All Carved Up

Carved 1: Wheel-thrown, Hand-carved, White Stoneware, Cone 6 Electric Kiln, Red and Turquoise Glaze (Miki & Lance Rutter)

I often wondered how a husband and wife team can really work. I mean, you live together, sleep together and then you have to wake up and work together. How would they be able to separate their individuality? Or, how could the work show the best of both contributors? Plus, would we still like and appreciate each other after days and days of working together?

My husband, Lance, has always been a very supportive of my passion for pottery, of the time and efforts into making pottery. We have occasionally dabbled with collaboration—my forms to his paintings, but it always felt like he had to work with what I offered him, or to ask me to make a form to fit his designs.

This Carved series comes pretty close to bringing our combined aesthetic together to create something that we can equally contribute. We are still working with the glaze combination that I’ve developed, but applying it in a way that highlights the delicate details of his carvings. His designs explore the variety of curves, lines and depths that complement my forms. And I modify my forms accommodate with thicker walls. We also needed to adjust for the movement of the glaze over the forms and carvings and try to anticipate its path.

With all of this designing, creating and planning, the kiln opening is a shared element of surprise and excitement. Not being able to wait for the temperature to cool enough, we peak under the lid to satisfy our impatience at 500+ degrees. Waiting another 4-6 hours to open the lid and use heavy towels to finally take the pieces out while the pots are still too hot to handle. There have been plenty of half satisfaction and full disappointments. Still, the thrill of the one or two pieces, like the ones in this post, are what keep us working together to create something that we can share.

So, husband and wife teams of the world, I get it now. It’s not that you lose your individuality and get absorb into the work of one or the other. It is about celebrating the beauty of what each of you bring to the table—or the kiln—to share.

Carved 2: Wheel-thrown, Hand-carved, White Stoneware, Cone 6 Electric Kiln, Red and Turquoise Glaze (Miki & Lance Rutter)


Mayslake Peabody Estate Fine Arts Fair 2011

Miki Shim/2Frogs Ceramic Arts showing at Mayslake Peabody Estate Fine Arts Fair, July 23-24, 2011 10 am – 4pm.

This Egg series pots will lead the way at the 4th Annual Mayslake Peabody Estate Fine Art Fair !
I should have named them Pebbles. These are special vases with bulbous body and super glossy glaze that oozes down to a satin red finish to the bottom. A unique coloring that range from a very deep chocolate breaking to varying degrees of greens, reds and orange. It’s hard to describe. You have to see it and touch it to really appreciate its beauty. Wheel-thrown, white stoneware is glazed red on the inside so it is water tight. Hand wash recommended. All of my pieces are glazed with lead-free materials and is food-safe.

Special thanks to my husband Lance Rutter for a great job on the photograph!

I will be showing my new works at
4th Annual Mayslake Peabody Estate Fine Art Fair presented by Alliance of Fine Art this weekend.

Saturday, July 23 and Sunday, July 24, 2011.
10am – 4pm both days.

1717 W. 31st., Oak Brook IL  60563
Open to the public with plenty of parking!

You can find me in the ClaySpace Booth along with 3 other ClaySpace artists: Marge Couden, Susan Delaney, & Sharon Spitzer.

Still to come

Plan ahead to visit me in August at the Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest, August 19-21. I will be sharing my booth with fellow potter, Sharon Spitzer and together will be showing a wide range of functional tableware and tea pots & cups.

My first taste of Soda…

Soda fired pottery!

Testing slip and glaze colors on cups for soda firing, May 2011.

Not the sugared bubbles with caffeine that tickle my nose kind. We did have plenty of caffeine to stoke our 12 hour firing schedule, and sugary donut holes that accompanied the coffee to wake us up way too early from the Sunday morning slumber.

This past Sunday, I, along with 10 other potters, participated in a Soda Fire Workshop at ClaySpace with step-by-step instruction from John Spiteri. While the actual firing was for 12 hours on Sunday, there were weeks of preparation—mixing the slips for testing, making and applying the slips to the pots, firing to bisque, apply glazes and finally the loading the kiln. All in all, we had about 3 months to prepare the 12 hours of watching the kiln burn to 2330 f, measuring its progress every 30 min and eagerly waiting the 3 days for the kiln to cool just enough to handle the pots with heat-proof gloves.

The results… OMG! Some cry, some cheer, some just stand speechless staring at a piece of clay that speaks volumes. It really is as much a guessing game, a gamble of what you will see when the kiln opens. (By “open” we mean remove the bricks one by one as the anticipation of the crowd build.)  If you are a control freak, start soda firing and you will be cured. If you live serendipitously, you will be in your happy place. There’s something for everyone.  Whether you are a potter, or a collector of pottery, you will be hooked.

Soda Fired Pottery
There is so much written about soda firing out there, I’m just going to post the words found from my research that helped me the most.

Emily Murphy: Super helpful blog post about soda firing complete with history, process, photos and recipes.
Gail Nichols: She is an Australian ceramic artist, recognized internationally for her innovative approach to soda glazing. We used some of her slip recipes to test its magic.
John Spiteri: Of course our instructor! In my own words, he has gazillion years of experience as a potter who have set his feet back down to help aspiring potters like me.
Ceramic Arts Daily: An on-line newsletter format with loads of useful information about pottery making.

And then there’s the Google search for “soda fired pottery”. There’s no right way or a wrong way to soda firing except for the process. You put the pots in the kiln, cross your fingers, say a prayer if you’re the praying type, and wait patiently or impatiently as it may be.

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What’s next? Another soda firing!

Dimples,… like on a golf ball!

Introducing the Dimples Series to be launched with the grand opening of Haymakers in Andersonville, Chicago.

Along with the 2Frogs pottery pieces of the Nodding Vases and Dimples Series, the Haymakers will feature artists and craftworks made by local artists around the Chicagoland and near by states. Haymakers is due to open mid-May with a grand opening tentatively scheduled for the first weekend in June. I will update when the dates are confirmed.

Until the events are announced, take a peak at the new Dimples Series.

Show and Sell

2Frogs Exhibition and Sales Schedule for 2011.

Spring is trying its best to wake up the flowers with its rain. As eager as I am to see spring succeed, anxiety takes over to start my own spring cleaning.

While my home is still smothered under its winter’s weight, my studio is overflowing with pots and mugs and muses. They need to fill shelves and cabinets of others to be admired and loved.

2Frogs Ceramic Arts will be participating in the following events for 2011.

April 1st – 30, 2011
Warrenville Library: ClaySpace Resident Artist Exhibition
28W751 Stafford Place, Warrenville, IL 60555  (630) 393-1171
Warrenvile Library CS Show 2011

April 30, May 1st 2011
ClaySpace Open House and Pottery Sale
28W210 Warrenville Rd, Warrenville, IL 60555  (630) 393-CLAY

May 15, 2011 10am – 4pm
Cantigny Park: Ceramic Show and Sale by ClaySpace Resident Artists
1S151 Winfield Rd, Wheaton, IL 60189
Cantigny Ceramics Show

September 1st – 30, 2011
ClaySpace Featured Artist Exhibition: A Family Affair – featuring 2Frogs Ceramic Arts and art works by Lance, Nathan and Matthew Rutter.
28W210 Warrenville Rd, Warrenville, Illlinois  60555
Opening night to be announced.

There are a couple more still in planning and these will be updated as they firm up. Future event updates will be added to a separate page for events on this site.

Thanks for checking in.


2Frogs at ClaySpace Fall Open House and Sale

I am excited to announce that I will have a table at the ClaySpace Fall Open House & Holdiay Sale. Saturday, November 13th, 10am – 5pm and Sunday, November 14th at 11am – 4pm. Refreshments are being served and I will be there to greet everyone! There are 10 other artists includings one who will offer glass jewelry and accessories.

Pieces featured will include some of my new work with the red glazes including lidded jars, mugs, bowls, vases and teapots. Most of these are featured on Etsy as well. If you can’t make it out next weekend, do visit my Etsy shop and leave me a note.

ClaySpace Ceramic Arts Studio is located at 28W210 Warrenville Road, in Warrenville, just north of I-88. Click on the map for a google map.


Map to ClaySpace



2Frogs Opens on Etsy with Mugs and Teapots

Wow, it’s been a busy summer! And too soon over. With temperatures below 45 last night, it hits you right away that in Chicago, fall comes and goes even faster.

I have a new announcement! I’ve opened an Etsy store front.
So far I am getting a nice flow of traffic and some sales… ok 2. Still very excited to show and sell.

This series of pots are with the red glaze. It’s working really nicely and mixed with a cream glaze or with the blue glaze, it give me results that are somewhat predictable and spontaneous at the same time.

I’m also launching my “potbelly” series of pots starting with mugs and lidded jars. It’s called Potbelly because it has a nice paunch belly. My mom is the one to thank for this idea, and I’ll take the credit for improving on this. Unlike most handmade mugs, I use fine stoneware so that I can throw thinner but still be strong. The design is rounded in the middle and hold more than you think, while the bottom still shows stability and carries the weight and keeps coffe or tea warm. The rim is rounded and flares out a bit and comfortably forms to your lips. I like the handle the best. It’s is hand pulled and curves into itself and attached upside down.

Ahhh, and the teapots.

About two years ago, as I was making my first ever teapot, I was having such a difficult time, I claimed that I would never, ever, ever, ever make another teapot. Well, as with some challenges, I am compelled to master that which I struggle with. (I qualify this with the fact that I do not follow this all the time. I think my family hope that I am not compelled to bake again. oh well.)

I think this Red Teapot looks good. I have more and they are posted on Etsy, and a couple more waiting to be glazed. I think I will keep exploring but these shapes are both delicate and confident at the same time.

I am working on a few more forms and hope to post new soon.

Check out my Etsy shop and let me know your thoughts.

Thanks for checking in.