Connie Norman
Connie Norman

Shakerag Workshops

March 10th, 2014

Shakerag Workshops

Shakerag Workshops is a studio art workshop program with week long classes offered in various media.

Join me for a handbuilding and glazing workshop on the campus of St. Andrew’s-Sewanee School in Beautiful Sewanee, Tennessee.

Session One: June 8 – 14, 2014

All Levels of Experience Are Welcome.

Enrollment now Open.

Course Description

Fee Information and Registration

About Shakerag

Giving Thanks

November 23rd, 2013

I have been off the radar for a few months now.  I haven’t been blogging, Facebooking or Instagraming.  A number of things have happened over the last few months that have caused me to drop off the face of the Electronic world.  And I’ve only been checking my email just enough to keep afloat, which really means I’ve been sinking then scrambling to get back on the life boat. My family and I have been going through a really rough patch lately.  I’m not really ready to talk about what is going on, (on the internet anyway) but my family has been going through enormous amount of stress.  Things have been a little bit better and I think we actually have the map back to normalcy, but we now have to follow it.  I wish I could say that it is all in the past unfortunately we are still in the middle of it.  I just came up for a quick breath! For right now I am THANKFUL of many things. Today I am THANKFUL for my family.  My son and my husband have been keeping me sane, during a very stressful time.  My husband is so supportive of me and everything I do.  My son is just the light of my life and keeps us smiling with the way he interprets the world.  I am THANKFUL for our new house, which is one of the MANY reasons we have been yo-yoing towards the breaking point.  We had a beautiful house built over the summer and moved in around a month ago.  Our new house is gorgeous, it is not our “DREAM” home, but it is as close as we will ever get.   We have a lovely view, plenty of room, space for an amazing studio.  But it’s not built yet.  I am really looking forward to a brand new studio. I am THANKFUL for Claire Reishman who has been saving me.  Claire  from Shakerag Workshops in Tennessee has been so patient with me.  It has been Beyond Reason.   She asked me to teach a workshop at Shakerag this coming summer and I have been so delinquent in getting everything she needs.  She stuck with me and helped me so much.  Thank you Claire for believing in me! I am teaching a week long workshop at Shakerag Workshops @ St. Andrew’s Sewanee School in Sewanee, Tennessee, June 8 -16.  Follow the link to get more information.

 I am Thankful for Jennifer Lawrence who is a paraprofessional in my classroom; she tirelessly helps with the students.  I don’t know if I could do my job this year without her.  Also, she has been covering my classes once a month so I can watch my son’s performances.  Thus I THANK her as a Mom and a teacher.

I am THANKFUL to Clay Arts Vegas inviting me to be in the show Creativity Creates Community.  If you are in the area go see it.  I wish I could.  Thom and Peter work so hard bringing quality clay to Las Vegas!  I’m proud to have been a part of their of their program.    I am THANKFUL to Kevin HLuch for including me in his new ibook, American iPottery, and that one of my salt and pepper shakers will be one of the two images that begin the “N” chapter!  I think the book will be out in the next few months.  The Art of Contemporary American Pottery was Kevin’s last book, check it out it is awesome. I am THANKFUL for Maggie Weydeveld who started the Duck Barn Artisans 30 plus years ago, and has never had another potter in the Holiday Sale.  She invited me to show with her, last year, and I hope it will be many years to come.  It is quite an honor!  Maggie is a local legend.  She makes beautiful high fired tenmoku glazed pots.  And I met her I was in high school and she has been such an inspiration to me ever since.  If you live in Cheyenne or happen to be in the area, stop by the Duck Barn Holiday Sale, 215 West 17th Street, Cheyenne, Wyoming.  They will be open from 10 – 5PM, November 22 – December 14. I am THANKFUL for the Artful Home; promoting my work.  In July I was in their Flash Gallery Secret Languages.  I was in great company.  July was when the proverbial poo hit fan, so I wasn’t able to blog about it.

I am THANKFUL for DR. Troy Thompson our Veterinarian.  Our cat has been super sick, and Dr. Thompson is only working half days because he is also a County Commissioner.  But when I called his office, his staff told me if I dropped Vinnie off they would fit him in between all his appointments.  But this didn’t give me the chance to tell him what has been going on.  But I was THANKFUL regardless because Vinnie was going to be seen.  I take my son to hockey and see Dr. Thompson’s wife and she goes home tells him needs to be at hockey to talk to me about my cat.  Dr. Thompson gets to hockey practice and takes the entire practice to hear about Vinnie.  Thank you Troy!

 Here is a picture of Vinnie as I was packing up my studio, during the big move.

As I write this I realize how lucky and THANKFUL I am for having the people I do in my life.

Mary Fischer – Plinth Gallery Artist Interview

July 30th, 2013

Mary Fischer: “The Architecture of Space”

Mary Fischer’s ceramic forms are reminiscent of the landsettled by her great-grandparents and where Fischer grew up. Her sculptures of barns, water towers, granaries and other farm buildings are influenced by her surroundings on the Texas landscape. Fischer has always been fascinated with buildings and architecture, ”I’ve been interested in buildings and photographing buildings and reading architectural magazines ever since I can remember”.- Jonathan Kaplan. Plinth Gallery

Please join Mary at Plinth Gallery for the opening of her show First Friday, August 2nd, from 6-9pm.

For more information on Plinth Gallery ande Mary Fischer please their website.


When and how did you discover the passion for ceramics?

I first noticed ceramics when I was stationed in Thailand and Okinawa.

(I spent 8 years in the Air Force, in the 60′s and 70′s.)

After looking at clay at craft shows and galleries, I thought it was something that I could do. So for our 40th birthdays, a friend and I decided to take lessons at a city run facility in Austin. Of course I couldn’t do what I thought I could, but I did get addicted to clay and eventually gave up drawing maps for playing full time with clay.

You create all sorts of architecture. How would you explain your attraction for buildings and are they a metaphor for you?

 First, the buildings I make aren’t a metaphor, nor do they represent any particular building I have seen. They are a product of everything I have seen, photographed, and read about in books and magazines on architecture.

Buildings have always fascinated me. As kids, my older sister, cousins and I built a fort at our grandparents house by stacking cedar posts. Our grandparents let us build cities in the mud after the occasional rain. At home we made the outline of rooms with limbs and lumber and played house.

I briefly considered architecture as a career but figured my lack of math skills would make anything I built suspect.

My pieces are sculptural, they are pretty useless for anything except adding buildings to train sets, or gathering dust.

Mary Fischer’s ceramic forms are reminiscent of the landsettled by her great-grandparents and where Fischer grew up. Her sculptures of barns, water towers, granaries and other farm buildings are influenced by her surroundings on the Texas landscape. Fischer has always been fascinated with buildings and architecture, ”I’ve been interested in buildings and photographing buildings and reading architectural magazines ever since I can remember”.


What other clay artist influenced you if any and why?

I’m sure lots of other artists have influenced me at one time or other.

I do tend to come back to Hans Coper because his texture and lines are so exquisite.

 What techniques do you usually work with and what is your favorite tool?

As to techniques, I hand build with slabs and extruded pieces. So it stands to reason that my favorite tools are my slab roller and extruder.

The last couple of years I have been using more images in my work. I have learned to use etching and pronto plates I have made from some of my photographs by printing them on clay. The hardest part is not the technical but finding images that work on a particular piece.

What advice can you give aspiring artists struggling to find their own voice and look?

 Just keep working. Copy from the best. Be conscious of what is copying and what is copying with a twist of your own until it is all your own.

What are you showing at Plinth this month and how did you come up with the title?

I just got back from delivering work to Crimson Laurel Gallery in Bakersville, NC and Snyderman-Works Gallery in Philadelphia. So I’m just now getting into thinking about the show at Plinth which is in August. I don’t know what the title will be. The work will probably be similar to what I have been doing this year, which is more emphasis on industrial/agricultural buildings, boats and images with “graffiti” , i.e. photos applied to clay and made into buildings. Maybe some new kinds of barns, since we saw lots of them driving across Pennsylvania and Ohio.


Brought to you by the Letter G – Julia Galloway, Jason Greene, and Mel Gould

May 24th, 2013

Brought to you by the letter G!  Julia Galloway, Jason Greene, and Mel Gould

In this post I am featuring two friends of my mine from the New York State College of Ceramics at Alfred University!  Julia Galloway and Jason Greene, we went through undergrad together, and became great friends.  Unfortunately Jason passed away little over a year ago, he was a good friend and although I had not seen him in years, I miss him.   He made truly wonderful pots!  I only have one left and it’s at the bottom of the post.  Jason made this upside down pitcher while we were in school together.

I’m guessing most the readers who stop by my blog will have heard of Julia Galloway, I am featuring her work from undergrad to grad school to current body of work. The pictures of Julia’s work go in chronological order from most recent to undergrad.

G is for Julia Galloway.

Julia’s cloud teapot I took out on a lonely road in the middle of a prairie.

G is for Julia Galloway.

G is for Julia Galloway.

G is for Julia Galloway.

 G is for Julia Galloway.

 This pitcher of Julia’s I got when we were in school together.  She gave me many pots, but unfortunately my drive back to Wyoming from New York, I totaled my car when I got into an accident in Chicago.  I didn’t pack my pots from all my friends very well and many of them got broken.  And I had to travel home on a Greyhound Bus.  It was a sad day.

 G is for Jason Greene.

The last pitcher is Jason Greene’s!  While we were at Alfred he was making what he called his upside down pots.  I had a few more of his pots but over the years they have gotten broken.

G is for Mel Gould.

The last two photographs were taken out at Mel Gould’s house, Buryville.  He is a master tinker, inventor, engineer and artist.  Buryville is on I-80 east of Cheyenne, about 10 miles.  And Mel loves visitors; he welcomes people to stop by at any time.  It’s an amazing place and Mel is an amazing man.  Mel has had his artwork and invention at the Denver Art Museum and he has worked with Chisto and Jeanne-Claude !!! Mel designed equipment that Christo used in The Running Fence and The Umbrellas.  I’ll have to do a blog post only on Mel Gould one day!  Here is another site with information on Mel Gould.

If you’re interested here are the other posts from The ABC’s of Ceramics.  A BC DEEF - G!  Or just click on the link on the right hand side under categories.

Patricia Griffin – Artist Interview

May 15th, 2013

As I started my interview series I’ve found many amazing artists, but this time one found me.  Patricia Griffin found me!  Then I fell in love; with her scraffito work!! Her imagery is very frisky and cheerful.  I imagine her frolicking in her garden.  I am so grateful that I get to meet other ceramic artists through the internet, and I always hope to meet them in person.

With that said…Let me introduce Patricia Griffin Scraffito artist extraordinaire!

If you would like more information on Patricia please hop on over to her blog, and like her on Facebook!

When and how did you discover the passion for ceramics?

It was about 16 years ago. I was running a very busy marketing and design firm and was up to my eyeballs in stress. A counselor suggested that I pursue a creative outlet that was not a part of problem-solving for a client. That eventually led to clay classes at the community college.

In between client meetings, I would rush to the college, run into the school restroom to change  out of my business suit and into clay clothes, fly into the ceramics studio, find a vacant wheel, and then try to mellow out enough to throw a pot… At the end of class, I’d do the whole thing in reverse. I can’t tell you how many times I’d be at a client meeting and see that I still had clay stuck to my forearms!

After a couple of years of that chaos, I set up a home studio. I spent the next seven years or so spending as much time as possible in the studio and going to workshops for additional instruction and inspiration. Seven years ago, I opened a studio and gallery in a converted one-room schoolhouse in Cambria. It’s a little artist colony on the central coast of California.

There is a remarkable touch of sensibility in your decorations. Tell us more about how you decorate and where do you get inspiration from.

On my (almost) daily walk, I follow a bluff trail overlooking the central coast of California where I live. What I experience here shows up in woodcut-style imagery on my forms — the rhythm of the sea and patterns of pines needles, rocky coastline and grassy meadows.

I etch plants, insects and animals, line and pattern — creating images that resemble woodcuts and scrimshaw on my pieces.

Please tell us about how you started working with Mishima and what do you love most about this process. 

I have been combining mishima (etching a line design and later inlaying color) and scraffito (applying color and carving out designs). I really enjoy using both techniques to create a layered collage of imagery. But it’s sooooo time-consuming!

How has your work developed throughout the years?

I love so much about clay, and it’s been my greatest challenge to narrow down and hone in on what makes my work “my work.”  I’ve had years exploring form, several years with earthenware and majolica, then left that for a year or so to do larger sculptural pieces that looked like the heads of cartoon animals.

When I moved to the coast seven years ago, I started working in the style I’m still pursuing. It’s held my interest. I feel like the pieces and decoration are more resolved and integrated. I like what comes out of the kiln and it inspires me to see how I can advance it further.

What techniques do you usually work with and what is your favorite tool?

In terms of form, I work with the wheel primarily. But I’m increasingly mixing it up with the slab roller and extruder, adding hand-built elements and combining forms.

I do most of my decoration at the cheese-hard stage, and each piece takes a considerable amount of time to decorate. So, there is a lot of plastic covering pieces in my studio so they stay at the cheese-hard stage until I can get to them.

My favorite tool:

My favorite tool is a ball stylus that I use when I initiate the woodcut-style scraffito work on my pieces. It has a .030” on one side and a .045” on the other. I have other favorites too, but I go crazy if I can’t find this little guy when I’m ready to start working on a new piece.

How would you explain your attraction for functional ceramics? 

I love the idea that people take my pieces into their own homes and use them on a daily basis.

Do you have any favorite blogs you read?

Yes, I have a long list of blogs on my reader. Top on my list are those who share their own work and inspirations, as well as news and interviews about others in the field. Here are a few:

Conne Norman: I was thrilled to find your blog and read the interviews! (aaw shucks!  Thank you for saying that!)

Carol Epp: Musings about Mud – Emerging artists, inspiring work, clay exhibits and competitions

Ben Carter: Tales of a Red Clay Rambler – Also subscribe to the podcast. Great stuff!

Whitney Smith: Practical and very forthright advice. This girl pulls no punches, so it’s always an interesting read. I’ve learned so much. (Unfortunately, she’s on a blogging hiatus right now.)

What other clay artist influenced you if any and why?

So many!

Gary David Wright, who led the first workshop I attended at Sierra Nevada College, got me thinking beyond the basics. Lana Wilson and Nick Joerling team-taught at Arrowmont and my mind exploded with more possibilities. I returned a couple of years later for an intermediate workshop with Suze Lindsay and Peter Beasecker. They started out the workshop with some creativity/design exercises that I still use today.

More recently, I have been looking at the decoration/imagery on the work of artists like Jenny Mendes, Diana Fayt and Kip O’Krongly. And I love the way you turn words into patterns, imprinting the letters into the clay and making the meanings even more profound. Another one is Chandra Debuse whose work is pure fun and inspiration. The common denominator with all of this work is the layering of pattern, images and mark-making that interest me.

Please tell us about your creative dreams for 2013 and beyond. What are some of the future projects would you love to work on?

In the studio, I am interested in further developing my forms, staying within the functional arena but adding sculptural elements that integrate with the decoration.

At the same time, I have an almost dynamically opposed dream of creating a line of handmade pieces that can be produced more cost-effectively and be accessible to a larger market. I’ve been mulling that over, and watching the progress of wonderful artists like Molly Hatch and Rae Dunn who have put their creativity and business savvy to work.


Tell us about your studio?  And what do you love most about your studio?

 My studio and gallery are in a converted one-room schoolhouse on Main Street in Cambria, a small tourist town on the central coast of California. It’s a beautiful area, along the Pacific Coast Highway south of Hearst Castle and Big Sur.

I rent the 100-year-old schoolhouse from the Lions Club of Cambria. It still has a bell tower and people can come inside and pull on the rope to ring the bell. Because of the historic nature of the building, it feels like I’m part of the community.

I love the light that pours into the building from these beautiful old windows. And the double-door on the front entrance is adorable.

I also love having Mae and Champ with me (two very large standard poodles), and listening to my music playlist on shuffle all day.


Thanks for stopping by my blog, comments are continually appreciated, and it is always great to hear from everyone.  I’m sure Patricia will love to read your comments too.

Clay Arts Vegas – Words and Patterns

May 6th, 2013

Last month my family and I went to Las Vegas Nevada, for a short family vacation and so I could teach a workshop at Clay Arts Vegas right before my show went up.  Since my son is five we had to stay at Excalibur, it wasn’t my first choice, but when you have a son that dresses up as a knight several times a week you have to stay in a castle if you have the opportunity.  Well, it was a bigger hit than we ever thought my Van never wanted to leave, and when we did he was always begging to go back to the castle.  We also took him to see the Tournament of Kings, Van had a great time, not even eating one bite of his Cornish hen, and he was so engrossed watching the knights battle each other.

I really enjoyed my workshop at Clay Arts Vegas!  Thom Bumblauskas one of the founders of CAV was a spectacular host.  I see great things in the future for Clay Arts Vegas!

One of the things CAV did that was different than any show I’ve ever been in.  They had Checko Salgado come and take black and white images of my work blow them up to 24” x 36” photographs to hang during the show.   Because of the cost of shipping, I only sent smaller pieces to Clay Art Vegas, so it was especially fun to see these giant images of my small vases and salt and pepper shakers blown up to such big proportions.





Checko also took great pictures during the workshop.  Usually my workshop pics are just quick shots from my phone and are nothing special.  These photographs are amazing.  I love how he captured everyone working so hard.

Thank you Clay Arts Vegas especially Thom Bumblauskas  and Peter Jakubowski and Thank you Checko Salgado!  I had an amazing time.  If you are ever in Vegas make sure you stop at Clay Arts Vegas.

As usual I am about a month late in my blog posting.  The show is down and CAV has moved on to their next show.  It was a grand time!  I hope everyone in the workshop enjoyed it as much as I did.

Thanks for stopping by my blog, comments are continually appreciated, and it is always great to hear from everyone.

Wordless Wednesday

May 2nd, 2013

NCECA Houston 2013

April 17th, 2013

Thanks for stopping by the ol’ blog!  I always appreciate it when people tell me that they have read or seen something interesting on my blog.  This time I really feel like I’m sharing two really captivating pieces.   When you get to the end tell me what you think of the Michael’s and Janice’s work and our show if you’re so incline.

Constructing Solitude by Janice Jakielski

These two images of Janice Jakielski’s  work were the pieces that I was most intrigued with, I love interacting with the binoculars, and the feeling of spying I had when looking at the fields of growing plants, wondering what I would see if I stayed there long enough.

I played with these pieces for a long time; I took tons of pictures through the eye holes of each of the ceramic vegetation.  I went from side to side, looking at every angle, I was the person who really was lingering too long. 

Misfit Cup Liberation Project by Michael Strand

The other piece that fascinated me was the Misfit Cup Liberation Project by Michael Strand. Michael asks people to bring in their cups that have been pushed to the back of the cabinet and has not been used for years in exchange for his beautiful handmade cup.  In exchange you are asked to write how you acquired it and why you are giving up your neglected cup.  I read many of the stories and I kept wondering what is Michael Strand going to do with all these cups?  Why would a maker of handmade cups be willing to trade them for these unwanted cups?  As fate would have it, I got to dine with Michael Strand and asking all my burning questions.  He said his Misfit Cup project will exchange with 10 cities and several countries, India being one and in the end he will have collected 1000 cups.  Michael said, “It will be a cultural anthropological study of what is at the back our collective closet.”

If you take the time to watch the video you will learn more about the “EX-Con” cup and about the project in Michael’s own words.

Here are images of our show Western Table Manners at NCECA in Houston.  Mike Olson, Ryan Olsen and Yourell drove our show from Wyoming to Houston!  It sounds like they had a great road trip.  They arrived a few days early and installed the show at Houston Community College SE and enjoyed Texas in the spring time.  I flew in at the start of NCECA all ready to take in a ton of clay!!!

Our show was behind glass making it difficult to photograph it, but here it is!

Top left: Danny Brown, Lynn Munns, my work, and Ted Vogel.

Top left: Mike Olson, Lisa Pedolsky, Yoko Sekino-Bove, Elaine DeBehr, and Kurt Anderson.

Top: Rod Dugal, Ryan Olsen.

Everything packed up and ready to go home!



Plinth Gallery Artist Interviews – Lisa Pedolsky Part 2

April 1st, 2013

Lisa Pedolsky’s handbuilt functional forms  go beyond strict utility. They are also vessels that hold personal references where a myriad of experiences and ideas reside, establishing context and giving meaning to the work.

Package design and dressmaking come to mind as the piece is brought to life by cutting, folding, darting and connecting. Visual and tactile depth is developed through the application of multiple layers of clay, slips, stains and glazes, and by scraping, incising and carving into the surface. This working process is slow and methodical. – Jonathan Kaplan, Plinth Gallery

Lisa is teaching a workshop at Plinth Gallery -April 6-7, 2013 “Design, Decoration and the Handbuilt Pot”

Using techniques similar to package design and dressmaking, we will  explore a multi-layered approach to slab constructed functional  ceramics.  Participants will be guided through the process from initial  drawings, to pattern design using paper and roofing felt, to assembling  components. Surface treatment will include the use of slip, sgraffito,  stencils, and unconventional tools to achieve visual and tactile depth.   Technical and aesthetic aspects will be considered while exploring  closed and open forms including boxes, bowls, platters and cups.  Participants will leave the workshop feeling competent in a number of  forming methods.

•All levels of experience are welcome.

•Cost for 2 days, includes all materials and catered lunch  $250

Check out Lisa’s web site, Two Fish Studio.

Lisa’s work can be seen at Plinth Gallery.

What are you showing at Plinth Gallery this month?

The show is titled, Connecting the Dot’s: Design, Decoration and the Hand built Pot. There is a play on words here, since there will be literally thousands of dots on the work in the show. Beyond that, I’ve created an array of forms, all connected by design elements and relationship such as groupings and sets. More specifically, one will find boxes (among my favorites to build),vases, platters, teapots, bowls, plates and cups .

Let‘s go back to the very beginning how did you become a ceramicist?

There are a number of “beginnings” in this becoming. Without wanting to sound overly sentimental, I must acknowledge my very first awareness of clay. This was when I was just five years old and my mother was taking a ceramic s class. I truly do remember my moment of awareness and I was awed. My art path was evident over the course of my childhood years and throughout there was an interest in clay, supported by a strong arts program in my high school. I went on to California College of the Arts (then, California College of Arts and Crafts) and U.C. Berkeley, where I studied under such notables as Viola Frey (CCAC) and Peter Voulkos (U.C.B.). For many post-graduation years I worked in a variety of other media and in 1999 made the decision to dedicate myself to work in clay.  So, the short answer is that after many years in the arts, a career focused in ceramics began in earnest fourteen years ago.


You create mostly functional work. How would you explain your attraction for functional ceramics?

I have an interest in innovative design and impeccable craftsmanship that can be traced back to the mid-century modern furniture and household objects that surrounded me during my youth. As a young artist I also became interested in traditional Japanese craft and traditional textiles and functional objects coming out of Africa. These are all deep-seated influences that continue to inform my work. Often, I am awed by the artistry that can be found in even the most humble objects intended for everyday use. I’m excited by the challenges inherent in creating functional forms that that are also compelling in design.

There is a visible preoccupation with pattern in your work; how do you do it and how important is pattern and surface for the message you want to send?

Pattern and surface are integral to my work; The forms I create would be otherwise incomplete. When I conceptualize a piece, pattern and surface are among the many considerations from the start. Over the years I’ve developed an extensive “visual vocabulary.”  Part of this developed out of necessity. Because I use electric kilns, visual and tactile depth will not be provided by the firing process; it’s up to me to work surfaces to achieve those results. However, be yond t ha t is the story in the work. I may give a nod to a spectacular textile I’ve seen, appreciating the nuances that can only result from a work made by hand. The beauty found in calligraphy – Kanji and Arabic, for example – moved me to create my own characters that are often used repetitively on the surface of a piece. These are but two examples. In all cases I’m interested in personalizing influences so that the marks I make are truly my own.  I employ numerous methods t o achieve my results. Often I’ll distress the clay surface, scraping and poking with a variety of tools; white or colored slip is applied, sometimes over stencils or resist, leaving some of the red clay exposed. Sgraffito, stamping, staining and applying layers of underglazes and glazes all contribute to building up the surface and to patterning.

What techniques do you usually work with and what is your favorite tool?

All of my forms are slab constructed. Each piece begins as thumbnail sketch followed by a scale drawing. (I never thought I’d appreciate any of the math and geometry I was taught in public school, but I do! I’ve dredged up long forgotten lessons and have refreshed my memory online.  Numbers and proportions are essential to my design process.) I then create pattern pieces – working much like a dressmaker or package designer – that are attached to the clay slab. From there I cut out and assemble the components, and follow with surface texturing and glaze processes. All work is twice fired and I take the glaze fire to cone 03.  It’s difficult to pick one favorite tool. I use many that have served me well for years. I’ll pick one tool made specifically for clay and one that has been repurposed. At the commercial end, my Mud Tool steel scraper is indispensable; I use it for both scoring and texturing and there isn’t a piece that this tool doesn’t touch. My repurposed tool is a plastic cap that came off a hair spray bottle. I’ve been stamping and incising with this tool for ten or more years, and have a bright yellow tape running around the middle of it so I can easily identify it from among the many other handy objects in my collection. I could write pages about my tools! 

Tell us what you do for fun when you’re out of the studio.

For one thing, I’m a foodie, interested in cooking and also culinary experiences. If I’ve been unable to produce work in the studio for more than a day or two I invariably find myself creating in the kitchen. Baking is a strong interest of mine; some aspects are much like working with clay so it seems there’s no escaping it! In my mountain town hiking opportunities abound and my bicycle is important to me in all but the coldest months of the year. I’m a long time Yoga practitioner (and Yoga certainly contributes to keeping me balanced and well, given the rigors of my creative process). Travel and the urban experience are high on the fun list, too.

Colorado Art Educators Conference – Master Teacher’s Workshop

March 16th, 2013

In October I taught a Master Teacher’s workshop at the Colorado Art Educator’s Conference in Breckenridge, Colorado.   The one thing that made this workshop different from all the workshops I’ve taught is I tried to cut off the top of my thumb right before the workshop started.  As usual, I was a little nervous before the workshop started, running around the last 30 minutes before the workshop trying to get all the odds and ends done before the class started, as I was cutting contact paper for everyone to use to ran the Xacto knife over my thumb and it cut right through my nail and down the corner of my thumb, not a pretty site.  Blood was gushing from my thumb and I was terrified to look at it.  I had a trail of blood from the classroom to the bathroom.  Luckily my teacher friends from Denver and Loveland were there to help me out and clean up the room and finish cutting the contact paper.  The security guard was called, I don’t know why!  And he was very freaked out about the whole ordeal, and saying I needed to go to the hospital, but he would not take me, which was fine, I had friends there, but I kept repeating how he would not take me.  I think he was more freaked out about it than I was.

My friends got some gauze bandages, and wrapped my thumb, by this time everyone taking the workshop was there.  I felt like I shouldn’t leave so I taught the workshop.  Let me tell you, my thumb was killing me.  I got through the three hour workshop and my friends insisted I go to the emergency room.  I agreed, but that was a challeng, Breckenridge in October is the off season, nothing was open, and not even the hospital.  Everyone told us everything shuts down until ski season.  Finally we found an emergency room in Frisco, about 15 miles away.  And the doctor was kind enough to give me five stitches, and tell me that my injury was considered an amputation!!!  

That night was the big Saturday Night Bash and the theme was The Rocky Horror Show, but I didn’t bring anything to dress up, so my friends wouldn’t let me go without a costume, so my thumb became Senor Amputee!

Well, this was my last workshop that I taught; I’m starting to get ready for the next workshop that I’m teaching in Las Vegas at Clay Arts Vegas.  And this nightmare has been on my mind, because in two weeks I will be teaching another workshop.  Hopefully I will not repeat the same show as in Breckenridge!