Winter Wonder Land

Well, here we are again, another year has come and gone and winter is fully here in the town of Talent. Soon it will be my birthday and the next thing I’ll know it’ll be summer. Time just keeps speeding up the older I get and I feel like I’m trying to catch up and jump on.

Although I have never been one to make resolutions, I do make promises to myself to create change when things are just not going the way they should. So here I am to tell the world- I am going to be better to my body from now on and therefore feel better about myself and the world in general. I am going to eat better, get more exercise, and lose some of the 40lbs. I’ve gained since moving out West nearly ten years ago. Because lately I just haven’t been liking who I see in the mirror at all, and that’s not just about my appearance. I know when I don’t feel good it affects everything and everyone in my life and it’s time to turn that around once again and get back on track. As my friends and readers, I need your support! I need encouraging words and kind actions, and a lot of patience and help. I have been lucky thus far in my life to never have dieted in any real way. Aside from borderline anorexia in high school when I seemed to think my concave belly was “huge” and my skin was “fat”, I have always been around the same weight until I hit 37. And then everything changed. Bad things happened and my self-esteem went south and it’s been on a downward slide for years. The monster Fear set up permanent shop in my head and heart and I need to boot that sucker out in the cold once and for all!

Tomorrow I am joining the local gym. Not because it’s January. Because it’s time. And I HATE gyms. Most folks do I think, even those who go to them regularly. And that’s okay. I don’t have to like it, I just have to show up there. It’s the getting in the door that’s always so hard for me. Once I’m there, I’m fine. And I will keep getting in the door. I’ve promised myself. Even if it means giving up going to the coffeehouse everyday so I can afford the membership. Even if it means going without seeing my community as much for a while, it will happen. And I am going to hate it. And I am going to do it anyway. So there!

I will reward myself after I lose 5lbs.

Not sure how yet, maybe a sushi dinner…mmm…sushi…

Crap. Now I’m hungry.

And not a carrot to be had…

December is here already?!

Whew! what a crazy busy time last month was!

The 38th Annual Clayfolk show was a resounding success and I want to thank all of my supporters for coming out to make it our best year ever.  I was honored with the front page of the Medford Mail Tribune’s Tempo this year, and I have no doubt it helped me immeasurably.1

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My platters came out great- and I was able to do a trade with my friend Julie Young for wonderful photographs of my work. Here are a few:

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I totally enjoyed myself and did well in sales to boot. Bonus. However, I’m still trying to recover my energy to move on to new endeavors. I think the adrenaline is what took me through last weekend-and this week has been a long crash.

My first order of business after the show was to clean the house (which had been let go for far too long) do some laundry, and create the class description for my next workshop: Mosaic LOVE. I hope some of you can join me for this fun and informative class!

heart2Mosaic LOVE: A Class for Beginners of All Things Mosaic with Karen Rycheck

The mosaic art form is experiencing a resurgence all over the world – and you can be a part of it! Come get a taste of this dynamic and versatile art form while making a fun valentine gift for your sweetie, your mom, or yourself! We will be creating a small project to whet your appetite and give you the basic skills needed to begin creating in mosaic. Your first three hour session will be cutting and laying tesserae (pieces), the second one hour session will be grouting and finishing your piece.
Saturday February 1, from 10:00 am – 1:00 pm, and Saturday February 8,              from 11:00 am – 12:00 pm

$50 Members, $60 General
All materials provided
Ages 13 +
Click here for the registration form
Please register by Tuesday, January 28
Questions? Email karaQlewis@gmail.com

Or peruse the Ashland Art Center class schedule on their site at http://www.ashlandartcenter.org

This could make a unique Christmas gift for someone, or a fun activity to do together- so grab a friend and sign up NOW.

I’m also going to move my potters wheel indoors for the winter, so I can continue to practice and create more good looking bowls, yet still be warm and comfy. I gave away my futon couch on Craigslist-took less than 16 hrs. for it to disappear-to make the space for the wheel. Now I just need shelves for the work! One can never have enough shelves it seems. So if anyone wants to help transform the bedroom into an annex studio-give me a call 😉

Coming soon- the fictional downtown of Bedford Falls (from Frank Capra’s classic film It’s a Wonderful Life) in CAKE. By yours truly. I have to admit to loving food sculpture-as long as it isn’t taken too seriously. But I do like a challenge, and this will prove to be one. Stay tuned for that adventure.

I hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and were able to give thanks for the wonderful lives we all have. Even when I’m whining and struggling I am always grateful to my clients, readers, friends, and family; without whom my life would be dull, dull, dull. Thanks everyone!  xxoo

This week with MissMosaicGirl

I started off the week getting all of my bowls sprayed with a clear glaze. This is what they look like after spraying with a clear top coat- all snowy white and matte looking.P1000471

But then comes the glaze firing!

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 Temperatures of over 2100 degrees are reached to achieve a “high fired” product safe and durable enough to survive the dreaded microwave, the dishwasher, and even the oven if you’re careful.

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The colors really POP once the glazes have developed in the intense heat. It takes about 8 hours for the temps to get up to cone 5, and another 12 plus hours for the kiln to cool enough to open up and take out the treasures. So cheery! Loving these!

Only had one fatality, but it was one I really liked 😦P1000476 But it’s to be expected, as it is ceramics after all…

1385698_664801226872564_1643781070_n Things continued to go really well as Friday night found me at Illahe Gallery for the Mosaic Invitational and I had a chance to catch up with other mosaic friends and meet new ones as well.

My friend Julia Janeway showed up with her lovely family and her daughter Josephine was convinced she could hear sounds coming from Mosaic Town! 1377318_664801276872559_489237443_n

We decided “Totoro” was playing in the cinema building… but I’ll let you decide.

I spent a few hours on Saturday helping to install the mosaic medallion I created almost a year ago for my friends Pete and Carol here in Talent, Oregon. Pete had already installed the handmade tiles on the risers as well as putting in lovely slate on the steps and porch.SAMSUNG

The install went smoothly and we’re just waiting for the thinset to cure before removing the clear adhesive film I used to create it. I think it looks great with the multi colored slate, and the small border Pete added really adds the finishing touch.

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I’ll post final photos once everything has been grouted, but Pete and Carol seem pleased and I think it looks fantastic at their place! You can read about making the tiles here and here.

In addition to the install, I also was working on a new platter for the Clayfolk show coming up next month. I’m experimenting with new patterns that relate to, but are different than, my bowls. What do you think? Keep in mind- the colors will change. Gray will become white, blue will be a deep turquoise, and the black will get blacker once fired.SAMSUNG

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Whew! I’m tired just looking at everything that went on. Time for a long nap.

Chicken Love

I can’t help it- I am here to admit it to the world.

I love chickens!

Yes. The live ones. And although I’m just beginning to tell the difference between a Banty  and a Rhode Island Red, they all have such hilarious personalities- I just can’t tear myself away from them whenever and wherever I encounter them.

I spent a couple of hours this past weekend over at historic Hanley Farms, outside of Medford, OR communing with my feathered friends and doing my best to capture some good reference shots for future artistic endeavors.

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I had gone out there for “Artist Day”, though it seemed to be “Artist ONLY Day” as far as I could tell. Only a tiny smattering of non-artists were sighted. Far more chickens were in attendance.

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There was live music, painters, jewelers, designers, quilters, plenty of critters…but no one to help support them.

Except the chickens.

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This guy had plenty to crow about with all the hullabaloo that was going on, not to mention that weird human crawling around on the ground staring at him.

I also encountered a gorgeous peacock.

P1000219Check out how long his tail is! Like five times the length of his actual body. Amazingly gorgeous.

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But alas, without a mate to show off for, he just hung out on the ground looking handsome for the rest of us.P1000221

These photos just don’t do him justice.

I also attempted to befriend a couple of…

P1000284donkeys? burros? I am obviously NOT a native farm girl. P1000292This one seemed eager for a pat- but I HAVE had experience with electric fences before, and I can tell you now- it is NOT an experience I want to relive. Yikes it’s stunning!

So we just had a little chat, and then it was back to my feathered friends in the coop.

P1000192 This young lady was attempting to stay cool by digging herself a hole to China, and then hopping in it. Pretty amazing to see really. I’ve never “known” a chicken before, but they sure do like to dig! I took a study shot of their feet, because they are way way stouter (is that a word?) than I ever realized. P1000226This is the largest of the Roosters- and he knew it too. He was very protective of his hens, leading them into and then back out of the coop several times as I attempted to get closer shots.P1000196P1000227P1000266

And then there was this one…he looked like I felt! Exhausted.

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Time for a nap, then off to home.

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I’m happy and excited to share with you my good friend Joe Dunbar’s Kickstarter project The Runway: A Fashion Documentary.

He’s been creating works of fashion for at least 25 years, as well as training the next generation of models – many of which have gone on to do work for Nike and model in L.A.

Joe created one of the gowns for Miss Oregon’s wardrobe for the Miss America Pagent two years ago, as well as doing many custom designs for brides, beauties, and their mothers.

His works range from Little Black Dresses to Costumes for theatre, dance, and play, as well as his gorgeous gowns for dress and bridal occasions.

I’ve helped him out here and there over the years with my mosaic tenacity by bead-dazzling many of his gowns, costumes, and masks – as well as by cheerleading his efforts and helping clean up before a show!

I hope you’ll check out his work and support his endeavors, as I will be doing with my “sweat equity”- helping to create masks for the runway show.

An update here- Joe is now fundraising over at indiegogo- please help him out with any small donation you can.

Flower Tyme is carrying my work

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Just sold these babies to the lovely ladies at Flower Tyme on the Ashland Plaza.

Flower Tyme is a full service florist plus LOTS of other cute gifts- jewelry, decor, cards, garden art, all nice quality and reasonably priced.

They are excited to be carrying some local artwork so I encourage you to check it out.

These plaques make great gifts! Mother’s Day is Sunday guys-don’t forget.

The Blue Door Garden Store

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This cute little garden shop just started carrying some of my ceramic plaques!

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They are located in the historic gold mining town of Jacksonville,OR in a builing I’m guessing must be around 130 years old. It’s tiny, but very cute and it has really quality products.

They sell fountains, garden art, tools, lanterns, furniture, and these sweet little miniature garden furnishings for making fun container gardens for inside too.

Plus there’s Zoe, the long haired dauschund who guards the door, greets the visitors, and generally makes me smile.

Stop by next time you’re in the area, going to a show at the Britt Festival, or taking in some of the local wineries and scenery.

And tell them I sent you and you’d like to see more of my work 😉