Wednesday, September 20, 2017



The last time we saw this loom,
the Whitney Community had just finished weaving this first Earth Loom piece

The second piece to have come off at the end of last school year was this piece,
made with donated chenille yarns from my former weaving teacher,
 Elizabeth Serbel,
a high school science teacher in Whittier ,Ca.
Sadly she is no longer with us,
but many wonderful memories remain. 
I dedicate this piece to you.
There are so many ways to finish off a tapestry.
Seniors Shreya Sheth and Jacqueline Yu came up with bunching up and tying off the warps
around a found twig,
and bunching and knotting them along the bottom.

Monday, September 18, 2017


The plan,
for the 4 of us in the Fine Arts Dept. to wear these T-shirts at Back to School Nite.
We are the number one STEM school in the state of California,
so we wanted the parents to take notice of our Visual, Musical, Digital and Dramatic Arts Dept.
when we were introduced to them in the gym.
I don't wear T-shirts.
No matter how large (and this one was),
they don't fit over my short girth.
I have exactly two evenings to figure something out.
I didn't want to let my Dept. down.
Nite one,
I google several sites to show how to make a t-shirt more flattering for us larger sizes.

Nite two,
I cut off the hem on the sleeve bottoms and make a slit up to the shoulder seam,
then tie the ends into a cute knot.
They look terrific.
I find this old silk garment that's from the 1990's that my daughter played dress up in 
and is falling apart and cut it into elongated triangles.
So far so good.
I rip open the side seams of the shirt to sew in the triangles 
only to find the needle in my sewing machine is dull
and snagging the silk.
And of course all my new needles are at school.
I live 27 minutes away from school if there is no traffic going 80 miles an hour.
It's 9:00 at nite and I need to wear it the next day.
That won't work.
What to do?
What else,
cut out the front and pin it to me at Back to School Nite.
Sorry guys!

It's so hard being a team player.
Ha ha,
but at least I tried!

Sunday, September 17, 2017


to Helen Park, Sarah Chang & Eileen Lee,
Whitney alumni who graduated this past year.
Thinking about you girls,
and missing your sweet smiles and creative energy.
Can't wait for you 3 to drop by and tell me everything.
Love to you all!

Thursday, September 14, 2017


handcut glass shards, silver solder, flux, soldering iron & tons of patience
I made you wait a little longer than I'd intended...
to see the end result of Shreya Sheth's Silver Soldered Lantern.
So without further ado here it is.

An engineering marvel,
one of the most difficult techniques to master.
Pulled off like no other solder piece ever created here.
You are unbelievable Shreya.
So very talented.
Kudos to you dear girl.

I want to take this chance Shreya,
 to wish you the best
 at Chapman University in Orange , Ca.
studying the History of Art.
I have complete confidence that you will be a Superstar there
like you were here in the Whitney Art Department.
One day you will send me an email telling me you are putting up a Van Gogh show
at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Or repair and restoring a Degas sculpture.
What do they say?
The world is your oyster!

Tuesday, September 12, 2017


to Alumni Jordan Joyce who has begun his Student Teaching in Art
in Whittier Ca.
I am so proud of you Jordan,
and have so enjoyed watching you grow in the Arts since your 7th grade year here at Whitney.
With lots of love from your biggest fan  :)
besides your Grandma, Grandpa and your Mom,
all of whom are teachers as well.

Here is Jordan last school year doing his Observation hours in my classroom,
warping the Community loom. 

Sunday, September 10, 2017


On a recent visit to my son's home in the San Fernando Valley,
it wouldn't have been complete without a stop at Green Thumb, 
a nursery a block from his house.
My favorites on this visit were this succulent above with it's starfish shaped flower,
and the Agapanthus below,
a special variety with an much more vibrant blue-violet flower.
I was so taken with it's color that I bought one.
It's in the ground and so far has sent up two blooms.
Can't wait till next year when it multiplies.

Thursday, September 7, 2017


watercolor with marking pens

These youngsters,
our future,
give me great hope when I see the joy they bring to their art pieces.

We begin with Nicholas Gonzalez and this super cool abstracted landscape.

Patrick Arboleda and all the words he was able to put together in such a pleasing way.

And then Sriya Kotta's take on the use of text in her piece.

And Holy Moly,
 Manasvi Mehta takes my breathe away with this bold & beautiful work.
And the effort involved,
oh my!

Brandon Torres Ngork created the most gorgeous Analogous watercolor background.

And Bhumika Kalaimalai goes all out in both design and craftsmanship.
Perfect ending.
Love them all!

Tuesday, September 5, 2017


I have had many students come and go in my 38 years of teaching,
but these two sisters will always have a place in my heart,
 and we will continue to touch bases for as long as I live.
These are Karisma Dev (right) and her little sister Avanthi.

 you might remember if you've been following my blog for several years now,
was one of the most talented young artists I've ever worked with.
And if you put her name in my search engine,
it will probably be a good hour before you get to the end 
of all the posts I wrote about her and her artwork.
She is now starting her 3rd year in Architecture at the University of Syracuse in New York.

And what a delight and treat it was for me 
to get to work again with her younger sister Avanthi this last year in Ceramics.
I had Avanthi as a 7th grader where she shone like her sister,
but she wasn't able to get back to an Art class until this last year before she graduated.
She made many of the most important and innovative works in the clay class.
You have already been privy to a few this year on the blog;
there will be more as I finish this year off.

It has been an honor to have been invited to both girls Arangetrams,
their 3 hour solo dance recitals.
Both girls have been dancing and preparing for this occasion since they were 3 years old.
I posted Karisma's a couple years back,
but I went to Avanthi's this last August at the Barclay Theater at UC Irvine.
These are lavish affairs,
much like putting on a wedding for their children,
and Avanthis was no exception.
Besides the renting of live musicians and the theater,
spending hundreds on costumes and thousands on dance lessons,
they put on a delicious Indian dinner at the end of the dance performance for well over 200 people.
I believe Avanthi had at least four costume changes,
and this one I feature her in above was my favorite.
I have always adored a secondary color scheme and used it often in my college artworks.

I'm so proud to tell you that Avanthi was accepted to U Mass at Amherst,
as a Sustainable Agriculture Major,
one of the best programs in the country.
Her goal, 
to have her own restaurant with her own gardens.
Avanthi's gardens here at Whitney have been featured these last 3 years on the blog
 and they continue to thrive now with a new group of students.
Both sisters have left their mark on our school and in my heart.
God speed you two.

Saturday, September 2, 2017


As I was going back thru my saved drafts today
I found this one from the inside of our family home that we sold this summer.
I had forgotten this piece of my daughter Danielle's life was inside the front coat closet door.
I discovered it on moving day when I was double checking that we had emptied all the closets.
When I opened the door and saw this
 I just wanted to rip off the door and take this piece of my daughter with me.
Instead I knew I could only have this picture.
So be it.
It's interesting to me to see at what age she stopped measuring her height,
or when it didn't matter so much anymore.
That would have been in 06 when she was 12 years old,
lt's the year she reached her full adult height,
one inch taller than her mommy.
But then she revisits this space with her first serious boyfriend Tyler in 2011,
how sweet!
Her dad used to always help measure and record her height,
so of course he is right up there at the top.

Friday, September 1, 2017


Porcelain clay, oxides, transparent glaze

We saw my demos. in the last post from yesterday,
now we see what senior Sarah Chang came up with for her assignment.
Sarah followed my lead and reused her excess pieces as well,
and came away with 3 lovely works of art.

Sarah made two colored mixtures,
Cobalt and Rutile.
She built the sweet slab footed bowl first,
then with leftovers created her mug.

Sarah enjoyed this process so much that she made two other Stacked designs,
and built the delicate glass form on the left with pinwheel and checkerboard stacks.

Thursday, August 31, 2017


A challenging but wonderful learning experience for my Ceramics II students
is this Stacked Clay assignment.
I give the kids white Porcelain slip 
and they mix their own colors from the 4 oxides we have to choose from.
Then they poke holes into a piece of white Porcelain clay and pour their colored slips
into the clay body.
Wedging is next to mix everything together until the porcelain turns another color.
In this piece above,
 which I think I may have shared 2-3 years ago,
I mixed Cobalt Carbonate into the white clay body 
so that it would turn blue in the final glaze firing.
Then I rolled pieces of this blue clay into slabs 
and stacked alternated slabs of white between them.
I rolled all top & side edges together to bond the slabs into one
 and push out the air bubbles in between,
then rolled the bonded combo. slab into a long piece so that I could roll that up into a jelly roll.
Next the roll was turned on it's side,
and thin slabs were cut and inlayed onto a waiting white porcelain slab.
The bowl was then formed over a newspaper mold and feet attached.

Above is another bowl/plate that I made for a demo. maybe 2 years ago.
It's a bit hard to see the actual second color I mixed from this pix,
but I made one mixture of Red Iron (brown),
 and another of Chrome Carbonate (pale greenish blue grey).
I really liked the elongated form that came from this demo.
I never plan anything ahead or know what I'm going to come up with,
so it's always a surprise.
Helps me to be more creative.

This was my demo. last year for 2nd year student senior Sarah Chang.
I lucked out and ended up with 3 pieces.
The first one is the glass form on backside left.
In that piece you can see the pattern I stacked the Blue and white slabs in.
But I ended up with so much leftover clay that I didn't want to throw away it,
so I overlapped the edges I had cut off and made another glass form,
the one on the right back.
Once again,
as I cut off edges, 
I had tiny pieces of slab left over,
so again I overlapped them and managed to use them all up in this last tiny vase form in front.
Way too much fun!

Wednesday, August 30, 2017


Besides being a highly visual person,
I also love many different smells.
These Freesias that came up in the late spring succulent garden at school had both the visual
 and the smell factor going on.
They brought so much joy to so many.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017


100% cotton sheeting ripped into squares, indigo vat, rubber bands, string, staples
gloves (optional)

These Shibori pieces were beyond gorgeous this quarter.
The indigo vat loves 7th graders

Tiffany Cheng

Sriram Murakonda

Hana Sandomirsky

Siri Gullapalli 

Daniela Reyes

Pearl Wang

Madison Plotkin

These are all so exceptionaly done I can't seem to pick a favorite.
Check out those smiles below.

Nick, Izzy, Brandon, Bhumika, & Siri

Monday, August 28, 2017


I like to try and have fresh flowers in my classroom,
from my or our school gardens,
 flowers the kids bring me (cuz they know I love them)
or maybe ones I buy for myself, 
just because   :)
I dry them out to be recycled in our eco-dye units,
or as added embellishments for class assignments.
Well two days before school started 
I went to our school's rose garden to see what I could find.
I cut several roses and put them into a bucket of water to take them back to my classroom.
Unbeknownst to me,
I had a passenger along for the ride.
This ginormous Praying Mathis.
I couldn't believe I hadn't seen him,
and that he could easily have crawled right onto me.
But there he was,
ready for class to begin.
I know how wonderful they are for your garden,
so I was determined to get him to one ASAP.
No class today young man.
I took that bucket that the roses were in and a piece of paper
 and sort of scooped him in.
Then placed the paper over top until I could rush him out.
It took me three tries because he jumped out twice.
And I didn't want to hurt him.
But he wasn't scared,
more curious.
I took him to the Succulent Garden next to my classroom 
and he hopped right onto a Jade Plant.
Home Sweet Home.
Phew Shuuuu.
Talk about a close call!

Friday, August 25, 2017


When will I learn my lesson,
to shoot my artwork before I put it under glass?
But oh my gosh,
 I had so much fun making it!
I followed along with Fiber Artist Laura Wasilowski from Artfabrik
on a wonderful Wool Stitch Along journey. 
But the framing of it was so painful.
 Once I got all those leaves/twigs, matt, & the eco-dyed fabric positioned just right,
and used the glass to keep it all in place so it wouldn't shift,
I didn't have the heart to pull it all apart to photograph it,
the glare.
And of course this frame didn't come with non-glare glass.
Those gorgeous multi-colored threads where so much richer than you see here.
Oh well.

I got this piece framed up to give as a gift to my son's girlfriend Nicole,
who I'm crazy about.
She just finished up her M.B.A. while working full time,
and my son and their friends had a party for her.
And they wanted me to come.
I was thrilled and wanted to give Nicole something I made that was special to me,
and that I thought she might enjoy.
I was so pleased that she liked it,
 and I can't wait to see where she will hang it in their home.
I picked out a piece of eco-dyed linen tablecloth to mount it to,
but of course it didn't show up well in this photo.
And I used a piece of recycled sweater wool to stitch upon.
I also picked out two multi colored pearle cottons that played nicely with each other.
Laura offers up several other kinds of Stitch Alongs
with each of the embroidery stitches clearly demonstrated.
I hope you get a chance to check out her site.