Monday, November 24, 2008

December in L.A.

December is right around the corner here in Los Angeles, sunny with temperatures in the 80’s. But then again if you live here, you already know that. I’d like to give an update on some events I am participating in this month. If you’re in the Los Angeles are, stop by the Local World’s Fair, sponsored by Etsy along with other companies. Maybe you’ll snag some one of a kind gifts, or something really neat for yourself. I’ll be there on Saturday, December 6th with current and new pottery you’ve come to know and love. So even if you don’t want to shop, but are really bored, stop by and say hi!

Two of my teapots are off to the Steamboat Invitational Teapot Show in Steamboat, Colorado. I wish I could go see them, but I am off East this holiday season. So all you tea lovers in Colorado,
check out the show. Teapots will be on display December 2nd through February 1st.
Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Art vs. Craft

After spending all day playing with clay, my husband and I decided to take a trip to the bookstore. As soon as I walked through the door, I waived good bye and marched proudly into the “Art Section”, to look through pottery books for inspiration. After scanning through hundreds of books on Art history and famous painters, photography, books on fashion design and make up artistry, books on motion pictures…hmmm before I knew it I was in the adjacent “Architecture Section”. Puzzled, I walked over to the information desk and asked if they can help me locate books on ceramics. The girl politely stated that if they have any, they would be located upstairs in the “Craft Section”. Oh… So I walked upstairs and located the “Craft Section” In the very corner, next to the “Pet Section” was a small insignificant “Craft Section”. There on the bottom shelf between quilting and jewelry making, I was able to locate a total of four books having to do with ceramics. FOUR! So hold on, let me get this straight, putting lipstick on someone’s face is more of an art than ceramic sculpture? And what about Ceramic History? One of the oldest art forms in history. Are advertisements from the 60s more of an art form than million year old Chinese porcelain teapots? I was beyond furious while flipping through these mediocre soft cover “books” on the floor of the craft section where I belong. So my question to you is, what is art and what is craft? Who decides where Art ends and Craft begins? Why do we get shoved aside while make-up artists get all the glory together with Oscar De La Renta and Andy Warhol? Hello, I am a make up artist… and what is it you do again? Crafts?

Monday, October 6, 2008

October Love

Fall has always been my favorite season, with a particular love for October. Maybe it’s because New York finally began to cool down during this time of year, maybe because it’s my birthday month, or maybe it’s because of Halloween. Halloween is by far my favorite holiday (that’s right it tops Christmas). My best friend from high school and I were still trick-or treating when we were 16 years old, and since I can no longer trick-or-treat at the age of 29 - without looking like the neighborhood freak and I don’t have any kids, - I am dressing up Mops.
I know, I know it’s kinda mean, but I just can’t help myself. (I’ll post pictures of that later.) Sorry, got side tracked. Back to fall…Star from lunaarcana shares my love for Autumn as well as my Acorn Jars, and was kind enough to feature my pottery, and myself in her blog. It never seizes to amaze me how nice are the folks of Etsy.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Acorn Fever

As I am feverishly throwing my acorn jars, They were featured on Miapella's Blog!
The acorns are very excited. Thank you :)

Friday, September 19, 2008

Fall Season is Here

Even in Sunny California, summer is coming to an end and I am really looking forward to fall and the holiday season. Lately I’ve been gearing up and making pottery like a mad woman. I’ve learned the hard way not to get excited about your pieces until they are out of the kiln, out of your car and tucked away safely on the shelf. Now it’s time to get excited. The glazes came out so wonderfully that I am still a little skeptical talking about them. Something had to go wrong somewhere… but it didn’t. So here we are. Off to make more Acorns!

Monday, September 8, 2008

My First Year on Etsy

I have celebrated my one year Etsyversary on August 30, 2008, and I have to say it feels good! I tallied all the sales I’ve had, all the Etsy money I’ve made and I feel a bit more seasoned as an Etsy seller. I’ve become a firm believer in re-listing and hanging out in the Promotion Forums, but above all providing excellent customer service and product. I’ve always been my worst critic and my goal is to double the number of sales this year. If you ask me how I did, I’d probably tell you I did ok. But if I reflect on it with an outside perspective (as much as possible), I realize I did pretty good! When I started this blog, one of my first posts was titled “Help me quit my day job” and I feel that I am definitely a step closer and Etsy is the reason. I am still at the same office job, writing this post from my office chair, but I somehow feel a sense of optimist even as our economy is in the shitter, still constantly inspired by Etsy interviews from sellers that have been able to devote themselves to their craft full-time, thinking that one day that will be me. With my classes beginning again this week, I am looking forward to this holiday season with new work and ideas and anxiously awaiting for that first kiln load to be fired, so I can continue to offer my pieces to the Etsy world yet again. I’ve since turned on six other fellow potters and friends to Etsy who are also having a good time. So if you’re reading this blog, and you’ve my customer, friend or just a fellow Etsy seller, thank you.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Exciting Prospects

With summer coming to an end, I’ve been pondering some new ideas and forms for the holiday season while being a new mama to my baby girl pug Mops. I am so excited about some new goodies I’ve been working on, that I had give you a sneak preview while they are at their leatherhard/greenware stage. These teapots are sort of a hybrid on my sprout vases. When I started working on the vases, other potters at the studio were intrigued by the idea of pulling the handle directly from the form while attached to the wheel. Personally, I haven’t seen a take on this idea or seen teapots that are similar to these. So if you see any let me know. I was told by one woman that they produced similar forms in ancient morocco, but I was unable to find any pictures. I know that if I claim them as original designs, chances are somewhere in the world a similar version exists (I hope not, because then I am a true pottery genius!)… and I don’t want to be like that one woman on the Martha Stuart show who claimed he petty coats were “the original”… umm lady, petty coats have existed long before you were born. These teapots are so much fun to throw and I love that they all have their unique personalities. To me, teapots in general seem very humanlike with their spouts and handles. My other recent discovery are these Acorn Jars. Now seriously… how cute are these? Stay tuned.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Before and After

As it turns out, my bisque firing was a success. The glaze stuck to my pots and went through the Cone 10 firing successfully, and some of the pieces are now on sale in my Etsy shop. Although now that I am looking at the two pots next to each other, there is something sweet and innocent about it being in white. Hmmm... something I will have to explore.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

The Art of Art

I have wanted to make tribute to this person ever since I returned from Paris. I do not know his name, but he made such an impact on me during my visit to the Louvre. When I lived in N.Y. it was pretty common to see artists doing reproductions of master’s works, painting away for hours, but at the Louvre they were everywhere. I have always wanted to be one of those people, but as luck would have it, never had the time. It always put a smile on my face when I saw people work, but this was astounding. I watched him for at least twenty minutes and was completely in awe of the insane amount of detail as well as the fact that his copy looked exactly like the original. I loved him and that painting that day. His amazing talent, dedication and PATIENCE! So this makes me wonder how many people go through life, unassumingly making a difference in someone’s life without ever knowing it…
After my husband pulled me away, we went to see” the painting”…the Mona Lisa. That was as close as I got. A little disappointing I know, but it was magical.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Finally Did It!

After much delay due to fear and anxiety, I have finally fired the first bisque load in my kiln that I've had sitting in my garage ready and able for the last seven months. With some fumbling and ten eaten cuticles later, Ta Da...I present to you my first Cone 06 firing. Everything survived with no cracks, and it makes such a lovely "ding" sound when you flick it with your fingers. Of course the true test will be when I glaze them and then we'll see if we'll live happily ever after.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008 a good way

With my First class over at GCC, and a new one beginning next week, I just wanted to pause and share some of the pieces I don’t think I can part with. Usually the pottery I have at home are the left over seconds, and my husband calls our house the land of misfit pottery. But these are different, these I won’t sell… ever. This is the first time I’ve felt this way about my pottery. With my paintings it was different. I couldn’t part with any of them regardless of how good/bad I thought they were. With pottery, I didn’t mind letting go at all, actually happy to. It’s kind of interesting to see the style and quality of your work improve and evolve. I wonder what other non-sellable items I have in my future.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Clay has taken over my life!

I am going to say it again… CLAY has taken over my life. I think about it 24 hours a day. I think about it before I go to bed, in the shower, as I fall asleep. I think about it when I wake up in the morning. I’ve never had a “to do list” in my life, but now I have THREE lists tracking the stages and locations of all my on-going clay projects. I can’t flip through a home decorating catalog without focusing on all the ceramic accessories it contains and forgo all the necessary objects I actually DO need for my house. I’ve signed up for a summer class at Glendale Community College, that takes a full semester class and compresses it into a five week, Monday-through Thursday 6-9:30pm session, (yikes…) because I couldn’t imagine being limited to only ONE pottery studio in Burbank for my glazing purposes with a three week summer break (God forbid I actually enjoy the pool we pay for dearly every month). M y husband…shockingly… supports me on this idea (we’ll see how he feels once I actually start taking the class).
What to throw, what size to throw, how to trim, what to add, how to glaze, slips, wax resists, designs, molds…. Ahhhhh make it stop!
Most of my comfortable clothes, that once were presentable enough to wear to the office, now look tattered and faded. Most of the time, I look like I’ve been washed ashore onto an uninhabited island. I am a pretty bad nail bitter, but having my hands in clay all the time and not using lotion, (stupid) I’ve bitten my dry cuticles to shreds. I still resemble a sort of version of myself, but I fear not for long. Hi, my name is Alina and I am a clayaholic…

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Testing my limits

When I first started throwing, I wanted to throw as large as possible. I wasn't worried so much about the perfection of the form, but was more preoccupied with it's size. When I got tired of off-center pots, I decided I should work smaller and make my forms more perfect. Light, centered, and perfectly glazed. (Ha!) When I began selling on Etsy, I once again became size conscious for shipping purposes. Throwing items that would fit comfortably in flatrate USPS priority boxes. I was comfortably settled into the 7 inch zone, when I was asked to throw a large porcelain egg vase exceeding 9 inches when fired. I thought, no problem...Right?After my fourth attempt, I was worried. I just couldn’t do it. I went to the studio to get some support from my pottery buddies, covered with clay, and still nothing! I would pull the porcelain up, and the darn thing would slump back down. I went home, hating myself. The next day I decided I had to give it another try, and what do you know, I did it. I threw the 10 ½ inch porcelain Egg so it can shrink down to it’s intended 9 inches. :)

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spreadin the love

Every once in a while, someone will do something nice for no reason at all. Meet Urbanflea. She has an amazing blog that features some really great interior designs and ideas. I especially love the West Elm Branch table for $179.00. She was kind enough to mention me along with some amazing pottery artists on Etsy in her Weekly Etsy Fix: Ceramics. So if you're visual like myself, check out her blog for some delicious eye candy.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Off to Paris

For the past several years I have been obsessing about going to Paris. I am not sure why exactly, perhaps it was the season finale of Sex and the City or the Devil wears Prada. I’d like to think it’s because of my deep seeded French roots belonging to my great, great grandmother. I remember one day my husband asking me where I wanted to go first, France or Italy, and I had decided France for sure. So on a day in February, he surprised me with a trip to Paris. I have been beyond thrilled ever since. So this Friday, we are taking a 12 hour direct flight to Paris and staying in a rented ‘flat” a block from the Louvre. I will do my best to put my “poterie” on hold, while I stroll through Versailles. I am not leaving without some antique trinket from one of the Parisian flea markets. I am sure I’ll blab all about it when I return. Au revoir.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Home Sweet Home

I was really excited when I sold this pitcher and bowl set, but was even more excited when I found out that it was going to a really big Alina Hayes fan.... my mom. Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Sneak Peak

Here are some new pieces that I will be listing on Etsy. After I’ve had pretty good success with the Robin’s Egg vases, I thought about throwing a complete egg as a closed form like more of a sculpture. I think these three came out really well. I love that the speckles are nice and dark.

Monday, March 31, 2008

My Girls

I can no longer contain myself. I have to share my girls with the world. Veronica and Felicia are my absolute favorite clay people. (But I know I'd love them even if they weren't clay people). Veronica was and still is my first pottery teacher. If it wasn't her encouragement, I would've dropped clay before I even started. Felicia was her sidekick. She helped me put a handle on my first cup! I still have it. This is the three of us at the Fine Arts Federation Show this February. We all had pieces in the show.

Reavealing my space

Over the past week or so, I have been perusing the blogs of other potters and I have been amazed by the studio photos. They are beautifully lit, large, incredibly clean and roomy. Having a house is a definite step up from living in our small 650 square foot apartment in New York. Perhaps I should give you a quick background on my “work space” throughout my life. When I was growing up, we lived in a one bedroom apartment in Brooklyn, N.Y. There were four of us. I shared a room with my sister, and at one point I remember painting with oils in the bathroom. This is really the first space that I can honestly and completely call my own. Considering that I would paint in the middle of our living room in New York, having this “garagio” (as some Etsy Mudders refer to their garage studios) is beyond awesome. So even though it may be small, it is peaceful and it is mine.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Winning the Juror Award

Recently, I've entered one of my paintings in a Fine Arts Federation Member show, where it was exhibited at the Creative Arts Center Gallery in Burbank. To my surprise, I won the Juror Award.

Here's how excited I was. Hehe... yay!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Vote for Me in the Etsy Mud Team Salt & Pepper Shaker Challenge!

The Etsy Mud Team are having a challenge from February 3rd through February 9th.
My shakers are the little brown and white balls :) Three voters will be entered in a raffle and have a selection of pottery prizes to choose from. How awesome is that?
Go to the EMT website and Vote! I am #22! So come on get out there and Vote... for my Salt and Pepper shakers that is!

Monday, February 4, 2008

Help Me Quit My Day Job!

Being a Libra and being very indecisive by nature, I found it very difficult to select a profession.
Even though I was an Illustration Major at the School of Visual Arts in New York, I’ve somehow managed to stumble on a “career” in Medical Collections. Don’t ask me how. For quite a while now, I have been working in various offices Monday through Friday for eight hours a day.
So yet again another Monday, I am sitting in my office, collecting money for a Hospital, all the while designing pots and vases in my head. Do you know how many vases, teapots, jars and pots I can make in 8 hours?!?!?
I am very happy to say that I have made a decision to do everything possible to move towards Ceramics becoming my future career. (note: no quotes this time) I have enrolled into Glendale Community College, California to start taking ceramics and sculpture classes this February.
This is it. I am in love. Ceramics for life. So help me quit my day job!
(Stay tuned for pictures of works in progress and my studio)

Sunday, January 27, 2008

First Post

So how do people do this? I suppose this is where I talk about myself.
Well, this is my first blog. I just wanted to say "hello" to the blog community and I will write more when I have something to say :)