Wednesday, December 30, 2020

A day in the life of a bowl maker...

 Well, more like several days, but what the heck!  

So I've been making bowls for a number of years now... I've even lost track of how long, but it's at least 8 years or more I think.  I fell in love with the process right away, and have (hopefully) improved my skillset over the years so that I can turn out a pretty decent bowl or vessel these days.  I wish I had photos of some of my first bowls, but I think they got lost in the transfer to new computers over the years.  But here's one of my more recent ones, just in time for Valentine's Day:

So following this bowl, I decided to make my next one and video the process.  I'm trying to get more comfortable with video so I can record and share the process as I make a bowl, but I also hope to do more with the camera over the coming year(s) to expand my outreach to the crafting community.
I could go on and on about the various roadblocks I encountered trying to use a "knock off" camera my hubby bought online, but you would be sound asleep before you got halfway through!  Suffice it to say, we have ordered another camera and hope to get back to learning video next week.  Meanwhile, here are some pix of the finished bowl I was making while trying to video the process:
The finished front with beads covering some nasty stitching

Medallion and button covering the nasty stitching from adding the beads on front

Fabric circle covering the center where the exposed coil was showing through

I lost a little sleep trying to think of creative ways to "save" this disaster, and I'm pleased that it looks as good as it does now, 'cause it was nasty before I found ways to cover things up!  The last thing I did, which I don't have pix of is to carefully zigzag around the center dot to be sure it doesn't come off!  I glued one dot, but the glue bled through so that looked ugly.  I fused another on on top and used my tiny iron to heat the fusible webbing, but still didn't think it was on good enough.  

I took this shot before adding the medallion and center dot... and actually before I added the second bead on the front!  I think I need a nap...

Thursday, December 10, 2020

Studio tour and More!

My friend Jana is coaching me on how to "up my game" to increase interest in my work, so today I made a video to give my friends and customers a short tour of my studio space.  This was made totally on the fly, but I'm hoping it encourages me to use video as a good tool to share my work, process and thoughts going forward.  Grab a seat, your popcorn and soda!

 My Studio Tour

I can't believe it's been about 10 years since I posted anything on you tube!  Next year I hope to get back to doing demonstrations and tutorials, so stay tuned!

On another note, I recently opened a new shop on Etsy just to see how I would do there.  So far, no sales, but there are a lot more sellers there, so I am working to learn the ropes on how to get my work noticed.  

And I have decided to make a few changes to my branding in 2021:  First, a brand new Logo!

It may look a little colorless, but my plan is to have a couple of stamps made up that I can use for my hang tags, business cards, etc.  I really like the look of it... much more professional than the one I have used for years, and it is not limiting like my current one is.  I've gone beyond just tie-dye, so I need something that will be "me" on all my work!  And along those lines, I plan to change my domain name from to a bit longer, but it's my biz name, so it ties together.

But I'm not just focusing on the biz end of things!  Yesterday, I picked up some things to use as displays with my bowls when I photograph them, to give people an idea of how they can be put to use.  I started out recently using various purse items:

This is a practical display, but kind of "meh" as far as garnering any interest.

This is a totally decorative display, but might start giving the viewer some ideas

So far, this is my favorite... functional and decorative, and of course, colorful!

I also realized that I'm in need of more scarves to sell... one of my best selling items for Holiday gifts, so I pulled out some silk/rayon cut velvet fringed scarves I've had in my undyed inventory, and did a couple of dye batches the other day.  Here are a few:

I love the colors on this first one:  Orchid, Avocado and Golden Yellow.  They seem to really go with the season!  And I love Paisley - this one and the one below are the same pattern.  The one above is 14 x 72, the two below are 10 x 58.

This one is Burgundy, Moss Green and Golden Yellow... another great wintertime combination.

And this is the same Burgundy, Moss Green and Golden Yellow, but in a leaf design.  I'm so glad I remembered that I had these!

Okay, time to get off the computer - been spending way too many hours on it recently, and I think it's time to get back to the studio!  Happy Holidays to you all, and here's hoping that 2021 brings us all good health and harmony! 

Thursday, November 12, 2020

Full time bowl maker!

It's been awhile since I posted!  And other than a brief break from bowls to make a batch of Halloween masks for my friend Joyce, I've been pretty much in full-time bowl making since September, cranking out about 1 a day.  Most have gone to my friend Jana, the lovely lady I collaborate with on gift baskets, but also some that have gone to Arts Connection Gallery to have a full selection for holiday shoppers.  Here are some that I have made:
Poinsettia Christmas Bowl

Bowl with Wood Bead handles

Christmas bowl with medallion

Bowl with fused flower

Bowl with knot

We recently had our first snowstorm of the fall season, with very cold temps, but I didn't get any photos... too busy in the studio!  But it's definitely soup weather and layering is the dress mode of the day.  And our Son and Daughter in law were in town for a few days, so we had a nice visit while they were here.  
What's next?  Nothing new to report now, although I am hoping to find some time soon to veer off the bowl making tangent and maybe get time to clean house, and also plan on alternate creative activities to "refresh my palate" so to speak.  Every winter, I like to take a break from production and try new  things, and I'm leaning toward doing some surface design work, a little hand stitching, maybe get back into botanical printing and batik if I have the time.  So stay tuned, and maybe I'll have some new things to share soon!  
One last note - as you may know, my mainstay for over 20 years has been tie-dye.  Yesterday, I heard that one of my wall pieces, "Psychedelic" had sold!

Someone has added a bright spot to their lives, and it makes me happy to know it has a new home! 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Shifting gears a little... but not too much!

 As I mentioned in my last post, I've been making some coiled fabric bowls recently, and that carried forward to this post.  I have made some commission pieces, but also have started making some to bring to Arts Connection, and hopefully I will also have some to post on one of my e-commerce pages soon.  Here's one I finished today... if you have been following my blog for awhile, you will recall that I have a "thing" for Autumn Leaves, so each year for several years now, I make several for the season:

And I also love to make covered journals, which are a great gift item:

Some of these are used with scraps of fabric I've accumulated; one has a botanical print that I created last year, then stitched around some of the leaf imprints.  The last one is of a beautiful batik leaf print, combined with a strip of sprigged blue fabric I've had in my stash for at least 20 years!  I love making these, and hope it will keep journal writing alive for at least some budding writers!

On the weather front, we got a temporary reprieve from the unseasonably hot temperatures at least for a couple of days and nights!  A cold front came down from Canada and made me decide to make a big pot of 15 bean soup one night... enough for another dinner, and a couple of lunches!  

Having said all that, I will leave you with a giggle:

Stay safe, but don't forget to laugh!

Monday, August 31, 2020

Some new items I've been working on

 After "retiring" from production mask making earlier this month, I have finally found some time to work on other things which has been a lovely refresher for me.  I'm not into long-term projects, especially those that are repetitive... give me 7 or 8 ideas to chew on simultaneously, and I'm a happy camper!  So here's what I've been working on:

This is a commission bowl for a friend to give as a gift - she loved the autumn leaves on my regular autumn bowls, but wanted it in more of the Desert Sunset colors... gives it a totally different look!  So when I finished hers, I decided to make one to put in the gallery to see if anyone else liked the combination.

Someone on a facebook group I belong to posted a photo of bowls made by Crafty Patti (has a youtube video on how to make them)  and I fell in love with them!  They have no fabric covering the rope, and the painted wood beads (available on are a perfect focal point.  This one is sized to fit a flower pot that has a base of about 4", and I hope to find some artificial succulents I can put in the flower pot to make this a complete piece.  Fast, easy and IMHO, elegant!

This scarf has been a WIP for at least a couple of years!  It was a great project to pick up and crochet a few rows if I was sitting, chatting with friends or watching TV.  I love the soft, muted colors of the yarn... very unlike my normal "ALL COLOR, ALL THE TIME" mode, but I guess my palette has matured just a smidge.

Other than that, I have been doing the paperwork to reset the gallery for our next period, which starts tomorrow.  Sadly, we are losing a couple of artists who are not comfortable being in the gallery to work shifts do to Covid-19, but I'm hoping they will join us again when the virus has been conquered.  But we have some returning artists and a brand new artist coming in, so that will give our visitors new things to enjoy, an perhaps buy!  Once we get everyone set up I will take pictures to share... it's always a treat to see how the gallery looks when we are up and running, and we are able to add Wednesday to our days open this period... 5 days out of 7, that's progress!

Oh, and one more thing... Artists Coalition of Flagstaff has an e-commerce page that I am selling from since about June, and I have been blessed with several sales from the page so far... thanks to all who have browsed, and those who bought as well!  Here's the link if you haven't had a chance to check it out... we have several artists selling there, so it's worth a visit!

Friday, August 14, 2020

Milestone and more...

 As you will recall if you have been following my blog, somewhere in March, I began making face masks - first a batch to send to a friend who is a Nurse in a remote community on the Navajo reservation, then a few batches for a group in town that was making masks to donate to various front line groups that didn't have PPE, then I began making and selling some to friends, then my friend Joyce who sews professionally, asked if I would like to collaborate with her to make masks that would be sold at local truck stops and mini marts.  Five months and hundreds of masks later, I finally cranked out the last order today, to be delivered tomorrow.  I am FREE again!  That's the Milestone!

I actually made less in this order than I had planned... I think Mask fatigue hit and I miscounted, but I still got 35 done, so a nice finish to a long run!  I'm sure there are more masks in my future, but hopefully smaller orders here and there, not 50 a week!  I really do want to make other things!  Now I'm working to finish an order for a friend, who plans to give them as gifts.  Here's one:

The next bowl will be in pinks, reds & purples with matching autumn leaves... ready to begin tomorrow.  Then, something I have been wanting to get back into for awhile, just haven't had time.  All the fabric scraps I've accumulated forever are waiting to be used, and my first project will be making covered writing journals.  I'm really excited to work on these, and hope that will be my focus by next week.  Will post pix in a future post.

Meanwhile, on the gallery front, Arts Connection has expanded to 4 days a week this month, and we are working to get back to a 7 day schedule staring in September!  We've given the "new normal" - mask wearing and social distancing and hand sanitizer, oh MY - a trial since late June, and it's working.  The Flagstaff Mall, where we are located, requires everyone to wear masks, and we do too.  And we keep everything wiped down with disinfectant wipes to make sure our artists who work shifts are safe, as well as our shoppers.  So far, so good!  

Last but not least, I'm trying to gear up to catch up with neglected housework... hope to have it done before the first snow fall, if that tells you anything!  Other than a lick 'n a promise here and there, I've been wearing blinders for months, but my excuse (mask making) is no longer there, so I'm praying for motivation!  Anyone out there get that?  Betcha!  

Okay, time for a little break, then maybe I'll figure out something else to do until time to fix dinner.  Enjoy the rest of summer wherever you are, and keep fighting the good fight!  Make ART, it helps!

Wednesday, July 1, 2020

Masks, Bowls and Gallery

I've been busy since my last blog post in mid-May!  The burgeoning mask demand has kept my friend Joyce and me sewing long hours to try and keep up with the orders... we're trying to get out at least 100 a week, and they are snatched up from the truck stops and mini-marts where her sales rep is getting orders for them.  I actually managed to take pictures of a couple of batches of my side orders, to send to those who ordered them, but for the most part, I've been really focused on getting them done and out the door!  Here are a couple of recent batches:
These are for a friend who has a hair salon, to give to her clients who are children

A batch for a new customer who loves tie-dye.

Another new customer, for herself and her hubby.

On another front, my friend Jana has been keeping me busy making my coiled fabric bowls that she has been using in her lovely gift baskets, and has been having brisk sales, so that's keeping my sewing machine humming between mask orders!

Want to see more?  Here are some links to her website where she has them listed:

And then there is Arts Connection, which has been shut down since mid March.  We finally re-opened June 19th with about 20 artists offering their work.  The last time I was there, I totally forgot to bring my camera, so photos will be added to a future post.  

I don't know about you, but this is not how I thought I would be spending my time this year, but events drive our lives, and I have learned the importance of being flexible and adaptable, and always optimistic!  I know to a lot of folks, that may sound Pollyanna-ish, but it's who I am.  I am of the mind that life is too short to be walking around with a dark cloud hanging over my head... I am much more inclined to find the beauty and hope in every situation, so if you find that odd or crazy, so be it!  I'm having fun, staying busy and avoiding all the negativity that seems to permeate so many areas these days!  

I will leave you with this meme, which made me belly-laugh when I saw it .  I hope it brings a smile to your face and a laugh from deep inside!

Happy Independence Day, and stay safe!