Sunday, December 11, 2011

Studio Mate

Here's a bird's eye view of what it looks like when I start to make a piece. Yesterday morning my cat, Betty, was my studio mate. I've put the blue towel in the window sill because it's a place my cats like to sun themselves in winter, since the window faces South. Betty kept me company until I started rolling out the clay. Then she decided I was making too much noise and getting a little too close for comfort with the rolling pin. I think she may be part Maine Coon cat because she has those tufts of fur between the pads on the undersides of her feet. Betty's about twelve years old now. As I sit here typing she's sitting on the top back of my computer chair, eventually she'll move to the towel I have beside the keyboard. I tried rolling the clay slab on an old sheet, but finally discarded the sheet in favor of the fiberboard. I started using fiberboard when I made work while living and traveling across the country in an RV and it's become a habit now.

Here's the next shrine, niche, or alcove (whatever they may be named) in process. This one's about 13 inches tall by 6 inches wide, taller than the last one but same depth. I can't make these fast enough for the ideas coming out of my head. The colors may seem somewhat dull here, but it took hours to blend the subtle colors of slip on the background. I started brushing with light gray, then overlapped swirls of dark gray, then some lavender, some turquoise, some red, and some dark purple. I did a little blending with my finger tips too. I was envisioning a winter sky. You know how the sky gets a low hanging gray color as an indication of impending snow.

Not sure how these overlapped colors will turn out, we shall see. The outside top and sides are faded black and brown blended together like a rough and worn wooden surface. I see the bottom is a little askew, I'll have to fix that. I want these to sit on a shelf or hang on the wall so I need the bottom to be flat. I'm having a terrible time with the humidity. I used to work in the dry air of California; here, even inside it's humid. Of course the wet clay drying in the closets adds to that.

Here's the second tree shrine. I've done more refining since this photo. The overall look is moody which is the feeling I wanted to capture this time. This tree has more branches and yes my 'signature' roots are on the bottom. What a hoot, as if I have a signature or trademark, but who knows maybe these will be it. The grass growing on the ground has turned brown due to the cold winter air. Still thinking about the moon Teresa suggested. I'll make the next piece wider, not as tall, and perhaps a different style roof. Thanks for reading and for all your comments and encouragement.


  1. Hello Linda:
    We have, of course, fallen in love with Betty as we tend to do with all cats. There is, we feel, something very comforting about cats, dogs too, as they become older for they are, in so many ways, much more settled.

    Your tree 'shrine' is lovely too and especially appealing on account of all of those soft greys and blues which you describe so well and show. A lovely idea.

  2. Thanks for the step-by-step. I love seeing how others put things together. There's a nice evolution going on with your niches.

    Betty looks like she has much better manners than my Dumpster Duo.

    How cold is cold down in FL? It's 24 here. Puddles are frozen, not the pond or pool. It takes a while for them to cool down enough to form ice.

    Happy day!

  3. oooooh! I like the shrine thingies! The tree looks great, too. The lil buddah house is cool, too. You really do so much. How do you find the time for everything?

    I was reading your other posts and I totally relate about not being able to take art classes as a kid. My bff took oil painting every Saturday for years and I wanted to go. My mother would not budge on that or ANY art classes or art materials...NO PAINT allowed kind of thing. It might be for the good though. I would have struggled to make a living all of these years, I am certain, and especially now, in these uncertain economic times...blah...blah...blah. (so depressing)

    I finally took ceramics in high school and was a teacher's aid in art. I would watch them be artists and wished I was one, too.

    I didn't actually "become" an artist until 911, well, the day after.

    I too arrange my veggies or whatever. You can make great patterns when sorting beans for soup....LOL...tmi (grin)

  4. So nice. I have a feeling you'll get a lot of interest with these shrines.
    Have a question about fiberboard. Do you get that at lumber supply stores, and is that what they call it? I use canvass covered boards to roll out slabs, but they sometimes warp.

  5. Hi Jane and Lance, thanks, Betty likes to follow us from room to room and stay real close, when she was younger she was always getting into cabinets and "trouble" as we used to say. Ha.

    I hope those grays show up after firing.

    Hi Smartcat, thanks, Betty is pretty good now but you should have seen her when she was young, quite a curious one for sure. She still opens cabinets just to look inside and she is so small I am always amazed at how she does it.

    We are having 50 at night and 76 during the day all this week, not so cold, we only had one day of cold temps. Last year we were really cold, January may be different though.

    Hi Donna, thanks, so sad to not be allowed to do art as art has such a way of developing problem solving ability patterns in the brain. I once used rice to a picture I did of a turkey when I was a child, kind of like beans too Ha. I remember reading you because an artist after 911 and quite the artistic talent you have, life experiences must have been developing your art internally all that time and it finally came out. Good to hear from you, thanks for stopping by.

    Hi Melissa, thanks, I hope I get a lot of interest. The fiberboard I got at the lumber dept of the big box store and it looks like the same stuff as pegboard without the holes. Here is a link of me rolling a thick slab by hand and you can see the fiberboard beneath. The fiberboard doesn't leave an impression in the clay like the canvas does and it is easily wiped with a sponge, I just make sure it is dry and sometimes I pat the slab of clay with a paper towel if it is too wet and I am using a plastic rolling pin and not a wooden one.

    Ok now I looked it up and it may be called masonite board, not sure which is which but it is the brown stuff that has minute particles of wood presssed under high pressure which make is strong, but lightweight. I don't dry the clay on that board though because it holds the moisture I put the rolled slabs on wallboard afterwards to dry. Hope all that makes sense.

  6. I just checked out that older post. I see a trip to the lumber supply store in my future. I know a contractor who has put aside some small pieces of drywall for me too.


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