Having to think ahead for Christmas



I know it isn’t even Halloween yet, nor has school even started around here, but since I have Holiday shows coming up in a few months, I have to start planning.  Every year I plan on making Christmas ornaments, and inevitably I run out of time, and say, “I will make some next year.”  Well this is the year that I am finally going to do it!


I was at the library with my son yesterday and came across a style book of type/ fonts.  (I don’t remember the name of the book. It was not in circulation, but belonged to a librarian, who generously lent it to me.) As Henri was playing with Legos (our library has lego hour!) I was perusing this book drooling over styles I had not seen before.  I was looking for a font, or fonts that I could use on the Christmas ornaments.  I saw one called Rustic, which I have heard of, and seen before, but this one was a little bit fancier than the Rustic font my sister and brother-in-law used on their wedding invitations. Theirs was more “campy” (in a good way) than mine.

I didn’t trace or scan the Rustic font. I basically used it as inspiration for my version.  It took me most of the morning (on and off while I played with Henri) to draw the words “JOY” and “PEACE”.  I still want to draw “NOEL. Hopefully I will get that done this weekend.


Here is the drawing of my Rustic Font. One of the fonts I saw in the book, had birds and nests nestled in the letters, but I opted out of including that into mine.

Next step, making these into screens!




For the longest time (years) I have tried to figure out the “bowl” form. Ironically, I loved to make teapots, a much more complicated form in ceramics. In the teapot, there is the spout, the lid, the knob, the handle, and the teapot body. Trying to combine all those components into a unified piece would seem challenging.  And I suppose it can be for some people.  But for me, the more challenging form was the bowl.  The dreaded bowl.  In the past, I made them too small, too shallow, too thin, etc. Finally, after studying lots of bowl forms, measuring diameters and depths, and various contours, I have come up with my form- at least for now.  But I have to say, I am finally happy with this new series.


My main goal was that the bowl would be generous enough in it’s size to fill with cereal, ice cream, or a bowl of soup, and have a wall thick enough to insulate whatever food was in it without burning or freezing the hands of the one holding it. And also that the wall not be too thick that it would be too heavy and cumbersome to carry or hold.


The biggest challenge was making a slump mould and a press mould that would be the correct depth and diameter, so that after the firing, and the 10-13% overall shrinkage rate, the bowl would be the exact (or close to the exact) size that I intended.


The process:


Roll the clay into 1/4+ slabs, cut a large circle, screen print, drape over a slump mould, place into a press mould, scallop the rim, and let sit for 8+ hours uncovered.


I hope you like them as much as I do!



New drawings for new work


For the past few years I have been incorporating animal motifs

on the surfaces of my work. It started with deer, inspired by

chinese porcelains. These deer were stylized with dots and simplified floral motifs.


My interpretation of using deer was mostly with using it’s silhouette.




Then, I started to draw birds.  I know, birds are apparently everywhere in design these days, but artists have been using the bird motif for centuries. I saw the mosaic of a duck (1) in Ephesus, Turkey on the walkway toward the library. The plate with the peacock (2) (which are extremely popular again) is part of the Turkey Archaeological Museum collection in Istanbul Turkey. (Plate 3) 10th century Iran or Uzbekistan.

1   2   3

Below are two recent drawings of a bluejay, cardinal. The third is one that I have used in the past, but redrew, so that it would work well with my newer bird drawings.  My style of drawing birds has evolved over the past couple years. I think that it is becoming more refined, at least I hope it is.




I have also included rabbits,  around Easter, and elephants, just because I like them.





A few years ago I was at an estate sale and I saw a large white ceramic elephant planter from indonesia. (The family holding the sale had been missionaries in Asia for many years.) It was $25.oo. A steal! But for some reason, my husband’s voice entered my brain, and said, “We don’t need another planter.” So I passed it up to some lucky buyer, and I kick myself for not buying it, all these years later, I wish that I had.  Elephants, like birds and deer, and many other popular animal and insect motifs, have appeared in art for centuries. Maybe it is my affinity for the exotic: parrots, monkeys, etc, that I am starting to include elephants into my work. But not just  elephants. Decorated elephants.  In India, the Hindu hold elephant festivals and parades in honor of the animal that, to them, holds deistic qualities.  In my drawing below, a canopy is fastened to the back of the elephant, along with  a blanket and head covering.  Many elephants are decorated much more elaborately than in my drawing, some have their entire skin painted in a myriad of colors and patterns.  I left my drawing more simplified, so that I could add color and pattern as my mood allowed.  I am in the process of drawing capuchi monkeys and ostriches. I thought about peacocks, but I don’t want to jump on that band-wagon.  Maybe I will try and tackle parrots next.