Art Camp 2016 D.O.D.


By far the most favorite project of camp – Oversized Day-of-the-Dead Skulls!

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Because time was limited, I cut out the outer skull.  The rest was up to them.  Ready…Set…Grab your glue guns!!!!

I showed them the trick to making the facial features 3-D.

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We dowsed them in white paint to give ourselves a blank canvas…

And then the fun began!


I’m pretty sure many a tween bedroom will now be adorned in sugar skulls!

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 ;)


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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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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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I just can’t wait!!!  I LOVE THESE MUGS!!!

I could never sell them for the amount of hours they took me to engrave and paint, so these will be keepers.  Wahoo!

I won’t even tell you how many hours I spent painting them.  It’s ridiculous.

Now for those of you who are not too involved with the pottery process, let me tell you a few things.  First, although the clay looks gray, it is white clay, so it will fire white which will give me the white of my Dia De Los Muertos themed skulls.  The glazes I am using are not traditional glazes.  Traditional glazes are adhered after the pottery has been bisque fired (bisque is the first of two firings).  So these are called under glazes. They go on while the clay is still wet, they get bisque fired and when they come out the will have a dry matte finish.  I then have the option to dip the mugs in a clear glaze and fire them a second time to make them glossy and less susceptible to staining.  This is what I will do.  It is also why when you share kilns with a hundred other people, the entire process takes 3-4 weeks.  If all goes well, I’ll be sipping hot coffee out of my skull mugs on Halloween night!

It was a nerve-wracking ride back to the pottery studio today.  The drier an unfired piece of clay gets, the more brittle it gets.  Rhea, my pottery instructor, thought for sure I’d have a catastrophe, but fear not, I drove ten miles per hour, aggravating the entire town, until I safely arrived at the studio.  They are now sitting safely on the rack by the kiln.  So if anything happens, I’m blaming PLUM POTTERY EAST! hee hee hee.  That’s horrible to say, accidents do happen.  I’m just thankful for the ones not caused be myself!

So this concludes today’s creativity challenge.  I am still sick with body aches from yesterdays fever, so again, I’m off to bed early.  I hope to start a new painting tomorrow, so I better conjure up some energy.

Good Night.

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I am loving these mugs!

They are so happy and make me laugh!  Now all I need to add is all the color to the pattern and they should be perfectly “Mary”!


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Last week at pottery I threw these mugs on the pottery wheel with no problem after being away from pottery for three months.  It felt great!


This week, in the classroom, I added the handles, eyes and mouths.  That in itself took me three hours, so I took them home to carve the decorations and tomorrow I will paint all the details.  These are supposed to resemble the sugar skulls from the Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico.

The only risk I run now, is driving them back to the pottery studio in one piece.  They are extremely fragile before firing…wish me luck!


I also added a few more finishing touches to my giant painting.  The eyelets and shoelaces to the sneakers as well as a second layer of feathers to the feather duster.   NOW IT’S FINISHED OFFICIALLY!

I have a fever, aches, pains and a runny nose care of my kiddos.  I’m off to have a cup of soup and slip into bed.


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