Artisans to note

I have a crazy affinity for teapots. I began a collection some time ago but never took it too seriously. Truthfully, I don’t have room to take any collection too seriously. My sister on the other hand...really, some day I’m going to devote blog entries for an entire month to my sisters varied and growing collections. But back to teapots. I was prowling the pages of Etsy trying to decide what to get my Mom for Christmas and I came across this fabulous hand thrown teapot:

Long since sold..as well it should be. But I keep haunting this potters site to see what I can see and there is usually something new and wonderful to behold. The shop is 'MudStuffing' and the artist is Keith Phillips who it turns out not only throws wicked tea pots but could, if he wanted to, sew up the tea cosy as well.
He agreed to be a feature here on 'Fire and Glass' ..Thanks Keith!
When and how did you first become interested in being a potter?
I started helping a friend in their ceramic studio. I was mainly loading and firing the kiln, but also experimented working with clay. She sold me her old kiln for $300 and I started making stuff at home.

Your beautiful paintings/reproductions also show the love of color and lines that you see in your clay work. What came first... the painting or the pottery? I was an art major in school but not for pottery. I majored in printmaking, so drawing and painting came first. In fact I tend to sketch out pottery forms first. What I am really drawn to is form, organic textures and colors. I find if the form has great lines and shape, the glaze will take care of itself. It's the unexpected bits that give me most joy.

What are your biggest obstacles regarding your art and what have you done to overcome them (it). Time. I am currently working on making some handmade time. Once I've perfected the process I intend to sell it on Etsy. Seriously, I am very protective over my time in the studio. It's important to me to be working every day to keep creative. If I don't, I get stagnant and it takes a few days to get back in the groove.
What is it that you enjoy most about the process?
The entire process itself is what I like. There's not really any part I don't enjoy accept cleaning up.

It can be difficult to work at home. Do you have a separate studio that you can go to or do you designate part of your home to your work. Yes it can be difficult! I used to have a little 6'x6' back mud room where I had a wheel, kiln and it was awful, people coming and going and interrupting. We now own our own home (finally!) and I have a huge seperate 4 car garage that I work in. It's a dream.

Do you schedule your day?…tell us about that. If Gina (wife) is home that day, I like having coffee with her and talking about ideas and stuff before getting to work. I'm most creative in the mornings so I focus on what I can early on. Most days I throw first thing. I hand wedge all my clay that I'll be throwing, then I'll sit and throw pots for a few hours. Next I'll trim what I threw the day before. By that time creative juices are gone and I'll photograph, list, make call, marketing, business stuff etc.

You mentioned that you’re a sketch book person and draw your designs out first. Are you a fan of ‘happy accidents’ or do you strive for an exact replica of your drawn out design.
I would love to be skillful at making "happy accidents". They are the best! Usually my pieces that are well "planned" don't turn out as planned. So I have come to accept that and make sure that I am flexible.

Is there anything else about yourself or your work that you feel you would like us to know? I love finding out how people are creative in other fields besides art. I love learning about engineers, scientists, teachers, business owners, etc, who took a chance on doing something wrong or different just for the sake of creative something new.
I'm also obsessed with old classic sailboats.


Feel free to pop over and take a look at more of Keith Phillips work at MudStuffing Porcelain Pottery


and remember that tea cosy I was talking about?



oh this is going to be fun!

If you know about Etsy then you know that there is a plethora of talented artisans who work hard at what they do. I'm really floored by some of the outstanding talent and meticulous work that I see in this fairly young venue and Ive decided that I'm going to start featuring other artisans here on the first of every month..so I'm on the hunt for someone to feature this coming week. There's something for you all to wait with bated breath for! ;)

If you're an artist who makes your living with your hands (and it needn't just be jewelry related) be it metalwork, lampwork, pmc, polymer clay, ceramic beads, handspun wool..woodwork, soap! and you're interested in a feature with pics and links please do contact me (debatsweetwaterdesignsdotca) I love a good project!


Cabs...there's never one around when you need one!

Cabochons...kab-uh-shon..I just like saying the word. They're designed without a hole and with a flat back so design possiblities can be very creative. Pendants, yes..wired or bezel set. Interesting on fabric as well. Think of a unique button closure for a funky bag. They'd make great earrings or cufflinks as well. Men need to wear those more, don't you think?

What else would you do with these...


~Robert Genn 'The Atmosphere at ChatterBox Falls'

I did watercolor in a past life. Someday I'll dig them out again but right now I'm entangled and enraptured with glass rods and the torch.
One of my favorite painters is Robert Genn. His works are full of light and color and he just happens to come from my old stomping grounds of Victoria, BC. (He's an islander, he's got to be one of the good guys.)

His work is impressionistic if you feel a need to slot something, and I hate doing that...but it's a style I've always admired. It's almost as though seen through severely myopic eyes, as I'm sure many of those old masters were. All you have are shape and light and color poured into and beside each other, but somehow those simple elements magically merge to become a satisfying image. If you stand close you become too aware of the process..you have to back up and feel it as well as see it.

A little like life that way.

He writes a weekly newsletter..twice a week actually. He's a busy guy. His words are as thought provoking as are his paintings. I'm posting a link to an archived article.. 'Creativity and mental Illness'. ...most interesting..


While I'm waiting...

I was never very good at waiting. I guess I’m impatient by nature, although I went fishing once with my younger brother auspiciously to learn to cast, but the fact was that I wanted to tan my Irish white legs. Is there any paler skin than that of the Irish? I remember as a child going to the beach with my family and being so completely devasted by my fathers white body in comparison to his face and arms that I would have died right there in the sand if any of my friends had shown up.
But I was talking about patience, not the color of my skin which I no longer mind. My brother deemed me a very patient person on the afternoon that he taught me to cast a fishing line. Still..I don’t like waiting.
What I've been waiting on lately is for the domain for my website to be transferred from one host to another and we’re now going into the second week. Is this normal? Who knows. I’ve emailed them and of course they've assured me that this is well within the realms of reason. What else would they say.

It’s really not all that important or I would be doing more about it than typing futile words of complaint on a blog. On a scale this is a very tiny annoyance.
I hope your day is going well. ♥


the oh my gosh glories of glass..

I know. I am impassioned with the stuff and my name is Glass Nerd, I freely admit it.
I'm enthralled with the silver laden glasses that have stormed the lampwork industry lately.
Double Helix's Psyche, Terra, Gaia...and Ron Jr's Chagall, Monet..and oh so many many more! Those aren't the only companies that are producing the beauteous stuff and those aren't even the very latest to come out; they're just the ones I've tried. Moocho Moola is needed so I've been reticent in buying. I was very graciously gifted with much of what I do have and was so joyous the day that package came in the mail that I embarrassed even myself...ask my family. At some point they discreetly left the room while I tried to compose myself.
These are some of the latest focal beads from my studio and are up on
Ebay and Etsy at the moment.