Address Plaque Workshop, Upcoming Shows, and Classes

A great time was had by all as we toiled away in the heat this July weekend just prior to the wildfire season start up. Although we had one emergency cancellation just before class began, we still had plenty of good energy to make this a great creative gathering. A few newbies joined in with some old hands (literally and figuratively) and we had a wonderful class overall. Some folks already had address plaques they liked at home, and so opted for “plain-ol'” mosaics.

HA! As if there’s such a thing!
Here are some pics of the process and the final outcome of some of the work. Plus BELOW, some info. about upcoming classes and shows!

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I have a beginners mosaic class coming up this October 1st and 2nd during the Contemporary Mosaic Art Summit in Ashland, OR at Southern Oregon University.

We’d love to see you there for the workshops, but don’t forget the lectures by international mosaic artists. There’s also an Invitational Exhibit at the Thorndike Gallery at SOU, where I will have the 2 pieces shown here for sale:imag.landscape.lgViewfrom9F.lg

and don’t forget the wonderful Mosaic Exhibit and Silent Auction at Belle Fiore Winery on Thursday Oct.1st from noon until 6pm. There will be so many wonderful smaller treasures as well as larger works for purchase- and it’s a ONE DAY ONLY event.  Here’s the piece I’ll have there for sale:

beneaththesurface.lgCome meet the artists, enjoy the views, buy a glass of wine to sip while picking out your favorite piece! I hope to see you there!

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Time for the Art for the Home & Garden Show and Sale!

Well a true spring has finally come to the Rogue Valley of Southern Oregon, and I have been working hard to create several new items of art for the Art for the Home & Garden  Show and Sale that I hope you will enjoy in addition to some tried and true favorites.

First, mosaic jewelry.

2014-03-31 14.16.17 2014-03-31 14.23.12 2014-03-31 14.21.54   Beautiful handcrafted tiny works of art to decorate your already awesome selves. I have selected beautifully crafted silver plated and solid copper bezels as my substrate, then I cut teenie tiny bits of glass, ceramic tile, semi precious stones and Italian millifiore and Mexican smalti to arrange artfully and tastefully within the bezel. After adhering these pieces and allowing them to dry, I grout them all in with a nice deep charcoal grout. Now they are ready to wear to impress your friends. I get noticed every time I wear mine! I have a large selection of one-of-a-kind pendants to choose from.

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Mosaic pendants by Miss Mosaic (red oval with hearts has been sold)

Next, I’m in the process of creating ceramic flowers to adorn your gardens.

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Ceramic and steel garden art flower BEFORE glaze has been added.

I start by rolling out and stamping wet clay, allowing it to get close to leather hard before cutting it into shapes sort of like making sugar cookies, but without the handy cutters (still need to make those). After they have dried for a few days, I bisque fire them then will coat them with glazes that capture the beautiful textures, and refire to a higher temp (2100F). Afterwards, they’ll be ready to stack into colorful flowers and place onto their “stems” of steel, with leaves welded onto them.

In addition, I made a large beautiful mosaic butterfly, suitable to hang indoors or out.

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Garden art butterfly by Miss Mosaic

These will brighten your garden or home no matter what the season!

I also have art for your home too!

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Mosaic birds for your home by Miss Mosaic

Cute little mosaic birds I created can decorate your walls to bring a little bit of nature inside and brighten up a room. These I made by cutting MDF board out in bird shapes I sketched out, then sanded and sealed with Kilz to keep out air moisture. Next I hand cut bits of glass tile and adhere to the base, grout them up, paint them again, and wha la! Happy little birds 🙂

If none of this has grabbed your fancy, I also have my ceramic plaques and beautiful sgraffito carved bowls (my favorite below) and possibly more fine art mosaics to liven up your home and bring a little handmade love into your lives.

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Sgraffito bowl by Miss Mosaic- side view

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Inside a sgraffito bowl by Miss Mosaic

I hope to see you at the sale in person- I will be doing my work shifts between 12:30 and 3pm on Friday and Saturday, so if you want to chat, that’s a guaranteed time to catch me, up at Mary Dee’s on Prim. I look forward to catching up with those of you I haven’t seen in a while, and visiting more with those I see more often.

The sale is easy to find- just take Wimer St. up to the top crest of the hill (off of N. Main St. in Ashland, OR). A map and flyer are here: AFGshow Come celebrate the wonderful creativity this valley has to offer right on your doorstep, support your local artists, and enjoy a wonderful day exploring!

If you can’t make it to the sale, please don’t hesitate to contact me here or by email at missmosaicgirl@yahoo.com for sales or commissions of my work! And share this with your friends to help support me! Thanks everyone!

“Daylight-saving-me” Time

daffodilsSpring has sprung!

I can hardly believe the daffodils are up and blooming, the almond and plum trees are blossoming and the pears are starting to bud. Ahh, Spring, how I’ve missed you!

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Though we’ve hardly had a winter, with little to no snow (we’re now preparing for a major drought this summer), I am always happy to see the sun returning to my life a little more everyday.

I suffer from SAD (seasonal affective disorder) which means in short, no sun no fun. I don’t function at normal capacity at best, I don’t function at all at worst. This year hasn’t been as overwhelming as some, but I do still struggle with trying to do anything useful when the clouds have rolled in… so though it’s spring, I still struggle. Just sayin’. It’s almost like someone waking me in the middle of the night and saying “okay-time to be productive now”.

It ain’t happnin’.

So if I seem less than cheery on a cloudy day, now you know why (or at least part of why). I don’t just love sun. I NEED sun. I cannot function at more than 50% without sun.

This is what keeps me from moving to Portland or the Bay Area, not enough sun! Before moving out here to Southern Oregon I consulted weather records and discovered Seattle has far more sunny days than my former home of St. Louis, in a year. What a shocker to me! And yet it explained so much about why I struggled so hard there. Southern Oregon is a much better environment for me, but really I still think I’d do better with a winter home in a sunnier local like Costa Rica or Santa Fe. In my dreams… So here I am. Trying to make the best of things while waiting for daylight savings to really kick in. Soon I can get on with my life and rev it up a notch.

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Body Health:

So, an update on the getting healthier front: I have been going to the gym between 5-6 days a week for the last 8 weeks. I do weight machines for 30-45 minutes, and 45 minutes of cardio every time. So about 1.5 hrs a day,  or an average of 7.5-9 hrs. a week. So far I have lost a whopping…. wait for it…

…1.6 pounds.

That’s like, maybe three apples. Geez…I mean I know my metabolism has slowed down, but WTF? If I keep this up I may get to my target of 30 pounds in 3 years figuring in that I’ll lose less each year and be able to do less… not very motivating.

But I’m going to keep going at least for the next 3 and half months, because I’ve paid for it and can’t stand wasting money. And I’m sure something good will come from it, I just wish it was a little more obvious and a little quicker.

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Vision:

One positive thing I am trying to do right now is work on creating a “vision” for myself and my life, a place of focus and purpose that keeps me on track and brings me back when I fall off the track. I’m reading a book (recommended to me) as a stepping off point, discussing and getting support with some artist friends, and working through some of my hurdles, one of the major ones being general wrong-headed thinking (see most of the above), the other being my bad relationship with money.

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Money:

I don’t know about you, but I have developed a deep sense of feeling I don’t deserve to have money, because somewhere along the way I was taught to believe that having money made you a bad person. Ungenerous, uncaring, unconnected to what really matters in the world- that’s what having money seems to mean to me. And having money means not having a job that makes you feel fulfilled, not having time to spend with friends, and not spending time doing what you love in general.

On some level that means I think people that do have money are bad people, though I KNOW this to be untrue. Some of my best friends have money, but I’ve never felt like I’m “on their level” as a result. They are good, caring, generous people, but I can’t seem to convince myself that we are equals. So that’s my work for the next while here, and maybe a long while, as it’s a deep seated belief that I desperately need to get rid of in order to move forward in my life.

As my old boss (an Italian grandmother) used to tell me, “it’s just as easy to fall in love with a rich man as it is to fall in love with a poor one”. Oh if only this were so for me! I am put off by men who make money but then expect to find stability and security with men who don’t?! Something is wrong with this equation! Any help in unsticking these screwed up perceptions is welcome. I am seriously going to have to undo my whole belief system to get past this, but it has to happen! It’s like being reverse prejudiced. So ignorant.

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Time:

I am also working on my focus and vision by setting simple goals for myself. Just by creating a calendar of “work tasks” for myself in advance (I’ve laid out the next 4 months) has significantly helped keep me on a positive trajectory.

Knowing what task I’m working on for any given day takes the pressure off somehow. I don’t have to create a new plan every morning. I just get up, look at the calendar, and get going. Amazing how simple yet how effective this is for a self-employed person. It’s so easy to get off track or flop around in the unknowing.

Now I go to bed every night feeling like I’ve accomplished something, and knowing I’m “earning my keep” somehow. Even writing blog posts is now part of my schedule. Once a month, whether I have a plan for one or not, I will be coming at you with a new post, a new musing, a new update on the state of the arts in my neck of the woods.

I hope you’ll stick with me and give me some feedback. I often feel like I’m just doing this alone, yet I know we are all struggling to keep it together and it’s good to acknowledge that and keep encouraging each other in our journeys.

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Positive forward motion:

For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to get back to my wheel work and creating new bowls and such. I had to relearn how to throw- even struggling to center a piece of clay. It’s amazing how I can manage to “forget” how to do something I did less than 3 months ago. I mean, I must be the only person I know who actually forgot how to ride a bike, who forgot how to swim, and regularly forgets what I just did a few months ago. I think there’s a disconnect of synapses in my brain. How else to account for this weird behavioral defect? But it’s finally starting to feel better again, it’s just frustrating to have to constantly have to relearn.

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New fun stuff:

I am also working on a newer endeavor in mosaics, wearable art! I bought two bezels as an experiment and sold them both in a week, so I decided there must be a market for these tiny works. They’re fun to do, low pressure, and a nice break from some of the larger more time consuming tasks I often get involved with. Keep your eyes peeled for some of these in the next two weeks!

And I will be traveling to Davis, California in early April for my first Community Built Association conference! I think this will be a great way to meet some like minded folks doing what I love to do and learn some new skills to bring home and put into action. I’ve always loved public art and the way it can affect our communities not just in their existence, but in their creation. I hope to contribute some more in the future and also get paid while doing it!

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Upcoming workshop:

I’m also teaching another class over at the Ashland Art Center on Mosaic Cutting and Laying Techniques. April 19th from 10-3 with an hour for lunch. More information and registration at this link: Ashland Art Center.

Hope to see you all out and about this Spring (once it stops raining!) Keep in touch!

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

Clayfolk is coming!

Well it’s that time of the year again- The 38th Annual Clayfolk Show and Sale is on the horizon. I’ve been spending days and nights non-stop creating new work for this year’s show so I hope to see a lot of folks there.

The platters I wrote about in my last post came out beautifully and I’m excited to get them out in the public view.

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The last batch of small bowls also came out great. I hope folks like these as much as I do!

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I’m getting some professional photos taken this week and looking forward to seeing what she does to make these look more appealing. I’ve never been the greatest photographer which seems ironic, but I guess we all have our weak spots!

In addition to prepping for Clayfolk, I was busy making and wearing my best Halloween costume to date- and it was all free! Gotta love that 🙂 I went as Sacajawea- Lewis and Clark’s guide to the west. She had a newborn infant strapped in her papoose the whole journey! What an amazing strong woman she had to have been to deal with all those white guys and a little baby to boot. Anyway, here’s the costume:

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Yep- that’s Raggedy Ann standing in for the infant! And my friend Sara hanging onto my boat for dear life! It was a fun party- and dancing in a boat is way fun. Really rockin’.

I also made some new “furniture” for my booth yesterday- plate holders from scratch. I got bamboo off-cuts from a friend and purchased dowel rods that I cut and sanded, and borrowed a drill press from another friend to make all the evenly deep holes for them. Only took an hour or so- and they turned out perfectly. I love when stuff works the way you want it to! I’m also creating a pedestal out of cardboard and putting a wooden top on it for sculptural pieces. I never seem to have enough surfaces for all the work I want to show!SAMSUNG

 

In addition, I created 8 “busts” to display scarves for our next show over at Talent City Hall, “Celebrating Textiles and Fashion”. We have 14 artists displaying their works for the next 2 months. Our first invitational show, and a really nice spectrum of types of work too. Hope some of you get to see it! It will be opening Nov. 13th and run through Jan. 10th 2014. 

Well- back to it. Just wanted to let you know I’m still out here working away! Hope to see you soon- or just keep checking in to see what’s next on my agenda.

I’ll be creating another crazy cake for the “It’s a Wonderful Life” party in December, as well as creating a new custom mirror project and possibly a new mosaic for the Upper 5 Vineyards here in Talent- a wonderful biodynamic vintner. Stay tuned.

Paul’s mosaic panels are completed

After I created this exterior mosaic mirror to coordinate with my client’s new interior furnishings, he was so pleased he commissioned two more pieces for the entry walkway to his home.

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Paul’s mosaic mirror created in January 2013.

He lives in a beautiful complex on the shore of the bay in Tampa, Florida and has a walkway bridge that leads to his screened in porch and front door. The mirror hangs on his  porch.

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I created two panels that played off of his mosaic mirror design, as well as bringing in some new textures.

These panels were a combination of the original mirror, and the address plaque I made for my friend Penelope earlier this year, in my post “Penelope’s Plaque”.

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Address plaque created for Penelope in early 2013.

The client liked Penelope’s panel and wanted something similar, but in the same palette as his mirror and the colors from his home.

Here’s what we decided to do- one panel with 2 circles (12″ x 24″), and one panel with 3 circles (12″ x 36″). He left the rest up to me and here are the results:

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Paul’s 2 circle panel.

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Paul’s 3 circle panel.

These pieces include stained glass, handmade and commercial ceramic tile, mirror, commercial vitreous mosaic tiles, iridescent tiles, glass beads, millifiori, and Italian smalti left over from the Hannon Library mosaic installed in Ashland, Oregon in 2005.

I tied these panels to the mirror by making the background the same, as well as carrying over the color schemes. I feel they were pretty successful and also fun to make.

I find abstracts much more relaxing to create than realistic work. My mind is focused on the basics and not on “does it look like ___?” or not. I can allow myself to let go and play more. I have a feeling I’ll be going more in this direction in the future.

Anyhow, I’m shipping these panels out tomorrow and I look forward to seeing the photos once they’re installed on the pillars. Let me know what you think, feel, etc. about this work or anything else on my blog.

Making ceramic plaques

I finally finished Pete and Carol’s tiles last week and they picked them up Tuesday (yeah!).

Now it’s time to make some work for the June “Art for the Garden and Home” show.

Save the dates- June 7-9th up at the top of Wimer St. in Ashland, OR. 
447 Pape St. And 421 Prim St. Both just off Wimer. There will be tons of signs!

Times are from 10-5 Friday and Saturday, and 10-3 on Sunday.

Mary Dee’s garden is also on the Ashland Garden Tour-so plan ahead Sunday so you have time to see both the art and the plants.

I’m beginning this week by making my ceramic plaques.

I roll out my clay the ol’ fashioned way with a big rolling pin, just like making biscuits!
Next, I roll handmade stamps across the slabs to create texture

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After the clay sets up for half a day or so, I cut it into the basic sizes I’ll use for the individual plaques.

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Then I wait several more hours, or overnight to add carved details like wording, or individual designs.

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Once the tiles are completely dry, they get their first firing, or bisque (1830°F).
It takes about 12 hours for the kiln to come up to temperature, and 12 hours to cool.

After that, I either glaze them using handpainting of glazes or underglazes for color-and spray with a clear glaze if needed.
Then a high firing up to cone 5 (2185°F) for another 12 hours.

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After the tiles have cooled for about 12 hours, I can touch them without burning myself.

I add hanging wires and beads to some, others have built in wires on the backs. And little felt dots so your wall won’t scratch!

And that’s why it takes so long to make these little guys and why they aren’t $2 each! Lots of love and attention is taken with each piece, and no two are exactly the same.

I also make these to order-so keep me in mind for addresses, special messages, new homes, etc. But give me at least two weeks to a month to get it done!

Here’s the address tile I made for my house.

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I can do most any color, but I can’t really color match-as that’s a crazy process I prefer not to get too into if possible. But try me 😉

This is just one of the ways I make these tiles.

I’ll save the other subtractive  method for a future post.

Hope you enjoyed your mini tutorial!