Commission of A Yarn Bowl with Two Prairie Dogs

Yarn Bowl with Two Prairie DogsSo I had great fun learning about prairie dogs. These two were named Timon and Princess. 

Timon and Princess beat out the three family cats for a featured spot on Danielle's yarn bowl. 

I didn't know that prairie dogs could be pets, but they can!
They have such cute faces, don't they?

Commission of Orchid Bowls

Orchid bowls are kind of a big deal to orchid lovers. 
Here is the progress so far on a set that I've been commissoned to create. (The colors will dramatically change when they completed). The series includes: Octopus, squid, seahorse, and sea turtle. The fifth bowl shows marsh cattails and has a gecko on the back side. 
Stay tuned to see the final pieces in a future post. 

Orchid bowls, work in progress.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Whether you are orange Irish or green Irish, Stardust Pottery has the color for you! Happy St. Patrick's Day! May the luck of the Irish be with you.


Octopus Bowl SoldSold through Pottery Road Studio and Gallery, Seagrove, NC. 

January, February, March

Well January has flown by, and much of February, too. A new piece of work has settled into its temporary home at Pottery Road Studio & Gallery ( 1387 S NC Highway 705, Seagrove, North Carolina 27341 ). 

This is titled, "The Muse". This is what came to me when I wondered what my muse looked like. She is fun and quirky with one eye looking at all possibilities and the other facing reality directly. 

So back to  the studio I go. The Muse apparently has friends who want to be created. 


Happy Holidays!

I wish all of you Happy Holidays and a very nice New Year.
I don't think mythical water dragons have a special day to celebrate their love for one another and their devotion to God, but if they did, I'm sure it would be a fabulous one! 


I Love Commission Work on Yarn Bowls

Commission work is fraught with potential pitfalls for an artist. What if the customer doesn't like the finished artwork? 

As you can see, a finished piece of art can look quite a bit different than a photo. My style of art is called Naif. Those that know my style of art tend to love the custom pieces I make, as did the owner of this left handed yarn bowl. 

When I am asked for a custom yarn bowl that shows pets (without names added), I forgo the customary practice of up-front fees. It has not happened yet, but if a person decided that she/he did not want to buy the finished yarn bowl, then I could easily sell the yarn bowl to someone else. Animals are just adorable and my yarn bowls sell pretty quickly. My system of "no up-front fee" on a commission has worked well up to now. 

When a person asks for a custom yarn bowl, I take the order with several photos. Sometimes I need different views to get a full idea of what the pet looks like when I pose them on a yarn bowl. From that point on, it can take 4 to 10 weeks before the owner gets an email with a photo of the completed yarn bowl. 

It can take some time to get a piece that you've ordered. I have to mull over the different animal poses and faces to capture the look on the yarn bowl. Once I decide on how to create the art, I still need to accommodate the clay when I schedule the time to sculpt. I make a bowl from clay, let it dry to just the right hardness, trim the foot into the bowl, alter the bowl, and then I sculpt the animal(s) onto the bowl before the bowl dries too much. It can get to be quite the balancing act. I've had to recycle pieces (turned back into wet clay) because the clay of the bowl became too dry during a sculpting session. Wet clay on dry clay doesn't stay well. The sculpted clay section could just crack or it could pop off of the bowl. This balancing act of “not too wet/not too dry” is part of why I charge more for custom work. 

The other reason for custom work charges is that a piece could get ruined in the glazing. The thing about ceramics that no one tells you is: glaze is not like paint. To get a glaze color on ceramic, there are five variables to every glaze: the clay body, the heat work and cool down rates, the firing atmosphere, the thickness of glaze application, and the glaze ingredients. We clay artists can never really know for a certainty how a glaze will react in the kiln. We think we might know, and past experience has shown us a thing or two, but then there’s that one firing where everything will go wrong with a glaze.

So, a custom piece usually means a brand new combination of glaze work. What glazes will give me the effect I'm seeking? Will they play well together, or will they reject each other and "crawl"? Etc., etc.  If a piece gets ruined in glazing, it is subjected to a hammer. And the work starts all over from the very beginning. This is the reason that I do not offer status reports on custom work. There is no need to upset you with a report of "had to hammer the piece and start over".

Despite all of the perils in making a custom piece, I still love commission work. The enjoyment I have making a beloved pet come alive on a yarn bowl, and the joy a patron has upon opening the package, make the challenges well worth overcoming. Thank You to everyone who asks, or has asked, for a custom yarn bowl from me, Cindy Douglass. I greatly appreciate the opportunity to use my talent productively.

Childhood Influences To My Art

I grew up just outside of a small village near the ocean. The holy cows in the pasture drank their water from claw foot tubs, dreams were launched to the stars, and fairy tales came true. 
I've just realized that my art strongly reflects the influences of my childhood home!
Turtle Yarn Bowl














Spring Vegetable Garden Tags

Vegetable Garden Tags on Ebay

Vegetable Garden Tags 
Update: Feb 18, 2017: I've had one of these tiles nailed up outside on my porch for nearly a year. It looks just as good now as it looks in the photo here! I'm happy. ====

I’ve discovered a new, extra use for my color “test tiles”. These are vegetable garden tags also known as garden plant markers to keep your garden neat and beautiful. For a simple Cottage or Farm look, attach a hook or nail to a post, plant the post at the end of a garden row, and hang the vegetable garden tag on the post hook. Simple! Or if one wanted to get fancy, a wrought iron stake could even be used in a Victorian style garden with these tags tied to the stake. 

These plant markers have a very nice feel to them in the hands. These plant markers could also be used as kitchen or restaurant decoration and as windchimes.  The sound they make is similar to domino game tiles. 
I had mixed up a batch of Terra Sig, then added stains and oxides to get colors. Terra Sigillata (aka “Terra Sig” for short hand) means “sealed earth” and has been used to finish clay for thousands of years.
Once I made the Terra Sig color batches, I needed to test the colors to see if they would turn out as the colors I had anticipated.
What better way to test than on these vegetable garden tags? These garden tags are made of stoneware clay. Each tag is cut from a sheet of clay and impressed with the design and letters. When the clay was dry, I brushed on a couple of coats of Terra Sig on each plant marker. The last coat of Terra Sigillata was left to dry off the sheen, but not totally dry. At that exact moment when the sheen disappeared, the Terra Sig was burnished by hand to create a seal. 
The Terra Sigged plant markers were then bisqued fired. The last treatment was a wash of stain so that the letters would show up clearly. The stain also adds a nice weathered look to enhance the texture. Then the garden plant markers were final fired. Since these are made of stoneware clay they should be ok in most weather, but it is best to take them indoors during freezes, especially if there is water, snow or ice. Water in the crevices of the letters, rims, etc. will expand when frozen, which likely will in turn cause the vegetable garden tags to crack or break.  
Since I was thinking of color testers, I made only one set of these.  
Not all of the colors turned out the way I thought they would, but they are all lovely. And the vegetable markers are unique. Each garden plant tag is about 3.5” long (that’s about 9 to 9.5 cm), and about 2” wide (about 5 to 5.5 cm wide). 
This set of vegetable garden tags has 10 pieces. 
The vegetables listed and the colors are:
1. Squash (French Green)
2. Carrots (Ivy Green)
3. Tomato (Chartreuse)
4. Beans (Turquoise, says Dark Turquoise)
5. Onions (Beige, says Light Blue)
6. Cukes (Lavender)
7. Peas (Creamy Pale Yellow, says White)
8. Lettuce (Midnight Blue, says Dark Teal)
9. Zucchini (Yellow)
10. Peppers (Peach, says Orange)
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