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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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.

No Excuses….


except for the fact that I was preoccupied! Last post was in March.

Today I woke up with my sore shoulders and tired eyes but with a new purpose after this weekend’s showing at the Palo Alto Clay and Glass Festival with ACGA. My first opportunity as a new ACGA-Exhibiting Artist. While I tried to keep my expectations level, my ambition was big.

Miki_ACGAJuly2015

It was a beautiful day and my booth looked presentable. As I toured other artists booths, they reminded me of mini-galleries…mental note, think GALLERY!

nesting

New this year are these nesting bowls. Currently exploring various colors that include this one above that is made with red clay and my own glaze recipe called Amber. Other colors currently in the mix are: Hamada, Yellow Salt, Flambe, and Blue Celadon. All high fire reduction glazes on white clay. Sizes range from a small 2″ diameter to a large platter size. Looking to expand the form offerings to cream and sugar and condiment arrangements

I have also updated the Events page to include the next showings coming up in November and December in SF Bay Area. Hope you will look me up and see the new pieces I’ve been working on.

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.