Low Riders

I thought I’d share a peak into my newest planter designs leading up to this weekend’s Central Arizona Cactus and Succulent Society’s Annual Show.

I love these kind of designs with a zipper-esque approach with all of the texture falling in between two lines. I spend way more time than you probably imagine working out the exact flow of the line before I add any other textures. I especially like how on this particular planter the line reminds me of pants worn low on the hips – the lack of glaze above only emphasizes that impression for me.

My favorite pieces are all, in some way, like this planter. They evoke an unexpected image or two with my texture and glaze choices.

Repeating Stamps

As some of you may know, I hand make a lot of my texture tools from clay. Among my absolute favorites are the stamps that can be used both as a single impression and as a repeating one that creates an entirely new pattern.

I love when I learn that one of my stamps is capable of creating a pattern or two. For those who don’t work in clay, it’s not possible to fully test a new stamp until after it has been fired. It can be like Christmas getting new stamps back for their first impression testing and not all of them make the cut let alone the creating a new pattern cut.

I thought I’d share one of my favorite pattern creating stamps with you today! I created this one using a plaster carving technique to achieve fine lines in the stamp.

First, a single impression of this stamp.

Now, here is the start of building the pattern. First, I did a row of the stamp all oriented in the same direction across the length of the slab. Then, I flipped the orientation 180 degrees to create some great rounded rectangles in the negative space.

I really like when I figure out great patterns like this one to create with my stamps. I love using the positive and negative space to leave some parts of the pattern bare clay and some parts glazed. Sometimes I alternative which parts are glazed and which parts are bare clay. It really gives me so many opportunities from a single stamp!

Check out my Squares series in the planters section of my online shop to see this stamp in action and glazed!

Here are a few behind the scenes shots from my photo shoot of my stamped pattern! This is my baby boy Bennie! He is 15 years old and loves being a studio cat!

Toast

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Some people aren’t sure what to make of my plates when they first see them. Are they food safe? Would you even want to put food on them? Can they be cleaned? The answer to all of those questions is a resounding “yes!” My goal in creating my plates is to design and send out into the world functional art. Who says that plates have to be boring? \

All of that being said, I do tend to see my smaller plates as more dessert or appetizer plates and my larger ones as serving platters. One day I’ll get around to making an honest to goodness dinner plate sized ones … maybe a whole dinnerware set since that’s my long term goal, but I digress.

My view of my smaller plates changed forever this week when a friend of mine who recently acquired one of my smaller plates told me that it had become her “go-to” toast plate. Apparently, not only is it the perfect size for a small meal, the plate is rectangular so both pieces of toast fit fully on the plate without overlapping. As those of you who are toast lovers have probably experienced, once you put the toppings, be it avocado or jelly, on your toast you can’t overlap them without creating a bit of a mess. The rectangular shape solves that problem for you.

So there you have it – the perfect use for my plates: breakfast! It’s only fitting since that is my favorite meal of the day!

Check out the plate pictured and other perfect toast plates on my Etsy shop!

 

Wild Horses

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Part of the reason I enjoy collecting shoe prints is the interaction with the folks who donate their prints.

The woman who donated this print told me all about love of horses before actually stepping on the slab of clay. We were both surprised to see that there are tiny little horses on the soles of her shoes! If you look closely, you can still seem them in the pale green section of this plate.

She was so interested in horses and southwestern art that I made sure to include the little bits of turquoise glaze for parts of the texture.

Check it out and other shoe print plates online in my Etsy shop or this coming Sunday, October 23rd at the Downtown Redlands Art Walk.

Sunflower Deja Vu

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We all have a tendency to revisit and return to the comfortable and the designs I create with my found objects and stamps are no exception. I think its interesting sometimes to compare and contrast the use of my texture patterns between pieces.

Take this plate, for instance. At first glance the colorfulness of the glazes most likely first catches your eye, then as you take a closer look you might notice a sunflower up in the top right corner. The same sunflower I talked about using as a repeating pattern for some of my planters in my last blog post.

On my planters, this stamped flower is overbearing and almost seems larger than the pot. Yet, here on this plate, that same sunflower is less prominent and has to compete with the rest of the textures and all those glaze colors. It seems so small in comparison to the ones on my planters despite all of them being the exact same size.

I really enjoy how the same textures can change and shift based on their context – just like most things in life really.

Learn more about this plate and others in my Etsy shop!

Blue Suede Shoes

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There are many reasons why I enjoy texture. I could even go into all of them here, but instead I’ll tell you about the one you probably don’t usually hear from me. A big reason why I enjoy creating texture in my work is that it’s like a little mini walk through the experiences I encounter in my life. The stories behind how each texture pattern came to be a part of my collection are present in every single piece I create.

Sometimes the story is easy. A handmade clay stamp made from a found object. Other times the story is more complex. Each serves as a reminder that nothing is ever really ordinary. Everything has the ability to elevated to the extraordinary.

Take the blue shoe prints along the bottom of this plate. This shoe print is part of my permanent collection of texture makers and no, it’s not from one of my shoes.

I was set-up by the side of the road in front of a gallery in Running Springs collecting shoe prints from folks passing by. One person who I had previously spoken to returned and brought me the soles of two shoes he found by the side of the road. No actual shoe parts except for the rubber sole. They were rather disgusting and full of dirt and who knows what else, but … but the treads were in great shape!

I took them home and scrubbed them several times before cutting them up into pieces. I discarded the less textured parts of the soles and saved the best parts of the pattern. You’ll find pieces of these soles in many of my pieces and every time I use them I get reminded of how they came into my possession.

I love these kinds of stories. The little glimpses I get of people like the thoughtfulness of a stranger who somehow knew the perfect gift for me.

See Blue Suede Shoes and other recent texture platter creations in my online shop!

Brick Work

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You may have read my previous post about the time I spent this summer collecting shoe prints in the wild up in Big Bear to kick start some new texture patterns. This is one of the plates I created except there is not a shoe print in sight! During a slow period in folks walking passed the gallery, I decided to press this clay into the sidewalk bricks.

Sidewalk bricks? Yep! See that thick blue line dividing up the sections of the plate? That is the essentially the grout line between the bricks. Pretty cool, huh? I think so.

I liked this version of plate textures so much that each of the other two times I’ve set up to collect shoe prints I’ve gotten at lease one new brick pattern plate each time. The rest of my brick pattern plates are in various stages of the firing process, but I hope to be able to share them with you soon!

Until then, be sure to check out this plate and those with actual shoe prints incorporated in my online shop!

Reaching Up

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It still amazes me.

I can spend all sorts of time on a texture pattern getting it just right as is with no color introduced. Then days pass as the piece dries and goes through its first firing.

That second time a piece is in front of me I’m removed from the pattern creation process and have to confront the work from almost a coloring book perspective. Similar to a coloring book there are an infinite number of ways I can go. Some are good choices, some are bad choices and all are removed in some way (big or small) from the pattern creation.

Completely transforming the work. Every. Single. Time.

It will always amaze me.

Learn more here

Red Framed Plate

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I love, love this piece. I love it so much I can’t believe it hasn’t sold yet. Have you ever had that happen to you? Where you can’t understand what everyone else doesn’t see in something you love … something you so obviously see value and beauty and goodness in? It seems sometimes like the pieces I enjoy the most take the longest to sell and the pieces I create that make me question myself sell the fastest. Maybe its just the universe’s way of giving me time to enjoy my favorites.

Learn more here.

Tire Tracks

I got interested in tire tracks a little over a year ago when I was creating patterns for a series of work inspired by the gears of pocket watches. While much of the work I created was an abstract view of gears, I had felt it important to incorporate some textures recognizable as mechanical components.

I found and bought this fabulous wagon wheel-sized tire that I use in a couple of ways: 1) to create tracks and 2) face down for a perfect gear reference. You can actually see both uses in the plate pictured. The tracks race across the plate through the middle creating an oval shape. The “gear” is glazed in a pale green in the upper right hand corner.SAM_1032

My favorite, by far, tire is actually a small swivel wheel that must have been used as a castor for a small metal cart or something. It is a great texture tool. First, the wheel itself has variation in its tread from larger to smaller circling it. Second, it is a castor of some type, so it was this great handle/swivel attached to it making for easy rolling across the clay. I don’t even know where I got it from and I’ve been using it for awhile as a background texture in my work.

This little tire is getting front and center coverage these days thanks in large part to all the planters I’m making. Turns out its a great planter texture. (Psst – click the planter picture for available planters!)

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Its so popular as a planter texture that I decided to try it the other day on mugs. You know what? It makes great mug texture too! I love how the swoops and tracks of this little tire turn out different each time. The variation between the positive and negative space when the tire is all by itself just really works with my forms.

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As I shared in my last blog post, I’ve even starting using my favorite tire tracks tool on my plates as well. Check out some examples and more here. Let me know what you think of all these tire tracks – just click the thought bubble to the right of this (or any) blog post’s title to comment!