Tuesday, April 30, 2019


clay, glazes, & oxides

I always love to see all the students heads loaded onto the cart.
So many personalities, cultures, hairstyles and expressions.
So much fun.
Here is another assignment that the kids fear going in, 
but end up giggling and really enjoying themselves.
Let's take a look.

Our first colorful one was done by junior Sara Ryave.
She used all four of our oxides and stained the bisqueware first,
then put our Transparent glaze over top.
So unique and eye catching.

Junior Michelle Son brought in a picture of movie star Marilyn Monroe.
I was so impressed with how well she pulled this face off,
but it's the hair that really calls to me.

And junior Richard Montes chose his cultural background to pull from.
Love the strong facial structure and the very cool headdress.

These two highly expressive faces were done by seniors Augustine Lee & Ashley Scott.

Senior Christian Balbido & junior Jaclyn Dong both really got into this assignment,
Christian doing a portrait of his father that I felt looked very realistic.

We end with junior Lina Kim's grandmother.
I felt it was a beautiful portrait,
Lina expressed that she thought it was so-so.
These kids are always so hard on themselves,
so that when they do like something they've made I get really happy.
I love that Lina added the flowers on her grandmother's shoulder.
A very special touch.

Monday, April 29, 2019


recycled cotton sheeting, sharps needles, heavy sewing thread in "red", indigo vat
gloves optional

I love this assignment because I get to make a demo piece right along with the kids
and it's so creative, portable and therapeutic (relaxing).
I also really enjoy refreshing our indigo vats.
I keep two 5 gallon buckets going all year long.
And once you start one you can keep it going indefinitely.
I think my 1st bucket is going on 8 years now
since I first started teaching this assignment.

There are so many Shibori techniques to try.
I do folding and clamping with my 7th graders,
and hand stitched designs with my Beginning 3-D kids.
We make one practice piece and then each child makes an original design
with two or more of their favorite techniques they practiced.
That's what I'm sharing here,
their original, creative designs.

We start with the lovely piece above by senior Inna Sikar.
And below Inna's is her buddy Hana Kim's.
Both are so gorgeous and uplifting.
I especially love the varied shades of Indigo in each of the pieces.

The stitching of the design is fun and relaxing.
The most challenging part is the pulling and tying off of all the threads 
after all the stitching is done.
If you don't pull tight enough your design will disappear after all that stitching,
tying and dipping.

The one above was made by junior Kareema Mohamed
 and below hers is the work of junior Kiana Hernandez.
These two cuties sat right next to each other last year 
and it's so cool to see how different their designs are.

The next step after the pulling of the threads is the dipping of the crumpled up piece
 into the Indigo vat.
I try to refresh the vat with Pre-Reduced Indigo from Dharma Trading 
so that if the kids do at least 3 separate dips they will get a dark beautiful indigo blue.
What's really crazy is that I hate measuring out anything,
so I do it by eye and experience,
then I do a test before the students use the dye.
I usually get lucky.
It's kind of how I cook too,

Above we have the work of senior Ricky Gallardo, 
and below is a banner by junior Dustine Ansiboy.
I so wish I could have enlarged Dustine's so you could have seen it better.
I love that she worked it into a elongated rectangular banner rather than square.

The young ones get to pick the size and format they wish to work too.
I always tell them don't bite off more than you can chew.
Mostly they don't listen to me on that one.

I also loved this circular piece by senior Sophie Yang above.

I felt that 8th grader Bhumika Kalaimalai put the most stitching into her original piece.
She stitched and pulled on this piece for hours!
And the result was amazing as you can see.

But one of my favorites was this one below by 8th grader Yusuf Karan.
I adore the flowers around the bunny.
So sweet!
And I also like all the values of blue he achieved.
It really adds to the beauty of the design.
Thank you all for working so hard on this assignment.
It was such a pleasure showing off your work.

Friday, April 26, 2019


A small piece of the lovely geranium above 
given as a gift to me at Thanksgiving or was it Xmas,
grew into the pretty plant above and was falling over in it's pot.

Below in its new home with two succulents that needed a larger growing space as well.

And then there is our Bouganvilla on our upstairs patio
which came into full bloom this week.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019


After 5 years with no grapes,
we have grapes!
Little chardonnay grapes.
The trick says my son the Plant Scientist is don't trim it back at the end of its season.
 I had been doing that and using the grape vines in my classroom for baskets and such.

And look what the birds brought into one of my balcony pots,
a baby pine last year that has grown into a mini tree this below.
The rain has done wonders in all my gardens!

Tuesday, April 16, 2019


clay & oxides

My Beginning 3-D kids love this assignment.
For many of them it's their first time to work in clay,
and they are surprised by how much fun it can be.
They take great pride in their creations.
Let's take a look.

got to be honest. 
I'm guessing at a couple of these names.
This first one I think was the creation of senior Sophie Yang.
On these pieces I stress and require lots of surface design.
They have many choices:
inlay, stamping, applique, carving, incising & piercing.
Sophie has used 5 of those which really makes this piece sensory,
so very pleasing to the eye.

This next one is the work of junior Sahana Ramesh,
and she has used all 6 design techniques.
We all enjoyed her elongated face and the way she moved the leaves thru the face.
These pieces are all concave,
and were draped over top a wadded up newspaper taped mold to hold their bas relief form.

8th grader ,
Bhumika Kalaimalai,
 made 2 pieces because her first one on the right broke in half..
I told her no worries;
use the first for extra credit and make a second for grading.
I felt she gave us the most beautiful and balanced surface design in both.

I'm guessing again on this super sweet one here,
could be junior Kiana Hernandez or 8th graders Shivani Kedila or Viviana Cruz.
I will hunt them down on campus and see if they can help me identify them.
Definitely check out the really clean craftsmanship of the construction 
and the staining of the oxides.

I know for sure this is the work of junior Dustine Ansiboy because it was memorable 
to me due to the fact my step-daughter Julie loves owls,
and I knew she would really enjoy this piece.
It also is beautifully crafted and finished.

And I''m pretty sure this belongs to junior Rachel Tibayan.
Rachel is a terrific designer and always comes up with super original ideas.
I also love how expressive it is
(a requirement).

And we end with 11th grader Sandra Chea (a guess here)
& 8th grader Yusuf Karan (who I remember did the one on the right).
I really like putting 2 pieces together so you can see how each student solved the same subject.

I think I've mentioned this before but I really dislike art teachers
who have all the kiddos make the same exact pieces.
I've been in classes like that and there is no critical thinking/problem solving going on.
I never learn in classes like those.
In fact,
I paid ahead of time and then walked out of that kind of  watercolor class
a few years back where the teacher explained nothing,
demoed nothing,
and gave us all the same xerox picture to copy in the exact same colors.
An almost paint by the number technique.
No thank you.

Monday, April 15, 2019


These roses were freshly picked from the front of our school 
for our Open House Art Show & Sale.
Because of all the recent rains they have never been this large and lovely,
their smell so sweet.
A shout out to our District grounds keepers who trim and care for them regularly.
Thank you!

Sunday, April 14, 2019


On these 2 tiny little coil pot demos I made last year
(1 3/4 " by 1 3/4 "),
I wanted to try out ceramic watercolors,
an expensive underglaze product I save for my Intermediate & Advanced clay kids,
for their works in porcelain.
Last year I introduced them to my Beginners for their tiny porcelain plates
and this year I've brought them out for the Beginner's bells,
slab boxes, plates and a few other projects that they've used on our Artic White grey claybody.
I feel the results are so worth the extra cost because if used correctly they can be quite lovely.
By correctly I mean to apply them in a transparent way like you would with watercolors on paper.
My T. A. last year,
senior Lynette Lee became quite good at applying these watercolors to my demo. pieces 
so I want to make sure I gave her credit for these beautiful finishes.

Thank you Lynette!

Friday, April 12, 2019


Right now my Beginning 3-D students are working with leather to hand make their journals,
so I've been looking around the internet for leather sites.
My husband and I also really enjoy working with leather
 and after being inspired by Fiber Artist extraordinaire Sarah C. Swett 
I want to try and make a pair of shoes from felt and leather.
 I happened upon this terrific new site called Simple Shoemaking and was so excited to have found it
(it is now listed under Artists I Follow)..
They offer pieces of leather, books, kits, soles, the whole nine yards.
Here are a few more images from their site.
I hope you get a chance to check it out.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019


clay, glazes, oxides & misc. plants

This is a wonderfully fun & functional assignment for the clay kiddos.
They made the planters and then for their 4th Quarter Final they were able to plant them.
Below is one of my demos. that I planted several years ago 
and gave as a gift to my son's wife's mother.
Under Mary's watchful attentive care the succulents are thriving as you can see
(she recently sent me this photo so I could see how lovely it's flower is).

So here we have last school years students out in the delicious sunshine planting their pots.
I buy them a big bag of planters mix and several small starter plants to choose from.
I try every year to have a different selection. 
I also encouraged the kids to raid Josh's succulent garden in search of the perfect plants.
And succulents are so hardy and easy to grow,
pretty much fail proof.

Here are a few of the finished planters.
I'm guessing here because I can't find the names of who made which ones so here we go.
I'm pretty darn sure the one above was made by junior Sara Ryave.

And this next one belongs to senior Catherine Lu.
Note those sweet tiny clay flowers in the left corner.

And I believe these last two are the works of juniors Richard Montes and Dustine Ansiboy.

Please correct me young ones if I'm wrong.
But aren't they fabulous?

Monday, April 8, 2019


So many of the daffodils up at the cabin have opened their faces this last week.
I only picked the ones that were leaning over or almost touching the ground,
or were those special orange and white ones
(only have a few of those).
Most of the all yellow ones were standing straight and proud
(must be a hardier variety).

I gave a few to my neighbors 
 and the rest I brought in to school and shared them with the office staff,
a tradition and the start of spring in these here parts.

Thursday, April 4, 2019


This is how I'm feeling going into this weekend,
Completely whooped.
Here is junior now senior Phoebe Lao taking a quick snooze in the Art Lounge.
I have known Phoebe since her 7th grade art class with me,
and I've got to be honest here,
she is one of my favs.
One day last year she was looking like I feel right now,
and asked if she could lay down on the couch in the Lounge.
She was done with her art project so I let her go in.
She was asleep within minutes.
I completely forgot she was in there and when I went in to find an art book,
there she was,
sleeping like an angel.
I just had to take a picture of her.
Sorry Phoeb,

Wednesday, April 3, 2019


Down the street from the home we rented on the big island of Hawaii
was this gorgeous beach/bay with boat rental area.
Almost 60 friends and family flew in from all parts of the United States to join us
for my son's wedding
On the day before the wedding
 we took a 4 hour Catamaran snorkeling and cliff diving adventure. 
Not all went as planned of course.
The boat would only hold 40 people 
so we ended up having to rent an additional boat for the rest of the group.
Luckily no one got sea sick 
but 2 of the older adults had to be rescued after jumping into the water,
(not in the best physical condition)
and just one person cut their foot on a piece of corral
(my husband of course)
Luckily there were no sharks in the area.
But the water was so clear,
and the turtles were there to swim with us.
Above was the cliff the captain took us too to jump off into the ocean.
Almost everyone climbed up the rocks and took a turn,
 even the older folk.
Which again was a mistake.
One family member landed wrong and actually hurt her back pretty badly.
Sadly she ended up in Urgent Care that afternoon,
but was ready for the next adventure the following day.
Here is my son Zach in the water urging his little sis to take the plunge.
This was her first time being up so high above a body of water 
and she was pretty scared but she did it.
She jumped.
Good for you Dani girl!