Next?

As my blog states, I can’t do just one thing and just as soon as I get one thing finished my attention goes to something new. In this case, I have been commissioned to do a couple of floor cloths for a friend. She has an entryway coming in from her garage, (must be nice to have one of those) and it is decorated in cows. She is originally from Missouri and grew up on a dairy farm and ironically her street name is Holstein Lane here in Toms Brook so she has a history with cows. When I do one of these, I usually search the internet for examples to look at. I have excellent drawing skills as long as I can look at something else. I can’t just draw from my brain, I wish I could, but I can’t. Anyway, I found some images of cows and am combining several images into something that will be “my own painting” and hopefully won’t look like the image I started with.

So Jan ordered the floorcloth material from Dick Blick Art Supplies and had them shipped to my house. I then mined the internet for cows. Holstein cows. Then started drawing the cows and landscape onto the canvas that comes primed and ready to go. Normally I use acrylic paints for my floor cloths but this one I wanted to use oil paints so that I had more time to work the image and blend the colors more. The palette is basically earth tones. Sap green, burnt umber, white, payne’s grey, yellow ochre, and a blue for the sky.

These floor cloths are 2′ x 3 ‘. When the painting is done, I will turn about an inch under and glue it down to give it a finished edge. Then I will put a couple of coats of polyurethane to seal and protect it. I think a lot of floorcloth artists then wax the entire surface with bowling alley wax but I haven’t done that to any of mine that I have in my house and they seem to be wearing just fine. I think Jan’s will be fine without that.

So I have one cow detailed in pretty well and have a few more to go.

Jan’s laundry room is in that area of the house too, so she also wants one for the laundry room. I will post that one when it gets going.


Kiln Results

As you can see, I had some breakage in the firing from yesterday. This is the plate that had the glass on and I imagine that there may have been too much glass and that is the reason for the breakage. The colors did run together so now I will know in the future to either use one color or to place the color in the approximate area of where I want it to melt. This was the only casualty though because many of the leaves that I did turned out great.

The leaf in the foreground is from my earlier post with the glass strips laying on it.

The leaves that I put the glass on managed to melt and stay put and look like they are holding water. They are really pretty and I will definitely try this again because it seems that they did fine.

leaf with red glass

 

 

 

 

bird nest pins

These small bird nests were created with an extruder tool that is like playing in “playdoh.” I have lots of dies that create lots of fun shapes and textures. These were made using one that extrudes a spaghetti like string of clay and then I made small balls to be the eggs. The blue of the eggs aren’t as vivid as I would like so I may end up using an oil paint or an acrylic to color the eggs. They will make a nice little pin for a bird lover for Christmas.

I used  a metallic glaze on a few of the leaves so they look like they have been dipped in gold. They are incredibly shiny and will look like jewels on the Thanksgiving table.

metallic gold leaves

My winter garden will now be more complete since I now have markers to mark some of the greens that are not really traditional greens. I now have a marker for the Mache, the Arugula, my carrots, cabbage and broccoli. I don’t have Kolarabhi planted but when I get some seeds I will be able to mark those as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And finally, the frog tiles. I did four of these and have bought some trivet frames to put these in. They are 4″ x 4″ and the frames are black. There are 2 black tiles, a green one and a chocolate brown one. I already have someone that is interested in purchasing a couple of these. They are fun because they look like fossil frogs appearing in the surface of the clay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And some additional images of the leaves:

fire engine red with celadon froth

 

 

 

 

 

 

3 oak leaves

 

 

 

 

 

 

golden lustre glaze

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

group of leaves

Creating Fall Leaves for Thanksgiving

Several weeks ago when Thomas was here and we played in the clay together, I made some leaves out of stoneware to put on the table at Thanksgiving. I have been wanting to make some of these for a long time. So today, I glazed them and have them firing in the kiln. I am also experimenting with using some stained glass and adding it on top of the clay item and letting it turn to liquid in the kiln. I have never done this before and a friend at work who does stained glass gave me some of his scraps so that I have several colors to place on the leaves and on a plate and see how they do. I am hoping that on the leaves that the glass will liquify and run into the veins that I drew in the leaves. I used fall colors and am hoping that the reds will really work.

The leaf is curved enough to hold the liquid glass and hopefully won’t run off onto my kiln shelves. On a few of them I put a shelf liner down to catch the glass in case it does run off.

The glaze colors that I used are a fire engine red, a celadon, lustre gold, lacy mauve, and a metalic gold and agate. The glaze colors are on test tiles that I make when I get a new glaze so that I know how it is going to fire in my kiln and to use as a reference to know what the color looks like. I have lined out the colored tiles as you can see here, as my fall palette.

I had made a platter with my fossil frog on it and am experimenting with the glass on this platter. This is how it looks before it goes into the kiln with pieces of glass just laying on the plate. I am wondering if the colors will all run together or will they move together and mix.

 

The kiln is then loaded with glazed items.  The leaves, the garden markers and a few of the frog tiles that I made at the same time I was working on the bench.  In a glaze firing the pieces aren’t allowed to touch each other or the kiln shelf if they have glaze on their bottom sides. The leaves are sitting on little stilts and the markers and tiles are just sitting on the kiln shelf. The firing will go for about 7 hours.

Late tomorrow (or maybe sometime Monday) we get to see how they look!  Giving them plenty of time to cool so that the glass won’t crack when exposed to the air.


 

The table is set…

Several years ago, Herb was teaching a unit on manners at school and we thought it would be fun to have a visual aid for him to do that with. I had been making floorcloths for the house because they are maintenance free rugs and with dogs that is good, so we decided to do a floorcloth that looked like a table set with dishes so that when he discussed going to a restaurant with the children he could show them the correct way to behave at a table. I made the floorcloth to fit our dining room table and recently it has been showing some wear so I gave it a touch up and thought I would share it with everyone today.

As you can see, by itself on the table it has the illusion of having dishes on the table. I put a tablecloth under it and can change that out as the seasons change and usually take it off the table during the holidays because I want to decorate more festive then.

Below is a detail of one of the settings up close. I know the salad fork is normally on the outside but in our Joy of Cooking Cookbook the illustrations had a smaller fork close to the plate. Reading it just now, it explains that that is a seafood fork. So, I guess this meal would include a seafood cocktail

Sometimes it is really deceptive and you reach for a piece of silverware and there isn’t really one there.

The small shelf on the wall was in the living room until yesterday. I saw some of the last zinnias in the yard and used some of my white pitcher collection to add a small vignette on the shelf and add some color to that wall.

Halloween Decorations

 

Martha's mice

We now have the perfect house for Halloween since it is all the wonderful colors of Fall. Last year I cut some of the cute mice that Martha Stewart has on her website for the front steps but I used cardboard and when it rained they curled up and didn’t look as nice so this year I found an alternative recycled material. Printing plates.

We have a wonderful cutter at work for getting them cut to a size I could transport home and so I cut a bunch about the size of my mice which I downloaded from Martha’s site here.

Next, I cut out my mice from the paper and traced them onto the printing plate. My garden shears worked fairly well to cut the aluminum so I then cut out the mice from the plates.

 

 

After I cut them out I painted them black with some black acrylic paint. You could use spray paint if you have it. I plan to paint both sides so that I can turn the mice and have them face each other as opposed to all going the same direction.

 

Now I need to just attach them to the steps. Last year I just taped them and the tape ended up pulling the paint from the steps so I may try and find some poster puddie this weekend to attach them without doing additional damage to the paint. They are so lightweight that they will blow away if I don’t attach them.

 

This is last year’s decor. I didn’t manage to grow any of the cool butternut squash that I made the trio out of so I may need to buy some of those to make them again this year. They were just so cool!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now that my mice are done, I need to get decorating.

Harvest Time

After having cheesecake for breakfast yesterday, I decided I needed to have a healthy salad today and it just so happens that some of my winter veggies are ready to do just that. I found a huge radish and cut some of the lettuces and found a green pepper and some tommy toes. There is enough to mix some together for a nice side salad to go with my leftover Jalisco’s tacos from Wednesday night out with Herb.

WordPress seems to think that Herb is a link. HA!

 

If you look close, there is some baby arugula, some red romaine lettuce, some spinach and some chard. My carrots aren’t even close yet but the tops are big enough now to be able to tell they are carrots and not a weed. The broccoli is still in the seedling stage as is the cabbage and radicchio. I probably won’t see those until Spring. Something to look forward to.

I need to see if I have something good to mix together for a dressing. There is fresh basil still out there so maybe a basil dressing would be good.