My senior year of college, I took a hand-building ceramics class because I was required to take a 3-dimensional art class for my art major. That class made me fall in love with ceramics. Don’t get me wrong, I love painting and I love digital design, but there is something so nice and rewarding about creating a 3D object with your own two hands, whether for art or function. The fact that it can often be functional is also really nice. I only have so much wall space for paintings, but can always use cups, bowls, mugs, vases, and platters (or gift them!).
Anyway, the class I took in college was a hand-building class (not wheel-throwing), so I made several platters, but mostly art pieces instead of functional ones. I made a giant artichoke (you can see it on my living room bookshelves in our house tour, here), a miniature replica of my childhood home, and a few other pieces. Unfortunately, I took the class my senior year and didn’t have a chance to continue into ceramics more than that.
Signing up for another ceramics class has been on my list of things to do for several years and this year I finally made it happen. Well actually, a friend of mine, Christina, who has an extensive ceramics background, made it happen. She wanted to get back into ceramics again and asked if I wanted to join her.
We signed up at a local studio (Earth and Fire Studio) for two hours one night a week, for two months.
During this studio time, I decided to learn how to work on the wheel. It takes a while to get it down, but I’m so happy with the 11 pieces I made in the last couple months!
None of them are perfect (which I kind-of love), but they are all functional! The first pieces I threw are the short, fat ones (that light pink one in the back and the white speckled one in front) and then as I got better I was able to make bigger, thinner, pieces like the mugs and bowls.
Ceramics is such a process. Cutting and wedging the clay, working on the wheel, letting things set-up and get leather-hard, carving, trimming, making and attaching handles, bisque firing, glazing, final firing. I think it is really neat how ceramics relies on all the elements – earth, water, air, and fire.
I’m so glad I took the time to learn this new skill and to spend time with a friend while doing it. I wish I had more time and energy to keep doing it! I’ll be back again sometime! In the meantime, I’ve been enjoying drinking my morning tea out of a nice ceramic mug I made myself!
Last Christmas I started crocheting these little white snowflakes to put on our Christmas tree. I only did a few last year (you can see a shot of me working on them here), so this year I made a few more and turned them into ornaments for our tree. I love the way they turned out!
Pattern adapted from this one.
Hook: 3.75 mm [US F-5]
Yarn: I used white cotton yarn, but any normal thickness yarn will work.
To start: Ch 5; join with a slip st to form a ring.
Round 1: Ch 1, [2 sc in ring, ch 3] 6 times; join with a slip st
in first sc – 6 ch-3 loops.
Round 2: Slip st in next sc, ch 1, [(2 sc, ch 3, 2 sc) all in ch-3
loop] 6 times; join.
Round 3: Slip st in next sc, ch 1, [(sc, ch 3, sc, ch 5, sc, ch 3,
sc) all in ch-3 loop, ch 2] 6 times; join. Fasten off.
Finish: Weave in ends.
ABBREVIATIONS: Ch = chain; mm = millimeters; sc = single crochet; st(s) = stitch (es); [ ] = work directions in brackets the number of times specified.
To turn into ornaments, lay them out on cardboard and pin the six points out with straight pins. Spray them with a couple coats of fabric stiffener/spray starch (according to bottle directions) to help them hold their shape. Once dry, loop an ornament hook through one of the points and hang them on the tree!
Last weekend, a dream of mine came true. I was able to attend Quilt Market!
For those of you that don’t know, Quilt Market is an international trade show for the fabric industry. Manufacturers, Fabric Designers, Pattern Makers, etc. are all there with their booths decked out displaying their newest collections for shop owners to see and order fabrics for their stores. This market was in Houston, TX.
If you’ve followed my blog or known me for a while, you might know the obsession I have with fabric, the fabric designers that I adore and have mentioned on here before, and more importantly, my dream of becoming a fabric designer one day (or more broadly, a surface pattern designer). I work full-time as a graphic designer now, and between that and my art background, it has been a long-time dream of mine to gradually move in the direction of surface pattern design. I’ve been so busy working since I finished college that I haven’t had a lot of time to put towards that dream, but lately that dream has been invigorated as I’ve taken Bonnie Christine‘s Design Surface Patterns from Scratch Course on CreativeLive. (I highly recommend her course and her Roost Tribe!)
Bonnie Christine (above) is one of the sweetest people that I’ve ever met and I was so happy to be able to chat with her in person this weekend! She immediately felt like an old friend that I’d known forever! (Although I guess I have followed her blog for almost 5 years!) Her story is so inspirational to me as her background and goals are very similar to mine. I also just love her work (and her passion for sharing with others to help make their dreams come true too!).
The entire market was full of inspiration everywhere. I love Leah Duncan‘s patterns and style (above). I also loved seeing Katarina Roccella‘s patterns in person as well (I didn’t get a good shot of her booth, but you can see part of it in the second picture, above). I also saw Elizabeth Olwen‘s fabrics in person for the first time here as well (I thought I got a picture of her booth, but can’t find it, so it must not have taken!). All three of those designers are pretty new to me, but I loved seeing and being inspired by their work!
One of the highlights of my visit was getting to meet and chat with Amy Butler (probably one of the most well-known fabric designers!) and her husband. They were both so incredibly sweet and were more than happy to answer my questions about the industry and what inspires them. Amy Butler was so encouraging of my dream, she told me to work towards my passion and great things will happen!
Anna Maria Horner (along with Heather Bailey and Sandi Henderson) was one of the first fabric designers that really caught my eye. I started following their blogs years ago and they are a good part of the reason that I also want to design fabric. It was awesome to meet Anna Maria Horner in person after all these years of being inspired by her work!
I saw Heather Bailey‘s booth, but didn’t see her. Next time!
Many of my favorite designers have also come out with ribbon collections. These are seriously so beautiful and I was so glad to see them in person since I don’t think they are sold in any stores around where I live.
Aside from meeting and chatting with designers, I walked around, checking out booths of designers I’d never heard of before and just admiring all the beautiful colors and patterns. The quilts were so gorgeous, as were all the other cool things designers had made with their fabrics.
I’m so grateful for this amazing opportunity. It gave me great insight into the fabric design industry, into how quilt market works, and the chats I had with the designers were so helpful and encouraging (and also had a good dose of reality too). It really has started to make something that always seemed like a long lost dream a truly achievable reality!
Thank you Bonnie for making it happen!