Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

From my house to yours, a very happy Thanksgiving, filled with toothy smiles and wet kisses!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One With Nature

More beautiful sculpture by Giuseppe Agnello here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

More Christmas

I've been getting Christmas items into the shop a little at a time, figuring they're not making people happy, sitting wrapped in their bins with no one to look at them!
All of them are hand-glazed and food-safe. And so pretty!
I've marked priced down, too, so you're going to be in for some good deals!

ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

New in the Shop

 Christmas has come to the shop! I've posted a bunch of ornaments, including the last of the Jack ornaments I will probably ever do.
 I also have other ceramic ornaments available!
Since they're all ceramic, they're tougher than the glass ones you get at the store, and the color stays true.

More at the ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Quick Fix

I spent most of yesterday cleaning and reorganizing after the Hallowe'en season, and took some time to get into the studio and start to get that back into shape. It was a task too-long neglected because of time constraints and my injury, so it felt good to get in there and start to set things to rights.

One of the issues I have in my studio is that of space. I have glaze and clay reclamation buckets just like any potter does, and these take up floor space. Lifting heavy buckets to put them on a shelf and out of the way is not the best thing for me to do, but having them in the way no matter where I put them on the floor was getting pretty ridiculous, too. If I stuck them by the kilns and away from my cabinet doors, I invariably had to get to something in that area. Put them in front of the doors and I will guarantee that within half a day, I'd have to lift them out of the way to get at what I needed. Every so often, I wash down my floors to keep the dust down, and carrying them outside in order to clear the floor was something I'd have to get Mr. ShellHawk to do. 

I hate imposing on him like that.

So I was reading an article in one of my clay magazines about how someone had a similar issue. He made what was essentially a round platform, cut to be a bit wider than a five gallon bucket, put a rim around the top so the bucket doesn't just slide off, and stuck castors on the bottom.

Genius. Simple genius.

I have a neighbor who's handy and would probably make this for me, but fortunately for him, I was getting a few things at Lowe's and saw an even simpler solution: rolling plant stands. I looked at them and thought they'd be perfect, but ran over and grabbed a five gallon bucket to be sure it would fit right. Score!
It worked perfectly. Cleaning yesterday was so much easier! I could just roll things out of the way! Hurrah!

Seriously, it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Oh, LOOK! Shiny Things!

Look at all those beautiful carts full of cool stuff!

"They're not distractions, they're explorations into other techniques."

I find myself saying this to myself, and often. I'm not buying it though, because I know myself and how easily I fall (who am I kidding? I dive) into rabbit holes!

I am currently in love with several potters' work. Stephen Pearce, an Irish potter whose work we saw when we were in Ireland this year, is one. I love how he uses wax resist to create his designs! The contrast between his glaze and the bare clay is wonderful! I also have shop envy, because he has a beautiful store and work space on one property in Shanagarry. I include only a couple of pictures of his workspace, as it's actually several large spaces set aside for different purposes.  
I love the light in his spaces, too! It's so bright and cheerful!

But the point of this is how much I enjoy what he's done to the clay surface to bring out the best in the shape of the form. It's deceptively simple, which shows, in my opinion, the master potter at work. Yes, intricate patterns are wonderful, and there's a huge "wow!" factor to them, since even the least educated of viewers can see that there's a tremendous amount of work and skill involved in such a complex decoration.

When I see Stephen Pearce's work, I am convinced I need to play with wax resist (and other resist) techniques. And of course, I need to plan to get my own building in the country, of course! (It's just a bonus that I found an old graveyard right next door to his shop. Maybe I'll get lucky with that, too!)

Then, there's Gary Jackson's work.
Endlessly colorful, intricately stamped and then soda fired, most often. I love the forms he makes, and I love that he continues to come up with new stamps all the time, so that his work is varied in texture. His glazes "break" in just the right spots, which, when you formulate your own glazes, is a big deal. Or it is to me, who has not made her own glazes as of yet. (It's on the list. Commercial glazes are expensive!) 
So of course, whenever I look at Gary's work, well only stamping/soda firing will do. I simply must do it!

And then, there's Doug Fitch and Hannah McAndrew and their beautiful slipware pottery.
How could I not be interested in the techniques they use? I am completely sucked in! Their designs are gorgeous! Their lines are loose and flowing, not stiff. And I love that they post videos of snippets of their work time.
The kicker for me, of course is that they fire in a wood-firing kiln. Makes my heart flutter!

There are others, of course. You all know I'm in love with Shoji Hamada's work, and his buddy's, Bernard Leach. Simon Leach, Bernard's grandson, keeps up the family trade, and has some wonderful things to add to the craft.

I love them all, and want to do it all.

Focus, I keep telling myself. Just focus.

Of course, now that my shoulder is messed up and I need to get in for surgery, throwing pots may be off the table on a permanent basis. I certainly hope not, and I'm keeping a positive thought that everything will heal properly after the surgery and I'll be fine, but there is that niggling worry in the back of my mind that I won't get to master anything in pottery, and that I may have to leave clay behind, forever. 

Probably not. I'll likely have to adjust the size of my work and the hardness of my clay, and the positioning of my body when I work. I also need to get back to the gym and take better care of myself, although in my defense, I no sooner healed from my foot surgeries than I had this injury.

Well. I think I'll go out to the studio and get a few things cleaned up and organized. Maybe throw a cup or two, just to keep in practice...

Monday, November 10, 2014

Moving Right Along...

I say every year that once Hallowe'en is over, it's a greased slide kind of ride to the New Year (even though for those of the Pagan persuasion, Hallowe'en is New Year's!). Everyone gets busier and busier, and the inevitable "Have you gotten your shopping done, yet?" question is asked. 

Someone asked me yesterday, to which I honestly replied, "I haven't even thought about it!" 

Heck, I still have Hallowe'en decorations to put away! My excuse is that I need help to put away the stragglers, since I'm not supposed to be lifting anything with my bum shoulder. (More on that in a minute.)

But, since I'm a giver, I have managed to get some of my ornaments into the ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store. I have a limited number of Hallowe'en-themed ornaments which will be going in this week, plus some ornament dessert dishes and a few serving plates, too.

Please buy them! :)

In other news, it turns out I need to have surgery on my shoulder to repair the tear I have. Can I tell you how thrilled I wasn't to hear that delightful news? I'm told it's a three-month recovery and it can be done arthroscopically, so it's not as bad a time as when I got my feet done this time last year and earlier this year. I just worry that I won't be able to go back to throwing.

Of course, in celebration of knowing what's wrong and knowing I'll be going in for surgery, I'm going to do some throwing to replace the product I've sold this year. I potentially have a studio assistant (I need to give him a call this week!) to get some of the harder physical labor done around the studio before I go in for surgery, which will be a huge help! I have clay to be reclaimed and some plaster bats to be mixed and poured (no, they're not the kind of bat with wings!), plus a few other odd jobs. I just need to take it easy and listen to my body where making things is concerned, and not go overboard.

Well, onward with the week, eh?

Friday, November 7, 2014

Oak Park Brewing Company Update

Click on the pic for video.
There has been a ton of construction going on at Oak Park Brewing Company in preparation for the preview weekend, which is upon us! I can't believe it's here, already! We'll be open with a limited menu and some of our flagship beer, so if you're in the 'hood, come on down!

Next Saturday, we'll be doing an event with NPR, called, "Drink Radio." 
Join us November 15th from 5-8pm at Oak Park Brewing to taste the “CapRadio brew” in this year's Drink Radio winning design pint glass. View an art show of the top submissions, connecting the beer taste to the art. Additional selected submissions will also be on view.

Patrons will be able to purchase the 2014 pint glass on site for $10, with an optional fill of the custom beer. All proceeds will benefit Capital Public Radio.
This year’s design entries focused on key words “sustain,” “harvest,” and “zest,” which reflect the process of gathering grains and producing a beer respective of the season. Contributors were able to submit up to three pieces, each corresponding to one key word with the creative goal to connect the taste of the seasonal and regional beer to the look and feel of the artwork.

“The evening will be a time to enjoy the flavor profiles of an autumn beer, crafted by our local brewers and amplified by the consciously curated artwork submitted by our artistic community,” says local artist and Capital Public Radio Board Member, Sofia Lacin.
Join us as we celebrate our region’s bounty in agriculture and creative spirit. Go to for more details or RSVP on Facebook.
It's hard to believe that all of the hard work everyone has been doing is at last coming to fruition. Everyone has been working so hard to create this wonderful space, and now we're finally able to invite people to come and share it with us!

Monday, November 3, 2014

Graveyard 2014

The haunt was downscaled a bit this year because of the rain, but I think it still looked pretty good!
Maybe this coming year, I'll change things up a little? Who knows?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

All Saints Morn

 November first. 2:11 AM as I begin to write this post.

It feels a little like those scenes you see in movies, the ones where the carnival has packed up and moved on and all that's left to show it was there is a forgotten popcorn box or three and stray candy wrappers blowing by. A few footprints in the dirt. A partially eaten hot dog, stepped on and crushed into the ground.

The rain and wind replacing the sound of the calliope.
Rain in the graveyard...
It was rainy tonight. Even so, folks brought their kids out and the annual party, while smaller, (no doubt because of the rain) was a huge success. I snuck out while everyone was occupied and snapped a few pics. They turned out alright, but because of the rain, I decided to leave the haunt up for an extra day so I can get pics tomorrow.

I hope I can get pics, anyway...

Meanwhile, the last breath of Hallowe'en gently wafts a stray candy wrapper across the graveyard. A hint of the calliope's tune floats on the breeze.

Or maybe that's just my imagination.