My ceramics class finished for the year a few weeks ago. I wanted to share some of the finished pieces with you! I had a good time spending the start of 2013 getting up really early and making the trek across the city to say good morning to the Golden Gate Bridge and to get my hands dirty in clay. I love it because it's so different from knitting and the other fiber arts...11.5"W x 11.5D x 7.25"H
A key lesson in ceramics is when making something, you make 2 or 3 (or 10!) of the same thing, and with each one, you learn more. Working in multiples also allows for the inevitable problems that happen in ceramics... like firing mistakes, glaze issues, and cracks.
During this class, I focused on making footed pedestal bowls with these "torn" edges. This one is my favorite (and was also the last one finished.
There were (I think) 5 or 6 by the time I finished the course. One was a big failure [lesson?] because there was a glaze problem and it stuck to the kiln shelf. Another turned out wonderfully but there was something in the clay that melted and burned a funny drippy hole in the bowl. (In this program students are provided, and required to use, recycled clay. That means there's often foreign objects in the clay and, from time to time, they make their way into a finished piece.)
As you probably know, I'm drawn to text on art. In paintings. On knitwear. And in ceramics. This quote from Daisy Whitney resonated with me and something about it reminded me that I do the things I do (and surround myself with the things I love) because I love them. It's sort of an artsy twist on "you are what you eat."
We are what we love. We are the things, the people, the ideas we spend our days with. They center us, they drive us, they define us to our very core. Without them, we are empty.
Another goal in the class was to make proper cereal/ice cream bowls. There's nothing like eating out of a handmade bowl. Among my favorites was this one - blue and rust and organic looking glaze over a simple bowl. I am enamored with the wheel, and if I had time and was able to focus, I could spend weeks making hundreds of bowls. This one has yet to be used!7"W x 7"D x 4"H
...and then, there's this bowl. I was in a mood experimenting with pouring glazes and leaving the outside of the bowl raw. I wanted to show that clay that was making me so frustrated. The interior is smoothe and glazed but outside it's full of drips. One side dipped in a different color allowed for interesting contrast.
Mixing glaze on glaze like this makes for unique results. Taking notes and trying combinations over and over gives an idea of what might happen but in the end, the final result is up to the "kiln gods"... I think this bowl might end up living in the studio and holding yarn. It's a nice sturdy bowl with a wide brim and I like how it looks on my old wood table.
I talked about this bowl on Facebook. 3 colors of glaze poured and dipped on this bowl. the one green got super duper green! - outside it's raw clay again (and I know now it's a bit more rough to the hand that I prefer) but I like the bowl still. Another candidate for ice cream or cereal.6"W x 6.25"D x 4"H
Going back to the very start of the class, this was one of the first pieces I made. It's also one of my favorites as far as the way the glazing turned out.
I carved spider webs into some pieces during this course, much like I did a few years ago when I was doing ceramics in Los Angeles. Then, I used my little letter stamps to impress another beautiful quote, this time from Tolstoy. After it was bisque fired, I dipped the entire piece in glaze, then, after it dried, wiped most of the glaze off of the exterior. A final "kiss" of clear glaze on the rim finished this piece. It feel organic and free. This one might also live in the studio - but I suppose not everything can live in the studio, right?! - perhaps some of these should become gifts....
The means to gain happiness is to throw out from oneself like a spider in all directions an adhesive web of love, and to catch in it all that comes.
So that's some of the ceramic work I did this year. There's lots more, of course... but these were among my favorites. Class is done, so my tools are all packed away, along with my ceramics notebook; waiting for the next adventure in clay.
Today I listed a few more hand dyed tops - I have grand plans to spend a day or two in the dye lab. Here's hoping for a larger update soon! It's so fun to turn on the music, mix up the dye and spend a day creating color. Perhaps this weekend will bring more time for that!
I've spun up one of these 4oz braids made by Lisa Merian of Spinners Hill that are from Trumpet Hill in Albany, NY - I split it in half lengthwise, then spun it and finished by Navajo plying it - making a nice 3-ply yarn. Hank #1 has 102 yards and hank #2 has around 120 yards... I have another braid to spin up and can't decide if I want to do it now or save it for another time....
The knitting I've been working on recently isn't very exciting. yet. I'm busy working on a design that's got me unsure of what it should be. It started as one project (which is complete), then I thought the motif would work better as a different kind of project (which is on the needles)... and now, as I work on that design I think it might need to be something different than THAT... so I'm a bit thrown by that project.
In other knitting news, I've created a few swatches and concepts for proposals and that work takes time away from knitting things I can share. It's work I love to do, though, so it's quite worth it. The only thing I don't like about it is the WAITING to talk about it all!
Over on the Kyle William Facebook page there's a little contest! It's super easy to enter... here's how:
1.) Go to the facebook page: www.facebook.com/kylewilliam, "LIKE" it (so that you get all the fun shop updates and pattern releases). Find today's post that talks about the contest.
2.) COMMENT on the post - I'm curious to know your favorite color combo(s) - are you an "all green" kinda person? love the colors of a sunset? the deep crimson of a persimmon? Inquiring minds want to know!
3.) SHARE the contest post with your friends by clicking "SHARE" at the bottom of the post.
Once the fan page reaches 250 "LIKES", one of the people who entered and did all 3 of these things will be randomly selected as the winner. They get either 4oz of hand dyed fiber or a hank of hand dyed yarn custom dyed in the color(s) of their choice.
THEN, they get to select a SECOND person to win - they will get their choice of fiber or yarn custom dyed as well!
The winners will be announced on the Kyle William Facebook page (and the good news might even find its way here!)
It's that simple - so head over the page and like, comment, and share away. While you're online, you can also visit the shop and see some of the goodies that are ready to head home today!
It's time to re-visit my other favorite craft... ceramics! I dusted off my tools the other day in preparation for day 1 of ceramics class in San Francisco. Monday morning I ventured out early, headed off to class and to meet my new instructor.
He seems very nice... has been teaching at Fort Mason (in view of the Bay, Golden Gate Bridge, & Alcatraz) for around 20 years, and has been working in clay for over 30. It's a different setup than I had in Los Angeles, but I'm happy that the opportunity exists for me to delve back into clay 2 days a week.
I'm prepared to head back tomorrow with my tools at-the-ready, and to remember what it is about ceramics I love so much. (Actually, I remember very clearly - and I'm VERY happy that it's time to get dirty!)
Other news includes releasing a new colorway of hand dyed roving. This time it's on rambouillet and is named "Sherwood". Hand dyeing roving is a fun adventure as well - and believe me it's hard to post and sell the roving instead of spinning it myself. (Confession: I dyed 2 sets of this one but promptly took one to spin as a sample... it's on my wheel right now calling my name).
If you're interested in this or other rovings, check out the shop.
Last but not least, I'm really happy to announce custom dyed roving service offered through the shop. With this service, YOU get to select your very own color combination. Want green/purple/orange? OK. Prefer grey/brown/tangerine? Okey-Dokey. NEED purple/lilac/indigo? Whatever your heart's desire, I'll be happy to make it for you. Turnaround should be quick but I specified 5-7 business days.
Click on the "Custom Dyed Roving" image to the left to get started.
Have a great week!
I'm busy in the studio posting scarves and hats and goodies in my Etsy shop - and thought I'd send out a quick blog post (as promised) with the image of the finished clasped weft scarf. This one is going up right now and will hopefully find a lovely home for the holidays.
It also features the (fairly new) Kyle William labels - I LOVE my label and my logo... I hope that the recipient loves this scarf as much as I do!
**UPDATE** This scarf sold within minutes of being posted. Hooray!
As with all my postings, I offer free gift wrap and a card if you are purchasing to send to someone via mail.
There's not much time left for online holiday shopping without paying lots of shipping costs - so I better get back to uploading and posting these items in case someone wants a fun finished fiber project as a gift!