Friday, February 16, 2018

Time in Fountain Square

I was tempted south by warmer weather earlier this week.  I needed clay and glazes, but mostly I wanted to visit my son Ben in Fountain Square.  This is an arts district in Indianapolis and I really enjoy being there and experiencing the area, the food and the fun.  Ben lives in a beautiful older home with hardwood floors, high ceilings and a great big kitchen.  His studio is downstairs in his basement and is a cozy, creative space.  I took a few pix during my visit, but mostly I well...visited!

 This is Ben's cat Heimdall.  He is a great studio cat and frequently sits in Ben's lap while he works.  Ben has another cat named Porch Cat who is very shy, and a wiry rescue pup named Bacon.  Bacon is too active to photograph, but he loves when Gaga visits.  He always dances for me.

Ben is a landscape architect by profession and works for the city of Indianapolis, making their parks wonderful.  But he has been sculpting since he was very young and has always enjoying working in the clay.  I am so proud of his work in the park system AND the wonderful dogs he makes.  He throws on the wheel too, but right now we both are gearing up for the Spring Show Season.  It's wonderful to share my business with him and plan new seasonal pieces, shows and techniques.   


One of the most enjoyable parts of my visits to Ben's house are the delicious meals he fixes for me.  This time he prepared flounder in lemon and herb crumbs, wild rice and my fave, green beans.  We also ate at Edward's Drive In after we got our supplies and I ate my weight in onion rings.  Yummy.  

So.  Well fed and loved, armed with a fresh supply of clay and new glazes, hours of interesting talk about everything and more, I headed back up to the frozen north.  I loved my little art to heart getaway and am steadily back at work.  Thanks Ben!  I can't wait to see what you make with your clay!

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Valentine's Day

We take holidays very seriously here and Valentine's Day is no exception.  We have baked heart shaped cookies and iced them since the kids were little and now the grandkids get to help.  It's a fun thing to do and you get to eat the results!  It's a win-win situation for all involved.  

We also make wonderful clay sculptures decorated with hearts and flowers that tenderly tug at the heart.  While they can't be eaten, they have a very long shelf life.  These little bunnies, pigs, chicks, dogs and a whole variety of animals make the perfect gift for that special someone in your life or add a bright spot of color in your kitchen or any room in the house.  

I love my dog Leon.  He is just the best.  And when I look at the dogs that Ben sculpts, I know that he gets it.  We are big dog lovers and these sweet little pups just say it all.  Perfect.

Birds.  Bunnies.  Hearts.  Just a bit of color and just a touch of love.

Because that is all we really need, right?
Love, cookies and ritabunnies!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

My Little Shop Girl

It's a Gaga day.  And my grand-daughter has come to visit.  My grandson is now 6 and in first grade.  Pink (that's what I have called her from the first moment I saw her when she was born) loves to come and spend the day.  She's a very bright, vivacious, determined little child and she loves to help.  We do crafts, we feed the birds, we build with legos, we fold clothes, we play with the doll house, we do dishes.  But she really loves to be a shop girl and help Gaga in the studio.  This girl simply loves to paint.

She makes things out of the clay I use, and now that she is 3 and a big girl (no Gaga, I'm a little girl, I'm just not a baby) she makes things that look like what she wants them to look like.  Gaga fires them and then she paints them!  Oh the colors!  The pink and purple, the red and green...the blue.  She's a natural.  Mommy says Gaga is really patient and I say I am grooming my future helper.  And besides, I really enjoy her company.

She loves to help me when I ship things to "far away."  She loves to pop the bubble wrap, just like big brother and Mommy and Uncle Ben did when they were little.  She draws pictures on the notes  I tuck inside and she plays with the calculator.  But most of all, she loves to see what Gaga makes.  And hold it in her little hand.  Some special little someone has come to visit, and brighten Gaga's day.

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Snowy Sunday Morning on Taft St.

I woke up to snow this morning.  It is February and winter has time left on the clock.  My daughter and grandkids were very excited at the prospect of more sledding, but I will admit my heart sank a little at the weather forecast last night.  The snow is lovely but the coming frigid temps don't sound too appealing.  Still, the studio is cozy and it is a great time for sculpting some orders and new ideas.  Watching the birds at the feeders prompts me to get to work.

Mrs. Cardinal stopped in for a snack.  She and the Mr. are regular visitors at my feeders and I love seeing their bright color against the snow.  She was joined by house sparrows, a chickadee, a downy woodpecker, house finches and a few starlings.

I have really been enjoying making these birds.  Like I said before, I keep making them smaller and in different forms.  These soft blue pocket birds will be wonderful and so tiny!  You can see that I have a little cardinal there too.  I am making a bigger size cardinal this morning.  Art imitates life.  And life is very good on Taft St.

Thursday, February 1, 2018

My Little Art

I love sculpting things out of clay.  But I really love making little things.  Maybe they feel like tiny treasures.  Maybe they add a little bit of color that can brighten you day.  And maybe I just like tiny items.  My soft blue birds are really popular so my mind moves them from 3 dimensional pieces to a Christmas ornament and now a pin or magnet.

And these!  They are about an inch or less tall and so sweet.  They are simple but full of life and color.  My daughter has named them "Pocket ritas" and I think the name fits.  You can perch one of them on a window sill or a shelf.  I think I will try making one of the soft blue birds this size...

Ideas are running around in my head so I better get back to work!

Monday, January 29, 2018

A Lovely Visit with the Bluebirds

It's been a cold winter with quite a bit of snow up here by the Lake.  The temps warmed up this weekend, and the bluebirds came out in force.  I think they were as excited to feel the sunshine as I was.  Two pairs frolicked around my yard, checking out nesting sites and bird feeders.  
They were chattering and busy!  I had two successive nestings in one of my blue bird houses last summer, so I am hoping that they approve of the real estate and nest here again.  It's so interesting to watch the Mr. come and go, passing in worms and other little delights to the Mrs. on the nest, and then the babies when they hatch.

The males check on the birdhouses first, with the females also giving their opinion.   The females are a duller gray, but still beautiful in my opinion.   They do have some blue on their feathers, and the same rusty breast.

This photo is blurry, but you can see Mr. Bluebird surveying the real estate.  Mrs. Bluebird looked it over soon after this.  One couple would swoop in, and the other couple would brush them away, chattering the whole time with their opinions.  Then they would land on the overhead wire and talk things over some more.

I feed the birds year round.  I put dried meal worms in this lovely turquoise feeder and the blue birds love it.  Last summer I had 4 bluebirds (probably some of them juveniles) sitting on the feeder having a snack.  They also eat from the shelf feeder and the suet cakes.
This bit of bright sunshine, warmer weather and colorful bluebirds has really raised my spirits.  I suspect there will be more snow before spring arrives completely, but I am thrilled for this respite!  And I certainly enjoy the inspiration of these beautiful blue birds.

Saturday, January 27, 2018

Goodbye Old Man

A very good dog died today. He belonged to my daughter and son-in-law and had guarded them with grace and love for 18 years. He came to them as a stray and quickly settled into their lives. He was a regular in my studio, enjoying time with his “cousins” and not seeming to mind being low man on the totem pole. They went out, he went out. They ran, he ran. And they all slept in a heap, arguing over who got the best bed. 

He became a Dunes dog when they moved up to Northwest Indiana. He learned to love the sand and kick it up while he ran. When a boxer mix named Zia joined his family, he was thrilled. Then babies came and he grew to be the elder statesman in this family, watching over all of them and loving them as only a loyal dog can. 


He will be missed. His grace and dignity as age took away his strength has touched us. The pup we loved still shone in his eyes and he still got excited for treats. Godspeed Indigo, we love you.