Wednesday, December 19, 2012

A toast to a year well spent !

As I was wraping up work in the studio for the long holiday break, it made me reflect on how much I accomplished since a year ago. Probably because I was standing in a new addition that doubled my working space. It took some time to get it done, but I was able to manage nicely with the kiln temporarely plugged in the garage. Now everything is consolidated in one area. It feels like a real working studio !

Several other breakthroughs happened. The first was a real glaze course by Hyperglaze guru, Richard Burkett, this Summer. It opened my eyes on the intricacies of glaze making. Something that was only intuitive before just clicked. I devoured several glaze books, including Hopper's, played with Hyperglaze and my test kiln, and soon I had some nice looking glazes that fit my porcelain work. I never get tired of opening my glaze loads with the excitment of a 5 year old standing in front of the Christmas tree.

The change to a fully operational studio brought a lot more of focus to my work. What do I need to do to survive ? What do I really want to do ? What are my goals ? "The Artist's Guide - How to make a living doing what you love" by Jackie Battenfield was another eye opener. I never dared asked myself those fundamental questions, and so I was free floating in the gray area between recreational and professional. But getting my studio set up was a big commitment, and not just financially. Suddenly it gave me a direction, a nudge towards setting up goals. And with that, the need to refine my portfolio. Low- and high-fired porcelain came more into focus. I spent more time developing my Saggar firing. And I changed my approach to include more pre-design work before sitting at the wheel, or rolling a slab.

Most of it happened in the last 6 months. It is still raw. 2013 is the year of refinement. And hard work. So here is my toast to 2012, a year of transformation and change. I embrace the new year with open arms and an open mind.    

The new kiln room

Monday, December 10, 2012

5th Annual SD Pottery Tour was a success !

Thank you to all of you who stopped at Studio #3 on the Tour this week-end ! It was a real pleasure to meet and talk with old and new customers. It was especially heartening to see more people than last year. We are hopeful to grow the Tour into a must-see event in San Diego for December. High work quality and word of mouth will make it possible. So please spread the word. San Diego has a fantastic Art community that needs your support to grow and thrive. See you in 2013 !

A busy week-end

Danae by her studio

Danae and friends by her table

DiAnne by her table

Ron getting his table ready

Showing off my new work

Porcelain work

More porcelain work

5-min break !

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Ready for lunch ?

Looking for a place to have lunch during the SD Pottery Tour ? Danae got you covered !
She compiled a list of places around her studio  (location #3) in La Mesa. For your convenience, we'll have printouts at our location.

Lunch Menu


Himalayan Cuisine
7918 El Cajon Blvd
(619) 461-2503

Banbu Sushi Bar & Grill
8555 Fletcher Pkwy
(619) 589-0071

Tamarind Thai Restaurant
7970 University Ave
(619) 337-2581


The Village House Kalina
8302 Parkway Dr
(619) 461-1100

Pub/Sports Bar

Hooley's Irish Pub
5500 Grossmont Center Dr
(619) 713-6900

Johnny B's Burgers & Brew
8393 La Mesa Blvd
(619) 464-2465


Tiramisu Trattoria
8273 La Mesa Blvd
(619) 698-0096

Sanfilippo's Pizza
8141 La Mesa Blvd
(619) 464-2088

Centifonti's Restaurant
8365 La Mesa Blvd
(619) 461-4434

Sammy's Woodfired Pizza and Grill
8555 Fletcher Pkwy
(619) 460-8555


Mario's De La Mesa Restaurant
8425 La Mesa Blvd
619) 461-9390
8949 La Mesa Blvd
(619) 462-3500

Casa De Pico
5500 Grossmont Ctr Dr
(619) 463-3267

Por Favor Mexican Restaurant 
8302 La Mesa Blvd
(619) 698-5950


The Vine Cottage
6062 Lake Murray Blvd
(619) 465-0198

8384 La Mesa Blvd
(619) 797-1922
9350 Fuerte Dr
(619) 465-1935

Chili's Grill & Bar
8285 Fletcher Pkwy
(619) 589-9890

Claim Jumper
5500 Grossmont Center
(619) 469-3927

BJ's & Brewhouse
5500 Grossmont Cntr Dr
(619) 589-7222
Swami's Cafe
8284 La Mesa Blvd
(619) 668-9030

La Mesa Bistro & Bakery
8697 La Mesa Blvd
(619) 589-0806

The Trolley Stop Deli
 8150 La Mesa Blvd
(619) 697-3354

Thursday, November 29, 2012

5th Annual San Diego Pottery Tour - Dec 8&9

Come see us at studio location #3 on the Tour ! 

Original pottery, great people, demonstrations on the potter's wheel, and yummy homemade food (we are all great cooks !). Below is a Google map for 4987 Colina Drive in La Mesa. And if you are lost, call us for directions, the phone number is on the card.
For a map of all the location, go to


Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Barrel Firing - November 2012

Some of the washed pieces drying in the sun

This was our second, and last, barrel firing for 2012. Totally worth the wait ! Once again we picked a perfect sunny and mild week-end for the firing. Just three of us this time, with 13 pieces total. So we packed the two barrels pretty loose, keeping the pieces in the center. One barrel had three layers, while the second barrel had two layers to accommodate a very large piece.

As usual, we started with kindling and a bit of hay at the bottom, then layered pieces with more kindling, a bit of hay, and a sprinkling of copper carbonate, iron oxide and salt in between layers. On the top, we built a little tepee out of kindling and squeezed in some rolled-up newspapers to start the fire. We also added some small pieces of newspaper through the holes at the bottom of the barrel, to start the fire from the bottom as well.

The fire started very quickly, and the smoke from the hay cleared rapidly. We soon were adding bigger pieces of wood, then oak wood after teh fire had gone for an hour. After feeding the fire for over two hours, we let he embers build up, occasionally adding more wood to make sure embers covered all the pots. Once the top layers of coals had cooled enough, we poured some sawdust on top and close the barrel with a lid, for the reduction step.

It took two days for the barrels to cool down ! But what gorgeous colors ! So much red this time.  

Rose preparing her pots

Lee and her magic Cheetos

Final touches

Lighting ceremony

Let's get that second barrel going !

On our way to beautiful reds...

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Spanish Village Patio sale

October 13 & 14, 10 am - 5 pm, in the courtyard of the Spanish Village Art Center in Balboa Park

I will have my booth set up during the Glass Guild sale. So look past the shiny and colorful glass, if you wish to find me.

Booth reflection at the 2012 Coronado Artwalk

Monday, October 1, 2012

2012 San Diego Pottery Tour Update

December 8 & 9, 2012 will be the 5th Annual San Diego Pottery Tour. Go check the website to see the current artists and studio locations on the tour.

I am very excited to announce that this year the tour is combined with a 6-week long exhibit at Art & Light Gallery in La Mesa, representing each artist and locations. The gallery show will run November 10 - December 21 during regular gallery hours.

Mark the date for the reception: November 10, 6-8 pm !



Monday, September 10, 2012

2012 Coronado Art Walk

My first big show of the year ! Right on the water, facing downtown San Diego, in beautiful Coronado. With the weather we've had so far this Summer, this coming week-end will be yet another fine Summer week-end to hang out on the californian coast.
With restaurants, shops, beaches, and only minutes away from the Hotel Del Coronado, Artwalk is a free well attended event with 100 artists in different media (painting, photography, sculpture, ceramics, jewelry,...), musical entertainment, and art activities for children.
This year, I will be at booth #33, right off First Street by the information booth, with a whole new set of work on display, from sets of rice bowls and sushi platters to my new series of decorative marble boxes and large center pieces. Exciting ! I hope to see some of you there !

Coronado Art Walk

Friday, September 7, 2012

A journey into Japan's ceramic tradition

It is one of those instances when I feel very lucky to live in San Diego. The city is known to most as the finest vacation destinations in the US. One of the gems in SD is Balboa Park and its collection of Arts and Science museums. As a ceramic artist, the Mingei International Museum, dedicated to folk arts, crafts, and design, is a treasure trove of creative ideas and inspiration. If you are ever in the area, make sure to schedule a visit.
Until January 6th, 2013, the Mingei is exhibiting an amazing private collection (by Gordon Brodfuehrer) of contemporary japanese ceramics, titled "Nature, Tradition, and Innovation". It is like stepping into another dimension where Nature meets Stone and Fire. Large scale pictures of breathtaking japanese landscape accompany the ceramic pieces to underline the tight connection japanese potters maintain with their environment, whether it is mining the clay or finding inspiration. The soothing japanese musical background completes the experience and transforms minutes into hours of exploration from miniature tea cups and bowls to vases and massive abstract forms.
Such an enchanting visit ! Next step, flying to Japan !

Here is snapshot of the show. I apologize for the lack of sharpness in the pictures, I only had my cellphone camera and a no flash policy strictly enforced. In any case, it is best viewed in person. In the meantime, enjoy !

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

a little bit of glaze on my nose

Back from Idyllwild, CA ! Richard Burkett, professor of Ceramics at SDSU, taught a fantastic week-long class on cone 6 glazes during the the Adult Summer program at the beatifully located Idyllwild School of Arts. Surrounded by pines trees, oaks, squirrels, and a multitude of birds, a small group of 10 people dove head first into the world of glazemaking, firing test tiles every day, mostly cone 6 oxidation in an electric kiln. Richard was very generous in his knowledge. First he shared his glaze software, Hyperglaze, with all of us. Hyperglaze is a great tool for calculating unity formulae and prepare new recipes. Then he covered the basics of making glazes, and revealed tricks and tips to solve the typical galze issues (running, crazing, shivering, pinholing, you name it) and transform a glaze into a winning color.

The class (L. to R.):
Sandra, Pierre, Elizabeth, Harriet, Merle,
Janette, Richard, Emily, Danae, Debby, Lavanya

I came to Idyllwild with three dear San Diego friends, Merle, Sandra and Danae, all with various expectations, from learning how to mix glazes to how to create a new glaze. There we rekindled with Harriet, whom Merle, Danae, and I had met last year at the Soda Firing workshop. And we made new pottery friends in the process. That's how it works at Idyllwild ! Oh, and the food on campus was excellent. Buffet style, and ice cream every day. And those almond cookies were to die for !

The workbench
In the glaze room, weighing and mixing

The girls at work
The first round of tests

Overall, I think we all met our goals. Personally, I was interested in learning the process of creating a glaze from any kind of ashes. Ashes contain all the ingredients necessary for a glaze (fluxes, alumina, silica), it is simply a matter of finding out the right melting combination. I had brought some oak ash, previously sieved. A melt test with different fluxes and frits narrowed it down to a basic recipe to explore. Tweaking the melt to give a stable glossy glaze at cone 6-7 was then quickly achieved with the help of silica and EPK. With a recipe in hand for my oak ash, I can now explore different colors with oxides and stains, as well as varying the opacity of the glaze. Exciting !

Ash melt tests

Oxide line blends

The class also gave me the opportunity to try out new glazes from the a few books I brought, thanks to the full access of chemicals at the ceramics studio. That's more than what I have at home, but I know now what else I should procure for my own studio. Notably a particularly useful barium frit, Ferro Frit fb284m, which alleviates the manipulation of the harmful barium carbonate.
A new glaze:
Pierre's strontium aqua

Oxblood glaze revisited
(cone 6 oxidation)
Hyperglaze turned out to be an invaluable tool in creating new recipes from unity formulas. Jordan, Richard's assistant for the week, tirelessly updated the sofware with our new creations, including pictures of the test tiles to match. I am already using the software to tweak some recipes that have been eluding me. Yes, you, cone 10 gas-fired glazes, I'll find a way to get you !

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Beware the dragon !

Another little ceramic art fair in Saint Chamas, with a definite flair for the Renaissance period. It was small, about 15 exhibits, with a mix of work from local ceramic artists, demonstrations, hands-on clay tables, and Renaissance fares like homemade meads (strong !) and foodstuff.
The piece de resistance was a dragon-shaped Raku kiln, complete with a smoking breath and baby dragons just hatched ! I missed the unloading, and it looked like they were reloading the belly of the beast. Momma dragon was particularly excited, blowing up smoke through her nostrils in contempt, while her brood was discovering their new world.

In the belly of the beast

Cute dragon babies

Raku work on display

Genevieve Doya
Genevieve is teaching pottery and selling her colorful
wares and jewelry at art fairs in the South of France.
Visit her website to see her latest work !

Wheel demo station

Jean Potier
Jean's work is specific to the Provence area:
colorful low-fire wares with various engobes
and occasionally some sgraffito work