Wednesday, November 15, 2017


wood, clock kit, sandpaper, stain & wood burning tool kit

Senior Shreya Sheth wanted to try her hand at clock making and putting it on wood.
I believe she was inspired by one she had seen on the Internet.
And because she had an Independent Study Art course with me,
she could go wherever she wanted as long as she created art everyday.
I bought her a couple disks of wood and off she went.
I really liked the touch of woodburning that she chose to bring into the two pieces she made.
Both clocks sold instantly at Open House.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017



Just recently while browsing the internet,
I found Jackie Abrams
and her contemporary work in Basketry.
Her pieces spoke to me & it was love at first sight.
In the 1980's I was into making traditional baskets,
but Jackie's work is so much more alive and inspirational.
I would love to take a few of her workshops.
Perhaps in retirement  :)  
I hope you enjoy her work as much as I do.

Not Your Mother's Coiling

Collect & Connect

Recycle and Repurpose

Sunday, November 12, 2017


oil pastels on black construction paper with graphite accents

Put Oil Pastels in 7th graders hands after a quick demo. and watch them take off.
They love them and visa versa!
Let me show you.

Everyone was really impressed that Pearl Wang turned hers into an ornament,
and created such nice branches as a backdrop,
even managing to put the required cast shadow into those branches.

And Heer Patel went for the extra credit
by Zentangling with a blunt pencil after laying down her background.

Bhumika Kalaimalai created so much movement in her backdrop,
while putting in a lot of value into both her sphere and foreground.
Then balancing her exciting back by bringing texture into her foreground.

We all loved the amazingly realistic teal sphere that Eric Liao put down.

And Tiffany Cheng brings in so much wonderful texture into all sections. 

And very brave Anisha Hemnani was super successful trying her hand at pointilism.

Let these sweet 7th graders know what you think of their work.  
They get so excited to see your comments!

Friday, November 10, 2017


Over the years I've featured many posts of alumni Josh Berger's Succulent Garden
 that he started for me in the empty dirt space that was next to my classroom.
That was probably about 4 years ago now,
possibly 5.
So I was looking back myself last night 
at how much it has thrived and filled in since this second year photo
and knew I wanted to share the beauty of it all.
These first three pix are of the garden's 2nd spring 
when the Narcissus, Daffodils and Amaryllis were coming up or in bloom.
Still a lot of dirt /negative space showing.

This was our recent spring 2017,
and just look at how filled up the garden has become.
At how the Amaryllis have multiplied.
It has actually become so crowded with succulents that I'm starting to give pieces away.  
So if you live close by,
drop on over, 
get a visitor's pass from the office and let's get a succulent garden started at your home.

Thursday, November 9, 2017


Often it takes me awhile to get to things,
like these pictures my son sent me last fall,
from his visit to his almost brother and sister-in-law in Dallas.
(hey, I'm only a year late  ha ha)
They visited a gardens there in the city that was decked out for the Fall season.
I wish I remembered the name of the place.
Perhaps one of you out there is familiar with it.
What a cool place!
I hope you enjoy seeing the pictures he shot.

Thanks Zach for sharing your trip with me.
Autumn has always been my favorite season of the year.

Wednesday, November 8, 2017


clay, sawdust firing & embellishments

I'm always sharing with you the student's favorite projects,
well this is one of mine.
I've been teaching the Pueblo Pottery technique off and on since the mid 1980's.
I saw it first hand when I traveled thru small pottery villages in Mexico
as a college student in the late 1970's,
not only the making of it but the primitive firing techniques as well.
I began collecting pieces to teach with and hope to one day own a Maria Martinez pot
from our own Southwest.
I've watched videos of Maria working and firing 
so I can teach this in an authentic way. 

My favorite student piece from last school year was this one by sophomore Olivia Kruger.
The way the flames and carbon licked and embedded into her pot is so sensory.
The ragged lip is sensational as well,
making it really feel from the earth.
And the clay beads she made to embellish with along the side walls is the perfect finishing touch.
Bravo Olivia!

These next two cuties were made by senior Marjorie Balaoro.
She enjoyed the process so much that she did a second one.
The blue beads against the dark backgroud really make the pieces pop!

If you are noticing a slight sheen to these pieces it's because after they come out of the ash,
we wash them off and then apply a thick layer of a glue and water mixture to seal them.
It really brings the surface coating alive.

Now check out this masterpiece by senior Eunice Shim.
Love, love love all that she embellished with.
Braiding multiple waxed linens together,
finding natural jute and braiding it with yarns,
and then the ultimate,
using the dried flowers I save along the top edge.
Brilliant critical thinking Eunice!
I miss you.

And oh my,
what do we have here?
Two gorgeous little works by good friends,
juniors Ylia Madayag & Vincent Nguyen.
Both so lovely and delicate feeling.
I was lucky enough that Ylia decided to sell hers at Open House
 so I snatched it up to teach with this year.
I love to show students outstanding examples of their peers works.

Oh boy,
check out this cool one by junior Sarah Oh.
Loved the irregular off-balance lip and how she scalloped it.
And look at all the fun embellishing she wove and stitched on as well.

We end with this sweet one by senior Ashley Iseri.
I'm so sorry it's a bit blurry.
But it was defiantly a must include work for next years students to inspire them with.
So neat how she thought to hang it instead of stand it.
See how she incorporated those little coil handles on either side
 because she knew right from the get go that she wanted to hang it.

Remarkable pieces all of you.
Thank you always for your incredible effort that you bring to the table everyday.

Tuesday, November 7, 2017


clay, oxides & glazes

These two slab wraps were left out of the post from October 1
and I wanted to make sure they were viewed.
Made by seniors Vinaini Jayasinghe & Eunice Shim,
they really reminded me of gnarled old tree trucks.

Monday, November 6, 2017


glass shards & grout on wooden frames

Looking for the perfect fitting piece of glass is so very satisfying when finally found 
and glued down into place.
Let's take a look see at the many outstanding designs done last school year by my beginners.
One of the class favorites was created by junior Rachel Kannampuzha
with her adorable elephant and it's balloon on this heart shaped frame.

I get the wood frames for a dollar apiece at Michael's,
 plus they give me a 40% off teacher discount.
Oh yeah!!  What a great deal.
Now the glass is another matter.
I salvage a lot of it by dumpster diving on the weekends,
and when I get desperate I take myself up to Whittier to our local stained glass store.
There they have big bins of broken pieces that I sift thru for those hard to find colors the kids like
paid for by the pound.
I also thrift broken china and shatter it even more.
You can see pieces of that in senior Vicky Hur's cool frame above.
Donations are also welcomed.
I received some broken vase forms recently from a student's grandma.
Estate sales are another way I pick up hard to find colors and patterns.

I tell the kids my Saturdays are spent entirely thrifting.
My husband and I love going up to the Dump Store on our Mountain 
for some really amazing finds,
and we try to get to all the thrift stores on the mountain as well.
Speaking of thrifting,
English teacher Donna Hall went thru some of her jewelry and china to find the perfect pieces
 to complement each other for these next two frames (above & below).
I believe she turned out a total of 4 frames in the time it took the kids to do one.
Or maybe it was 3,
I've lost track.
ha ha
The reason you are seeing flowers and petals inside the frames
 is because they were photoed on the walls at Open House time 
and the kids like to embellish the walls with dried flowers.

I apologize for the quality of these next two photos.
My camera seems to be on the fritz lately,
maybe because I spilled water all over it,
but anyways,
these two pieces by 8th graders Dylan Lin and Selina Luo are really colorful
and I wanted to be sure to share them.

I also really enjoyed this one by 8th grader Karen Hung.
Love all the grey tones she was able to get
 by collaging newsprint under clear and slightly yellowed glass.

Senior Crystal Lai-Ton-Nu sold her beauty at Open House.
Her design was so unique and lovely.

And junior Lynette Lee had another of the class's favorites,
these stalks of bamboo.
And what a shame my camera wasn't able to capture it better.
Sorry Lynette. 

We all loved junior Margaret Yiu's delicate design.
Such patience she has to pull this off!

And check out the sweet mushroom on lower right corner
 that senior Julie Ahn cleverly put in.
And what soft pretty colors as well.

And this last gorgeous one was #3 by Donna.
She made it for me and I couldn't be more thrilled with it.
Check out the sweet bird's nest in lower right corner,
and the dragonfly in center top.
She knows,
 after being in my class all last year and listening to my stories that I tell the kids,
that dragonflies and birds have a special meaning to me.
Thank you so my Donna for this heartfelt gift,
for making the time to take my class, 
for putting up with me and so much more.
I loved working with you and really enjoyed watching you fly.
Donna didn't know I took her pix,
but I couldn't resist.
My room is super cold so it's nice to sit out on the bench to warm up a bit.
I'm not sure which of the projects she was working on here,
but once she gets into what she's doing,
she becomes lost in her art.
Last year she was known to have stayed until 9:00 at night in my room working on her pieces.
She and her work were much admired by all.
We love you Ms. Hall!!!

Sunday, November 5, 2017


to my beautiful son Zach.
I couldn't be more proud of you or thrilled for the life you have built for yourself.
You fill my heart with joy everyday.
I love you so very much,
and hope all your dreams and wishes come true.

Thursday, November 2, 2017


One of my favorite things about teaching where I do 
is that we are a 6 year Middle/High School,
and  I get to watch my sweet and squirrelly 7th graders grow up to their young adult selfs.
Because my room is open everyday at lunch and after school,
my ex-students frequently drop in for a visit to touch bases,
to get a hug and a smile.
These 3 cuties,
newly 9th graders that I taught in both 7th and 8th grade,
James Lara, Leanne Alcoy and Daisy Camacho all dropped in today to say hey.
I took these pix of them last school year,
having saved them for what I wasn't sure,
but today after they dropped by it seemed the perfect time to show them off.
Thanks you 3 for thinking of me fondly and wanting to stop in to let me know.
And taking the time and wanting to walk the room 
to see the current students work hanging on the walls,
and to be able now to truly appreciate all the effort they are putting into my classes.
So grown up!