Art & Wine Fair
– juried into 4 local exhibitions

So this year, I put the emergency breaks on and focus my attention to fine tuning my direction—asking myself “what makes my work unique and special”.

My son explained to the mothers of his friends that I stayed at home and “just do pots.” While this brought amusement and curiosity to the mothers, I wanted to be more than just “doing pots”.

This post is an unveiling for the fall/winter show season with what I have been working on to expand the offering and increase inventory. I featured a few samples this summer at the Palo Alto Clay and Glass Festival and it was well received. Since then, I’ve added more colors and refined the details.
Price point: $15 – $60

Complete offering will be shown at upcoming shows this month and November:
– Saturday, Oct. 24th. A Fair of the Arts. Notre Dame HS., San Jose, CA
– Sat.&Sun. Nov. 14-15, Art in Clay, Lucie Stern Community Center, Palo Alto, CA
Please see Events section for other listings to finish out the year.

PS. It’s time to start thinking about holiday gifts. Contact me for special orders.

Tray_Flambe2a
Large Tray: Flambe
Nesting_Flambe2
Stacking Trays: Flambe $20, $30, $50
Tumbler_Red1b
Tumblers: Vegas Red $20 ea.
Tumbler_Hamada1a
Tumblers: Hamada $20 ea.
Tray_Flambe1a
Medium Tray: Flambe $40
SmallBowl_Hamada1a
Medium Bowl: Hamada/Amber Tea Dust $45
Mugs_Hamada1a
Mugs: Hamada/Amber Tea Dust $30
MiniTrays
Mini Trays: Vegas Red $15-$25 Spoons in Various Sizes and Colors: $8-$15

It’s Just Clay …and upcoming show update.


Miki_ACGAJuly2015

Palo Alto Clay and Glass Festival was just a few weeks ago and my expectations were high with a big effort on not feeling overwhelmed. I didn’t score on the highest rating on either but had a great time! Many friends came out to see me and to congratulate me. Many visitors stopped by to give me an ego boost. And then there was the one customer who left me with a story that provided hours of laughter with friends and colleagues.

Every show offers me something to take away. Sometimes it’s wisdom, sometimes it’s a lesson learned. And then there is the “did that really happen” moment, and it usually goes something like… “how long does it take for you to make that?” (trying to assess hourly wage?),  “How much?!!!” (much more that what they think it’s worth), and of course all artist favorite, “will you take (what little I want to pay you for it and like it) $xx?” and not to forget the all time stinger… “I can get this at (Bargain Retailer) for $5!”.

But this time I got a new one…”It’s just clay right?”.

One can search any of the search engines to find pricing strategies of other artists and craftspeople and you would find everything from the minutia of detail accounting of each and every step taken to produce the one $25 mug to the philosophical rationale on why one little teacup is worth $1000.

So I won’t go into the detail of how I arrive at my pricing strategy nor the full conversation and what I told the man who didn’t like my prices.

I just have one comment. If you find it to be pleasing to you and feel the price is right for you, please buy it. By making that purchase, you own a piece of that artists heart and passion, a lovely story about how you met the artist and maybe a little story on how it was made and why you find joy in owning it.

If you have to question the price tag, it wasn’t meant to be. But don’t fault the artist for placing a value of their love and passion. Because, by no means will we ever be able to afford that Tesla Model S or the Porche 911 he may have in his garage by selling that little piece of clay… that sat on that shelf… on that beautiful sunny day in Palo Alto.

Below are the updates to the shows to finish out the year. My Events page is also updated and has additional details.

Thanks!

Oct. 24th in San Jose, CA.  A Fair of the Arts @Notre Dame High School presented by the Sisters and Associates of Nore Dame de Namur
http://www.HeartsAsWide.com

November 14 & 15 in Palo Alto, CA.  Art In Clay @Lucie Stern Community Center with Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild

December 5 & 6 in Fremont, CA. Holiday for the Arts Show and Sale @ Olive Hyde Art Gallery Presented by Olive Hyde Art Guild

December 12 & 13 in Los Gatos, CA. Fine Arts Show and Sale at The History Club of Los Gatos presented by Blossom Hill Crafts.

Humble Pie…best served on a shino tray!


Last night, I applied to and was juried to be recognized into the prestigious group of exhibiting members of ACGA—Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California.

I thought I had been proud of my work, confident of my artistry and craftsmanship, but the level of vulnerability of this challenge made me question my purpose and passion. Am I as good as I think I am, good as I’ve been told by my family and friends? Does my work speak to my individuality? Does my display show lack of maturity as an artist? Et cetera et cetera.

I arrived at Fort Mason Center Building C at 4:15 and at 5pm, after months of preparation—from making new pieces to forcing everyone close to me to judge my work and display to the point of exhaustion—I rolled my handy-dandy cart of 1 Tupperware bin of work, one shelf riser and black table-cloth into a white-walled room lit only with fluorescent overhead lighting. Staked out a corner space where I can place a 3′ x 6′ table on an angle and started setting up…took all of 20 minutes, kind of anti-climatic, really. Another 20 minutes of fidgeting the pieces an 1/8th of an inch in all direction, I called it “the best I can do today.”

There were 13 other hopeful clay and glass artists waiting for the judging to begin. There were 6 jurors, both clay and glass professionals, 1 moderator and 1 recorder (oh, what I would have given to be a fly on the wall!). We waited in another room, away from nosy and curious artists, mingling nervously. Some candidates were already dismissive with comments like, “if I don’t get in/if they don’t like my work, I’m not bothering to try again” and “I heard people have to try several times to get in”. Others seem highly confident, boasting of all of their sales and gallery accomplishments. Me, I was just grateful that in 3 hours time, I can pack up and pat myself on the back of my accomplishment in having challenged myself and presented work worth the critique of other professionals.

Jurors walked in at 7pm and walked out at 8:30pm. What does it mean when they finished so fast? Should we be concerned? Many wondered and worried. I packed up and 15 minutes later, I drove out of the parking lot. My fear of rejection didn’t get the best of me and regardless of the outcome, I am humbled by the process and glad to have experienced it.

And yes, if I don’t get accepted this time, I will learn and try, try again.

Thanks goes to (in no specific order): Lance, Mira, Dan, Linda, Peggy, Lynn, Julia, Thomas, Liz, Anne and Higher Fire Staff.

Testing, Testing: Playing with teapots and discovering new colors for 2014


Image

I started January of 2014 with a secret proclamation that I will write a post once a month.

3 months 27 days later, I finally get around to sitting down to put thoughts on screen. I have been keeping a journal and that’s going well…includes personal thoughts as well as clay processes and sketches for new ideas and revamping old ideas. I find that I need to write down my thoughts more often…can’t seem to remember what I wanted to do from hour to hour.

This is how the new teapots came to be.

I was working with some old tumbler templates and started “plumping” the walls out. This turned into several iteration of template sizes and form construction to finally developing a form that I can develop into bring out their own personality and character, as seen above.
(For more photos of new teapot forms: https://www.facebook.com/2Frogscearmicarts)

With new form comes the need for new colors. I didn’t feel that the colors I had will be able to highlight the teapots’ personality—playful and full of attitude. I didn’t want to over-work it either and diminish the texture. So, with several days and weeks of internet search for cone 6 glazes, I started my glaze testing process. If any of you have gone through this on your own, you can either say you love the process or absolutely find it exhausting! I am somewhere in the middle…love the excitement of opening the kiln to discover new colors, contentment of half successes and then the disappointment of utter failure.

I tested
– Snowflake glaze with Copper Carbonate and Cobalt Carbonate variation…now snowflakes…just a lot of crackle craze. Probably needs a more controlled cooling cycle than I was willing to commit to the whole kiln firing.

– Fake Celadon variations using Zinc Oxide and Copper Carbonate. Not quite there on this one either. I substituted one with Strontium Carbonate and It is showing an orange peel texture…underfired? Haven’t decided if I like it or not.

– Raspberry and Cranberry using Tin Oxide and Chrome Oxide. NO LIKE. I was hoping for more cherry apple red…but got more of a maroon… Too warm on the color wheel. It’s a good stable glaze, just not what I want on my pots.

– Juicy Fruit…lol…yuk. Something went very wrong on this one. Looks like day old dog poop.

Well, that about covers it. I need to do more testing.

Now to get ready for the wood firing this weekend!

Next up: Fremont and Menlo Park, CA


Wow, what an amazing weekend! Initially overwhelming and intimidating by the sheer number of artists and talent, can’t help but to be humbled and inspired. I was one of 70+ ceramic artists presenting sculptural, functional and garden art at the annual Art in Clay Ceramic Art Show and Sale in Palo Alto presented by Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild. It’s surprising how one show with so many other potters can each be so unique in style, technique and presentation. Everyone eager to share the stories, tips and tricks to how their work distinguish from others’ work. Some artists more accomplished, some just starting out, all with their own amazing story. Yes, I used amazing twice, now three times, but I’m having a hard time finding another word that express what I saw this weekend.

If you were not able to come this year, mark your calendars for next year, Nov 15-16, 2014. A not to miss for sure!

Next up:
Olive Hyde Art Guild Holiday for the Arts Gala, Show and Sale in Fremont, Ca.
Friday Night Gala— December 6th, 5:30 – 9pm
Show and Sale—December 7-8th, 10am – 5pm, Free Admission
Olive Hyde Art Gallery, 123 Washington Blvd., Fremont, Ca.
Click here for poster.

German-American International School Winterfest 2013, Menlo Park, CA
December 7, 2013  2pm – 5pm, Free Admission
GSIS-275 Elliott Drive, Menlo Park, CA
Click here for poster.

Blossom Hill Pottery and Fine Art Sale in Los Gatos, CA
December 14-15, 10am – 5pm, Free Admission
History Club of Los Gatos, 123 Los Gatos Blvd, Los Gatos, CA ‎
http://blossomhillcrafts.com/sale/

This completes this year’s show schedule for me. Hope you are able to visit these shows and when you do, be sure to say hello.