Friday, October 29, 2010

Setting New Sights

My new studio glasses -- bold and colorful. 

This past year as has been...interesting. If it could be distilled into one word, it would perhaps be "transformation." 

First of all, I sat down and took stock in the studio and decided what needed to be pared away, jettisoning such stand-bys as my sculpture critiquing service, several art forums, and my repair service. I simplified my selling methods, dumping those that entailed high transaction costs and excessive office work. I  also decided to put my books on hold -- the pile of articles I've written over the years fills that gap. I even resigned as editor of The Boat

I need to refocus on my own career. There are several goals I've been putting off for far too long, such as bronzes, my ideas for teapots and developing my giftware lines. I've also adopted new goals, such as designing a jewelry line in PMC, construction-grade tiles and cast-concrete garden animals. And I have my ever-present line-up of half-finished sculptures and paintwork that have been demanding completion. It's time to finally buckle down and get crackin'!

But perhaps the biggest metamorphosis has been my husband's employment. He recently graduated from two years of training in a brand new field, and after a rather challenging time finding a job in today's economy, he landed one here in town...a good one. All this is still sinking in. The thing is, this whole matter has been quite stressful because it included the prospect of shutting down the studio for a move, or perhaps permanently shutting it down if I needed to find a job that offered a more regular paycheck. So to say I'm relieved would be quite an understatement! But this is definitely a new chapter in our lives, both exciting and a bit intimidating, but what's life without a bit of adventure?

As a metaphor for all this, my eye sight has changed. I've been nearsighted all my life, but as age sifts down upon me they're starting to reverse. I'm also having to take my glasses off to see up-close work! So I got a new pair of "everyday" glasses with the  new prescription (above). Now I usually pick frames that are quite discreet, like tiny wire rims so the glasses become more inconspicuous. But in keeping with all these transformations, I decided to pick something completely outside my comfort zone. Something a bit brazen and unapologetic. Something that made a statement. So I did -- and I love them. I guess when you live for two years in deep anxiety of what your future would  hold, when you come out the end of that dark tunnel and into the light, you want to kick up your heels. You're a bit more audacious. A tad more cheeky. And that's good.

In keeping with that, I've launched a new project I hope to turn into an annual Christmas tradition for the studio: A limited edition Christmas ornament. To be bolder still, I've decided to make it my first pressed-tile venture, and pressed in porcelain, no less. Three brand new things that (hopefully) will go better together! Each year will feature a new horse design and I plan to limit them to 200 (optimistic) or 100 (conservative) casts to be sold exclusively through my new Etsy store. I intend to keep the ornaments as bisque (unglazed) white porcelain because I like that look, but I'm considering adding gold or silver accents in overglaze. We'll see. Each will be about 2" x 4", or a snidge smaller because of porcelain's 13% shrink rate. Let's see if I can pull this off in time for Christmas! Keep yer fingers n' toes crossed!

So here's a peek of the inaugural first design, a beautiful Arabian mare showing us her spunk:

Joy, 2.27" x 4.57", original in oil clay. A slit will be cut at the top, between the border and the sculpted ribbon, while in the greenware stage so that a ribbon can be run through it for hanging after firing. I'm thinking about accenting the star in gold overglaze.

So with all these changes, I hope to finally start moving forward with all that's been brewing in my brain to transform the studio into more productive creative kitchen. Time to stir the pot!

"A wish changes nothing. A decision changes everything." ~ Anonymous


Monday, October 18, 2010

Here Comes the Party Girl!

Just finished and delivered to Barry Moore of Bear Cast LLC last week, Sheza Carnival will soon be stampeding out of the studio and into new homes! She's an altered version of my original Spinnaker, now made into a feisty little mare. Here are these two, side-by-side:

Her name was inspired by one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands, Siouxsie and the Banshees. The exuberant flamboyance of the song "She's a Carnival" fits Sheza well. She measures about 5.25" x 4", making her about 1:32 scale. To peruse more shots of her, dance on over to her album, and to see more of her with Spinny, go here.

Still working like mad on more minis, plus a whole pile of new tile designs. I hope to have them done just in time for Christmas! I'm on a roll!

"If I can't dance I don't want to be part of your revolution." ~ Emma Goldman 


Wednesday, October 13, 2010

A Milestone at Mink Studios

The door is open, the shelves are stocked and the ratties are ready to ring up your orders! Sales have been brisk so far and it's such a delight to share my love of making these tiles with everyone! Mud is a magical marvel!

I'll be offering my giftware and future jewelry selections in my store, and I can't wait to get to work stuffing the shelves with goodies for you!

Yoicks and away!

"To love what you do and feel that it matters – how could anything be more fun?" ~ Katherine Graham

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