Wednesday, November 18, 2009

From Ladybugs to Bunnies

About a month ago, a customer who purchased a Ladybug in my Mug - Mug asked me if I would place any other animals or wild things inside my cups. I thought about it from a practical stand point and tried to come up with a shape that can be simplified to sit flush against the bottom without creating too much of a headache when washing the cup... and so came the bunnies. They were so darn cute I couldn't help myself and I placed them on all sorts of things!

Friday, November 13, 2009


It maybe hard to believe, (with such fast turnover in electronics) but I've had the same Dell Inspiron Laptop for almost 8 years. This sweet little dinosaur has served me so well and gave minimal problems. Over the last year however, with my excessive pottery photo, and i-tunes downloads, it became really slow and started to overheat. To combat the problem, I've positioned it in such a way, that the fan portion of the bottom would hang off the desk slightly to create a bit more ventilation. (Can you tell I have a problem with change?)

However, it's time had come and it just had to go. So for my birthday, my dear, sweet, husband bought me a new HP Entertainment notebook. I thought this thing was great!!! It was practically weightless, and are computers really this fast now a days?

A big surprise came when I needed to install some of the basic programs, you know, the anti-virus and the printer. The damn thing was a complete lemon. It would not install anything, and when I attempted to restart, never turned on again.

Luckily, Best Buy's return policy is wonderful, and they took the awful thing back without a question.

Frustrated, I decided to stick with what I know best, and buy a new Dell. I ordered a new Dell Inspiron that weighs all of 5 pounds :) and so far (knock on wood) works splendidly. The new Windows 7 came automatically installed and is very similar to the type of function and look of the Mac Safari. (I suppose a way for PCs to compete)...

Oh but this story does not have a happy ending. Much like my ancient Dell, I also have an ancient (by graphic software standards) version of Adobe Photoshop 7.0. That version is no longer compatible with Windows 7, and has not been compatible with any Windows since Windows XP. After numerous calls to Adobe Tech support in India, I discovered that Adobe will not upgrade me to the New CS4 photoshop unless my version was Adobe Photoshop 8.0 or greater. So until I cough up around $700, I have no photoshop.
So while I type this blog post on my fast and efficient new Dell, I will have to edit and list all new pottery photos on my dinosaur. God give me strength.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Diversity in Clay at the AMOCA

This upcoming weekend is the Opening of the Diversity in Clay exhibit curated by the American Ceramic Society, Design Chapter. The reception is this Saturday August 8th 6-9pm at the American Museum of Ceramic Art. I urge all to attend if you're in the Los Angeles area. I haven't been before, but those that have, said that the food at this reception is pretty great! So come on down and check out some fabulous pottery and mingle with yours truly and other amazing potters!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Get ready for a long one folks...

Some recent events made me want to take a step back and reflect on where my pottery came from and where it's headed. Since my two year Etsyversary is looming, I guess my first Etsy sale is a good place to start. This is the first piece that sold. It had contrasting color, a curvy egg-like shape, still very similar to the shape I throw today.
With my first wheel-thrown pieces my first goal as a student and a potter was to make the form symmetrical, centered as well as making the piece as light as possible. I have succeeded at this over the last two years as you can tell by cheaper shipping prices.
Then came the Eggs. The fool proof blue/brown color combination that satisfied my need for both contemporary and traditional styles. After the arrival of the Robin's Egg, my pottery took a turn for the more refined, feminine style that is very much reflected in my pottery today.

A short while later came my trip to Paris and my discovery of hand-carved and still very much color contrasting Poppy. Shortly after came the Sprout. I still have to be perfectly relaxed and in a great mood to successfully throw those little suckers. The sprout teapot is yet again a perfect example of the modern/contemporary in me.
So where am I headed? With a larger collection of flowers and now my own blend of glaze colors, will I let the curvy, vind-y win out and settle on with the press molds and the slip? Or will I continue to be all over the place with my pottery much like I am in life?
Today's trip to the Getty was no help. I was yet again torn between the 1600's decadent, French gold and robins egg vases on the interior of the Decorative Arts Section and the museum's overly modern, clean-lined architectural exterior. But if they can live together so beautifully, why can't I?
I fast forward to my last sold item. Ladybugs!
They are awesome, fun and now that I found a glaze that does not run, I can add them to everything.(Strongly considering it!)
With a kiln full ready to go for yet another bisque firing, only time will tell.

Friday, July 3, 2009


Thanks to Bekah at BekahQuilts who was nice enough to feature me on her blog!
Bekah's quilts are beautiful! and can be found on one of my favorite websites - Etsy.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Diversity in Clay Exhibition

I am proud to announce that this piece was accepted to the 2009 AMOCA/ ACS-DC Diversity in Clay Exhibition. The exhibition runs from August 8th until August 28th at the American Museum of Ceramic Art - 340 S. Garey Avenue, Pomona,CA 91766. There will be a reception on Saturday August 8th from 6-9pm where awards will be presented. This is a fundraiser and all work is for sale, so I encourage everyone to come! This is a very happy moment for Alina Hayes Ceramics.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Bust Update

I wanted to share an update on the bust. It showed
some minor cracks on the inside after it was bisque fired and I feared the worst. My teacher suggested I use paper clay to fill the cracks. Strangely, none of the cracks I patched opened, but there were some others that showed up in areas I did not expect. It survived Cone 11 reduction firing, and the head did not fall off. None were on the face and overall I was very lucky. The porcelain slip I used gave it a beautiful almost marble-like appearance that I am very happy with.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Hand Built vs. Wheel Thrown

When I first discovered pottery, all I wanted to do was throw. I had no interest in learning anything having to do with hand-building and was fully consumed by the spinning and lifting of the clay. I have continued to create wheel-thrown pottery until this spring when I had enrolled in a hand-building class and became in awe of what I was missing.

Being a bit of a perfectionist, I loved the perfectly centered form the wheel helped create (on a good day). At first my impression of hand-built pottery was that it was very wonky and misshapen. However, once I took a class with Biliana Popova and discovered that you can create very symmetrical, smooth forms much like the wheel with liberties that the wheel just does not allow. I realized that I was keeping myself from something so satisfying. Hand-built forms, even when perfect and smooth still have a textile quality that cannot be reproduced on the wheel making you want to feel it, allowing you to unmistakeably recognize that a piece is hand-built once you hold it. If you never held a piece of hand-built pottery, do it.

I am not sure I will fully convert to strictly hand-building from now on, but I have developed a respect for the quality it creates and look forward to adding those elements to my future works.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Unconditional Love

I can't help but feel a strong connection between clay and the human condition that we call life. It all started when I was attaching a spout on a teapot. It was surprising how it's personality changed each time I repositioned the spout. Then I accidentally nicked it, and immediately began to rub it to make it better. I imagine that love for pottery is very much like the unconditional love a parent might have for a child. When a woman gets pregnant, she may wish for a boy, but in turn get a girl. She might think her child will have blond hair with blue eyes, just to give birth to a green eyed red head due to some recessive gene no one knew she had from her great great grandmother. But the child is loved all the same. Each time a kiln is fired, I find something unexpected, even thought it is so different from what I was hoping for.
I have always wanted to sculpt a bust, but was always hesitant to take on such an endeavor. However, this semester I am taking a hand building class with Biliana Popova, and as part of the curriculum were asked to hand in one hand built piece of my choice for our final project. So I thought - Just Do it! - This is the piece I've been working on. Now anyone who knows anything about clay will tell you that it is still very early in it's stage to get excited. But I don't care! I have always enjoyed painting portraits, but this was so much more satisfying. To be able to run your fingers across the bridge of the nose or placing your palms on the shoulders is very different than staring at an image from a canvas - No matter how life like it looks. At the moment this piece has not been fired and is still its leatherhard stage. I wanted to photograph it just in case something bad happened during firing. I hope that the kiln Gods have mercy on this humble potter.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Attack of the Robins Egg

Spring is here, the birds are singing, the westeria has bloomed and I can't help but smile. My latest Robins Egg kiln load came out and the pieces are lovely! I feel like a proud mama of her babies and it feels good. We may not be certain of a lot of things, but one thing we can be certain of. Every year spring will come, the robin will return, and I will have speckled Robins eggs in my shop :) and I wouldn't have it any other way.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Streak of Bad Luck

I am generally a very laid back person, and when throwing I get to zone out and create little pots and shapes without giving much thought of how many pieces an hour I can make or glaze, or what is my top seller. However, now that I rely on pottery for money, I've become a complete basket case. I've become Etsy obsessive, and to make matters worse, for the first time ever, my pieces started to come out of the kiln firing wrong! I've had to re-do a custom order a third time because my copper-red glaze came out white during the first two firings, and a custom vase cracked. I shouldn't say that I've never had a piece stick to the cookie, or come out a totally different color, but not when it mattered. I now understand completely about the frustrations experienced by full-time potters that have orders to fill and deadlines to meet. I am sure feelin ya now.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

April Fool's 2009

Etsy Mud team comes through again with their good, clean, fun for everyone April Fools Joke.
They have infiltrated the Etsy Ceramic Showcase for the day, along with 225 listings containing TP.
All works are available for sale, minus the toilet paper of course.

Here are some of my favorites:

Studio Elan

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Where does the time go?

Its been almost a month since I've broken free and became a potter. I had some family visit for the first week and a half, then we went on vacation for another week, and I find myself wondering where did the time go? I have certainly been engaged in more pottery so that's been simply awesome, and it is nice to be on your own time for a change, but that may be the problem. I no longer have to get up at 6:30am, so even if I go to bed at my usual 10:30pm, I still feel the need to sleep in until at least 8:30. Then I get up, feed Mopsy, pick out the mug to drink my coffee out of, and head into the garage. Several pottery pieces later, its 2 o'clock... and I didn't even eat lunch! Not working in an office has done wonders for my figure, so I am not really complaining. It's amazing how preoccupied with food you are when you're stilling still for eight hours. Days and weeks have been flying by, and I am so grateful to be swooped up in it.
Step two - getting organized.

Monday, March 2, 2009

I am Free

With spring comes rebirth, renewal, new beginnings to celebrate. Today I am celebrating something greater than any holiday, anniversary, or birthday. Today is the day I became a full-time potter.

I first visited California when I was 18 years old. A friend of mine was doing a co-op program here, and invited me to come visit him when he was working here. I stayed for two weeks, and while here sent out my headshots to a couple of agents. I got a really favorable response from one, who suggested that I stay here and pursue acting as a career. Oh I wanted to so badly, but I was 18, and when I called my mom to tell her, she was begging me to come home. So I did. What did I know, I was 18. I was bit by the acting bug for a while after that, but supporting yourself in New York and trying to be an actress is even less glamorous than it is in LA. So needless to say, rent and bills took priority over a dream and soon I had to accept reality. I somehow became a medical biller/collector. After a few years, I met my husband and endlessly talked about how I would love to move and live in Los Angeles. We were married on September 17, 2005. Two weeks after we returned from our honeymoon, he was offered a job in Los Angeles, CA. We packed up our clothes, threw out all the furniture, put our Weimaraner in the back seat of a 1997 Jeep Cherokee and headed west. I quickly found out that I was no longer the cute 18 year old with no responsibility, but a married 26 year old, and that is like being 45 in show biz years. I needed a job. So I went back to doing what I did best. Being a medical biller/collector. This job did not lend itself to a flexible schedule required to audition, and so yet again, my acting dream fell on the back burner. One of the women who worked with me had a daughter who took pottery classes at the Burbank Community Center. I’ve always wanted to try the wheel and enrolled in the next available class. I was hooked. Today is the day that has been ten years in the making. Everything in my life for the past ten years led me to this place, to this moment. When during casual conversation, people asked me “ and what do you do?” I always cringed at the moment when I had to reply “I do medical collections”. You certainly did not reply “an actress” because everyone is an “actress” in LA, and then you just sound stupid and shallow. Somehow what you “do” sums you up to the person asking the question and I was soooooo not a medical collector. I wanted to scream “No look at me, I am creative and I am so much more and…” Today I can proudly say “I am a potter”, and if the faith allows, I will have acting as a hobby :)

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Golden Cage

During a time in our country, where one is lucky to even have a job, I find myself trapped inside mine. I work at a retirement community for actors and do medical collections there. It is a job that is so un-stimulating, that to call it boring would be an understatement. In case you do not know what a medical collector does, let me tell you.I speak to disgruntled patients that don’t want to pay their medical bills, I peruse patients medical records searching for additional diagnosis and in turn read about STD exposures, their stool quality, the detailed descriptions of their genitalia on the daily basis. I also call insurance companies that come up with every possible excuse not to pay patients medical claims.

During my two 15 minute breaks, I daydream of teapots, vases and different type of flowers I will adorn my jars with this spring. I also get 30 minutes for lunch, during which I try to stuff and digest some sort of a sandwich. Having said that, the job is located 7 minutes away from my home, and while I am not a morning person, and have to be in by 7AM, I am home by 3:37 PM. This allows me to run my errands, swim in my pool in the summer, and take my pottery classes at Glendale Community College.

So while I whine and complain about this awful day job, it allows me the time to do all the things I love, but at what cost I ask you? I have been keeping an eye out for something else for the last two years, but I am still here. Still in this half cubicle, still staring at the computer screen in a micro-managed environment. The reason for this is that our economy is in the shitter, and I have not found another comparable option that is as convenient as this. So here I sit, while my mind wonders through Robins Egg valleys and Poppy jar meadows.

Even as I am writing this, I know I should be grateful, but I can’t help tearing at myself wanting to get out and do something creative. My husband who is one of those people who does not have a creative bone in his body. - I am not being mean, it’s a fact and he would tell you this himself, finds it difficult to understand that it is not something we, the creative people choose. It is in us, and if there is no outlet, we go crazy! I know I am not alone this. Back me up people!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

A Much needed Break

I did not create a single piece of pottery in the past month. December was the month for selling. As my shop became bare, I took a much needed break from pottery. I had a few distractions. The Twilight Series being one of them. I had no idea what all the hype was about, and went to see the movie before I had any desire to read the book. After being swept off my feet by Edward Cullen – the handsome vampire, I simply had to read them all starting with the first. Now I know I’m not much for a critic, and always give even the worst of films/books a warm review. I should start by saying that I found Twilight the movie to be a pleasant version of the book, and was happy when all the little gaps left by the film were filled by the book. Book two – New Moon was painful, Book three – Eclipse was excruciating, and I was looking forward to Book four – Breaking Dawn to relieve me from the repetitive, crawling writing of Stephenie Meyer, all the while hoping that I will once again find the same innocent sweet romance between Edward and Bella that drew me into this swamp in the first place. It never came! I suppose it serves me right reading books written to high schoolers. Although I have been doing a survey and the teens are not too thrilled either.

Going back East for the holidays is always a treat. I love returning to New York to enjoy it, but leaving before it leaves its dreary mark. I used to be completely in love with that city. After living the easy life here in Los Angeles, NYC just seems like too much work for me. It’s absolutely true that if you make it there, you’ll make it anywhere. I do not know any other city where it’s inhabitants have more resilience than New Yorkers. I was really glad about the chance to hang out with my sister. She is away at school and I only get to see her a few times a year. We did all the necessaries. Saw the tree, turned the cube.
This month it’s back to work, back to responsibility, back to reality…uuurgh. My studio is in desperate need of a serious cleaning. How long do you have to do pottery before you can look for an intern? J I am in serious production mode and cannot wait to get my fingers into clay. I’ve been brainstorming during my time off, and have some exciting new pottery ideas that I will attempt to execute in 2009. I wish you all a happy, healthy and successful New Year!!!