Monday, December 22, 2008

Sales for the Holiday
As I get ready to leave for Christmas, I'm listing several sales in each of my shops on holiday items.

In my pottery shop, all holiday sculptures and ornaments are 25% off

In my smoke-fired pendant shop, several items (not necessarily holiday) are 25% off

In my new polymer clay accessory shop, all holiday items are a whopping 50% off!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

New Offspring Shape

I've been working on some variations on my Offspring Sculptural vessels. Here's the new shape I'm most excited about. It's still drying and will be bisqued and glazed later this week.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

New Batch of Personality Pots

Here are some of the latest additions to my Personality Pot series. They were saggar fired at the Bountiful U of U Ceramics lab (it's getting too cold to pit fire--brrr.)

Phillina the Personality Pot

Europa the Personality Pot

Monday, December 08, 2008

I've just updated a bunch of information on my Trunkt profile. Here's a preview of my new and improved profile.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

New Worldwide Women Artist Showcase
This international group of women has gotten together this month to feature functional art for the holidays. I've attached a slide show of all the pieces below.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Little Critters
I've been working on something different for holiday ornaments this year. They are little critters--dogs, cats, and pigs that I've made all the components in separate pieces and wired together. For the first time this year, I've tried out underglazes for coloring instead of staining or just painting with acrylics. I've added little yarn scarfs for accents, too. Here are some pictures from the first batch.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Child Creativity
I'm always impressed by what my students come up with in my Kids and Clay classes. The assignment here was to make a handbell. We made the bell section with a simple pinch-pot, and then the kids were free to handbuild whatever they wanted on the top for the handle. This girl chose to make the bell a hill and the handle a tree. She made individual leaves for the tree-top and even added little squirrels. The ringer inside was an inchworm.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Big Pots from Big Molds

With two solo gallery shows coming up next year, I've decided to make it more of a priority to work big. Since throwing big is out of the question for me (10 lbs is about my limit) and I've done quite a bit of coiling, I've decided to experiment with plaster molds and slab-building. Above is a picture of the plaster mold. Below is a pot I'm working on that I've altered from two joined slabs out of the mold and am adding a lip to.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Sale Item For the Week

This week's special is this three-pendant necklace. Normally $22, you can get it for $15 through Saturday.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Mounds of Mugs

I've had a lot of mug orders lately. Here's some of them piling up on the shelf.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Wall Pocket Lesson Plan

Purpose: Students will learn basic techniques for working with slabs. They will create a wall pocket with unique decoration on the front.

Adjustments: Older students (8 and up) can roll their own slabs and cut out the shapes using templates. For younger students, have pre-rolled slabs with shapes already cut out and on bats or paper plates.

Supplies: Clay (figure 2 lbs. per student), Large paper clips, Pencils, bats or Chinet Platter size paper plates, small cups for water, newspaper or scrap paper for wadding.

Procedure: Introduce the vocabulary word, “Slab”. A slab is a thin, flat, piece of clay. Demonstrate how to roll out a slab (even if your students are using already prepared ones). Talk about the importance of keeping slabs you want to stay flat after firing in a flat position while working on them. Slabs have “memory”. If they’ve been curved during creation but dried flat, during the firing, they will actually re-curve. Try to move slabs a minimum of times. Roll it, cut to size, and place it directly on the bat or paper plate you will be working on.

I’ve found it helps to demonstrate the entire project before handing-out clay. Depending on time constraints, I will also have them sketch out how they would like to decorate their pocket before having them do it with the clay.

Students will decorate the top slab before joining it to the base. They may roll out long thin coils of clay, wet them, and then attach them to the top and decoratively press with a pencil into place. When the top is decorated, students will score the attachment point on the base and run water along it with a finger or paintbrush. They will take a wad of newspaper that is skinnier at the base and wider at the top and place it on top of the base. They should be careful not to leave newspaper hanging over where the top will be joined. The newspaper may be left in place for firing, as it will just burn out. Then, they stretch the top section over the newspaper, being careful to line up all the sides and not to tear the clay. Once the top is in place, students will use their thumb to press (forcefully) the top into the bottom. This should leave definite prints all the way around the joint. At this point, they may add decoration to the top edge of the base and around the join. For most students, the whole process takes about 30-45 minutes. Allow 1 hour for the entire lesson.

Variations/Enrichment: Students can use stamps instead of clay additions to decorate the pocket. Advanced students may design and create their own templates for other wall pockets. This project can be incorporated into a unit about plants. If the pockets are glazed, they can actually be used as a planter with some pebbles for drainage in the bottom. For younger children, this project may be used as part of a unit on shapes.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Elementary Teachers Workshop

This coming Saturday, Clay Arts Utah is doing a free workshop for Elementary Teachers. I was a little disappointed when I learned that the workshop was only for public school teachers--because I wanted to attend. I'm always looking for new ideas to use with my classes. Then I realized that I could sign up to teach a section and "sneak in" on the rest of the workshop. So I'll be doing a demo on working with slabs and teaching how to make wall pockets. I've attached some pictures of student work when I've done this project before. I'll put up the full lesson plan tomorrow.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sale Item For the Week
Sept 15th-22nd

Each week, in at least one of my shops (trpottery and smokypendants) I'm going to have an "item of the week" for sale. This week's special is this original handmade pendant necklace. It usually sells for $22, but this week only, it can be snatched up for $15.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Back in the Saddle Again

So I know it's been simply ages since my last post. I feel like I've been away from home or insanely busy or just insane for the last couple months. Here's my life for the last four months:

My little brother got married in Washington State so I traveled there and stayed for a while at my parents. Here's my mom and daughter hanging out together in a park.

I taught my first kids 3-D art class in my home. We worked with clay, modeling dough, spackle (really), and paper mache.

Here's one of my student's clay pieces from the class.

My little one turned 3 years old. Here's her Birthday cake. Mmmmmm.....fondant.

We took a family trip to the beach. This here is me. Though I don't know it yet, I'm getting a massive sunburn because I mistook SPF 15 for 50.

I taught a second week-long course--this time, all in clay. This is a porcupine that a really creative student made from a bowl.

My husband and I traveled to Bolivia with Choice Humanitarian--an amazing NGO that works in rural villages in the country.

I opened a new Etsy shop at selling smoke-fired pendants.

It's been one heck of a summer and I'm glad to be "back in the saddle" again--making pottery, working on my shops, and slowing down a bit :)

Monday, May 12, 2008

Home Sale--a review

The show went from 10-5 and it was slower than slow (actually not a soul came) until 1:30. That was a little depressing. I sat around reading Twilight (again) and waiting for the sound of the doorbell. A slow trickle of people after that, some modest sales, and I was feeling better. Then about 4:00, there was a steady stream of friends and visitors, some who purchased, some who came to look and chat, until well after 5:00. When I finally took the sign off of my door and officially shut down for the night, I had sold more pottery than I had ever done at any single home sale, gallery show, or outdoor festival.

So here is what I learned: Give better directions or a map on my invitation cards. (I had a friend who nearly turned around because she is from another city and couldn't navigate my cul-de-sac ridden town.) Start the show later and go longer. (Thank heavens for the people who came a little late and made purchases.) And last but not least, do not read addictive fiction to fill time. (I ended up spending the next couple of days finishing Twilight and reading the rest of the series because I can't put a book down once I've started)

Thursday, May 08, 2008

"Mudders" Day Jewelry Contest

The Mud Team and the Lampwork Etc. Team (LEST) will be hosting a dual challenge. Participating members from both teams will create a piece of jewelry for Mother’s Day. The piece can be any type of jewelry – bead, pendant, earrings, etc. Participating members are to pick an adjective from the list below and create a piece of jewelry that reminds them of or evokes the feeling of the adjective.

Frustrated * Chaotic * Ancient * Lively * Groovy * Flirtatious * Gruesome * Edgy * Tame * Curvy

Visitors to our website will be asked to vote for their favorite piece. Voting will automatically enter voters in a drawing for a free prize. Three voters will be randomly chosen to receive prizes and will select their prizes from those displayed on our website. Prizes that were not selected will be returned to the donator. Keith-khphillips will contact the three donors whose items were selected and inform them of the winner’s name and shipping address.

I've put some pictures of favorite pieces up above. To see all of the choices, and to vote, click here.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Home Show

I'm hosting a home show today! Here are some pictures from my set-up downstairs. I'll let you know how it goes later on.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Thunder Cake

My daughter and I have been doing "pre-school" lessons together. This week, the sound was "th" and the theme was thunder. While reading "Thunder Cake" by Patricia Polacco about a grandmother who helps her granddaughter overcome her fear of thunder, we found a fun recipe to try. This is a rich, chocolaty cake with a somewhat random secret ingredient (tomatoes). We mixed it up today and tried it out. The only thing we were missing were some fresh strawberries. Instead I flaked dark chocolate on the top. Mmmmmm. I've added the recipe below, but I thoroughly recommend getting the book to read the story, too.

Grandma's Thunder Cake

Cream together, one at a time
1 cup shortening
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 eggs, separated (Blend yolds in. Beat whites until they are stiff, then fold in.)
1 cup cold water
1/3 cup pureed tomatoes

Sift together
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 cup dry cocoa
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt

Mix the dry mixture into the creamy mixture.
Bake in two greased and floured 8 1/2-inch round pans at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. Frost with chocolate butter frosting and top with strawberries.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Designing a Dish Set

My big project over the last month or two has been putting together a coherent design for a dish set. I've had several goals. The biggest was that the set needed to be reproducible for me on my current schedule with a potty-training toddler with inconsistent naps. That meant no wheel-thrown components. Don't get me wrong, I love to wheel-throw--but I'm finding it nearly impossible to do lately as I can be interrupted at anytime with "Mama, I pooped and have yucky stuff on my fingers!" Second, bowls and plates needed to be stackable and consistent sizes. Third, all pieces needed to look work with the few cone 6 glazes that I have fiddled with enough to be reliable in my kiln. Fourth, they needed to have carved components to match my current work.

Because throwing wasn't an option and I wanted pieces to be consistent in sizing, I figured molds and slab-building from templates were the best way to go. I decided that if I was going to move away from wheel-thrown, I wanted to move away from round, too. If I couldn't throw, I might as well go for a look that couldn't be thrown. I created a model and plaster cast of a square dinner plate with slightly rounded corners. For the salad, I went triangular. Cups were slab-formed and squared.

My biggest issues have come from the bowls. After playing around with slab-bowls made from a circle with three long darts to make a triangular bowl, I realized that the resulting bowl was not very consistent and took quite a bit more work than they were worth to get them to stay together. I made a mold only to find that the lip never quite worked because if I cut down into the bowl to make the rim look clean, the resulting form was too short. Then I tried adding a slab rim to the top. This made an aesthetically nice bowl, but was way too large to fit well with the salad plate. Finally I placed a coil on top of the rim and blended it down into the bowl--viola, a bowl that fit the set and looked clean on top.

For carved accents, I decided to go with an organically tweaked geometric line pattern to match my geometrically themed dishes. The cups and bowls got a repeating zig-zag line with a bit of a curve and the plates received a modified version of the same pattern around the rim.

I'm still tweaking the glazing, but my first batch of full sets are firing up in the kiln right now. I've attached some pictures of prototype pieces below.

Triangular salad plates --detail of carving

Dinner and salad plate together

Salad bowl prototype--the rim makes the overall bowl to large to fit with the set.

Cups--slab built, squared, and carved.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Etsy Mud Team presents
March 23 – 30

Please visit our website – – and vote for your favorite Clay Critter.
A photo of a clay critter has been hidden in participating Mud Team members’ shops. Anyone who finds the hidden bunny in my shop during the contest will receive 10% off any purchase by typing in CRITTER and the ID number of the listing with the hidden critter in the "notes to seller" during checkout. A list of participating Etsy Mud Team shops can be found on our website.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Fun Etsy Finds

I love browsing through other potters shops on Etsy and drooling over their cool work. I thought it would be fun to start putting some of my favorites from other shops up on here to share the love. My find to for today is this amazing Melting Cruet Set from annaspots. The cruets look like they are giving each other a long embrace.

I thought this other view of them separated was really fun too:

Lovely work, annaspots!