Back in March, I remember looking out the window one day in between painting projects to see a great big moose right outside the living room window. It wasn’t intimidated when it noticed us watching it through the window. It just kept on grazing on the crab apple trees and sand cherry bushes as it pleased. Eventually, it bedded down under the aspen trees and spent the night in our yard. I had pointed it out to my dad, and he called the local newspaper. Soon enough, a photographer stopped by to steal a few pictures. The photo above is one that I took with my cell phone while it was fairly close to the window.
It is incredible just how easy it is to spot magnificent wildlife here in Wyoming. The moose incident inspired me to start using it as a decorative motif in my work. These days, it is hard to keep up with the demand for moose-influenced soap dishes and spoon rests. Below are a couple of photos of my most recent “moose pottery”.
I’ve decided that my favorite thing to illustrate on my pots is different kinds of leaves.
This willow branch teapot is made with a built-in strainer for easy enjoyment of loose leaf tea. Sometimes loose leaf tea can seem cumbersome, but for this teapot all you have to do is put a tablespoon or so of your favorite loose leaf tea and pour boiling water over it. When the tea is gone, simply scoop the leaves out with your hand and compost them, then rinse out the rest. This teapot is also available in my Etsy shop:
As it always goes with me, I am pursuing a new direction with my ceramic work. Actually, it branched off of something I was doing in the fall of 2014 in Massachusetts, but I’ve improved on the idea. I make a smokey gray background, then carve designs of willow leaves and branches through to the clay. The result is dramatic yet quiet, and they always come out of the kiln looking great!
It’s almost time to start working on graduate school applications again. I think that I mentioned in a previous post about how I didn’t get into any of the schools that I applied to. At first, I was devastated. Then, I made a plan to grow my ceramic business (and grow a garden 🙂 and focus on positive things until I could apply for grad schools again. Lately, I’ve been feeling really self conscious and intimidated by the thought of going through all of the applications and asking for letters of recommendation again.
I have a list of steps in my head for what to do this time around, and step #1 is to build an AWESOME portfolio! I’ve been making sets of things instead of just pairs, thinking big picture instead of trying to show off every plant that I can draw, and focusing on branching out with making different forms.
If you like the pottery shown in the photos above, you can find it on Etsy at:
Posted in Art, Ceramics, Design, Stress Control, To-Do List-ing, Uncategorized
Tagged ceramics, kira call, Kira Call Ceramics, master of fine arts, pottery, the american dream, write what you know
Since I got my ceramic studio in working order, I’ve hit the ground running. The image above is of a botanical sculpture made of Sculpey clay that I made as a special order for a professor of biology. The reason why I want to share it is because I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to make what he asked for, and I am happy with the results. He also ordered a set of six mugs, and now he wants six more mugs plus some espresso cups. He has been my best customer, but my Etsy shop has really been taking off this month. I’m having a hard time keeping up, but the feeling is glorious– to be up to my ears in ceramic orders.
I started making little herb planters in preparation to sell at the farmer’s market in Jackson Hole, already planted with different varieties of basil. It branched off of the idea of what I was doing with my personal garden. I used to laugh at the idea of making flower pots, but now I’ve found that my own plants seem to grow best in my ceramic planters. I have at least five of them planted with herbs, two with big tall tomato plants, and one with a “garden huckleberry” plant. The plants are doing great, and it is my first time growing tomatoes and basil from seed. Anyway, another thing sucking up my time is my gardening. I love it, and I will always make time for it. Here are a couple of photos of my plants in progress:
If you like the herb planter shown above, you can find it on Etsy:
Posted in Botany, Ceramics, Drawing, Nature, Science, Sculpture, Uncategorized
Tagged botanical illustration, ceramic art, ceramics, container garden, gardening, Kira Call Ceramics, sculpture
Since working in the University studio in the summer, I’ve figured out a good home studio setup. I bought a kiln just before Halloween 2015, and it arrived the next week. At first, the plan was to clean out the tool room in the basement a little and turn it into a studio space and wire in the kiln. It changed to cleaning out a portion of the garage in front of the cars, and then my dad did the electrical work to install wiring for a 240 volt outlet. It took until Christmas eve for me to be able to do a glaze firing in the kiln.
Now, I’ve got a little room in the house dedicated as my studio, and the kiln works great. I’ve been making a lot of new work and experimenting with new forms and last week I even started doing some glaze testing 🙂 I’ve been making a lot of poppy mugs, a couple of coffee dripper cones, and now I make a few “wake and bake” pipe mugs. When I first saw them, I thought the idea was so ridiculous and they were so funny looking that I could never make them look good. Plus, the hollow handle was a bit of a challenge to think about at first– but I made a press mold out of Sculpey clay that works great.
All things pictured above are available in my Etsy shop, here:
Posted in Art, Botany, Ceramics, Design, Drawing, Nature, Painting, Uncategorized
Tagged art, botanical illustration, ceramic art, drawing, hand building, kira call, Kira Call Ceramics, poppies, poppy, pottery, wake and bake mug
I finally feel like I’m moving forward in ceramics this week. My kiln is now in place and ready to go. I did a test firing to cone 04 last night to season/oxidize the new elements, and I just barely finished loading a bisque that is happily firing away as I type. Pretty soon, I will have new pots made right at home in Wyoming 🙂
Also, the Bromus briziformis plate above and my fern tumblers are now available here:
It’s closer to having my own web store than selling on Etsy, but it will take time to gain momentum.
Posted in Art, Ceramics, Design, Drawing, Nature, Uncategorized
Tagged bromus briziformis, ceramic art, ceramics, drawing, kira call, Kira Call Ceramics, pottery, skutt kiln
Above is a photo of some plates that I made during the summer. I drew the rhododendron flowers in a diagonal pattern on the plate instead of how they naturally appear. I remember how gorgeous and overwhelming it was to see tall bushes completely covered in bright pink flowers in Massachusetts in the spring. I saw them in Australia, too, but they were different there.
My kiln is getting closer to being hooked up. It is getting a new wire leading to the garage. It will be cold, but it the most logical place to keep it. I’ve been working on Christmas mug commissions, and most of them are done, bone dry, and ready to load in a bisque firing. I have one last tedious mug to make. I might be able to fire my kiln by the end of the week! It will be a big push to get the mugs done by Christmas, but if I can fire the kiln by next weekend, it might be possible. Otherwise, they will be late Christmas gifts…
Posted in Art, Ceramics, Design, Drawing, Nature, Painting, Uncategorized
Tagged botanical illustration, ceramic art, ceramics, hand building, kira call, Kira Call Ceramics, painting, poppies, pottery, rhododendron
Pottery sales have been good this year. I used to think that if I wasn’t part of a big group sale like I was in school, I could never make as much money from pottery. This year, I have made at least as much as I did in school sale years. All said, it’s still not enough to live on. The tumblers above are still sitting in a store here in the small town where I live where they’ve been sitting for a couple of months now. Today, my boss asked if the group of pots at that store didn’t sell if I would bring them to sell in her store. I have a feeling that’s what will happen anyway. I made the set of lily tumblers during the summer while I was able to work in the university studio again for a while.
Lately, I have been making pots at home– I am trying to get a home studio up and running. I’ve been working in the kitchen, and I bought a kiln a month ago that hasn’t been hooked up yet. Mostly, I’ve been making mugs. I decided that I should fill the next few firings with what sells. I am still making my botanically illustrated work for portfolios and such. Oh, and they make great images for my graduate school applications that I’ve been working on 🙂
Posted in Art, Botany, Ceramics, Design, Drawing, Nature, Uncategorized
Tagged botanical illustration, ceramic art, ceramics, cups, hand building, kira call, Kira Call Ceramics, pottery
It completely skipped my mind for the last two blog posts to mention that I hosted a ceramic workshop in Jackson Hole, Wyoming this summer. It went really well. I hosted it in the ceramic studio at the Center for the Arts downtown. The table had people sitting all around for most of the time. Some people left and new ones came to take their place.
When I sat down at the potter’s wheel (I don’t make wheel-thrown work anymore, but the head of the studio there requested that I show a few tricks on the wheel), their attention was glued on me. I made a latte mug, a bowl, a big tumbler, and a couple of tall bottle vases. I just worked how I normally would in my own studio, but didn’t take time to be a perfectionist to save some time. There was a lot of “Oooo! Oh, how do you do that?! Wow, can you show us that again?” from the audience. They were impressed by some little habits I have that make wheel throwing easier. I don’t remember specifically what they were impressed by, but it had something to do with the way I used my rubber and wooden ribs.
I haven’t gotten the photo files from them yet, but Sam made sure to take a lot of photos while I was working. For the wheel thrown stuff, I didn’t trim it. At the end of the day, we just put it in the reclaim bucket. I managed to decorate 4 or 5 of the hand built pieces, and recently I heard that they were soda fired and auctioned off. I bet my new work would look pretty cool soda fired.
Jenny told me that she bought one of the soda fired cups at the auction, and it was one that looked like these cute little espresso cups 🙂 (above)
Posted in Art, Ceramics, Drawing, Painting, Uncategorized
Tagged artist workshop, botanical illustration, Center for the Arts, ceramic art, ceramics, jackson hole, kira call, Kira Call Ceramics, pottery
I didn’t post many pictures of my newer botanically illustrated work what with the transition this summer and getting a new job. Above is a sandwich plate decorated with a prickly pear cactus. I entered it into an exhibition, but they didn’t like it as much as I hoped. I have been fairly quiet about entering shows lately. I looked up the new call for entries list and didn’t see anything up my alley until January.
I did enter a show sometime back in April and got in. It was a cup show in Duluth Georgia at the Hudgens Center for the Arts. I sent three sets of new cups to them: