Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Tiny Garden Mushrooms and Accents

After the Christmas and New Years Crazy Holiday time is over - these pieces will be available for purchasing... 
(I know I have been saying that for a while. But the pieces are being photographed and things are moving forward. And I am driving my husband crazy, and that alone is enough motivation to get these out there to you all).
So start to look in my Etsy shop and my Marsha Neal Studio Website in early to mid-January 2013.
(get on my mailing list for the details and head's up!)
Or add these to your Pinterest boards to remember to look for them soon...

In the last few years I have been creating, testing, thinking, re-making, re-testing glazes, and now I have begun to focus on the marketing of this new body of work.
Tiny Garden Mushroom Sculptures by Marsha Neal Studio
I want these tiny sculptures for your terrarium, house plant, or non-frozen garden to be seen in a particular way.
Not just as something that you can buy.
(Although - Please... DO buy them so I can pay bills and make more art...)

For me, they are more than that...
They have a story.
They are part of a journey.

They touch on many things from deep within.
Things that go back to childhood.
Texture detail from Mushroom or Textured Tendril by Marsha Neal Studio
They touch on obsessions with color and texture...

Texture Detail of Tiny Mushroom or Tendril by Marsha Neal Studio
They are meant to be part of daydreams and personal healing.

Texture and edge detail of Tiny Mushroom Sculpture by Marsha Neal Studio
They are something that you can stop and look at.

Tiny Porcelain Terrarium Tendrils by Marsha Neal Studio
Move them around in your environment (they have a small piece of wire fired into them that comes out from the bottom of the sculpture to insert into your medium of choice to help keep them standing up).

Think of them as little zen sculptures for your mind and table top gardens.

Water Nest Sculpture by Marsha Neal Studio with Nikki Thornburg Glass Bead.
They can be tucked into nooks where they can be discovered...

Bird Egg Nest by Marsha Neal Studio with Nikki Thornburg Glass Bead.
In my minds eye, I become child-like again with the joy and pleasure of these objects.
I am able to explore them by sight and feel.

Although, be aware - these are not intended to be used by children. They are porcelain and stoneware clay, that is covered by glaze (which is glass) and they have metal spikes coming out of the bottom. All of which can be sharp if broken or poked into you. So please be mindful of where these are when little ones are around (be aware of pets too - they love to get into trouble sometimes). 

So now that I have my new creations ready to make their way to you, how do I best do that?
I think I have packaging and shipping 80% figured out.
Pricing will be in line with all of my other work (never an easy thing to do, but once done - phew!)
I am easily excited and overwhelmed with all of these thoughts.
I am working through them, which seems to be taking forever...

Every one of these is unique although they are somewhat similar in the way they are made.
They are family for sure.
There are variations in styles and clay bodies used.
Variations in sizes - height and diameter (although all to be held in your hand easily).
And Colors are limitless (and every kiln firing producing different results adds to the natural variations within color palettes).
Sorting of Small Garden Sculptures into Colors by Marsha Neal Studio

And with that, I am off to put pen in hand to paper and get this communication and ease of ordering figured out.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Glaze Firing Peek!

Words cannot describe the events of yesterday. I tried to not watch the news or be on FaceBook a lot because every time, my heart was wrenched...

I took some time in the early afternoon to spend some quiet time in the studio as my glaze kiln cooled enough to open then unload. I did remember to take photos!

Above = before glaze firing.
Below = after (cone 5 which is @ 2230 degrees F)

I wanted to make some smaller, more tiny sized Terrarium sculpture pieces.

Perfect since I needed some meditation time (this is one of my new nature texture pendants from this firing - a test firing for them).

And as I am working, if distracted, accidents can happen (this wire had to be trimmed - way too long!).

Then finally the kiln was cool enough to unload...

There are many spiral texture textured discs in this load.

And some more tests of that new ocean/sea object spiral impressed plate.
I wanted more blue, so back to more tests...

Then, the bottom shelf. Above = before glaze firing. Below = after Cone 5 firing.

There were a few fatalities (with firing new shapes, with different weights, in new ways, there are always lessons to be learned!)

I want to get some of these petite pieces fired ASAP! Loving these glazes...

There are so many combinations and directions I can take with these.

The ideas for colors and use are overflowing... Now if only I had the time!

This is going to be so much fun moving forward with these!!!

Then it was time to get the kids from school. And now a weekend full of family time (maybe eeking in some glaze time and a small glaze firing) and parties and food making!

Off to start my day while the house sleeps in for a bit...

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Friday, December 14, 2012

Sneaking In Studio Time

The time between Thanksgiving & Chloe's birthday are done & we are about to enter the Christmas, Riley birthday & New Years crazy. This means kids will be at home & I need to get "work done now" and the studio ready for three of us to be down there having fun...

My jewelry making area needs a good sorting. I added a folding table to the area to move things so I can organize and make it user friendly.

Both kids have managed to get sick in the last week, but nothing too bad. Like on the edge of whatever bug is going around. They are fully back to normal now.

And so into their drawing...

Chloe had found some clay bead tests (I forgot I even made these) and asked to color them. Sure - why not?!

And I wanted to know what all tat silliness was about to get your feet painted and make impressions on paper. Chloe tickled the heck out of my feet as she painted mine. Riley's feet are just as big as hers! And there is a 2 year difference...

And I have been sneaking and glazing for orders & finally these terrarium sculptures!

These are samples of tests I have running the last couple of years as I have been working on these ideas and seeing them form into this new body of work.

These above are on the custom handmade kiln furniture I made to fire these so I could have the wire into the clay. Dry fitted as to not touch. Ready to go into the kiln:

I wonder how this firing will look. I am SO excited and nervous!

And here are more pieces that I have been glazing. That was a crazy packed shelf!

And the studio/basement office area - where we had ripped out the cat pee carpet - needed something on the floor. So I grabbed these foam mats from the store & put them down. Makes for a great floor to walk on & stand (mental note - use extras for packaging area!).

And as my glaze kiln is now cooling down, my smallest kiln is loaded with this bisque - more pieces to glaze soon!

I'll be posting pics of my glaze firing soon (usually post to my MarshaNealStudio FaceBook Page faster - first).

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Tuesday, December 4, 2012


We now enter the craziest time of the year for our family...
It starts at Thanksgiving and goes full speed ahead through January.
But it is great fun!

This time of the year is about celebrating and being with family & friends...

We made our first gingerbread house. From a kit. Very cool, but somehow lacking in smell that traditional gingerbread houses seem to have...

Dave has taken it upon himself to master balloon animals & shapes for two upcoming birthdays!

We have an almost 5 year old and almost 3 year old! And they are non-stop fun.

As I stole Sunday as a work day making items to fill orders from my Black Friday/Cyber Monday sale, Chloe came and hung out with me (I think she was into at least 5 games or projects in the few hours we spent there).

As my orders were drying I started to take look down my "to do" notes.
One of the top things I want to get out there are these terrarium sculptures.

So as I had the studio in chocolate clay mode, I worked on some assembly...

Then set them to dry...

The thought of more finger bowls hit me - love having them around as catch-small-things and just to look cool!

Lots and lots of porcelain into the kiln for a bisque - including some terrarium mushrooms!

Oh. And had to quick jump back to porcelain after clean up because I NEED to glaze these up with oxides and colored celadons...

Note to me:!make some skinnier holders to tumble bisque in for this skinny Mama Bear kiln (she is the middle size of my three).

And I have this much glazed up, waiting for a few other pieces from that bisque firing for orders. Have to do some quick Thermocouple repairs to the Papa Bear kiln so I can get it firing by tomorrow morning.

Will be posting about my preparations & ideas for Chloe's first "all friends from school" birthday party (I Love Pinterest for ideas!) as this week will be consumed with all kinds of crafting and food projects!

I am not sure if who is more excited - Chloe or me? I'm trying to not think about how this is her last birthday party with all of these friends that she has been with since she was in the infant room with them (4 years last August). We're going to let them have a blast and get to have some parent hang time. It will be great to chat outside school pick-up & drop off.

Before you know it - it will be January! Such a whirlwind...

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