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Archive for the 'Ceramics' Category

Partington the Way

Tuesday, March 6th, 2012
By Twistie

This rather spectacular piece of ceramic sculpture is made by Claire Partington. I love it. Of course, I do have a strong inclination toward the fantastical and the mildly morbid, so a lady whose head has been replaced with a squid does tend to appeal. Also, I have kind of a thing for pannier, particularly the egregious courtly version illustrated here.

She does have other works, of course, but they all tend toward the surreal, disturbing end of fairy tales. Definitely my cuppa!

I recently became aware of Partington’s work via a blog I happened across entitled Blethering Crafts, where I read an interview and saw examples of Partington’s work. You can check out the entry here.

She’s interviewed about her philosophy, inspiration, technique, education, and all the other usual things. But what I liked best was when the interviewer asked her for three words for aspiring crafters, and Partington’s reply was:

Do it yourself

I say that’s excellent advice.

But before you go running off to make things, do take a moment to check out some gloriously imaginative, exquisitely created ceramics. They may just inspire you.

For the Mrs. Tiggywinkle Fan In Your Life

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011
By Twistie

I love hedgehogs. As a child, my favorite Beatrix Potter story was Mrs. Tiggywinkle, mostly because I thought (and still think!) hedgehogs are so darn cute.

Just look at that adorable little crittur!

And then imagine my delight when I spotted these colorful ceramic hedgehogs by Etsy crafter iktomi!

They’re hand formed and fired twice in delicious glazes. Just $36.00 USD gets you all three 3″ hedgies.

Oh, and did I mention that English lacemakers consider hedgehogs sort of mascots? Nobody is certain quite why that came about, but one theory is that they resemble little live pincushions with their quills.

Let’s see… hedgehog:

vs. pincusion:

 (photo via Urban Debris, where you can find the link to the free instructions)

You be the judge.


Time for Tiles

Friday, June 24th, 2011
By Twistie

Sometimes we dream of doing upgrades to our homes, but find the decorative materials available lacking in some way. You can’t find precisely the shade of blue you wanted for the tub surround, or just the style of eggplant motif you need for the kitchen backsplash. Maybe you have visions of a very specific kind of stepping stone in the garden.

Well, despair no more! Because now you can head over to and help yourself to a copy of Making and Installing Handmade Tiles by Angelica Pozo. It’s published by Lark books, which is always a sign of quality in craft instruction manuals, whatever the technique.

You’ll learn about basic tools and techniques, how to apply glaze, carve, inlay, do mosaic work… nearly anything you could possibly want to know about making and using ceramic tiles!

Best of all, it’s a steal right now. Originally priced at $17.95, it’s been reduced to just $8.55.

At that price, you can probably afford the tools, too. Just a thought.

Fire in the Hole!

Thursday, March 31st, 2011
By Twistie

Photo by Greg Crane

Do you know about the Crucible?

No, I’m not talking about Arthur Miller’s classic play about the Salem witch trials written in response to the McCarthy hearings. I’m talking about the school of fire arts in Oakland, California.

What are the ‘fire arts?’ Well, any craft or performance style that requires fire of some sort to make it work. At the Crucible you will find classes on such diverse topics as: ceramics, glass work, blacksmithing, kinetics and electronics, welding, and fire performance, among others.

Whether you want to learn about making neon sculptures, enameled jewelry, or bicycle repair, this is the place in the Bay Area to go. Oh! And look at that! They’re having an open house on April 2 from noon to four pm.

If you happen to be in the area, drop on by and check out the range of classes. Or, you know, just marvel at the fire eaters  and fire dancers.

Inspiration Gallery: Marbling

Thursday, February 3rd, 2011
By Twistie

via All Things Marbling

I adore marbled paper. I have older books that I caress because the endpapers delight me so. Yes, I’m a crafts geek. You knew that about me.

But my dears, marbling does not begin and end with endpapers (delicious though they may be, and frequently are!). Endpapers are just on option for marbling.


The Mouse Cuts the Cheese… Er… Literally

Wednesday, January 19th, 2011
By Twistie

I love cheese. I love pretty ceramics. I love bargains. Put all three together and you have this charming cheese platter, condiment dish, and mouse-shaped cheese knife on sale now at Modern Artisans.

The dishes are food and microwave safe (but please hand wash!) and painted by hand. Each set is signed by the artist. The cheese spreader is made of silver-plated food safe pewter by another artist. The whole shebang originally sold for $79.99, but is currently available for just $49.99!

Love it!

Robert Arneson VS Public Art

Tuesday, January 18th, 2011
By Twistie

all images via

The gentleman above surrounded by whimsical and slightly surreal ceramic self-portraits is Robert Arneson (1930 – 1992). He’s one of my favorite artists.

I saw my first Arneson at the tender age of nine. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find a picture of it online, but it was entitled Man Losing His Marbles. It was a self-portrait bust with the skull split open and spilling  – you guessed it! – marbles. I fell in love.


Alfred Hitchcock Would Love This One

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010
By Twistie

How gorgeous is this? It’s a fabulous stoneware vase with birds – swallows, if my eyes and limited ornithology knowledge don’t deceive me – ‘dipping in and out of the piece’ as the artist, sarapoloma, says in her description.

It stands 11″ high and is lined with a pale pink glaze. Just imagine it filled with bright flowers or a bouquet of peacock feathers. Even on its own, it’s spectacular.

It’s also available at Etsy for $300.00.

Okay, I can’t afford it, and I’m betting there are some of you out there who can’t afford it, either. But you know what we can get even if we can’t buy a piece like this? Inspiration. Whatever we make, when we see pieces of genius, they expand our own imaginations. And that, my friends, is priceless.

She Brings Out the Animal In Me

Saturday, October 30th, 2010
By Twistie

Several years ago I was perusing a local crafts fair when I happened upon an artist whose work really spoke to me:

What can I say? I love cephalopods.

Then again, I  love critters of all sorts. So, as it happens, does Liz Russell, creator of the R. Honeypots ceramics that so drew me in.

From lemurs to nautili, from owls to ladybugs, anteaters to leafy sea dragons, her work ranges the animal kingdom. Whether you’re looking for a mug, bowl, pitcher, soap dish, teapot, or decorative tile, it’s there and it’s practical. Every piece is individually crafted with non-toxic glazes. They’re microwave, oven, and dishwasher safe, too.

Disclaimer: Manolo the Shoeblogger is not Manolo Blahnik
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