Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Turn the Other Cheek

Here is another mask that was "made in Hungary". While there, this concept was large in my mind since it felt like such a part of the Hungarian experience. The double sided face presents two different "cheeks": one set round and the other square ( the "normal" and the stoic). If I can turn the other cheek, perhaps the other side can better withstand whatever is dished out........

I learned a lot about how things work while making and assembling this mask! After I'd made all the parts and fired and finished them, I found that it didn't go together quite as I had planned. That darned clay shrinkage! Eventually, I worked out a solution and I'm pleased with the results.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Mental Block

How's this for a Monday mask?! I don't really have a mental block right now but sometimes on Monday, I'm a little slow out of the starting gate. This mask is from a few years ago and I stumbled upon it while looking through all my pics. For some reason, the theme resonated .... so, here it is for you to contemplate. At times, even the smallest blockages can feel like a physical weight. Now, with Spring just ahead, is a good time to shed all of the things that hold you down.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Catching a Glimpse of the Dream

Here's a mask from 2005 and I wish I'd written some notes on what I was thinking about when I made it! It must be about those moments just before waking from a dream...you know how it is: you wake up and can only remember those disjointed bits and pieces. I wonder what would happen if I could remember a dream in its entirety. Perhaps it's a good thing I can't!

Well, the first load of new test pieces is in the kiln. I've got quite a few in the works - I need to get some new stuff on Etsy (http://unmasked.etsy.com) in the hopes of selling Something!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

On Top of the World

This is a mask that was inspired by a young woman I was working across the table from at a ceramics workshop in South Korea. I was captivated by her face - especially her cheeks and eyes and though I don't normally do this (sculpt from a live model), decided I had to capture her image. She also influenced the finishing and title of the piece since her name is Go Sun Re. The idea of sun rays suggested the sky/growth theme and the woman's sparkling personality, the top of the world!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


While working on this piece I was contemplating growth and beginnings. I've used the tree as metaphor so many times now that it has become an essential part of my artistic vocabulary. Originally I had intended to have only the driftwood pieces as arms....but after attaching them, I felt that something more was needed. Thank goodness for putty epoxy! I was able to sculpt the small hands and blend them into the arms - Voila!

This small sculpture has been in the works for some time now. I finally finished it a few weeks ago in time for the Contemporary Crafts show. It was the first thing I sold and, now that its gone, I'm thinking about the piece and its own journey....

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

In Sheep's Clothing

In a way, all of my masks are about disguises and subterfuge: this one in particular. I was thinking about appearances and how deceptive they can be. It seems one must be ever vigilant to find what is beneath the facade. And yes, I think we all have them (facades, that is).

This is another just finished piece - the newest addition to the Devil's family tree. Now I'll need to make another Angel themed mask for balance and harmony in the studio!

Monday, March 23, 2009

It's All About the Journey

This is an idea that I firmly believe and the falling leaf sums it up perfectly in my mind. We're all travelers and, like it or not, there is an end to the journey. Personally, I choose to make as many side trips as possible, filling the journey with all the knowledge, enjoyment and goodness that I can. When my travels are finished, I know that I will have "grokked" them to the fullest!

Since I don't have another show until July, I'm working on lots of experiments in the studio. Hopefully soon I'll have the groundwork laid for some fine new work!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Going to Sit in the Corner...

Here's a piece I really relate to. Of course, it's about punishment: the corner can be anywhere, including the mind and the hat is a symbol of the Dunce. After being out in the public last week, and making all kinds of verbal faux pas, here I am in a corner of my studio with the dunce cap firmly in place. I'm just about ready to forgive myself and get on with talking to me, myself and I. At least I won't offend any of them!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Between Comedy and Tragedy

Isn't that where most of life happens? Here again, I'm confounded by the space between opposites. Sometimes, I think about how much easier life would be if I knew which side of the fence I was on at any one moment. I guess that is the nature of opposites and, at times, the difference is a fine line!

I've been making a number of smaller pieces lately and this is one of them (6 1/2" x 4"). The economy being what it is has pushed me into doing some more "affordable" work. I'm sure hoping that things improve soon so that I can work on some more complex masks....not that I've stopped - it's just that they're not the main focus right now.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

With Open Arms

This mask is almost fresh from the fire - it had its public debut at the showing last weekend. I had been wanting to make some "hopeful" pieces to express some of the high hopes that are gradually spreading throughout the land. It seems like a good idea to focus on the posititive and to welcome change with open arms!
Of course, the next step for me is to explore the idea a bit further - perhaps adding a touch of irony .... I'm already planning a similar piece with arms hinged at the elbows.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


I love making articulated pieces - for one thing, it gives the mask multiple looks. Another good thing is the sense of playfulness that moving parts inspire. At the show this weekend this mask saw quite a bit of action (although I didn't sell it)! The idea behind it is fairly simple: I was thinking about all the things I tune out or ignore and the mental "blinders" I wear. I suppose this is a mechanism to prevent overstimulation or mental overload! I do tend to be a very straightforward, looking ahead type of person - perhaps because I'm so easily distracted.

Well, the show in San Francisco was a little better than I expected. Does that mean the economy is improving?!

Thursday, March 12, 2009


This mask is about blending in...it's something I've never been very good at! In social situations, I usually think how nice it would be to have some sort of camouflage suit. Since that's unlikely, I'm becoming a little better at disguising my words and thoughts so as to appear normal. Working alone in the studio for 30 years has definitely taken its toll on me.

Today, I'm packing up for the show this weekend and at the same time, I'll be working on my mental camouflage.......

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Before I started my "leaf as metaphor" series, I did an extensive amount of testing and experimentation with glazes, colors and techniques. Shown here are three of these glaze tests. If you've visited my blog before, you may have noticed the "glaze test" slide show at the right. I'm mentioning it now as a shameless promotion of my Etsy site: http://unmasked.etsy.com . Ya know, in between shows, I still need to eat and pay my bills!
Speaking of shows, I'll be at Fort Mason in San Francisco this weekend for the Contemporary Crafts show. So, if you're in the neighborhood, please stop by and see my work up close and personal!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Birdgirl's Offering

As I've mentioned before, Birdgirl and her adventures are one of my ongoing themes. Although this mask is a few years old, I'm still drawn to the elegance of the image and the message it implies. I've been thinking of offerings lately...the thoughts and feelings that I share and my own limitations. I wish to be more like Birdgirl - soaring in the heights and descending to bestow small gifts.

I put a lot of my hopes dreams and fears into my work and, besides being therapeutic, the masks are my offerings.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Secret Garden

This is a piece that I made while in Japan at the Institute of Ceramic Studies in 2002. Before I went there I had only worked with earthenware clay and, to my surprise, it didn't exist in Japan (or at least in Shigaraki!). Thus began my transition into the new territory of stoneware and porcelain...and as a result, glaze making.

I consider this mask to be among the "ground breakers" of the secret garden that was revealed to me. Fortunately, those experiments have led to a garden that is continually blooming!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Sticks and Stones...

Here's another bit of wisdom from my mother - and boy, has it come in handy! Children can be cruel, but so can adults. If this adage is not coming from my lips, it's on my mind when I hear unkind words. I know I'm not perfect (and wouldn't want to be) so I can accept the slings and arrows that are hurled at me and, most of the time, they bounce right off! The cruelties that "stick" come from those we love.

While writing this, I thought of another mask to make: "A Grain of Salt". I'll add that to my list of things to do....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

If You Can't Say Something Nice....

This is a phrase I used to hear often as a child ... guess I was a mean little girl! My mother was full of these sayings, totting them out as appropriate, and they have invaded my conscience. It is quite interesting to me that I can forget where I left my keys a moment ago, but can remember so many things from childhood. The imprint from early words have left their mark and, for the most part, it's a good thing.

This mask found a new home a few years ago and all that remains is a photographic record. I'm reminded that I haven't kept track of where my works have gone and wonder now if I should - Oh, well...it may be a bit late!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Animal Tendencies

Being an animal lover has led me to contemplate my own animal instincts. I know they exist, but I can't always put my finger on them. Since I believe that we have evolved from the animal kingdom, I think that we must have inherited quite a lot of genetic material from them. And then, when I look at groups of people interacting - I can't help but notice the herding instincts, the dominant male/female, the mating displays and so many more behaviors that we have in common.

Hey, let's all gather round the watering hole!

Well, I have been a bit remiss with the blog this past week. It was difficult to find the time while I was on the road, but I'm baaaack!