Monday, July 27, 2009

SACRED SHARDS: Work Play Work Play

I've been working at play, playing at work, working and playing at clay for the past several weeks. Putting in many 9-10 hour days doing something I love to prepare for two artisan shows coming up:
  • Stonington Village Fair: Saturday 8/1/09, 10 AM-4PM, Stonington Village Green, CT
  • Mystic Outdoor Art Festival: Saturday 8/8 10AM-6PM & Sunday 8/9/09 10AM-5PM. Look for my SACRED SHARDS booth in the parking lot of "You've Got to Be Beading" near the Mystic Post Office, Mystic, CT.
These are TOUCH STONES from my WORD WISE collection, ready to go into the kiln for a first firing (bisque). Then they'll be glazed, high fired and packaged for the shows.

Each is a little mantra to hold in your hand, wear around your neck, put in your pocket, hang from your rearview mirror or use to create something of your own. There will be dozens of words to choose from. Or you can combine several to make a unique statement.

Each comes with a length of colored cotton cord, a small organza bag, and a tiny card with quotes inside.

In the photo above are prototypes at several new items: hand built bowls available with Om symbol, chai (hebrew not tea), or hearts; spiral-design napkin rings; and tiny nests to wear as pendants or display close at hand. The nests can be customized with initials on the eggs to represent those who share your home nest and a small inscription on the back.

After working out tricks and details for putting these items together smoothly and consistently, I've made more. Each item is hand built and individually signed. No two are exactly alike.

The first wave can be seen ready to bisque fire in the photo below.

The photo above shows the bottom shelf of the kiln loaded for bisque firing.

Two more layers of greenware (dry unfired ceramics) to bisque fire in the same load.

Drying shelves hold 9 vessels and a stack of napkin rings awaiting their turn in the kiln. 75% humidity has slowed drying to nearly a standstill. I'll probably not be able to have these ready by the first show, the smaller of the two. With luck by the second.

All of this is just the tip of the iceberg, a small representation of the work and play that's part of making things I care about to share with others.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

SACRED SHARDS: Documenting Recent Work

Too long I've been making things and selling them or giving them as gifts without taking pictures or making sketches for future work.

Today I set up a make-shift photo booth in a well illuminated part of the house, got out my "good-enough" cheap digital camera, and started documenting my work.

This heart shaped bowl and matching ladle will be a gift for a family member and his bride, getting married this weekend.

I'll be making more in the coming weeks for sale on Etsy, in local shops, at LUNCH shows and in my art show booth. Wanted to make sure I could remember what these looked like since I won't have them on hand as samples.

Taking and editing these photos was also a useful practice run for the things I need to do for my Etsy online store and for my own website. They will go into my file of potential work samples to use when approaching retail outlets and and artisan shows.

A bowl made for a baby girl, now a two-year-old and feeding herself. Took me a while to finish it and photograph it before giving it to her. Bad Auntie Kay. Still, it's great for finger foods and reheating little portions.
A couple of adults have told me they wanted one for themselves--customized with their own name or a special word--so I'll probably be making them in a variety of sizes and colors.
This one is about 5 inches across and 2 inches high.

A similar bowl was made for a baby boy family member, but I didn't take a picture of it before giving.

I also made sketches and took measurements today so the next go around will be easier. I jotted down notes on glazes, processes, and where the JPGs of these images can be found on my computer.
All this was time consuming, but I'm hopeful that by honoring past effort in this way--by documenting it--the process of making many more will go more smoothly, and perhaps lead to new ideas that otherwise might have been lost.

(c)2009 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

SACRED SHARDS: Completely Glazed Over

Look what the kiln elves did overnight! Pretty colors!

Some sale-able items for this summer's craft shows. A few gifts. Lots of experimental stuff (mugs, etc.). And a couple of keepers.

Batter bowl (upper right), Peace Dove ornaments, Word Wise bowl with hearts (peeking from under shelf), ... and hiding on the bottom shelf where I can't see them, surprises!

Going now to unload the kiln and see what I've got!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


The little kiln that could. She's an L&L kiln. Needs a name. I'll call her Lana, as in Lana Lang. Powered by meteor rocks.
Finished glazing and loading this afternoon. Firing initiated at about 3:45 PM.
Here's what's inside. There's another layer below the one visible at on the lower right.

And here's what it looked like just a little while ago, glowing amiably in the darkness of the basement. Alien Power Source at work.
Temperature read-out on its way up, with the glow under the kiln lid showing through.

The glow under the lid and between the kiln's sections projects onto the basement walls in stripes of yellowish orange, but my camera's shutter speed doesn't go slow enough to capture this.

The picture above was taken over an hour ago. By now, it's probably reached Cone 5 and is on it's way back down.

I'll be able to open it tomorrow. It's always like opening a surprise package.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

PREPARATION: Clearing Clutter

Clearing away clutter provides the physical and mental space to spark the next creative explosion.

Friday, February 6, 2009

SACRED SHARDS: Body Wisdom Displayed

My first ever torso sculpture, "Body Wisdom" above, was fired in the first load in my new kiln.

Last Saturday morning I put "Body Wisdom" into the Hygienic Art Gallery's thirtieth annual Salon des Independants Show. This is a sort of art free-for-all whose motto is "No Judge, No Jury, No Fees, No Censorship." What better place to break some rules and break new artistic ground for myself.

It was the first time I'd shown my work simply to make a statement, as opposed to displaying work with potential customers in mind.
I designed a display card using Photoshop to place with the sculpture.

The display card repeats the words encircling the top and bottom of the vessel. Between these it adds words taken from my song "El Dia de los Muertos" for a reflection on the relationship between body and spirit.

Beneath the title the card reads:


Doctors diagnose
with speculum and stethoscope
take blood in vials
make patient files
Look within!
I'm more than these.


"El Dia de los Muertos" was written several years ago, but I feel the linking of its sentiments to an earthen vessel made by hand just a few months ago to be grounding, healing, hopeful. The words in bold type stand guard between my own physical vessel of Self and the practiced guesswork of MDs.

Other elements of the display are equally emblematic.

The pink scarf is wrapped around the display box as an expression of solidarity with women engaged in the fight against breast cancer. By extension, it is also symbolic of the power of a caring embrace to ease human physical suffering.

[Lest some worry about my health, let me say that I'm generally in good repair.]

The brown wooden box the sculpture rests upon represents the sturdy structure of medical knowledge, a structure left empty inside to reflect the medical community's traditional neglect of the things beyond the physical.

We are not simply body or spirit. We are both. We are an integrated whole.

Health and illness are equally mysterious.

I am more than these.
We each are.
Look within!

(c)2009 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing

Monday, January 26, 2009

Sharpie Luggage

2 hours to wait in an airport + 1 silver sharpie marker + 1 cheap carry on bag = TADA! Art on Wheels

Would have done more but the sharpie was already mostly used up and ran out of ink. Will pack a fresh one for next time.

As it was, I so focused on what I was doing that I nearly missed the boarding call for my plane.

While I worked (played), the public address system intoned repeatedly:

"Attention airline passengers. Increased security measures require that all passengers maintain close personal contact with their items at all times. Unattended items will be promptly removed by law enforcement personnel. Additionally, report all suspicious items or activities immediately to airport personnel. Your safety is our priority."

Close personal contact with my items? Hmmm.

Though I certainly was attentive to my carry-on bag, did this qualify as a suspicious activity?

Got some funny looks as I sat on the floor scribbling on my bag, but no one reported me.

(c)2009 Kay Pere ~ Effusive Muse Publishing