So, WHAT'S Katie up to???

Friday, September 16, 2011

Summer Projects

After our return from Arizona, one might have thought I'd have used all that inspiration to create some marvy pieces in a pre-historic southwestern theme. Not yet.  Those images are still percolating somewhere in the nether-reaches of my mind, and will appear who-knows-when in who-knows-what.....

In the early summer my attention invariably wanders to my full garden, with its shady green niches and overflowing flowerbeds. Since there is too much growth to see any weeds (thank heaven!), I spend a lot of time looking at things, and tweaking -- moving this little thing here, trying that little thing there, and wondering what I can do to make things more interesting for me, for the birds, and for passersby.

I managed to create a new welcoming energy at the entrance to our house, even with limited space and more limited budget. Widening the entry on either side of the old cement footpath using found slate slabs and beach stones proved to be great exercise, and the result is pleasing, and much safer.

I used my studio time to create accessories for other people's gardens.

This waterbath for our feathered friends is one of five I've taken to Woods Showcase gallery in Gibsons' Sunnycreasy Mall.  I think there are only two left, which is gratifying. I like stoneware for outdoor pieces, since we can use it year-round.  I do store the baths over the winter, since the birds don't need them then.  But I could leave them out all year with no fear of weather damage.

Birds may not need baths during the winter, but they do appreciate being fed.  My stoneware feeders have nice wide trays, eaves to keep the rain off the food in the tray, and they are easy to fill and clean out, as the roof-lids slide up easily to completely open the top of the feeders.

In the same vein as my feeders, my stoneware birdhouses are weatherproof. The perches and entrances are rain-protected by the overhanging roof, which opens with ease to clean out the house for new tenants. Square models hang easily on a tree or wall: round houses are designed to hang free, like the feeders.

Of course, every garden should have some critters in it.  I chose terracotta clay for these because I like the colour, especially for amphibians. In a protected location like a porch or covered deck, terracotta winters outside beautifully in our wet coast climate. It even does well in the rain.  But the combination of being soaked and freezing will cause damage.

I'm usually blessed with a large population of Pacific Tree Frogs -- but not this year.  I missed their overwhelming choruses in the early spring, and miss seeing them sunning themselves on the phlox leaves by my deck in the later summer mornings. But, no mind.  I conjured up some frogs of my own.

They are a far cry from the 1.5 inch tree frogs, being anywhere from 4 inches to 6 or more inches long.  But, they seem to be popular with visitors to the Woods Showcase shop.

A nod to my Arizona trip, and to warmer climes in general (the Gibsons weather being so horrid for the month of July), I thought some lizard-ish types might be useful.  And who knew? Maybe they'd call up some sun!

This little fellow sits in a water fountain at Woods Showcase, until someone gives him a good home.

Finally, since every garden has its faeries (or so I'm told), I created a couple of those as well.

This little sprite (who's actually not so little, at almost 12 inches tall) is attracting lots of attention at Woods Showcase.  He'll look great tucked under a shrub peeping out amongst the flowers.  But, like all the terracotta pieces, he'll enjoy the shelter of the covered deck or a spot indoors over the winter.  He has been water-sealed, and can take the damp (unlike me!), but his terracotta clay body is still porous, and staying wet in the freeze-thaw over the winter could crack him or cause his beautiful green skin to flake.

And so ends Salamander Studio's summer session of work.  Stay tuned for tales from Turkey, where I am once again privileged to stay and work in the studio of my good friend, ceramic artist Erdogan Güleç until mid October.

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