In goes mud, out comes gold!

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

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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!

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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.

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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.
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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.
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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.

Making the Everyday Unique…


I am so excited! I think I blew out my husband’s ear drum!

Just found out that I have been accepted into “Making the Everyday Unique: Functional Clay & Glass from ACGA” Exhibition—one of 21  artists to be featured at Lafayette Art Gallery, Lafayette, CA. Aug. 5 – Sept. 6, 2014.

Postcard images below with list of artists.

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


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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.

Getting ready to show and sell.


Start of the holiday season marks my busiest most stressful time of the year—preparing for the shows and sales leading up to Christmas week. Instead of thinking about festive decorations, organizing favorite holiday recipes and making a list of what I’d like to receive, I am elbow deep in mud, glazes and covered in price tags.

No complaints though…except for the gift list. I prepare the these weeks with anticipation of how people will like my new pieces. And I have some exciting new pieces!

These are exciting time for artists who show and sell. To get feedback and comments, to see how people handle each piece. It’s disappointing when people walk past my work and not touch them. I think most are afraid to touch or think that they would be obligated to buy once touched. Artists love to talk about their work. To share the thoughts of how or why they made them. Most of us work in small little studio on their own with Pandora playing in the background. We want people to talk to. So next time you are at an art show, be engaged, be social. Ask for the story, and there’s always a story.

Visit me at Art in Clay Ceramic Show and Sale presented by Orchard Valley Ceramic Arts Guild on Nov 16-17, 10am – 5pm at Lucie Stern Community Center in Palo Alto.

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Carved Globe Ornaments: $18 each. Available in bronze, black, red.
Watering Vessels: $65 each.Orders placed by 12/1 will deliver in time for Xmas!

Into the fire…on the beach!


I’m very excited to share my latest pit fire with the help of photos from a fellow pit fire participant’s photos–cuz I was too busy playing with fire.

Our scheduled OVCAG-Orchard Valley Ceramics Art Guild-September Pit Fire Workshop was managed by me and I must say it went very smooth…thank goodness!

Twin Lakes Beach, Santa Cruz, CA
Lovely beach with many fire rings that come in very handy. But the ashes need to be shoveled out first…at least about 2 feet. Lance dug out 3 feet and I believe it helped to give better reduction effects on my pot.

I arrived at the Santa Cruz Twin Lakes Beach with my very handsome muscle man, otherwise known as My Husband Lance in tow. And he did a magnificent job of digging out the fire pit!

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Then the cowpies to cover all the pots.
Then newspaper and kindling and then tent the fire wood on top before lighting.

We piled on the wood collected from a local sawmill who generously donated their scraps.

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Note how the fire wood is piled in a tent style. It’s to make sure that the pit is lit evenly. We piled as much wood as possible initially and filled in as it starts to die down.

And because I like to play with fire, I added a few more when I noticed some empty spots. Wanted to make sure that we didn’t have any exposed pots during the firing. Boy, it was HOT!

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The flames were super high and really hot. I recommend using Kiln gloves or at least a very long tongs when working with the fire. As you see, I had neither! Notice also the mound of ashes and sand next to the pit?

Now the hard part…letting it burn.

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We noticed that there were active flames only on one side, but it moved across the pit as it burned through. Giving the air to burn with the tented wood pile helps this greatly versus just throwing in the logs like a regular camp fire.

And wait…

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A bit over an hour has passed and the fire is dying down, but it’s still very hot and under the ashen wood, there were still active flames.

Trying to look like we are waiting patiently…

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pitfire07_peeking That’s my Muscle Man Otherwise Known As My Husband Lance. And fellow pit fire crew, Guo Feng and Joan Lin.

Lunch time! We came prepared with pot luck food…pastries, hot coffee, chips and dip, cold cuts, cold peanut sesame noodles and lots of fruit. We could have fed 10 more people!

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Can’t have a beach pit fire without the right provisions! Shade and food!

After about 2.5 hours, we started to get way too eager and decided to move the embers around to speed up the cooling process.

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This is Guo’s pit. She used white stoneware and used clear and stained terra sigilata. While loading the pit, she also sprinkled Red Iron Oxide to the tops of the pieces. Great blacks on the bottom and spotted browns from the iron oxide showed well on the top.
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Yes, little miss impatient Miki took pots out of the pit while it was still very very hot…it was tinking loudly…not a good sign but all worked out.

And my pit. Great black and lots of color flashes from the Salt and Copper Carbonate. It was the deepest pit and burned longer than the others, and the results were beautiful!

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I wanted to take this driftwood home so I could take all my pit fire pots, but alas…

And back in my studio, the other pots.

Notice the difference between the smaller ones in the middle and the bigger ones. I started get bored with the pebble burnishing and so the bigger ones only got 2 phase burnishing while the little ones had 3 phase burnishing… 1. at leather hard, 2. at green and 3. at bone dry with canola oil. Once these are finished with floor wax polishing, I hope they even out, but in the future, I won’t be as lazy!

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I pebble finish all my pots. Take a very smooth river stone and softly rub the pots in small circles until they get super shiny. This photo is a reminder for me to not be lazy with my efforts because the results don’t lie.

We started at 7:00 am and left the beach at 1:45 pm which included cleaning up and packing up the car. Super efficient and got great results. A very happy crew!

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Jim, Guo Feng, Megan George, Joan Lin, Miki Shim-Rutter, Irene Jenkins.

Photos by Lance and Jim! Thank you!

Just for fun…


Having my own personal studio makes me more aware of the time not spent in there. So, I try to find something to do everyday, even if it’s just to wash a bowl or wipe down the work table.

But occasionally, I will sit down, open up a bin of reclaimed clay, wedge it down and start fiddling around with it…and poof! Magic happens. It doesn’t happen all the time, but when it happens, I find my happy place again—finding the inspiration to get back in the studio for real productive work.

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These are pinch pots with fun little animal heads and feet added. A friend commented that it would be perfect for her 3 minute eggs. We also used them to serve jam, salt and spices at the table with little pinch spoons and it holds my watch and rings while I work in the studio. Wouldn’t it also be fun to have these around for Easter to hold eggs or candy in their hiding places?

Next: What to do with all of my glaze test tiles?