Inspiration is the key for any art and artist. When inspiration hits everything flows. Recently old Spanish and Moorish art, architecture, and designs became an inspiration that hit hard. We thank all those brilliant minds and artists who created such history and legacy that still ignites a fire of creativity today. As a result, here is what flowed from my hands – enjoy!
We have been busy, as in busy like Santa’s workshop 🎄🎄🎁🎅
So we have been making a lot of items for our Christmas and holidays sale. Here is a glimpse of what’s going in and coming out of the kiln:
Owls, butter dishes, and fun modern porcelain vases:
Luminaries in making: just pop in a candle and watch it glow and cast shadows on your walls Interested in anything you saw here drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org 📩 or visit us at our Etsy shop.
We were delighted to be invited to participate in our city’s gallery night. LaBote is our ceramics pottery studio and we make both functional and art installations.
For this show we decided to showcase our Cube Series 2013 – 2014, stoneware.
Always fun deciding how to showcase our cubes. Got lucky with Christian, a photographer and Jason the gallery owner helping out with details, while I directed ‘… no, 2 more inches to left please. Ok stop right there let’s hang!…’
I got to hang the crowning piece of the series that I made. The hollow donut with occlusions.
Most fun part of the evening was to watch and talk to people about what their favorite piece was. Can you guess???
Ok here it is…. The green lattice cube was the most admired.
Blessed to be passionate about what we do. Blessed to have the support of friends and loved ones – thank you for coming out to see she show and support! 🙏
Surprise..surprise… not everyone is in love with their job. As a mentor, friend, colleague I always hear variations of:
‘meh it’s ok’
‘I just don’t love this’
‘it’s good money’
‘feeds the family’
‘it’s allright, like the people’
‘it’s just a job’
‘it’s convenient and pays the bills’
‘putting kids through college is not cheap and we are not in Sweden!’
‘ugh, got the golden cuffs on, addicted to my paycheck’
‘it’s boring but I am good at it’
…. and so on…
Reality is this: it is ok that not everyone is head over heels for their job. Yes, despite all LinkedIN articles and HBR catchy headlines, this is reality for millions of people. At some level it is ‘just’ a job and only ‘one’ part of your true life. So my response usually goes ‘ok, but find something you love to do. Not saying find a job … find something in your life that you enjoy doing’. This could be as simple as cooking, writing, jumping off planes, surfing, book club, spending time with your kids, bird watching, traveling, blogging 😉 … you get the idea.
Recently in one of these sessions tables were turned… and I was asked ‘huh ok … so what is that something that you love to do, what is that for you?’. For a moment, which felt like an eternity, I was stumped… was not expecting the question. Before I could open my mouth, visuals of my pottery studio and things I have made popped into my brain. Told her ‘I love making stuff out of clay… oh let me show you’
Here is ‘shooting star’:
Here is ‘fun’:
Here is ‘hope’:
Before boring her I stopped at showing her these 3 clay and porcelain ornaments. She got the point – and was surprised, said she expected that my thing would have been something more lofty or tied to work. Hmmm … Will probe on that next time, but for now let’s adjourn; I have a to run to the pottery studio!!!
Don’t know about you but we are waiting for sprint to arrive. The days are now longer and more light. We have been busy in our pottery studio/shop LaBote, working on delightful things for spring and all the senses.
Mood Clouds Wall Art – We want sunshine!
Always looking for the silver lining.
See more details of this item in our shop.
White/Green Modern Vase – We want flowers!
Who does not! Looking forward to gardening and flowers everywhere.
See more details of this item in our shop.
Multipurpose Bowl – Peacock
Beauty in intricate details… just like all signs of spring in air, water, and earth!
See more details of this item in our shop.
Pottery tradition goes way back in our family…. our late grandfather was a master potter. Somehow his genes passed along, as I keep finding myself more and more at the studio.
Sadly, I did not have the pleasure of learning from him directly, but grateful somehow I caught the pottery bug and will continue on the tradition. He used to make his own clay, as my dad shares the stories. We are spoiled nowadays; just buy few pounds of whatever type clay you want and you are ready.
Pottery is not just wheel throwing, there are some many techniques and hand building. For example, I like combining the skills – throwing part of a bowl and finishing it off with hand building part of it.
Lately, I have found myself making lot of owls. Owls of every shape, size, and personality. This was a spontaneous inspiration, as very often I don’t set out to make a specific piece. Everyone has a style of working – some of my studio peers set off with a very specific idea like ‘I will make a carafe and two tumblers’. I arrive at the studio without a thought… the clay takes shape as I start playing, throwing, or hand building.
Ahhh… the world of glazing; it can make or ruin a pice of pottery. Luckily I do have a glazing muse, it’s called Nikita! A studio friend who has a magic touch with glazes. Usually a quick chat with Nikita results in picking the right glazes. Thank you Nikita!
This owl is called Frankie – the blue eyes reminded us of Frank Sinatra. It is handbuilt from ochre clay, hand painted, and then glazed. Isn’t it a hoot!! Visit LaBote on Etsy to explore more unique art pieces.
What keeps our brains youthful must be curiosity and learning new things we care about. Today was a day like that — we took a class in glazing from Jennifer at MCS.
Three hours of fascinating information that left us wanting more. So much that she decided to schedule part two.
We started with basic chemistry, history of where all this came from, and what glaze is made of. People for centuries have been making pots and vessels. Jennifer and Allison showed examples of old and new to educate us. I am always so impressed by how amazing something made 5000 years ago is so much better than many made today. Especially some of the Chinese pottery and ceramic glazing is just exquisite. We also learned that salt glazing was invented in Germany. One day, I would like to go see it done where it was born.
Part of the lecture was spent critiquing glazed pieces we had made. Jennifer called out all the good and the BAD! You can see Isaac was a good sport about being made an example:
The tips and tricks we learned were great. For instance, how to spray a fine mist over areas you want a thinner coverage of glaze. Can’t wait to apply what we learned.
It is always a surprise to see what comes out of the kiln. Sometimes I can hardly wait. Before you glaze everything is just milky white and uniform as in the above picture. This time around I had quite a few pieces that I was waiting for.
Taking chances and letting it go was my philosophy when I glazed these pieces. So I was so scared an excited at the same time to see IF my bravado actually paid off. Certainly had pleasant surprises but learned lots of lessons.
Magic of glazing is the unexpected results of combining colors. You can always create more predictability by testing shards using glazes. Many artists do so they have an idea what the combination will result in. For now I prefer to be surprised, so I am taking risks.
Plate glaze combo: white, amber, copper
This was a risk that paid off – I had never tried this combination before. The copper sheen particularly looks nice. Cube glaze combo: shiny bone, iron oxide, floating blue
This was a lesson learned. One side turned out good but other sides not so much. I had patterns that I brushed with iron oxide first the glazed with then shiny bone and on top the blue.
Good side /Bad side:
Buttons: chameleon, wax
My sister G wanted me to make some jewelry pieces and I was playing around I made buttons. Had to learn how to glaze them so they would not fuse to the kiln shelves. After waxing the holes and bottom, used chameleon to paint them. So far the have put a smile on people’s faces.
What are some of your favorite glaze combinations?
In the spirit of this newfound courage and the surprising results, today I took more chances and glazed all sorts of other colors. Will let you know how they turn out!
Second batch of my pottery just came out of the kiln yesterday. Every time it is a surprise because you just never know what your pieces are going to look like.
This time I was focusing on patterns and glazes. Tried some patterns to see how they would come through (or not) the glazing. Also took some risks in glazing to learn more.
Applied the rope pattern and some carving techniques to these pieces. The blue piece, mainly due to the glaze, exceeded my expectation. The blue glaze broke on the rope pattern beautifully making the carmel brown ridges enhancing the rope effect. But the same pattern in shiny bone glaze did not work out so much. Turns out I wiped off too mug of the iron oxide I had applied underneath it (the dark spots you see).
The truly risky piece and the biggest surprise was this one, shape was inspired by artichokes. Used this glaze called Amy’s green, because the piece is so organic and I wanted to try it. For the inside I used white glaze. Those of you who have experimented with pottery and glazing will know how devastating it can be to ruin a pot you really like. I was told this glaze can look like ‘baby poop‘ if it is not applied right. So I followed a fellow potters advice about dipping the pot very quickly and hope for the rest! I nearly jumped up and down in happiness when I saw the final result.
The black cube I made did not exactly turn out… was not sure how black or what kind of reaction it would have once fired. Used wax and white glaze for the heart and holes. It is OK for an experiment but learned to be more intentional with this glaze for next time.
If you have any tips and tricks – patterns you like, please comment and share!