THE 2010 North Carolina Artists Exhibition to be held Sunday Feb. 28

Posted by on Feb 21, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on THE 2010 North Carolina Artists Exhibition to be held Sunday Feb. 28

Soon Caroline and Grace and Max and Gizmo will be putting on their winter coats and traveling to Raleigh for the 2010 North Carolina Artists Exhibition!

We are all very excited.
Artists were allowed to submit up to two pieces and both of mine got in!
I found out that over 400 pieces were submitted and, due to space limitations, only 67 were accepted, so I’m very happy.
Hope you can come to Raleigh to hear the Juror John Beerman’s lecture and see the show!
Sunday, Feb. 28, 2010
Location: Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts
Juror’s Lecture (Mr. John Beerman) 2:00-3:00 in the Meymandi Concert Hall Lobby
Exhibition Opening and Awards Ceremony: 3:30-5:30 in the Betty Ray McCain Gallery.
The show will run until May 4 and the gallery will be open during performances at the Performing Arts Center.

Caroline & Grace and Max & Gizmo Going to Raleigh

Posted by on Feb 15, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Caroline & Grace and Max & Gizmo Going to Raleigh

This just in–Caroline and Grace and Max and Gizmo have been accepted into the Raleigh Fine Arts Society Show. Opening Reception, with Juror’s Lecture will be Sunday, Feb. 28.

More information coming soon!

Max and Gizmo

Caroline and Grace

Facebook Fan Page!

Posted by on Feb 13, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Facebook Fan Page!

I can’t figure out how my colleagues keep up with all the social media and find time to create art!

Having said that, I managed to create a Facebook Fan Page for Out of the Fire. Here is the url:
You can also access it by the widget on the right side of your screen. Please check it out. (There is also a widget to my personal Facebook page). I am doing a much better job with the Fan Page–have up-loaded photos and the latest news.
I must say, I am loving the Facebook Fan Page–like a combination of blogging and a web site, and very user friendly. Way to go, Facebook! Please consider becoming a fan–I like the way the page looks–very businesslike, and I will keep it concise.
I have some more to upload on this Blog (which I also love–Thank You, Google!), but have held off, since it takes forever with my camera-to-computer system (long story). I am hoping to resolve that soon.
For now I can tell you, I recently finished sculpting a piece that I am very pleased with, and have started two more. We’ve had a lot of things happening the middle of that, including teaching at a school in Raleigh.
More to come!

Sheer Stubbornness

Posted by on Jan 24, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Sheer Stubbornness

In my last post, I indicated I was “incubating.” That includes reading excerpts from the blogs of other artists, signing up for RSS feed and e-mail notices.

One artists is Lesli Kathman of Blackberry Lane Pottery. She makes molds of her incredible horse sculptures.

Check out her blog at:

Now I’ve had a little experience in mold making, but nothing like this. And I’d never say “never,” but I don’t see myself making multi-part molds. (I can be patient about about a lot of things–this is not one of them) Still, reading her blog has been most educational and awe-inspiring. Lesli is very generous in sharing her techniques and things that go on behind the scenes (so much about the process is not just the making of art, but preparing, cleaning up, experimenting and learning). Perhaps someday I’ll get to meet her.
In her January 24, 2010 post, Lesli discusses the steep learning curve of mold making and how so many aspects of the ceramic process require a lot of knowledge and experience. Her last phrase really resonates–
“the most useful trait for someone taking up ceramics is just sheer stubbornness.”
To that I would add practice, persistence, and a good sense of humor.

Incubating–Creating without Getting Your Hands Dirty. Sculpting–Getting Your Hands Dirty

Posted by on Jan 23, 2010 in Blog | Comments Off on Incubating–Creating without Getting Your Hands Dirty. Sculpting–Getting Your Hands Dirty

The studio was idle for several days as we prepared for the holidays (way too last minute!) and took time to reflect on 2009.

The last year has been a bittersweet journey–mostly sweet, but some doors have closed. I won’t go down memory lane here, except to say the healing process has been a journey. However, I do see daily reminders that things that seem to be gone are not really so, just in a different realm. There are some life experiences for which you cannot prepare, and they change you forever. Already, I have seen the influence in my art.
I haven’t forgotten that many very big windows opened in 2009, not the least of which was getting the studio operational and the gallery set up!

These days I am plotting out some exciting activities for 2010, doing research for new projects, and sculpting like a fiend (can you say “long days in the studio and lots of hand cream at night?”). That’s part of the reason I have not been blogging as often as I’d like.
So thank you for checking in! I promise, a lot is going on behind the scenes, including a couple of new works–the sculpture is almost done on one. It fits in beautifully with my People and Their Companion Animals body of work, but may be a surprise to those who know me. All I will say for now is, it’s been in my head, and I am thrilled it’s now out in the 3-D tangible clay version.

As soon as I can get my camera to communicate better with my computer, the photos will come faster and furiouser. ūüėČ
I the meantime, here are some angels for inspiration created by, Yes–2nd graders that I worked with just before the holidays.

Can’t you just hear them singing?

Out of the Fire Sculpture Studio (The Prequel) and The Firebird Gallery

Posted by on Jan 3, 2010 in Blog | 1 comment

Funny what constitutes landmarks–I was in a hurry to get some hooks set up for aprons–my husband didn’t understand this at first, but hanging up aprons signified in my mind that this is truly a working studio!
Studio–photos of aprons
Now if only I wore them regularly….
photos of gallery
The Firebird Gallery–video
Working with clay has been so therapeutic (if you don’t believe me, stop by and play with clay a while). So much so, I’ve named the business (my second life) Out of the Fire, referring to the phoenix–the mythical bird that renews itself. Fortunately, I didn’t have to self-ignite to start a new life! Anyway, following this theme, it made sense to dub the gallery, Firebird.
photos of gallery
The Firebird Gallery
Working with clay has been so therapeutic (if you don’t believe me, stop by and play with clay a while). So much so, I’ve named the business (my second life) Out of the Fire, referring to the phoenix–the mythical bird that renews itself. Fortunately, I didn’t have to self-ignite to start a new life!
Fellow glass/metal/clay artist Wendy Gellert, who built her studio a year or two earlier, advised us to add a “clean room.” Knowing my work style, I took her advice, though it added substantially to the cost of the building and construction timeline. I’m not complaining–I need that space, which has served many functions in the last year. To begin with, storage. Currently, it is a gallery.
Check out Wendy’s website and her wonderful work:
Following the Out of the Fire theme, it made sense to dub the gallery, Firebird.
The name serves many purposes and reflects my appreciation for word play. This clay-thing is a new life for me.
For you Harry Potter fans, Fawkes, Dumbledore’s phoenix, is one of my favorite characters. I love the scene where he bursts into flames, then is reborn and sticks his little bald baby head out of the ashes.
As I continue to challenge myself, I often feel that I go through a fiery rite of passage (you have to be there to truly appreciate it!). Once a piece is completed, there is a sense that all is well and I am refreshed (or does this sound more like childbirth??? There does seem to be pain involved….).
For you sports fans, my career in clay sculpture is a result of taking courses at Elon University with Professor Mike Sanford. (To learn more about Mike and see examples of his work, go to and click on his name) His technical explanation of the process is that I “got bitten by the clay bug.” That is an apt term and I have often wondered what a clay bug looks like, because if I see one hanging around, I sure don’t want to harm it!
photo of mike face.
Homage to Mike Sanford–the likeness was unintentional, but the likeness unmistakeable.
The whole thing stared with a phone call to Elon, connecting with Anne Simpkins, the Chair at the time, who graciously left Mike a message that I had called. And he called me back! The rest is history (well, except for the part where I almost made a pst of myself hanging out at the Registrar’s Office, waiting for someone to cancel, since Mike’s classes always fill up fast. A lesson in perseverance.)

Out of the Fire Sculpture Studio

Posted by on Dec 15, 2009 in Blog | 1 comment

I am still trying to find a balance between creating art and marketing–even posting to this blog on a regular basis gets pushed aside. ¬†I wish it weren’t so–it’s a lot of fun to chronicle activities in the studio and at shows. ¬† Even though the comments are few and far between, several people have written me, so I know there are lurkers out there.

The posts also have been image-poor–it’s a bit of a process (long story), so I don’t post as many photos these days as I’d like. ¬†
Anyway, thought you’d like to see a couple more images of the studio. ¬†Earlier posts showed a teacher workshop in session, and how full every horizontal surface can become before a show.
Here is the studio before the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show–I repainted door panels and pedestals. ¬†There are other pedestals to the left and several short ones below that did not get included in the photo. ¬†Preparing for a show can be a lot of work–and that’s for the non-art stuff!

A sea of white
And here is the outside of the studio, decked out for the holidays.  Photo taken Dec. 14, 2009.

Out of the Fire Sculpture Studio
As I write this, the studio is very clean, after the first ever Saxapahaw Holiday Open House. ¬†I’ll try to get a photo of that–not very exciting, but the transformation is pretty amazing, considering it was a Sea of White a few weeks ago, then a storage unit for boxes after that–we could hardly move.
I have a gallery space here, too–will get a photo of that.

On the Cover of the Rolling Stones

Posted by on Dec 6, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on On the Cover of the Rolling Stones

Would you believe  in the Life section of the Fayetteville Observer?

Melissa Clement, who is an artist herself, and a reporter for The Fayetteville Observer, attended the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show. ¬† She said my work “stands out,” which was such a high compliment. ¬†Melissa interviewed me and wrote an article that is in today’s paper.
Guess I “did good”–she is usually allowed a very short article and only one photo. ¬†They included one of me and one of Bodyguard.
Here is the url for the article. ¬†If my photo shows up, hit “Next” in the photo box to see the art.
Thank you, Melissa!

The FIRST EVER Saxapahaw Holiday Open House!!!

Posted by on Dec 1, 2009 in Blog | Comments Off on The FIRST EVER Saxapahaw Holiday Open House!!!

On Saturday, December 12, I will be joining other artists and entrepreneurs in Saxapahaw for the FIRST-EVER Saxapahaw Holiday Open House!

I continue to be amazed at all of the things you can do in our small town–from the Saturdays in Saxapahaw music event and Farmers’ Market (, to Oktoberfest, to volunteering at Paperhand Puppet Intervention (did that one day-much fun!), to eating at our Country Store (amazing food!), to visiting Benjamin Vineyards (great wine and art exhibits, too!), taking canoe rides, visiting our wonderful Roxy Farms Antiques shop (and meet the most wonderful Roxy herself!), spending the night at the gorgeous River Landing Inn–or attending their art receptions (complete with terrific food and live music), taking movement and dance classes, taking a class here at my studio, and many other things.

So we are hosting this Holiday Open House Tour to let people know. ¬†Grab a friend and come on out. ¬†You’ll be¬†able to share in holiday festivities, see demonstrations, taste local wines, attend free classes and other activities, and shop for one-of-a-kind gifts.¬† All within a community of a few square miles. ¬†Amazing!

To date, businesses and artists and their offerings include: 

Benjamin Vineyards & Winery – Winetasting, including seasonal Spice Wine and two new dessert wines, Twelve Days of Christmas Art Show featuring more than 35 pieces, representing the work of over 20 local artists. 6516 Whitney Rd. 12 noon – 5 p.m. 336-376-1080.

The Bridge at Rivermill Рfree movement and classes from 9:30-10:30a.m. and 2:00-4:00p.m., acupressure sessions, available by donation from 1-4 p.m..  1647 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Rd.,,,, 919-619-6405, 919 601-1282 or

Haw River Canoe & Kayak Co. РGuest Appreciation Day: potluck, gear swap and free paddle trip. RSVP requested. Saxapahaw Community Center. Noon-5:00p.m. 336-260-6465,  .

The Hawbridge School, a tuition free public charter high school, will feature an art exhibit and the launch of its student-run microenterprise, Hawbridge Designs. ¬†A wide variety of student-designed silk scarves, photo greeting cards, recycled art works, and large art pieces will be available for purchase. ¬†Proceeds from the sale support educational programs. ¬†Prospective students and their families are especially welcome from 2-4 pm when the school’s music ensemble will perform. ¬†1735 Saxapahaw-Bethlehem Church Rd., 1-6 p.m.¬† 336-376-1122 or

Out of the Fire Sculpture Studio РClay hand building and sculpture demonstrations, free mini classes. Visitors will be able to create their own masterpiece, leave it for firing and pick it up at a later date.  6035 Church Rd. 10a.m.-5 p.m.  336-376-9091 or 

Paperhand Puppet Studio -exhibit of large puppets used in their productions.  1-4p.m.  Saxapahaw Community Center.

River Landing Inn – coffee, tea, Christmas cookies and snacks, exhibit of quilts by Violet DeKnikker. 5942 Whitney Road Graham, NC 27253. 12noon to 4p.m. (336) 376-1502 or

Roxy Farm Antiques – A Dickens Christmas Carole Open House! Fine southern¬†antiques, including primitives, baskets, quilts, hats, vintage photos, brass¬†candlesticks, tree ornaments from Mexico, and much more. Tiny Tim, Scrooge¬†and the Ghosts from Dickens’, A Christmas Carole, will be singing Christmas¬†carols. Join us for some Yuletide cheer with locally-grown wines from¬†Benjamin Vineyards & Winery, along with homemade holiday hors d’ oeuvres.¬†5768 Church Rd., 10a.m.-6p.m. (336) 264-7731.¬†

Saxapahaw Artists Co-Op – wide range of unique items for holiday gifting 10a.m. ‚Äď 6p.m.

Tour Maps are available at numerous locations throughout Saxapahaw.  Tour locations will be well marked and numbered. 

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.


I’ll post updates as I hear about them, or you can call¬†Benjamin Vineyards & Winery (336-376-1080) or check their website: ¬†


Preparing for the Carolina Designer Craftsmen Show in Raleigh, NC

Posted by on Nov 24, 2009 in Blog | 3 comments

Just picked up my rental Metrovan. ¬†Kevin and I will fill it up with art and booth furniture tomorrow and head to Raleigh. ¬†Bodyguard, Caroline & Grace and Max & Gizmo will make their debut at this show. ¬†I’ll also bring new big dogs, teeny ornaments, and small dogs and llamas. ¬†Also, my blackware–inspired by potters of the pueblos in the American Southwest.

I know I have not kept you up to date on studio happenings in the last several days–had so many things going on, I didn’t have time to write about them!

We’ve put in some late nights, but it has been rewarding to see the work finally finished and the set up ready to go.
Hope to see you in Raleigh!
Sneak preview below–photos by Jason Dowdle

Bodyguard–the first in this new body of work, People and Their Companion Animals.

To give you an idea of scale, this piece if 21 inches tall. ¬†As I mentioned in an earlier post, my brother thinks the girl looks like me in high school–even before the piece was glazed. ¬†I had not noticed it, but he is right.¬†

Caroline and Grace

Max and Gizmo

Caroline & Grace is 15-16 inches tall and Max & Gizmo, 17 inches in height.  
You would not believe how much time I spent picking out colors, including colors of the dog collars! I considered what the character would choose, what glazes are available, what works well with colors of dogs, enough contrast, not too much contrast, etc. ¬†Made many, many test tiles and, will be doing more, as the new batch of clay has a different formulation, so may give different colors with my glazes. ¬†Not such a big deal for clothing, but people’s skin tones–wow–so many colors that looked good on the test tile did not work for larger areas. ¬†So I will be testing a lot more. ¬†I am currently using mostly Amaco underglazes, but if anyone has suggestions for good skin tones, of all colors, please drop me a line.
The dogs’ tags have the numbers 2912519, corresponding to letters of the alphabet for BILES: ¬†
The ladies’ dogs have heart shaped tags, but Gizmo’s tag is bone-shaped. ¬†It is unintentional, but Max bears a striking resemblance to Kevin’s father (though Max’s face is much fuller). ¬†Also, Kevin used to have a vest almost that color.