Friday, February 23, 2018

Art Imitates Life or, Life inspires Art

Probably the question I am asked the most is "Where do you get all your ideas?"  It's usually followed with very much appreciated comments about my creativity, sense of humor and whimsy.  I'm always at a loss to answer this very important and sincere inquiry because honestly my mind works overtime with suggestions for what I should make next.  What my eyes see my hands often want to put into clay.  How does this happen?  Let's take a look.

One of my neighbors gave me this wonderful bird bath.  He thought I should have it because I love nature.  So, I might look at this and start to think about how to sculpt it.  Then I see the birds gathered around one of my bird feeding stations and I start thinking about that.  This might dance around quietly in my head for a few days or weeks and it finally comes out like this birdbath with delightful little bathers eagerly awaiting their turn.

Here's one more.  The birds in my garden constantly amaze and amuse me.  Last year I had two successive and successful blue bird nestings.  The Mr chose it, the Mrs agreed and I had bustling, busy, chatty flashes of blue all summer long.  So of course, I am making lots of birds and birdhouses this spring.  I am not a realist in my work.  I think I should be classified as an Impressionist, because I like to bend and alter colors, attitudes and activities to match what I see in the aforementioned crazy brain.  And besides, it's really hard to get that color of blue...

Back to the two cutie pies and the clay piece at the top.  My grandkids are always up to something.  I love that about them and I try to keep my phone/camera ready.  When I started making gates, inspired by my blue million trips to the fenced in garden for Leon's potty breaks, the first one I HAD to make  featured the rascally bunnies sneaking into a garden with a locked gate.  My grandkids inspire me like everything else.  And I am thankful for that.

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!