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Friday, June 29, 2012

Art in Dallas

Chihuly piece in Dallas Museum of Art
I recently joined my husband on a business trip to Dallas and I made a few art stops during my first visit to Texas. I really enjoyed the Dallas Museum of Art a lot. It was much larger than I expected and I strolled through over a few hours. There was one exhibit, Form/Unformed, that showcased some of the museum's more modern collection of furniture and similar items. I really enjoy handmade furniture and furnishings so I was pretty excited to stumble on that.

Paper cranes inside Crowe Collection

Right across the street was the Crowe Collection of Asian Art, which was pretty small but still really nice to walk through. Across the street yet again is a sculpture park, but between 100+ temps and already strolling two museums, I decided to call it a day after seeing the awesome Crowe Collection.

Plate in Dallas Hilton Anatole
One of the most impressive pieces I saw was actually in the hotel lobby where my husband was for work. The Hilton Anatole is decorated inside with so much Asian art it's almost hard to believe you are just at a hotel. We came across a giant plate from China that measures over 7' across, making it the largest known plate. Of course as a potter I was stunned with awe and just looked at it and the intricate detail on it for quite some time. I didn't really expect one of the more memorable pieces to be in a hotel lobby.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

The new studio- a rough draft

The new studio is still very much s work in progress, but here's a quick look at what's happening in my small space. There's nothing like moving into a roughly 100 sq ft space to make you realize how much crap you have.

I still need to get at least two more shelving units, that will help this various pile in the corner shown above. It's all boxes of pots and items for events.

I want to put on of the shelving units on the right side of my wheel so I have plenty of space at my fingertips to put freshly made pots.

I'll keep you updated at things progress and start to look a little more orderly, comfy, and pretty. :)

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Keeping the pottery studio floor clean

I recently blogged about my new studio and the flooring I put down to help control clay dust. In addition to this and maintaining the cleanest environment I've ever worked in, I found a great way to clean my floors without kicking up dust from sweeping before mopping. The old Swiffer Sweeper! I bought it and the dry cloths do a good job at grabbing dust on the floor, though it can leave some of the larger clay chunks for me to pick up by hand. After I use the dry cloth on the floor I swap it out for a wet cloth and do a quick mop job. It has left the studio floor clean and free of any dust from the pottery studio. Vigilance will be key in maintaining a spotless environment, but if that's what it takes to get me a home studio, I'm happy to do it.

Friday, June 22, 2012

ICA in June

This month I took a field trip with Boston Handmade member Kerry Hawkins to the ICA in Boston. It was a pretty quick visit, a lot of the space was closed while preparing for the most current exhibit. We did take a nice stroll through though, with me remembering a lot of the works from the vinyl exhibit I went to last year, which by the way was amazing. There were some new pieces, but I can't show them to you because no pics were allowed. Boo hoo. The lobby still had the amazing piece by Swoon, which I feel in love with when I saw it back during the vinyl exhibit. There is an exhibit by painter Charline Von Heyl, though it dodn't do much for me personally. Simply not a style I'm drawn to, but that's okay, you may be.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

For the new studio: vinyl floor over carpet

So in the search for our new apartment the place that best fit us did not have have hardwood floors in bedroom #2, aka my new studio. While it was what I wanted to help keep dust down, the home for us has carpeted bedrooms. Vacuuming in a ceramic studio is a no-no, unless you have a certain (expensive) filter on your vacuum, so I needed to be able to mop regularly, even daily, and often times multiple times in a day. But no problem about the carpet, I had a plan!

A studio doesn't need to be beautiful (though bonus points if it is), it needs to be functional. So what to do? How about a giant sheet of vinyl flooring placed over the carpet as sort of a giant, fitted rug? To be clear, this  vinyl floor is NOT attached to the carpeted floor underneath. It's something I can pull up in seconds when I vacate the space to reveal a clean carpet below. The carpet I laid this on top if isn't quite burbur, but it's definitely not the average fluffy carpet, it's pretty flat and tough. I knew it could handle my plan because of it's sturdiness.

I got a 12' sheet of vinyl floor cut to fit my room and hauled it home. At the store the cost range for flooring was $.35/sq ft to $1.30/sq ft and the difference in quality is very dramatic. Because I need this to hold up to wear and tear, especially if it's not going to be properly laid, I went with the sturdiest and most expensive option they had.

The floor was put down and fitted with a razor, cutting through easily. The edges were pushed under the molding around the room and sealed along the edges to the wall with duct tape. It sounds ugly but they have lots of colorful options available these days, so it's actually kind of a nice accent to the wood grain floor, though most of it is hidden by items. I made this work for myself in my ceramic studio but I think it would work well for any artist who works out of their rented home and needs to maintain a clean space.

Monday, June 18, 2012

No-sew tablecloths

I've been wanting to upgrade my tablecloths for my booth for a while but couldn't find anything I really liked that was also versatile enough for my needs so I decided to make my own. I bought materials to make myself two large green tablecloths and two white accent cloths to place on top. Since these cloths are no-sew ( I currently have no sewing machine. Right now new studio costs are trumping buying gadgets.) I also bought a pack of fusible tape to hem the edges. All of my materials cost me about $80. I don't think this is bad considering I got exactly what I wanted and it will fit any table I use at an event.

The green cloths are made to hang low enough to cover the entire table to the ground, even if the table is on risers, and also large enough to accommodate a longer table. Clips will hold the excess fabric out of the way and off the ground when I am using my usual 5 foot tables or no table risers. I bought cuts of white burlap to go on top of the green fabric. I like the look of my pottery on white tablecloths so I wanted to get another fabric to place on top of the larger cloths. The burlap was perfect, giving the brightness I was looking for but still having a rustic look I favor.

I cut each of the sheets of fabric I brought home in half and got to work. I had originally planned on hemming the burlap, but I decided that it would be very messy using the fusible tape and also that I liked the frayed edges. I dotted superglue along the edges of the weave every few inches so the piece won't fray over time.

The green tablecloths are huge and took a few hours to iron out wrinkles and hem, but again, I think this project was worth the money and work. The fusible tape is very easy to use, start by setting your iron on your correct fabric setting. I like to work in sections about 2' long, beginning at a corner and making my way around the cloth.

The tape is a little tacky, so it will stick to the fabric a bit before it is actually fused. Place the tape along the edge of the fabric in the section you are working on and tear it off when you get to the end of this section. Go back to the beginning and carefully fold your edge over, sticking the tape to the fabric to create your hem. Depending on your material you may need to work this part in smaller sections within your 2' section. Place your hot iron over your folder seam and hold it for the length of time your product recommends. Mine suggested 20 seconds, but I found that to be too much so I called it good at about 15 seconds and the tape held just fine. I like to pay special attention to the corners and put a bit of extra tape there.

I got to try out my new tablecloths at Downtown Crossing on Friday and they looked great! I'm very happy with the results and am glad that I finally have my new tablecloths!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Needham Farmers Market

Yesterday was the very first Needham Farmers Market and the town came out in full support! Many shoppers arrived before it began at 1, taking the suggestion of coming early for the best selection to heart. The town center was swarmed with shoppers, nearly everyone carrying a purchase, and from my booth I saw lots of great produce being carried around; lettuce, leeks, strawberries, tomatoes. I wasn't able to sneak away from my tables until nearly the end of the event, and many farmers were already long sold out of the produce they brought. I asked one empty booth if they had anything left. I was told one pound of beef and a piece of asiago cheese. I did end up bringing home a jalapeno plant and a tomato plant. Not quite what I was hoping for, but exciting none the less, and good for the farmers for doing so well.

The shoppers supported me as well, I met many nice people from town and had a good day of sales, even parting with a few of my very favorite pieces. I'm excited the event was such a success for everyone and that it was so supported by the town. I wish there was a market while I still lived in Needham, I missed it by a week and a half! There is however a market here in Grafton, my new town, and their season begins later this month. I'm currently exploring CSA options, so the farmers market will be a good substitute in the meantime. I'm excited to get out there and meet some of these farmers and other neighbors.

The artists at the Needham market are being rotated, each week featuring two different people. I will be back again October 14 and will be sharing a tent with my friend Pat Brazill. I'll be making my debut at the Grafton market on August 30 and will be back there again on September 20 and October 11. See you then, don't forget your reusable bags!

Wednesday, June 06, 2012

a favorite artist- Yumiko Kayukawa

I've been in love with the work of Yumiko Kayukawa for around ten years or so and want to share her awesomeness with you. She's been a favorite of mine since I first saw her work in Juxtapoz. Her style is unique and signature, blending Asian themes with a definite pop style.

Tuesday, June 05, 2012

See you soon gifts

With my recent departing of the studio I've been at for five and a half years and the artists building it sits inside, some friends gave me some things to congratulate me on my new journey ahead. Three of them were handmade by my friends and are too awesome not to share.

Fellow Gorse Mill potter Susan Goldman gave me this tool she made, a wire cutter made with a piece of wood she whittled. My new studio isn't up and running just yet so I haven't been able to try it out but I'm very excited to. She suggested using it to cut out my yarn bowls, I'm curious to check it out!

Another handmade item given to me was this card made by a co-worker at the studio I am leaving, Amber Dorval. She stitched fabric to the front and secured it closed with colored bakers twine and buttons she made. Amber had a lot of super nice things to say so her card had extra pages added inside, and was more of a small book. I love it.

Chain maille jeweler Pat Brazill from down the hall at the studio gave me this gorgeous bracelet she made of bronze. Pat knows I have a metal allergy and discovered that most people like me aren't affected by bronze so she wanted to give me this piece. It's more beautiful than the photo shows and I can't wait to wear it, packing/moving/unpacking hasn't seemed like the time to put it on just yet.

I love my new gifts from my friends, and they are 'see you soon' gifts, not 'going away' gifts, since I will definitely see all these ladies again soon. Thanks crafty friends! xoxo