Made ten nice 4″ daisy impression tiles with several different background glazes and added them to the online store. Alaska has its own wild daisy variety. I’m waiting for the fireweed to blossom out so I can make some tile impressions of them too.
I’ve started to add 4″ plant impressions to the online store. Here is a dogwood blossom with leaves. More will be posted over the coming weeks.
Finally getting around to stringing pendants with a 2mm leather lace. A couple of batches have been sent to two art gift shops here in Alaska, Octopus Ink in Anchorage, and Bunnell Street Gallery in Homer. Each pendant is 1-1/2″ square and made from the glacial clay from the Anchorage mudflats.
Decided to make some pendants with more than one glaze color. These pendants were made with small matte board plates, similar to how I make tiles. Before, pendants were made with clay stamps. Four sets of these will be made with four different background colors. My personal favorite would be the coffee cup.
Finally moved over to an online store format, though the blog posts are still part of the store.
This is the tile wall behind a wood stove that an acquaintance installed in his house. I also made the field tiles surrounding the art tiles. It will be featured in the next quarterly issue of Alaska Home magazine. The nice speckled brown field tiles are all the same glaze, so the difference in appearance is due to the placement in the kiln. An enlarged drawing of the entire area was provided so that plate/stencils could easily be made, especially for the odd shaped tiles, near the top. All the tiles are made from the local clay from the Anchorage mud flats, a part of the Boot Legger Clay formation, and they are stamped on the back with “Cook Inlet Glacial Clay”.
The Fur Rondy sales begin tomorrow at the Dimond Mall (in Anchorage) and I will be heading to the Heard Museum in Phoenix, Arizona for the Indian Art Market on Thursday.
These are recent tests for a two-inch size pendant. None sold at the Colorado Indian Market last month, but I’ll see how they do this summer. If they didn’t have holes, they could be tiles. To be installed with tiles, they would need to be slightly smaller, like 1-7/8″, so they could fit four to the same area as a four-inch tile, plus they would need to be just a tad thicker.
I’m working half time on tiles while I prepare taxes and work on the fish-skin coat that will have some of the buttons from the previous post.
Walked the Portuguese Camino with my 85 year old Father and two younger sisters, Dorothy in the middle and Karen on the right. Dorothy has a PhD in electrical engineering from Stanford and Karen is a civil engineer with the US Forest Service. We’re all engineers, I just switched to art. The ten day hike from Porto, Portugal to Santiago, Spain took us fifteen days. Our pilgrimage was leisurely this time as we sent our backpacks ahead each day and stayed in nicer hotels each night. By nicer, I mean with private bathrooms and sheets on the bed. We usually got two rooms and the price would be about $30-40 per person. Me and my dad roughed it a few years back by staying in the hostels, walking the much longer French route, but this time we spent a little more, and felt totally pampered. Our Dad did have a scare, an ear infection that felt like a possible stroke had our taxi speeding down rural, cobble-stoned lanes to the nearest hospital. The emergency room visit and antibiotics cost around $100 and then the pharmacy store charged another $20 for medication drops.
The tile business is taking up all my time, and this will be the best year, sales-wise, since I started a dozen years ago. I’ve decided to not go to the lower-48 next summer, since customers are coming to me up here at that time. Those trips will have to be in the off season.
I still have three more shows before the end of the year, so I better get back to the studio! The three shows are the Thanksgiving Fare at the Anchorage Museum, November 27-29, The Holiday Bazaar at the Anchorage Native Heritage Center, December 5, and a small group event at the Blue Hollomon Gallery December 12.
Six-inch Square, Sailorboy Pilot Bread Art Tile, $75
Originally made this design as one of the thirteen 12″ tiles for Nana Development Corporation, one of the many native alaskan owned businesses that are fairly common these days. I can’t tell you how cool it is that the indigineous population has taken an active part in the current world, and a large part of that is business related, for better or worse, though, each regional corporation pretty much has a non-profit equivalent representing the same population. Anyway, the powers that be wanted to try something different than the Indian reservation system common in the lower 48.
Pilot bread is known by everyone that has lived in a rural area. Its a modern day version of hard tack, and it is kind of hard and lasts for ever.
I’m done selling for the season. For December, did one large event at the Alaskan Native Heritage Center, and three smaller ones at the Native Hospital, Nana Development Corporation, and the Arctic Slope Regional Corporation. Did fairly well. Now time to build up inventory. I don’t think I’ve had more than a rare day or two off here and there in the last eight months. I need to hire someone so that I can keep up!
I Haven’t posted in over two months, and I thought the summer was too busy. This post will be on the technical side, and you can skip the first part if you like. Three of the tiles, with small white dots in the background glaze, had an undercoating of a strontium carbonate glaze. The undercoat glaze adds variation to the surface quality of the main glaze, kind of makes it look like the tile had been in a reduction, maybe salt firing. The three new glaze mixes are shell pink, mango, and robins egg blue. I add the mason stain colors to a base majolica glaze that doesn’t have its usual opacifier. The puffin tile on the top right shows what the shell pink looks like without the strontium carbonate undercoat, it has a slight purple tint with the pinkness.
It’s been a busy Fall, sold tiles at four shows since the summer market ended, The Bad Girls of the North, and I’m not even a bad girl, in Fairbanks, the Alaska Federation of Natives conference in Anchorage, the Artisan Tile of the NorthWest event in Seattle, followed by another Bad Girls of the North in Anchorage. Did really well in the Anchorage shows and pretty good in the shows away from Anchorage. Getting ready for the Anchorage Museum Thanksgiving show and the last show of the year at the Alaska Native Heritage Center.
One of the more interesting things I did was to become certified as an instructor for the First Peoples Fund. I will talk to native americans about starting an arts business and all the things involved with that, like how to value your time. Many native craftspeople way under pay themselves for the time they put into their art.
It’s been a while since I last posted, but now that the summer season is over, I should be able to post once every couple of weeks. Since my last post in mid July, I went to Santa Fe, New Mexico for the Southwest Indian Art Market. I got a table just by showing up because a lot of vendors sell out on the first day. There were over 1200 native american artists showing and selling their work, it was amazing. I wanted to buy some turquoise, pottery, and woven rugs, but things were pretty expensive. I flew into Denver and my Dad, all of 84 years old, drove down with me and we had a good time. on the way back we visited Fort Union. It protected the Santa Fe trail and participated in wars against Mexico, Indians, Confederates, and then more Indians. I almost stepped on a what looked like a rattle snake, and workers repairing some adobe walls got pretty excited and called the park rangers to come capture it. The best preserved building was the rock jail. Rock holds up better than clay adobe over time.