Monday, March 29, 2010

Beads 2010 Cover

Beads 2010 is now available for pre-order....... Here
And that means that we get to see the cover! Woo Hooo!!! I see 4 of my beads on the Cover and I wrote a project inside! I see a lot of great ceramic beads on the cover. Go Clay! I can't wait to get my hands on a copy!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Happy Spring!

What a fun weekend! The weather has been gorgeous and we spent most of our time outdoors.
We met up with Janine and took a little hike up Haycock Mountain. We found a rock built for 5 and had a nice picnic. Then we decided that we needed to have a little fire and a little wine and MAKE SOME BEADS! Yep! We had a little smoke fire! Here's a shot of a bead that was inspired by another Artists photo of their work.
I love Dee Wilder's work! She goes by Malodora. She is one awesome polymer Artist!
Today I fired my kiln for the third time since I fixed it. The first 2 firings were to test my fix job and harden the new parts. The firing today was the first firing with my work in it. I will open it up in the morning and I really hope everything is working fine!
I have been a blur of activity lately. Fixing the kiln, planting early veggies, working on clay, working at my new job, and making room in our home for my Mother-in-law to move in in a few weeks and all of a sudden my husband is back to work every day. It's crazy around here, but it is crazy in an awakening growing kind of way.
I hope you all had a great weekend! Happy Spring!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Beads of Clay Color Scheme Challenge

I got to announce the Winner of the Split Complimentary Section of our color challenge today! Jen Judd Velasquez won a nice pile of my beads with this Beautiful necklace! Check out the Blog post on the Beads-of-Clay blog here--
I also announced the opening of the Neutral Section of the Color Scheme Challenge Yesterday.
Here are a few of my examples-- The first uses black and white with a smoke fired square.

This piece uses a center bead of my hand dug local clay, and 4 cream colored stoneware beads. I used some great Rhyolite Rhondelles and Rounds and some funky black agate rectangles for the body of the necklace.
My last example is this earthy set of earrings. Wood and white stone beads create a drop for my tiny clay triangles.
If you have been too shy to enter our challenge, now is the time to jump in! Neutral Pieces are a lot easier than making many colors work together, and we will have prizes from 3 different beads-of-clay bead artists for this section.
And remember! You can always contact me with your photos if you are having troubles with the Flickr group, or have any questions.
I blogged about the Neutral section of the color challenge on the Beads of Clay blog here--

Friday, March 19, 2010

Shitake Mushroom Workshop

My husband got to go to a shitake Mushroom growing workshop last Saturday! It turns out that a couple of our friends were signed up for the workshop too. Becky and Joe farm in the spring and summer in New York and live around here in the winter.... Funny, when I saw these guys at the New Years party, I was all questions, mushrooms, bees..... ??? This picture shows a fellow (Andrew?) drilling holes in a hardwood log. He is assisted by Becky. The drill has a mark on it to know how deep to drill the holes.
The holes are then filled with dowel rod plugs which have been inoculated with Shitake Mushroom Spawn. These Dowel Plugs were purchased from a mushroom spawn company. The one lady has a hammer to get the plugs in. And the gentleman to the right is covering the plug filled hole with wax. The wax helps keep the plug in place, and helps keep the spawn area moist.
Here are the logs--- All finished. If you look really closely you can see the wax spots and get an idea how many plugs are placed in the logs.
Josh brought home a really really big log home from the workshop. We are keeping it on the shady side of the Kiln Shed and keeping it wet. This allows the spawn to spread throughout the log. We may get some mushrooms by fall, but it could take a year to fruit. The log will produce mushrooms as long as it is kept wet and shady, and has food left in the log.
I have ordered a few different kinds of mushroom spawn which will be arriving in a few weeks. Oyster, Lion's mane, and Wine Cap-- We will be inoculating dead trees, logs and mulch on my Mom's property and our own. I LOVE MUSHROOMS!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


We picked our parsnips on Monday. Yay Spring!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Now what?

Ok! I think I am feeling a bit better today. Yesterday I was able to pour the 2 molds that I have been trying to make for 2 weeks. I think my plaster troubles are solved. I was able to get my husband to pick up a fresh bag on Monday. It was crazy though. The president was visiting Arcadia University-- Right across the highway from the clay store. So a quick 2 block alteration to his truck route ended up taking him over an hour and a half. Yikes! I'm glad it's all done now. I get really frustrated when life gets in the way of my clay business plans.
I also re-ordered elements for my Kiln. This time I called Euclid's Elements and they seemed worlds more knowledgeable than the other 3 companies I was talking to.... Really. I hope they arrive today while I am working away from the studio, and that I can get them installed tomorrow.
I really wanted to get an entry made for the Bead Dreams Competition this year.... Last year clay was not ALLOWED to enter! Believe it! Anyway, there was so much hub-bub about it that this year there is a category for clay beads. I was mad about not being able to enter last year so I feel that I need to enter.... I don't think this category is going to last past this year. I don't think all the complainers will actually enter and there aren't really too many clay bead makers out there.... Probably not enough to make what is needed in entry fees to keep the category open. And my Kiln is broken, so I really want to fix it fast since the deadline is coming very quickly. Even if I do fix it in time, I will probably just have one or two firings before I run out of time. But at least I can know that I tried :-)
This weekend I have 3 events! Yeah! I am really excited. I hope to go to a sagger firing movie night, I still need a place for the kiddies for that one. My husband will go to a mushroom growing workshop on Saturday-- which was rescheduled from the blizzard 2 weeks ago. Shitake Mushroom Growing! We are so excited. On Sunday I have a workshop-- slip, terra sigilata, all kinds of slip techniques will be covered... I'll take pictures again :-)
Also I did make an example for the New section of the color challenge. I am going to blog about it tomorrow, along with the prize donated by Mary Harding. Sorry for the delay on that.
My friend Annie said something funny this week. Something like-- Life gives you lessons, This lesson is Kiln repair and maintenance. :-)
It feels like a time of gathering strength, so that when the spring comes I can run!
Ps. All the pendants pictured here are new to my etsy shop.
I hope you are having a great week! Spring has just about arrived in my part of the country. Mud is everywhere! I can't wait to plant the peas. Last year I was shivering and wearing gloves when I planted them. I loved it.

Friday, March 5, 2010

What's new?

I added some new blue to my etsy shop this week. A couple of the pieces are already spoken for-- One was in the mail before I took this photo. Thanks!
Stoneware clay bead set

So What's new? OH boy! I see I haven't blogged here in a while! Sorry about that! Last weekend was the Berks Bead Bazaar in Reading. Thank you so much for coming out! and telling us that you read the blog and you are big fans, that feels so nice! My husband manned my table on Saturday, because I just couldn't figure out how to get everything done otherwise. I was at the show on Sunday, and loved seeing you! I also got to talk with my favorite clay girls, Joan and Lisa. Chatting with those ladies is the best! I hardly stay at my booth when Joan is around! I blogged about the show on the Beads-of-clay blog here--
Monday I spent in the studio making a new mold.... It DID not work! UGGGH! I really hate how quickly pottery plaster goes bad in my damp studio. I wasted an entire day on that mess. And an entire day on the messed up mold I tried a couple of day prior... If I want to try it again, I will need to schedule time for the long drive to the clay store to buy fresh plaster, spend too much money (it always happens that way) and then take another day to re-make the mold. (This will be the third time-- babysitting required) Grrr! I still don't think that I am over it.

Vivid Blue Gypsie Pendant

Oh well, now I think that after hunting down someone to sell me new elements for my kiln, that I have the wrong ones. Blech! I think I should stop telling you all about my week, this is getting pretty lame. No wonder I am so stinking tired!
Vivid Blue Cresent

This week we got two new entries into the Complimentary Section of the Color Challenge On the Beads-of-Clay blog. I blogged about them here-- We have some new writers and new features on the Beads-of-Clay blog, so be sure to check it out!

Vivid Blue Handmade Horizontal Pendant

Today I announced the winner of the Complimentary Section of the color challenge as well. I blogged that here--

Vivid Blue Handworked pendant

There is some more good news too! I got mail! I now have a wonderful new necklace made by the generous Summer Hodgmen! I won her blog contest! This is my second Summer Hodgmen necklace. Who hoo! I already wear the first one all the time! and even when I am not wearing a necklace, perhaps just throwing on my coat and running out the door, I throw on the matching earrings and pretend that I not dressed in studio clothes under my coat :-) It's alright, everybody I know already knows that I'm always a mess. I get more done that way!
I hope you guys are having a great week! I haven't been able to check on anybody's blog in a while.... One day I'll catch up! Ha!