Friday, April 26, 2013

A Fun Little Fairy House Box

by Eleanor Hendriks

Soft slab construction Fairy House Box -yes the roof/lid is removable!
Funny little window

Out of focus eye stalk/ chimney
Fairy sized door
And some colourful fun...

...for Wacky Hair Day -A smile goes with everything!

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Woodland Diner -Making a Hand Painted Sign on the CHEAP

by Eleanor Hendriks

So I haven't made much pottery lately, and what I have made, I didn't take pictures of -it's easy to get out of the habit of documenting the making process when it isn't happening regularly -and since my blog has always been based on pictures, I've had very little to post here. I hope to change that soon because I have some pieces nearing the end of the (very slow) making process at the Guelph Community Pottery Centre that I would like to show off.

     In the meantime, I would like to share something else I made with you (any readers that may still be hanging around). The assignment was to make a church kitchen look like a 50's diner for a fundraiser -and I was to make the sign -on the Cheap!! So with a cardboard box left over from a bathroom renovation, some leftover primer and 4 colours of Walmart acrylic, I made this...

 Large cardboard box.
Left over primer to reduce the absorptiveness of the surface.
 I did both sides of the cardboard with the primer, because it started to curl.
 The black took two layers to cover completely.
 I created the design in Corel Draw and used a polka dot pattern in the background to make it easy to line up the tiled printout.
 I tested the colours over black before painting the whole backgound -thankfully the Walmart colours had enough pigment to do reasonably well at covering the black with one coat -though I did have to be careful not to spread the paint to thin -and had a few areas of touch up -but overall much less work than painting the black around the lettering!
 Painting on cardboard is frustrating up close because it is impossible to get a smooth, straight  line over the corrugations -but it doesn't show from a distance -and cardboard is the right price for a project like this.
 Trimmed around the edges and painted them black -this is the least satisfying part of working with cardboard -the edges were fuzzy and uneven. If I were to do it again, I would consider cutting the shape first and trying to neatly tape the edges before priming -but that could take a while -maybe not worth it for a one evening use sign...
 I think the end result looks pretty good.
 'Dry' brushed highlights in a lighter shade and white add depth and a look of neon glow.
 Dots made with the handle end of a foam brush look like lights -to be really authentic I should have skipped a few or done them in black to look burned out.

 I can't believe my son let me draw this 'tattoo' on him with Sharpies! He's a good sport. And this is a rare sighting of me in a pink headband -don't expect to see it again any time soon.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Starting Over

by Eleanor Link
Things have changed here at StudioÉlan. And the changes are so big that it is like starting over.

The vagaries of life have resulted in the loss of my husband, the loss of my fabulous studio and a move to a new city.

This blog will no longer be a cheerful collection of studio activities, nifty projects and storage solutions. There won't be any more reports about students or invites to studio sales.

I don't have a studio or the financial stability necessary for my family that would allow me to continue as a full-time potter.

This blog is now about what I can do with what I do have -all of my experience, skill and the compelling desire to make things out of clay. These can't be taken away.

My focus in my new life is my children.

You haven't heard much about them here before even though they have always played a big part in the shaping of my pottery life and decision making. I haven't wanted to be a 'mommy blogger' and I doubt I'll start now. I do expect though, that focusing on what is best for them in my new circumstances will have a more obvious effect on how my future in clay takes shape than it has in the past.

For now, I know that having my hands in clay regularly is going to be important to my capacity as a single mother. The ongoing search for balance between family, survival and the need to create will just be that much more intense.

My first step in finding that balance has been finding a place to work:

And today my first session with wet clay since October 2010 had simple but encouraging results:

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Prize Winner!

by Eleanor Hendriks

I was just thrilled two weekends ago to be the lucky recipient of The Best in Show Award at the Northumberland Potters Guild Annual Sale! This piece, one of my Milkweed Pod Jars, was the one that did it for me...

It sure feels good to be recognized for work you love by pottery peers at a time of year when all that seems to be important about your art is it's dollar value. The cash prize that comes with winning doesn't hurt either...

So thank you to the Guild and the Juror for lovely boost!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Studio Space Saver

By Eleanor Hendriks

At this time of year I have ware boards of stuff everywhere and since the ware racks I've been dreaming of for more than 10 years haven't been executed yet, I had to come up with something to clear off some table surfaces so I could fill them up again. The worst culprits for wasting space are the flat ornaments and small trays that I make in big batches and then use as kiln filler.

So with a few construction offcuts of 2x2s and 2x4s I created this surprisingly stable stack of flat stuff next to my kiln.

Thanks to Matt of for the inspiration for this creation. His suggestion of stacking plates on bats using kiln furniture to save space (and even out drying) freed my mind from the need for actual shelving to put my boards on. This is a real "Why didn't I think of this earlier?" moment!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Make a Petal Bowl -Pictorial Tutorial

by Eleanor Hendriks

Thursday, November 04, 2010

4th Annual StudioÉlan Christmas Art Sale

by Eleanor Hendriks

Pottery -Eleanor Hendriks
Watercolour -Janice Addison
Stonecarving -Peter Martin
Handsewn Gifts -Rene Buist
Stained Glass and jewellery -Janet Tysiak
Woodturning -Morris Young

Friday November 5, 6-9pm
Saturday November 6, 11-6
Sunday November 7, 11-6

From Hwy 121 just north of Fenelon Falls,
turn east onto Victoria County Road 8 and
south onto Hickory Beach Road. #97

Please join us for a lovely weekend with art. Let me know you saw it on the blog and I'll give you $5 Élan dollars to spend on pottery!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Make it Work Moment

by Eleanor Hendriks

Only dribs and drabs here at the blog even though I have tonnes of great posts floating around in my head. I need a time machine -the kind that makes more time!

I revisited the project that left me feeling kinda blah back in August and I think I've come up with a good solution. Adding the pedestal resolved the proportion problems and some creative reshaping and carving have (hopefully) solved the thickness problems....
At least now I can stop taking the time to spray and rewrap it every time another day comes to an end without a chance to finish it. Two months is the longest I have ever kept a large project in progress in a workable state. I have kept smaller parts moist longer in my plaster lined rubbermaid box, but this piece didn't fit. And now that the cold weather is here and heating season has begun, I had to finish or abandon the work I had already put into it because the drafts and dry air would make the decision for me otherwise.

Some delicious details...

Of course now I have to figure out how to glaze it... will it be another 2 months before you hear from me again? Let's hope not...

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Thank goodness my life isn't Project Runway

by Eleanor Hendriks

If it were, the other contestants would be whispering behind my back that I will be the next one going home and Tim would be telling me to Make It Work!

I've got a week of reduced family responsibilities and so I have the opportunity to tackle some unusual projects and try a few experiments.

The first project went reasonably well -an 18" replica of the Stanley Cup -a custom order I took on for I'm no longer sure what reason. But with pretty clear parameters, this type of project is a test of skill -not creativity...

The next project is the one that is has the potential to get me kicked off the island. At this point it looks like that PR favourite criticism, a Hot Mess.

The proportions aren't what I intended. The varying thicknesses are causing me trouble. I'm having uneven drying problems. On top of the technical details, I don't love what I'm making as much as I loved the the idea I had going in.

But like those quirky young designers, I'm out of time. I've got to get back to regular production next week. It is too humid to start over and have any hope of new pieces drying enough to complete this week. I'm going to stick with it for a bit longer though.

Maybe I can still Make It Work!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Just do it once already!

by Eleanor Hendriks

Even though I've been at the pottery gig for a few years now, I can still catch myself doing stupid things.

Just the other day I was making handles for a batch of mugs. Because I was a little distracted while I was making them, I ended up recounting how many I had already at least 4 times.

Finally I got so fed up with myself that I reorganized the handles into groups of 5 on the board so that I could see at a glance whether I had enough for my 2 dozen mugs yet...

Since this was a doing stupid things day, I made a couple of extra handles too, just in case...

I didn't need the extra handles, but the groups of 5 is going to be a new regular studio practice.
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