Thursday, January 29, 2015

Great Teapots

Going through some old files on my computer, I ran across these teapots made by various artists.

I love to look at these and, fortunately, the creators' names were included in this resource.


Clary Illian


 Ester Ikeda

 Fong Choo
 Linda Bloomfield
 Lloyd Hamovit
 Margaret Patterson
 Matt Wilt
 Mathew Hansche

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Thinking Without Words II

This is what it feels like sometimes when I really want to have some alone-time for thinking.

Everyday Stuff - Those things you have to do.

The bottom section represents interruptions, stuff that comes up, sidetracks, new problems that have to be attended to, you know…….

And sandwiched between it all is new ideas, old ideas you want to get back to, segways you want to take, continuing themes, etc.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Thinking Without Words

It's a question I used to ask my classmates in grade school, "Can you think without using words?"

Usually I got a quizzical look and something like, "You're crazy." Pretty soon, I quit asking.

I forgot about this until recently when, while watching a program about the Museum of Modern Art in New York, I suddenly had a vision for a piece of jewelry using a new plaster mold I had made for something else.

The program had nothing to do with jewelry. But my mind was in what I call, "Open Mode" meaning Receptive, Soaking it All Up, Free-flowing. A great variety of images from the museum collection were being presented in my head.

I think lots of artists do this. And it's not recognized as a 'normal' or prized ability; it's usually linked with autism or other 'abnormal' brain functions. Thank heavens there is more research being done about how the brain works.

If you are familiar with either the Temple Grandin book or the movie about her early years, you will know what I mean by thinking in images or pictures.

I highly recommend reading The Autistic Brain; Thinking Across the Spectrum by her and Richard Panek. 

I'm not saying all artists are Autistic! There's even a test at the end of the book that you can take to see if you are. I just believe artists have functions of the brain that are different then others. And thank heavens for it.

Nobody really understands how artists think. I did talk about this subject with my art and Spanish students because I've always been very interested in how the mind works.

Sometimes, I would get some amazing answers from them. One girl visualized each month of the year in a different color as well as each day and number was a different color.  This would drive me raving mad, but it worked for her.

As a child, I had a lot of difficulty remembering which day of the week it was. Drove my mother crazy with my asking every day.  I finally came up with a visual I could remember:  I pictured the week as a ring. The ring was divided into halves. On the right hand side, were the 5 days of the week with Monday at the top, Friday at the bottom and Wednesday in the middle.  The other half of the ring was the weekend. Well, Saturday and Sunday were all my own; they were long days to me. Time traveled around and around the ring, so I always knew where I was and what day it was by visualizing myself on the ring.

The same technique worked for me when I rode the Seattle/Kingston ferry for work during the week a few years ago. I could leave my car on one of the two car decks, go up to the cabin and read or snack and return to my car without getting lost because I had pictured where it was in my mind. I had created a two-deck 'graphic' and a 'you are here' pin for where my car was that day.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Dippers, Scoops and Ladles--Spoons Part VII

We all know what a scoop looks like.

Generic, plastic, universal.

But a Clay scoop has soul.  Note:  The third of this grouping may have been made from a gourd or carved from wood, but it doesn't matter. The form and decoration is why it was included.

The difference between a dipper and a ladle or a scoop is hardly discernible and the shape is almost identical. Perhaps, a ladle has a bit more tilt to the bowl.

Doesn't the one on the great striped fabric look like you could just pick it up and use it right away?

This nest of dippers or scoops could even be soup bowls, depending on their size.

And the same goes for this group. They could be from measuring spoon size to cups. (My measuring spoons are in a drawer; my measuring cups are in canisters where they function as scoops. Saves hunting them down.)

The thongs through the handle holes is a good idea. There would all look great hanging up on a bar in the kitchen.  

The holes could make firing a lot easier--string the dippers along a thermal wire on a jewelry firing tree: 

Just use the top bars or string your own wire between two horizontal stacks of kiln posts to whatever height needed.

Or, if the dipper is larger, fire it on a stilt.

These scoops look great hanging up. The same could be made of clay using a slab roller.

Here's some dippers of my own. The bamboo handled one is meant to be used, but the ones with the African porcupine spines would be a bit more tricky to use.

I would recommend it's use as decorative only.......

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Spoon Design - More on Handles VI

I love these driftwood handles.

Another approach is to emphasize the handle by either carving or stamping it.

Using an embossed piece could work as in these metal backs.

Adding ornamentation to the handles either by carving, molding or stamping can be another approach to decoration.

Repeating an original design with a mold can assure perfect repetition.

Me, I hate repetition, so I would probably make all the handles similarly.

Whether this particular handle would sit comfortably in your hand is another consideration.

These silver pieces could be copied by hand or made into a mold to emboss the backs or front handles.

This is a novel design.  The handle is hollow and used to store salt. Maybe a special holder would keep the spoon upright and the salt in the handle.

Sculpting the handles of these hand formed spoons results in them moving out of the utilitarian range into an art form that borrows on the idea of a spoon.  

Retaining the spirit of spoons, but now moving into sculpture, the spoons become a piece of art, as in these rabbit spoons.  

Also, grouping them and presenting them collectively as a unit instead of individual pieces changes them into one statement.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Spoons - Form and Decoration, Part V

It could be argued that all spoons made by hand fall into the category as an art form, as these beautifully graceful salad spoons demonstrate.

These natural clay spoons, when assembled into a display, become an exercise in pattern and form. Yet you could pluck any one out of the arrangement and use it.
No problem firing these!

I'm not sure what the material is used here, but this decoration is a great inspiration that transforms these spoons or dippers into art. Equally functional and artful.

This grouping with similar roundness of spoon bowls, yet varying sizes, similarity in handles, yet variations also in length and thickness still function as a grouping.

And these seem so organic, they could have been picked up on the seashore.  Great interpretation and glaze.

Different handle length and uniformity in similar bowl size create a grouping, yet they all become very individual because of the free expression in decoration.

I like the onion-like lines on the spoon to the far right.  Look at the negative space created by the length of white left on each handle.

With the two strong forms of the linear handle and the roundness of the bowl, there are two opportunities for endless decorations.

A slight segway here--

I have a 'thing' for shells. So, of course, I love these two examples of silver spoons with a shell motif.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Even More Spoons, Part IV

There are many approaches to making clay spoons.

You can create molds for multiples of the same and matching shapes or make a series of all the same shape.


Same bowls, different handles

Same handles, different bowls

Make them all the same with the same glaze.
Aren't these gorgeous? 

Natural clay handles might simplify how to fire them in the kiln--supporting them by laying them across kiln posts, making a clay support or by stilting them. 

Of course, if you plan to attach a handle, firing the bowls of spoons are easier. The could be stood on end with a bead rack or other stilt form, then handle and bowl are glued together. 

Making ceramic bowls and handles that would later be glued together might be another experiment. I don't think I've ever seen that.....

Fitting them with wooden handles like these measuring spoons, or with driftwood handles.

A great website that matches materials to other materials with the right glue can be found at 

If you're in to glue trivia or news, it's also the webpage for you!

Maybe using spoons to test glazes would be an even better than using test tiles. 
I think I've come up with a brilliant idea!!

And, a word of advice, though. If you plan on making a set of spoons or a collection of any kind, be sure to make extras!

There will still be more posts on spoons to come.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Spoons, Part III - Ceramic Spoons and Glazes

One idea is to make different shapes; same glaze.  Notice each spoon has a hole in the handle for hanging.  Maybe a composition display in the kitchen?

I like the homey looking blue and cream utility spoons here. Strainers, measurers, dippers, salt spoons, scoops, lots of uses for a well-glazed, washable tool.

Great use of theme and variation. 
Owl spoons. So Picasso-esque.

Embossing with stamps makes interesting, if maybe not-so-practical spoon bowls.
Great breaks in the glaze on these spoons.

Spoon or spoon rest? You decide.

Simply charming spoon.  

Do you see the little man?

A child would absolutely love this.