Monday, July 30, 2007


A few years ago, my father read about the Theory of a Thousand Marbles. The idea is that you figure out how many Saturdays you have until you turn seventy-five, and place them in a jar. Every Saturday, you throw away a marble to remind yourself that the days are precious.

It was a lovely idea, but it didn't work out quite the way it was originally intended. First my youngest child asked for some of the more attractive marbles. Then some more got taken when both boys went through a phase where they played marbles. And the jar got spilled a few times. Obviously this idea was created by someone who lived a more orderly life than mine. So I moved the marbles into the studio. That's when I found out that marbles are useful things to have there.

I know they don't look like an indispensable ceramic tool. But they are! I use them all the time when I make molds.

While slipcast ceramic items are made in plaster molds, our master molds (the molds used to make the molds) are made of polyurethane rubber. The rubber itself is pretty rigid, but there are times when we want to reinforce that with plaster. Normally you cut "keys" into the back of the rubber. Then when the plaster is poured over the rubber, it fills the cuts, which holds the plaster in place. It works really well, unless you slip the knife.

Which is where the marbles come in. I found that if I set the marbles on the back of the curing rubber, they would sink in and create really nice keys.

The idea is to get them to sink just below their half-way point, so they create a knob-shaped recess. You have to put them in at just the right time, or you get marble-filled rubber - which isn't nearly as useful as marble-keyed rubber! But I've found that I prefer that risk to the one where I cut my fingers with an xacto.

So that is how I spend my Saturday marbles. I'm still not quite sure what that says about how I count my days, but it works for me.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Buccaneer Live donation

I finished the page for the Buccaneer Live donation, but I was mistaken in thinking that it was an auction. The show is holding a raffle for its donations. (I really should pay closer attention!)

In keeping with the show's theme, I named him Calico Jack. Now can you spot his other piratey trait?

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Not Really Dead...

No, I'm not dead. Like many people, I shut myself off from the outside world while I read the last Harry Potter book. I didn't want to risk seeing any spoilers!

But now that I am done, it's back to work. I should have the Buccaneer Live donation photographed and up on the website tomorrow. I plan to get photos of some of the custom glazes in my own cabinet at the same time so I can share them here. It's sad how few people have ever even seen them!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Kentucky and my "To Do List"

I tried for years to use various 'daytimer' books, hoping they would magically transform me into an organized person. For all my good intentions, they would end up unused - or lost!

So I started just writing everything down in cheap spiral notebooks. Each day I'd write the date at the top and just start listing whatever I could think of that needed doing that day. Work stuff, kid stuff, meeting times, shopping lists - it all went down in no particular order. If I remembered something later, it got added. Then when the task was done, I marked through it. That was my incentive, getting to slash through completed tasks with a brightly colored line!

Which brings me to why I am not making the usual trip to Kentucky this year. In years past, I'd be eating breakfast at Denny's this morning, enjoying bad food and worse service. I'd know which leaky, moldy room at the Holiday Inn North was mine for the weekend. I would still have my voice, but not for long. My mind would be filled with all things model horse, and I'd be surrounded by the people and things I like best. (Well, maybe not the moldy room.)

The only thing that has kept me from BreyerFest in the past has been weddings, but not this year. This year I stayed home to draw a few more lines through my "To Do List". I will miss seeing everyone, and the master list (the one I'm afraid to actually write down) is still terribly long, but I'm getting closer. Perhaps I'll be able to go to Lexington next year and celebrate that there is nothing to write in my notebook!

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A Pixie from my collection

This is a custom glazed Pixie I did while in Idaho a few months ago. Despite her attempts to look sweet with those dark eyes, don't let her fool you. I named her "Trouble" for good reason!

I'm am updating the front page of the website, and will put a full-body shot of her on there.

Monday, July 16, 2007


From the new mold - the first bisque!

Some Silliness

You are looking at the first - and most certainly the last - "original finish" run from Blackberry Lane. Yes, those are little ceramic road apples in a realistic green glaze.

Last year at BreyerFest, I offered to make the infamous "DaBar Poop" in china. I'm still not sure what possessed me. But here they are, fifty shiny piles (numbered, even!) on their way to Dave and Maggie Barkovitz. Maggie tells me they will be taking them to BreyerFest this week, though I was afraid to ask what they might be doing with them.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Test Pendants

This piece was originally intended to be a pin, but I've used her more often as a pendant. Perhaps that's because I like beading, and because I wear necklaces more often than I wear pins.

But more than anything, she is good for testing colors and techniques. That's what these two were - tests to see if I could find a way to combine realistic underglazes (on the horses) with art glazes (on the backgrounds) without any bleeding between the two. It worked, and I've since used that technique on the backgrounds of my medallions.

And now these are going out to two mailing list members in our first Customer Giveaway.


If I have figured this out correctly, this will be my first blog post. I thought a blog might be a fun way to share with my friends and customers what is happening in the studio. My hope is that it will let me communicate with everyone in a way that is a bit more visual – and perhaps more personal – than my business mailing list.

Think of it as dropping by to visit, only without any baking. (See, if more of you could just move to Charlotte, I wouldn’t have to muddle through learning new technologies. And you would have homemade cookies.)