Tuesday, November 1, 2011


During our trip my Grandma and I made a stop at what I now consider to be that happiest place on earth - Legoland! Imagine cities and castles and a jungle safari all made from Lego. There was an airport replica, complete with moving airplanes and transport trucks, and the harbour in Copenhagen complete with moving boats. There was even a replica of Amsterdam which had working canal bridges which raised and lowered as boats needed to pass. It was so super cool - I think the 'builders' - the people who dream up and build the Lego exhibits may just have the best jobs ever.

These boats actually move!

This is the city of Skagen in the northern part of Denmark.

Amsterdam and its canals.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Otherwise known as the International Ceramic Research Centre in Denmark... I was lucky enough to visit their facility during my trip and it was an incredible place.The studio was huge and there were a large number of electric kilns plus a number of kilns outside including several wood-fire kilns and a cross-draft kiln.

Here's what they say about themselves on their website:

About GuldagergaardGuldagergaard is an international ceramic research center for development of ceramic art, craft and design. International artists and designers come here for studio residencies, workshops and symposiums focusing on contemporary themes.

Our Residency Program
Our residency program offers artists, designers and craftsmen the possibility of working together, thereby increasing artistic development, professional experience and network. The program combines an international atmosphere and wide professional dialogue within a concentrated work period, with the exchange of knowledge and research into materials, techniques and ideas.

Guldagergaard offers accommodation, studio space, technical staff, equipment and a variety of larger electric, gas and wood fired kilns.

To read more visit their website:
International Ceramic Reserch Centre

This is the residence.
One of the pieces being worked on in the studio.

A piece in the current exhibition in the gallery.
Another piece in the current exhibition.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Home Sweet Home!

I'm back home... after more than two weeks spent traveling around Denmark with my 83 year old Grandma. We had a wonderful time and I feel fortunate that I was able to share this experience with her.

This trip (for me) was about helping my Grandma see her country once more and reconnect with her family. She and my Grandpa were both born there, as were my Dad and Uncle. They immigrated to Alberta when my Dad was just three years old and visited their homeland many times throughout the years. The last time my Grandma went was more than 20 years ago and she soon realized a lot had changed since the last time she saw Denmark.

I found Denmark to be a very friendly, very charming little country. It is diverse both its landscape and its people - ultra-cosmopolitan in the larger cities, and quietly rural outside of the major centres. It has a rich history full of vikings and castles, and is easily recognizable as a leader in modern design.

In my relatively short time there I was able to experience all of these and much, much more. I also had the added benefit of meeting many people from my Danish family tree and learning more about my Danish roots.

Amalienborg Slotsplads (the Queen's Castle) in Copenhagen.

Nyhavn Street and Canal in Copenhagen.

Monday, August 15, 2011

What is it about Walter?

I take photos of Walter all the time. There's something about him - his grumpy innocence maybe - that I feel must be captured. This afternoon he was hanging out on the couch - his head resting on his hand, with his tongue sandwiched in the middle. And yes I know, his fingernails are horribly long. If he didn't try to tear my arm off every time I cut them them he might get them clipped more often. Oh, and that crud on his nose? Dried hamburger from his breakfast. If he didn't try to tear my arm off whenever I try to clean his nose it might get done more often.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Saskatoon... part deux!

There was an actual reason for us to visit Saskatoon last weekend - although the free dinner was almost worth the trip on it's own. Saskatoon was hosting a water sports festival called Wake-Ride, and as part of the festival bands were booked to play during the evening hours. On Friday night Foam Lake (a fantastic band from Saskatoon, and our new best friends http://foamlakeband.com/), The Dudes and Broken Social Scene played. A pretty great line-up, and well worth the 5 hour drive.

The show was very intimate (to say the least) so the view was good from everywhere, but our new best friends from Foam Lake invited us to watch Broken Social Scene from back stage. It was pretty amazing to see such a great band play from such close range. That, the dragonflies and the friendly people of Saskatoon made it a perfect night.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Saskatoon... Welcome to the Promised Land!

My dear husband and I took a quick trip the Saskatoon this past weekend. This was my first visit to Saskatoon and I was pleasantly surprised by how beautiful the city is. Rows and rows of well-kept historic houses, a lovely downtown located beside an even more lovely river valley, capped off with a miniature Whyte Ave-type street called Broadway.

One of the first things I noticed when we arrived was Saskatoon's lack of blood sucking mosquitos. After weeks of being eaten alive in Edmonton it came as a welcome reprieve - but I couldn't understand how Saskatoon had been spared from the little vampires. Until the moment when I looked to the sky and saw an army of giant blue dragonflies - zipping around and eating all the mosquitos! It was fantastic! I started asking local people where all their dragonflies came from and I was told by one person that the City of Saskatoon actually farms dragonflies for the purpose of mosquito control. What? Really? Brilliant! It's so smart, so simple and so eco-friendly. Once I confirm this as truth I will be in contact with my own municipality and urge them to do the same.

I've strayed from my original point though. On Broadway there is a restaurant / pub called Lydia's. We went in hoping for a burger and a beer and what we got was a beer that came with a FREE burger and fries. Crazy! No mosquitos AND a free dinner? Saskatoon - I love you!

Friday, July 8, 2011

A Fond Farewell... Living Vicariously

Will and Kate left Canada earlier today after spending over a week in our fair land, and three of those days in our very province! While they were in Alberta I could feel their Royal presence, and how I longed to meet them. What would I say? How about, "It's so lovely to have you visit, I really hope you have enjoyed your stay." Or maybe something more like "I love your wardrobe Kate, and if I wasn't already married I would buy a copy of your wedding dress."

Anyway, that's not the real story. The real story is that while I was not lucky enough to enjoy a Royal encounter myself, my husband was. It happened yesterday at the airport in Calgary. While he was there he got wind that the Royals would soon be landing after their private day spent in the mountains. With some stealthy maneuvering (how he got past security will not be revealed here) he was able to position himself in the same area as the news reporters and cameras. From there he had the perfect view of Will and Kate as their helicopter landed and they set about their meet-and-greets with the various dignitaries who were on hand. Like everyone else my dear husband was watching with intrigue mixed with apprehension wondering if Kate's lightweight yellow skirt would be swept by the wind and reveal her Royal undies.

Then, as their limo turned to whisk them away to their next Royal engagement it happened. In a short, yet meaningful moment my husband caught Kate's eye through the window of the limo and gave her a smile and a wave, which was then returned by Her Royal Highness. Sigh. At least I can live vicariously through him!

There she is, sending her beautiful smile and a wave to my dear husband.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Art House Co-op sketchbook

I finally got the email from the Art House Co-op yesterday - my sketchbook has been scanned! I worked on my sketchbook until the very last day I could, so I didn't have time to scan my drawings before sending them away. Since then my little sketchbook has been touring the States - it was in San Fransisco in June and is heading to Chicago in July. I know this sounds nerdy- but I think people have maybe even been looking at my book - because the cover looks like it's had wear. Could the wear have been caused by people sliding my book off the shelf?? Maybe! Either that or the book that sits in front of mine is popular keeps getting pulled off the shelf, scuffing the cover of mine in the process. Ha! Ha!

I've been wanting to do more image transfers on my pottery, but haven't been able to because I haven't had my drawings - until now. Yay! Here's the link to my Art House Co-op profile and from there you can view the entire sketchbook:


Saturday, June 18, 2011

Summer garden

Summer arrives in just a few days and the garden is in bloom! The lilacs are almost finished but the irises are out in full - they smell so sweet and wonderful! The peonies should be out next week - if it ever stops raining and the sun is once again allowed to shine.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Camping with Walter

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post, and my last post as also about Walter. He's so great in photos, and I swear every time I take a picture his tongue dangles out just a little bit more.

We went camping this past weekend and Walter came along. He did pretty good, considering we woke up to snow on Saturday. His main concern was that his hamburger dinners and steak treats followed him into the woods, which they did. Here's a couple of shots of him sitting next to the fire, catching a few winks.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


Here's Walter and Maxwell during their Easter visit. They really are best friends. Forever.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

More new pots

These pots were created using stencils and underglaze - another new technique that I learned from Cathy Terepocki. I love the nostalgic look of these - they make me think of the little doilies that my Grandma has around her house.

Monday, April 25, 2011


This (extra) long weekend allowed me the luxury of firing the kiln twice - a bisque fire on Friday and a glaze fire on Sunday. I fired the first group of pots that I was inspired to make after taking the image transfer workshop, and with successful end products I am able to see with more clarity my new direction in pottery.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Sneak peek - monoprints

This is my first crack at image transfer. These drawings were transfered using Cathy Terepocki's monoprint transfer technique - a technique that is surprisingly easy to do. I haven't fired the pots yet - they will be bisque fired next weekend - but already I love the results!! The drawings are from my sketchbook project for the Art House Co-op.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Whiskey Jugs

I finally finished those whiskey jugs for my brothers. I had such a hard time deciding on what glaze to use because whiskey jugs are not really my style. I settled on a glaze called Texture Cascade, and I think I made the right choice.

The lyrics on the jugs are my favourite thing about them - hopefully Corb doesn't send me a lawsuit!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Identity crisis

I built this teapot to be a teapot. It has a teapot spout, a handle and a lid. It holds tea, like any other teapot would. The thing that it does not do however, is pour. You see, I thought I was being clever when I built it. I thought I would make a tea strainer - by making a bunch of tiny holes to pour through so that loose leaf tea would be caught. I knew it was a risky move - I knew there was a chance that the glaze would run and fill those tiny holes. I tried to compensate - I wiped away most of the glaze from around the holes. All that work, all that planning. All for nothing. Because, it happened. When the teapot was firing that the glaze did in fact run and it did in fact fill the tiny holes. So now my teapot is no longer a teapot. Now my teapot is a vase. And now I have to make another teapot - for my Grandma's birthday present. Now only a few weeks away....

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Dinner set

I made a dinner set in class - big plate / little plate, big bowl / little bowl, cup and mug. I was experimenting with carving - I used designs from the book Ornamental Forms from Nature as the basis for my drawings. I was surprised at how quickly I could carve these pieces - each carving took under 20 minutes to do. I really like how the carvings turned out but I think I need to rethink the coloured stripes and the glaze...

Monday, April 4, 2011

A colourful kiln

Since the image transfer workshop last week I've been working like crazy on new pottery because I feel super inspired. But it was also time to finish off some pieces that have been waiting for a while, and that gave me an opportunity to try out some groovy new glazes.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Cathy, you changed my life!

I attended the Image Transfer workshop yesterday and it more than exceeded my expectations. I went hoping to learn how to make and apply decals to my pottery but I learned so much more. It's funny because I have wanted to learn about image transfer for a while now, and I bought a number of books and did a bunch of online research hoping to learn the secrets of the trade. The problem was that everything I read seemed SO complicated and that intimidated me.

Cathy Terepocki has developed some simple and easy methods for image transfer - without using harsh chemicals like many others do. She taught us 6 processes that I'm sure will become the new foundation of how I think about the design and decoration of my own pottery. I'm super excited to try them!!

Sarah has posted detailed instructions on her blog about the methods we learned in the workshop. Thank you Sarah - I'm sure I'll be using your blog as a reference tool once I get going!

The lovely and talented Cathy Terepocki has a website that is currently under construction but she said it would be up and running very soon. I'm sure it will be full of more beautiful inspiration.

Monoprint Tissue Transfer
Lino printing on clay
Screen printing
Plaster printing

Underglaze resist
Screen printed tissue transfer

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

My finished tattoo

I went back to my friend Sheila a couple of weeks ago and had her add some pointillism-style shading to my tattoo. Now it's finished!

You can check out Sheila's portfolio at http://www.atneedlepoint.ca/

Monday, March 21, 2011

There's no crying in pottery

But I still might moan a little. I bisque fired my sangria pitcher yesterday and when I opened the kiln this morning I saw that the bottom had blown out of it. Sob! What once once a sangria pitcher and two cup set is now, well, a two cup set. The bright side (because there is a bright side to everything) is that Grandma's teapot was unharmed by the shrapnel. Phew!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sangria set

This is another project I'm working on using glaze pens over coloured underglaze. I'm dreaming of warm days on the patio - sharing a pitcher of sangria with a friend...

I made two cups to go with the set. I'll show the whole set once they've been glazed and fired.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Grandma's teapot

This is the teapot I'm making for my Grandma's birthday. It hasn't been fired yet - what you see is the underglaze applied with a brush and glaze pens. I've never tried this technique before so I'm crossing my fingers that it will work - Grandma's birthday is just around the corner and there's no time to make another pot! I'm hopeful that once the clear glaze is applied on top these colours will really pop.

Monday, February 28, 2011

Oh Deer!

Darren spotted this little guy in the neighbour's backyard around dinner time. Our little friend was having supper too - fallen apples from the crab apple tree. Now that I've seen him it's hard for me to be mad about all the damage he's caused in our yard because, after all, he was only looking for a little snack to keep him going until spring.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Image transfer 101

One of my pottery heroes - Cathy Terepocki - is doing a workshop in March and I've just signed up for it. I'm super excited. This woman is a genius when it comes to printing on clay - she does image transfer in a number of different ways and she's going to share her secrets in this workshop. Yay! I have the feeling this is going to change the way I do pottery. Here's a sample of her lovely work, and her web address.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Devin and Corey

I'm so excited about these plate and bowl sets I ordered from Sarah. These are my two youngest nephews and I just know they're going to love their personalized dishes! Here's a link to Sarah's company CHILDish:

Monday, February 14, 2011

Love. And pain.

This is my new tattoo. My friend Sheila recently became a tattoo artist so I thought what better time to get the tattoo that I've been wanting for the past couple of years. The first time I got a tattoo was 10 years ago and to be honest I had forgotten how much it hurts. It hurts a lot. Sheila wasn't able to finish all the shading because I had to stop - which is crummy because it means I have to go back and do it all again! But she was very kind and very patient with me and I'm confident she'll get me through the next step.

It's a happy coincidence that this tattoo (which is all about love because swans mate for life) came to me on the weekend of Valentine's Day. Love is grand.