• Creativity surrounds us in Tuscany

    I walk to school each morning seeing the fog hanging in the valley just like it did in Vermont. It’s lovely. It’s also a nice way to start your day walking to your course. I get to see any changes in the grape vines and olive trees, think about work to be completed. Since arriving in Italy, plants are waking and you can see them greening up.
    We put in a long day yesterday, 9am until almost 10pm. I had a much better day of making and working on the forms that I created both on the wheel and hand built. Antonionette works the room. She goes from artist to artist checking in with them, answering questions, solving issues. Then, goes back to demonstrating or providing technical information about porcelain and its properties. She reminds us that porcelain is a Diva, one of a kind. She follows her own rules. It’s a fun analogy.
    We have been challenged to find work that resonates with us in Peter Lane’s books focused on porcelain. Then, research that artist. Look, really look at their designs. Begin sketching. Keep sketching. In a year or two, look back to see if you are getting closer to your ideas. BUT, stay the course.
    Work that intrigues me:
    Take good care and be creative today. C2
  • Now, the work is getting real – clay work

    We are settling into our classroom and the work. Antonionette does a great job of demonstrating, providing information, and challenging us. One of the difficulties is the rain. It is very humid, even with a wood-burning stove in the classroom, our pots are having a difficult time drying.

    We were asked to make V-shaped forms on the potter’s wheel using anywhere between 1.5 and 3 pounds. Thrown very thin. Usually 1.5 pounds could make a large mug. Throwing very thin, it makes a fairly large vase. We wait for them to set up, then begin trimming the inside and outside of the pots. Antoinette talked about ways to prevent or remove throwing lines so that if we create translucent vessels the lines will not show. Basically, compressing the clay. If you aren’t a potter, you are questioning what we are talking about.

    Antonionette has challenged me to make a nonfunctional teapot from two pinch pots, pinching a spout, but create one that relates to the work that I make at home. Hmmmm, what does that mean. I think squared. Texture or no texture? So, far with very few pieces drying, its make and wait. She also challenged me to throw a larger “V” shaped form – twice the size of my first two. You will see this one above. The real challenge is that I am throwing thinner than I have in the past. Antonionette had a look and said that I needed to thin it another 30%!! These forms are so thin that they are just thicker than 1/16 inch.

    Here is my favorite piece that Antonionette brought to the workshop. It’s all good! I am feeling challenged, present, and ready to continue learning.

    Take good care and be creative today. C2
  • Second Day of Class

    We woke to rain yesterday morning. That is ok! We will be spending the day learning the rules of the studio and classroom, get our hands on the school’s porcelain, and begin making.

    Antonionette began sharing her porcelain knowledge while we made pinch pots listening to her explain the temperaments of our chosen clay body – porcelain. It can be a mistress kind or challenging on many days. Maybe a bit like me.

    I love porcelain! Absolutely love it. When I first began taking clay classes in a small room above downtown Montpelier, Vermont store, I struggled for more than 5 years in the weekly throwing lessons. I didn’t think I would ever learn to center two pounds of clay. But, like learning to play a musical instrument or ride a bicycle in challenging environments, your body builds memory. One day, you are able to center the clay, perform that one musical piece, or ride that bike uphill, finally, with lots of practice. 24 years later, the first instructor I had predicted correctly that I would fall in love with porcelain. At the time, I said “how do you know?” You just do!
    This morning the sun is shining. I slept almost 8 hours. Yeah!! But, received a text message from across the world, saying “I’m sick. I have three performances.” All I can do is say “I am sorry, honey. Lot’s of tea. Sleep as much as you can and do your best. It’s all you can do.” Sent my daughter kisses from a far falling
    back to sleep.

    Take good care and be creative in some way today. C2
  • Visiting the Florence Synagogue

    Bev and I visited the Florence Synagogue. I love reading the Daniel Silva books whose main character is Gabriel Allon. He is a Mossad assassin who is also an Renaissance art restorer. His Jewish wife is from Florence and was raised in this area of the city. The history of this church is amazing with regard to the members and its endurance.

    There are so many more pictures that I took yesterday while inside of this amazing building. But, time to get moving with regard to my day. Day 1 of my class with Antonionette Badenhorst at La Meridiana, Certaldo, Italy.
    Take good care and do something creative today, C2
  • Florence – Great city for Walking

    I made it to Florence, Italy. Long night in airports. Out walking the winding narrow streets. We are such a young country, USA, compared to many parts of the world. I love the winding narrow streets and architecture. I can’t help but wonder about the people who have walked these steps and streets more than 500 years ago.

    Love the people watching and finding street artists work their craft.

    On to Certaldo today, by train. Take good care and be creative today in some fashion. C2.
  • Got to Exercise My Eyes

    While waiting for University of Michigan’s InterArts Spring Showcase, I was able to take an hour visiting their Art Museum. Some eye candy for you…..
    Love these Asian pieces. Always my favorite.
    I hope you find some eye candy today. C2
  • Missing my First Friday Art Hop

    I am sitting in the airport headed to La Meridiana, an Italian ceramic school. Our featured artist is Lee Ann Frame. Earlier this year, I told Lee Ann that I wanted to take a 2 week clay course. She immediately gave me a hug and said “go”. I will be your featured artist, host an artist talk, and you MUST go.
    So here I am on the first leg of my journey wondering how it is going in the gallery. Who attended? But, most importantly, each time I spend more than 10 minutes with this printmaker I learn something.
    Guess, I better make sure I listen and look hard while in my class so I can share the knowledge when I return. Thank you Lee Ann, Sarah, Julie, and Anne
  • A St. Paddies Day Salute To Grass (Robin Hopper)

    About two years ago, maybe three, Robin Hopper knew that he wasn’t long on this earth. He asked Tony Clennell to give his eulogy at our national ceramics conference (NCECA). I know that Tony started thinking about what he would say to his peers about this man who gave so much to our clay community.

    Tony Clennell and Robin Hopper

    Tony did a great job. He wore glasses, hat, and bow tie of Robins. He had one of Robin’s t-shirts on too. Robin would always wear these silly T-shirt’s while running a workshop. One time when he took me to his favorite T-shirt shop in Victoria. We hunted around, being in the moment, I had to purchase three silly T-shirt’s too. When, I got home, I said to myself “Really?! I don’t wear T-shirt’s like this laughing at myself.”.
    Robin Hopper, an artist, man, husband, father, teacher, author, gardner, chemist, entertainer, and taskmaster, he was a force. Who will take his place? I know Tony is to some degree. Robin counseled him to not live as large and hard as he did. I hope Tony listens and that we get to see his artwork, take his workshops, and read his blog: smokyclennellblogspot.com for many years.



  • NCECA Wrap Up- National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts

    Whew! It was great to visit Pittsburgh last week. I was able to see wonderful ceramic art work in a wide range of styles. This conference takes over a city filling it with art displays in every possible commercial and private venue. You can spend 5 days listening to thought provoking lectures; demonstrations by current masters; and you can wander in and out of exhibits daily. It is impossible to see it all.
    I have loved Cristina Cordova’s sculptural work for a long time. I sat for 4 hours watching her create a 4 foot figure.

    Sculpture by Cristina Cardova

    Then watching Alessandro Gallo create his smaller scaled humorous “people creatures”. I felt so grateful for the time I was taking to participate in NCECA 2018.


    Alessandro Gallo demonstration NCECA 2018

    sculpture by Alessandro Gallo

    As artists, we work many hours by ourselves.  This conference provides an avenue for us, the creatives, to be with our people, look, listen, learn, and most importantly have some fun!  Have a good day everyone!
  • Cyndi and Mark Mehaffey First Friday follow up – Meet Internationally Collected Painter and Juror – Mark Mehaffey

    First Friday – March 2018

    Featured Artist- Mark Mehaffey


    Cyndi and Mark Mehaffey



    Who is Mark Mehaffey?
    an artist
    a painter
    a fisherman
    a walker
    a dog trainer/lover
    a teacher
    a art competition juror
    a friend to man
    a mentor
    an artist
    Mark and I had a conversation between us and the gallery guests.  This banter between myself and the artists is something that I greatly enjoy each time we host an Artist Talk.  The list above circles back to Mark being an artist because at the end of the day, I believe that this is the very core of Mark.


    Some of the answers to my questions posed to Mark:
    Cyndi:  How often do you paint, in any manner?
    Mark:  I paint every day, even if I am traveling.  Hey, I read an interesting article this morning, actually re-read it.  The title was “Why original Art in the home is as important as a BED.”  “You would never put fake books on your book shelf, so why would you put fake art on your walls?!”
    Cyndi:  Tell us about the shows and traveling that you did in 2017.
    Mark:  In 2017, I was invited to the Shanghai China Invitational Exhibit and Paint Out.  I was invited to bring two paintings to be exhibited and paint while visiting the surrounding areas.  One of the two paintings that was exhibited was purchased by a C2C client.  I was thrilled for her to own this painting. She can tell her friends that this painting was hung in Shanghai.  Rosie and I traveled to Scotland to participate in a Watercolour Society Exhibit.  I was able to pose for a photograph with Prince Charles who also exhibited in the show.

    Cyndi:  What do you consider when judging a piece of art?
    Mark:  I consider how well did the artist resolve an idea or content of an entry; then the overall design and how it relates to the overall emotional content; and then lastly, the technical skill and application.
    One last thing that I shared:
    I hope that you, our friends,  will continue attending art openings; inviting friends to join you; and meeting artists.  I believe it is a win-win situation.  You get to see and consider new ideas.  Artist get to talk about their thoughts and what they are trying to share. 
    And at the end of the day, it connects us to one another.  Have a good night everyone.