New Classes at Out of the Fire Studio!

Posted by on Apr 8, 2011 in Blog | Comments Off on New Classes at Out of the Fire Studio!

I’ve been an Artist-in-the-Schools for 8 years or so and now, with the studio, have wanted to teach more classes here.

I have had workshops for teachers in Wake County, where they earned C.E.U. credits, a very fun birthday party for a 17 year old young woman and her family and friends, and a teenage guy, who is very serious abut his art.

So far, I’ve taught hand building and sculpture in clay to people ages 4 to 97, and would be happy to extend that age range!

If you’re interested, or would like more information on these and other classes, please call (336) 376-9091 or e-mail

This is the list so far, but once I figure out my summer schedule, there will be more classes of a bigger variety. FPr example. I would love to work with teens who would like to take a serious sculpture class–experience level would not be that important, just a desire to learn.

Also, I’d love to have classes that go on for 4-6 or 8 weeks. Feedback I’ve received lately, though, suggests that people prefer not to commit too many days at a time, and I can understand that!

So I’m starting with 2-day classes, where you sculpt one day and come back in two weeks to glaze (or in the case of very young children, paint) the piece after I’ve fired it.

If there are other classes you would like to see offered, please let me know!

Clay Sculpture for Adults: Why Should Kids have All the Fun?

Picasso said, “Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”Let go of self-judgment, have a great time and create something wonderful for your home or garden! We will sculpt during the first class and glaze our magnificent works during the second class, two weeks later. Sculpture tools are provided for use during class.First Session: May 9 and 23 (Mondays), Second Session: June 13 and 27 (Mondays), Third Session: July 14 and 28 (Thursdays). 7-9PM.$45 per session, includes 5 pounds of clay, glazes and firings.

Big Hands, Little Hands—A Great Clay Adventure!

A child and his or her Special Someone will learn a lot and have a lot of fun as they coil, roll and pinch clay to each create a masterpiece! You get to spend quality time with that special young spirit and remember the joy of play as you release your own inner child. We will sculpt during the first class, and glaze or paint during the second class, two weeks later.Sculpture tools are provided for use during class. First Session: June 11 and 25 (Saturdays), Second Session: July 16 and 30 (Saturdays). 10AM-12Noon. $55 per session, includes 6 pounds of clay, glazes, paint, and firings.

Visual Art Exchange Exhibition!

Posted by on Mar 28, 2011 in Blog | 2 comments

Caroline and Grace

Just delivered 6 pieces from my People and Their Companion Animals series to the Visual Art Exchange in Raleigh, NC. They’re in the Exchange Gallery there, in the front, so can be seen from the street.

Four other artists are in this show, which opens Friday, April 1, also a First Friday in Raleigh. So the town will be buzzing with people checking out the art and food scenes.
The exhibit runs through the month of April.
You can see images from this series on my Studio Facebook Page:
Here is an excerpt from my artist statement:
My art, influenced by an educational background in biology and anthropology, reflects my interest in the interdependence between humans and other creatures with which we share the planet. Inspiration comes from a desire to understand the world from a non-human point of view.This, along with many years of experience working with animals large and small, has enabled me to interpret nuances of behavior, subtle but evident if we take time to learn these languages.

With patience and mutual trust, humans and animals can develop a bond where both parties communicate on an intuitive, or even spiritual, level. Although technology enables people (who have access) to exchange information frequently and instantly, there is still a fundamental human need for direct connection with another living creature. The companion animal lives in the present, accepts us at face value, finds joy in simple pleasures, and offers unconditional love.


Balancing Act

Posted by on Feb 26, 2011 in Blog | Comments Off on Balancing Act

I have not found a way to keep up with creating my own art, social media, teaching, etc. Not complaining! I’ve been working a lot as an artist-in-the-schools for the last few months and have had the good fortune to be in some nice shows.

Big Flowers, recently installed at a school in Wake County, NC

With that going on, I haven’t posted any blog entries in a long time. I have been posting to Facebook–as much as I love this blog, I can upload photos and captions and rearrange things so much faster on Facebook. If you get a chance please check out the Out of the Fire Facebook page. There are photos of finished projects and work in progress at schools in Wake County, NC.

Thank you!

THE Second Annual Saxapahaw Holiday Open House Tour!!!

Posted by on Dec 9, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on THE Second Annual Saxapahaw Holiday Open House Tour!!!

I’ve been so busy making art (for the Tour and Christmas commissions), I am late in posting this!

This weekend, on December 11 and 12, local artists and business people of Saxapahaw are hosting a Holiday Open House Tour. (Saxapahaw is a small village located about 20 minutes west of Carrboro and between Burlington and Pittsboro.) There’ll be lots of holiday cheer, art, performances, even a tree lighting.

Here at Out of the Fire we’ll have free mini classes where you’ll get to play with clay and I can offer some instruction. Not as intense as our regular classes, since I’ll have to circulate a bit, but you’ll get to see if you like working with clay (I haven’t met many people who don’t), and make something wonderful. I will fire it and get in touch with you so you can pick it up. I’ll even try to have it ready in time for the holidays.

We’ll also have refreshments for you to enjoy while you look at art in the studio and the gallery. From one-of-a-kind sculptures (large and small) to ornaments to adorn your tree. I have to confess, I had to swipe a few to put on mine!

And, there is some garden art outside–mushrooms and toad houses, sun faces and Garden Spirits.

This winter we’ll have classes at the studio, and if you sign up now, you’ll get a 10% discount!

If you can’t make it this weekend, don’t fret–just give me a call at (336) 376-9091 and we’ll set up a time for you to come for your own private tour. I’m here almost all of the time, but it’s best to call ahead. Out of the Fire is on Church Road, just 3 doors down from Rt. 87, 10 miles south of the intersection of Rt. 87 and I-40. You can also get here from the Mill area, our “downtown,” and from Old Greensboro Highway.

The studio is spruced up and ready for the holidays.
Here is the rundown of all of the people participating. For updates, more information and a map see our very fun interactive web site, designed by Steve Durland:
See you there!

Benjamin Vineyards & Winery – Wine tastings, including our seasonal Spice Wine, and light fare. Twelve Days of Christmas Art Show featuring more than 35 pieces, representing the work of over 20 local artists. Dec. 11 and 12 from 12 noon to 5 p.m. 6516 Whitney Rd. 336-376-1080;

The Bridge at Rivermill, Center for Fitness, Movement and Healing Arts – Open house, 15 min massage/acupressure sessions by donation Dec. 11 and 12 from 1 to 4 p.m., art showing and movement demonstrations Dec. 11 and 12 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. 1647 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Rd Judith Brooks: 919-260-1430, Leigh Johnson: 919-619-6405;,

The Hawbridge School, a tuition-free public charter school, grades 6-12, will host an Open House for prospective students and their families as well as a Hawbridge Designs sale of student-designed silk scarves colored with locally grown natural dyes. Proceeds from the sale support the school’s art department and its programs. Sunday, Dec. 12, 1-6pm, 1735 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road. 336.376.1122 or

Out of the Fire Sculpture Studio – Kiln opening and open studio with free mini-classes and discounts for early enrollment in winter classes. Refreshments and light fare. Dec. 11 and 12 from 12 noon to 6 p.m.6035 Church Road. 336-376-9091. Email: Face book: Out of the Fire Clay Sculpture by Cindy Biles.

Paperhand Puppet Intervention is offering shows of Love and Robots Dec.10, 11 and 12 at 2 p.m. and 7:30p.m. at the Community Center.Tickets and more info are available @

Roxy Farm Antiques – Antiques and art show by Louis St. Louis. Join us for some Yuletide cheer with locally grown wines from Benjamin Vineyards & Winery, along with homemade holiday hors d’ oeuvres. Dec. 11 and 12 from 12 noon to 6 p.m. 5768 Church Rd., (336) 264-7731.

Saxapahaw Artists Co-op is having an art show with sales of works by local artists at the Co-op Gallery, located next to the Saxapahaw Post Office. Justin Johnson, award-winning local jazz and blues guitarist, will be performing on Saturday. He will be playing originals from his recently released album “Stream of Blues,” as well as Christmas arrangements from his brand new Christmas album, “Justin Time for Christmas.” You can check out his music at 1610 Jordan Drive, Saxapahaw NC 27340. The gallery will be open on Saturday Dec 11 from 12- 8 PM and on Sunday from 12- 7PM. Contact Suzanne Connors (336) 693-4606 for more information.

Saxapahaw Rivermill will feature a Showroom Open House of the new Rivermill Lofts and Marketplace (next to Rivermill Salon) and mill tours, on Dec. 11 from 2-6 p.m.

Saxapahaw United Methodist Church Open House Sunday Dec 12 from 2:00-5:00 with Music, hot cider, and cookies, followed by the Annual Christmas Family Night Program from 5:00-7:00 pm with children’s skits, music, soups and sandwich dinner. Non-perishable food and toy donations for the local “Food Pantries” and “Toys for Tots” are welcome. 5624 Church Road. (336) 376-3630.

Victory Calls Stables will have an Open House. Location: 3316 Sax Beth Church Road. For more information and times, call 336-376-8505; or see

Getting to Saxapahaw:

From Chapel Hill/Carrboro take HWY 54 West, approximately 13 miles. Turn left on Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Road. From Hillsborough, take Orange Grove Road to HWY 54 W to Sax-Beth Church Road. From Mebane, take Mebane-Oaks Road to HWY 54, travel across to Sax-Beth Church Road. From Burlington, take I-40 to exit 147 toward Pittsboro approximately 10 miles. Turn Left onto Church Road.

Masterworks – Bridget and Opal

Posted by on Nov 9, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Masterworks – Bridget and Opal

The Carolina Designer Craftsmen show is coming up Thanksgiving weekend (Nov. 26-28, see at the North Carolina State Fairgrounds in Raleigh. I won’t have my own booth this year, but will be participating in their Masterworks Program.

A Masterwork is defined by the Guild as “a piece that is superior in design, quality, originality, price and/or size to what you would normally make and display in your booth. This piece should be the same style of work that you are making now, but more elaborate and more wonderful. It could be that dream piece, the one that you’ve held in your heart…that you have always wanted to make.”

This is my third year as a Masterwork artist. This year, my piece will be a further exploration of my body of work addressing the intimate and mutually beneficial relationship between humans and their companion animals.

The inspiration: in the last year, some of my friends developed serious health issues and are facing them with incredible optimism and grace. Their situations have touched me deeply and this piece is a tribute to them and others who live each day fully, with hope and courage

Bridget and Opal
16″ H X 14″ W X 11″ D

The name “Bridget” means “strong” in Celtic. The opal is a healing stone representing hope. The wolf, used here to signify the long-standing relationship between humans and dogs, is a Zuni fetish for loyalty and strength. In some Native American cultures, the wolf is seen as a great healer and pathfinder on the journey of survival. As a fetish, the wolf is usually carved in alabaster or white marble. Turquoise is a symbol of faith, protection, courage, healing and balance.

By the way, you many not be able to read them in the picture, but the numbers on Opal’s tag represent my last name:



THE FIRST Annual Alamance Studio Tour!

Posted by on Oct 9, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on THE FIRST Annual Alamance Studio Tour!

So far, I have not found a way to make art and keep up with things that need doing in the house, like laundry (cooking has been fairly regular), and keeping up with the social media to network and market my art. So thank you, readers, for checking in and know that if it seems I’ve quit writing, it probably means I’m in the studio. I have several new pieces–even have some pics.

Pathos, the first in my newest body of work.
Clay, slip, terra sigillata, underglazes.

Don’t worry, they’re not all sad!

I will post more soon.

These days, I’ve been preparing for the first annual Alamance Studio Tour, to be held at studios throughout Alamance County. Thirty-nine artists from the Alamance Artian’s Guild ( are participating. Several are sharing a studio, and the studios are located close to each other–some almost clustered, so you can see a lot of art in almost every medium you can think of, without traveling very far. Since I’ve been a member of the Guild (when it started about 5 years ago), I’ve been amazed at how many talented artists we have in this area. And so many in Saxapahaw–and I didn’t even know about them. And, I learned of even more as a result of helping with the organization of the Tour.

Also, in each cluster, there is a great restaurant–so you can shop, eat, and shop some more! The famous General Store is a mile away from my studio in Saxapahaw, NC (#22 on the tour). Seriously, there is no pressure–we hope you will stop by and see what we’ve been up to!

I’ll have my garden art, several big sculptures, including new work. So new that some may still be in progress–you can rush clay only so much. You’ll get to see them in various stages of creation. I don’t know about you, but I love behind the scenes stuff!! I feel like I’m being let in on a little secret.

This newest work is a departure–perhaps a little edgier than previous work, and has received great reviews from hubby and my photographer, Jason Dowdle.

So come to the Studio Tour! It’s a scenic, relaxing drive–Saxapahaw is a jewel in a beautiful landscape. It really is another world out here. You’ll see artists in their natural habitat (well, most of us will clean up our studios a bit for you–there’s natural and there’s a company ready!).

Dates and times:

Saturday, October 16: 10AM – 5PM
Sunday, October 17: Noon – 5PM

For more information and a downloadable map, see

You can also find us on Facebook: Alamance Studio Tour

We have a gorgeous brochure–email me at with your name and snail mail address, and I’ll send you one.

I look forward to seeing you there!

The Bascom and Craft in America

Posted by on Aug 13, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on The Bascom and Craft in America

Sorry I haven’t posted in a while–lots going on. Unfortunately, some our our dogs have had serious health issues and that has kept me very busy. We have our hands full. Being an expert worrier, I have to confess I haven’t been eating and sleeping as I should. But I have been making as much art as I can.

Anyway, this just in–a real day brightener!

Max and Gizmo was accepted into the American Craft Today exhibition at The Bascom, in Highlands, NC.

Carol Sauvion, executive director of the Peabody Award-winning and Emmy-nominated Craft in America television series, was the juror for the show.She is also the creator and executive director of Craft in America, Inc., a nonprofit organization dedicated to presenting the history, practitioners and techniques of craft in the United States and their impact on our nation’s cultural heritage. She is also curator, juror and speaker at institutions such as Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institute, and Getty Institute.

The exhibition opens October 2 and runs until December 18, 2010.

For more on Craft in American, see:>

Circa Gallery

Posted by on Jun 15, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Circa Gallery

Shoulder Cats, in color

Posted by on Jun 11, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Shoulder Cats, in color


Shoulder Cat 1:

Shoulder Cat 2:

Both are sculpted in clay, hand built using coils and slabs. The color comes from underglazes. Each man is wearing a titanium earring.

Big Flowers, Part II (Stems) and “Little Flowers” That Aren’t So Little

Posted by on May 16, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Big Flowers, Part II (Stems) and “Little Flowers” That Aren’t So Little

Segments of flower stems that will be stacked. Third graders made the leaves, Special Programs students made the lady bugs, and I extruded the stems, which are hollow.

Right now, my plan is that these flowers will be 3 1/2 to 5 feet tall.
Special Programs students also made other masterpieces, including six “small flowers,” 9 inches to a foot in diameter.

Aren’t they adorable? After glazing, we’ll mount them on rods and pipes.