Tag Archives: figurines

We Are Not Twins

…but we were born at the same time.

OK, it’s a little bit of too much to call a clay statue “born” but they’ve been together since they were formed from the same clay slab, and they did come through two firings together. Enough said.

Two clay figurines, low-fire white clay, Velvet underglazes, fired at cone 06, about 15″ tall – October, 2018.

Thanksgiving 2018 Art Drop-Off #3

This post is part of an ongoing series on my personal blog, Sometimes You Get So Confused, focusing on art I’ve left out in the world as I go about my days. This post concerns a Thanksgiving session (this post is 3rd of three) but I do this all the time and have for years. If you are interested in more drop-off sessions you can search under the category Art Drops In on the Confused blog.

Anyway, thought you might like to see where some of my art goes…

Sometimes You Get So Confused

After leaving West Park in Allentown, the site of our second Thanksgiving drop-off, we ate lunch at the Hotel Bethlehem.

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We had parked the car a few blocks away, next to God’s Acre, the historic cemetery of the early Moravian Church in Bethlehem. The city was founded by members of the Moravian Church and their influence is seen in all parts of the city, especially the historic section.

I wrote a post about a previous visit to this resting place for so many people, and it has a fascinating history, based in the customs of the Moravians. (Look here if you want to know more.)

Anyway, we set a figurine on a bench here.

I took a few minutes to look around at nearby gravestones. All lie flat to the ground, and the cemetery is divided into burial groups not by family but by status in society (single, married…

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Puff People – Finale

Puff People. I love them.

From July, 2018.

Puff People Say Hello – #3

From July, 2018.

Puff People Say Hello #2

From July, 2018.

Puff People Say Hello – #1

From July, 2018.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending September 21


Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Let’s say hello and do some Art!

Saturday, September 15 – Today was the day to find out if my brainstorm on how to store my clay work so that I could pack for a show without stress was really any good. And I am happy to say it was. At tomorrow’s show I will take two six-foot tables and I chose my inventory to fill that space. I took about 30 tiles, a box of small tiles, and all my current figurines. They fit into these boxes:

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I am thinking I might want to make a little more clay work after all for this fall season. However, in all of my following clay shows I will have no more than an 8-foot table to work with. I probably don’t have to worry. Still, going through my things, I did have a little itch to make some more figurines and tiles… So we will see.

Sunday, September 16 – We spent the day at the Pennridge Gallery of the Arts outdoor show. It takes place along Main Street in Sellersville, PA, about 25 mile from our house. Sellersville is a town that began its existence in the middle of farmlands but now, decades and centuries later, is now being touched by suburbia. The show is part of the town’s efforts to showcase its downtown features.

We arrived a little before eight AM and got into line at the fire house. This show’s set up routine is elaborate but works well. Artists arrive first, pick up space assignments, and proceed into the street a few cars at a time. We unload and move out the cars so that the next group can get in. We are arrayed along one side of the road. Here is how it looked first thing in the morning. Foggy. And loads of very helpful high school volunteers to assist us in unloading and set up.

Crafters arrive later on and go through the same process, setting up on the other side of the street. Meanwhile, we artists are waiting for visits from the judges. The show officially opens at noon but people come early.

Here are some booth set-up images.

And as the day went on and the crafters came in, so did the sun.

Some shots of my set-up in final form:

The day was very hot, humid, and sunny. More like July than September. We had good crowds all day. These shots were taken just as the show opened. Soon the street was filled up.

I had wondered how my clay work would be received – this is the first time the figurines have been shown. The answer is, it went well. I had really good sales.

I also wondered if I had brought the right amount of work for my set-up. Once again, I was very happy with how it looked. Not too crowded, but with a good selection of price ranges and choices.

And, I was thrilled to win a prize – first place in my category, 3D. This is the first time I have ever won an award for my clay work. It was given for this tall figurine.

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Friends stopped by to see us – shout out to John G, Missy, and Bill F, plus art friend/fellow show exhibitor Joan. I was also flattered that one of the judges came back and bought some tiles.

Here is a photo, courtesy of my friend John G, with me and two other award winners – by some strange luck, we were all booth neighbors. On the street, it was Mandy in the sunglasses was doing her first show; then me in the white shirt; and then Barbara in the blue shirt, a veteran like me. Three different mediums: painting, clay, printmaking.

AD Sellersville 9-16-18 #3 John Grob

In shows, you and your booth neighbors become friendly very quickly – it’s just how it works – and if you keep doing shows, you can build up friendships that last for decades. Another thing I like about doing shows!

All in all, a really good day. I was happy and grateful as we headed back home.

Monday, September 17 – Today I unpacked the clay, since I won’t be doing another show for a month.

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I decided I definitely do need to do some clay work – I feel I have plenty for my next show, which is a small one, but I need something more for the November-December run of shows. So I rolled out some clay and cut some shapes. I have some ideas…

but some of them will have to wait until the clay stiffens up. I did make some people today.

I’m giving thought to my population. I sold a lot of puff people (the three-legged ones) this weekend. After some thought, I decided to make a modest number of them, since I have a couple of shows this fall that attract a craft, holiday shopper looking for lower prices. I don’t really like making puff people; I’ve created hundreds of them in the past (the kind that looked like this:)

Puff Creature #2 3-26-12 small

and I don’t want to make them any more. I am thinking I will choose clay shows more judiciously next year, leaning toward more a more art crowd (or I hope to), but for this year, well, I’ll do a few more puff people, yes, I will.

I am hoping to do a few more really tall large women figurines.

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Like the one you see in the above photo, but even a little taller. That’s my goal, after I get this cylinder people group finished up. I do want a variety of sizes for that group, and you might notice I have given some of them modest-sized head wear. I might try some more of that kind of thing.

Tuesday, September 18 – I got to work on all that clay I had rolled out. I knew that I had maybe given myself a lot to do – and I was right. At times I overdo things with my enthusiasm.

Early in the day, I rolled these tall cylinders and set them up so that they could dry a little. They are too wet to stand up on their own right now and cannot be worked.

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After lunch – I had decided to do some sgraffito tiles, so I started the process of coating them with black underglaze. Meanwhile the cylinders were ready to be handled.

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After some time, here is what they became.

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I then put the curvy-shaped pieces together (see the earlier photo above of clay rolled on the table), gave it a bottom, and ended up with a vessel.

I forgot to take pictures of this process, but it is the same as making a box – you slip and score the edges and put them together, with the additional challenges of fitting along the curves. Once the joins were made, I reinforced them with a coil of clay smeared along the interior (like caulking a joint). Then I put the bottom on it, following the same slip score procedure. And then I had a vessel. What to do with it next, I did not know. So I set it aside and did sgraffito tiles.

By now the clay vessel thing was drying up. I decided in the pressure of the moment to do sgraffito on it, too. By now I had lost hope of any inspiration, but I had gone to the trouble to put the vessel together, so…I slapped a couple of coats of black underglaze on it and got to work. I had to move faster than I wanted to because clay was drying fast – so I just carved. The flat sides got scenes and the curvy ones got a simple design.

All right, I think I salvaged this poor thing. I remembered why I like working with tiles so much – doing sgraffito is hard on an upright object. And it is never good to be in a hurry. Anyway, I’ll fire it and then I will glaze the interior, so that it could hold water and be a vase. Whew.

Wednesday, September 19 – I finished up the gesso work on those 18″ x 24″ boards. Now I have a whole group ready to go when I want to paint.

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In the afternoon I got the idea to work on some tiles. I got out four commercially-made 4″ x 4″ terracotta tiles, painted a couple of coats of black underglaze on them, and got to work using the Chinese brush. I wanted to do a version of the sgraffito work, where the background envelops the figure rather than starting from the figure itself. I kind of did that, and kind of did not. I need more practice in thinking this way and planning better. Well, I think they turned out ok and I’ll be trying this again.

Here is a progress set of photos; though I didn’t get photos from the very beginning, you can see some of how things went:

Thursday, September 21 – I worked on tiles again today. This time I applied four different underglaze colors as the first coats. Then I used black to mark out the main figures. Then I did more colors on top.

I am feeling my way, but experimentation is what will teach me. Here are the results.

Friday, September 21 – It’s been a busy week. My body and my creativity needs a rest. I gathered my paintings to have them ready to be packed in the car for tomorrow’s show. And I made a price list. That was pretty much it!


I think I’ll finish cleaning up from this week’s activities and then sit on the sofa and read.

OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.

Art Diary 2018 – Week Ending September 14


Art Diary. A weekly wrap-up of art activities. For earlier posts, search under the category Art Diary.

Let’s talk about Art.

Saturday, September 8 – Lots of secret project work. Here is some from yesterday:

and from today:

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And I got the kiln going this morning – remember, it has been loaded since last week with that small group of sculptures. I’ll be able to open it tomorrow.

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Sunday, September 9 – Today I wanted to organize my clay work to get ready for shows coming up in the next few months. I hoped to make it easier to figure out what to take to a show and to be able to pack easily and quickly. Each event I’ll be going to over the next few months has a different amount of space or layout for me to consider and with limited storage of extra work. I need to have just what I need and no more.

So, first I went down to the basement where I store my tiles. With the company of my faithful laundry friend, I pulled out the boxes.

I took out all the tiles and sorted them into categories: large, small, cat, sgraffito, and miscellaneous.

I made a listing (though I don’t intend to keep a close count as the season goes on, I wanted to know where I was starting from), and repacked the tiles into boxes, storing them in their usual place.

I have about 105 tiles in inventory right now. That should be a good amount to go through my remaining shows. When it’s time to pack for a show I will come down here and make selections from each category; I don’t plan to choose each tile every time, just get the numbers I need. There can be too much planning – I don’t need to choose each tile individually for these shows.

I then went upstairs and opened the kiln. The items are cool and look a little lost in the big kiln.

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I put the items with their various categories already in the studio. I had some of these little face tiles to set aside for art drop-offs – everything else is meant for a show.

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Originally I was going to pack these items into boxes and follow the same procedure as the tiles, when I realized – they are already sorted, and I can enjoy looking at them when they are not at a show, so why put them away when all I’m going to do is take them out again when I’m packing? Better to just pick them off the shelves in my studio.

I have enough work in the object category, I think. And if I should get low, I can take some older figurines out on the road if I need to – the ones in the upper shelves of the cabinet are fine, I’ve just been enjoying having them, but I’ll probably sell them someday, too. Or give them away.

Monday, September 10 – I am at a completion or completed stage in my art world right now – I have done my solo exhibit, I have enough clay and painting work for this fall, and I have just finished the secret project (you will find out more in a couple of weeks).

Mentally I am preparing to move on changes that I have been thinking about, as to how I spend my art time, for 2019. As far as activity, right now I’m assembling items for small works, mail art and the like; preparing for doing some painting later on. Overall, I am settling my mind and the studio. To those ends, I have been finishing up some things – like this painting, which was the former Beach Lady:

AD 9-10 #101

I’ll wait a little and then if I’m still happy I’ll finish up the edges and take it to my final painting show for the season on September 22.

I gessoed small boards (these are 11″ x 14″, so I guess I should say, medium boards):

AD 9-10 #202

I did a couple of quick things with ink – this man is in one of my notebooks and will eventually end up in some collage; the chair is the beginning of a page in my next Large Artist Sketchbook (I guess it will be 2019).

Tuesday, September 11 – More odds and ends. I gessoed the edges of the boards – I hate the messy paint spattered look of any painting’s edge, even these very thin boards, and if I want to sell them as is, I want them to look nice!

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I added one thing to this sketch. One thing only. I am not in a hurry; this book is intended for a more contemplative approach, not rushing through it for hurrying’s sake, though I do think I’ll move a bit faster than this, generally.

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I prepared some boards and postcards/ATC’s – The next time I want to work on something – here it will be ready for me.

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Thursday, September 13 – Progress continues to creep along on this painting. I did a little more here and there to it.

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I added more paint to the three 6″ x 6″ items. Now they are ready for their next stage, whatever that will be.

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And here are postcards and ATC’s with paint on them, again, ready for whatever I decide to do next with them.

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Friday, September 14 – More odds and ends make themselves felt in my art world today I decided to do a task that is not for a current event, but is easy: I assembled my contributions for swag bags to be given out at a show I am attending in December. It’s a clay show for me so the treats are small clay items. I’m clearing out all kinds of small things and doing my part for the show all at once.

I laid out the items on the table.

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Then I put them in bags and added a business card. I ordered these bags from a place I’ve used for years for the special extra-clear bags for artwork; these here are not meant for that purpose, being heavier and not as clear. They are perfect for what I need them for, though, and they were very inexpensive. I have enough left over for next year’s treats!

I had ordered some 18″ x 24″ masonite panels and they arrived today. I bought the very inexpensive version of these panels – eleven of them cost me about $36. And why eleven? Because I could get free shipping with that number.

I want to have the option to do bigger work, but I no longer want the storage problems that come with maintaining a lot of cradled pieces (masonite or board with a built-in wood frame). Or carrying a lot of bulky work to a show. Remember that revelation I had at the Lansdale show a couple of weeks ago, if you are wondering what I am thinking.

I also want to feel free to paint, draw, scribble crayon, whatever, on pieces in the future. At the price of about $3.50 each I will be worried about nothing when I get to work on these.

I gessoed the edges.

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Then I started working on the painting surface. It will take a few sessions to finish these.

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I spent the rest of the afternoon just kind of doodling around. I took the next steps on those small 6″ x 6″ items:

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Ditto for these postcards:

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Here’s the latest on that page in my new Large Artist Sketchbook 2019:

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And here are some off-the-cuff drawings with Chinese brush and India ink. I can use these, cut-apart, in all kinds of ways later on, I think.

Look at that guy and his TV (top). Yelling at each other, I think they are.

All right, that finishes this week. I’m going to clean up the studio and listen to some more of my favorite radio program, Funky Friday on WXPN Philadelphia. Happy Friday.

OK, that’s it for this week! Thank you for coming along with me.

Pennridge Gallery of the Arts, Sellersville, PA, next Sunday, September 16

Here’s where I’ll be next Sunday with my clay work.


This show is a lot of fun – there are many activities besides the art show, and the setting is the main street of Sellersville, PA. If you are in the area, I’d love to see you! If you want more information, visit the web site, Pennridge Gallery of the Arts.

Clay sculpture puff person 7-18 front01