I’m lame and forgot to mention a while back that I had updated the etsy shop with a few new things. There are some pots and some buttons and this little jellyfish wall tile. Most of the buttons are white; I need to restock on brightly colored ones. Anyway, check it out!
I disappeared there for a bit. Where did I go? I went into the iphone black hole. I got my first smartphone.
Actually, I’ve been around, just not here. I don’t really like sitting at the laptop now that I have this handy from-the-future toy. I bought a used phone and am using a value service, so if we get rid of our land line, I’m on track to actually save us money every month! I didn’t think that would be possible with an iphone, but there you go.
I’ve signed up for instagram and vine, and I’ve been having fun taking little photos and videos. If you would like to follow me, I’m ameliastudio on instagram, and I’m Amy Harding on vine. I suppose I should have made those the same, and actually I thought I did, but I don’t know — I’m new at this.
I’m already starting to get a case of texting thumb, which is apparently possible even if you don’t really text and can only type about two words per minute.
For Valentine’s Day, I got Chris the latest Chris Ware collection, “Building Stories.” It’s an amazing package of graphic art/comics/I don’t even know what to call it — all in different formats. We are long-time fans of Chris Ware. His work is meticulously designed, and we were pretty awe-stuck by “Building Stories” just looking through the package. Anyway, this giant book/box needed wrapping, so here’s what I did. It’s pretty self-explanatory. I always love a project that uses what I already have around.
Next, I used my valentines for Chris and the girls as an opportunity to play around with Illustrator. Though I took a class on Illustrator years ago, I am very much a novice with this software. Use it or lose it. I’ve lost it. Frankly, I was pretty pleased with myself for being able to make a heart shape with the pen tool. Baby steps.
As soon as all the girls are in elementary school, I’m hoping to finish up my half-completed degree in graphic design. I have a feeling pottery is going to require a day job, and jobs for editors (my pre-child career choice) are few and far between these days — not that graphic design is booming, but I enjoy it. When I took my typography class, we were using rub-on type. Rub-on type! Do they still do this? It’s not like we didn’t have computers then … Anyway, until I’m back in school, I’ll continue to make little projects for myself like this. Practice practice.
Sidenote: Check out the new button in the corner of my images. It allows you to pin the image to Pinterest, so pin away! Just be good and give credit where credit is due. Speaking of which, I got the ISLY Pinterest WordPress Widget from Melissa Esplin here. Thank you, Melissa and Chris (her husband who made the plugin).
We are planning on doing some camping this summer, so we recently purchased a tent! Our old tent was ruined in the great flood of 2010, and it wouldn’t have held five people anyway.
We were all pretty excited about the tent, so we decided to do a test run in the living room. We moved the couches out of the way, but it was too big. We were whacking walls and windows and pictures with the poles. It’s giant. So, no tent in the living room. It caused great disappointment among the littles when we decided to wait and set it up outside the next morning.
The evening after we set up the tent, a big storm came in. The tent was subjected to lots of rain and strong winds, and it didn’t leak or tear! So I guess it is a pretty good tent for our purposes. (It’s the Coleman Montana 8 if you are wondering.)
I’ve been soliciting advice from friends and family about camping with kids, and everyone has been so helpful. Besides the usual kid-craziness, I think our biggest problem may be how to get all of our equipment in and on our car, which isn’t huge. I’m looking at either the Sherpak or the Rightline Saddlebag. I’ve even toyed with the idea of getting both.
Looking at camping equipment is so fun! It reminds me of Girl Scout camp, which I only attended once and was plagued by shyness the entire time. But the equipment? The canteens? The little metal cups? The name tags in your shirts? That stuff was great. (Can you tell I’m a camping novice?)
Do you have any camping tips?
Last weekend the girls and I worked on a giant pile of homemade valentines for their classmates. We made 73 valentines! I asked them if they wanted to use store-bought cards this year, but they picked homemade. I was thinking our days of homemade valentines were nearly over with my oldest, but her crafty instincts are strong.
This year the girls picked the printable butterfly valentines from Cindy of Skip to My Lou. I did the printing and cutting; they did the stickers and writing. I bought googly eyes that already had adhesive on them in order to avoid a glue mess. The larger eyes seemed to work better on the lollipops — they had more surface area of stickiness.
The girls were a little concerned by the butterflies’ lack of antennae or mouths, but these were quite enough for them to handle without those things! They turned out really cute
I just noticed the little note on one of these that says “Books rool.” That’s my girl.
I hope you have a good Valentine’s Day!
Here’s what I have been working on this week. I made a couple plywood molds with a jigsaw. Working with power tools is always a little bit exhilarating. (You know, with the threat of cutting off your fingers and all …)
I made an asymmetrical mold because after all the wheel-thrown pots, my brain needs a little asymmetry. I also wanted to start making some tray forms because that’s really the easiest way to play with some new surface designs.
My goal with this one was to reproduce the look of bokeh. I tried to use a paper stencil method I learned in a Meredith Host workshop, but I had some problems. First, I was too impatient to let layers of underglaze fully dry before peeling off the paper stencils. (When you have limited studio time, you get impatient. Well, I do.) Also, I think my paper was weird. It was just copy paper, but it seemed to have some sort of coating, and the water turned blue when I soaked my stencils. Then the stencils stuck and shredded and tore, even when I broke down and let them fully dry, and it was not fun.
I need to figure out a better way to deal with the stencils, because I do still like the basic idea of this. The white areas may burn out more than I’d like, but this is an experiment. Next time I also want some of the bokeh blobs to go up the sides, too. I’ll show you how this turns out. Soon. I have a whole lot of making to do before the kiln is full.
These are the first couple pots of 2013. It took me a while to get back to work! I guess I have been working — it has just been the boring stuff: listing things in the etsy shop, setting up bank accounts, paying state sales tax. I suppose it all needed to be done, but now I’m out of throwing practice. My arms were a little sore after wedging up only four balls of clay. I don’t know if I’m not used to it anymore, or it’s because my studio is very, very cold and the clay was pretty stiff. (probably a little of both)
While my sister was visiting for Christmas, we decided that I should make a tiki mug version of my inverse mug. So the tall cup up there is my first attempt at this. I don’t have the best handle on shrinkage rates, so we’ll see if this is the right size. It seems a little wide to me. I can calculate the shrinkage — I just can’t visualize it very well. Anyway, I hope to make a bunch of these cups. They’ll be great for tiki drinks or any tall cocktail.
My work last night was accompanied by Kate‘s best of 2012 mix on Spotify. Since I’ve had kids, I don’t have as much time to seek out new music, so I have become a big fan of end-of-the-year music wrap-ups. They help me do all my new music scavenging all at once. I haven’t had a chance to check out my usual go-to yearly lists from Pitchfork and The Onion. So I’ll link to them here for your sake and mine:
I don’t have too terribly much to report today. Things have been moving along in the typical fashion for January. I’m digging in to do some preschool auction work. I usually work on decorations, and I’ll be doing that again this year. What else?
- I’ve been keeping up with my daily sketching.
- I’ve been hauling things to Goodwill, which is an ongoing process…
- I have 15 days to go on my cleanse. I’m past the achiness and random rashes and am moving on to the crabbiness, following the same pattern as last time. I’m starting to get a little bit of relief from the headaches that plague me most of the time.
- We got out of the house last weekend and saw this movie. It was good, but I was surprised when it won the Golden Globe.
- I bought some boxes so I could start shipping the items in my etsy shop. It was cheaper to buy large quantities. So now I am overrun with boxes. They have nowhere to go.
- I put up my new calendar. My super ginormous calendar! This year I went with a Stendig, and the sheer size of it tickles me.
- I’ve been listening to this CD that Santa put in my stocking for Christmas. The sweet title song mentions Kansas City! I like how this review calls it “cozy sweater folk.” That is so spot on. That is the type of music I tend to like in the wintertime.
- But sometimes I need some pop for waking up or cleaning or snapping out of a funk. Robyn has been fitting the bill lately. Love this one. I heard it on the third episode of “Girls,” which I am slowly working my way through.
- I finished all the episodes of “Breaking Bad.” No more episodes. Now I have to wait just like everyone else. I resisted this show for so long because it felt so depressing to me. I was wrong. Mea culpa.
- I read this book, which was really good.
- I signed my oldest up for piano lessons (Groupon!). I hope practicing doesn’t turn into homework war part 2.
- I’ve started planning a gigantic road trip for this summer. There will be camping (which the girls have never done before). And Disneyland. And the Grand Canyon. I am scared. And excited.
Finally, I haven’t made a single pot this year. I did get my studio cleaned up and ready to start again, and I will soon. Soon.
I listed some pots on etsy! This is the first batch of pots I’ve listed since around the time Charlotte was born. So, over five years! I just took Charlotte and Margot with me to pick up some shipping boxes down in a warehouse near downtown, and they were completely bewildered by how dirty and warehouse-y it was. Sheltered children.
Anyway, I have a few more pots and some buttons that I still need to photograph and list. So this will be it for round one. Check my shop out here. Thanks!
Happy New Year!
My sister and her family came from California for a nice long visit with us this year. So we’ve been busy eating, laughing and holding babies (well, baby — singular). And driving to Arkansas to visit my grandmother. And making snowmen. And tiki drinks. And eating too-big burgers at the mall. And now I’m back to piles of laundry and making grocery lists.
But I do plan on doing some new things this year. Resolutions? Goals? Whatever you call them, here they are:
- I’ll be doing a sketch a day this year. For some reason, it seems like every time I’ve taken an art class, I have purchased a new sketchbook. I never fill them all the way up. So I have at least three mostly unused sketchbooks. I’m set — except for that exploding pen today. A set of Microns is on the way. I’ll be taking photos of the sketches semi-regularly. They will go here. I will be working in pen to keep myself from getting too mired in trying to be perfect with the option to erase. Pens show process, and this is all about process. I’m hoping to become more confident drawing on pots.
- My ceramics goals: producing multiples (first up: a set of cereal bowls that I might even keep for myself), maintaining an online shop, participating in the Clay Guild sale again, and mixing my own glazes. Even if I’m not consistently using my own glazes this year, I at least want to learn how to mix.
- I’ll be doing the Clean Program cleanse again. I always feel a little unwell after the richness of the holidays, so I am ready for this. I’ve already started weaning off caffeine and alcohol. Today was my first day without coffee, so I’m a little sleepy.
- Yoga. I need to start doing this again. When I have a few days where I’ve done a lot of work in the studio, my body hurts. It needs stretching. There was a year or two pre-children when I did yoga 1-2 times a week, and it felt really good. So I hope to get back to that. I’m a little worried about some vertigo I seem to have developed that kicks in when I do downward dog. So I may need to find my own way here … The idea is just to stretch and move a little. Maybe it will end up having to be walks and non-inverted stretches. We’ll see.
Here’s to 2013! Cheers.