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

 

 

Fresh from the wood fire kiln 2016.


2 months into the year and I’ve participated in 3 wood firings, and one more coming up next week! It’s a lot of work, but the little pyro in me is loving every ache and sleepless nights when I get teapots that look like these!

I think I’m getting the hang of what to expect–at least what to look for–out of the wood kiln and more specifically from the soda and salt firings. The teapot forms have been refined to take advantage of the movements of the flame and to allow for the ash and glaze to enhance surface effects. These 7 teapots survived in its whole without much touch up post firing. Credit to good wadding placement and key positioning in the kiln.

Several of these teapots show signs of heavy body reduction early in the firing. While this is not usually desirable and could cause carbon coring, there doesn’t seem to be any bad results from it. It really highlights the textures and coil details very well. You can tell which have the heavy body reduction by the “smokey” coloring—that’s the carbon trapped in the body of the clay under the ash/soda glaze.

You will find some of these teapots in a new exhibition that I am part of at The Main Gallery in Redwood City titled “Stories: Selected Works by the Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild”. Exhibition opens on February 24th and runs through April 3rd, 2016. Artist Reception is held on Saturday 27th from 5:00 pm – 7:00 pm. If you are in town and can make the reception, please join me at the after party gathering at Milagros Restaurant across the street immediately after the gallery closes. Public parking can be found at the Redwood City Library adjacent to the gallery.

160101_Teapot_SodaSalt1a 160102_Teapot_SodaSalt2b 160103_Teapot_SodaSalt3a 2016_AnagamaTeapot3_a 2016_AnagamaTeapot4_a 2016_SodaTeapot1_a 2016_SodaTeapot2_d

Now Showing…

Exhibition update for Wood fired and pit fired works.


This year, I’ve decided to switch gears and focus on submitting my work into exhibitions; local, regional and national.

So far, I have submitted 7 entries and 3 rejections. Every rejection is a bit hard to swallow…but can’t let this stop me.

On that note, I am happy to announce that I have been accepted to TWO exhibitions in May of this year.

First, 26th Annual California Clay Competition, 35 pieces by 29 artists have been selected by juror Jean Van Keuren, and… TWO or my pieces will be inlcluded in the show!!! Exhibition dates are set for May 1-29, at The Artery, 207 G St. in downtown Davis, Ca. If you are planning to visit CCACA that weekend, be sure to stop at The Artery for the opening night on May 1st where the awards will be announced at 8pm. I WILL BE THERE!

WarriorV_a PitVase1c_Jan15

In the press for more info.

Secondly, Blue Line Arts exhibition, “Purposeful Pottery”, selected two of my teapots. Exhibition dates are set for April 17th – May 30th in the Westpark Workshop Gallery in Blue Line Arts Gallery, Roseville, CA. Reception will be held Saturday, April 18th, 6-9pm in conjunction with the Saturday Art Walk.

Rutter1BlueMini MrsCPotts1

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.

In goes mud, out comes gold!

High gloss and luster shino glaze developed by Higher Fire Clayspace and Gallery in San Jose.


In my quest for a new kiln/studio—my home studio is now a Kiln-free zone ordered by my landlord…long story and saga still unfolding—I have made myself at home in San Jose at Higher Fire Clay Space and Gallery. And with it two giant gas kilns and a very consistent reduction firings by equally competent studio managers and instructors.

So, I now have a new series of works using a combination of Lehman’s Shino, Higher Fire Gold Shino and a dusting of Blue Celadon glazes. But with so many other beautiful glazes to choose from, I will have to continue to explore the many colors and combinations!

CupsSaucers_GoldShino1_sm
HF Gold Shino in and out. Very light application of Celadon. Still got a good showing of carbon trapping, The trays got over warped for my liking, out of 7, I got 3 good ones. These tumblers are a good size for tea and everyday water/juice cups.

And yes, the GOLD!
Dan Dermer, studio owner/potter, has formulated a special shino glaze recipe that puts gold on pots! Super glossy and stable with rich gold and beautiful carbon trapping where the dusting of celadon is heavier.

Teapot_LehmanShino1
This teapot is lined with Temoku and Lehman’s Shino out…again with a dusting of Blue Celadon. Using Donegal from East Bay Clay. Bisque shows a pink blush and fires to brown in reduction.
Group1_GoldShino_sm
Except for the teapot, all HF Gold Shino. Very glossy and lots of luster to the finish. Needs heavier Celadon application for the carbon trapping, not sure I am completely sold on the intentional look of the carbon showings.
Teapot_LehmanShino2
This teapot is a good balance between the HF Gold Shino and Celadon. Still super luster on the handle and near the spout.

Also getting ready for the San Carlos Art and Wine Faire next weekend, and then I attempt to jury into ACGA-American Clay and Glass Artists…nervous about this one. Once accepted, it’s a live long membership (so long as you pay your dues!). Wish me luck.

New Teapots…Finally!


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Finished teapots using the techniques acquired from the George Dymesich’s Teapot Workshop…was that in May or June?

Bulbous body, lugged-on handles and flat top lids that sit on top of the lip versus my usual with was a recessed top for the lit to sit within.

I have a couple of more colors and a total of 12 teapot currently but some didn’t photograph well and some don’t have handles yet…couldn’t decide whether to continue with the hand-made bamboo handles or the store bought ones.

I have a beautiful copper teapot and a cobalt one that I’m eager to put the finishing touches.

These are definitely going to be available for sale on Etsy and the others will be on display at the next sale with Blossom Hill Craft’s Fall Sale on September 14th in Los Gatos.

Teapots are thrown on the wheel with Navaho Wheel mid-range red clay fired to cone 5, using food safe liner glaze and exterior glaze. Hand-washing teapots are recommended for use with tea. Maximum capacity of around 24-30 liquid oz. Keeps warm and holds plenty to share a cup or four!