2015 Holiday Open Studio Tour


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2015 Holiday Open Studio Tour will have 5 Locations


We are so excited this year to have added two potters to our Holiday Open Studio Tour for a total of 5 different locations where you can shop and visit with the artists. Barbarah Robertson and Chickadee’s Artist Gallery and Pottery Shop have agreed to be a part of this annual event and are helping to round out a county wide tour.

bea20ee7f37bc764fccaf24ea114cf56At the northern end of Shenandoah County, Liz Ashe-Hollingsworth with be showing and selling her lovely Earth Spirit Masks. “Magical one of a kind clay sculptures depicting nature spirits, faeries and animals enhanced with found natural objects.” You truly have to see these items in person to see just how awesome they are and the work that goes into these to make them so wonderful and magical.

Then in Strasburg, Barbarah Robertson, a juried artisan with the Artisan Center of Virginia, will be set up in Pot Town OrgaBeeMug1abnics, an O Shenandoah Artisan Trail Site. Barbarah will be showing and selling her functional kitchen and tableware meant for day to day use, as well as a line of whimsical garden & gift items. You can also get a look at the new shop Pot Town Organics, an organic nursery and gar
dening store.  Selling organic gardening supplies, lights, hydropoics, tools and more!  A fun place to visit if you enjoy gardening and food preparation. What a great combo to find handmade and organic items.

rabbit with Thistle-1Laughing Orange Studio is in the middle of the county, in Tom’s Brook where I have a few new items and the usual rabbit items and fairy garden items. I have been working on some cupcake cups, some cookie jars and the trays and mugs that I usually have on hand. A new outhouse design for the fairy garden or a wheel barrow or even a fairy ring might be just the thing for the fairy gardener in your life or on your list.
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Then, as you travel south to Woodstock, you can stop in at Kary Haun Studio where Kary will have her gorgeous porcelain work. Kary’s specialty items are ceramic drip coffee pots, drip tea mugs,
wine cups and more. Her glazes and nature inspired designs add to the elegance of the porcelain and it makes having a cup of coffee or a snack an experience rather than an everyday occurrence. 

11403211_969582256426829_1482607633049800930_nOur southern most site will be the new pottery in New Market called Chickadee’s Artist Gallery and Pottery Shop. Chris and George Jetter are the owners of this lovely Local Artist Gallery and Pottery Shop. The shop offers a wide variety of locally crafted items such as Pottery, Quilts, Blown Glass, Glass beads, Soy Candles, Digital and Film Photography, and much more! All pottery sold from Chickadees is created on site! You can even get a behind the scenes look at the craft of pottery by attending a live demonstration from George himself!

Postcards are going in the mail this week but be sure and mark your calendar if you are only on this newsletter list so that you come to this special event and take home some items for the holiday season to use during your own celebrations or to shop for that special person that is so hard to buy for.

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Be sure to follow the Holiday Open Studio Tour on Facebook because each of the five artists will be posting the progress of the work that we are preparing for this event and you will enjoy watching from there.

 

 

 

Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter’s Empty Bowl Supper

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This annual event will be held on Friday November 20th from 5:30-7:30 at the Central High School Cafeteria, in Woodstock, VA. This will be the fourth year that I have donated bowls. I love doing this because I know that it is for a great cause. Food is something that many of us take for granted and I know that there are plenty of folks out there that aren’t getting enough to eat. The Alliance for Shelter helps many of those who are in need in many ways.

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For the first time this year, you can purchase your tickets on-line by visiting their website at www.allianceforshelter.org and clicking on Empty Bowl Soup Supper.
Tickets can also be purchased at Woodstock Cafe in Woodstock, Sager Real Estate in Strasburg, Edinburg Mill in Edinburg, and Community Store in Basye, or reserve your tickets by calling Shenandoah Alliance for Shelter at 540-459-3212 or 540-459-8395. Tickets are limited to 300, so reserve your tickets early.
Tickets went on sale October 1, 2015.

I have pledged 30 bowls this year. Each bowl will have my signature frogs on them full of their personality, and a little of mine, hopefully!IMG_20151016_153625458

Also this year, I have had help with making my bowls and I would like to give a shout out to Kara Bowman and Ali Carithers and Patricia Wolfe for their help with adding glazes to the bowls, trying their hands at making a few of the frogs and to learning how much goes into making the bowls for the dinner. I love making these and these ladies all understand the importance of doing something for the community. I’d like to thank them for their help and also for the fun we shared doing the bowls.


 

Tang, the Laughing Orange Studio mascot…

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Tang continues to make me smile as I work in my studio daily. She can be grumpy somedays, curious most days and sleepy when she gets warm. When you come to the studio to see me or my work, stop in and see how soft she is and how much fun it is to have a rabbit as a pet and inspiration.


LOS at Va Clay FestivalThank you to all that have helped in my
new endeavors, the last 20 or so months of grief and have given encouragement to me, I have a wonderful set of friends and followers and I am grateful to you all,

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Don’t Forget to follow Laughing Orange on Facebook
and the Holiday Studio Tour  to see the fun as it is being created.

 

Matchbox Mouse

Molly Mouse in her dress

From one of the many catalogs that have come to our house this holiday season, Garnet Hill had this item in it and when I went to order it for one of my favorite little 4 year olds, they were sold out. Then I googled and found that every site that had them were also sold out. I can see why considering that they are so cute. So given my famous thought, “I could make that!”, I decided to do just that. While I didn’t document the whole process, I thought I would share how I went about putting mine together. My apologies to the original artist, but, if there had been more out there I would have purchased yours….and not spent two days in my sewing room. (which now looks like a bomb went off in there)

  1. I took the dimensions from the item at the website and went through my house looking for appropriate cardboard to make the box out of. I located some that had been a cover for a book of fabric swatches that an interior designer gave me several years ago. The cardboard is about 1/8 thick and is really sturdy and dense. Plus, it had this great pattern already on it so when I cut out the pieces to the box I made sure I positioned the pattern onto some of the sides.
  2. After cutting the sleeve part of the box, I glued it together and set it aside to dry while I worked on the bed part of the box. This box has to fit inside the sleeve so you have to account for the thickness of the cardboard in addition to making the measurements just right. Then you glue the bed part of the box together.
  3. Then onto the mouse. I had a pair of merino wool socks that had been through the dryer too many times and I could no longer wear but they had been naturally felted due to the dryer heat. Cutting them up into the parts of the mouse worked out because the knitting wouldn’t fray due to the felting.
  4. The mouse is 4 1/2 inches tall so I first drew out the proportions on a sheet of cardboard that I had cut to the 4 1/2 size. Basically, the arms and legs were just tubes with a rounded ended sewn in them for the hands and feet. The torso is a larger tube that the arms and legs were tucked into or sewn onto. The head was a head like shape, basically an oval with a pointed side. two pieces sewn together, turned inside out and stuffed with about a cotton ball size of stuffing. The torso was stuffed as well, but the legs and arms are just the sock material. And the ears are just small circles with a small pleat in them and stitched onto the head.  The eyes, nose and mouth were embroidered on.
  5. Her dress is scrap lace and fabrics. The skirt is a rectangle with elastic in the top and wrapped around her waist and a small snap is stitched in place so that it can be taken on and off. The lace slip is stitched to the mouse so it can be a nighty. And then I tied a satin ribbon around the waist for a waistband sash.
  6. Her jewels are just beads that were threaded on elastic string and small gold wire. I used initial beads for her necklace so I could give her a name.
  7. Once the box had dried, I glued watercolor paper to the top and sides of the sleeve and painted the strike plates on the sides and an illustration on the top. Mine has the alphabet on it as opposed to a fake manufacturer’s name. My little friend is 3 1/2 years old so she can practice her alphabet  reading the top.
  8. I lined the box bottom with fabric that I glued in and made a rectangle square that I stuffed and machine quilted for a small mattress and made a matching pillow. Her blanket is part of a sleeve from a sweater that I stitched satin ribbon onto one end and did a blanket stitch around the remaining three sides.
  9. Once complete, the mouse fits inside and when closed up she fits snuggly inside and can be tucked in at night to sleep in her little box
  10. I have a wooden thread spool that I might include as a pretend stool or bedside table.

I hope that my little friend will cherish this little mouse for many years to come. At $28 in the catalogs, I may have to purchase the next one. Made with love and a lot of time. Merry Christmas, Sophie.

Season’s Greetings?

1990 card

When Herb and I got married in 1980 we didn’t have a computer and it would be several years before we did. Home printers were not really something everyone had and if you did it was the old dot matrix kind that were not what you would think of to do a Christmas card with.

My first computer job in printing was in the day of film and laminated proofs and I was able to do our Christmas card that year as a stand up tree. It was mailed out flat and the recipient would be expected to fold it into a triangle and tape it so that it would stand as a sort of pyramid tree. I was able to get the scanner operator at my workplace to scan the photos of my family and then I assemble the card on a Scitex computer system and then output film and sent it to a proofing department.

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If  I remember correctly,  they had some old materials they were not going to use for production and they made me about 10-15 cards. This would have taken them forever to do because each color would have to be exposed and then the next color laid/laminated on top of that one until you build up the 4 colors to create the four color image. These proofs don’t exist anymore and technology has advanced to where proofs are now viewed remotely, meaning that you send the customer a virtual proof that they now add virtual sticky notes onto to request their color corrections.

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Then came the digital world and my boss now refers to us as the Jetsons because we are really into the ability to produce projects on a home computer and printer.

2002 letter

Over the years, we have sent out cards that have chronicled our previous year in photo form. Some years they take on the collage look like this one from 2002. That year, Thomas had gone to China for 3 weeks with George Mason University and John had graduated high school and he and his buddies did a trip up the east coast and into Canada so the background was a map and photos of their trips placed onto the map.

Over the years we have gotten cards from people saying they are in anticipation of our cards. So every year the pressure is on. I think the trick to doing a successful Christmas letter/card is to not send out something that is single spaced, several pages of babble that the recipient has to stand and read and read and read, but to give them a visual of the year with maybe a few sentences telling the highlights. I don’t think they care that we took brownies to a picnic in the spring. (We have actually received similar letters)

2005 card

In 2005, the card was a structured collage and each thumbnail was numbered 1-14. Then the inside of the card listed the numbers in red and green with a caption of that photo. That way they could look for the number and figure out what that part of our year was about.

2006 Andy Warhol inspired

And in 2006, the family photo with John at graduation from VA Tech was the inspiration. I cropped each of our mug shots out and posterized them in the style of Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe painting.

And in 2009 we had taken on the task of painting our 100+ year old house and so that year had to be the story of the house colors and the process of painting. We also had to say good-bye to our sweet dog Bill of 15 years and so a panel of the card was also in memory of him.

2009 outside

2009 inside

Handy An's Business Card

So, as Thanksgiving is fast approaching, it is time once again to think about what this year’s card will be. My friend HandyAn sends out a card to her clients that she has done work for during the year and she always comes up with clever cards too. This one she sent last year and the year before that she put herself up on a steel girder with construction workers on a skyscraper, probably in NYC. She was sitting there with her lunch bucket just like one of the guys.

I went to the Netherlands in the Spring so maybe I need to find some Dutch master paintings and put us in one of those. What do you think?