Sunday, October 18, 2009

Leaf Panel

80th Birthday Present for Dad

Got back from Serbia with just enough time to put this panel together for my father's 80th birthday. Made to go over his bed. It's a combination of handmade ceramic leaves, with ceramic tile and sici tiles on the border. Panel is four feet long. Framed at Mission Gallery in San Juan Bautista.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Flower Pot for Andrea

Flower pot: Terra Cotta pot made by glazing rim in kiln and then outfitting with lots of colorful handmade ceramic tiles and bits and pieces. Ungrouted in these photos. Donnated to Andrea Currie to be used as an award for artists participating on the design challenge posed by her web site www. We The Paper.com

Saturday, August 16, 2008

As Summer Winds Down

Ramon and I returned from Spanish Market in Santa Fe at the end of July, with a few new pieces of Spanish Colonial Art to add to our collection.I got up at 5am, grabbed a cup of coffee and stood outside in the rain until the 8am opening of Spanish Market in order to be the first one one in line to purchase Nick Otero's prize winning retablo. The large retablo and the small altar box, both of which won first prize in their categories, now reside in the Nunez home. We were concerned that we might be competing against a museum for these pieces, as last year while we were in Spain, and unbeknownst to us, Nick's work swept the market awards.

We brought home a small retablo by Catherine Robles Shaw, whose work we like to collect

and Laurie Garcia. This is Santo Nino de Atocha, one of Ramon's Mom's favorite saints. And then something new for us. Ramon fell in love with this chest, which won second place in the traditional furniture division. The curator of the Mexican Cultural Museum in Albuquerque later told us that she had wanted to purchase this piece for the museum. Felt bad for the artist, because it would have been better for him to have his piece with the museum, but I'm thrilled it will be living with us.The chest is a magnificent piece, all hand carved. The blacksmith who did the hinges and lock is an award winning ironsmith at Spanish Market whose work we have always admired. The end of the key that fits into this chest is formed of his initials. As this was something we couldn't exactly take home on the plane, it is being shipped to us and should arrive sometime next week.
Back home, we spent the first week in August tearing out all our carpet, and moving furniture--getting a little old for this kind of work!

Then Ramon totally demolished and painted our master bedroom closet. We were never too fond of its layout. Lots of trips to the Goodwill and the dump in this process! Look mom, our closet is really clean now!In mid July, the wood for our new floors was delivered in order to aclimatize to the house environment. So we have had piles of wood sitting around in all the rooms for the past four weeks. Just before the wood delivery, I re-painted the walls in this room terra cotta, to better go with the new fireplace tiles, but missed the turquoise walls that I'd originally fauxed there. So....I decided to paint our study turquoise, which at the moment, looks like the Bahama room as it is just flat paint color and still needs to be fauxed to look old. Took me two days to paint this room by myself while Ramon was on a business trip. That's my massive treadmill in the up position.I'm beginning to miss my playtime down at the studio, as it would appear that I am back to my temporary incarnation as a professional painter---who did I get this from???? As if painting the studio weren't enough, I then decided to faux Marisa's old bedroom before they started the floors. No problem, I said to myself. I can do that room in a couple of days also. Which is either outrageous self-esteem or simply delusions of grandeur, depending on how you look at it. Six full days of rubbing three colors on the wall with cheese cloth in order to make the walls look like suede. Ugh! Who else is crazy enough to spend nearly a week of their life painting a bedroom?????? Michaelangelita. I hate faux painting, unfortunately, I love the end result. Thank goodness for audio books that's all I have to say.
And so the big moment we've been waiting for. Ta Da!! The floors are starting to go down, and most likely will be a good 3-4 weeks to complete. We are using hickory which has be hand scraped and distressed to look very old. Boards are 3/4" X 7" wide and some are up to 12 feet in length. Heavy! All solid wood, but prefinished, so only touch up will be neccesary at the end. Makes the house look so much richer. We will need a few more area rugs when all is finished. Ramon is suggesting another trip to India to bring back more rugs, but I think that's rather unlikely for this unfrequent flyer. ha ha
And last, but not least, Marisa gave up playing poodle beautician and took Lola to the groomers, to get Lola's ears dyed really red. She needs to do her tail the next time for symetry. Looking at this dog is pretty hysterical, so I just had to share.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Project Frida

Goal project for this year-- a large Frida retablo for my bathroom. (Don't laugh, I've had some sort of Frida shrine in a bathroom of one house or another for more than 15 years--much to the distress of my kids, who used to be embarrassed when people came out wondering why I had the weird pictures of that woman and the collection of the little skeletons in a glass case over the toilet. My oldest son thought this shrine must be somewhat disquieting to visitors. (well....yes...) The only good thing about my dusty little collection of Frida "cochinadas" nowadays is that I no longer have to explain to people who that woman with the weird eyebrows is. Kinda sad actually. I liked it when I felt she was my secret, now she's the world's. Ah well... She's still my girl and I'm excited about updating the glass case in my bathroom with something that shows off a little of both of us.

So this is what my Frida retablo looks like at the moment. Sitting on my half of one of our studio desks.. and I actually cleaned it up a bit for this photo. Looks messy I know, but I'm thinking creative chaos. Things are obviously stewing here. A slow simmer for months and months. The basic wood retablo is cut (although not exactly obvious in construction here. Looks like one long rectangle, but it really has two levels and an arched top. And this is where everything "Frida" gets thrown at the moment, with the exception of the many photos I want to incorporate...they are safe in my drawer. OOps, the little froggie tile on the right bottom corner won't be on this piece. Frida preferred monkeys, cats and parrots....will have to see how good I am at sculpting one of those? Played around with making a flat tile inspired by one of her pictures called, "The Broken Column." But seems kind of boring. Besides this baby needs to be vibrantly colored!

Did a 3D version of that picture including the nails (this piece is yet to be glazed...or might use oxides??)

Lots of little handmade tiles both glass and ceramic (thinking about how Laurie Mika's puts together her work here-- but forget the plastic looking polymer clay. I'm a ceramic girl.) A page from Frida's journal I will put under glass. Want to use lots of text throughout this piece--words in clay, words in beads, words under glass. Her words...commentary about her work. Commentary about Frida's commercialization/ iconization.
Here's a beaded pin someone made, and I just had to buy. Love multimedia.! This artist's work will now become part of mine.
And this is the top of the retablo. In classic form, only made from ceramic instead of carved in wood. Ceramics here are in bisqued state. Sacred Heart has a banner that reads "Viva La Vida" the last words Frida painted on one of her last still lifes before she died. Long Live Life! Now just need to get brave and commit to colors, then glaze and refire them.
Love the tiny Mexican lottery cards pertinent to Frida like the deer (bottom right corner, and the corazon and the skeleton made and under glass. How to put this baby together and call it art? That's the delicious (scary) part. Had wanted to wait until I got to go to see the Frida's exhibit at the San Franciso MOMA before I started on this adventure. Saw it last Friday..amazing....finishing my sculpture class at UC Berkeley next week, time to get to work.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

June Projects


Hurray! Ramon finished the new cabinets for the studio over the weekend I was in Fort Collins. He decided to forego hiring our carpenter and invest the money doing so would have cost him in purchasing a new set of tools and doing the job himself. This proved to be a smart decision. His shelves are everybit as well constructed and he is now the proud owner of a fine new skill saw and nail gun. It took a few coats of paint, but at last the job is done and all the goodies laying around on other surfaces of the studio can be brought back and put into some sort of organization on the shelves. Still need to refinish the concrete floor and put in the moldings. But that is a job for another day.

Marisa has left for a week's vacation with family in Southern California, wish I could say she took her crazy dog, Lola with her, but I'm babysitting. (Personally, I think Lola is Schizophrenic, she makes my childhood dog, Muffin, look like Lassie in comparison.) As you can see in the above photo, last month Lola had fading green colored ears. This month, she has her ears dyed red. (Evan says Lola now looks like one of the "Fraggle Rock" puppets from the childhood program the kids used to watch. I believe he's on to something here.) Is Marisa practicing to become a hairdresser to the dogs? She keeps threatening to dye Ripley's ears. Heaven forbid! Anyhow, while the mouse is away, I am busy trying to pique-assiette an early birthday present--a head board for her queensize bed. The frame is another creation by hubby, who is enjoying using his new toys, I mean tools. I have been collecting china for the past month to complete this project, in addition to a few ceramic pieces I made in the kiln. Still in the process of buying and putting together all the "shabby-chic" linens for the bedding-- going for that cottage look. Here's a peek at the main comforter.
Ramon took Marisa's chest of drawers, and bedside tables outside, sanded and primed them, and then used the paint sprayer to refinish them in the same white I've painted the bed frame. A considerable project for a Sunday. Decided to start with a pink and white heart in the middle. The pink ceramic arch says, "Paths are made by dreaming," which is a line from a poem I like. Finished the heart on Friday. (Took yesterday off to make 27 half-pints and 10 whole pints of my infamous pluot jam. This took a good 15 pounds of sugar and most all of the day to accomplish!) Here's the heart finished before I surrounded it with glass beads and miliflori. In the lower right corner it says, "To My Darling Daughter 2008," using alphabet beads.
As of Sunday evening, I've got a portion of it filled in, but still a long, long way to go. Thank goodness for books on tape. (Marisa gets back in a week and I need to have everything done and put together so that when she walks in her room, Voila! Instant makeover. I'm a nice mommie for doing her bedroom, but I'm going to deserve some kind of serious award for taking care of her neurotic dog!!!

Grouted with Teacups and all.Finshed product.Happy daughter!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Florists for a Day

It's Saturday morning and we've turned the kitchen into a floral shop to make the flower arrangements for Katiana's graduation party this evening. Jan's arrived bearing Starbucks coffee and our favorite scones for breakfast. It's another scorcher of a day and we're out harvesting roses before the serious heat kicks in. Jan dropped by our local farmers market to pick up pink larkspur and hydrangea, stawflowers, white and pink sweet peas, tiny mauve edged calla lilies, and greenery. A stunning combination with the roses. And so we spend the first half of the day, listening to music and happily playing florist with flowers strewn everywhere. (God bless Ramon who was the one man clean-up brigade.) Brent came over with the Surbuban and Jan, Ramon and I piled in to transport the finished centerpieces to the party destination--not an easy task to keep the vases from spilling on the drive down our hill and up our neighbor's steeper hill where the party was held. In total we made four large focal-point arrangements, five medium sized ones for individual tables, filled a dozen of Jan's tiny mini-vases full of rosebuds, sweet peas, and love-in-a mist, and completed some twelve nosegays to lay here and there on tables. Looked like we were staging a wedding--of course, I am of the opinion that all the big events we've done flowers for in the past several years are just practice sessions for our daughter's future weddings. A few more big parties and we ought to be real professionals by then!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Turkey Mornings

Mid May and the mating season for wild turkeys is in full swing. Their gobbles reverberate in the early morning air while I'm out watering. Like most of the animals around here, they seem to be creatures of habit, every morning they come down from the hills and strut across our road to put on their show of tease and pursue. I took wonderful shots of the males fighting yesterday, but unfortunately, my skill behind the digital camera is not the best when it comes to live action shots, and the photos came out blurred. We are in the middle of a record breaking heat spell for May. It's been in the high ninety's for the past two days which reeks havoc on the garden. My icebergs are melting! On days such as these, I am out for a good two hours hand watering the landscape, in addition to the water the drip system normally provides, just to keep all my pretties from burning up. Tomorrow, Jan and I have plans to harvest armfuls of roses to use in arrangements at her daughter's graduation party in the evening, so the heatwave has come at an an inopportune time. Still, I think we will manage to come up with enough roses for a few bouquets. Here's my hedge of iceburg roses under the living room window and down the garden path.



Looking down that path in the opposite direction, you will notice the pluot tree ( a 75% plum and 25% apricot hybrid) is bending like an umbrella. I've thinned it twice and it's still hanging heavy with green globes of fruit. What a harvest of pluots, plums, apricots and apriums we will have this year! A branch on the pluot tree, ripening its way to becoming the best homemade preserves in the world.