Tag Archive: art
I’ve been working on a new (for me) style of ceramics called majolica. You probably are familiar with this style of pottery – it is what the Italians do so well. I did some test tiles and I have a ways to go but it is a start. These are the tiles above before they are fired. I was trying to use commercial glazes so I didn’t have to get into mixing my own glaze. I used Spectrum’s White glaze with different glazes, underglazes and oxides for the color.
Here are the tiles after they came out of the kiln.
They didn’t all turn out right – some of them are underfired and I am still testing. With this method of pottery, you have to make the piece and fire it in a kiln. After pieces are bisque fired, they are then covered in a white gloss glaze and the designs are painted on. The pieces are fired again and hopefully the designs sink into the white glaze and are beautiful colors.
I think it will probably take a year for me to figure it out considering the amount of time I have to put into it. I am a real neophyte when it comes to glazing ceramics because I am mostly self taught. Primarily I purchase ready made glazes from suppliers like Amaco, Duncan and Mayco. I have been taking an evening pottery class for a couple years with local potter extraordinaire Lucy Fagella. She has been so helpful in answering questions as I continue to experiment and fail. I can’t say I am going to jump in too much with the majolica as I want to make things that actually work out vs fail. A little at a time. And it is good to experiment and learn new things.
I have been throwing lots of pots in my new “Pottery Shed”. It feels so good to actually get something done. My “Pottery Shed” isn’t insulated and because there is an issue with glazes and clay freezing, I’m trying to get as much made out there this summer. I will be decorating it this fall before my Holiday Sale.
• The Boston Globe wrote about She Sheds here. I’m all set with mine!
• My zucchinis are coming in like crazy. I’m going to try this recipe and this recipe and this savory zucchini bread recipe.
• I bought a veggie spiralizer and I love it! My family loves everything I am making with it too. So far, my favorite veggies to spiralize are zucchini and butternut squash. I may try this recipe for Chilled Cucumber Noodles (via SwissMiss).
• My student Darby turned me onto a new blog by Julie Fei-Fan Balzer. The woman is a true creative force and dynamo. Check it out here.
I hope you are having a great summer for those of you in the Northern Hemisphere. It goes so fast – doesn’t it?
This year for my Creative Retreats I decided to change things up a bit and introduce some new types of art to the mix. I am lucky to have several students that have come back again and again to our farm. This does pose a problem in that I need to devel…read more
This past weekend six brave souls arrived at the farm bright and early Saturday morning. The subject of the day was Fabric Printing in the morning. The concept for the afternoon was to embellish the printed fabric with Crewel Embroidery. I taught this …read more
I have finally recovered from my big week last week and weekend. Between the cleaning of the house and studio, the New England Weaver’s Seminar tour here at the farmhouse on Thursday (I didn’t realize I had chairs for 22 people) and the Creative Retrea…read more
Busy week here. I have a group of 20 weavers coming tomorrow as part of their touring day. The New England Weavers Seminar happens every other year at Smith College and on one day, they do a tour of interesting local places. I guess I am interesting. S…read more
I was in the bowels of our ancient farmhouse today trying to sort out a bit of a water crisis with my terrific plumber over text message. I came upstairs to find these beautiful flowers on the kitchen island. Don’t know what they are or who brought them but I will enjoy them.
Over a decade ago now, a young friend of ours named Jen came to visit. She was just getting out of college after studying merchandising. She was finding it hard to find a job and I was telling her about the career I had and giving her ideas for job hunting. I asked Jen what it was that she really wanted to do with her life. She looked at me and thought for a moment. Her response was
“I just want to make the world a beautiful place.”
When The Farmer came home from baling hay, I told him about Jen’s visit. She was the daughter of good friends of ours and he had known Jen since she was an infant. I told him what she said her career goal was and we both talked about how sweet the idea was.
Ever since that conversation with Jen, I have thought about her comment. How do you make the world a beautiful place? And what is a beautiful place? What is beautiful for me may not be beautiful for you. Do you create beauty with things that you buy and decorate with? Do you create beauty with good deeds? Do you create beauty by working for world peace? Do you create beauty by planting seeds to grow into beautiful blue lupines like in the children’s book Miss Rumphius? Do you plant a beautiful garden to feed your neighbors? Do you create beauty by teaching people new things? Do you create beauty by seeing the beautiful in every little thing? Do you create beauty by sharing ideas and turning someone on to a new craft or technique that may change the course of their life?
When Jen first spoke those words to me, I thought about how they could be mis-construed – to be thought of as superficial. I can remember my mom talking about beauty only being skin-deep. We were to know that it was what was inside the person which was the most important – not what is on the outside. That physical beauty was not important and should not be thought of as the end all of end all.
The other day, we were talking about what makes people tick at dinner. We were talking about each of us and what was important to us in our individual lives – in fact it could be thought of as what we find beautiful. As I watch Julia grow into a young woman, I wonder what her path will be. Where will she find her inner passion and what she will find “beautiful”. For her Dad, his idea of beauty is the natural world, his remarkable sheep, their life cycle and how we are feeding our community, and the love of the world and landscape around us that he farms and looks after everyday.
I’ve been thinking about what my “beauty” is. When am I the most fulfilled and happy? As I have been throwing pots the last couple weeks, I think about this as the wheel spins round and round, as I pull the clay up and form it into a cylinder, as I stretch the clay into a handle and attach it to the vessel. I think my definition of beauty is when I am deep into a project and have lost myself in it. When I am thinking about what I am making, planning on what it will look like, and then working it out. The thing could be a pot, a garden, a book, a painting, an embroidery, or a good meal. Often when the “thing” is done, the magic subsides and goes away. I still like the thing and find it pretty or useful but the real beauty for me is in the act of creation – the spark of my imagination and mind of what the thing will look like and then the intimate creation. I find it truly amazing that I can dream something up in my head and then make it happen with my hands. It doesn’t always come out the way I originally thought it up and that is the fun of it – to see where I am led by the materials and the process.
I’ve been teaching classes here at our farm since 2009. Every year, I think about not doing them. Mostly I think about that because I don’t want to go through the agony of cleaning my house. A couple years ago, I tried to let that go – the cleaning thing. It’s hard because I always think of my mom cleaning before her mom came to visit – stressing out that everything has to be just right. I realized that the women that come here to learn from me really could care less if there is some dust and clutter. They aren’t here to inspect my housekeeping skills (thank goodness). They are here to be inspired and to take away a little of the magic and beauty that I have made here at our farmhouse.
So those are my thoughts for today. If you are wondering what happened to our friend Jen, she found a good job in merchandising with Anthropologie and she literally did make the world a more physically beautiful place. And now she has a couple beautiful kids too.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on beauty. Leave them in the comments.
Here are some beautiful links for you to peruse today — at least I find them beautiful.
•My friend Lisa is teaching at The Rufus Porter Museum in Bridgton Maine this summer. Check out the classes here. Lots of beauty to make.
• Good article on Barbara Cooney, the author of Miss R here.
• I’m still crazy over Josef Frank‘s textiles. I just found a page I tore from Arts and Antiques over twenty years ago – that must have been where I discovered him before the www. Good article from NYT here.
p.s. There are still a few spots left in the July 15/16 Fabric Printing + Lampshade Painting Class. You can come for one or two days. Would love to see some of you here at the farm. Two days $360. One day $199. More info here.
Here are the lampshades that the students painted last year.
Here is a photo of some of the lampshades I have made.
Talented artist Sarah Richards introduces you to watercolor by showing you the beauty in the basics. Sarah’s simple yet creative approach to teaching will leave you feeling relaxed, motivated, and ready to paint! You will learn how to choose the best watercolor brush for you, why texture and weight of watercolor paper are important, and […]read more
Play dough is the perfect rainy day activity, and we love making it in our kitchen. When you make your own playdough with the best playdough recipe ever, you get way more dough for your money than when you go out and buy it. Plus, this homemade playdough is so much softer and easier to…read more
I was contacted recently by the organizers of STYLE ’17, asking if I would be interesting in attending the show April 29-30th. Since I didn’t know anything about the event, I checked out their website to see what types of artists and vendors might be there. There are some really exciting and diverse crafts being represented (check out this jewelry maker’s biology-inspired items!). And when Iread more
March and the beginning of April have been very difficult weatherwise for the sheep and the humans. We seem to be over it hopefully — yesterday it was 80 degrees. Farm chores continue everyday. The lambs are growing and soon the grass will be too. The…read more
This spring time handprint craft is perfect for celebrating Easter with kids. And the best part is that the paint is made of edible ingredients so it’s taste-safe, making this a great craft for kids of all ages. This craft idea came from our sponsor, Imperial Sugar. We followed the instructions for the Easter Chick…read more
Over the summer, I looked at a lot of broken glass. It was comforting and beautiful to see light reflect and bounce off of something considered incomplete. The summer, was also a huge healing process for myself. I felt a little broken at the time, but by the end of the summer I was a little more pieced together and shards of glass really didn’t seem like it fit this upcoming chapter.
It all started with meeting an amazing artist here at SCAD. Hannah (this girl is filled to capacity with creative energy). I’ll be talking about her in later posts fo sho. This girl’s heart is beading. I mean, she live it, dreams it, breathes it. She’ll stay up for hours till 3am beading away, not because of a deadline that’s making her stay up to these sunless hours, but because she just gets so wrapped up in the processes and love of a finished piece. We soon became friends and talked about working together. I wanted to use what she was most naturally gifted with.
Do you have a LEGO fan in your house? I have two of them! From time to time, it’s fun to enjoy LEGOs in a different way. This past weekend, we tried Lego Painting. Lego Painting is a fun, creative, and colorful art experience! Learn about textures, patterns, and colors in this kid-led art activity!…read more
My senior collection is about the interaction of light and wind and how, when connected together, they create a transcending feeling of smallness.
The inner-critic hit again.
For this collection of mine (title still pending) I’ll need to be knitting 8 hours a day and pattern drafting the rest. Next month, I’ll need to step it up to knitting 12-16 hours a day. With thousands of hours still ahead of me, and my stitches slipping, yesterday was a battle I admittedly lost. Critic, one. Esther, zero.
I’m gonna’ slow it down, lock it in. Block it, draft it, and get it done, one stitch at a time.
Step 1: Forget everything you know about crafts
This will not be your typical how-to.
Step 2: The Vision
Step 4: Execution
Make cards special with this super cool idea for an awesome Valentines Home Made Card! I like finding ways to involve kids in blessing others. Even if its something as simple as sending a birthday or thank you card to a friend, it’s nice to share the experience with them. In this tutorial we’ll show you how…read more
Happy Saturday everyone! I’m a bit late with this today. My computer isn’t recognizing my camera and I wasn’t able to get the photos I took onto my computer! I’ve been at the Farmers Market all day and just got home. These photos are taken with my ipho…read more
I watched a fantastic documentary last night about the power of making art. It is called I Remember Better When I Paint. It shows how alzheimer’s patients thrive when in the act of making art. Many experts talk on the film but what I found the most imp…read more
Renowned artist Natalie Malan expertly introduces you to the beautiful world of watercolor painting in this easy-to-follow class. Have you always wanted to give watercolor painting a try but didn’t know where to start? Well, this is your opportunity! Download Nowread more
PATTERN DETAILS Quilling is one of the most magical and underutilized crafts in the world of ‘make’. It is extremely inexpensive, easily learned, portable and the results are outstanding. Here is your chance to learn the art of modern quilling for free with this simple tutorial. Wear this necklace out with caution: You will be […]read more
Here is the link for anyone interested in my handmade pottery. The shop will be open at 8 p.m. this evening – Monday.Here are a few of my new pieces. Thanks for your support. Kristinread more
Check out these 20 Amazing Coffee Filter Crafts! Coffee filter crafts are one of my favorite types of kids art. It’s so fun to see what you can create just by digging around your kitchen cabinets! With a little imagination, you can always find something in the house to create with. Kids will also enjoy…read more