I took these plant impressions to the Chicago Botanic Garden art fare. Ten each of the creme and blue background colored impressions sold, compared to only six of the green background colored tiles. Hmmmm, greens are not as popular. Sold a variety of other tiles also, including a bunch of my Alaskan themed designs. Delivered a twelve-inch tile to this collector after the show and was blown away by her 500 tiles, all hung and arrayed on various walls.
Well, sales were enough to cover the costs, but what matters more is that I got to visit my aunt and cousins, and one of my sweetheart’s friends from her fish cannery days. She took us to the beaches on Lake Michigan and they were packed during the July 4th weekend…we just don’t see people in swim suits that often in Alaska.
So, I’ll be selling tiles at the Alaska Native Heritage Center, the Anchorage Museum, and the weekend market the rest of the summer, except for when I go down to the Indian Art Market in Santa Fe this August. It’s busy.
Four four-inch tiles. The ravens are done with a two part glaze process where I apply a strontium carbonate based glaze underneath one of my usual glazes. It gives the top glaze a reduction fired look, or a variegated matte/semimatte surface. The flower has a single glaze but it was underfired to give it a matte surface and is not as variegated as the double application. The double glaze process takes more time so the tiles are priced at $40 whereas the single glaze process is $35 per tile.
The tile business is always slow at the beginning of the year and then gets unbelievably busy by about mid June. I participated in a local show here in Anchorage last weekend but didn’t sell a single tile. My main customer is the visitor to Alaska that is looking for something made by an Alaskan Native, with local materials, and with traditional themes, motifs, and stories. And they don’t show up until after break-up (When the snow piles finally melt away). I should be thankful that I have a niche.
Went to the Denver March Powwow to sell art tiles the end of last month. The economy is still soft and I didn’t sell enough to cover all the expenses, but I did get to see my Dad, brother, and sister. They still live there, and three of my other siblings and I have moved back to and now live in Alaska. I have never seen so many dancers and drum groups. There were a lot of vendors. My favorite were the Navajo rug weavers, wish I could afford one of their hand woven rugs.
Scooted over to San Francisco to attend the Southern Graphics Print conference. I have a Bachelor of Arts in Printmaking, so it was a professional thing. It sure is nice to go to the demos and workshops. And you couldn’t ask for a nicer city to have it in. I love cities where you can walk around.
The plant impressions did ok. I know they will do really well in Chicago when I go to an arts and crafts show at the Chicago Botanic Garden in July.
While in Denver, I took a road trip to visit the Van Briggle Tile company and learned that it had gone out of business do to the recession. It was sold last year but the buyer isn’t producing tile. The picture is of their original factory that had the kilns built right into the building. Bummer. It would have been my third visit to the factory. My first time was when it was in a horseshoe shaped building that had been a train switch building. You could walk through and see the various stages of tile making. The second trip was four years ago when they had moved in a smaller space. I should have suspected times were tough because everything was covered in dust.
Fired off another load of plant impressions. Made several of the fireweed flower impressions since a lot of people love them and they are all over in Alaska.
Started selling art tiles at the ANHC, Alaska Native Heritage Center, again last week and this week. ANHC had a Monday work shop on how to process salmon skin for baskets and rain coats. It was so cool but the parts thrown away were stinking up the place near the dumpsters yesterday and today. The lady next to me had some mammoth ivory jewelry. How often does one see mammoth ivory jewelry?
It has gotten into the 80’s several times this summer in Anchorage. I’ve lived in Anchorage since 1980 and I can’t remember it ever getting into the 80’s. Heck, we are lucky if it gets into the 60’s, which for some summers is rare. But there you have it, by my count, we have had six 80 degree days. I just may be able to plant that ginkgo tree that I’ve been dreaming about.
Thess two 4″x 6″ fireweed plant impressions were made for the Seattle tile show held on November 3. I made a lot of plant and flower impressions given that the event theme was plant related, but more of my figurative designs sold than plant impressions. Sales were much better than last year. I experimented with applying glaze up to the edge of the plant and leaving the flower and leaves bare.
We stayed at my girlfriend’s sister’s place about 3-4 miles away from the UW campus. The trees still had leaves, not like here in Anchorage where every tree is bare now, and the colors were awesome. Went to the King Tut exhibit near the space needle, and that was cool. I had seen the original solid gold coffin in Egypt when I was a youngster travelling with my Dad who developed water resources wherever water was needed.
Since I mentioned my Dad, we are going to do the Camino De Santiago next April. It is a 500 mile hike across northern Spain, a route pilgrims have followed for about 1200 years. He is 82 years old but still in great shape. We hiked 26 miles on the Crow Creek Pass trail near Anchorage, through the mountains and next to a glacier when he as 79, and I could barely keep up with him.
4″ x 4″ x 3/8″ red tipped maple leaf and seed pod. Cook Inlet glacial clay, slip, mason stains, cone 6 oxidation, high calcium clear glaze.
I collect the leaves at the off-leash dog park or the grounds at the University of Alaska Anchorage. The leaf is placed on a textured matte board with a firmed, slipped, slab of the local clay placed over the leaf and matte board. The sandwich is run through an old fashion etching press, the slab trimmed and the edges smoothed. Mason stains are applied in two applications before a cone 04 bisque fire. Small imperfections are fixed, if possible, and glaze is sprayed on, and the tile is re-fired at a higher cone 6 temperature, which makes the tile clay body nearly non absorptive.
Four separate leaf impressions, each 4″ x 4″ x 3/8″ on Cook Inlet glacier clay with crystalline glazes. Cone 6 oxidation. I pick the leaves from the local dog park in Anchorage where I walk our American bull dog. The leaves are set on a square matte board and a firm, but still pliable, slab of clay is laid on top. Both are run through my old fashion etching press. It’s amazing how much detail the clay retains of the leaf, even the veins show up.
$30 per 4″ tile.