Thursday, March 6, 2008

Large Bird Bowl

Wanted to share a picture of one my large bird bowls. My friend Dan, the metal guy, does the stands for these, using raw, cold-worked steel. The feet are fashioned to look like little bird feet (or tree roots, depending on how you look at it) and work really well with the organic feel of the pottery.

I only use the leaves from locally-growing native plants - trees, shrubs and vines. I'm quite passionate about native plants and promote them in my landscaping business as much possible as well. I either impress the leaves into the body of the clay bowl or roll them into a thin slab of clay and cut them out, and then apply them to the bowl. Although the branches look quite a lot like wood (folks often ask me how I got the wood on the bowl), they are actually made of applied clay coils that I manipulate too look more wood-like.

I have a six-step glazing process for these pieces - staining and "washing" the "wood", staining and "washing the leaves, applying wax resist for those surfaces and then glazing. The stained surfaces are less slipper and therefore more bird- friendly and the three-dimensional leaves make additional surfaces for smaller birds to enjoy the bowl without risk of life or wing.

I'm putting together a show for May 2008 at Ariana Gallery in Royal Oak which will feature these pieces - check back here for updates!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Species and Small-Flowering Clematis in Oakland County, Michigan

I've got a gig coming up tomorrow in Oakland County, through the kind offices of John Humphrey et al with the Master Gardener Association of Oakland County. I'll be giving my talk on Species and Small Flowering Clematis, one of my favorite topics. Check my calendar (it's there even if it's a bit goofy) for additional dates and topics if you can't make this one.

This photo (which I actually took in my yard last year) is of C. texensis 'Sir Trevor Lawrence', a flower so beautiful it can even make a chain link fence look, well, less than ugly. See this beauty and many others at one of my presentations!

Ginormous Sunflower

Whenever I refer to my "ginormous" sunflower, I generally get a laugh, but I've heard this word in a movie ("Dear Frankie", which I highly recommend) and I've heard other folks use it as well. Anyway, my cousin, Andrea (accent on the "e"), asked me about my work, possibly as a gift for her Mom, my Aunt Jane, for her birthday next month, and I thought this would be perfect for her. (My traditional wedding gift is one of my sunflowers and a note to the effect that I hope the two parties will always be one another's sunshine.) I promised her I would try to upload some info and a pix, so here I am.

This photo was shot by Don, my photographer extraordinaire, back in October. We shoot all of my work in its natural environment; that is, my garden. I loved how he captured the top of the fence, to show it's on a fence. And the combination of the weathered wood, the lush Boston Ivy and the sunflower really are lovely. (This photo, by the way, is featured in the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center's Spring 2008 Catalog. Don does very good work.)

The sunflowers (or "funslowers"?) come in five different sizes - Tiny, Small, Medium, Large and, of course, Ginormous. (I'm also working on a Mini concept for decorating container gardens.) They can hang (I use plastic-coated wire so it won't rust) and go on stakes; I have custom-made stakes for the two smaller sizes and I make stakes to order for the three largest sizes (or, if you or someone you know can solder, you can make them yourselves from standard 1/2" or 3/4" copper tubing). There are, at last count, over 35 different patterns for the centers and around 19 different colors for the petals.

I've gotten a lot of great feedback on them. They're available at Circare (a great shop in St. Clair Shores, MI), the world-famous Pewabic Pottery in Detroit, the Birmingham Bloomfield Art Center and Goldner Walsh Nursery in Pontiac (check their Flower Shop). They're a lot of fun to make - and folks do seem to like them!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Welcome and Let's Have Some Fun!

Welcome to my new website construction zone. My friend and colleague, Don Schulte, is helping me get going so you'll be able to see my work as it's progressing. Right now, I'm working on large bird bowls for the May show at Ariana Gallery in Royal Oak, Michigan. Also gearing up for the Master Gardener Volunteer Conference in East Lansing. As I get the site up and running, I'll post locations where you can find my work, as well as dates for shows, events, etc. I'm looking forward to having a lot of fun putting this together and sharing my adventure with you!