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!