Open Studios Holiday Sale

Well, I just moved, so I’ve been playing catch-up with just about everything, so I apologize forthe late notice of this. My studio mates & I are having an Holiday Sale at our Bonfils Studios downtown. The artiness occurs this Saturday, November 22 from 6pm to 10pm at 125 E. 12th St., KCMO 64105. (Google Map)

Our sister studio, pARTnership Place will also be having Open Studios that evening at the same time. They are about three blocks north (also on the google map above) of Bonfils if you wanted to check out more art.

Now, since we all like to look at pretty pictures, here are some images of some work I’ll have there…

Here’s one of the “Corals” from the Dreamscape Installation wired as a lamp.

A whole bunch of stuff…

Wall Vase – Podbabies

Wall Vase – I’d Hold That for You

Wall Vase – I’d Hold That for You (other side)

Open Studios Holiday Sale
@ Bonfils Artist Studios
Saturday, November 22, 6-10PM
125 E 12th St., KCMO 64105

Of One Form: finished works

Here are images of the individual wall vases/vessels from the Of One Form exhibition at The Central Exchange. The images aren’t spectacular as I was forced to use a flash. But here we go, in alphabetical order…



Berry Patch

Bubbly – SOLD

Crack – SOLD

Flock – unavailable


Molly (Ringwold)


stitching around the patch is real cotton weaving thread


Shelled Out

Splice – SOLD

Suited Up

Text – unavailable

The Field Rises – SOLD


Of One Form: the making of

So, I have been woefully negligent concerning the blog for quite a while. Mistake it not for laziness! I’ve produced some new sculpture for a show at The Central Exchange in downtown Kansas City and am trying to put together a few things for our Open Studio Holiday Sale this Saturday at the Bonfills. So I have a ton of images to post. So I’ll start with The Central Exchange.

“The Central Exchange is Kansas City’s premier organization providing leadership development opportunities for women. Founded in 1980, The Central Exchange provides high caliber programming on an ongoing basis, designed to develop leadership skills, foster professional and personal development and encourage community involvement. We serve as a venue to make valuable personal, community and business connections.”

I’m currently showing drawing and sculpture there. The sculpture is a series of wall-hanging vases / vessels I made specifically with The Central Exchange in mind. I took one of the pieces from the Dreamscapes installation, modified the mold and made about 25 castings. Each was then handfinished and decorated using a variety of techniques. I call it Of One Form, the idea being they are all from the same mold, but each unique. I’ll show some process images here and each of the finished pieces in the next post.

I made a new mold that had the slant of the vase built in. With my earlier version, I had to hand slice the top off, which was time-consuming and each one I did was different. This new mold makes them all relatively the same. So, I clamp this puppy together, lean it on something and pour slip (that I’ve previously poured through a strainer) right it.


I let the slip set for about 15 minutes. Then I pour the exces slip back in the bucket. Easy, peasy, Japaneasy.


There is always some handfinishing involved. Defects from the mold, such as air bubbles, need to be removed as well as the mold seams. The rim also has to be cleaned up and leveled. Still, the cleanup is significantly easier than my previous version.


After hand finishing, some pieces get bisque fired and others not. It depends on what type of technique I use for surface decoration. For most pieces, I used underglazes, which are more like colored slip than glazes. They come in pencil, watercolor, and paintlike forms. For example, if I want to draw on the clay, it must be fired first, else the pencil just scratches the unfired clay. I can paint or spray underglazes on the clay whether it has been fired or not. A clear glaze then must be applied over all underglazes.


More in progress works. The little jars are underglazes. The clear glaze is the big pink bottle. It’s pink so you can tell where you’ve covered the piece and then it fires to a clear gloss.


I sprayed the clear glaze on in a little spray booth. There were also a few other glazes that I used and some of those I could spray on as well.


And here are the wall vases all lined up, ready for their last firing.


In the next post, I’ll show all the finished pieces.

Dreamscapes Installation

Social vs. Solitude

Here are some images of my installation that just opened downtown. It will be visible from the street until October 17th. That’s a Third Friday, so I we’ll be having open studios around the corner that night as well. Thanks goes to my awesome artist friend Lacey Lewis and the one and only Forest, who were my “actors” for the opening.






(fun with glowsticks)___________________________________________________________



The ever-awesome Lacey Lewis



One of my favorites…

"Boley" really finished & Oooh, podbabies!

Okay, so I forgot I wanted to add a blue tinge to Boley, and there were some berry groupings that…just…bothered…me. So, here we are…

And here are more podbababies on their happy stands. These are drying out and will be bisque fired probably next week. I took a kiln load to my favorite potter, Rebecca Koop, last night for their first firing. Yay for progress.


Step by Step: Leaf Molds

Here’s a change from the more complicated two and three part molds I’ve been making. This is the easiest kind.
Here’s what I started out with. Whenever I’d mix up too much plaster, I’d hurriedly shape it into a mound I then later file and wet sand into shape. You can see them next to unfiled shapes below. Basically, all you do is make sure there are no undercuts and pour plaster on top of them. The little one is broken because I took this picture after I pried them out of their molds. After I made the molds, then I’m done with these plaster leaves.


So now I have the negative of the leaf. I simply pour the slip in and let it set for a bit. By blowing on the edge of the casting you can guage its thickness pretty easily. Then the excess is poured out.
I don’t usually set the castings in front of a fan to dry until they’ve set for a few days. I think I must have been running out of room. However, after I take the leaves out, I do put the molds in front of the fan to dry out the water that the mold sucked up from the slip.

Once the castings become more solid than liquid, they shrink slightly from drying and release themselves from their molds. Now the leaves get some handwork. I just trim and smooth here and there. Pretty easy.


Here are some leaves in various states of drying. I also poke a hole in the round edges of the leaves for stringing.

And here’s a small mock-up of how they will look in the installation. Of course, they’ll be glazed white and the strands will be much longer.

Now I’ve shown several moldmaking demonstrations one at a time, but this is usually all happening at the same time. The image below shows several different things going on.
I have molds that I’m done with in the background. Everything on the rack is sitting in front of a fan. There are freshly poured molds drying out. There are molds that need to dry out in between castings. There are plaster prototypes drying out so I can make molds from them. And then finally, there are the actually castings drying out so I can bisque fire them. So, yes, I stay busy.


Step by Step Mold for Multiple Castings

Since I need so many of my little “Podbabies” for the installation, casting them one at a time just isn’t feasible. So here I’m showing you the process of using castings from the initial single mold to create what I call a multi-mold. There’s probably an actual technical term, but ah…here we go.
So here’s the original podbaby mold, one of the first I made. I made a few castings from this, but the mold was a flawed design. Live and learn.

I’ve taken some of those castings and prepared the same setup for all the previous molds. 1.Building up a base with oil-clay 2.covering it with a smooth layer of water-based clay 3.including plastic tubing for pour & drain holes. This does take some time.

Here it is completely set up in the cottles. The little imprints are called “keys,” and they insure that the two pieces of the mold will register precisely with each other. It looks a bit slimy because it’s been coated in mold release. Not 100% necessary for clay on plaster, but I think it helps.

Here’s the first section of the mold after pouring plaster. Then I just flipped the whole thing over, remove all the clay, clean up the mold and set it back up in the cottles. Pour again and hazahh.

So here are the two halves completed and cleaned with water and vinegar with new castings in them.

This is how I actually cast with the mold. From the image above, you can see that there are holes for casting and draining. In the image below, the entire mold has been raised and the draining holes in the bottom have plastic tubes in them and are plugged with oil clay. When it’s ready to drain (about six minutes after I pour the slip), I just set the whole thing over my slip bucket and take the oil clay plugs off the tubes.

Each piece is then individually handworked and smoothed. I cut out the middle sections, and adjust the dip where they meet. I couldn’t create that dip in the mold itself because it would create an undercut and make it impossible to work with. In reading about it, it was difficult to understand how undercuts affected molds until I actually started doing it. Then it was, “Oh yeah. Okay. That doesn’t work.” Here is a podbaby on one of the stands I’ve been experimenting with. Now it’s just waiting to dry.

For reference, here’s my first drawing that I did of these little guys a couple of years ago.


Progress: Moldmaking Excitement

Okay, so I haven’t posted in a while, so I’m doing a few in quick succession here. I’ve made my first few molds in the past week, which has been messy and mildly successful with one decent failure. The first chapter in this project was the building of the prototypes. The finished versions here…


So, here is the second chapter: The Making of the Molds
I’m starting out with a simple egg mold for making more podbabies.

So here we go . . .

Here is the first mold attempt. The green stuff is an oil-based clay that I pack in the bottom of the clamped “cottle board” assembly. Then I add the prototype, in this case, simply a wood egg and pack clay up to its midpoint. Pour the plaster, let it set, undo the assembly and this is the result.

Here those two sections are separated.

And here is the plaster section with the egg back in the cottles. The crucial step here is to spray a mold release, in this case Pam. Yes, I mean the Pam the use in your kitchen. I asked around about mold release and people kept telling me to use Pam. Okay. Anyways, this step is crucial and I need to keep reminding myself of that, because I’ve forgotten it once (okay, twice).

Note the hunk of plaster in the upper right. Whenever I have a bit of extra plaster at the end of a pour, I use it to make a “hump mold.” I don’t make this stuff up. I’ve made a few in different sizes and I’ll end up using them for another stage of the installation.

Now to the semi-failed mold. I stopped taking pics once I realized this was a no-go. Now I wished I had kept taking them. The failures are interesting.

I tried to mold this horizontally to avoid having a drain hole in the bottom. However, like I said, the spraying of The Pam is essential. I forgot here and once I poured the plaster, could not get the thing out.

Sooooo…yeah. I went ahead and poured the second half since I thought I’d have to try again. Then I lovingly took a hammer and chisel to the big upper section so I could recover the prototype. The prototype had been rubbed down many times with oil soap so it created just enough of an oil layer that I could successful chip it out with minimal damage. I like the mold shape of the lower half and can think of a way to use it. So that’s why it’s a semi-failure. In any case, I’ve since figured out a better to mold it. I would be doing it right now, if it weren’t for the crazy weather keeping me home.

Whew. Congrats if you made it through all that.

Third Friday Open Studio, KC Star, Prototype Update

Well, this is kind of three posts in one. So, here we go:

#1: Don’t forget this is Third Friday, so Urban Culture Project sites are open 6-9. Of course, that includes the Bonfils Artist Studios, so I will be arting it up during that time. Stop by if you’re in the area!

Bonfils Artist Studios / 125 E. 12th St., KCMO
(corner of 12th & Grand, one bldg. west of the NAIA)

#2: I may have a small blurb and picture in this Sunday’s KC Star Arts section concerning an Inspiration Grant I was recently awarded from the KC Arts Fund. I haven’t really announced the grant yet, since there is an issue with the venue at the moment. It looks like the article is really going forward, but I’m counting it as certain until I see the thing. 🙂 So look for me this Sunday in the The Star!

#3 Progress, progress, progress
Here are some images of the work I did last weekend down at the farm. Being the girly girl I am, I asked for a bed extension accessory for my lathe as an early birthday present. I wouldn’t have been able to turn the plaster without it. Anyways, I was definitely scared that it wasn’t going to work, and while, of course, there are issues, it went as well as I could have hoped.

I know I promised a painting update, but I had to spend last Friday dealing with a car and its misbehaving alternator. So hopefully I can make some headway this Friday. And maybe get a new little one started….??