Monday, November 29, 2010

3-5 Dec 2010: A Busy Art Weekend in Kingston

Well, I had a harrowing time last weekend after my flu shot! I had a subsequent infection that has really set my health back (and caused me to miss the Kingston Potter's Guild Show last weekend)...however, I am on the mend and getting ready for two very fabulous shows next weekend.

Firstly, on Fri 3 Dec - Sun 5 Dec, the Gift Giving Show is at Fort Henry. It involves lots of art, fine craft, food and drinks (and even some military history!) Please join us if you can. Parking is free (you can drive right into the fun is that?!) and admission cost $5.

The other show that is going on this weekend, Sat 4 Dec and Sun 5 Dec, is the Kingston Holiday Fayre at the Upper Canada School of the Performing Arts on across from St. Mary's Cathedral on Brock St. It is free admission and parking and it will involve lots of very nice giftable art and fine craft. Grass roots but very high quality! Highly recommended.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Size Matters!

Really. But not exactly like you might assume!

A set or series of functional pottery should be of similar size. This will give the customers confidence in the quality and craftsmanship...and it will stack nicely in cupboards. But aside from these obvious issues, the size of a piece can have a significant effect on the quality of the glaze. Many potters complain about inconsistent glaze effects but can figure out why. Perhaps we should investigate the thickness of the pot wall! A thicker wall picks up more glaze than a thin walled pot. Keep this issue in mind when you make your test tiles...the tiles should simulate the wall thickness of the pot you intend to make.

So, yes, in order to ensure consistent height, diameter and thickness, it is recommended that we weigh and measure our clay. Even if it sounds scientific for no obvious reason!

Here's how I do it. Use a scale to weigh the clay...if you start with the same weight , there is a better likelihood that the finished pieces will have the same dimensions.

Then, I throw the pot to a specified height and diameter using a gauge (and yes, I actually measure it with rulers). This is how I ensure a consistent thickness in the wall of each of the pots in the series.

Consistent wall thickness for each piece in a series will ensure that each piece picks up the same amount of glaze with each dip...and the glaze effects are closer from piece to piece. Of course, there are lots of other factors in the firing of the pot that can effect the glaze, but at least we've ruled out one variable.

So, size (weight, height, diameter, thickness) is important to consistent glazing.

Size Matters!

The Moose Show @ CBC Toronto, 18 -20 Nov

Looking for some downtown Christmas shopping? Come to the Barbara Fromm Atrium at the CBC on Thursday 18 to Saturday 20 November to see a great selection of fine craft from some of the best craftspeople in Ontario. I will be there (unfortunately, Fish and Chips can not be's a little to downtown for them!) If you have a chance, please joins us. Admission is free. More details are available at the website for the Moose Show.

the Maker's Hand, Picton, 5-7 Nov 2010

I am heading to Picton this next weekend to join my colleagues who make fine craft in a fabulous show! There will be lots of well-crafted work that is ideal for Christmas gift-giving (or for yourselves!) The show is from Friday 5 Nov to Sun 7 November and is at the Community Centre in Picton. Admission is $5. Please join us if you can. More info is available at the website for the Maker's Hand

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Union Gallery, Stauffer Library, Queens Universtiy, oct/nov 2010

In an effort to raise funs for the Union Gallery, the student-run gallery at Queen's University, I painted a piece for Mini-Works! Yes, I painted a canvas! And then, of course, attached clay to it (what would you expect from a potter?)

The theme of the show is "Green". I have chosen to investigate the idea of environmentally green aspects of our lives. My canvas in entitled "Sometimes..." and involves porcelain leaves, attached with embroidery floss. They can be lifted up (like an Advent Calender) to reveal more to the story on environmentally "green" things in our world. Unfortunately, the curators think it's art (whereas, I think it's craft). I wanted you to touch it...but they put it in a vitrine!

If you are down at Stauffer Library, please check it out...and you can place silent auction bids on all the work exhibited...but you can't touch!

Fusion Clay and Glass Show - 15 -18 Oct, CNIB Office, Toronto

I mentioned this earlier, but thought you might like a reminder...

About 45 potters and glass blowers from around Ontario (and even a few from Quebec and New Brunswick) are showing their work at the CNIB Office on Bayview Ave in Toronto (beside Sunnybrook Hospital) on Fri 15 - Sun 17 Oct.

There will be lots of parking and tons of great work. Come early and get lots of excellently-made, hand-crafted , well-priced gifts for the holiday. The details can be found on the Fusion website on on the invite below.

Candela 2010 - Cube Gallery, Ottawa, 14-17 Oct

My rice lamps were accepted into a show called "Candela" at the Cube Gallery in Ottawa that is sponsored by several different agencies in the lighting industry in support of Habitat for Humanity. Most of the work from the other artists is fine art that involves light.

Here is my lamp.

And here is the info on the show entitled "Candela"....if you are in Ottawa from 14 - 17 Oct, please check it out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dog's Paw Print Mugs

My Jack Russell, named Fish, decorates mugs. Well actually, he stepped on clay and made an impression. I made a sponge stamp from the impression. So, while I actually apply the stamp, he gets the artistic credit! Do you have a four-legged artist with this type of talent?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

To reduce or not to reduce?

I know it sounds like a major moral question for modern living...but it's not. And, I'm not talking about the 3-R environmental concept of reduce (although it's a good idea for us all).

Reduction, as you may know, is the combustion of fuel (a combination of hydrogen, carbon and oxygen, usually found in the form of gas, oil or wood) in a relative lack of oxygen. When this happens in your car engine (too much gas, not enough oxygen), it is called incomplete combustion and it is a bad thing for your car and the environment. But when it happens in a potter's kiln, it is a good thing! And here is why.....

It's all about that periodic table we saw in high school. Yes, art really is about science! Remember the low part in the centre of the table given the group name "transition metals". One thing they have in common is they all have several oxidized states (i.e., the electrons on the outer surface of the atom move). And when the metal changes oxidized states, they change colour! Now I have the attention of the artists!

All clay, be it earthenware, stoneware or porcelain, contains iron. Most typically in the form of ferric (or iron (III)) oxide, or more commonly called rust. It is a red-brown colour and is most typically found on your car! This is the most commonly found type of iron oxide because the world around us is plentiful with oxygen.

If we are able to remove the oxygen around us, as we can in a reducing kiln, we convert the ferric iron (III) oxide (red) to ferrous iron (II) oxide (black). So, this little bit of chemical magic seems intriguing, but why do potters care about this change of colour? Can't we simply change the colour of clay with stains and glazes on the surface? Sure we can. But there is a key issue that make reduction an essential element in functional tableware is porosity of the clay body (underneath the surface decoration)!

Potters, who make tableware, as opposed to cooking ware, want the lowest porosity possible in their finished pots. This makes them dishwasher and microwave safe. Porosity is reduced to an almost insignificant level when the clay body is well fluxed (the silica in the clay is turning to glass). And here's the bottom iron is a flux, red iron is not. That little transitioning electron makes a huge difference to the nature and quality of the fired clay.

Pots fired in an electric, oxidized kiln will seldom have the same low porosity as pots fired in a fueled, reduced kiln. And you will be less likely to get the crystal ping sound when you flick it with your finger. And your customers will not be disappointed by pots that break in the dishwasher or microwave!

Happy potting!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

HARS Lantern Festival - 18 Sep 2010

For those that couldn't make it to the lantern festival, here is a taste of what you missed. Here's a close up of a few of the lanterns before the sun set.

My installation, titled "Chain Reaction" was photographed by lots of photographers, who I am sure did a better job of shooting it in the dark than me. Here it is illuminated.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Kingston Art After Dark - Kingston Glass Studio and Gallery - Thurs 23 Sep, 7-10pm

I am joining my fellow artists at the Kingston Glass Studio and Gallery at 56 Queen Street from 7-10 pm on Thursday 23 September to exhibit our art work as part of the big roving party that Downtown Kingston has organized.

I am taking my potter's wheel and demonstrating...and if you are brave, you can try yourself!

There will be tons of great art, lots of fabulous artists and food and drink. Please join us! For more details and the map of galleries involved please check out the link.

Lighting the Way - 18 Sep, city Park 8-10pm

HARS (HIC/AIDS REgional Services) has organized A Lantern Festival and walk in the park in Kingston again this year. To compliment the awareness and funds raising effort, several artist have developed installation art that is illuminated by candles. Please join us this evening for a fun, family event in the park at twilight.

Here is a photo of my installation named "Chain Reaction". You can see it illuminated tonight!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Pottery at Madonna House - Aug 2010

I just had the most awesome time last week in greater metropolitan Combermere (on the Madawaska River near Barry's Bay). I was asked to go to Madonna House to offer a pottery workshop to a group of folks that live in a really exciting community. They focus on prayers, meditation and caring for each other. Their vow of poverty frees them up from worldly concerns and allows them to focus on the stuff that really matters....other people! It was so refreshing to spend time (and work hard -14 hour days!) with people that are truly honest and thoughtful....something that is often missing in our fast paced world.

We had lots of fun and made tons of pottery and fired their new (to them, but used and donated by a patron) kiln.

Special thanks to the folks at St Raphael's and the rest of the community that supported during this workshop.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Anglin Bay Pottery Demonstrations - Gananoque, 27 Aug 2010

If you are looking for a fun (and free) day in the Thousand Islands this weekend, consider coming to Gananoque for the Up the River Festival. I will be there, with my potter's wheel giving demos and letting folks have a try, on Friday 27 August at the Firehall Theatre from 10 am - 3 pm.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Peak to Shore Festival, Collingwood, 21/22 Augist 2010

My friend M-J Kelley and I are participating in the visual arts portion of this Peak to Shore Music Festival in Collingwood on 21/22 August. You can see more information about the visual arts component at If you are in the area, please come by.

Fish 'n' Chips - Kingston Humane Society Calender 2010

There are just a few days get your adorable pet's photo in the Kingston Humane Society Calender. My canine friends, Fish and Chips, had a photo shoot yesterday in preparation for their appearance in the calender. Here are some of the photos. Photo credit goes to Tracy Olan.

The Gift Giving Show - Fort Henry, Kingston, 7/8 Aug 2010

If you are in Kingston on the weekend of 7/8 Aug 2010, please check out this new art show at Fort Henry. The Fort is open with its exciting interpretation of the mid-1800 military culture. The restaurant is open. And there will be lots of local art to see. There is a coupon for a discount on admission to the fort. Please see the details at

Fusion Clay and Glass Sale - 15-17 Oct 2010 - @ CNIB

If you are planning your fall events (and Christmas shopping!), you might want to put this on your calender. Fusion Clay and Glass is having its annual show at the CNIB Building (near Sunnybrook Hospital) in Toronto on 15-17 Oct. There will be lots of great pottery and glass artwork. Please join us!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Haliburton Arts and Craft Festival, 23-25 July

If you are in Haliburton this weekend, please visit us at the arts festival. It runs Fri, Sat and sun.
I will be there with my pots and there will be lots of other fabulous art to see.

Friday, July 16, 2010

HST remittance for art-based businesses

For Artists that run a business in Ontario....the rules and procedures surrounding the remittance of HST is becoming clearer! Check out the explanation that CARFAC is offering. Often artist just don't want to do the paperwork (fair enough!), but there are real benefits to your bottom line. The first (and incorrect) impression is that your art work just becomes more expensive to your customers, if you change tax. Well, if you are actually capturing your overhead costs in your pricing, then you will find that is not true. Please read the link.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Art Among the Ruins, Newburgh, Sat 19 June

If you are out this weekend, please stop by and visit us in the lovely little town of Newburgh (just north of Napanee, just off the Hwy 401). Lots of fabulous art and craft will be exhibited there. And there are lots of fun artists to meet. There is food and demos and you can walk around the gardens in the ruins. It goes from 10 am to 5 pm. It is at 27 Earl street. See the website for more details.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Guelph Potter's Market - 29/30 May

If you are in or around Guelph on the weekend of 29/30 May, please join some of the best potters in Ontario at the Guelph Potter's Market. I (and Fish & Chips) will be there!

The New Art Festival - Glebe, Ottawa - 5/6 June

I am headed to Ottawa to participate in this festival on 5/6 June. Please join me and the other artists who will be showing their work (rain or shine!). More details are available at the new art festival

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Lanterns for Kollaboration Kingston Exhibition

I spent the day last Monday photographing much of the work that the 16 of us have prepared for the exhibition this weekend. Some of the large work was photographed by Bernard Clark and a few other pieces will only be photographed after they are installed in the gallery on Friday. It was a fun day with lights and cameras! Lindsey and I played around with lighting and f-stops until we had to go home. Here are a few photos of the work that I was involved in making (not just photographing). Trevor did the sketching and lino cutting of the scenes and Tracy did the photography of city hall. come see this and the rest of the work at our exhibition at Sandra Whitton Gallery (opening on 1st May).

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Kollaboration Kingston -1 May 2010

Please join us on Saturday 1st May 2010 at Sandra Whitton Gallery for the opening reception of this innovative collaboration by 16 Kingston artists. More details at .

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Kingston Potter's Guild Sale - Tett Centre, 22-25 April

Kingston Potter's Guild Sale is on this weekend. It's at the Tett Centre in Kingston, ON. There are lots of great pots (and a few really good bargains!) Please join us. Details are in the attachment below.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Lamps with things other than rice!

As part of a collaborative project , Kollaboration Kingston, I am making these lamps shades with two other artists: Trevor Waurechen (illustration), and Tracy Olan (photography). The porcelain is either stamped with a lino block (sketched and carved by Trevor) or a photo (by Tracy) transfered onto porcelain. The subject matter of the decoration is historic architecture of Kingston or significant cultural events.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

NGB Studios Mother's Day Open House - Sun 9 May

Please join us for a fun day of celebrating Moms, art and culture. Over 20 artists will be showing there art in the working studios of the artists of NGB Studios, 12 Cataraqui St., Kingston. Admission is free. It is a family event....bring your Mom!

This is it – the biggest craft party of the year!

It’s all about supporting Ontario’s craft community, and you can get in on the excitement by enjoying delightful drinks and delicious treats while bidding on fabulous one-of-a-kind handcrafted items and gift certificates to the best restaurants and hottest shows in town in our silent auction. Gear up, let loose and celebrate the night away – shake it up with a crafty martini or on the dance floor – either way you’ll help get craft on the map by raising funds in support of OCC programs and exhibitions.

Join us May 5th, 2010
7:30 pm, at Thrush Holmes Empire
, 1093 Queen Street West in the heart of downtown Toronto.

Tickets are just $25 and won’t last long! Get yours today by ordering securely and safely through the OCC or by calling 416.925.4222 ext. 223

Sunday, April 11, 2010

HST for Artists???? CARFAC, Ottawa, 26 April

if you are an artist and if you are thinking..."do I need to collect the new HST?" or "should I bother to collect the new HST?" Here is a workshop put on my CARFAC in Ottawa on 26 April.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Breakfast TV

While I was at the One-of a Kind Show last week in Toronto, my red maple leaf jugs were selected to be featured on CITY TV's Breakfast TV. Check it out on this video clip. Breakfast TV

Kingston Artists at One-of-a-Kind with the Ontario Crafts Council

Several of us were selected to join the Ontario Crafts Council's group booth a One-of-a-Kind Show in Toronto last week. We had a great time and learned lots! We are: Mike Doxey of Banished Moon Pottery in Portland, Isidora Spielmann of Westport, Vincent Perez of Everlovin' Press in Kingston and me, Jane Thelwell of Anglin Bay Pottery in Kingston.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Lamps galore for One-of-a-Kind

Thanks to the government of Ontario, we had new florescent ballasts and bulbs put in our studios. Saving the environment and money on the hydro bill! So while I was in the dark, while the electricians installed the new lights....I unloaded the kiln! Here is a photo of my new porcelain and stoneware lamps in the kiln. (and a few mugs for good measure!)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Kingston Life article on NGB Studios

Jane Deacon from Kingston Life magazine came around and visited us last month. She wrote a article on NGB Studios and the folks that make art there. You can read it online at Kingston Life .

Kingston Humane Society & Anglin Bay Pottery - Paw Prints

FREE! Come down to Anglin Bay Pottery, bring your dog, and have a paw print made in clay (cats can do it too!). Or if your pet is shy, we will give you a ball of clay to take home to DIY. We will glaze it and fire it to make a memento of your best friend! It is free, but, if you wish, you can make a donation to Kingston Humane Society.

International Women's Day with the Navy!

I went to this fabulous event yesterday for International Women's Day at HMCS Cataraqui (yes, the military is only 2 days and a few decades late on this). The event was really fun and very relaxed. They had several quest speakers: Dr. Aitken (Head of Physio at Queen's), Cmdre Bennett, and four WRENS. The stories of women's experience in the military were hilarious and heartfelt! A great day in all. Here is a photo of my booth at the event.

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thursday, February 25, 2010


I have been fascinated with the concept of veiling and revealing. One of the celebrated characteristics of thin porcelain is its ability to permit light through. Light often symbolizes the optimistic aspects of hope in the future. The translucent nature of the material also offers to obscure vision. Porcelain can be an agent to both hide and reveal these issues.

This body of work started last spring with an invitation to make and exhibit work as part of the Kingston HIV/AID Regional Services Annual Lantern Festival, which takes place in September in City Park in Kingston. The theme of the art exhibition was Resilience, which is a great inspirational topic for people dealing with HIV. The artwork had to be illuminated as lanterns: by candle, not electricity. I chose to focus on what eventually becomes the terminal issue for many HIV patients: infection from bacteria and viruses (some of the most resilient species on the planet). The process by which single-celled animals reproduce and ensure their place in eternity is termed mitosis. My work is a hopeful comment on the physical and mental resilience of patients in the face of these resilient bugs. Thin porcelain is inlaid with rice, which when burnt out in the kiln, gives the appearance of bacteria in a Petri dish under a microscope. Until the lantern is lit from inside, the bacteria effect is not really that noticeable (this is why I have left it unglazed). Once lit, the bacteria are revealed. The metalwork was done by Stefan Duerst.

As an extension of this work, this winter, I have taken the idea from these outdoor lawn lanterns (candle-lit) and convert them into indoor table lamps (electrical). These lamps project fairly bold light up to the ceiling, while sending diffused light with very soft slightly lighter dots to the surrounding walls. The soft wobbly organic rim and form contrast with the more hard linear nature of the base. I am making clay bases for some of the lamps and have collaborated with Randy Doner on metal lamp bases.

I also submitted the shade portion of the lamps to OKWA's exhibition this winter which is just finishing at the Kingston Public Library.

This project started as an artistic response to social and cultural concerns of the ravages of disease, and with an optimistic intent, it has translated into a handcrafted object for everyday use in the home.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Ambiguity?!?! Inspiration?

I always thought that ambiguity was something that you subtly did to resist the temptation to unnecessarily reveal details.

But apparently there is a government (Isreali) that has the unrepentant conviction to make it an official policy!

You have to admire such transparent intent to obscure transparency. Go Mossad!!

This is encouraging me to explore the concepts of transparency, translucency, light, veiling and revealing in my art! You've got to take inspiration where ever you can get it!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Kollaboration Kingston - 7 March 2010

Check out the new website of a group of artist and crafts people from Kingston, Ontario that are collaborating to create art, while at the same time creating change for their community.

Carolyn Barnett, Knit ArtistHilary Cosgrove, Textile Artist Stefan Duerst Architectural Blacksmith Jane Thelwell, pottery (image by Tracy Olan) Cathie Hamilton, Painter Tracy Olan, Photographer Julie Davidson Smith Encaustic Artist Trevor Waurechen, Illustrator Lindsey Fair beach glass artist and metalsmith

Friday, February 12, 2010

guess what came out of my kiln today

All kinds of great stuff came out of the gas kiln today!

If you came to NGB Studios for our Demo Day on Sat Jan 23rd, your fabulous treasures are ready for pick up! The all turned out well.

I have a bunch more prototypes for my electric lantern lamps... stay tuned to see the metal bases that are being designed by Randy Doner.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

OKWA Show - Honourable Mention

Unfortunately, I missed the Organization Of Kingston Women Artists Juried Show opening on Sat afternoon at the Kingston Library,, because I was up in Smiths's Fall's for a meeting with the Ontario Crafts Council for their Spring 2010 One-of-a-Kind project, .

I just found out that the jurors offered and "honourable mention" for my work in the show (seen in the photo). This is a "first" for me...I am so pleased.