Tile Commission

Earlier this spring I was contacted by the Genesis Foundation, in Zanesville to discuss an employee appreciation commission for the new wing at the hospital. It was a wonderful design process, and I got to work with a team of collaborators from both Samaratin and Bethesda campus's. I needed to be discreet about the design as there was an unveiling at the end of June, where all the employees got to see the rendition of it. Sister Maureen did get to peek "under the wrap" when she was here for the garden tour at the end of the month, and I may have excitedly told my students about it as the process was unfolding at the end of the school year.

The piece needed to incorporate stained glass from the Samaritan Chapel

Red Brick from the Samaratin Hospital

And concrete from the Bethesda Hospital.

The Tree of Life was chosen as an appropriate symbol to represent the care qualities and mission of the hospital,


We also incorporated the new Genesis logo into the background, so the finished pesentation rendering looked very colorful.

Then in June, I got my hands dirty! With an enlarged print to size, I sculpted the tree out of the white clay.

Then I sculpted the leaves.

Then I let the pieces dry for a good portion of the month, all under wraps.

The composition has three different clay bodies...the tree is cone 6, the leaves are a cone 04 talc body, and the border and lettering is a cone 04 terra cotta. Many kiln firings later, the piece is beginning to take shape in mid July.

The leaves have been the fussiest, requiring multiple firings to get the polychromes not to bleed.

And next....I have to get comfortable with cutting GLASS, for the background. OUCH!!


Summer Fun

The highlight of my summer is teaching Summer Art Camp. Many of the students in our rural communities do not have summer scedules that provide them recreational opportunites, and I was pleased to have funding to teach in three locations this summer.

Roseville Art Camp started on the 8th, and I had 12 students who met me every morning at the elementary school. Funding came from both Perry and Muskingum County Community Foundations, and the projects were Face Mugs, Paper Making, Printing, and Book Binding. It was a blast. And did I mention how totally sweet the kids were? Hugs goodby everyday!

Selah Brown's Turtle on the Path

And then at home, waiting eagerly every afternoon were....the cherries! The picking was actually kind of nourishing, pick two, eat one, and so on....but the pitting got really old after about 6 days and 20 gallon bags for the freezer. I went for broke, and continued to pick and pit to 30, and then let the rest go to the birds...Because then it was time to pick the raspberries!


The second Art Camp was in Shawnee, with another dozen neighborhood kids, many of them from last summer's program. We made press tile molds and kicked out 1/2 dozen each, and the kids thought the whole process was pretty neat. Thanks to Henry Mercer, and the gift that keeps on giving...

A smaller group of the girls spent the 2nd week with me making Punch Needle Molas. Thanks to Amy Oxford for her wonderful Punch Needle, and for keeping the practice alive for yet another generation. Here are two new converts to this fiber arts tradition, sisters Amelia and Amy.

I have two more weeks ahead of me with students at the Zanesville Art Center, and am looking forward to it every bit as much as I have with the Shawnee students. Thanks to the parents for sharing their children with me!


Opening Up, Its Spring!

I am happy to report that the Barn Swallows arrived to the farm in a timely fashion this spring, on April 6th. My clay shipment arrived a few days later! I have to confess that I have not been over eager to get back to potting the same old same old. While I believe in the integrity of the work I make; it is well thrown, the decorative motifs are charming to those who love them, my experience with Majolica has brought me happily around the world, the work is useful and well used,  I am tired of making it. There, I said it.

So, what next? I do have a few holes to fill in for inventory: compotes, mugs, cereal and berry bowls, flower pots, trays, and a number of special orders, but then, I am on to something new. It will involve a new clay body, lots of texture, and a gas kiln! I am pretty excited about embracing change. It sure beats the fog of resistance.

I have had a GREAT spring semester at Ohio University Zanesville, and I credit it all to my enthusiastic students. Overheard in the glaze room after last weeks Raku firing, one student to another, "I have never done anything so cool in my life." I am so greatful for being able to provide this experience of fire, metal, clay, and reduction. 



Howard has also been quite busy. It was our first real willow harvest, and we did the bulk of it ourselves. It would have been more grueling however, had we not had the help of some wonderful Americorp volunteers on those days when our backs were flagging. Shout outs to Sarah, Shannon, Jay, Patrick, Jen, Matt, and that nice fellow...whats his name, he had dinner with us that night, you too. So that was the winter. It was long, dark, cold, and we were bent over snipping for most of it.

Then spring came, finally, end of March, and Howard got busy planting the live whips into some fun and lively garden structure; one over the front walk, an arbor, and the other one in back by the garden, saluting the pasture.

International Punch Needle Rug Hooking Day was on the 18th of April, and I had a gathering of women who wanted to learn how to use the Oxford Mini Punch Needle. I received my Oxford Certification in 2009, and have had the pleasure of teaching both younger and older students the technique. This particular project was the Mola Trading Cards, so the students got to learn about the Folk Art traditions of the Kuna Peoples in addition to making some sweet little punch pieces. 


Here are Jessica and her sweet Mom Tami with their finished projects.

It is days like this that I feel truely blessed. I get to share my skills, the farm, my studio space, meet new people, and provide them the opportunity to have a meaningful day and inspiring day. The farm property does not fail in always sharing its beauty and repose with those who visit, and yesterday was no exception.

We are looking forward to sharing the farm to others as the spring progresses. And towards that end, today was the first day the lawns got mowed! Happy Spring, and may there be many more mowings to come!