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.

Dimpled… Like a Golf Ball!

An update to a previous post on Dimples Series.

Dimples Series Exclusively at The Haymaker Shop in Andersonville, Chicago, Illinois.

These playfully dimpled pots are hand made teapots, cups and bowls are only available at The Haymaker Shop. Semi-gloss white glaze in side with white and red glaze outside. The overlap of the red glaze over the white turns the color to a golden brown, very little to no movement of the glaze. Bottom half of the pots have dimpled texture much like you would see on a golf ball…about the same size as well. The red glaze pools into the dimples accentuating the textures.

Teacups form to your hand as you cradle them in your hand. Teapot handles have a very playful attitude, some swooping all the way over the top and others looped onto itself with confidence.

All are made by hand, hand thrown body, spout and lid with pulled handles.
Lead-free glaze is dishwasher safe, but recommend hand washing with warm water.

White stoneware, high-fired to cone 6 in oxidation, electric kiln.

For more teapots, please visit my Teapots page, visit 2FrogsStudio @Etsy.

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!

Miki Shim-Rutter at The Haymaker Shop Grand Opening Sat. June 4th, 5pm-8pm

It is official, you will now be able to shop for my pottery at  The Haymaker Shop in Andersonville, 5507 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL. The Grand Opening is schedule for June 4th, with celebrations starting at 5pm. Hope you will come out to visit and shop with me.

The Haymaker Shop will be featuring furniture, home decor, utilitarian objects, and art, specializing in handcrafted and sustainably-sourced items made by artists in the Chicagoland and surrounding areas. The pieces from my studio will be exclusive to Haymaker and will not be available anywhere else. These pieces are hand selected by the shop owner, Arrin Williams and developed for the aesthetic of the shop’s concept. If you are interested in any of the pieces shown below, please contact the shop directly.




2Frogs Pottery Show and Sale at Cantigy Park in Wheaton, Illinois

What are you doing on Sunday, May 15th from 10am – 4pm?
How about a field trip to a lovely suburb 25 miles outside of Chicago to Cantigny Park in Wheaton, Illinois.

The Gardens at Cantigny is a 29 acre land with 22 individual gardens to explore the prairies, grasses, trees and flowers. Designed as a display garden, Cantigny Gardens showcases trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants that thrive in Midwest growing conditions.

And more specifically, visit 2Frogs Ceramic Arts and me, along with other ClaySpace ceramic artists at the Cantigny Ceramic Art Show. Cantigny Park is teaming up with Clayspace, a non-profit ceramic arts studio of 40 residential artists, to introduce their first ceramics show. Artists will be exhibiting and selling a variety of their functional and sculptural pieces.

The admission is free but parking is only $5. Make it a day of it! Plenty of picnic tables plus a restaurant and a coffee shop for quick pick-me-ups. Maybe even opt for the Sunday buffet at the Red Oak Room.

See you there!

Cantigny Park: 1S151 Winfield Road, Wheaton, IL 60189  (630) 668-5161

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.