finnish designer maria jauhiainen's graceful lehti (leaf in finnish) tray looks so delicate...like it might float to the ground if a strong gust of wind blew through the window. but we know what they say about looks. this etched brass tray is quite durable and flexible too - it bends! the organic inspiration for the almost weightless trays? the skeletal remains of a leaf she found while putting the trash out. i'm going to have to put the trash out more often - maybe my absentee muse will make an appearance...


on a wing and a prayer

"I have studied art at Birmingham Southern College, architecture at Auburn University and ceramics at The Penland School of Crafts. This training has given me the inspiration to create work that I find both symbolic and delightful." Holden McCurry

i was in the klay gallery last week and happened upon a charming arrangement of small, richly textured ceramic towers, complete with muted colors and architectural details. they looked like lidded vessels, so i picked one up and tried to take the lid off. no luck. i was surprised to see that what looked like a lid...wasn't. exploring a little further, i found that the little vessels had no bottoms either! the reason? inside each tower, alabama ceramist holden mccurry has hidden a paper for the owner to write a prayer or a wish. i've got my wish ready...can you guess what it is?


off the wall

"When I sit at my table in front of a blank shade or my lighted easel with a chandelier, all thoughts leave me. With no sense of time or place, I just begin to paint. Often, I am the one most surprised when I see the finished glass. I feel that I have given myself to a greater power. I really did not do the painting but, instead, just allowed my higher consciousness to flow." Ulla Darni

ulla darni's wall sconces are created using the ancient style of painting referred to as 'reverse-glass painting'. darni paints her designs on one side of the glass knowing that they will be viewed from the other side. to do this, she paints what appears closest to the viewer (the details and highlights) first rather than last. the image is backwards while painting, because the paint is applied on the backside of the glass. when she finishes painting, the glass is turned over and viewed through the other side.

darni's chandeliers, her signature pieces, are owned by royalty and celebrities alike. beautiful designs, bold use of color. light up your life.



"Our everyday life is a compound of private, social and political events. Some are insignificant; some are hard to shake off, leaving a deep mark. Consciously and subconsciously I draw my inspiration from those events and channel them into my work. My work is my way to connect with the world. I’ve always had trouble expressing myself with words. My language is clay. I create words on the potters’-wheel, and then combine and shape my sentences by hand. " Lilach Lotan

lilach lotan pottery is the seamlessly blended work of team-in-life partners lilach & ron lotan.

this body of work has a roughness i like and the puzzle bottle fit my mood today: puzzled by life and the rough edges of a world gone crazy.

toby goldsmith's been quite a dear, sending along links like this...thanks so much toby.


bygone era

"I create forms with many components, often recreating objects and placing them out of context. For example, I frequently use a tap as a mug handle or a teapot lid. Their surfaces make reference to utilitarian wares from industrial ceramic history, including mocha ware, Cornish ware and blue and white porcelain." Virginia Graham

quirky, familiar, comfortable, precious, ordinary. all words that come to mind when i look at virginia graham's sweet, ceramic vessels. comfy, yes. nostalgic too. i'll take six please.



"I work primarily in crochet, but it's not what most people expect to see. I invented my own technique for working with this medium by crocheting on top of trapunto quilting." Irene C. Reed

teapot? handbag? teapot? handbag? ok, i get it now: irene c. reed's richly detailed forms are teapot shaped handbags. she quilts the bags and uses cotton and metallic threads in her trapunto details. for those who aren't 'in the know', trapunto is a quilting technique that produces a raised surface on the quilt. reed's innovative adaptation is simply brilliant. my name for it? trapuncro.


the band

"I glue rubber bands together in a spiral and form different lacy structures, stretching the elastic at certain points." Elodie Blanchard

elodie blanchard glues rubber bands together. lots of them. what do you get when you glue oodles of rubber bands together? basketlike bowls. they aren't fancy, but they are fun. she also makes lamps and vases with the bands. see her work at elasticco.com


playful design

"I draw from a belief that modernism does not mean minimalism, that contemporary does not forsake tradition, and that technology does not abandon people and senses." Tord Boontje

dutch designer tord boontje is a player. no, not THAT kind of player - he's a family man. a daddy even. but the man combines a highly developed sense of play with impeccable design skills to create wondrous, playful, colorful, artful items for house and home. the laser cut, metal floral fancies above are actually jar covers - place over any old jar and you have an instant fabulous vase. i think i'm in love!

boontje doesn't stop there - his die-cut, tyvek (yes, the stuff they use to make envelopes) floral lamps and garlands are enchanting and he recently wowed the design world by transforming empty wine bottles into stylish glassware- don't miss it.


curiosity rules

"I am an artist who delights in creating forms that celebrate the texture and color dimensions of both traditional and non-traditional materials and techniques." Colin Schleeh

curiosity gets the best of canadian artist colin schleeh. curious to see how thin he could make a vessel that would hold water, his impossibly thin wood vases are the result. simple. elegant. unadorned. flexible and paper thin, he waterproofs each piece with clear resin. while you are on his site, don't miss the bowls he fashions from 35 mm film - equally beautiful and unusual.


paper taper

"My lamps are decorative, mood-enhancing and are perfect as an accent in a dark hallway or neglected part of a room. I prefer lower wattages for a soft ambient light that showcases the details of the distinctive papers." Mark Porter

mark porter is an art-director-turned-artist. his uplifting, hip, wood and hand-made paper lamps make me smile. scandinavian meets asian meets craftsman, if you know what i mean. porter's business cards read: "cool paper lamps". truth in advertising? i think so.



"The idea is to make objects that look as though they might be the kind of things that faeries would own and use" Fiona Gall

fiona gall specializes in sculptural wirework: hanging goblets, wall sconces, candelabras and chandeliers like the one pictured above. her work has a cobwebby, ethereal quality to it. seems just.out.of.reach. - like the faerie world she loves so much. she often incorporates reclaimed glass in her wireforms and though it might take a few moments to figure out how to navigate her website, it has much to offer. delicate, gossamer vessels of light...



"The starting point for each piece of work is a single piece of metal. I either add or remove any elements. I simply have to work with what is there. I find my inspiration in the restrictive work process itself and the challenge to stretch its limitations." Ane Christensen

ane christensen's metal bowls are ming boggling. constructed from a single sheet of copper or steel, she creates them by following the strict set of self-imposed rules that have become her trademark. the two shredded bowls pictured here are fruit bowls - part of a negative space series that explores optical illusions...seems to be a theme this week.


optical illusion

"I want my work to look old. I love the colour palette I can achieve in copper and brass and gilding metal" Jenifer Wall

jenifer wall creates striking works of art in metal. i had a difficult time deciding which of her pieces to highlight. the unusual bowls and platters? or the evening bags that look like they were formed over a rock? i finally settled on the eyeglass cases because i've never seen eyeglass cases that were so lovely and inviting. reminescent of stones. some as smooth and comforting as worry stones.

the coastline is her inspiration and her description of this craggy muse made me wish i was there: "pebbles and stones from different beaches; rows of battered and worn-down breakwaters, encrusted with tiny stones; crumbling cliffs with slipping layers of strata; a line of quartz running through dark stone." i can see it, can you?



"The silk vessels I create are both transparent and translucent which hold mysteries. They have been transforming into a new sculptural form, one more akin to the human body, another container with its own mysteries." Kiyomi Iwata

kiyomi iwata sculpts luxurious, translucent silk containers that appear wispy and delicate, but as we know looks are often deceiving. reinforcing the silk with a cobweb-like labyrnth of wire threads, the weightless containers are strong and resilient, not unlike the artist herself. many of the stitched seams and openings are intentionally torn, adding to the mysterious nature of these secret-keepers...i wonder what long-held secrets have escaped?

many thanks to alison lee of craftcast for the link to kiyomi's work.


sea of change

pat kazi's fish-o-war teapot

pat kazi is inspired by fairy tales. fairy tales and mythology. fairy tales, mythology and history. her porcelain teapots and mixed media sculptures are fantastical. some intriguing, others provocative, and all perfectly captivating storytellers.

there will be no fairy tale ending to the war we are fighting today. it has changed our
history and created it's own mythology, but now that the elections are behind us, we can at least hope that there will be a sea of change ahead.



"By parodying sumptuous upholstery and rich textured fabrics which even when old and sagging suggest comfort and luxury, I use porcelain to make functional pieces for the home such as jugs, vases and lamp bases and bowls." Sarah Grove

sarah grove's translucent porcelain vessels remind me of the deep cushions of my grandmother's couch - the plush fabric of old, stuffed upholstery. her teapots, vases, mugs, jars are also deceiving. they look like i could squoosh them...sink in and stay awhile. sarah speaks about the contrast between the "soft pillow forms of the fabric and the cold, unyeilding nature of the porcelain" here. mmmmm....well done.



"I believe that everyone is capable of changing or touching someone’s life. I feel that everyone deserves a chance, respect and the opportunity to be included in a society. The women of Cia do Lacre and 100 Dimensão might think that they have gotten something from us at ESCAMA, but I think the contrary. I have witnessed, first hand, what makes someone strong, hopeful and resilient. All of that is in their faces, in their everyday lives. I am the one that have gotten something from them!" Socorro Leal Schwiderski

andy krumholz, socorro leal schwiderski and eric pedersen are three friends who had an idea, and they ran with it. as owners of escama, they partner with brazilian women's cooperatives to manufacture handbags from recycled materials. fashionable and functional, the bags are hand crocheted using recycled aluminum pop-tops. the handbag pictured above was made with over 700 pop tops. we hope that this novel concept becomes mainstream very soon. incredible.


defining shirk

"The landscape and my response to it have strongly influenced my holloware for the last 15 years. In each piece I try to create the feeling of sensuousness, strangeness, and vitality that I find in the natural world. I enjoy the challenge of physically manipulating metal, of constructing the three dimensional object and then manipulating its mood with color to suit my intention." Helen Shirk

shirk: to avoid work or duty. a definition that doesn't even remotely fit renowned san diego university art professor helen shirk. shirk hammers copper into intriguing holloware vessels. inspired by plant forms and life cycles, she uses prismacolor pencils to color the pod like vessels, adding patina as a finishing touch. now retired, she taught at sdu for more than thirty years, most recently as the head of the jewelry/metals program. shirk created a body of work that has garnered her numerous awards including a fulbright grant and two national endowment for the arts grants.

time for a new definition. shirk: the ability to create spectacular vessels that celebrate nature. yes, this.


singing in the rain

"Through methods of weaving, waxing, trapping, embedding and stitching I create unusual materials, which are then developed into garments and accessories. I often utilise plastics, papers and fabrics into my pieces. The work is non-functional and aims to encourage people to speculate on the nature of value. I enjoy the idea of working with disposable organic materials that are transient in nature, imbuing them with worth and creating something intriguing and of great beauty." Jennifer Collier

i suppose i couldn't actually sing in the rain wearing a pair of these galoshes, but they are awfully adorable. jennifer collier's paper shoes are creative and thought provoking. the boots above are made from tea bags. tea bags. she makes shoes from sheet music, maps, book pages and vintage dress making patterns. oh, and speaking of dresses, be sure to look at the one made from used postage stamps. you go girl!



"My grandmother had a dress shop in New Orleans. My favorite place was the attic of the store, where the alterations were done. To a young child, the sewing machines, scraps and threads of all colors, hooks, eyes and all types of scissors were mysterious, rich and tempting. After my grandmother died most of the sewing accessories were mine. In addition to the visual inspiration they provide, I use some of these tools when constructing my porcelain sculptures and incorporate some of the threads, fabrics and buttons in the finished work." Laura Peery

her grandmother's passion for dressmaking offered laura peery more than just sewing lessons. the countless hours she spent in her grandmother's shop helped peery form a lifelong fascination with fabric. today she fabricates whimsical teapots and shoes by cutting porcelain clay from patterns, pressing fabric into the clay to capture delicate texture, draping the clay and adding seam lines - resulting in teapots that look like they have been carefully sewn together. the finishing touch? colorful polymer clay flowers that dot the surface of these joyful pots.



“I was always interested in working with natural materials. I was raised on a farm in Idaho, so I guess you could say I grew up surrounded by future possibilities. My focus on working with alternative materials was to process them so that I could retain the natural beauty and texture of the material.” Jan Hopkins

jan hopkins makes art. she is also raising a family of four. and she runs her husband’s business. it makes me tired just thinking about the logistics. this master multitasker has an eye for unusual natural materials, transforming discarded citrus peels, sturgeon skins and lotus seed pod tops into sculptural baskets that often take on the human form. an innovative approach to basket making that draws on well developed traditional basketry skills. notice the emphasis i put on the words innovative and multitasker - it is well deserved.