Thursday, June 30, 2011

Colour Spray Bottle Vase

Based on my 'colour spray' series (see below) I also came up with this bottle vase design in my last firing.  I'm slowly working out enough of a collection to possibly introduce it more often into my regular work, although, it's extremely fussy to get the little stripes of glaze co-operating well.  Basically each piece has been one of a kind for me, but hopefully I'll be able to sit down this fall and actually create the full collection for my website, including new colours or thinking about how the design could work on a teapot form or a bowl.  The options are pretty wide open- a rainbow spray or colour gradient would look pretty rad too (definitely OOAK work- WAY too complicated for production!).  So many ideas, so little time...

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

New work: Cups & short mugs

Hello!  Well it was the last 1.5 hours of school today- just enough time for me to unload the kiln with the last of what's heading down to San Fransisco for Renegade!  I'm really excited to show you my new cups and mugs- a slip-cast design that I've been working on over the last couple of months.  I designed this based on my wheel-thrown cups and shorter mugs, however wanted the mold to be as versatile as possible: it's a one part mold that can be a cup, or if I add a handle, can be a short mug that works a little better with the size of my teapots.  I have been working on a couple of collaborations with it already, so haven't had the time to play with my existing glaze designs or get too creative with any new ones, however, I guarantee there will be more to come.  Holding about 12 oz of liquid, the handle is a good 2 finger hold, and as cups, they stack pretty good.
I will have a very limited selection of these available at Renegade- they will be up on my shop soon!
Oh, and I saw this on Pinterest the other day.  Had to chuckle... ceramic paint or pens, heh?  Let me know how that goes for you...

**The process of creating stripes (or any glaze design of mine) on my handmade mugs, teapots and vases are tediously created by use of hand-cut 'stencils' on my bisqued ware allowing the coloured glaze to sit right next to and only slightly overlap the white glaze.  Each stripe is glazed with food-safe, microwave and dishwasher safe glazes that won't ever fade or chip off.  They are made with the utmost care on my part with many steps taken to get the stripes and designs looking seamless. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

the Garden this week

The garden is coming alive.  It's rather exciting...

Monday, June 27, 2011

Traveling display

I finally had a bit of a brainwave last week sorting out my display with Renegade- a couple of vintage suitcases that I can bring with me on the plane.... so I don't have to ship my whole display!  Necessity is the mother of invention sometimes, and having a mother-in-law who just happens to have a 'collection' of vintage suitcases just sitting around is also extremely handy.
Happy Monday to you!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Friday fieldtrip: Point Roberts, Washington

I had the chance to go over the boarder into Point Roberts yesterday (to do some shipping- this postal strike here in Canada is just killing me!!), and took a little extra time to sneak down to Lighthouse Park.  Point Roberts is a bit of an anomaly- essentially it is a peninsula attached to Canada only and is American by virtue of it's co-ordinates being just south of the 49th Parallel.  To get into the rest of the US, you must drive through Canada's boarders and then around, so it is quite isolated in a way.  And quiet.  I'm sure that it gets busier in the summer or on holidays, but it felt like such a sleepy and peaceful place.

I hope you have a great weekend!  I'm in the final stages of getting my work together for Renegade while attempting to transform the studio to work like a little factory for the summer!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

On the horizon...

 Hello! I'm slowing down on the blogging front for the next week to finish up as much as I can before my boys are home from school for the summer months!   I've got a few orders to fill and more work for Renegade to finish up, while also preparing for a summer of filling the largest order I've ever produced.  Yes, it feels exciting and harrowing all at the same time.  I know I've said this before, but this ride I'm on- making and selling my artwork and crafts, is a wild one!  If someone had told me at the beginning of the year what opportunities would come my way, I probably wouldn't have believed them.  Usually I have goals and vision for what I do, but somehow this year I was having a hard time imagining how I could possibly make 2011 better then 2010.  I guess 'better' is a loaded word, because everyone's idea of 'better' is different.  Certainly there have been highs and lows, but this year is again exceeding my expectations and I'm having to plan and make decisions that I didn't expect to make so soon on this adventure.  Needless to say, I feel really thankful to be in the midst of it, a little overwhelmed, and excited at the prospect of things to come.
I just wanted to thank you all for stopping by here, to the place that I share my inspirations and thoughts.  I'll be a bit random from here on for the summer, but I'm looking forward to sharing with you the highs and lows of producing a volume of work in a fairly short amount of time.  My due date on this order is September 5th, so basically my summer will be spent with my nose to the grindstone. I've thought a lot about this, especially concerning our kids and Dean's schedule (he's running 2 week-long skateboarding camps this year instead of just one) and hopefully we can still make this a memorable summer despite the busy works schedules!
(sorry, for some reason my blog isn't uploading images today... )  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Happy Go Skateboarding Day!

Hello and happy go skateboarding day!  Yes, summer solstice is right around the corner and with it a whole lot of skateboarding.  Skateboard culture and art really have a great way of intersecting so I thought this video was a good way to celebrate, since I would pretty much break my leg just standing on a skateboard!  And I love how husband and wife graffiti artists Kami and Sasu work together on the installation (notice she doesn't skateboard either:) Maybe someday Dean and I will be inspired to combine our art and skateboarding interests together- very cool!
Video found here: Tim McFarlane's blog
More info on the Hitotzuki website

Friday, June 17, 2011

Nearly summer

Well I have 2 boys in this house that are really looking forward to summer holidays.  We went to the ice cream shop across from my studio the other day to celebrate summer, which has been a long time in coming around these parts. 
I hope you all have a lovely Father's Day weekend.  Dean's riding his bike all weekend, so the boys and I will be visiting with the grandpas this weekend!

Thursday, June 16, 2011


Oh dear.  No, that did not end well.  Not for the Canucks and not for Vancouver!  Shame on the rioters who made Vancouver fans look like such terrible losers.  My apologies on behalf of most of the people I know who watched on the TV in shock and horror.  Stupid is what stupid does...

Ok, we will most certainly move on to things a much more positive note.  I, for one, am not going to waste any more time on a hockey game then I need to.  Now to the matters at hand: the give-a-way!

So I spent a good long time sorting out comments, adding a few numbers for those of you who were so kind to 'like' me on facebook or become a follower and only used one comment box.  And wow, it really added up (242 comments)! Thank you kindly for such a warm response!  It was so nice to hear from all of you.
Once I got all the numbers sorted out, I put those into  I decided to divey the numbers up into 3 groups and pick 1 from each section this time.  Just because it gives you all a little more of a chance...

Ok winners are:  Anna Blair (71), Dolan Geiman (104) and Tiffany (213)!!!  Congrats to all of you!
Please email me ( with your contact info and a vase colour preference- I'll try to keep things fair so if you could put choice colour #1 and #2 I'll do my best!  Unfortunately there is a Canada Post strike on this week that is supposed to be over by next week.  Either way I'll try to send it off early next week for you!

Hope you have a great day! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

We will cheer on our team

So today is the day.  Everyone around here is nervously biting their nail and hoping for the best!  We shall see- I'm not much of a hockey fan, however I'll cheer on the home team with as much gusto as I can manage! For everyone's sake I really hope we get the cup tonight and I'm looking forward to this looong series being over... seriously!!

I'm back in the studio today loading a glaze into the kiln, with work being dropped off again at Room6 and the Vancouver Anthropologie by the end of the week!  Thank you to those of you who have come by and put your name in the draw for one of 3 bottle vases... for some reason, a few people are also attempting to put their name in the draw for June 2010's cake stand give-a-way...sorry folks, that one has was given away last year.  Today will be the last day to put your name in for the draw on my bottle vases- I'll pull 3 winners out of a hat tomorrow!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Inspiration in form & colour

Found via here.  Lots more inspiration to go with it too!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekend sketching

We had a wedding to attend this last weekend and I like to make cards to go along with my hand-made gift.  So I started with a watercolour on some cardstock, inspired by these watercolours that I had painted last year.  And then I just kept making a few more, playing with different colours and shapes.  Sometimes it's nice to work on something small, working through a simple concept to see where it goes.  Plus it's nice to have a few cards ready to go when the occasion arises.

Friday, June 10, 2011

From my phone Friday & thoughts on 'handmade'

The family farm

What a great truck
Stirfry with tofu dinner served in one of my low bowls

I love it when the poppies start coming out:)
Hello and thank you all for the warm response on my give-a-way so far! So great to hear all your thoughts on my vases, along with some of your responses to what makes the perfect vase etc.  I really do value your comments and must add a couple of my own- first off that I don't throw out work unless it is completely un-useable.  Most of it comes home with me and fills my own shelves- I usually can't bear to part with my hard-work that easily.  That said, over the course of all my years making ceramics, I'm sure my 'shard pile' is as big as the next ceramic artist's- unfortunately it takes a whole lot of pots that have mistakes on them before you get the good ones out.  However,  I do believe in 1000 years, my shards will be some of the prettier ones that anthropologists will dig up.  That is one of the amazing things about ceramics, I feel.  Pottery and fired clay are some of the oldest forms of art that have been dug up and discovered.  

Also, some thoughts about perfect/imperfections etc.  I do love the 'hand of the artist', ie the hand-made look being present in work, whether it be obvious or not.  A lot of my work has 'imperfections' that I see as unintended accidents that happened along the way.  Some of it is part of the way the work is made and as that, I'm quite comfortable having these 'imperfections' be part of the integrity of the work.  Some things- such as the small pinholes or the glaze looking mottled, are things that I want to avoid.  And while some things are super small and barely noticeable, I feel as though I want to send my best work out there, put my best foot forward, and not my almost best.  Since a lot of these vases are heading to retail places or being sold online, I think people have come to expect a certain level of perfection when purchasing an item in those places as opposed from me in my studio.

A couple of years ago I overheard a comment about my work that made me laugh, be kind of angry, and at the same time, recognize something in my work that I was missing out on. It happened during an open studio event that happens each November- someone was coming out of my studio while I was heading towards the door and said "I think 'so-and-so' would really like that work, except perhaps it looks a little too handmade."  Sometimes I feel like my work really straddles the line between looking handmade and manufactured.  Partly because of my process of cutting out shapes that can be repeated it can be hard for some to know the difference between them being all glazed or having decals as the decoration.  A lot of my early inspiration came not only from abstract paintings I had done, but also from mid-century scandinavian ceramics- which was manufactured.  And since I'm slip-casting some of my work now, it looks even less hand-made then my wheel-thrown work.  All that said, the work sits somewhere in the middle for people- sort of handmade, sort of design-based, and for now I'm ok with that.  Some day perhaps I'll embrace one over the other, but for now I'm making what feels right for me and I'm so glad that people are loving it!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Modern Stripe give-a-way!

 Well, over the course of the past 2 months since I launched the colour-wheel version of my Modern Stripe Bottle vases, I've had a few 'seconds' come out of the kiln.  It's to be expected, it's ceramics after-all. There's a lot that can go wrong at any stage of the process:  a small pinhole here (notice the small dot in the green and blue stripes above- must mix slip longer!!), a bubble or mottled glaze texture there (orange glaze isn't as smooth as it usually is- too close to the elements? or what??) or a line that's gone a little off course.  And unfortunately for me, the more vases I make, the more little nuances about the work I end up having to sort out.
Sooo, my loss, your gain- I don't have the heart to throw out these vases.  Some may end up being sold as 'second's' on my Etsy shop, and others I've already given away to friends and family, however, there are 3 in the studio that I feel warrant a give-a-way on my blog.  Just to thank you for stopping by, for the comments, the encouragement and the feed-back along the way. 
So, please, post a comment.  If you feel inclined, become a follower or 'like' the dahlhaus art facebook page and you can add another comment or 2 to the list to increase your chances.  No biggy though...
I'll randomly pick 3 winners next Thursday, June 16 sometime.
Thanks for stopping by and good luck!

Collections at the farm

This last weekend we spent the night in Langley at the family farm, working on the fence so the new calves don't get out.  My in-law's have about 5 acres that they built their house and barn on about 35 years ago or so.  Dean's mom is a collector of all sorts of things- sewing baskets, china and dishes, and tins is only the start.  There are more collections here and there around the house, in the sewing room or in the garden shed, and it's always like a treasure hunt to find them. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Summer Plans

Now that the heat has finally arrived, the nights are long and it's June (ack!), we have been sorting out our summer.  It's tricky, not only do I have Renegade in SF coming up, but I potentially have a large order to fill over the summer months while Dean runs 2 skateboarding road-trip style camps, one in BC and one in Ontario/Quebec.  And our kids are home for the 2 months, wanting to do all the fun stuff that summer should be about.  Thank goodness for grandparents, weekends, and day camps. 
Trust me, it won't be all work and no play though- we've been invited by 2 different neighbours to stay at their cabin or go camping as families.  The boys are so excited! There are usually plans to head up to Vernon and the Island in the mix to.  As usual I think the summer will go by much quicker then we expect and all of a sudden it will be back to school.  

Monday, June 6, 2011

Fun Finds for Birthdays

I got lucky at a garage sale on Saturday and found some fun 'props' for the ninja party I was putting on for Johnny this weekend.  It's too bad I didn't find film in time for the polaroid camera I bought (simply for looks in this case), but the typewriter was the perfect thing for the kids to 'register' themselves for 'ninja training school', aka backyard obstacle course and party games.  The origami stars made a fun craft, although I had pre-folded some of the papers for kids that were really having trouble with the instructions.  They were supposed to be like 'throwing stars'... but apparently real ninja throwing stars only have 3 points, as one of the kids so kindly pointed out. 

Friday, June 3, 2011

Out and about this week

In the garden.
We went to the Tomahawk Restaurant (my first time at North Vancouver's oldest restaurant).  It was quite remarkable being surrounded by that many First Nations artifacts.
A lot of bottle vases came out of the kiln... again. 
I liked this Vancouver graffiti wall. And the scalloped edges on this Vancouver Apartment building.  I might have to paint that one...
Hope you had a great week and a good weekend.  We'll be watching hockey and having a kids' birthday party at our place!

At home this week

 A snuggle in bed turns silly and new house plants with some planters I found in the garage.  The one on the left is an Arabia Finland planter in really good condition!

Thursday, June 2, 2011


I'm taking some time this week for things non-studio related.  It's been good to meet some friends for tea and breakfast, pick the kids up from school and take them to their swimming lessons, and go for a run perhaps more than once this week.  I really need these time, times to re-group.  To think about what's next, reflect on the past, and just be in the present. 
It's been nice to have Sarah in the studio with me over the past month.  She's been helping me in the studio once or twice a week.  Having an extra set of hands is a welcome change- the work seems to move much quicker than usual.  At the same time, I'm always reminded of how many little nuances there are in my work that I do without thinking.  Those little details that I've learned from figuring it out myself- from trial and error, and then trial and error again before I get it right.  It's hard to pass those things along to someone new without sounding like I'm being 'uber' picky.   But all in all, I think it's been good.  Having help and all. Especially when my hands have been feeling tired.
I sometimes wonder how potters who've been potting professionally for 40 years do it.  Making pots is hard on the body.   It's hard on one's back and shoulders, arms and hands.  So far I count myself very fortunate to have had strong hands and wrists to begin with.  Most likely practicing violin for 4 hours a day in my late teens made the transition to ceramics much easier on me. Clearly I'm not 18 anymore.  And I'm starting to feel it. 

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mountain to lake

Hello June!  Wow, did that ever happen fast! Six months into 2011 already...
So a couple of weekends ago we made it back to Princeton for Dean's yearly staff conference.   The boys and I rode the Zip-line from one side of the valley over the lake to the other.  We went on boat rides, the boys swam in the pool.  They played hockey with their friends and my hands took a much needed break from making work.  I didn't take as many photos as I usually do, but I liked the pairings of these ones: Sky to mountain top, mountain to lake.  Not perfectly matched up, since I wasn't really planning it out when I took them, but there is something about the topography that is similar in each one.
**In the studio this week:
 With all my spring shop orders finished, I will be focusing on getting ready for Renegade, which is a mere month or so away.  I've got a few things sorted out: getting there, where to stay, where to ship to, & hopefully how to get the work to the show from our friends' place.  There are just a few more details to sort through.  It's tricky doing a show across the line.  Apparently there are a lot of rules, which make it nearly impossible to do this sort of thing.  Anyways, we shall see how it goes. 
In other news... supposedly Canada Post is going on strike.  Tomorrow.  So this affects my shipping rates and time-lines until the strike is over.  I will be shipping via UPS in the meantime- this means extra time for me at the post office filling out forms, and extra costs associated with shipping. Good times!