This blog is about process. In art and maybe thought. The quasi-dictionary definitions are to describe the 'feeling' part of the process because there is always an emotional/passionate component beyond the tools and materials. What is it that got this particular piece off the ground? What was the personal involvement? In reading bios/artist's statements, I sort of get lost in the language, so I decided to make this one served by the K.I.S.S. 'one word' principle for each piece.

As for biography, I have had a great life, great friends and teachers, great parents, great husband, great kids and grandkids. Seattle born and permanently attached to living in California. Great high school art program that directed my path. I do lots of stuff. I love it. It's a journey.

Favorite quotes, both from Emil Zola:

"An artist is nothing without the gift, and the gift is nothing without the work."


"If you ask me what I can be in this world, I, an artist, will answer you. I am here to live out loud."

I think both of those quotes have to do with being unafraid. "Today is the day to do it." —carole dwinell

Tuesday, August 31, 2010


     — 1  ability to endure, persistence 
     — 2  tenacity

Oak Tree Breezes   carved porcelain, celadon glaze

It's been done a lot, carvings in oak wood. It would be interesting to build an oak tree out of clay. Why not? 

I had these slabs of porcelain greenware, damp and waiting. Why not build a tree? So I cut and assembled the slabs to make the base and trunk, then put the top part (which would be like a platter) on a pillow to form a slightly concave surface. Then covered and sealed it in plastic. I like to dry clay very, very slowly. Plus, I had some other things to do. Six weeks or so later, I took out the top, flipped it over and started carving the dry clay with dental tools. The slab was a little more than 1/4" thick so the process was delicate.
An important thing to remember when carving dry clay is to not breathe the dust. At all. So I did all this carving on a downdraft table and wore a mask. It was an exercise in patience. Probably more than 150 hours of patience. Each separate leaf, branch and acorn was carved into the single top slab so that it was an integral part of the whole rather than being slipped onto it piece by piece. 

This was quite different from the ceramic oak trees that I've constructed before. Working along the edges of this now circular slab, bumping it or pressing too hard with the tool would be a disaster. Leaf by leaf, carving the center swirls as I went along. Came back and added the dots on the acorns with plastic bottle that had a small metal tube. Sort of like icing a cake. Had to sponge a bit of moisture on the acorns so that the dots would stay on the caps. 
I did a very slow bisque fire and then brushed on the celadon glaze with a few accents of Moroccan Sand's Burnt Sienna glaze to break up all that green. I knew it would flow a bit on the celadon and it did. Fired at cone 6, a really long fire. Very happy with the results!

Sunday, August 29, 2010


      - 1. the act or faculty of perceiving
      - 2. intuitive recognition of a truth, aesthetic, quality, etc.                                               

Wild Poppies - watercolor/pastel
          The objective was to loosen up, be less concerned with detail. This was very difficult for a person who is enamored of detail. 
          The process. Using 300 lb Arches cold press watercolor paper, I wet the paper, pooled small containers of different colors on that paper, moved those colors around, pulled them off with rags or paper towels or poured it all off. Manipulated like crazy. Then sprayed it with water, lifted that off, and generally messed around. Woof. That was fun. 

          Finally, when it was dry I accentuated the detail, with more watercolor, even some pastels to make it into 'something' ... or not. What was interesting was figuring out what it was after all that floating, spraying, lifting. Poppies or other flowers are always pretty safe. For a first time wild watercolor, safe is good. There was some addition of a fixative somewhere during the process so that the pastels wouldn't move around while putting in those final touches. All things considered, it was quite a departure from my usual, maybe unhealthy, search for perfection. So in a sense, this exercise was an introduction to 'perception' in a good way. It's a fantastic process. Let go and give it a try. 

Thursday, August 26, 2010


procedure  — 
             1  way of proceeding, performing a task
          2  series of actions, conducted in a certain order or manner

Dragonfly Gourd

This is a hardshell gourd with wood burned design, color pencil, copper wire and my 'plique a jour' dragonfly.

The gourd was first subjected to my wood burning some accents into its already beautifully mottled surface. After that, using just three Derwent color pencils, the primaries of red, blue and yellow, I layered all of the color onto the gourd, then applied a UV protective coating. Paying attention to the resident natural mottling, I twisted and turned, hammered and spiraled the copper wire onto the stem, forming it to match the recently applied embellishments. The last addition was the plique a jour dragonfly. 

Plique a jour is made by hand sawing a design, in this case the dragonfly, from a 18 or 20 gauge commercially available copper sheet with a jeweler's type coping saw. For the enclosed cell, you have to drill a hole first, then unlock the blade of the saw and thread it through the hole, cut the shape, unlock the blade again to get it out. There are about 42 different little cells in this little dragon. Did this while the dragonfly was still 'in' the copper sheet. The hardest part was sawing the whole dragonfly free of that sheet, especially his little feelers!

The edges are then filed smooth, sanded and cleaned really really clean. The piece is placed on a sheet of mica and open cells are filled with different colors of ground glass. Same as the material used for enameling. The little copper piece is then fired which melts the glass ... resulting in a tiny, tiny stained glass window. 

The dragonfly on this gourd is less than 1-1/2" across!