Friday, September 28, 2007

Pumpkin Pie

Why are you so comforting? Is it because you only appear twice a year following a wonderful meal with a loving family? Is it because you are shared while laughter floats above and children crawl below? You are a harbinger of the holidays - a time of joy, giving, and love. You are the goodbye to autumn, the hello to winter. Your orange pays tribute to the leaves now browning and crumbling under the trees. Your white cream whipped to perfection welcomes the coming snows. Today, I pay tribute to you, pumpkin pie, with a mug that awaits your arrival.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Striped Tea Bowl

I had a definite vision for this little tea bowl and I was bowled over when it came out of the kiln exactly as I imagined it.

It is glazed in our bamboo glaze and our teal blue. Where they overlap, a lovely jade green appears. I am so pleased my lines are parallel and the glazes stayed put. Usually when I overlap glazes, I want the glaze to run. but in this case I was hoping for clean lines.

I don't test all my glaze combinations. I know - I should be ashamed, but I really enjoy this risky part of ceramics.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Building Teapots

Alex and I have been preparing all month for the Teapot Challenge that the Etsy Mud Team is holding next week. Twenty-three team members are participating in the contest and the competition is stiff.

Teapots are some of the most challenging functional pieces to make. The body of the pot, the spout, and the lid are all usually thrown as separate pieces and then assembled. The handle is usually pulled or extruded and then added. So, you have to have an assemblage of parts that will hopefully works together and you have to slowly dry the pot so that those pieces don't crack and fall back off.

Another difficulty that potters have with teapots, and the reason so few regularly make them, is the dribbling spout. So often, a gorgeous teapot comes out of the kiln and whenever it is poured, a good amount of tea runs down the belly of the pot. It is the potter's bane.

My teapot goes into the kiln tonight, but Alex's is ready and up for sale. The Bamboo Forest Teapot is a somewhat traditional teapot with loads of details that make it something special. To see what makes this teapot special, just check out the listing on Etsy.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Fresh From The Kiln

Every kiln load brings about great pleasure, and usually sadness, too. There is always something that didn't turn out right or whose glaze isn't what you expected. It is the nature of pottery, but it can be harsh. These are all from the same kiln load and all bringers of pleasure. I won't too often show the disappointments here, at least not until I've lived with them a while. I don't know if other mediums are such harsh masters. Do other artists frequently have to trash their work? I suppose if I stopped experimenting I would not have theses disappointments, but I am not willing to give up the joy of an experiment that wields something amazing.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Etsy's Front Page!

It went by way to fast, but we were so excited to land on the front page of etsy yesterday! Alex's newest drum got over 100 views while it was up and so many people were surprised to learn that etsy has wonderful handmade musical instruments.

The only sad thing - one of those items is a cheap import! Ugh. Sort of sullied the whole event.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Potter's Sink Trap

This type of sink trap is easy to build and effective if you are sending clay or silt down your drains. Many potters use a trap similar to this in concept that uses a 3 or 5 gallon bucket, but the sturdy rectangular plastic boxes are much easier to get a good seal on. This is mucky stuff and you don't want your set up to leak. If you have questions, leave a comment and we'll try to help.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Tagged! The Random 8 Meme

I was feeling blue and wondering why no one was commenting on my latest blog post when I noticed a beloved comment! It was from True Mirage and I had been tagged to participate in the Random 8 Meme. Thanks, True Mirage!

Here are the rules:

1. Link to your tagger and post these rules.
2. List eight (8) random facts about yourself.
3. Tag eight people at the end of your post and list their names (linking to them).
4. Let them know they’ve been tagged by leaving them a comment on their blogs.

8 Random LaPella Art Facts:

1. We own a paint-your-own ceramics shop.
2. We met and fell in love in a paint-your-own ceramics shop.
3. Lisa throws on the wheel backwards, but can throw the "right" way.
4. Alex wants to hike the entire Appalachian Trail. Lisa would like to go, too.
5. We took 15 people on our honeymoon with us, to a cabin with no running water.
6. We sometimes set up our sewing machines at opposite ends of the dining room table to quilt and sew.
7. The International Storytelling Festival is our favorite yearly event.
8. Lisa collects salt and pepper shakers.

In my head, we are much more exciting than that.

The people I am tagging are: Deborah Pottery, Lurearts Ceramics, Harrilu, MAKUstudio, Colorado Art Studio, Meringue, Block Party Press, and LazyT Crochet.

Perfect Day!

We spent our Labor Day at the family cabin.
We caught salamanders and crawdads and played in the creek.
We spent time with family learning the old ways of doing things.
We caught a little snake who felt like the finest velvet.
We played pick up sticks on the front porch with cousins.
We sat around the fire talking and roasting hot dogs and marshmallows.
We also walked barefoot on soft deep moss.
We worked clearing paths.
We took loads of pictures.
We laughed, played, and loved spending time together.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Back Yard Inspiration

When I took my first ceramics class and it came time to glaze my pieces, I was so disappointed with the drab colors are matte surfaces. I wanted bold colors and shiny glazes! Within a semester, I was in love with the earthly browns and the variations on the surface of the pots. My pieces felt equally at home in the kitchen as in nature. My coffee cups were as welcome on the front porch of a mountain cabin as in a New York apartment.

Now I have the experience and choice to have bright and shiny if I want it, but I still tend to steer clear of it. My favorite glazes are all browns and golden browns, soft green and blues. I tend toward a peaceful muted palette on my pots. I allow myself any whim that passes, but overwhelmingly, my pots are the soothing sort, not the jarring sort.

I would, however, love a glaze that mimicked the skin of a watermelon, in colors and in texture. Not everything earthy is brown after all! And if I could capture the charcoal gray and teal blue on that butterfly, I would be inspired beyond measure.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Concoction Cups and More

If you're thinking pottery needs to be fun and take itself a little less seriously, you need to check out the etsy potter with the shop named Ceramica Botanica. Most of the works are One of a Kind and so incredibly imaginative. From concoction cups to salt and pepper shakers, snake mugs to fly bowls, you'll find many things to add beauty and fun to your life in this shop.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Clay Collage

I've been playing with layering clay in a way that imitates collage. This is first piece out of the kiln that uses that technique. I love the depth and contrast of this piece. It gives me such a peaceful feeling.

It began months ago with the carving a a cylindrical bamboo stamp. I rolled out a thick coil of clay and let it harden to leather hard, carved in the pattern repeat, and then fired it so I can use it over and over for years.

I also carved the raven stamp using a similar technique, but the raven is carved into the end of the cylinder instead of around it. The raven stamp is my newest stamp and I think it will be a favorite.

So the piece is assembled from two pieces of clay that are rolled and stamp, cut or torn. They are joined then fired. Glaze is carefully applied and the piece is returned to the kiln. I could not decide whether this piece should be a magnet, brooch or pendant, so I will let a buyer decide.