Friday, October 29, 2010

Mable is Fall-ing!

EITHER Mable the Maple is dying, or she is Fall-ing. I am assuming the latter.

I had a brief scare because the pot I had for her didn't have proper drainage and it poured for two weeks straight. I was dumping pools of water out off of the top of the pot. It was sad. JewishGuy was very nice and drilled some holes in the bottom, letting waterfalls of water out. Thank goodness (and JewishGuy).

So I think this is just the normal thing that trees do in the Fall and not some awful backlash from the bad drainage that was going on for the first two weeks of its life in this pot.

Coming soon: my video ode to Fall!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

First bowl this semester

Soooo... things at my new studio are moving through the kiln a little slowly right now, which is okay. It is testing my ability to reframe things, but I am learning and staying positive, so it's okay. Really.

I made this bowl back in September and it just came out of the kiln on Tuesday. I heart it. My craftsmanship has really improved, I think.

It doesn't hurt that I am much more inspired by the glazes they have at this studio than last studio. What fun colors! This bowl has kind of a retro feel to it, with the yellow inside and the green and brown outside.

Also, the clay is really interesting. This clay is called "brown speckle" (at least that's what they call it in the studio). When it's wet it just looks like normal clay, but look at all the cool brown speckles!


Inside: "Ada's Ash" and splattered with "Warren's Green"
Rim: "Warren's Green"
Outside: "Nutmeg"

I have six bowls in the bisque fire right now (well, maybe they are unloaded now) but they won't make it into the glaze kiln in time for the AATA Conference, which means I won't be selling ceramics this year there. However, I am going to be in a student show in December, and I hope to build up inventory over the winter so I have things to sell at summer markets (and next year's AATA Conference in July).

Also, for people who have 3D things and want to take pictures of them but don't have a light box, I will tell you how I took this picture. I had four sheets of computer paper and propped them up on a chair outside. You can barely seen the line where the paper overlaps. I think it's good in a pinch... But maybe soon it will be time to invest in a small light box (or make my own).

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

"Defining Home" directive

I'm on the prowl for some good magazine subscriptions. Even though I read a ton of blogs, having a physical magazine to read, cut out, and share is exciting. Before my trip to this past weekend I stopped into a bookstore and picked up a few magazines.

One of the magazines I picked up was the Somerset Apprentice, which has some great ideas for projects and descriptions of new techniques. How exciting!

This directive, "Defining Home," was taken from their autumn 2010 issue. I scanned in the images from the magazine, but full credit goes to them and the artist who submitted the project, Bethany Kartcher. Visit her blog at!

This project is perfect for an art therapy group, especially during Found Object Art Month, which starts next Monday! Today I prepped some cardboard pieces for my group. I love this project because it combined book making (which I love) with a three dimensional element (which many of the clients love). It's kind of like Kramer's coffee table book about coffee tables, in that its form directly relates to its content. I hope it will be a hit.

I like what she wrote about how she came up with this piece:

"There is a definite spiritual component that is sometimes lost in the hustle-and-bustle of every day living. I created my Home Album to celebrate, and perhaps more importantly, define this intangible feeling." (p75)

Check out the Autumn 2010 issue of this magazine to see more pictures of her finished piece and to learn about the techniques that she used. I'll post pictures of my creations when they're finished!

Sunday, October 17, 2010


I promised to lead a bead workshop at work so I had better get practicing! I haven't made those sculpey beads in a long time, so today I experimented. I made lots and lots of beads, and even a pair of earrings.

They're all right, not amazing. I used leftover sculpey from the art room that was going to be thrown out, so I was limited on colors, but that doesn't really excuse the lack of design. I'll keep working on it.

However, I'm not sure how this bead workshop thing is going to work out. I think I will postpone it for after Found Object Art Month. It took three hours to make all of the beads, bake them, and string them. Granted, I made a lot of beads, but still, it will be more than a 45min project.

The reason I've decided to do a bead making workshop is because a lot of people make bracelets and necklaces but I wonder if they could invest more in their jewelry making. Some people have pioneered making beads or clay rings on their own, but when I mentioned the possibility of teaching people how to make their own custom matching beads people were excited about it. Maybe that's a December project, which could be made into gifts to give for Christmas (or "winter holiday season" gifts).

Friday, October 15, 2010


Yesterday I had a scare with my guinea pig, Fiona. She refused to eat and seemed really lethargic. She is also 7 years old, which is beyond geriatric for a guinea pig. It was a scary day. I cried a lot. I thought this was the end for Fiona. When a guinea pig stops eating you have a very short window to do anything, and even if you do anything there's no guarantee. They go downhill really fast. Also, being prey animals, they don't usually show signs of illness until they are close to death.

I took her to the vet and they wanted to do all kinds of fancy things, but she is 7 years old and I said no. I said, what is the least invasive procedure we can do, and let's do that. I just want her to be comfortable. So they injected her with fluids and some medicine to stimulate appetite and help with stomach issues, and I took home antibiotics and more stomach meds as well as some "critical care" mashed up food I was to squirt into her mouth to see if she would eat.

Well, needless to say the squirting food into her mouth didn't go so well, but some of it made it in. I then let her calm down for the rest of the evening and decided to start her on the medication when I got home from a meeting. When I got home, she had eaten a big chunk of pepper I left for her, some cilantro, and some of the pellets in her bowl.

Hooray Fiona!

Here she is, with those big pink piggy lips:

This morning she screamed for her veggies like usual. :)

I don't know if she's better for a while or just for now. Like I said, she is really really old. But! She is feeling better today, and that's good enough for me!

Fiona is a feisty guinea pig. In my head she's always cursing at me for not doing her bidding fast enough. I named her Fiona after Princess Fiona in the movie Shrek because I adopted her from two people who were moving to New York and she had never lived with any other pigs before. She had no idea how to be in a herd, it was kind of funny. She and Lilly get along well because Lilly doesn't realize she's a cat. The two of them seem to have no idea what they are and what their roles should be in relation to each other.

And now, pictures of Roxy and Madison, Fiona's former cagemates who both passed away when we still lived in Houston. Roxy and Madison were sisters from the same litter.


Madison was the dominant pig in our little herd, which I guess I didn't much realize until I introduced Fiona in 2005. She always won the "nose wars" (this is when they stand with their front paws on something and try to get their noses higher in the air than the other pigs, which demonstrates their dominance somehow). One time, when I was living at my parents' house between moving out of my apartment in undergrad and moving into my apartment in Houston, Madison chirped! That is still the one and only time I've heard a pig chirp. They squeak and scream all the time, but chirping is somewhat rare and nobody really understands why or when they do it.


Roxy was a mama's girl. She used to crawl up on my shoulder and sit with her head in my neck. It was so cute. She let me do whatever I wanted with her, like clipping her nails or checking her ears. I felt like she really was a little piggy princess. I had no idea but apparently when it was just Roxy and Fiona (Madison died a year and a half before Roxy), Roxy used to beat up on Fiona when I was out of the house. I used to think Fiona was the dominant one of the two, but after Roxy died I found abscesses from bites on Fiona's butt and back. Nobody ever was bitten like that during Madison's reign, but I guess I couldn't be around all the time to keep the peace. I literally never heard them fighting. They waited until I was out of the apartment to go at it.

Fiona is my last guinea pig. She has been living by herself for almost 3 years now. On one hand I feel bad about it because I know pigs are supposed to be happier in herds, but if any pig is going to be okay as a singleton it would be Fiona. For the first two years of her life she was alone, then she lived for 2 years with cagemates and I'm not sure she ever really fit in. She seems very happy to rule the roost and occasionally come in contact with the kitty.

So this post is dedicated to Fiona, who made a glorious comeback yesterday, and who is demanding I go shopping for more lettuce today.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Vote for me in "Your Art Here"!!!

H&M is having a mural contest and I just couldn't resist! I've entered to make a mural on their display wall at their store at 42nd x 5th!

I know it's pretty late in the game, I have no chance of catching up (especially since this ends on Friday), but why not?

Featured Blogs: Made By Joel

Made By Joel is this great blog where Joel posts pictures of the crafts he comes up with, along with instructions to recreate it yourself!

After stumbling upon this blog I spent the next hour reading through his old posts. All of the crafts look easy and fun to make, like these cardboard and paperclip puppets:

Just think of the possibilities for art therapy!

I also love that Joel really uses photography not only to explain the crafts but to really bring them to another level. His skill with the camera makes everything look beautiful, especially the pictures of his children demonstrating how fun these little toys can be. Even if you're not interested in making the projects, the posts are enjoyable and beautiful. Go check it out!

(All images from

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Featured Blogs: Book By Its Cover

Book By Its Cover is a blog that covers all things artsy and book-related. I look forward to new posts and new eye candy. Plus! So many ideas for potential books and book-related directives! I can barely contain myself. I haven't had the opportunity to try any of these ideas but I feel so inspired just by reading along.

One of my favorite series of this blog is the "Sketchbook Series," where they periodically feature pages from an artist's sketchbook. How funny to think someone might one day think my sketchbook is as lovely as these! Okay, they probably won't, but I can dream...

(The image above is from the sketchbook of Alex Eben Meyer posted on Book By Its Cover)

This week they are having a super fun give-away contest where, to enter, you must participate in an "exquisite corpse" type of storytelling! Check out the blog and play along :)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Found Object Art Month

The other art therapy intern and I came up with something totally exciting and awesome to do at our site: FOUND OBJECT ART MONTH!!!

For the month of November, we will bring found objects (aka junk/trash) to groups and encourage art making out of these lowly materials. We are using the month of October to prep by getting people excited through advertising, asking staff members to bring in (clean) junk, and one day this month we (art therapy dept) are going to take a field trip to get some unusual junk to contribute to the pile.

Also, we're going to come up with some more structured art directives using trash and invite non-art therapists to give them a try in their groups as a way of exposing more people to art making.

The end result will be a premier event at the site and then, down the line, a gallery show somewhere not on the floor. It might be somewhere else in the building, or it might be at another facility (we're working on it). Also we are hoping to do some research about art with found objects and maybe write about it for the American Art Therapy Association.

In honor of FOUND OBJECT ART MONTH, I will be posting every day in November pictures of amazing junk/recycled/found object art!

Today we began distributing the fliers, and since I love them so much I am posting them here. The photos aren't credited in these images but they will show up again in future blog posts and will be properly credited. I found the images through google-searching so please forgive me this faux pas.

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