Wednesday, September 29, 2021

One Day Closer

The Open House is on Sunday. The kiln is firing off the last SPN mugs to smooth out the roughness from a too-thin clear glaze application, but there are a bunch which turned out great! The above Pumpkin Person needs some clear glaze to get him finished off. The witches I'm sculpting will have to wait until after!

The last of the jacks I can reasonably finish before the Open House came out yesterday evening and got the clay dust wiped off of them so I can start glazing today. I plan to keep making Hallowe'en through the winter, as I have a couple of shows to apply for and want to show the folks who choose the work some new creations! Plus I have stock to rebuild. I plan to make time to create some fine art, too! I have had a series in mind for a number of years, and I'm finally ready to start.

It's the usual, crazy, before-show push, but I love it! It feels fantastic to get back to doing what I do best!

Sunday, September 26, 2021

It's Here! Vintage Halloween!

It's here! And The Precious is beautiful!

And the beauty inside... So wonderful! I'm so happy I decided to get this for my Great Pumpkin Gift for myself, truly! I absolutely adore the history of Halloween and particularly love the Halloween of the 1920s and 1930s.

The liquidity of the little fantastical vegetable people, the ghosts, goblins and witches was so evocative of sweetness in a more innocent time.

I love the thought of the traditional games played in that era, the superstitions (how to discover who your husband will be was a favorite). This book documents it all it brilliant color.

I can visualize the homes, decorated with the latest from the famous Dennison's Bogie Book, dangling from the ceiling or decorating the tables.

If you can possibly get your hands on a copy - and I know that's hard these days - I would highly recommend it! It's gorgeous eye candy and such an inspiration!


Saturday, September 25, 2021

More WIPs

The weather continues to be strange around here, with an aborted attempt at rain (a tiny sprinkle for five minutes or so) and blistering heat. Since my Artist Open House is next Sunday, already, I'm taking advantage of the heat to get a few more jacks done before then. The heat will get them dry enough to fire and then get glazed and fired again for the event!

So much work, so little time!

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Filling the Glaze Kiln 2021

I got the glaze kiln loaded over at the local ceramics center. I hope they're going to start the firing on Thursday so I can get everything tagged in time for my open house!

I'm hoping the Supernatural cups I made turn out a little better than they did in my kiln, but honestly, even if they don't, I have a new clay body to make more, recommended to me by the nice folks over at Amaco. They're the folks who made the underglazes I used for the cups. 

By this weekend, if all goes well, I should be unloading the kiln and not crying my eyes out!

Sunday, September 19, 2021

Lemax Love

I haven't bought a load of Hallowe'en decorations or fun stuff for years. Pretty much since since I moved away from Folsom. Well, that phase is OVAH! 

I had to run to DoIt Center (in this household, that's pronounced DOYT, even though it's supposed to be Do It) to grab a couple of things I needed. The Hallowe'en stuff was out already, moaning and groaning, singing spooky songs. And did it scare the kids? Yup. But they were still daring each other to run up and touch the scary guys or start their antics by stomping on the trigger mat. So I guess Samhain is on the way, huh?

Anyhow, I ambled through the aisles and ran across the Lemax display.

And I sort of brought a few home with me...

They make me laugh! I swear, those guys in the brewery just crack me up!

Friday, September 17, 2021


It's funny how things come to be, particularly these funny little Hallowe'en characters. Much of the time, I don't have their figures set in stone in my head, nor their gestures or facial expressions. The longer I do this, the more alright with that I am, because it gives them the opportunity to tell me who and what they are as my hands shape and carve the clay.

It's interesting to see them come into being, one little piece at a time. 

There's a potter whom I admire whose name is Gerit Grimm. (No relation to the more famous brothers Grimm). She teaches ceramics now over at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, but she continues to create her own body of work with a love for the craft I find inspiring. (Maybe one day I'll go out and see her.) It was from her I saw you could throw sculptural components and then alter them and attach them to make figurative sculpture. It seems like the easiest thing in the world when she does it, but then she's had years and years of practice, plus access to the kilns that only a University or college can afford to purchase, run, and keep running.

My goal is to one day to be practiced enough at these techniques to be able to make a larger variety of expressive critters, as well as larger critters, but meanwhile, I'm fairly content with my progress.

I remember a couple of guys I used to know who were sculptors here in L.A. for the studios. They told me that hands were the hardest things to pull off, but I'm not finding them terribly difficult. I don't have to make them anatomically perfect, true, but still, I'm not finding them to be the bane of my existence they seemed to have.

I'm changing things up a little this year by adding a witch or two to the mix. I don't know why I never make them, other than I love my jack-o'-lantern obsession and the fun of having fire inside their carved heads.

I haven't done a human face in a very long time, but I think this one is starting out well... 

I can't wait to see what kind of gossip this old gal has to tell me!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

I'll Get You, My Little Pretty!

I just ordered this today and I absolutely cannot wait to have it in my hot little hands!

Vintage Hallowe'en: Tricks, Treats, & Traditions.

From the publisher:

The Vintage Hallowe’en book has been “Reconjured” in this new expanded edition! Full of rare vintage photographs, illustrations, collectibles, lore, poems & short stories depicting the history of Hallowe’en. This custom hardback art book makes a great center-piece decoration, and features “Trick-or-Treat” traditions & scary tales from the past. The new “Reconjured” 2021 edition has 232 full-color art paper pages that are full of new material depicting the very best of All Hallows’ Eve!

Is anyone else excited our favorite holiday is upcoming? 

Wednesday, September 8, 2021


Stamped bowl, painted with iron oxide and then wiped so it
only sits in the deep parts.

I love making. I detest glazing. I really, really do.

It's absolutely agonizing,  how long glazing actually takes, particularly when you have stamped and carved pieces which tend to giggle at you if you get the idea that you can just dip them in glaze and have it all turn out without little glaze-less patches where air bubbles develop!

So you have to go in first with a small brush and whatever glaze or oxide or whatever you want to use, and painstakingly paint into those deep spots so that when you do finally dip your piece, you don't end up with ugly bare areas.

And people wonder why handmade is so expensive!

The folks over at the ceramics studio have been so accommodating, scheduling so that I can get things rolling forward. We're two, three-hour sessions in (the last session, a kind friend helped me!) and I have at least one more. I actually brought a couple of jars with their glaze home so I can paint the low spots before I get back into the studio this Sunday. I am really hoping I can get it all done this next session!

My open house date is nearly here: October 3! 

Don't panic, don't panic, DON'T PANIC!

Friday, September 3, 2021

FFS. The Last Test. Seriously!

This testing cycle, as you know, has been a major challenge! I have all these awesome cups, mugs and tankards made and they're just sitting and waiting to be finished because of all the damned failed tests! But I am blessed with belated intelligence! (Better late than never, I always say!)

I made an appointment with my ceramics studio to schlep a bunch of my new work over to use their glazes and their kilns to finish it. I brought along two new test cups which I wouldn't be completely heartbroken to lose, to do a glaze test with their cone 10 clear glaze. Since it's got all those colorful underglazes, the plan was to fire in oxidation (oxygen in the firing chamber) as opposed to reduction (reducing or removing a bunch of oxygen in the firing chamber), so the colors would be as bright as possible.

But they weren't going to be able to fire until the whole kiln could be filled. Which could take a while. Like another month.

So I swung by the studio today and picked up the two mugs I clear-glazed on Sunday. They're in my kiln right now, getting the cone 10 firing. This is the first and last time this kiln will be fired that high. I dread the electric bill, but if this test turns out alright, everything I glazed with the other glaze will get washed  and will be dried by Sunday, when I go back to the studio for another glazing session. I have a bunch of fans waiting ever-so-patiently for these, and I'll be damned if I'm going to disappoint them!

Of course, if they don't turn out right, all of the current crop will go into the kiln and then my shop as seconds. I hate that idea with a purple passion, because my conviction is that my work which goes out into the world without me should be as perfect as I can make it! I won't be there to make excuses for it, therefore, no excuses should have to be made.

God, the waiting sucks...

Thursday, September 2, 2021

Why Are You Reading the Latin OUT LOUD?!

So while exchanging recipes and suchlike with my haunted ladies on Discord, my friend Cat thanked me for turning her on to Bridgewater (direct quote: "I just slurped all the current eps. Now I have to wait. Like an animal."), then turned around and did me the service of recommending Parkdale Haunt. 

While on the surface Parkdale Haunt  seems to be the same old haunted house trope of "long-lost relative inherits spooky house and things go very wrong," it takes a turn into uncharted territory:

"Ever since Judith’s lifelong best friend, Claire Sterback, inherited a house from a biological family she never knew, things have begun to change. Claire has begun to change. It isn’t just that the house is full of cryptic notebooks, ominous scribblings on the wall, and a basement that is colder than it should be. Claire is… off. She’s started sleepwalking. Sometimes when Claire begins to speak, it isn’t her voice that comes out at all. As Claire gets closer to a secret at the heart of the old house in the Toronto neighborhood of Parkdale, she is also getting closer to losing herself. And after Claire goes missing, Judith vies to track her down, even if it means diving into a history that may have been better left untouched. Even if it means dealing with spirits that really do not like her. Parkdale Haunt is about friendship and identity, trauma, cults, demons, and rituals, and, most frighteningly, the Toronto real estate market."

Y'all know my Achilles' heel is a good haunted house story, right? 

Since I have a hellacious daily commute, I do my best to find interesting and engaging content to listen to. When I don't feel up to the challenge of Master Class, I like listening to stories, my favorite soft, warm blanket to wrap around myself and hide from the world. 

From the first episode, I gotta say, I was hooked. 

Parkdale Haunt takes me back to the days when I was a little kid listening to the old Disney classics, "Chilling, Thrilling Sounds of the Haunted House," or Boris Karloff's "Tales of the Frightened." That thrill of imagining the location, the house itself, the people, and above all, the terrible "thing" chasing people around and terrorizing the daylights out of them. The skillful buildup of tension. Those moments when you realize something is wrong, something has gone badly off the rails, and you can see every bit of it in your mind. You can practically taste the fear, smell the dank old basement...

It's what I imagine listening to the old radio shows must have been like for my parents.

Except, of course, for that one moment where the idiot starts reading the weird Latin out loud. Out loud, fer chrissakes!  What a noob. I mean, I really thought everyone knew not to read the weird Latin from the weird tome, just like you know not to eat anything the Faerie offer you in Underhill!

Parkdale Haunt, guys. Totally worth a listen.