Dog Days of Summer

Puppies! I recently got a new puppy…which inspired me to create a litter of ceramic ones that don’t teethe on my arm, pee on the rug, chew up my shoes, or wake me up in the middle of the night. I had great fun making these in all sizes and colors not found in the puppy world. For me, a dog is all about the nose – the big, wet, cold black nose that comes at you before everything else…so my dogs have prominent noses that are probably too big for their heads – but the heads are too big for the bodies, so I guess it all balances out. As with my sheep and cows, once the eyes are on, they take on a personality of their own and I can find an appropriate name for each. dog days of summerThe small ones are about 4 inches high and the largest is about 12″ high. Next I think I’ll make some sitting and laying down (two things my puppy is good at – except when you tell him to).

My kind of gardening

20131011_120801I am a terrible gardener…really…terrible. Nothing survives my attempts to try my hand at a lovely colorful spot in the yard. I have stopped trying – I took pity on all the poor plants that died wanting nothing more than to have a place in the sun…except those that wanted shade…a small detail I never seemed to follow properly. This mid-century modern bench is my answer to a colorful garden that I can’t kill…and it will be a bright spot all year round in any garden when most plants are dormant. (Just click on the photo to enlarge.)

Now the dog is another story. I made the cement form quite some time ago and never got around to putting my decorative tile on it. But as I was working on the bench, I thought it would be perfect to sit on it…so I started picking bits and pieces of fun doodads from my stash and then took out my 1 inch porcelain tiles and started nipping them into “hair strands”. Once I added the glass eyes, it was so obvious that this dog was my big dog – Dexter – who died in May at age 14 (unlike gardens, I’m pretty good with animals). I hadn’t intended for it to happen – it just did. So, the dog is not for sale, but I’d be happy to make one of your beloved pet.

And the Giraffe’s name is (drumroll, please):

The symbolism surrounding a giraffe is quite moving to me. Its long neck represents the ability to be visionary while still viewing the past and present. It conveys the saying “sticking one’s neck out” and seeing the world of possibilities.
Its powerful, large body signifies being grounded in the physical; along with the long neck denoting the ability to see far, it stands for viewing life in a way that is both grounded and expansive.
I received so many good, appropriate names for the large giraffe and want to thank everyone who participated. It really brought the piece to life. I read each entry with an eye towards “why” and I wanted to share the above reasons I chose the one I did…
And this quote really sealed it:
“When running, the legs and neck work together, reminding us it is not enough to see the future, but to move towards it as well.” – Animal Speak by Ted Andrews
SO, without further ado, I give you “Nelson”…chosen for a great visionary and inspiration to us all to move towards the future, Mr. Nelson Mandela.
Thank you, Barbara D., for adding the name to the jar. I don’t know if it’s why you put it in, but in the end, it’s why it was chosen.

Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour June 22-23

I hope you can come to ArtSquare (12 Cardinal Park Dr Leesburg) this weekend for the Western Loudoun Artists Studio Tour (www.wlast.org). Several of the studio artists will be on hand as well as a few guest artists. This year’s tour has over 60 artists in studios all over Loudoun County. It’s my first studio tour on the East Coast and I’m looking forward to meeting visitors and answering questions.

I’m having a “name the giraffe” contest too! My wall giraffe (see photos below) needs a name and I’m looking for some help. Usually I give my animal sculptures names from favorite relatives, friends, or characters from books and movies. I thought it might be fun to see what other people would name one…so here’s your chance…even if you can’t make the tour, send me your submission of a name here: lisastrout@verizon.net – until the end of June. If I chose your name, you’ll receive a 12″ giraffe sculpture that I handbuilt (it’s actually coming out of the kiln as I write this). So far, I’ve had some funny – and a couple strange – suggestions.

Better go – I’ve still got some glazing to do…Hope to see you this weekend!

No Way – it’s May!

giraffeneckgiraffe head

Yikes! Am I ever behind…I’ve been working so much in my home studio I haven’t been able to catch up…here’s my past few months in a nutshell: I was offered a studio at ArtSquare in Leesburg in February…I cannot stress how happy I am about that…now I have a public space to show a body of work. There are 14 artist studios and we have a great time. Every second Friday there is a reception to open the latest gallery show and I’ve met some really nice people. I try to work there when I can but it’s so much easier to stay home and work – I don’t even have to brush my hair!

There’s an upcoming Open Studio Tour in Loundoun County and I will be at ArtSquare with all the other artists (and a couple of guest artists)…it’s June 22-23 from 10-5. ArtSquare is a good stop to visit since we’ll have so much talent in one place – plus refreshments and demos. I’ve got lots of new work I’ll be showing that weekend so be sure to drop by.

I recently installed a large giraffe in my ArtSquare studio and for the month of June, I’m having a contest to name it (he? she?)…I’ve been working on it on-and-off for quite a while so I am really happy it’s up. The photos above don’t do justice to the studio space.

I was busily trying to finish up some work for an show in Oregon – I was thrilled to be asked…just mailed all that off last week…I only wish I could be at the 50th Lake Oswego Art Festival to see the Special Exhibit Invitational (along with all the other exhibits), but it’s the same weekend as the studio tour…

As usual, I will promise all those people who ask me on a regular basis that I will post more often but we all know I’ll get caught up in a project or commission and months will go by again…let’s just say I’ll try my best.

It’s been too long…

I can’t believe I haven’t posted in months! I’ve been kind of busy but that’s no excuse…we’re finally moved into our house in Leesburg Virginia and my studio is set up and I’ve been working 7 days a week…I’ve got 3 kilns now which allows me to work on several projects at once. I’m also showing at a local co-op called Arts in the Village. My sheep have been joined by some cows (I don’t have a new photo but I’ll have some as soon as I find the moving box with the camera) and I’ll have other farm animals in the coming months…I guess living in the country is having an influence on my art.

The winter is upon us and for those of you who know me, you know what that means: hybernation…I spend as much time at home in the winter as I can – planning my work for the coming year, experimenting with new ideas or techniques, doing studio “housekeeping”, and catching up on my reading. But that doesn’t mean you can’t come for a studio visit if you’re in the area…just drop me a line.

I’m Baa-ack

I’m a bit sheepish about how long I’ve been absent.  Several friends and followers have chided me about it…but this past year has been, well, rather distracting to put it mildly.  It’s too long to go into here…suffice it to say, after several months on the east coast, I decided to come back to my Portland studio…mind you, I spent the hot, humid summer in Virginia and the cold, wet winter in Portland…c’est la vie…anyway, I’m happily ensconced in my studio, where I can be found most of the time up to my elbows in clay…and sheep…drop me a line – it really has been too long…