Saturday, October 20, 2018

My pottery challenges

Navigating thru the clay and glaze choices 

Black clay vs a soft brown earthenware with manganese 
There are so many choices when it comes to clay.  I sort of gravitate toward the darker clays.  I just love the rich tones that come thru and the warms and browns that pop up randomly.  But this clay comes with problems.  It has to be fired to a lower cone.  People often push it to cone 6 and hope for the best, but I so heavily decorate my pieces that the likelihood of there being issues with the surface are very probable.  Still I try...sigh.

Many times I get one or two pieces back that I love, most of it is not acceptable and chalked up to "learning"and receive the hammer.  


This one turned out and I am going to keep it.  It's pleasant to look at but it didn't fully pass the Kolene test.  Are there blisters?  No,  Is the glaze smooth? yes. Does it hold water? UHHHH,  NO.  I had to put something inside it to place the flowers in.  Alas, this will be used (probably) for Christmas cards.  It really is pretty and someone would probably even buy it, but it didn't pass the test.  I am picky for a reason, folks. 


The bowls I will keep but only till I come up with ones that are more perfect, they have some blisters.   I will gift them to some friend who will appreciate them for what they are.  I should have fired them to Cone 5 instead of 6.    However, The vase is a keeper.  I like this vase and it passed all the above tests.  


These vases are pretty, very.  They hold water.  They look great, but I don't care for what they feel like on the inside.  They didn't pass.  It's really okay with me, finally, that I am not getting much back that I like.   At first I was so discouraged.  I would push and push myself, staying up to all hours, not sleeping, trying desperately to figure out what the Heck I was doing.  Now I just accept, there are rules to clay.  Until I figure them out, there will be learning curve of what not to do.  

I did not go to school for this, after all. 


This has a few issues and didn't fully pass all the tests, but it is very pretty and I am going to sell it.  It will be a table lamp when it is done and I bought a great shade off of Restoration Hardware for it!  It really looks nice next to my wall art.  

This is just plain white on the inside.  You can't see it but there was something
that fell into the glaze at the bottom, which turned it right away into a second. 




I am leaning toward letting the insides of the cups being plain without glaze, just maybe a wash.   Why try to hide that beautiful brown?  I am not going to anymore (for now).  It is just another step. 


This was a collaborative piece that I did with my friend Wanda.  She's a very seasoned potter.  Everything comes out shining colors with her.  I am so happy to know someone like her.  She's friendly and helpful and full of knowledge that she is willing to share.  Can you see the manganese in the clay?  That's the spots.  Some people love them, others not so much.  I do love this clay but think that it might be better without so much decoration.  

Thanks for looking.  When I finally have a website for the pottery, I will be ready to start selling some.  Once it makes it to that website, you can buy with confidence.  I will accept returns, but I don't have the website ready yet.  It doesn't much matter, I am not quite ready to start selling.  
Warm regards to you on this fall day. 

Kolene 





Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Holiday Snow Scene

Home for the Holidays 


I love this frame.  In a way, I am sad to part with it because it had been some of the frames that my mom and dad had given to me (but realize this, it was to paint art that they were given).  In 
loving memory of my mom, I am going to part with it.  Everyone should have a piece 
of her.  SHE WAS THAT AMAZING.  I love that word...amazing. 

This is no where near completed but I wanted to post the
progress because I have been amiss doing this.  


I love the frame. 


The barn really is so cute with its little side window.  I resisted the urge
to put dividers in the windows...sigh.  All my houses have them. 

I will post more as it's finished! 

Kolene 





Monday, October 15, 2018

Preparing for the Wilton, CT show American Artisan Show

What I have been doing! 




I have so much going on in my life.  I wish that I could say it was all wonderful, but it's all about perspective, isn't it?  Sometimes what we look at as a challenge or a weight, may be used to make us stronger.  You can't push a good man or woman down, they just keep getting stronger!  That is what I tell myself as I endeavor to do what I love.  What the heck am I talking about, I am talking about the challenges of overcoming illness.  We can all relate to it, I am sure.  I have been traveling back and forth to California where I have been seeking treatment and I feel it's working.  Everyday is a test, am I going to trust God??  Yes.  I am.  So unto the painting and the making of art!  This paragraph is mainly to let you know that I have been busy, so busy, and that is why I haven't posted much.  I am learning to do pottery, as I mentioned in an earlier post, but I am continuing to do my painting, too.  I am going to be posting a boatload of pictures so hang tight! 

I am going to post backward, meaning I am going to write about things as I have done them from the present backward.  These things are not for sale until November 1, 2018.  They will ALL be at the Wilton Historical Society's American Artisan show.  

There are NEW SHOW days for this event, and they are starting on a Thursday evening this time.  (This is instead of their traditional Friday opening).  The event is held on their grounds 224 Danbury Road, Wilton, Connecticut.  The preview party is Thursday Evening, the 1st.  It is $125 to attend, but it is a fabulous fundraiser for them.  It's all about meeting their year end needs in order to keep this wonderful place going.  Come on out and be the first to see all the wonderful stuff.  Painters, potters, furniture makers, carvers, weavers, floorcloths, cabinets, treen ware, you name it. 

I had my own card made up!  It's always fun choosing which painting that I want to highlight.  I picked one with warm browns!  I am into brown at the time.  And blue.  Well and green.  Whatever.  I love all color.  


Let me know if you want a card.  I have maybe a dozen left, if that.  Now unto all the art that has been in the making.  Even though I have been a bit distracted with it all, I have managed to get a lot done.  Right now I am working on the snow scene for Wilton.  Snow scenes are always a favorite and they generally sell.  I don't paint as many of them and they are truly one of a kind pieces down to the frame. 


I always have a red house.  I don't know why, I live in a white house, but red is just THE COLOR for the Holiday season! 


Ignore the wire.  

This is the barn!  I love the looks of the mountain and the naked tree.  All that snow!  Bring it on! 


It looks sort of mysterious.  Wait to there are children playing, though, and sleighs and horses!  It will all come together, I promise.  


The frame! 
Many of you know that I have started to learn pottery.  This is a one of a kind piece.  I have ONE.  I am going to bring it.  It is a nice size, too, and it turned out very well (with some help.). LOL 




I love these round guys.  This is a happy colorful piece! 



This may look a little bright, for me, but they aren't finished.  I am going to have a bunch of these fun updated fraktur type pen and ink pieces.  I know it doesn't look like my work, but it is, and they are cool. 


This photographed dark but it looks really nice in person. 



Thats better!  It shows all the color.  My house is either too bright or too dark.  Can anyone relate.  It's either too hot or too cold.  Now I am sounding rather goldilocks like. 


The birdseye frame on this is fabulous.  I hit the goldmine for maple recently.  I bet I have five right now! 

These are really fun, there are actually four of them. 




Although this is painted on board, it will be behind glass.  It's about washing your hair with fish water...yum. 




I had this last year, but I am bringing it again.  I don't mind if it doesn't sell.  I have plenty of walls. 


I love this one.  I have another idea for a large whale, but don't have it started yet.  It's in my head for right now! 


Jonah.  He's been swallowed. 


The only mermaid. (so far). 

There's a lot of interest in this bottom piece. 

These turned out well.  I love them.  I will be happy to keep them, too.  I have a place for both.  Nevertheless, they are coming. 
I haven't decided how I will frame this yet.  For now, it's in a black frame (not pictured) but I don't love it.  It will be reframed.




I have a lot of pottery (well a lot for me).  Having said that, there isn't a lot.  It's all one of a kind.  

Here are some lights that I have made. 




I have more pottery, but for now, this shot will have to do.    I haven't decided if I am going to outright sell them or take an order on the lamps.  I am waiting on shades to arrive and the lamp cap (which I turned) to be fired.  

That's it for now.  I will have more.  I hope that you can make it to my show! 

Thanks or looking. 

Kolene Spicher 







Thursday, August 9, 2018

Rufus Porter Mural in Connecticut by Pennsylvania artist Kolene Spicher

A Restful Place 

This was a very fun project.  The house was magnificent where I painted this mural.  

The first step was to create the finish.  When I say finish, I am talking about the surface and not the end product.  You can see the crackles and dabbling that occurred in the surface.  These marks were deliberate.  


Rufus Porter was known for his stylized trees.  I don't know if his were as crazy as mine, but hey.  I think this tree could exist.  

The flower pot is pretty stylized, as well.  I wanted to create a very primitive atmosphere but I wanted to update it to our current century.  I did this with colors that pop. 


The water was magical.  

Look at that tree!  And those boats! LOOK* at that tiger maple desk.  Everything was gorgeous.  


Speaking of gorgeous... 


I love to paint garden gates.  Do you see the fence along the water?  I think it, too, is magical. 


The wall adjoining the mural was painted a complementary color.  The warm tones in her furnishings really made this jump off the wall.  You really can get a great look without painting all four walls.  


Thanks for taking the time to look at this.  CURRENTLY, I am painting pottery to match this look!  I will be taking it and artwork, that is one of a kind and framed, to the #wiltonhistoricalsociety show that takes place the first weekend in November 2018.  

Here's a glimpse! 


Enjoy! 
Kolene E. Spicher