Posted by Karen Totten on July 16, 2013 | 2 Comments
I recently became fascinated by the work of Chris Campbell and her use of Mason Stains to color porcelain, as shown in this beautiful platter she created...Urban Conflux, by Chris Campbell I was very pleased to see that she offered an online lesson in coloring porcelain. I eagerly read it and followed up with other research. Then I ordered a small set of stains to start my own experiments...
Using small bits of porcelain, and with the proper precautions of wearing gloves and a dust mask, I mixed and wedged several color samples.
I got a huge kick out of making a rainbow palette of beads...
I next played with techniques to combine different colors to make multi-colored beads...
I barely dipped my toe into coloring porcelain, but I see tons of possibilities here! After I get through Bead Fest in August I plan to spend more time playing - stay tuned!
Posted by Karen Totten on July 13, 2013 | 6 Comments
In cleaning up my files I came across a folder of old sketches - from about 5 years ago... Many of these I posted years ago on my sketch and meditation blog Postreason. Makes me think its time to revive that old blog and start sketching...
Ocean Embracing Sun
A series I called "Heart Buds"...
Curious swirling spiraling sea creatures...
Pod shapes and segmented forms...
View Through the Portal
Glowing Moon Flower...
Posted by Karen Totten on July 04, 2013 | Add new comment
Coming SOON! I will be a vendor at Bead Fest in Philadelphia August 23 - 25. I am SO excited. This will be my first bead show, and this is a BIG one! Come see me at Booth # 373, along with my daughter Nellie Thomas and her WoolyWire.Be sure to print out the pass at the bottom of this post - it will save you $10 - you get in for $5 instead of the regular $15 rate.
Here's your pass - be sure to bring this for your discount!
Hope to see you there!
Posted by Karen Totten on June 12, 2013 | 10 Comments
We've had a LOT of rain. And storms. And the occasional outburst of sun. Today is beautiful - sunny and temps in the 70s. Here's a few photos of our place and some things I've been working on this week.
Stormy skies yesterday.
I stayed indoors, using the rainy time to get studio work done - like last night.
Today I woke up to beautiful crystal blue skies...
...so I opened up all the windows!
Outside the front door - the big green tarp is covering my slab roller.
Gotta put that into gear today and get some pendants and connectors made.
Stuff I've been working on...
A new WoolyWire order for Lima Beads - with new packaging!
Coming soon to our WoolyWireEtc etsy shop: Beads for WoolyWire -
Tube beads to wrap WoolyWire onto to add beautiful color and texture to jewelry designs.
Here's some samples with WoolyWire - I love how these look!
I spent some time earlier this week photographing beads I made just before moving. Many of these are styles I will be taking to Bead Fest Philly this August, where I will be vending (yay!).
I also made some new things, including OWLS!!! Plus more whales and other goodies...
Urchin Blossoms - a new set of beads I'm working on.
That's it in a nutshell - I'm really enjoying being here, even the rainy days. :)
Posted by Karen Totten on June 05, 2013 | 14 Comments
I'm now settled at my home in Western NY. Finally got a temporary studio set up. I will be here until the new studio is built. It is very tranquil and peaceful - I'm loving it.
Posted by Karen Totten on June 03, 2013 | Add new comment
I've been playing around with a few new colors for spring offerings... here's a palette sketch. Many of these have already made brief appearances in my shop; a few are new. I'll be exploring/adding more in the coming weeks.
Posted by Karen Totten on May 20, 2013 | 8 Comments
Ever wonder where "Starry Road Studio" is? Well the physical site lies in the hills of Southwestern NY, also known as the Southern Tier. My husband Don and I have spent the better part of the past decade building our second home and are now preparing to add a new building for a dedicated studio. "Starry Road" is more than a physical site. The name also represents the creative life - the exploration of mythos, spirit, dreams, and of course, STARS (we have a nice little Celestron telescope for star watching). But I will leave that aspect for another time. For now, I thought I'd share a little background about the location and our plans for the studio.First, to set the stage, here are a few images of the Totten farm (I've also heard it referred to as "Tottenshire"), where Don grew up and where his family have farmed for generations. As an Air Force brat with little notion of "roots", the deep generational attachment of Don's family to this place is both astonishing and wonderful to me.The area where we have our house is very rural. We don't see any neighbors or lights from our place up on the hill, and on clear nights the stars are brilliant. One of my favorite experiences is on clear midsummer nights when the fields out front are full of fireflies and the sky above full of stars. It is like sitting in an imax theatre with the universe all around us, the fireflies like twinkling stars below, the milky way soaring overhead. Pretty cool.The lower right photo below is the view from our house looking downhill toward the next hill in the distance where the farm house and barns are located, the main part of the farm. The picture on the lower left is a spot known as the "old sheep barn" - it is a tumble of rugged old stones that once supported a barn for sheep. This is where we are building the studio (located on the same hill as the top photo in this collage). This is summer when the living is very pleasant. Winter is a WHOLE other story - very rugged and downright cruel at times.
Okay now that we have the history and setting out of the way, here are the plans for the studio building.
The ground floor will house the clay and glaze part of the studio, along with a small garage for a tractor. What is the tractor for you say? Um, snow removal for one, LOTS of snow to remove (you have no idea!). And also to keep the road up to the house clear of brush.
Just outside the door we'll set up a small shed for the gas kiln. My electric kilns will be located on the next hill over - a part of the farm where we have access to electric (grid) power.
Oh! I did I mention that the house is entirely OFF-GRID??? We have solar panels and a battery house that powers all our basic needs. We have propane for hot water and a small furnace, but mostly depend on a wood stove for heat in winter. In summer it is generally pleasant as the weather up here is typically about 10 degrees cooler than the lowlands. When it gets warm we have ceiling fans that do the job of keeping us cool. We currently use our cell phones for internet but are planning to install satellite access.
Here's the ground level layout. Can you spot our dogs Casey and Sierra?
Here's the upper floor where I will be working most of the time. There is extra space for a spare bedroom or office for Don. Initially however, we will use this space for storage.
That's it in a nutshell. These plans are in development and changing even as I type this. We have yet to price out construction costs, etc. I'm certain there will be modifications as we evolve the project. Stay tuned as I document our progress - there will be updates over the coming months!
Posted by Karen Totten on May 05, 2013 | 2 Comments
Have you wondered what has been going on with this blog lately? Well maybe not, but here's an update anyway.I've been on Facebook. A LOT. I've found it to be the best venue for sharing my latest news and studio creations, so I've been spending more time there than on this blog - in case you haven't found me there, come see me at my Starry Road Studio page on Facebook. I hope to get back to blogging again though I will continue to use Facebook as my primary social media network.Here's a quick visual summary of goings on the past few months...Making stuff: all kinds of stuff, like these (ceramic, metal and jewelry all by me) :
My daughter Nellie and I have also been collaborating a great deal on her WoolyWire - with new colors and styles (the fiber rolls will soon become WoolyWire):
And I have also been chatting, collaborating and trading with friends about projects like these:
Necklace by Genea Crivello-Knable with WoolyWire by NellieNecklace by Staci Louise Originals with my ceramic componentsMy latest treasures from Shannon LeVartBeautiful new beads by Genea Crivello-Knable that I have recently acquiredMore beautiful beads by Genea
Posted by Karen Totten on January 28, 2013 | 12 Comments
New BRONZE and COPPER components I have been working on lately. Some familiar styles, some new. I'm having a lot of fun dabbling in metal clay. I find that my work in metal is influencing my ceramic style, and vice versa - lots of cross-pollination which I am really digging.These are a few examples of items you will see in my shop over the next few weeks. More in the works!
Posted by Karen Totten on January 18, 2013 | 2 Comments
I have been VERY busy photographing and setting up listings...I am SO excited about these new designs. It is all about COLOR and TEXTURE. This is a quick sneak preview. Get ready to see these roll out in my shop over the next week.