Day of the Dead Mugs


Hot out of the kiln.  More Day of the Dead Mugs.

Untitled-1The last time I made them, I didn’t add handles. So of course people asked me to make handles!  These vessels are a grey stoneware.  In hindsight I probably should have used white clay like I did on my first try.  Either way they a plenty funky and plenty fun.



I was even a good girl and loaded them onto my etsy store today. They are officially ready to find a new home :)

Skeleton Mugs



Just dropped these to the kiln today.



I wheel threw the heads and hand-built the bases. Then, I painted them with underglazes.


The first time I made these I didn’t add handles and everyone at my holiday shows said “can you make these with handles?”  Yep. Handles it is!

When they come out of the kiln I will rub them with black underglaze and then apply some regular glazes.  It’s the part I am most nervous about. At this point I am in for many many hours and I can very easily ruin them by choosing or applying the glazes wrong.

I shall hold my breath ;)

Dia de los Muertos – Terminado!


Oh my goodness, when I look at these skulls I can’t help but smile.  They are so silly and playful!

This is not something I had on my to-do list to create, but my friend Christine prompted me and I’m glad she did.  I love them.

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The skull in the center with the heart on the forehead is my favorite.  I think this one I shall keep. My friend was going to load them on Etsy for me, but now she is working full-time, so I may have to sell these at the Narragansett Art Festival this summer…

Hmm…Birds next… Definitely birds!

Dia de Muertos Skulls

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I have a girlfriend that is going to help me start up an Etsy store.  She thought it would be fun to start with a Day of a Dead theme.  I think most of us color loving folk can’t get enough of the Dia de Muertos motifs.  They are just so fun, whimsical and cheery.  Also celebrating our loved ones that have left this earth has a lot of beauty to it.  Pretty cool tradition.  To read more about Dia de Muertos, check out this link:

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I just got the skulls to the final glaze fire.  They should come out very bright and playful…I’ll post their completion.

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I’m also still plugging away at these tiles.  I haven’t shared what they are for yet, but it’s a great idea…just wait and see!

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I start teaching acrylic painting today – Ages 10-14…I’m a little nervous…I’ll share how that goes…

I’ve started a new painting too. When I get far enough into it, I’ll let you see :)


So I went from being snow struck with two bouts of flu, to dusting myself off and getting back into the world.

Feels good. I dare say!!!


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I got it done!

That felt good.

I mentioned yesterday feeling miserable about confronting someone politically on some touchy stuff.

It totally threw off my energy and I was filling my brain with all sorts of scenarios…this could now happen…that could now happen…who supports me…who’s against me….

It’s what my mom calls total EGO.

I was aware of it and knew from a zen perspective I needed to quiet my mind.

I put on some peaceful “yoga” music, had a cup of tea, then decided heading outdoors was the best place to find some peace.

I walked through my neighborhood, studying the falling leaves and breathing in the newly chilled air.


I sat on a glider in my back yard enjoying the birds and squirrels when all of a sudden, I noticed something.

The maple seed pods on my table were all standing up. I thought this was the funniest thing I had ever seen.  Did my son do it? No. I sat and watched.  We have so many maple trees that when the wind blows the sky rains seed pods.  I watched them land.  Some fell perfectly aligned with the holes in the table others blew away.

What a tiny phenomenon. I was just so happy to be the observer of such a pretty thing.


I then went to the front yard to take in the beauty of my rose bushes, one last time before the frost takes them.


The last of my Gaillardia too.  I treated myself to the last of my summer garden and then sat down to get to work.

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I finished this 25″ x 35″ Day of the Dead watercolor and even had time to start on tomorrow’s painting.

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Can you tell what it’s going to be?

No. I’m not telling.

You’ll just have to wait to find out tomorrow!

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Wow. Painting in the skeleton’s face today took longer than I thought.

That’s most likely due to its size (25″ x 35″ inches) and the fact that I had to keep on mixing a ton of different colors.

However, with the color, my subject matter is beginning to emerge!

  I can only imagine how long it is going to take to paint the 50 some-odd beads of the necklace in the foreground!

I also see where I need to add some darker shadows like the entire bottom half of the mug.

Adding the color to the oranges on the left should help balance the focal points and get your eye moving through the painting.


It’s pretty cool creating a still life that incorporates your own work.  In this case my pottery.  It takes personal to a whole new level.  The black and white striped bowl to the left is something I made in pottery as well.

 When I look at the still life, I don’t just think “how nice a weird little mug”.  I think of throwing the vessels, building the face and painting and glazing. I think “Wow, something from pottery class that I didn’t mess up!” I had also mentioned, my glasses and brightly colored necklace are part of my body décor.  I have fun wearing crazy color combinations every day too.  Seeing my things in a still life makes it very personal.

They are a small part of me and each small aspect is a part of being creative.

As usual, I’m thoroughly enjoying the process!

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From the shadows emerges…

…a half-finished painting!

Today was spent painting in the shadows on my 25″ x 35″ still life featuring my day of the dead mug.  I might as well call it a self-portrait of sorts.  I’m known around town for wearing brightly colored trappings.  My rhinestone glasses and multi-colored glass bead necklace are just the beginning.  The pottery studio, where I receive instruction, is filled with cappuccino & earthy colored glazes…and then there’s Mary’s work.  It could probably be confused with Pee-Wee Herman’s!  I’m also infatuated with black and white patterns which you’ll find in bowls, pitchers and fabrics throughout my work.

Yep, this painting features a few of my favorite things.


As usual, Willow likes it.

My daughter thinks it’s the funniest thing.  Every morning we find the cat sitting on my most current work.

Silly cat!

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Tomorrow comes the color…so enjoy the peace and tranquility while you can!

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#290 - the making of a still life (8)

I had a tough time this morning.

I am on day #290 and only today does it feel like I woke up not knowing what I wanted to do.  I’m always teeming with ideas. I have to say it felt quite strange.

First I thought I’d make some mini-paintings.  I’d take a stack of 2″x3″ watercolor paper and see how many tiny paintings I could create in a day.

I wound up staring at tiny blank canvases. I decided to scratch that idea.

Next I took out an art book for inspiration.  The book was “The Artist’s Eye” by Harriet Shorr. If you have a minute, click on her name above.  Check out her work.  It’s amazing. Harriet works VERY LARGE. Roughly 5 feet x 8 feet. Her focus is still-lives.  At such a large size, she works on distorting reality.  Most things are traditional, yet a few unexpected things pop in or out of her paintings.  She is also a bold colorist.  This is why I look at her work when I need inspiration!

Harriet Shorr also uses small numbers of objects, generally around three objects on a GIANT canvas.  She says it’s to focus the eye, yet also let the eye rest.

I started with three objects.  My new day of the dead mug I made in pottery class, an empty Magic Hat #9 beer bottle and a bowl of oranges.

The only problem thus far, is that I’m not Harriet Shorr!  Somehow I wound up adding my favorite eye glasses, a brightly colored glass bead necklace and a paintbrush showing signs of love. Now it began looking more like a Mary Ercoli Walsh!

The idea of working large-scale appealed to me as well. However, I have no place to put something 5 feet by 8 feet, so I went with 25 inches by 35 inches which is still PLENTY BIG bby my standards.

I like to photograph my still lives and this is why, I don’t want to wind up with this:

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A flat still life.  I want the eye to go in and around the objects.  In the olden days, artists would create a small frame and look through the frame to accomplish the same thing a lens does for me.  Figuring out how to crop what you are seeing.  I like to heavily crop objects, so that they then take on a new shape.  I like to focus on the negative space, just as much as the positive.

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Out of the many, many photos that I took, these were the few that personally, held visual interest for me.

Somehow, I picked one from that group and began to sketch it out on the large watercolor paper.

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I left my feet in the photo to give you a visual cue for gauging it’s size.

Tomorrow I should be ready to rock and roll!


I made it through a very mild case of artists block today. It sure is great knowing what I will be working on tomorrow!

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Day # 281 – BOO! POTTERY

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I’m so excited, my Day of the Dead mugs have been bisque fired!

Now that they have been fired you can tell I used white clay (last week they were grey).   I now have to add clear glaze to give them a nice shiny finish.  I also added a different color glaze to each of the mugs interiors.  Had to up the fun-factor!

I have to say though, The top photo of the mugs where they look white, sort of makes me want to create more of these mugs but leave them unpainted.  I like the matte white look. What makes them appear white is the clear glaze I applied.  It’s white now but turns clear when fired in the kiln.

My skull mugs are on their way to being completed!


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Onto my slab-rolled-notch-cut bowls from last week.  They made it through the air drying process which means there’s a good chance they’ll make it through the bisque firing process too.

I gently smoothed out any rough surfaces today and then began painting them with under-glazes.#281 - BOO! (3) #281 - BOO! (2)

I painted two of the five bowls today, so I have three more to paint next week.

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The rest of my pottery session was devoted to starting a new project.

I made QTY. 8 three-inch bowls.

My idea is to connect all of these little bowls to each other to create a jewelry tray.  Currently all of my costume jewelry is sitting in a small tray on my dresser.  It constantly gets tangled because there is nothing separating the pieces.

I plan on adding marbles into the bottom of each bowl.  Here is a sample of the technique by artist PrinceDesignUKRecycled Glass and ceramic Candle plate Rain Forest Leaf Eco Friendly Housewarming New Home Gift Bathroom Accessory Bath Art object vessel. Glass melts to the lowest area in a piece of pottery and generally has a beautiful crackle to it.  I have had quite a few failed attempts at adding glass to the bottom of my ceramics in the past, so I was deliberately looking for a project where I could try again.  You see, if you add too much glass to the bottom of a pottery piece, you run the risk of the glass turning white and opaque.  I’ve done that three times now.  So a marble or a glass pebble is a safe way to go.  It’s a consistently small uniform piece of glass and hopefully they will be a beautiful focal point to my piece.

Over this week, I have to think about whether I want to connect my bowls to a flat clay slab rectangle underneath (like a hand-built tray) or whether I want to keep them all separate and put them in wooden clementine boxes.  The latter would allow me to switch them up, but connecting them all would make the piece quite unique.  Hmm… what to do?  I have until next Tuesday to make my decision.

If you had seen my clothes today, then you’d know I had a fun day.  I was good and dirty!

But just like we say to kids, if by the end of the day you’re a total mess, it’s a sign you played hard!

I loved every minute of it!

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