Each week one of our contributors gives you a sneak peek into their studio, creative process or inspirations. We ask a related question of our readers and hope you’ll leave comments! As an incentive we offer a free prize each week to bribe you to use that keyboard. The following week we choose a random winner.
Congratulations to Gloria Allen
You have won a $20.00 gift certificate to spend at Humblebeads.com
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Glazing new work by Mary Harding
This week you are in the studio of Mary Harding. I have been busy these last weeks making new pieces for my Etsy shop and for auctions at the Ceramic Art Bead Market. As I write my kiln is cooling off. I will be sharing some pictures of what I find inside when I open it in a few hours. Always an exciting moment.
I have been using a new clay these last couple of weeks. It is not all that different from the clay I have used for the last years but it looks very different when it is wet. It is Gray. My usual clay is white. So it is a bit of an adjustment. Up North here where I live, it is not advisable to purchase clay during the winter months because it will freeze on the truck and the ice breaks up the structure of the clay. My closest clay distributor is 120 miles away. So when you run out, as I did you use what else you have on hand. Here is what it looks like wet.
New gray clay comes from Laguna Clay
This has been the warmest Spring I can remember. I have been so inspired by the dramatic change in the world from Winter to Spring this year that I thought I would share some photos of the emergence of new leaves and lots of the greenness and a few wild flowers that I love to use in my work.
These are emerging needles on our tamarack tree. It is deciduous even though it has needles and tiny pine cones just like the firs and pines. I love that red pink around the new needles.
Emerging grape leaves
Lilac leaves after a short shower
Grass and Violets
Clover There is more clover growing everywhere this year than I have ever seen before. It makes our Woodchucks happy and hopefully will keep them out of my veggie garden.
Maple Seed Wings in abundance. Just recently we had a very windy day and lots of baby seed wings were blown off another tree. I have those in my studio. They are so nice and small.
I just checked on my kiln and it is at 154 degrees F. I looked inside and took a picture looking down in
I am going to wait another hour to unload even though it is cool enough. They are a still a bit hot to handle. So far it looks promising to me.
One hour later I unloaded the kiln and was so happy to see they came out well. Ceramics can be a bit of a hit or miss craft no matter how skilled you are. That is why I always put my kiln goddess on top of the kiln when I fire.
A group shot of some of the pieces in this kiln load. Please check out my Etsy shop later today and some of them will be there .
I hope you enjoyed my visual indulgence into the greenness and beauty of this very special Spring.
And now my Question: Are you inspired this Spring and if so what is making you feel so good and energetic?
Just answer this question in the comment section below and you will be entered to win a $20.00 gift certificate to spend in my Etsy shop. A winner will be randomly picked and announced next Friday.
Thanks so much for stopping by.
Kathy LindemerMay 22, 2015 at 3:36 pm
I have taken about a month off from making jewelry so I could get ready for the one craft fair that I do in the summer. I have been waiting for it to be over and that day is tomorrow. I will then be energized by the need and want to prepare for the holiday season. I try to work ahead so that I will be prepared. I spent the winter getting ready for the summer and now I will prepare for the winter. I will also be listing new jewelry in my Etsy store. I will use the feedback from the craft fair to make some decisions about what I will be making.
Claire LockwoodMay 22, 2015 at 3:37 pm
Hooray for happy kiln results! Love the pine things on that first tree!
Deb FortinMay 22, 2015 at 5:55 pm
Love the thistles the most . and your nature photos are lovely. It's so nice to feel some warmth (not today though – it socks and sweaters again ) and see some sun after the long cold and cloudy winter we had here in eastern Ontario. so now I'm feeling inspired to get some stuff done. My mood always perks up when the sun comes out to play, yesterday I completed 16 pairs of earrings. I had the ear wires made for a month now just waiting for the dangly bits to go on. so I finally got 'er done.
AliceMay 22, 2015 at 6:00 pm
so many wonderful pieces! As for what inspires me about spring is the scents and blooms around the yard and seeing baby bird learn to fly,
Julie PanusisMay 22, 2015 at 8:00 pm
Thank you so much for sharing your process. Your work is wonderful.
Sarajo WentlingMay 22, 2015 at 8:12 pm
It's hard NOT to be inspired by Spring and all the changes that start to happen in the world around us… especially when you live someplace where winter lingers a little longer than we'd like (like it does here in Minnesota!) The fresh and new greenery, tiny flower buds, the birdsong back in the air…. it all has me itching to create!
Carol BriodyMay 22, 2015 at 8:22 pm
I love Spring! Fall, too! What inspires me about Spring is all the newness, freshness and color! Being warm is a good thing, too!
Renetha StanzianoMay 22, 2015 at 9:54 pm
I love ceramic beads. Thanks for sharing your creative process. I might have to stop by your shop for a spring bead or two.
Bijoux Gems JoyMay 23, 2015 at 1:27 am
My personal first sign of spring is when "our" duck couple come back. We have a small natural pond sheltered in our back yard and the ducks stay long enough for everything to warm up and come to life, including their little family of hatchlings. As soon as those little ones are born and walking, the whole family is on the move. They use the small stream running in conservation land behind us to get to the "big" stream and lake nearby.
The first sighting is my queue. Spring is here!
KristenMay 23, 2015 at 10:35 am
I'm inspired by the warmth (but not this morning, brr) and the return of the hummingbirds. I love the gorgeous colors of your beads!
Chris WhiteMay 23, 2015 at 11:34 am
Fun to see your complete process. The newness of Spring certainly has shown itself in your newest designs.
Spring itself is a visual indulgence into greenness and beauty, as you put it. After a long, cold winter, Spring bursts forth with its new growth and vibrant color which brings energy to creative designs in all forms of art. 'looking forward to a wonderful summer as well.
lindalandigMay 23, 2015 at 11:49 am
Such beautiful results from your kiln harvest, Mary! I love flowers almost as much as I love beads, so spring just fills me up with joy. I want to express that in all my work.
Katherine ThompsonMay 23, 2015 at 1:31 pm
I would love to be peeking into my kiln! Maybe this year I can get a smaller kiln.
Erin SMay 23, 2015 at 5:21 pm
I always love seeing your beautiful work, Mary. I am fortunate to live in sunny San Diego, where we only have 2 seasons–spring and summer. And actually, spring isn't the best time of year here because we have a gray marine layer almost every day which doesn't burn off until afternoon (sometimes not at all). So spring is not as inspiring for me as it is to those of you in the frozen north. I'm happy you are finally seeing the sun, though.
ShaihaMay 24, 2015 at 2:15 am
I haven't really been inspired by spring this year but then we didn't really have a winter. A lot of our flowers started blooming back at the end of February so perhaps my spring inspiration has already worn off.
haezzMay 25, 2015 at 2:24 am
This spring has been a bit difficult to handle due to some nerve damage and pain that can interfere with my thoughts and creative flow. But, I've bought some exciting new beads and when I do get outside the brighter colors and textures surrounding me have my full attention. Your new pieces feed the bead need for color and texture. I love them!
Debra GibsonMay 25, 2015 at 2:49 am
Mary I love your work and have been a huge fan of your art work for a very long time ! I live in beautiful Oregon in a little town named Lebanon I am about 45 minutes from Eugene. Everything is in bloom and I am surrounded by COLOR !! So that's my inspiration! All the beautiful flowers with their reds, blues, yellows ! I have so many new bead ideas I just have to have time to put it all together !! Not to mention all the beautiful mossy textures on the rocks and tress along the river where my hubby and I go fishing. Lot's of texture inspiration out there too! Thanks for the chance !
Stories They TellMay 25, 2015 at 11:59 am
What a great post, Mary! Love those photos of your blooming things. I've been inspired by conversations with some of my new students, who I'll meet this week for my Art on the Farm class on Wednesday. Such enthusiasm!
Susan LeGuyaderMay 25, 2015 at 3:40 pm
I love your nature inspired designs and have bid on many of your pieces at CABM! Haven't won any, but drool over all of them.
Who could not be energized by the growth and renewal of spring! The energy of the earth is so young and fresh! And full of hope.
Renetha StanzianoMay 26, 2015 at 5:12 am
I forgot to answer the question. I am energized by the colors of changing seasons. But most of all I am energized by the warm weather and being able to just go outside and sit in the sun for a few minutes…before allergies start up.
Mary HardingMay 27, 2015 at 3:52 pm
I am so enjoying all of your comments about Spring and inspiration!! Thanks so much for all your enthusiasm and kind words about my work. I so appreciate hearing from all of you!!
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