Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ornaments and Cut Outs

There was discussion about making cookie cutter ornaments on Ron's blog. How some potters may consider something made so easily or simply as not really art. But recently I had several folks purchase my ornaments saying they were the most beautiful pieces they had ever seen and they loved them. Those were the turquoise crackle snowflakes with carving which didn't sell at the last show. So who knows. I sold more ornaments at my yard sale. Now Gary is taking them to the flea markets. Yes flea markets, they are big in Florida in fall, winter, and spring. I won't even tell you how much I'm selling them for.

These first two ornaments I used for my first raku firing with a group of local potters. I carved some lines in the clay, bisqued them, then layered on multiple raku glazes to complement the shape of the leaf and acorn hoping to learn what the glazes would do during the firing.

Last year I made these leaf ornaments so I could test glazes in my new kiln. They came out so nice I decided to sell them. Folks are raving about these.

Earlier this year I made these leaf forms to test underglazes. I used a coleus leaf and cut out the shape with a needle too. Then I hand painted the underglaze and later glazed them in a clear. I'm selling these or give them as gifts and folks love them too. Some folks use them for ornaments and some use them as pendants. I wish I had made hundreds of these since I think they would look wonderful grouped on a tree with just red and pale green complementary colors.

Years ago in my high fire days I used leaves as test tiles. If they turned out they were spoon rests. This is a hollyhock leaf made with soldate 60 glazed with ohata kaki.

If they didn't turn out I used them in wind chimes for my own use. Here's another leaf with a crawled green to satin black glaze on black mountain clay.

Above is jensen blue on rod's mix and below is a tin foil saggar, barrel fired leaf I experimented with. It could be an ornament. Ok here's another confession I use miniature cookie cutters for pendants. I test clays and glazes on those too. I also make refrigerator magnets people are loving those too. One person told me if I sold the same magnet in Vermont during the summer I could get $20 more for it. Twenty dollars more for a magnet. To be fair the magnet was one of my test floral pieces carved with glass melted on top of the glaze. Geez, if only I could afford the fuel up there. Maybe next year.

One magnet purchaser has commissioned me to make all the knobs for her kitchen remodel and she's buying a large serving bowl with four matching bowls for a wedding present. So I'm making ornaments, magnets, and cut outs of clay and Gary's selling them every day. Gary says I'm good at making and he's good at selling. Working as a team we're staying afloat. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.


  1. Just don't go back to making store bought dish totems haha!!!
    When I was teaching at the Artscenter, every fall the studio would fill up with leaf ornaments, including mine. There is just something about leaves falling on the ground, you want to make something when you see them! They lend themselves well to raku don't they?

  2. These are wonderful. All the various ways they can be used should make them good sellers. And how nice, that you and Gary make such a good team.

  3. Hello Linda:
    Well, we are not the least bit surprised that people like your leaves. The wide variety of shapes and coloured glazes is truly amazing and, as you say, they do look extremely decorative. Wonderful for tree decorations.

    And, so lovely to read that you and Gary complement each other with your skills. A strong partnership is so good in these difficult times. May the cash registers continue to ring merrily for you!!!

  4. I have made Christmas ornaments on the wheel before, and I have been toying around with making magnets and cabinet pulls for a while. I never thought of using them as glaze tests though. I am going to have to borrow that idea.

  5. i have made raku magnet a few time and they have rarely sold... i ended up giving them away or putting them on my own fridge.
    i remember how big flea markets are in Florida from my parents time there as snowbirds. we always went to the flea market at least once when we visited.

  6. I love them! I just bought some...going to use them in a mosaic. Bought them when I was in Gatlinburg. If I need more, I know where I can get some..:)

  7. Hi Tracey, thanks, oh I didn't buy the dishes and make the totems, I got antique glass at thrift stores and made garden totems with them. I do love the leaves all season long, the veins are so intricate and make beautiful patterns I could never duplicate so well.

    Hi Teresa, thanks, yes we are mutt and jeff as a team, not sure who is which, Ha. Perhaps we switched rolls depending upon the circumstance.

    Hi Lance and Jane, thanks, yes nature is much admired by so many and Gary and I are lucky to complement each other so well and while he is away, he is out of my hair and I can make more.

    Hi Rob, thanks, yes I thought the cut outs made nice test tiles and they look nice hung up on a test tile board in the studio. If you get tired of looking at them you can always sell them, Ha.

  8. Hi Michele, thanks, yes they are big here and especially now that the economy is so poor.

    Hi Turquoisemoon, thanks, if you send me your mailing address via email I will send you some broken pieces for your mosaics just for the shipping cost instead of throwing them away.

  9. Love your leaves. I think it's all about the small items. They make it possible for a person to easily participate in your artistic expression. These are the kinds of items I love most.

  10. Loved the pics! Good luck with your sales!

  11. Hi Michele, thanks, you have expressed something so very wise and important and I thank you for your comment - paraphrasing here "These are the things which make it possible for a person to easily particpate in artistic expression; these are the kinds of items I love the most".

    You have so succinctly put into words the gist of what this discussion about craft and art making is all about and the root of what is important. If a common man cannot or is not exposed to even basic or elemental expressions of art how can they hope to appreciate, to learn about, to wonder about, to hope, to wish to know about, the monumental pieces of art, the michealangelo, the picasso, on so on. It's all about growth, sharing, and knowledge of humaness.

    And one other caveat is if a person does purchase a leaf and take it home and it brings them or the recipient a small amount of pleasure in a life, a glimmer of hope or beauty as they struggle through each day then it, this lowly piece of expression, has done it's job, I have done my job, and I've succeeded in more than I so often times realized.

    Thanks for the reminder.

  12. Hi Gigi, thanks, Gary had another good day today at the flea market, things are looking up in so many ways.

  13. Using leaves for test tiles is a terrific idea. They are all good but, the glaze on the raku leaves is incredible.

    Lovely thoughts about the pleasures of art.

  14. Hi Smartcat, thanks, yes lovely thoughts about the pleasure of art, when all else fails if we can only fall back on art and all of its trappings, then all is not lost.

  15. there is something intriguing about leaves - great idea to use them as glaze tests. Cookie cutters can be really useful, especially if you can find an unusual one. Not so different to a tile cutter and who would have a problem with those? Congrats on the commission for the kitchen, well done!

  16. Hi Anna, thanks, yes I do love the leaves and their vein patterns can be immortilized in clay; one of these days I'll get myself a tile cutter, then my tiles will be easier to make. Yeah who knew, the customers are giving me ideas.


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