Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas From Sorrento

I still remember the first time I laid eyes on this place. It was in the summer
and I was almost speechless.

I just had to find a way to live here.

(I later found out I had been here before, at the age of 9 mos.)

This is the tiny coastal village that I call home and am completely taken with.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Feather Your Nest!

During the summer months, we have a converted space in our home where we sell our raku and art. This space serves double duty as 1 bay of our garage where our car resides in the winter.

This winter we are excited to add another venue from which we will attempt to sell our raku pottery. We invite you to visit our store by simply clicking on the Feather link near the top right-hand portion of this blog.

I enjoy working with wool and experimenting with novelty yarns as well.

Alas! A shop that is open 24/7 from which to Feather Your Nest!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Raku = Joy

Here's the little guy that survived the 2000 degree heat in my previous post. He now proudly takes his place on the shelf with the other pieces having pulled through the tremendous thermal shock of the raku firing.

Shortly after we last saw him, hot as a burning ember from a woodstove fire, he was transported via long handled tongs to a trash can that had been sitting in the 30 degree night air. Next, he was sprinkled with sawdust that was quickly ignited by the heat emanating from his modeled clay body. After about 30 seconds, down came the lid on the trash can until shortly after dawn the next day. A perfect hour to reveal the magic of raku. You can never predict the results. But the immense joy you feel as you see what is waiting inside that can for you, is nothing short of how a kid feels opening presents on Christmas morning.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The Art of the Fire

These whimsical fish were sculpted by my husband in an attempt to use up the extra clay that is wasted from working on wheel thrown pieces. Each one of his creations seems to take on it's own unique personality.

They have been bisque fired and glazed, but their true identity awaits and will be revealed in the next post.

Tonight was the night a few of them made it to the fire. This glowing creature is the result of

having spent about 30 minutes in the raku kiln where the temperature rose to 2000 degrees fahrenheit. This moment is part of the excitement of raku, when you lift the top off the kiln and are met with the very heart and soul of your piece. Tomorrow they will look quite different.

Our pots will be fired later, but tonight it was all about the fish.

Friday, November 21, 2008

New Life For Your Old Maine Atlas

I always find it hard to depart with an old tattered, coffee stained, well worn and coming apart at the seams Maine Atlas. It represents memories of exploring new places, adventures with people dear, strangers met that left a lasting impression, and the promise of a return trip to a favorite spot. But it is my fondness for Map 16, my favorite 20 mile grid that I have always been drawn to, that is my weakness, my passion and the 1 page I enjoy paying homage to before I release it back into the world. This year, "Map 16" will take on a new life as the gift box that will hold my sister's birthday present to celebrate her return to Maine.

While I was at it, it seemed a shame to let go of any part of this dear old friend. I wonder if other Mainers struggle with getting rid of their old Gazetteers too. Something tells me they just might.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Good Clean Fun

I made a mess of the kitchen tonight. Because I needed to use the microwave and the freezer to complete my project, it was a likely place to attempt to duplicate my latest obsession with "soaprocks". At about $15 each, the likelihood of my practical side giving in to my impulse to acquire a sizable stash of them was slim to none. I would make it my quest to sort out the luxury of being able to possess enough of these tiny gems so that I would never run out. By the time I finished making my first, and to date, my "only" soaprock, I began to appreciate the simplicity of once again using my old cast iron cornbread "fish" pan to bail me out of my kitchen melt down. Soon I was pulling out candy molds, mini baking tins and even a fancy penquin ice cube tray which all served to distract me from my former soaprock obsession. I think I'm cured, for now.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Savoring Precious Moments

When family comes to visit we pack all the fun and happiness we can into a week's time. Nature shopping -- sea glass, pretty rocks, periwinkles and sea shells. Nature's bounty in a background of salt air and balsam fragrance. 3 generations now to experience these happy times that are forever imprinted in our memories.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008


We learned to make raku pottery several years ago. A lot of what we make is wheel thrown, but here I used a cast iron cornbread pan to mold these fish that will be outfitted with hardware to use as drawer pulls. (I think the copper hues are yummy compared to how my cornbread turned out prior to my conversion of this pan.) These pieces have been fired to 2000 degrees F. (definitely not recommended for cornbread). Then we carefully remove them from the fire with long handled tongs and asbestos gloves and put them into a garbage can. Next we throw combustible material over them, i.e. leaves or sawdust, wherein a good sized whoosh of flame ignites and after a several moments of burn, we close the lid on the garbage can which puts them into a state of reduction. This oxygen starvation along with the raku glaze will produce the exciting coppery flashes and luster raku is known for. If this weren't enough excitement, after about 30 minutes we open the lid and again using the long handled tongs, reach in to retrieve our smoking gems and plunge them into a cold water bath. The thermal shock is tremendous, but we have learned to use a special clay with a kyanite additive that helps protect them from major breakage or downright blowup.