Thursday, February 28, 2013

Burnished Whistles - Student Work

I think these are some of the most lovely whistles to date that my beginning clay kids have produced.  Interesting, enclosed pinch/paddle forms, and some really smooth burnishing.  Then bisque & sawdust fired and rubbed with metallic compounds.  Simple but beautiful.

These top two were made by senior Kristen Palma and junior Justyn Ll.  You never know how your work will come out of the sawdust, and these two girls got real lucky with the gorgeous markings left behind.
These next two works were done by seniors Binny Singh and Andre' Martin.  Binny choose a gold metallic while Andre' picked the copper for stunning effects.

And below we have seniors David Lee, Mehar Maju and junior Shamara Mustafa, all with completely different looks, each unique and wonderful.  

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Mishima/Sgraffito Molded Bowls - Student Work

Oh senior Eddie Ponce, look how many pix I took of your piece, two, only took one of Stella's  :).  And whose am I featuring first??   YOURS!!!   LOL

As a ceramics teacher it's all about surface design.  Your clay piece is simply your canvas.  So in first year clay the kids learn at least 10 different ways to bring texture, pattern and bas relief to their plastic and leatherhard  clay surfaces.  Then when we move into 2nd year clay we do even more to explore the endless possibilities   One of my favorites to do and teach is mishima and sgraffito.  One is an inlay technique, the other a coat and scrap thru effect.  In both I have the kids mix up colored clay slip to use for both processes.  I also have them working with porcelain clay so it really shows these methods off.

Senior Eddie Ponce started off by laying his rolled out slab over top a wood frame mold, then pressing gently thru the center to create the concave area (perfect size for a soap dish).  Notice that he tore his edges, did some stamping, then thru the center is his sgraffito work and the mishima is inlayed around his rim.  I'm sure you noticed the crack in the piece, it happened during the bisque firing, but Eddie liked it, how it's running thru the word love.  Below is the backside of his bowl with his applied foot.  Very clean, cool piece Eddie.

This next one is senior Stella Park's.  She switched her techniques around and has her inlay in the center text area and her scrapped away lines on her rim.  I love Stella's sensitive interpretation of the assignment and the content as well.  I also encourage the students to alter their rim edges for more interest.  
Last is senior Rita Labib, whose piece broke as it was drying in the greenware stage.  She was ready to throw it away but I told her to try to reconfigure it and reattach it in some clever way.  The result, a highly unique piece, with some beautiful glazing going on.  You can see Rita's inlayed mishima along her rims, but I believe her choice of glazes covered up her sgraffito thru her center areas.  Oh well.  :)
If you are like me and love adding to your art book collection, there are lots of great ceramic surface design books on the market.  Barnes and Noble stock many good ones as does Aardvark Clay and Supplies in Santa Ana, Ca.  Have fun exploring the possibilities!    

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Oil Pastel Exercises - 7th Graders

These were created by my 2nd Quarter 7th graders, now long gone.  But that doesn't mean I still don't think about them and what a wonderful group of kids they were.  
The assignment was to learn to use the oil pastels and find your own working style, so we experimented for a day then off they went.  They had a choice between shading the spheres monochromatically, analogously, or complimentary.  And then to create a setting for their balls complete with cast shadow.

This first beauty was done by Lynette Lee.  I love how she chose brown for her mother color.  Not many think to use brown.  And I feel her grasses are very realistic.
In this one above Margaret Yiu has shaded her purple sphere with analogous blue.  Lovely Margaret!
Below hers we have the very sweet 7th grader Jessica Mones.  Jessica has built in a spectacular sky in the background.
And lastly there is the work of Julie Guan.  She has really found her niche' with the pastels.  Her pointillist style is to die for!
Thank you girls for you wonderful pieces!

Monday, February 25, 2013

What Do They Say About Letting Sleeping Dogs Lie?

It's been so cold here in So. Cal. this winter that Sophie can mostly be found hibernating under our blankets and quilts.  Sometimes her little nose isn't even sticking out, I don't know how she can breathe.

My favorite is when she gets under the covers with me to take a quick nap, she's like a hot water bottle keeping me warm.  Here we are in Jim's "Man Cave" napping on the floor under the beautiful wedding quilt my cousin Linda made for us.  I love how she has her sweet little head on the pillow next to me as I sleep. 
We've also had Miesha and Puck over for a couple of weekend sleep-overs.  They like to squeeze into Sophie's doggy bed and keep each other warm.  Too cute!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Acrylic Word Compostiton

Senior Laura Kadi, as the sole Advanced 2-D student, continues to surprise and delight me with her interpretations of her assignments.  

In this project she first had to learn to paint with artist's acrylics (she took to it like a duck to water).  Then she had to design a composition that used at least 60% text.  For both the fore and backgrounds, she was required to paint dimensionally from lights to darks as well as do the same within the text she chose.  Laura chose a complimentary color scheme to paint in which makes the work pop from the get-go, and then adds a very special touch by collaging over parts of the background with handmade paper to bring in a bit of texture and mystery.  The paper is so lovely with flecks of gold leaf couched in.
A brilliant piece Laura!   

Friday, February 22, 2013

A Special Note to My Favorite Student :)

To senior Eddie Ponce, one of my hardest working students, :), an apology for not doing more to showcase your moonstone sculpture below.  I know you felt sad because I only posted one pix of yours compared to the 3 each I posted for Stella and Rita a couple days ago.  It was not intentional,  just the way it worked out.  I love your work, you know that.  So please accept my deepest, most heartfelt apology for not doing your piece justice. 
We both know it was an exceptional piece, and that you went above and beyond to make it that way.  
Love you!  Don't be mad.   

Thursday, February 21, 2013

This Is How We Roll...

Part Mini Cooper Convertible, part pickup truck, this is how we travel from Home Depot to our house.  Do we get some funny looks and people honking at us?   Yeah, sometimes.  Do we care?  Not really, we just do what we need to do.  LOL 
Check out our cool garage floor that Jim installed for my car.  Love that man!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Moonstone Mounted Sculptures - Student Work

Okay Ceramics II,  I've  finally gotten around to posting one of your first assignments of the year, Moonstones.   So sorry it's taken soooo long.  Here we go!

I want to start with one of the sweetest hearts I know, senior Stella Park.  This is Stella's 3rd class with me and she is such a superstar.  A fantastic designer and craftswoman, Stella always comes thru.

Take a look at that expressive face and how beautifully the sawdust firing enhances it.  I especially like how she chose to mount her moonstone.  She dug thru my wood bin and found several pieces that she glued together, stained and drizzled paint down.  Gorgeous work Stella.
I liked it so much that I had to show you both sides.

And here is superstar #2, senior Eddie Ponce.  I adore this young man who takes such delight and pleasure as he creates his pieces.  He says he doesn't but I know differently  :)  Eddie very cleverly turned his moonstone into a fish and double mounted it; first with a clay coral reef  and then with his painted wood base embellished with sand and real coral.  Wonderful job Eddie!
And last but never least is superstar #3, senior Rita Labib.  Yes, you recognize her name because this is her 5th class with me, and I have showcased her work for the past 3 years.  Rita has given us a very expressive face, complete with tear drops.  I like how she has enhanced her sawdust finish with a bit of rubbed on metallic compound.
And I especially love how she dealt with her wood by cutting and sanding a curved base with bits of glass chards and paint stain which highlights the wood's knot.  Then to off-center her piece, brilliant!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Happy Belated Valentine's to My Favorite Couple

Nicole and Zach.  
I'm so happy you two have found each other! 
And thanks to you both for that delicious and healthy Super Bowl Salad.  Even Jim and Inars ate it, and you know how picky they are about their veggies  :)  

What is it they say about a couple who cooks together?  LOL

Monday, February 18, 2013

You Live and Learn

This is what  happens when you accidently put plastic in the kiln.  

I had inlayed a metal zipper into the lip of this thrown bowl to see what would happen when it went thru a bisque firing (1800 degrees).  I was pretty sure it would turn out really charred and looking ancient.  When I was embedding the zipper into the wet clay I thought the zipper would make it all the way around, but alas, it was an inch too short.  So I thought it would be clever to emboss a button into the wet clay which would leave it's imprint, but then I forgot to remove it.  Oops, the plastic button lifted and foamed up during the firing and left a tunnel for it's gasses to escape.  Mr. Bender, our Physics teacher, figured it out when I showed him what had happened.  The good news was I was able to wash the foam off which is covering the metal zipper head.  After I glaze fire the bowl I will be able to actually sew a real button onto the pot where you see the new plastic button sitting.

Then recently we had the same problem when senior Sophia Lu left what she thought was a metal button in her tree sculpture during the bisque firing.  She thought the metal would make a really neat looking medallion on her tree trunk.  But it was really a plastic button that was coated with a fake metal covering.  Oops!    
You can see it's gas trail was really extensive as it wound it's way around the other pieces in the firing.  It ended when it ran into senior Nikki Shah's elephant's leg.  
Again, the good news was that it all washed away and everything was fine, for the most part.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Alum Tara Costa - Class of 1987

OMG, it was so great to see you Tara, you were one of my all time favorite ceramics students here at Whitney.  And to find out that you have found your way back to clay after 20 some years makes me so happy. Thank you for sharing your ceramics journal with me, I'm so impressed with the work you are doing. And I'm thrilled you have found the love of your life, and have made your home with him and his children in England.  Life is good!  I'm so glad we have reconnected.  Much love to you and your sisters, Dayna and Tiffany, and Dayna's husband Gabe, all past art students of mine  :)

Friday, February 15, 2013

Digital Camera Bag with Pocket for Batteries - My Work

This bag was a new assignment for my Advanced 3-D students to teach them tons of new techniques that we didn't cover in the Intermediate level (picking up stitches, button bands & holes, i-cords, 3-needle bind off, mattress stitch, casing, ruffle, and after thought pocket.  This pattern comes from Cloudpatcher Studio and is called Wondrous Thing.  I picked up the pattern from Alamitos Bay Yarn Company in Long Beach.    
So over this last summer I knit up 3 bags as examples for my students.  The funnest part was picking out the various buttons to compliment the bags.
The ne above was my last one I knit and the one below was my first.  This first on I only used the one multicolored yarn throughout the whole piece.
But in my second bag below I began to play with contrasting color.
My first and second bag are for sale if you are interested, just drop me an e-mail at
Rita, Kevin and Nida, these are due on Tuesday when you get back by 3:00.  Have fun you nutty knitters  LOL.  Call me if you need help.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Junior Tristin Eddy - Spinner Extraordinaire - With Her Yarn!!!

One of my favorite aspects about teaching is when my students fall in love with an art or craft, and want to explore it more on their own at home.  This year Tristin caught the spinning bug.

Every year in my Beginning 3-d class I teach the kids how to spin and dye their own yarn using only little coat hanger hooks which amazingly work really well.  And then if the kids get into it they might move onto a drop spindle or even choose from one of my many spinning wheels.  This year Tristin Eddy totally loved the process and came in at lunch and after school so she could learn to use the wheel.  I encouraged her to take it home and she was off to spin up some beautiful roving that she had bought over Xmas break in Las Cruces, New Mexico.  I understand that Tristin's grandfather has a wheel for her and she will be picking it up soon.  That makes my heart so happy Tristin.

Tomorrow I hope to show off Tristin's yarn below. 
And here it is - Tah Dah!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 
Can you believe this is her first singles on the wheel???  She's pro already, plus she has started to knit it up into a scarf, WOW, told ya she was gooooooooooooooood  :)
Ma, Pa, Grandma & Grandpa Eddy, look at your girl go!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Clay Pinch Pots -Student Work

Ceramics I students, sorry it's taken me so long to get these pieces up, and Ceramics II hold tight, yours are coming soon  :)

The pinch technique is a handbuilding process, and is one of the first techniques I have my students learn.  It involves starting with a solid ball of clay and lends itself to many other more complex forms such as teapots.  I'm very lucky to once again have an amazing bunch of beginners who take direction well plus also have some lovely design ideas.  These pieces were many of my favorites done this year in pinch.  The kids had a choice whether to make a bowl with a foot or a mug with a handle.
Above and below we have the 2 sides of senior Lilith Huang's bowl.  In addition to forming the bowl, the kids were required to learn the art of clay applique using scoring and slip to apply the decorative shapes with.  and not only did Lilith applique her shapes but she also stamped some of them.  What a terrific piece!

In this next bowl by junior Sharmara Mustafa, I love that she has elongated her feet.  That gives her pot a very elegant look.  Sharmara has also come to me with a fantastic sense of design, and her applique designs are so lovely.  Look closely and you can see how she has marbelized our red and white clay bodies thru the transparent glaze which gives her piece so much more interest.   
This sweet little turtle bowl was the clever work of junior Justyn Li.  Justyn comes to me with a marvelous work ethic, and spends many extra hours on all her pieces.

This next work by senior Kevin Luong really impressed me with the protruding edges, and how he wrapped and continued them under to turn them into feet.  Very clever boy!
This last lovely belongs to senior Kristen Palmer.  I love those beautiful leaves that she applied onto her mug.    And she chose a really nice glaze to compliment her pot.  She stained the leaves with red iron oxide first then waxed them before dipping into her glaze color.