Spring baskets for flowers

New work

Making clay baskets can be complex forms to create. They are born on the potter’s wheel, the place where I do my best thinking, as small shapes that begin as bowls and then transform into objects of whimsey. The rim of the pot becomes a place to alter: roll it, split it, cut it, pinch it … each action creates a different result.

Wheel thrown vessels that will become the foundation for baskets.

Once the wheel thrown pieces are trimmed or finished, hand pulled handles are added to each piece. The shape of the basket determines where the handle is placed in order to create a functional form.

Handles are added to the bowls to create baskets.

When the clay is still malleable, I take the opportunity to add decoration to the surface. Handmade, found and manufactured stamps are added to make each piece unique.

Adding color to stamped baskets.

Once bone dry, underglaze colors are added to “pop” the pieces. These one of a kind baskets are now ready to head into the kiln where they will be fired to cone 06 and then be ready to hold glaze.

I decided on a satiny white liner and an opal glaze to emphasize the underglaze colors. One characteristic of the opal glaze is its movement; it can drag or pull the color down the pot that is vertical. I use this knowledge to create the effect I am looking for. The baskets head back into a kiln and are fired to cone 6.

These baskets were featured in a Westwood Artists exhibit in the Westwood Library during the month of March. A few of them were purchased and will be received as gifts soon.

The baskets are now completed pieces of pottery. They are ready to make their way out into the world as useful and beautiful handmade objects.

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Baskets

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Every year when spring rolls around, I create clay baskets.  They symbolize new life, growth, Easter, spring, childhood, flowers and more.  The design varies from year to year making them fun to collect.

IMG_3514This year, my basket inspiration comes from this beautiful silver basket that I’ve had for many years.  I love the way the rim undulates and the handle rises up.  It’s a lovely size for jewelry or as a candy bowl.

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This past year, I participated in a workshop, hosted by Potters Place, with Delaney Wise.  Delaney is a ceramic artist and teacher at Harvard.  She taught us many things including how to create an undulating rim.  I thought this technique might work well this year’s baskets.IMG_3052 My form starts on the potter’s wheel as a bowl with a thickened rim.

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Cutting the rim deliberately and then removing those pieces produces an area that can be softened and then manipulated.

IMG_3056 When I find the shape I like, the bowl is removed from the wheel and squished to make ready for the basket handles.

IMG_3058 I created a few new stamps and this one felt right on my baskets… a little flower.IMG_3326I hand pull my handles and attach them to the leather hard clay.  The stamp acts as decoration and added assurance that the handle is attached securely to the vessel.

IMG_3328This year’s baskets are ready for eggs, plants, candy or treasures.  They are for sale at the Dedham Square Artist Guild in Dedham Square.  Hop over to get yours! Happy Spring!

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Happy Easter ~ Handmade Baskets

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IMG_9722 Every year, I like to welcome in spring with herb markers and baskets.  This year, the baskets worked well with my spring collection: Turks and Caicos.

I make my baskets by combining two techniques: wheel throwing and hand building.  The baskets are thrown as bowls on my pottery wheel.  This year I added a split rim for glaze pooling.

When the clay is setting up, I roll some coils and then stamp them with a basket weave pattern.

glazing basketsWhen ready, I squish in the sides of the bowl and attach the handles.  I dry them very slowly over the next few days.  Then finish them off with a pony roller and a push to indent the bottom.

The baskets are fired in a bisque before they are able to be glazed. I use a brown glaze to accent the pattern on the handle, then glazed them in my Turks and Caicos color palette of soft green and blues. Once fired for the second time, the baskets are sanded on the bottom and hand washed where I check for any imperfections.

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The baskets are photographed, priced and added into inventory.

The baskets were delivered to the Dedham Square Artist Guild, located in Dedham, Ma just in time for my trunk show last weekend.

IMG_0121There are three baskets left and they are currently for sale at the Dedham Guild.  Once in the Guild, you will find many things to fill your basket with – like handcrafted eggs by Cindy Mootz; Easter cards by Kerry Hawkins; jewelry by Melanie Guerra, Barbara Trainer and Jill Barry, as well as the first book by illustrator artist, Marietta Apollonio entitled “A Curious Alphabet for Curious People”, and so much more.

The guild is open 12-6 Weds-Saturday;11-2 on Sundays but THIS Sunday it will be closed for Easter.

 

 

 

 

Trips inspire collections ~ Turks and Caicos

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IMG_9639IMG_9349 My spring collection of pottery is inspired by a trip I took with my family to the Turks and Caicos Islands.

I took a lot of photos of my surroundings, things that interested me. Like this painting (below) in the lobby of our hotel.

When I returned home, I printed out the photos and added them to my sketchbook.

 

Making notes and working through the pictures, I decide how best to tell the story of my trip through a collection of pottery.

The painting influenced the first pieces that I made – the Turks and Caicos square plates (above).

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This oblong dish (left) is slip trailed with blue engobe on a white clay.  The glaze is a peachy color and changes the blue slip to blue green.

IMG_9228This design was inspired by the fabric upholstered on the two big couches facing each other in the hotel lobby.

The couches were comfy and welcoming. Right near these couches was a water cooler filled with lemon slices that I stopped at each time I passed through the lobby.

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Turks and Caicos is known for their baskets.  I purchased a small covered one that is now filled with shells collected on the beach.

 

The basket weave was a pattern that I wanted to dominate my collection to give a nod to the local handcraft of basket making so I created square dishes, oblong trays and tea bag dishes all utilizing the pattern.

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Square plates with a white slip trailed design on blue engobe were inspired by the pattern I found on a vent throughout the resort. It gave me  a wonderful repeating pattern to play with.

 

 

 

In my sketchbook there are drawings and photo paste ups of the sand and the blue green water.  The collection is fun and light just as the trip itself was.  I hope I’m lucky enough to go back some day.

 

Turks and Caicos Collection is currently for sale at the Dedham Square Artist Guild located at 553 High Street, Dedham, MA.  All the work pictured in this blog is available and for sale.

 

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Clay Baskets

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Clay Baskets

Two summers ago, I was shopping at a pottery cooperative in North Carolina when I saw a pottery basket. I loved the idea and started experimenting with my own baskets last spring. This year, I modified my design to included varying sized baskets, textured handles and new glaze combinations. I made only a few and am selling them through Easter at the Dedham Square Artist Guild, my cooperative gallery in Dedham Square.