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I have had an absolute ball getting back into pottery this past year. I think most artists would agree the most fun part of creating is the designing. Creating the same thing over and over can be a little brain numbing. I have (I think) two major influences on my designs.

Number one.

Textile designs: fabrics, tiles, patterns…I like how they bring a sense of structure to a piece. Here are some of my favorites.trellis ikat1 ikat2 quatrefoil

Number two.

My french heritage. One of my favorite stories is about my great grandmother, Palmyra Doutreluigne, who was born in France and immigrated to America with her family when she was a teenager. They came to work in the textiles industry (YEP!) but were misled to believe that moving to America automatically meant that they would become wealthy. While in America, Palmyra met French Canadian Emile Turcotte and fell in love. Sadly, she and her family had to move back to France to get better work. In the meantime, Emile and Palmyra continued to correspond. Sometime later, Emile saved up enough money to send Palmyra back to the states on the Red Star Line and marry her.

They had two children, Irene, and my grandfather, Albert. My grandmother, Albert’s wife, Lucinda, was a master quilter. She won many awards in her lifetime and I’m lucky enough to have inherited one of her fine quilts. She had an entire room in their small three bedroom house dedicated entirely to her sewing hobby and when I was growing up, I would play in there for hours. After she passed, I inherited her sewing chair. It now has a home in my studio, and I think of her every time I sit at it.

My mother carried on the French aesthetic and always aspired to fill our home with what she called “French country”. I love that she embraced her heritage. I tried to learn French as a kid…I wish I had stuck with it.

I love all things French flea market. Here are some of my recent finds online that I aspire to translate into my pottery:

pottery inspiration

IDEAS: Over the top ornate handles with sleek designs. Hobnail and beaded details. Texture, pattern, mix and match designs. Odes to antiquity. Odes to nature. AND IN ALL WHITE! What do you think? Now all I need to figure out is which white. Oh boy. Guess I need to make some test tiles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sometimes you get in such a groove with painting and creating that you start to feel like the flow is so strong that you’ll burst if you can’t create fast enough.

Here are some of my favorite latest creations…some of these are sold so email me if you’re interested in one of them and I’ll create something special just for you!

Three beaded Lattice-Pattern round nesting bowls in Celadon, Mint, and Caramel.

Three beaded Lattice-Pattern round nesting bowls in Celadon, Mint, and Caramel.

10″ Square Beaded Lattice Pattern Platter and Dip bowl in Celadon

10″ Square Beaded Lattice Pattern Platter in Celadon

7″ Scalloped round salad/dessert plate with burlap texture in temmoku

7″ Scalloped round salad/dessert plate with burlap texture in temmoku. Bottom is caramel chocolate

16″ Round Beaded Grandmother’s Lace Wavy Platter in Celadon

16″ Round Beaded Grandmother’s Lace Wavy Platter in Celadon

10″ Square beaded Trellis Platter in Mint Chocolate

10″ Square beaded Trellis Platter in Mint Chocolate

 and here are two new paintings…It has been such fun to create these. I love how playful and free they are.

40″x40″x2″ “The Water Feels Good” Acrylic on Gallery Edge Canvas

36″x36″x2″ “The Water Feels Good” acrylic on Gallery-edge canvas

I’ll be setting up my solo show this week at Lowe Mill Arts & Entertainment 3rd Floor gallery. The space is absolutely beautiful – here is a couple of pictures of the space with another artist’s work…(please excuse the crappy iphone photo).

I really love the enormous windows, exposed brick and aged wood floors. This will be the second solo show of my career – I have a ton of paintings and I hope to have a ton of pottery, too.

So you might be wondering what exactly is Lowe Mill ARTS & Entertainment? Historically, it was an old cotton textile mill opened in 1901 by Arthur Lowe. Now, it’s one of the most unique and largest centers for the arts in North Alabama (approximately 100,000 sq. ft.!). They have 100 spaces rented out to artists, artisans, musicians, glass blowers, printmakers, metal workers, furniture makers…you name it, they’ve got it. They also have a theatre called the Flying Monkey and they have regular “Concerts on the Dock”. Their vision is to be a true arts destination and to grow Huntsville’s appreciation and interaction with the arts.

So I promised more pictures of pottery that will be for sale at the show. Ok, folks, let me know what you think!

Trellis rectangle platter – 7.5″x3″ in caramel & chocolate glaze

My grandmother’s Lace wavy platter in Sage & Chocolate – 10″ diameter

Set of Soup/Salad bowls in Seaspray & Caramel Chocolate with a Trellis & Lattice surprise! 8″

I love the trellis pattern underneath!

Ruffles & Pearls bowl in seaspray and caramel chocolate. 12″ diameter (approx) by 8″ height (approx)

My solo show opens Friday, May 11th and the opening reception will be from 6:00 – 8:00pm. We’ll celebrate with some delicious treats and of course wine!

Here’s a link with a map and directions to Lowe Mill:

http://www.lowemill.net/contact-us

Hope to see you there!

Do you ever find yourself doing something and say to yourself, “What are you doing?! You know you do not have time to be doing this right now!!” This is definitely one of those moments. I’m such a rebel.

The next couple of weeks are going to be a test of my time management skills for sure. I had a show last weekend (Mountain Brook Art Association Spring Show), I have a show this weekend (Magic City Art Festival), and I am setting up for the second solo show of my art career the following weekend. I must be crazy.

On top of that, I am moving out of my studio on Oxmoor Rd and will set most of my stuff up in my basement. My unfinished, moisture-rich and camel cricket-filled basement. Oh joy. On the positive side, my studio will be at my own home where I don’t have to pay rent!! So here’s a WOOP for that!

So far, I’ve set up my kiln, my pottery wheel, and a make-shift production table AKA the card table and the tops of my washer and dryer. Last week, I was able to fire my first glaze fire and the test results came out fabulous might I say so myself!

I’ll be using three clay bodies, all stoneware, in three colors: Snow White, Wild Turkey (a beautiful warm tan color), and Chocolate Brown. I don’t know who names these clay bodies, but they must be brilliant…Wild Turkey?!?…hilarious.

Here’s a teaser preview of the some of the plates and platters and other fun things I’ll be making:

More full pictures will be coming once everything is complete in just a few weeks! Ok gotta get back in the mud. Happy making to me!

I heart fairhope.

Fairhope Arts & Crafts Festival was this past weekend and I absolutely loved every minute of it. Fairhope is one of my new favorite places to visit – I’m sure I’ll be back again soon. My booth was at the corner of De La Mare and Section Street.

One of my favorite parts about doing Art Festivals is seeing people you know and talking to the people who come in to your tent. I got to reconnect with several people that I hadn’t seen in years! My dear friend from high school, Carey O’Neal Locklear, was able to come and see me. She and I got to catch up and she even took the time and energy to pray for me (with me, right at the festival!). What a refreshing person she is!!

Sometimes, you meet so many people that they all kind of blurr together in this whirlwinded foggy memory. And I hear a lot of stories. Sometimes they are light-hearted and conversational; sometimes they are deeply personal and even involve tears.

Before I share one of these particular stories, let me give you some background about me and why I use strange names for my paintings such as “organelles” or “constellation” or “oxygen”. Some of my biggest inspirations come from things that go unobserved on a day to day basis. Tiny intricacies of how our bodies work on a microscopic level and enormous movements and phenomena in outer space. I devour images of cell parts, images of plant structures, diagrams of physics phenomena, and images from the hubble space telescope website. Maybe you’re grossed out or wierded out as you read this. It’s probably the right reaction. Nevertheless, you can’t tell me that these images are not interesting.

I asked a lady I met this weekend, Katie, if I could share her story. She is an open book so of course she said yes. Katie has triplets but was supposed to have quadruplets. Two of her triplets were in one amniotic sac and have learning disabilities. One of her triplets was in its own sac and is typical. All are identical. At one point in her pregnancy, the doctor found four heartbeats. Later in her pregnancy, the doctor found only three. Yet, no little baby “matter” was found when she gave birth. So what happened to that fourth baby? Did the doctor mistakenly detect four heartbeats? Her triplets are identical which would indicate that at one point she had quadruplets with only three surviving the pregnancy. Did one egg split twice at mitosis? Three times? It doesn’t quite come together.

She told me that geneticists and doctors can’t explain to her why or how or what happened. She shared with me that through this process, God has taken her to a whole new place spiritually. She explained that she is the biggest control freak EVER and experiencing all of this really brought her to her knees. But it is has been in that place of absolutely being at the end of her rope, that new life was able to spiritually birth itself within her. We agreed that that is the ONLY place that new life can be created within us! When we are just at the end of ourselves, ready to stop trying to be in control, ready to just say, OK God, have your way in me! This is when God breathes new life, refreshing air, OXYGEN into our souls!!!

I truly believe that God created us, that human beings, all the universe, was not an accident or a just a set of chain reactions. The more I learn and observe, the more I become convinced of this.

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb. I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.” – Psalm 139: 13 – 14.

“In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” – Genesis 1:1

After Katie told me her story, she looked around my tent and said, “Do you have one about mitosis?!”. I didn’t. But Lyons Share, a gallery in Fairhope that carries my work, did. And they were right around the corner from my booth. She purchased my painting Genetics, a piece inspired by the DNA strand and the process of mitosis. The story about her triplets will always be a mystery but she told me that Genetics will always be a reminder that God is in control and that we can have peace in this fact, here, now. It’s so encouraging when someone really “gets” your work and understands how you tick. It gives you a sense that God is actually able to use you to accomplish His purposes…that your artistic voice, your vocation can be a source of light and hope to people in this mysterious life.

Beautiful things…

This is a quote by Gungor, whose song, Beautiful Things, became one of my new favorites after hearing Jason Sears and the worship team at OMPC perform it during communion today.

“The best things in life are often hard to describe. But because it is mankind’s natural instinct to understand the world, there is an attempt to box things into categories. Even the most complex feelings and emotions are neatly organized with made-up labels that over simplify the most beautiful complexities of existence. “

One of my favorite thinkers, Craig Branch, Apologetics ministry extraordinaire, explained that understanding God, the universe, all of truth, is like going through a sphere with a needle. You enter the sphere but you can’t fully grasp or fathom it.  At least not here, not right now. Not yet. We certainly try, though, don’t we?

It’s these “most beautiful complexities of existence”; the amazing mysteries of the gospel, the world, relationships, that I believe invite us to come, to receive wisdom that comes from above; that compel us to push the needle through the sphere. Not to oversimplify, but to enjoy the mystery being made known to us pierce by pierce by God, through revelation, His word. And this is not just an invitation to enjoy understanding more, but to be changed. To be made completely new! Will we answer His call?

“Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things out of us
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You”

Beautiful Things by Gungor

New Etsy Shop!

http://www.theswanart.etsy.com

I’m so excited because I’ve started an endeavor that has been brewing in me for a long time. I’ve started a whole new Etsy shop that will feature archival prints of my digital art. I love love love to create using silhouettes, patterns, and colors. Right now, I’m obsessed with chandelier silhouettes, deer silhouettes, and chair silhouettes. My new line of paper products will include 8×10 archival prints, folding notecards, enclosure cards, and more!

I started out at Auburn University as a Graphic Design but just like a typical artist, I got sidetracked. Ceramics and Painting stole my attention and I ended up getting a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ceramics and Painting. I absolutely love graphic design and sort of half-wish I had double majored. I’ve done a little bit of freelance work for some local musicians and for church but I have never done anything just for myself!

So here’s some examples of what I’ll be selling.

4.25 x 5.5 Folded Notecards (Blank on the Inside) Printed on Bright White Premium Paper

 8×10 Archival Prints on Premium Matte Paper

Go to www.theswanart.etsy.com to shop now!