Clay Camp

Where have I been? Clay Camp! Every summer I teach an intensive ceramics class at my work studio. ( As opposed to my home studio) Its great fun, a lot of work, and a bit tiring. I just startled mysefl awake in a chair, iPad in my lap. When did I fall asleep? Whatever… 

The numbers: 

2 sessions. 10 days each. 1.5 hours a day in class. 2 classes a day. 

ages 6-9 – sculpting and hand building/ sculptural and functional work.

ages 10-17 – same as above with wheel throwing in the mix and taking priority. 

The saving grace – I have 2 ( yes – 2!!!) fab student teacher’s aides! Sweet! And I can pay them in clay… 

So I thought I would show you exactly what we have been up to… 

Jo's LOTR tile

The first teen project was a relief tile – inspired by reading, and loosely book shaped. Here is Jo – during the laborious painting process. This took at least 2 hours, painting the details in underglaze. The finished tile is outstanding and full of symbolic images in every space. It looks better in person! (Can you find Orthanc? Boromir’s horn? A swan ship? The Eye? )

Throwing

Center the clay, open the clay, raise or pull the clay… repeat. Get dirty. Enjoy!

dipped and drying

Wheel thrown pieces by the teen age group. Dipped in the high fire ^10 glazes! Awaiting kiln loading!

dry. Fire. dip.

Dry. Fire. Glaze. Dip. The hardest challenge of clay camp is drying. The humid weather forces me to break a few rules, and dry pots fast, on a hot kiln. Generallly this is a no-no. But the first week we are sculpting and throwing – I have to get things fired so we can glaze them! 

WIP

New work from this week in Session 2. The book project tiles –  expanded a bit to include the favorites Dr. Who and Star Trek. A coffee monster pinch pot. (How did you know it was me? ) And 2 sleeping creatures – an elephant tucked in with radio at his head, and my sample – a bunny reading a book, that I hope to finish tomorrow!

Trim, carve, sketch

This is Emma, my teacher’s aide,  trimming pots for the teens. In the time we have – I choose not to teach trimming right away. We clean up the pots on the wheel, and by hand a bit as needed. Some I trim, and now Emma volunteers. It IS rather Zen… So while Emma trims – her mom, artist Sarah Dressler, carves intricate designs into Emma’s thrown porcelain pieces. Sweet deal! And a great way to pass the time as Sarah isnt teaching this session… 

So – in a week or so I will be fully immersed in bead and pendant making – getting ready for Beadfest in Philadelphia. But for know I am playing with clay, loading kilns and just having a good time. See you soon!

 

 

 

Clay camp and a kiln unloaded…

Argh

Welcome to clay camp. 

Well – its my primary focus for the next 5 weeks. I have up to 24 students in 2 age groups. Ages range from 6-17. They are with me for 2 weeks – one of creating, sculpting, wheel throwing, hand building; and another of finishing, glazing, decorating. 

And in my off time – I am making things like mad in preparation for Beadfest in Philadelphia in August… 

Last Friday I did a post over at Art Jewelry Elements blog about the loading of the ^10 high fire reduction kiln. We unloaded today! It was a great firing. Not a ton of reduction – so out copper bearing glazes flashed more green then red. Simply beautiful in my opinion!

The big reveal

The first thing I saw this morning!

kiln pix collage

Taking it apart – shelf by shelf. 

porcelain components!

I am so happy with my organic porcelain charms! There are coral prints & sea urchin, in 4 colors. And I didn’t “Lose” any stuck to the shelf or chipped, etc. Many of them have 2 holes. I want to make earrings with dangle, and bracelet links… 

Coffee is done. Headed to the studio. I’d love to hear what you think!

 

Denizen of the Deep – Suburban Girl Design Team “Summer” reveal!

Summer! It is here – no questioning that! Temperatures in the 90’s here in Delaware have me dreaming of the ocean. Luckily all of DE is relatively close to the beach (as opposed to the shore in NJ) and headed there for a respite soon. The summer charms from Diana arrived ages ago – and a lovely lampwork from Jan as well! I confess, I finished this yesterday. I have been up to my elbows in clay, teaching sculpture and wheel throwing at Clay Camp – and found it hard to switch gears. But with such lovely ingredients in my mind’s eye – I think I was designing this piece weeks ago in my head!

Summer sampler Summer loot

Here is the first pile of potential pairings. I knew I wanted to use my own ceramic mermaid pendant, how could I not? The colors in Jan’s bead were so inviting! And the gorgeous paairing of sandy brown and celadon in Diana’s – so my style! Here is: shell slice, mother of pearl, stick pearl, sea glass, river stone. 

Idea pile 1

I wanted to bring more of the earthy sand color in – so Marsha Neal Studios silks to the rescue. I have a huge stash I sell with my pendants – so I am spoiled and have a color for every need!

Add some silk...

Hmm. The pile of potential has changed. Abalone, amazonite, recycled bottle glass beads, copper green pearls, jasper… What jasper is that? THe dark teal-y one with drown matrix? You know the one I mean…

Getting closer...

And here she is: “Denizen of the Deep”. I ended up with pearl and kyanite as the dangle, abalone, amazonite, MOP, pearl, and that jasper as the gems strand. 

Denizen of the Deep

I wanted the larger components on the right to be balanced visually, so the left side is a double strand of gems and matte olive seed beads. Here’s a detail of the pendant and the SGD Team featured components: 

details...

The starfish, you say? Where is the starfish? I had to go rogue and do a companion piece. I wanted the starfish to get equal attention, so it is the focal on the matching bracelet ( silk, seed beads, and gems – as inteh necklace)

partner piece

The completed pair

Hope this finds you cool and content – enjoying the best of summer and avoiding the worst. Have a cold beverage, some sushi, and channel your inner mermaid!

Please stop by my partners pages as well!

Diana Ptaszynski http://www.suburbangirlstudio.com/
Jenny Davies-Reazor http://www.jdaviesreazor.com/blog
Kristen Stevens http://kristen-beadjourney.blogspot.com/
Jan Onipenco http://moltenmayhem.typepad.com/
Marla James http://marlasmudmoments.blogspot.com/
Sandra Basara Miller http://www.sandra5461.blogspot.com/
Michelle Buettner http://misheldesigns.blogspot.com/

 

Clay Camp

When I taught full time – weekends and summers were my own. Now as a freelance artist and educator my schedule is quite the opposite. I teach a two week intensive Ceramics camp every summer – two sessions in fact. There is wheel throwing, sculpting, hi fire reduction and more for the “teens” ( the 10 and up crowd). For the little ones ( ages 6-9) there is a variety of hand building – both sculptural and functional pieces. Whatever I dream up for any given summer… Currently in week 2 – glazing week,  I though I would show you what we had been up too…

fresh off the wheels

Freshly cut from the wheel…

pots: keepers and recycle

Symetry and asymetry are equally welcomed. Recycle in the back. 

Throwing Porcelain.

Emma is my oldest student this year, and she has graduated to porcelain. She is loving it!

Emma's first porcelain

Plethora of pots

Trimmed, carved, embellished… drying now. 

Plethora of pots continued

All of those pots – 8 students, 4 days. (Class is 1.5 hrs each day.) I am pleased!

Emma

 

Happy May Day! (News from the studio of Jenny Davies-Reazor)

Looking for the One Crayon Color Blog Hop? Click here!

(My Spring newsletter, complete with images. May seem a bit more formal in tone… But it does have all the scoop regarding where I will be when!)

Maypole

Happy May Day! Welcome Spring!

 

What a wonderful season when Mother Nature puts on her best floral finery and entices us to spend time with her out of doors! I hope you are enjoying the season, rain and shine, wherever you are. Things have been busy and bountiful and blossoming in the studio as well. I am happy to announce 4 new tile designs, and a new ceramic pendant design. I have been balancing my time between my two studios: spending time glazing and firing in the ceramics world and making mixed media magic happen in various forms! 

new tiles clay

new tiles glaze

 

I created a series of new mixed media collages for a show at Caffe Gelato, a local restaurant. I am pleased with the results – they are a departure from my recent collages. These are smaller, more streamlined. I focused on color and composition and simplified the symbolic content. 

Tree of life collage

“Tree of Life” collage. 12″ x 12″ Mixed media on canvas. 

 

 

I have continued my “Return to Metals” as it seems to echo in my head. While I have been creating jewelry since I was a teen, I concentrated in metals and painting in college. The metals where pushed aside by a love of clay for many years, and now they are returning to the fore. Clay is not going anywhere! But I am enjoying working my collage aesthetic into small intimate wearable pieces. 

Pre Raphaelite "portholes"

Pre-Raphaelite inspired window pendants – stamped copper, brass/nickel silver, mica, gems…

 

And tis the season of shows and festivals as well. Let me entice you with some local and regional offerings. Please visit the linked sites for detailed information, and I hope to see you out and about this Spring!


 

May 2012 – Caffe Gelato, Newark DE – ongoing exhibit on mixed media collages with Betsy Molina Mortenson

 

May 4-6th – Spoutwood May Day Faerie Festival, Glen Rock PA – The East Coast’s oldest and most magical Faerie Festival! Set amidst the rolling hills, streams, and forest glens of Spoutwood Farm this weekend festival is a haven for creators of fantasy and folklore inspired art, craft, wearables… And fantastic music! Read a review of the festival at: “Open, Gates of Faerieland”. 

 

June 2 – Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival, Elmer NJ – this day long concert/faire/festival is a wonderful event. Support the arts in south Jersey! Great music and a beautiful setting. See the website for ticket info and this year’s line up. ( Trivia: I taught jewelry making at Appel Farm’s Summer Arts Camp for 2 summers after college.) 

 

June 15-16 – Chester Co. Craft Guild Spring Show, Downingtown, PA – A new show for me! Local artists and artisans working in a variety of mediums, contemporary and traditional crafts. 

Dia de Los Muertos

Muertos

When I lived in San Diego I was thrilled to see Dia de los Muertos altars and decorations everywhere. As it is a festival to acknowledge death, and honor and remember the dead: the city was bedecked with skulls and calaveras (skeletons) There were sugar skull decorating activities for kids. Today I am going to do the same – early I know… But if my students make ceramic skulls which have to dry and be bisque fired before glazing… it is time to get to work. 

Class went well- had one adorable seven year old boy from Mexico who was excited to share his stories… Pix to follow of their projects. How do you celebrate the season? 

Update: The students glazed today. Love them! They will be even better once I add the glossy glaze and fire them!

kids muertos  

 

Camera vs phone?

wheel view

This was my view yesterday. Now, I dont throw often, so when I get the urge – I go for it and throw many things. Yesterday, it was 2 bowls and 5 mugs. Still not a ton, I know, but I worked on other things too! I have a replacement mug to make for my friend Keith in Sydney, and a more local friend Amy, has begun hinting… oh so subtly.

Here’s another work in progress picture: shrines in progress

Two shrines, textured and distressed a bit, now drying. And yes, those are owl pendants peeking out from the right side! Too sweet, looking forward to glazing those!

So – the question of the day – are these pictures decent enough? Is the image quality acceptable? I was reading a post somewhere – mind like a sieve, cant remember, so I couldnt link to it… The debate was voiced by an artist who had a really nice camera, which stayed home for the beauty shots, and a point and shoot to be out and about, pictures on the go. It got me thinking. I have a digital point and shoot, which takes great pix. I never take it with me. Whenever I am out and about I take pictures with my phone. These studio pix were shot with my  LG phone yesterday. I am willing to sacrifice some picture quality for convenience and practicality. I mean, I am in a ceramics studio, I am usually covered in clay – which I do not want inside and all over my camera. So the phone, which is always with me – is the perfect tool.

What are your thoughts on the matter?