Monday, December 29, 2014

Clearance Sale!

So, for the first time ever, I'm doing a year-end clearance sale in the ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store

Everything in the shop is 25% off if you use coupon code YEAREND2014 at checkout. I need to clear space for the new things I'll be making once my shoulder is healed, and this is a great way to go about it.

Here are a few of the things on sale:
The coupon is only valid until December 31st, so hurry over to my shop and take something home for yourself! Happy shopping!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Belated Thank You!

The Shadow Manor blog (aka The Art of Darkness) hosts this wonderful tradition: Secret Santa Can Suck It! (My assignee was Gothic Garden. Read that post here.) I try to sign up every year, because it allows me to spend inordinate amounts of imaginary money on imaginary gifts for other bloggers, in the spirit of the Season.

This year, I was assigned to xJane from the Mind on Fire blog. It's clear, she read my Dreamer post, because I got all manner of virtual baking equipment, classes, and magazines! I find this particularly interesting, since I had a fleeting thought to apply for a job over at Great Harvest once my shoulder is healed and I have clearance from my doctor.

Thanks so much, xJane! I am simply delighted with my gifts!

For the full post of my virtual gifts, click here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Maze

The Stanley Hotel. Inspiration for Stephen King's fantastic book, The Shining. Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining took the horror one step further by creating the iconic hedge maze on screen.

Now, the Stanley is offering people a chance to create the maze:
The Stanley Maze Comes To LifeThe Stanley Hotel public Hedge Maze Design Contest The historic Stanley Hotel is excited to announce a public competition to design a 61,500 sq. ft. hedge maze inspired by Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining (1980).
The contest will attract designers, both amateur and professional, from around the world who will have an opportunity to put their work and name on permanent display at the iconic Stanley Hotel in Estes Park, Colorado, which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors a year.
The Maze will serve as an homage to the film, which was itself inspired by author Stephen King’s experience at The Stanley Hotel. It also will commemorate the 20 year anniversary of the current ownership of the hotel, which began May 1st, 1994.
“There are few hotels in the world that share a history and story as unique as that of the Stanley Hotel,” said John W. Cullen, owner of the property. “I am thrilled to share this special moment in my life and the hotel’s history. We have built this place together over the years and I'm excited to invite everyone to be a part of its legacy through this special design contest.”
In true Colorado spirit, the hedge maze will be comprised of 1,600 to 2,000 Alpine Currant hedge bushes and will be a prominent feature on the hotel’s picturesque front lawn. A placard with the contest winner’s name will be placed at the site of the maze.
The ribbon-cutting for the maze will take place on the opening night of the 3rd annual Stanley Film Festival on April 30th, 2015.

The winning design will be chosen by a special panel of Estes Park residents, Stanley Hotel employees and film festival staff. The contest winner will have their name placed on a recognition placard in the center of the maze.

Aspiring designers and Stanley Hotel enthusiasts scroll below for contest and submission details. The deadline for submissions is January 31, 2015.
The Stanley Maze Design Contest Instructions

• Designs are restricted to the use of hedge and path only.• The maze should begin and end at the points indicated by arrows in the template.• The maze should be drawn inside the orange space in the center of the template. The maze will cover an area of 61500 square feet for the front lawn.( view the Maze example link below for reference)• The size of the hedge and width of the path should be equal to those shown in the key of the template.• Designs should be layered over the template provided.• Designs should submitted by midnight on 1/31/15.• All files should be submitted in PDF or EPS format via the email addressstanleymaze@stanleyhotel.com• All submissions email should include full name, street and email addresses and phone number of the contestant.
View the Maze example
Download the template
Template.eps OR Template.PDF

For more question on the contest please contact
Jeremy Spates
jspates@stanleyhotel.comHistory and Architecture Manager1-970-577-4106- See more at: http://www.stanleyhotel.com/Themaze#sthash.2o5bHzGr.dpuf
I'm assuming the human popsicle is not required...

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Last Minute Gifts: Thug Kitchen

Aside from buying your last-minute gifts from ShellHawk's Creations, (hint, hint), people with a sense of humor and who are absolutely not sensitive to bad language ( I really mean it!) should consider ambling over to Amazon to pick up a copy of Thug Kitchen's cookbook, Eat Like You Give a F*ck.

Thug Kitchen started out as a Tumblr blog, sharing vegan recipes liberally salted with, um, salty language. The authors kept their anonymity for years, but were finally revealed to be-- *gasp*--a white couple living in Hollywood, which to many was more offensive than the language they used on their blog. There's been a big controversy about this, which you can read about here, should you wish.

In any case, I look at this as a vegan cookbook with some great recipes and a quirky delivery, and I've enjoyed the blog for a year or so, too. I can certainly understand the uproar around it, but you, gentle reader, can make your own mind up about it.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Dreamer

Over the years, I've had to admit that I'm a dreamer. I blame my reading habits. And my movie habits, too come to think of it...
For instance, every time I read Sunshine, by Robin McKinley, I dream of becoming a baker (in addition to being a very special kind of heroine, who always does the right thing at the right time.), getting up early every morning and creating incredibly addicting confections for an adoring crowd of regulars. Hey, I like baking, so why not, right?

Of course, reading her books The Blue Sword and The Hero and the Crown make me want to be the plucky heroine who winds up saving--and subsequently wisely ruling--her country. But I digress...

War for the Oaks makes me want to go back to my 80s years to play guitar and be the lead singer in a band. Dealing with the Queen of Air and Darkness would be a bonus. Of course, it also feeds into my Jessica Rabbit fantasy of becoming an incredibly well-drawn torch singer. (P.S. I am also considering a career as a Ninja, klutziness notwithstanding.)

I know you have some of these fantasies, too. Admit it!

Yesterday, I watched a documentary on Amazon, called, Advanced Style. It's about a group of over-60 women living in New York who still have an incredible sense of style, completely ignoring the youth-worship of American fashion magazines.

Ari Seth Cohen had started the concept of Advanced Style as a blog, but it eventually became a book and the documentary, both of the same name.

Of course, it makes me want to become an elderly fashion maven.

Yes, a few of the women are a bit nutty, but they still hold a certain amount of grace and class. They remind me a bit of my heroine, Beatrice Wood. They've hit that age where their hormones are no longer enslaving them, their children don't need them so much, and they pretty much no longer care what people think of them. They've hit that magical age, when women can be unapologetically themselves.

Speaking of which, I've recently realized (again) that I am not the person I wish to be. That I need to make some changes-and I want to make them. I used to have far more of a spiritual practice than I do now, and I felt a little bit more balanced when I did. If you've been reading this blog for any amount of time, you'll recognize balance as my main challenge. 

I tend to be a person whose speeds are "full-throttle" and "off." Not a whole lot of in-betweens.

So I picked up a set of CDs to help myself along.
Pema Chodron is a Buddhist nun, older, and with a great sense of humor. She's definitely seen a lot of life, and since she's American, she has an ability to connect with Westerners' daily life challenges and put them in a larger perspective. I'm looking forward to listening to these talks over and over again.

Maybe we can call it an early New Year's Resolution.

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Secret Santa Can Suck It! 2014

This year, The Art of Darkness blog has continued the Secret Santa Can Suck It! tradition. I volunteered and got the Goth Gardening blog as my Secret giftee.

So what do you give a goth gardener? A book on how to create the goth-iest garden of them all: the carnivorous plant garden!

So my gift to the Goth Gardener is the revised edition of The Savage Garden: Cultivating Carnivorous Plants.

Plus, an imaginary and limitless gift certificate for carnivorous plants from California Carnivores and a virtual, all expense paid trip to the Conservatory of Flowers in San Francisco, California, to see their beautiful gardens and, of course, their carnivorous plant display!

And, just because it's Christmas, I'll throw in another virtual, all-expense paid trip to see the Organization for Bat Conservation's display at the Orlando Science Center, as well as the book, The Bat Scientists.

Merry Christmas, Goth Gardening!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Guess What I Got For Christmas?

A new shoulder! :)

Which is why this will be a brief post; typing with one hand stinks!
From what I can remember the doctor telling me through my anesthesia-soaked brain, the surgery went well, overall. Just before we went into surgery, he told me that depending how thing looked once he got inside, I could expect about 70% of---mobility? I think? To which I said I really needed 100%, of course. I told him about the international shows I'd already been in, and the submission deadlines I would be missing this year because of my shoulder.

And really, why should I allow 70% be my expectation? Why not 100%? I mean, if this guy, Arthur, can walk again, after the doctors told him he wouldn't, why should I settle for 70%?

I shouldn't, right?

I don't remember most of what he told me after the surgery, but I do know that while he was in there, he cleaned out some "debris" having to do with my arthritis, which is all to the good. Since I seem to have inherited my mother's genetics--and she had a shoulder replacement several years ago--I'm glad that he was able to do something about the arthritis. I really am not looking forward to having my very own shoulder replacement anytime soon, let me tell you!

I did get a bunch of stuff taken care of before my surgery, not the least of which was shipping this custom 20 ounce mug off to its new home!
As usual, I had a couple of minor train wrecks in the kiln when I opened it, but I don't think they're anything which can't be repaired.

And hey, if you want to get some presents for folks, here's my plug for my shop, ShellHawk's Creations: Buy gifts from me! Ornaments, plates, a teapot, mugs! And if you would do me the service of passing word along, I'd be grateful!

Friday, December 5, 2014

God Bless Us, Every One!

 A hastily made tombstone (letters to be filled in later) and the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come, courtesy of Robert and Stacy over at Necrotic Creations. I gave them the skull, the hands, and the sheets, all of which had been hanging around the Garage of Doom for a long time, and they made the Ghost. Unfortunately, he toppled in the first couple of minutes, taking a header into a boulder in my yard and cracking a chunk of his forehead. 

Fortunately, we can apply haunter's law #1: no one will see it in the dark and from twenty feet away!
I've wanted to do this for years. The neighbors love it! 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

News

Getting ready for glazing!
It's been a week since Thanksgiving and I can't believe how fast the time has gone by! I've been prepping the house for my shoulder surgery and getting loose ends tied up. And by loose ends, I mean getting one final load of ware glazed and fired. The kiln is still cooling. I may be able to open it tomorrow!

I'm also trying to clear out my collection of ceramic ball ornaments, so do stop by the ShellHawk's Creations shop if you're looking for Secret Santa/ornament exchange/hostess gifts! I only have four Jack ornaments left, and have decided I won't be making any more of them, so if you've wanted them, now is the time!

I also have more traditional ornaments, all ceramic and tougher than your typical glass ornaments, plus Christmas plates.
Thanks, too for following along on my adventures and being so supportive. It's much appreciated!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

From my house to yours, a very happy Thanksgiving, filled with toothy smiles and wet kisses!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

One With Nature

More beautiful sculpture by Giuseppe Agnello here.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

More Christmas

I've been getting Christmas items into the shop a little at a time, figuring they're not making people happy, sitting wrapped in their bins with no one to look at them!
All of them are hand-glazed and food-safe. And so pretty!
I've marked priced down, too, so you're going to be in for some good deals!

ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

New in the Shop

 Christmas has come to the shop! I've posted a bunch of ornaments, including the last of the Jack ornaments I will probably ever do.
 I also have other ceramic ornaments available!
Since they're all ceramic, they're tougher than the glass ones you get at the store, and the color stays true.

More at the ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Quick Fix

I spent most of yesterday cleaning and reorganizing after the Hallowe'en season, and took some time to get into the studio and start to get that back into shape. It was a task too-long neglected because of time constraints and my injury, so it felt good to get in there and start to set things to rights.

One of the issues I have in my studio is that of space. I have glaze and clay reclamation buckets just like any potter does, and these take up floor space. Lifting heavy buckets to put them on a shelf and out of the way is not the best thing for me to do, but having them in the way no matter where I put them on the floor was getting pretty ridiculous, too. If I stuck them by the kilns and away from my cabinet doors, I invariably had to get to something in that area. Put them in front of the doors and I will guarantee that within half a day, I'd have to lift them out of the way to get at what I needed. Every so often, I wash down my floors to keep the dust down, and carrying them outside in order to clear the floor was something I'd have to get Mr. ShellHawk to do. 

I hate imposing on him like that.

So I was reading an article in one of my clay magazines about how someone had a similar issue. He made what was essentially a round platform, cut to be a bit wider than a five gallon bucket, put a rim around the top so the bucket doesn't just slide off, and stuck castors on the bottom.

Genius. Simple genius.

I have a neighbor who's handy and would probably make this for me, but fortunately for him, I was getting a few things at Lowe's and saw an even simpler solution: rolling plant stands. I looked at them and thought they'd be perfect, but ran over and grabbed a five gallon bucket to be sure it would fit right. Score!
It worked perfectly. Cleaning yesterday was so much easier! I could just roll things out of the way! Hurrah!

Seriously, it doesn't take much to make me happy.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Oh, LOOK! Shiny Things!

Look at all those beautiful carts full of cool stuff!

"They're not distractions, they're explorations into other techniques."


I find myself saying this to myself, and often. I'm not buying it though, because I know myself and how easily I fall (who am I kidding? I dive) into rabbit holes!

I am currently in love with several potters' work. Stephen Pearce, an Irish potter whose work we saw when we were in Ireland this year, is one. I love how he uses wax resist to create his designs! The contrast between his glaze and the bare clay is wonderful! I also have shop envy, because he has a beautiful store and work space on one property in Shanagarry. I include only a couple of pictures of his workspace, as it's actually several large spaces set aside for different purposes.  
I love the light in his spaces, too! It's so bright and cheerful!

But the point of this is how much I enjoy what he's done to the clay surface to bring out the best in the shape of the form. It's deceptively simple, which shows, in my opinion, the master potter at work. Yes, intricate patterns are wonderful, and there's a huge "wow!" factor to them, since even the least educated of viewers can see that there's a tremendous amount of work and skill involved in such a complex decoration.

When I see Stephen Pearce's work, I am convinced I need to play with wax resist (and other resist) techniques. And of course, I need to plan to get my own building in the country, of course! (It's just a bonus that I found an old graveyard right next door to his shop. Maybe I'll get lucky with that, too!)

Then, there's Gary Jackson's work.
Endlessly colorful, intricately stamped and then soda fired, most often. I love the forms he makes, and I love that he continues to come up with new stamps all the time, so that his work is varied in texture. His glazes "break" in just the right spots, which, when you formulate your own glazes, is a big deal. Or it is to me, who has not made her own glazes as of yet. (It's on the list. Commercial glazes are expensive!) 
So of course, whenever I look at Gary's work, well only stamping/soda firing will do. I simply must do it!

And then, there's Doug Fitch and Hannah McAndrew and their beautiful slipware pottery.
How could I not be interested in the techniques they use? I am completely sucked in! Their designs are gorgeous! Their lines are loose and flowing, not stiff. And I love that they post videos of snippets of their work time.
The kicker for me, of course is that they fire in a wood-firing kiln. Makes my heart flutter!

There are others, of course. You all know I'm in love with Shoji Hamada's work, and his buddy's, Bernard Leach. Simon Leach, Bernard's grandson, keeps up the family trade, and has some wonderful things to add to the craft.

I love them all, and want to do it all.

Focus, I keep telling myself. Just focus.

Of course, now that my shoulder is messed up and I need to get in for surgery, throwing pots may be off the table on a permanent basis. I certainly hope not, and I'm keeping a positive thought that everything will heal properly after the surgery and I'll be fine, but there is that niggling worry in the back of my mind that I won't get to master anything in pottery, and that I may have to leave clay behind, forever. 

Probably not. I'll likely have to adjust the size of my work and the hardness of my clay, and the positioning of my body when I work. I also need to get back to the gym and take better care of myself, although in my defense, I no sooner healed from my foot surgeries than I had this injury.

Well. I think I'll go out to the studio and get a few things cleaned up and organized. Maybe throw a cup or two, just to keep in practice...

Monday, November 10, 2014

Moving Right Along...

I say every year that once Hallowe'en is over, it's a greased slide kind of ride to the New Year (even though for those of the Pagan persuasion, Hallowe'en is New Year's!). Everyone gets busier and busier, and the inevitable "Have you gotten your shopping done, yet?" question is asked. 

Someone asked me yesterday, to which I honestly replied, "I haven't even thought about it!" 

Heck, I still have Hallowe'en decorations to put away! My excuse is that I need help to put away the stragglers, since I'm not supposed to be lifting anything with my bum shoulder. (More on that in a minute.)

But, since I'm a giver, I have managed to get some of my ornaments into the ShellHawk's Creations Etsy store. I have a limited number of Hallowe'en-themed ornaments which will be going in this week, plus some ornament dessert dishes and a few serving plates, too.

Please buy them! :)

In other news, it turns out I need to have surgery on my shoulder to repair the tear I have. Can I tell you how thrilled I wasn't to hear that delightful news? I'm told it's a three-month recovery and it can be done arthroscopically, so it's not as bad a time as when I got my feet done this time last year and earlier this year. I just worry that I won't be able to go back to throwing.

Of course, in celebration of knowing what's wrong and knowing I'll be going in for surgery, I'm going to do some throwing to replace the product I've sold this year. I potentially have a studio assistant (I need to give him a call this week!) to get some of the harder physical labor done around the studio before I go in for surgery, which will be a huge help! I have clay to be reclaimed and some plaster bats to be mixed and poured (no, they're not the kind of bat with wings!), plus a few other odd jobs. I just need to take it easy and listen to my body where making things is concerned, and not go overboard.

Well, onward with the week, eh?
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