Porcelain Octopus 1I keep making Octopuses, I just can’t help it.
I go to make an elephant and the trunk makes me think
I would like to be making an Octopus right now. Then the poor elephant has heard my thoughts … well, is my thoughts, and the trunk comes out a bit too long and octopus-like.
well … they are kind of similar ..
Porcelain Octopus 3this one came out of the kiln with an arm pointing to it’s eye like a gangster would do.
“I’m watching You!”
Of course getting the “eye” might not be to me, it could be to
some shenanigans going on in the heat of the kiln.
“I’m watching You!”
Mermaid and Octopuslike in the Mermaid and the Octopus moment. When I made them, their hands were a breath away from touching, then as they dried, Octopus kept raising her arm higher, and who knows where those arms went while in the kiln, but this is how they finished.
Coming down for another touch , moving away or somewhere in between?
I’ll never know
Octopus4this is what I love about all this, its unpredictably.






Octopus Love

I got the octopus love bad. I see them every where. I can feel them. I even feel my arms and legs fluidly spiraling when I practice tai chi. Strong and so soft…. at least I aim for that. 

I made this last night. The mermaid’s hands were tantalizing close to touching the octopus’s arm but as it was drying their touch moved from almost to not quite. I know when they are red hot in the kiln they will finally decide how to connect…. or not. It will be out of my hands. 

and I like that. 

I like that when I set up  a connection in one of my bowls, the drying and firing process has the final say. Once two porcelain elephants placed together in the kiln found each other’s trunks and they spiraled around in the red heat. As they cooled they became inseparable. 

I wonder why this little bumble bes saw fit to land here? Seems a lot of serendipity goes on when I make elephants. Who would have thought a bumble bee would feel so safe among a herd of elephants? It stayed for quite a while. 

But back to seeing octopuses everywhere… I’ll fire these next week. I imagine that their arms will wave and dance all around in the kiln and come out different. Their arms are out of my hands. And stay tuned for the surprise ending of the love story between the mermaid and octopus….

These are not octopuses. They are images of our brain neurons! Maybe octopuses are the brain neurons of the sea…. Octopuses are so Mind blowing!

show & tell some

Here are a few pieces that have gone to good homes this week ~ 

A Menorah specially made for a wedding gift.  

And a pitcher. All porcelain, which I still love working with …  And today I had the idea to make Octopus Imaginaries. I am so into them these days. Here’s a look at more of my opcopus explorations so far.  

Yarn bowls, because I love to knit too. 

Here I go …

Into the land of Octopus. I just stopped into the bookstore for a quick look when this title caught my eye. No, it was bigger than that. It grabbed me and jumbled me until I decided that I needed to take this home with me. 

I somehow knew the Octopus and I had things to talk about. I went back to the studio and had an Octopus on a little bowl before lunch time. 
And today they have found their way up onto my porcelain yarn bowls. I am struck by their impossible grace. I don’t think I could even make an awkward octopus. Their tenicles just seem to flow as if they are in the water where they really belong. 

They are so flexible they can slip through a tiny hole yet have a terrorizing and easy strength. Tai chi in water. Ah yes. See? Octopus is already teaching me new things. I just know we will become good friends. And I haven’t even started to read thie book yet. 

The Year of Monkey

Monkeys 2Inspiration can come from anywhere and sometimes it’s just a matter of saying Yes. I have made Elephants because of my 2 friends’ love of them, powerful enough to create a touring storytelling show about them called Hidden Elephant, and I have made Imaginaries because of my love of creating a lovable figure without convention. But I hadn’t imagined Monkeys. They were requested in celebration of this Year of the Monkey.
So I got to work. It took a while to find Monkey in my fingers and in my my clay. Monkey-a    Years ago I read the classic Chinese story of Dear Monkey, a story about the mischievous monkey king given the task of guarding the immortal Peach Orchard, he caused a great upset with the Immortals of course and had many other astonishing adventures. It’s a fantastic read.
One can not see a monkey the same way again after that book.Monkey-bThe Yang style Tai Chi Sword form has the most beautiful titles for each position ~
The wild horse jumps the ravine
Follow the currant, push the boat
Black dragon twists around the column and

White Ape Presents Fruit

performed by master Yang Jun, nephew of Yang Zhen Duo(son of Yang Cheng Fu)

performed by master Yang Jun, nephew of Yang Zhen Duo(son of Yang Cheng Fu)

I know what it feels like to be that white ape presenting fruit, it’s a simple and straight forward move in its earthly complexity. I always imagine presenting a peach, probably because of the story, and I learned that the Peach symbolizes Immortality. I see this Monkey in my mind as I play the sword.
So I drew on what I understood.3 Monkeys1and Monkey came to me

iLuminaries ~

last Friday I spent all day making iLuminaries, keepers of light.  

I have become fascinated with the translucence and elasticity of a special kind of porcelain. It is a pure, warm, alive white. And when lit with a candle inside they turn golden. 

As usual I discovered these while just playing around with an idea. I am reading, with a wonder and fascination I cannot explain, Edmond De Waal’s new book on porcelain called The White Road. He writes of his quiet yet passionate journey into the long history of porcelain. White Gold. He talks of it’s qualities of translucence and openess and its ability to maintain its strength when stretched out to its thinnest limits, there, light can pour in and out. I know … this sounds like a life lesson ~  

… and who doesn’t need a little Light when the sun goes down ~ 

What do you do?

What do you do when you find yourself living on a rare jewel of a giving yet struggling planet out in the Universe and you realize that we are all together … alone?

LB 3 portageyou build Life Boats.

You pack your essential supplies
Connection – Communication – Compassion LB walking with dog detail 2

and then you
Celebrate and
Circle around Listening and LearningLB 3 portage detail2

~ as Playfully as you can ~

Elephant bonding

I was photographing these two elephants for my sister. She was to choose one or the other for a gift to her dear friend who loves elephants and finds herself in need of a little heart-lifting elephant power right now. IMG_1487Will she choose the big one or the little one?
I turn them around and around so she can better see.
IMG_1488they pose themselves just right … choose me! choose me!
IMG_1489I can see they are getting a little distracted by flower garden
(they don’t get out much before they find a new home)
IMG_1490by the end of this photo session I can see that these two have totally bonded and there is no way I am going to separate them. I have decided they will go together … and if I don’t put down my camera right now, they will just simply wonder off by themselves
as we all know elephants will do

Slowly Drying

I have left this new Life Boat at my studio to dry at a snails pace for a few weeks. A large porcelain piece like this tend to encourage tiny cracks here and there so I put Time in charge to be on the look out for any signs of danger.IMG_1411There are lots of backing and forthing going on here, I don’t know even the half of it ~

New Life Boat

  This one has 3 portague figures carrying a life-canoe.  

   Yes, those are cowboy boots. There’s a story here.  
 I always start with an owl at the helm and it goes on from there. 

~ to be continued ~

Elephants on the move

IMG_1240The Elephants are traveling, single file, right into a soft cushioned box bound for SaltSpring Island BC
IMG_1242after much wandering, they will be happy to be found and taken to a loving home.
They all know they will be admired
IMG_1237There is magic to be discovered with these beings

~ light and shadows, candlelight and flowers ~

Talking Clay Show

I have a little show at Circle Craft down on Granville Island in Vancouver this month
here is a little peakIMG_1199IMG_1195            IMG_1196
IMG_0752 a real softie under that tough exterior
IMG_0767IMG_0788IMG_1181 IMG_1188

The Spinster!

I conjured up the Spinster years ago. She helped me find my own way…. Of course I had to make it a creative and whimsical journey. So here she is ~ The Spinster ~ She Flies She Fights She knows her Rights! 

©1982 Nancy Walker (All rights reserved)


more funnies

I’ve been going through my old files, so old, they are PAPER! So much paper of bits and pieces and OH! How and Why did I collect so much!? It’s kind of amazing and humbling at the same time. I have recycled MOUNTAINS of paper …. and it feels … GREAT!

I saved these for you

A little green jewel

 I found this little one hiding under a board way up high on the freshly swept deck. A bright green spot in an impossible place. Once safely in a jar I carried this little frog out to the rock garden and opened the top. “You’re safe now, you can go out to your world.”  She climbed to the rim and just stayed there. Her heart was pulsing so rapidly, maybe from the fright of this adventure. I waited and waited for her to leap off to freedom but she just sat there and so we waited together.  M  Until finally, she leaped out into the green.  And now it’s a hide and seek game. Can you see her?

Inside Out

IMG_0618I’m thinking that this specimen is going to be 2 dresses in one. See how Great this looks Inside out?! If I am feeling especially creative and funky, I can just wear it Inside Out and if I happen to slip it on the ‘wrong’ way one sleepy morning, no matter, what the heck!IMG_0619In one of Josh Bennett’s knitting classs at my first Vogue Knit Live conference, he talked about a sweater he designed with a beautiful fair isle collar knitted inside out … intentionally! Being the sort to like that kind of knitting blasphemy, I took to that idea …
Ya! Why Not I say!
IMG_0616This is not to say that the Front side is absolutely Glorious!
I will be wearing it the ‘correct’ way a lot I imagine
Knitting slows me down in a good way … so I say ~

Slow Down and Knit
Look at things Inside Out


I’ve  been busy in my clay studio making Imaginaries. They are little fine porcelain creatures that come right out from my imagination straight into being

Some are always ready to catch a ball or
ready to run and greet you at the door after your long day
img_0514Some are peaceful
img_0493(that little guy in the background is one of those always ready to chase a bird or is he just watching some one climbing a tree?)
img_0506They are little Connectors.
Each one has a story to tell. I quietly listen and search as they take shape and form through my fingers and understandings. They don’t leave my hands until I feel a connection with them, until I have found their story. This interaction assures the possibility of someone else making a connection and hearing a story too, of their own making.
That’s the plan anyway.

It might even be a small story like this one ~
“and … I’m just wondering if you you might perchance have a yummy delicious little sweet for me in your pocket? I do so love persimmons.”  
See what I mean? They are always chatting me up.

Happy Spring

It is Spring
Garden GoddessSpring is Here
Garden Goddess-

It is the hour of the Garden Goddess

and to all those back East who cannot see Spring coming, we in the West say
it will arrive before you know it

Three Stops for Enchantment

So, I am driving along looking for a 2 hour free parking spot down town. This requires a lot of quick focus if you are alone. But something caught my eye.
Do I continue on with my parking drama? or do I stop for a better look?
I stop
IMG_0148because I need a closer look at this.
IMG_0147Clearly it is a fairy house, you can see her resting over to the left near her fire truck and her silver car. See her pink wings? Such a tidy little home she has.
*   *   *
So, I am walking along my sometimes usual path to shop for supper when I notice this ~
IMG_0149I’ve seen this tree trunk many many times, but this time I saw it … upside down
IMG_0149-and I could see exactly what was missing
IMG_0176*  *  *
So, I am walking along a city block looking at all the amazing magnolia blossoms that are  getting really serious about the coming Spring
and I wonder
IMG_0179will this bird be back?


I now have a name for these little thoughts in clay. I have a show coming up in July and I want to make many many many of these.

I notice that they all seem to be asking a question ~

ok, this one is just flirting
IMG_0033and these 2 are just old friends having a moment together

Bits & Bites

Every had a scattered week? Well that was me this week, lots going on. And it is wet here in Vancouver. We don’t have to shovel but the endless grey takes it’s own toll.
IMG_9974Maybe some one just HAD it with their kids playing inside for days on end … I hate to think
… this was by the trash bin in the alley
IMG_9973as I mentioned, it’s been raining ….. lots

spotted by Bettina Matzkuhn on her bike ride home

spotted by Bettina Matzkuhn on her bike ride home

but work I must, I am going to make some more of these guys, They will focus me
IMG_9978 IMG_9977