Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Fall news & ramblings

The light casting on the city was glorious last night so I brought my camera along on my nightly walk/bike ride with my boys around the block. These are a few of the shots I took. I've never been much of a photographer until this past year when I got my digital camera and now I really enjoy it.
I was just invited to do a solo exhibition at the BC Gallery of Ceramics next summer! I'm pretty excited about the opportunity they have given me to showcase my work but also am a little wide eyed at how much work I will have to produce to do the show. A stinkin' lot of pots, let's put it that way...
I was really sad to hear that a couple of the pots I mailed off last week didn't quite make it... So I sent out some replacements today but am really hoping the postal service is going to come through for me this time. I really thought I had the packing thing figured out- obviously I have a bit to learn, and once I talked with a few people who told me how boxes are handled by postal workers, my eyes were opened as to how much better I will have to pack things up!
Well, I'm off to the studio for the afternoon.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Bunnies and Birds...

I have been extremely fortunate to have a great group of Studio-mates surrounding me in both my ceramic space and my painting space and it is quite exciting to see what they are up to! Definitely worth sharing with others. Today's blog will be about my good friend Amy at downhomeamy.com- an illustrator, screenprinter, and sewer who is working on a new line of hand-made houseware items. We have been talking about collaborating on a number of things- matching up teapots to tea-cozies, napkin and placemats to table settings. All talk so far-no rock. It'll happen though- we are 'kindred spirits'.
Amy's illustrations of extremely sweet bunnies, birds, etc, have inspired me to get back into drawing, as you will see from my recent Owl pendant necklace above that is currently for sale at on my etsy site! How cute. You might just have to have a look- www.dahlhaus.etsy.com for more!

Sunday, September 28, 2008


This past weekend I taught a painting workshop up at RockRidge Canyon's Women's Camp in Princeton, BC! I had a great time getting to know women of all ages from all over western Canada, and was able to coach 26 through a painting from start to finish. For some people, approaching a white canvas can be somewhat intimidating. I was pretty impressed with this crowd, who really took on the challenge even though some hadn't painted since they were teens! Our inspiration came from a variety of places, but the main one were my own photographs which I printed off to be a similar size to their canvas paper. Having a lot of different brush sizes and a variety of acrylic paints and mediums helped people move through the different stages of their painting. A little coaching and encouragement and knowing that everything can get painted over if you don't like it, calmed even the most intense perfectionist!
PS I also made them wear really attractive clear bags to keep their cloths clean- they were pretty good sports considering...

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I just installed the District Hall Show and wanted to put up some installation views...
Show opens today- Sept 24th
Opening Reception- Tomorrow, Thursday Sept 25, 6:30-8:30pm
Runs until October 22nd
If you're in North Van, swing by and have a look!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

So long Summer!

It officially looks and feels like fall today- grey and rainy. So, as a last farewell, some parting pictures to remind us what we have to look forward to next year!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Studio Skies & Rachmaninov's Mantra

I recently was asked by my mother-in-law how I can keep on being inspired when I'm always creating. I answered that as an artist, it's my job to be creative and to continually channel what I see around me into my creative energy. Easier said than done sometimes. Deadlines, limitations in space, not getting into a show you've applied for, not winning that award you thought was within reach, not getting that sale you thought you had can all infringe on one's creative energy as an artist.
The other day on CBC radio 2, I heard a great story about Rachmaninov (a famous Russian Composer) who had written a concerto that was a total flop according to the critics. He had such trouble getting back on his feet that he spiraled into a deep depression and couldn't write another concerto that not only had been paid for already, but that he had a deadline to meet- writer's block at it's worst. His family sent him to some sort of hypnotist to get out of it- essentially he had to repeat to himself this mantra: 'Today I am writing a concerto. It will be a good concerto." And amazingly, it worked. His next concerto was a huge hit and he was back on his feet again.
So I've been thinking about this a lot. The idea of the source of creative energy and when that well seems to run dry and how to switch gears to move into a new direction creatively. I'm thinking about my own mantra that I want to infuse my work with: I will paint a painting today. It will be a good painting- or pottery or whatever it may be. Maybe it will work wonders- at least it's worth a shot!
By the way- the photograph was taken just outside my studio door a couple of weeks ago. Inspiration at my doorstep!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

'Poppy talk'...

It's as though someone took a poppy pod full of seeds and shook it out over my studio these days, cause nearly everything at the studio has a poppy on it! It feels as though I've abandoned all other ideas for this one, and maybe that's not so bad for a time. You know when you got something worth pursuing when they keep flying off the shelves and it's all people want! Not a bad problem to have as it certainly gives me a lot of encouragement to keep plugging along!
I'm off to the studio to plant some more poppies- Teapots today, and a jug and even a tea jar! Want to know where to get one? These ones are for my show next week (District Hall, North Vancouver, Sept 25th opening), although a few may be off to Winnipeg later in the week as well! I'm crossing my fingers they'll all turn out and grow where they are planted!

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Dish Rack

I have a recent confession to make: I'm a bit of a snoop. When I go to someone's house, I like to check out their mug cupboard in the hopes that I'll find some gems... gems being hand-made mugs. I found this out about myself this past summer when we were staying with some friends on our holidays. I was putting away their dishes and soon found an amazing crystaline teacup/mug behind all the generic mugs. Turns out the mug had a story to tell- how my friend found it, who had made it and how much joy it brings her whenever she has a cup of tea in it. Isn't that cool!?- how a mug can tell a story. Since that's the case, my cupboards tell a lot of stories. I've started 'collecting' my own mugs since 1994- that's when I was good enough on the wheel to make more than a door stopper for a mug! I have to confess that I don't use them all and I certainly have my favourites, but it's great to look back on how I've grown and where I got my inspiration for my current work.
I've also decided to officially collect espresso cups from other potters. I've been buying espresso cups regularily for Dean - he's a serious coffee snob and drinks black espresso at least twice a day. The other day I just had to buy one from the BC Gallery of Ceramics- it's by Dawn- don't quite know her last name, but she's finishing up at Emily Carr University and she's this months' featured artist. I thought her work was great- a lot of play with colour and glazes and finishes- a little gold lustre around the rim and a pearlescent glaze inside with a really interesting shape to boot.
So anyways, that's what's going in my dishrack these days- what's in yours?

Sunday, September 14, 2008


Ah, the weekend! And nothing like balmy late summer weather and some out-of-town folks staying with us to make us get out to see the city! We had a great visit with some new friends from Germany who are ending their cross Canada tour here in Vancouver before heading back to Germany on Monday. So it was off to Lynn Canyon to go on the Suspension Bridge, then over to Granville Island for lunch at the Market, and today, lunch on the Drive and coffee at Cafe Calabria, then an afternoon at Cates park where the new playground sure is something else! Now I think I'll be in for a great glass of red and a beautiful evening enjoying the view from our window of the sunset setting across this great city of ours!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

watching paint dry and other studio mischief...

So, I'm working on a ton of stuff for my new show coming up on September 24th- October 22nd at the North Vancouver District Hall called "At Home in the City". I'm really excited about some of the work coming out of the studio these days, partly because I've really expanded my size this year and am working on larger canvases. This can be challenging as there is a lot more space to work through and every corner of a painting needs to be considered. However, you can also have some lovely mellow spots where the eye can just rest for a while before moving on to more interesting parts of the painting. My current inspiration has been my route to the studio and the buildings and the way light is cast on the city as well. My work is moving a little closer to landscape these days, which is something for me to get used to. It is exciting to be engaged in consistently working out ideas visually. Mentally, I need more time to do this than with my ceramics, which is more of a physical process. Ceramics is all about moving through the motions of clay in the right time to have an end product.
Speaking of which, there are some glimpses of poppy bowls that recently went over to the BC Gallery of Ceramics! I happened to be on Granville Island today with the kids and some friends from Germany that are staying with us for the weekend and it was great to see one of the poppy bowls at the top go to a new home while I was there! I'm glad people are enjoying my work as much as I am enjoying making it!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Welcome to the world of Blogging...

OK, so I've resisted this for a long time now- this blogging thing. Partly because I questioned who would actually read this or be interested in what I'm up to (a little self-doubt creeping in), and partly because I had considered blogs kind of like a public diary and I wasn't sure that I was actually ready for the public part. However, since I was already going to email out a little newsletter to everyone regarding what I'm up to all fall, I figured, why not!

So onto the life of a potter, an artist, mom of 2 busy kids and all that good stuff! I hope you'll bear with me while I navigate through this new world of blogging...