What do you think … In or Out
… and I quote ~Sitting up with weight on bottom, forelegs stretched, ears up and looking alert – the “classic” rabbit pose
Your rabbit is looking around to see what’s going on, usually thinking about what to do next and is often a prelude to grooming. It may be rocking slightly due to its weight being balanced on its four feet close together –
Sitting up on hind legs with ears up and nose pointed up
Wild rabbits do this just to get a better view and have a look around for possible danger. Domestic rabbits are more likely to be requesting food that you are holding or trying to get your attention.
Sitting with weight on bottom, washing face with front feet, pulling ears down to lick them, twisting around to groom back and sides
No prizes for this one – your rabbit is grooming itself – Ear positions
If a rabbit points its ears forward it is curious about something. If it puts them straight up it is alarmed and trying to listen better. If it folds them flat on its back it is frightened and trying to make itself inconspicuous.
Inspiration 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. 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.The 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
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.and Monkey came to me
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?
~ as Playfully as you can ~
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.There are lots of backing and forthing going on here, I don’t know even the half of it ~
The Elephants are traveling, single file, right into a soft cushioned box bound for SaltSpring Island BC
after much wandering, they will be happy to be found and taken to a loving home.
They all know they will be admired
There is magic to be discovered with these beings
~ light and shadows, candlelight and flowers ~
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
Some are peaceful
(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?)
They 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.
‘I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, I’ve seen sunny days I thought would never end” …..
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.
Maybe 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
as I mentioned, it’s been raining ….. lots
I spent a long time painting each surface made up of 25 tiny cubes
taking great care with each cube, I even posponed my firing a whole day so I would not feel rushed to start firing so late in the day that I’d be up all night keeping one eye open on the kiln.
It’s a story made up of 25 cubes, 6 sides. You have to rotate 5 cubes in a row at a time to find the story. It’s a puzzle. It has particular beginning or end. I’ve posted just 2 of the 6 panels of the story here. I got so involved painting, I forgot to photograph what I had done. Photographs are the Answers to each side, so I’m cooked if I drop it, I’d have to sit down and solve each side like anyone else.
When I finally finished painting each side, as planned, I loaded the kiln the next day being careful, taking my time and double checking that everything to be fired was in. I placed my little kiln dog on top and started it up and it wasn’t until hours later when I went to turn it up on high that I realized that I had forgotten to put this little puzzle in!
Nothing to do but let my anticipation go …
Now I will have to wait till next month to see how this comes out …..
It’s a lesson on patience
I made this rabbit a while ago, using a chocolaty red clay and finishing it with an interesting white glaze that makes a cracking texture. This rabbit has a face only a mother could love … but so many people fell in love with this little guy at the Knit City 2014 knitting event. My daughter, Amanda Kaffka (check out her design in Vogue Knitting Holiday Issue) and I shared a booth there and since her Etsy shop is The Crafty Jackalope, she urged me to bring my rabbits. We both love all things Rabbit.
I could especially feel the love coming from one particular woman who as it turns out, has rabbits as housemates. She sent me photos of her rabbits and I tell you, they took my breath away, I actually gasped at the site of them! They are sisters.
Now come on! Tell me that they are not the perfect epitome of Rabbit! Those feet and those ears just send me around the bend! They are artful creatures, even the 16th century painter, Albrecht Dürer, thought so. Her rabbits beg to be painted! I will be sculpting them.
The lucky soul who gets to live with these creatures is Amy Singer, she had the same response to my rabbit as I did to hers. Any Singer is the editor creator of Knitty. Knitty is the largest, longest-running free knitting magazine on the internet! That is why she was at the big Vancouver Knitting event, she was looking with a knitting eye, not expecting to see my big clay rabbit lovingly looking back at her.
I love surprise connections!
(all photos by Amy Singer)
First I saw a coyote as I headed down to the water
I appreciate them now …..
After such a long ride, I treated myself to a yummy coffee ice cream and watched the boats come and go. A sea gull came swooping down and stole someone’s sandwich right out of her hand near by, I know what that feels like!Fresh peaches ready to go to market
This old twisted log has many memories, I see a whale’s eye … it looks sad
He will have this to remember all week
I was showing a friend a new piece, a Life Boat. She asked me if those were people …..
one never knows with me …
I do that for a reason.
I am talking in Body Language
This is how a Gathering Bowl begins ~ Owl always comes first, the owl is the knower, the one who grounds the others. Then the conversation begins.
A mouse starts up a bit of a nervous conversation with owl. “Ya know I’ve been thinking, maybe I’m not so tasty after all.” The owl just listens, but the owl is Listening, so that’s a start, a new beginning.
Another owl flies in to add an opinion. “What! are you crazy! That mouse looks delicious, we can’t stop what we’ve been doing for, for… For ever!” “Well let’s think about this” says the first owl. Mouse is looking nervously at this new developement, mouse doesn’t like the second owl enthusiasm. He has a point … The mouse, I mean.
“What are those 3 talking about over there?” Fox muses to himself. Fox could catch them all in a second, he knows, but Fox is too interested in their apparently urgent discussion…. He finds it rather interesting and even a little amusing that they are talking to each other. He will listen for a while.
More join the conversation and the great thing is … is that they are All taking. They have all stopped going about their everyday business of surviving and are exchanging ideas, listening, and speaking with one another.
This is how it goes in my head as I build my Gathering Bowls. Everyone one has something to say to each other and everyone listens. It grows and grows and becomes a grand conversation. And I like to imagine …. towards a new paradigm.
We have a lot to learn from them.
This piece is off to a new home!
It had been part of a show I had at Placewares in Gualala, California, right on the west coast. [the ‘Gu’ in Gualala is pronounced like “Wa’ not ‘Gu’ like in guacamole] My dear friends and owners of the most Amazing Shop/Gallery Placewares are two of the most creative people I know. They Inspire me.
Long time designers (DR in Cambridge, Mass in ’70’s etc) and innovators, inventors, artists, taste makers and partners, Maynard and Lu have kindly carried and shown my work. Check out their about page and follow some of their links, I assure you, you will be Most interested in these 2! Maynard makes these wonderful visually clever, complex and warm hearted “Looking Boxes“.
StoryBook is part of an on going series I have been working on called Elegant Turns. This piece is made up of 5 movable sections, each part has 3 different images so when you turn them (and yes, you can) you get different combinations that make up one image*. I never had one set story in mind when I made this piece but stories kept coming up, flooding me with imagery and that guided this piece.
Now StoryBook is off to make new ever changing stories. But the stories it collected during it’s stay at Placewares will part of it be forever.
* Elegant Corpse:
It is simply one drawing, usually of a person or animal, drawn by 3 different people. Onto a piece of paper folded three times, each person draws a head on the first 1/3 of the paper and folds it back and under leaving marks where the torso should begin on the second fold. This done, each person then passes their hidden ‘heads’ to their neighbor. Then everyone draws the torso leaving marks for the legs in the last 1/3 of the paper. This is then it is passed around again and everyone draws the legs and feet. What results is a usually very amusing and somewhat curious character containing the talents of three different wits. I have transformed this 2 Dimensional matrix into a 3 Dimensional form which enable the combinations to increase geometrically.
I’ve had a great week at the studio. I got into a good rhythm and stride and the ideas flowed. I tried to keep balance by doing some yard work and it seemed the ants had it in for me this visit so I was busy, as the pest control guy says, de-populating them. I felt territorial and remorse at the same time. Hopefully they will move out to the great outdoors …. But ants are a whole other blog, I have an interesting theory about ants.
On the 5th day of my stay I was ready for my 1st firing. A bisque firing which prepares the pieces for the glaze firing. I loaded 3 shelves with all sorts of work.
The first shelf, the bottom shelf.
The firing goes well and the next day after glazing everybody, I did pack the kiln better this time. It was packed to the gills. I had to be extra careful to keep them all separate enough so they wouldn’t glaze together and stick. The firing went well, cause for thanks every time, and as I carefully unpacked all but the elephants, I am left with this. I had staggered them in between the bowls.
2 of the elephants trunks must have moved (dare I say danced?) around slightly in that white hot heat and fused together, touching in the most beautiful way! I picked them up carefully thinking that I must intentionally make some this way next time. As I was examining them, their fragile touch unlocked and they were separate again. Too bad I thought … Their connection was lost, they were two elephants again, not one.
~ Their bond might be lost lost …. But not the idea ~
now these are weird …
not for the faint of heart or squeemish…
these are Creepy Cool so hang on to your hats
Here we go
now don’t fret because I made them myself
from porcelain clay, I’m a potter, remember?
They are knitting stitch markers, you can use them to mark where you are in your knitting pattern, they make knitting easy and enjoyable because they tell you when you need to change your pattern, they are kind of like being on cruise control … in knitting
and these are …
one could even use them as a Brooch, which someone I know does
I’m selling these in my Etsy shop (my shameless plug) and they come in this cool tin box
Wisdom Tooth is the one with the gold Tooth
Sweet Tooth are, well, 6 sweet teeth!
~ Sometimes you gotta just stir things up a bit ~
I have always loved Salamanders.
When I was young I spent hours turning over rocks to see if I could find a salamander living under it. Often I did find one, usually a Red Salamander.
There was no end to my delight in them.
I would carefully pick it up and hold it very gently cupped in my two hands and peek into the dark to look at it up close. It smelled like the earth when it rains and it had a silence about it, maybe that was just fear though. I loved it’s cool dark red colour, it’s damp shine and it’s miniature articulate body. It’s tiny hands and feet felt so cool and clammy on my palms.
Salamanders simply intrigued me.
What were they? They were certainly not a worm or a snake or a fish or ant but they landed somewhere between all those creatures. Maybe that’s what drew me to them, they were so ambidextrous in their very being. They couldn’t be pinned down as a ‘this’ or a ‘that’ and
that gave them a certain kind of freedom.
That’s where I left off … and then I grew up and forgot about them. I moved far away from where that particular salamander lives.
One day when my daughter was a teenager, we were in the country working outside when I spotted a salamander! Oh how lovely! I remember you! I was so happy to show my daughter these amazing creatures I had loved! But something was terribly wrong with this little salamander. It wasn’t hiding under a rock, it was out in the open in plain sight, and it was a bit too dry, all very dangerous. A robin or crow would easily find it and eat it. As I slowly reached for it, it easily let me pick it up, again very unusual. I noticed something on its eye lid too. It was a tick! Imagine! A tiny tic on this little salamander, poor thing! My daughter ran inside it get some tweezers and I held this little fellow all the while talking to it explaining to it how we could help. It just sat there in silence in my hand. Tweezers in hand I gently got a hold of that tic and unwound it until it until it unlatched from of the salamander’s eye lid. Voila! The operation was a success! That salamander, relieved of its blood sucking burden livened right up and was ready to carry on with it’s salamander business. We gave it a frew drops of water which it drank and then let it go near a dark damp group of rocks and watched it scurry off. Amazing! It actually seemed like it knew we could help it.
and in 20 years I have never seen another salamander since!
So I made some
and then I made some Yarn Bowls
Start with a bit of fine white mud
Make a tear drop then ever so gently coax out the tip until it becomes an elephant trunk. They are very forgiving …. but you still have to be gentle
Roll out some legs so they can walk around, being careful to remember their toes, then give it the ability to hear and express. Oh yes, don’t forget their tail, it’s more important than you might think.
Then let it walk around.
If you’ve done it right, it will and before you know it, other elephants will join in, they are very social creatures. They will immediately recognize each other and begin to carry on
as elephants do ….
I went down stairs to my studio to close it up for the night when I spotted a little scurrying movement in my periphery vision, I couldn’t be sure so I stopped and waited and listened …. Sure enough! There they were, 1, 2. 3 … Four of them!
and one of them looking especially guilty ~
These are 2 pieces from my series ‘Life Boats’ were in a group show down at the Pendulum Gallery. It was their premiere showing.
I have been working on this series for almost 3 years now, making 3-4 Life Boats a year. The concept has been growing and morphing. It feels like it might be time for us to be building Life Boats at the same time we are trying to save our planet.. These are not hopeless pieces, they are the coming together of inter species minds and hearts, they are acknowledging the fact that we are all connected and share one home planet, they beg the question; who are we waiting for to help us?