Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Photo Shoot!

In the past 2 years I have made a point of photographing new work professionally. So yesterday was the 4th photo shoot that I did with my photographer, Curtis Hildebrand since launching the dahlhaus line of ceramics in 2007. I had a lot of poppies to shoot this time around, since I only had done the brown poppy mugs last April. The work has come a long way since then and I am super excited about having all these great pictures of it heading into my busy season. I also have introduced a black glaze in the mix with my yellow ginko leaf pattern along with a jewel-like deep turquoise that is pretty stunning too. Along with 7 new paintings to shoot, I realized that I have had a really productive summer and fall.
As you can see, photographing work is a big ordeal. A lot of equipment and a set-up that requires a professional who knows what he is doing. I will be sure to post some of the beauties when I get them into my hands, in the meantime, here are the ones I shot- before the set-up and during.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Before & After

If you ask me what part of the ceramic process I like best, I would instantly say- glazing! I confess- I am a painter at heart and my canvas just takes on different forms as far as clay is concerned. I find it fascinated how mixing up different powdered minerals from the earth, adding water to make a creamy consistency, and then dipping in a bisque fired pot can create such amazing, smooth and beautiful results after it's been fired to 2200 degrees. Granted, there are a lot of variables that people have been figuring out for thousands of years... let's just say, hundreds and thousands of pots had to be made that didn't turn out to finally get the combination of glaze materials and clay that would eventually work well. I myself have thrown out my fair share into the shard pile. Recently I was cleaning out my parent's shed with all my ol' pottery from art school stuffed into boxes. I started pulling out pot after pot that had it's place in my development as an artist, but which really needed to be thrown out for obvious reasons- 90% of the time the glazes hadn't turned out well.
So here are some before and afters. I just spent a week glazing all those pots I had made over the past 3 weeks- I'm still at it this week with one last load, but there are definitely some gems to be had out of the pile! Some is already spoken for, but for those of you starting to think about Christmas: my advice is to get your orders in early!

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Pumpkin Patch Economy

We had a great weekend in Vernon BC this past week visiting great friends and the highlight of our trip was going to the Davison Family Farm to pick pumpkins and buy fresh apples and pears. We picked the best day to go with the weather glorious and fall-like and, as you can see by the pictures, we even tried to squeek in some family photos- which got a little crazy after about the 3rd shot. We tasted their fresh squeezed apple juice, had a hot apple donut made on site and thought about how a farm like this one, owned and operated for almost a century by the Davison family, has re-invented themselves so they could stay alive and well all these years. The tractor ride with old apple crates as a train buggy drove everyone through the orchard to the pumpkin patch- for $3 a person, $6 if you picked a pumpkin too. With old grandpa Davison driving the tractor, and a line of 6 apple crates holding 4 people each, we figured they were probably making roughly over $100 a ride up to the pumpkin patch. Every 15 minutes from 10:15-5pm, well, you do the math, not too shabby for grandpa Davison.
Well, all I can say is that when you see a local place like that hopping full of people on a saturday, enjoying what the locals have to offer, all this global economy stuff feels a little far off in la-la land. I know it's going to affect the little guys- that being me as well. I've already had people reconsider their Christmas orders because they have more to consider economically. I can appreciate that. I believe in meaningful giving- not necessarily giving more, but giving well. Hand-made and local always means more to me- I appreciate the thought and care that goes into something made by hand as opposed to something mass produced. I can only hope others can appreciate that as much as I do.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Climbing that mountain...

Sometimes I feel like I am on a slow steady climb. In my mind, I imagine this climb to be going up, that each step is on a quest to reach its final destination: the top of the mountain. I have glimpses of the top of a mountain at times. I know that I have a shot at making a good living at this art thing. I have moments of feeling panicked about what it will actually look like to be in that position, to actually consistently have orders pouring in, or have galleries calling me off the hook wanting my work. It actually seems a little stressful when I think about that- great to be in demand, but hopefully not be micro-managed or overly limited by that demand. I know there are ways of producing more work to keep up with that demand, but most of those ways would change the feel and look of my work, possibly comprimising what I enjoy most about the work. And so I plod on, hopefully navigating up the right path, slowly plodding along my merry way and getting excited each time a great opportunity comes my way. There are more and more as I journey on. I ll be sure to keep you posted.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Giving Thanks!

It was a weekend to get back to my roots, return to the land, and give thanks for the things that count. Thanksgiving weekend usually takes us to at least two family dinners and a few friend get-to-gethers' as well. We made our way all over the Lower Mainland this weekend and from looking at the photos again, I realize how much I have to be thankful for.

Friday, October 10, 2008


What can I say, but testimonials are great! I received two lately from friends- one from a friend developing a knack for latte art in one of my teabowls, and another from my friend who bought a painting to go with 2 that I had given her a few years ago. She recently renovated her kitchen and dining room area to go with the paintings- pulling colours out of them as inspiration. It's really rewarding to see my work having arrived at it's destination- someone's home! I only hope to recieve more of these emails from people who enjoy their 'dahlhaus creation' as much as I did making it!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

My website is FINALLY up-dated...sort of...

I'm just about to do another round of photos with my fav. photographer Curtis Hildebrandt, and the photos we shot in April finally got put on my site. The paintings are quite skewed, I'm sure that Tyler Payne, my graphic designer extra-ordinaire will remedy this soon, but otherwise, it is more or less up-dates. There is a lot to learn about the land of web-sites, that foreign land I know little about. It is a real mystery, a complex undertaking of a language that is far more abstract than the languages I speak, but navigation seems to be possible, at times...
All that said- please check it out, it's still in progress but it's not too bad...

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Happy Anniversary...

October 8, 1995
Still in love after all these years...

Gearing up for the Crawl!

I've been a busy little potter at the studio these days, all in preparation for the Eastside Culture Crawl ( coming up November 21-23. It may seem like a long ways away, but in fact, it's right around the corner and since the studio was left bare, I have a lot of re-stocking to do to get ready for the Christmas season. So here's the latest batch of mugs that I threw over 2 days, getting ready to be trimmed and have handles attached, as well as some new bottle forms and vases drying out!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

back at it from the ground up!

I'm back in the ceramic studio for the next few weeks, after juggling both studios this summer, trying to get ready for my show- which turned out really well, by the way! The opening wasn't quite as well attended as I had hoped, however, it was great to see those who made it out- and there will be a full page spread on the occasion in the local Newspaper in the next few weeks!
Since my clay studio is bare- quite literally every piece of ceramics I have made over the past 2 months is gone- either at a gallery, at my show, or in someone's home... I'm back at it from the ground up, so to speak.
I start with a lump of clay. Then it's on the wheel for a little throwing action. After that everything needs to set up, dry out a little until it's ready to be trimmed, altered, a new bottom to be put on, some handles or a spout or whatever. I'm working on bowls, bottles, vases & platters this week. Next week mugs, teapots, teabowls, creams and sugars. I am hoping to try a few new things in time for Christmas- would love to try a cake plate and some other types of platters.
Also with me today was my son, who was on a mission to make an octopus. At this stage it looked quite human, but he when stuck a large lump of clay on the top of the head and I have to admit, not a bad rendition for a 4 year old...