It’s just after Thanksgiving and I’m on a third batch of annual ornaments for our town of Boulder Creek! It felt terrible to disappoint folks at the tree lighting and Santa sighting last evening. They had sold out before some could claim theirs. Not to worry, I’m cutting a big kiln load today and will have them ready by the end of the week.
I’m always surprised at how many ornament collectors there are in our small town! As every year, since I began making dated Boulder Creek trees since 1991, I am honored to be a small part of families’ holiday traditions. They adorn trees of our community and some are sent to family members who might be a little homesick for our mountain town.
Now, I make my trees for nearby towns as well as for family and close friends.
Here are some bisqued shapes, ready to glaze.
As with many of my ornaments, my husband created the design I used to make the stamp for these trees. Like most years, it was a process of trial and a few errors, getting the image just right for the stamp.
I’ve decided to glaze these in the traditional holiday colors of green, red and gold, and added Swarovski crystals to add a little sparkle!
I’d better get back to the workshop. Lots more trees to shape and get ready for their first firing tomorrow!
Here’s a little behind the scenes look at my latest custom order. I am honored to have been asked to make ornament keepsakes for The Ladies of Bonny Doon Club to celebrate the club’s 75th Anniversary! They were to be a surprise for the members, so I couldn’t post about this project until they’ve celebrated this milestone. Their luncheon was yesterday, so now, I can share this with you.
Custom porcelain ornament celebrating the 75th Anniversary of The Ladies of Bonny Doon Club
It wasn’t always smooth sailing. As usual, I needed to make several stamps to get the graphics just right. My husband, Mike is a photographer and graphic designer and creates the images that I need to make the stamps. He is a very patient man! I think we must have made a half a dozen stamps before being satisfied with how the final try worked with the clay.
One of the first graphic images with it’s corresponding photopolymer stamp
A few ornament shapes as I realized they would be too small
I was happy with a smaller stamp after a couple of tries, cut some samples and realized that the three inch shape was going to be too small. The ladies asked for a three inch round ornament, but with the approximate 12% shrinkage after firing, the pieces would be too small. Bummer!
Sooo, I decided to use a larger cutter and shaped about 70 pieces. (I always need to make more than needed in case of warping or cracking in the drying or firing processes) Then cleaned and bisque fired them. They would glaze fire to be 3 inches in diameter. Perfect!
Then….I wasn’t happy with the image size in the larger shape. I’m pretty sure I called, “Hey Sweetie…” and talked to Mike about my thoughts. He read my mind (as usual) and started on the new stamp graphics. Did I tell you what a lucky woman I am? The final stamp was a success and I proceeded to cut out another 70 pieces textured with the much improved stamp. Whew!!
Bisque firing was a success and on to glazing. I won’t show you the idea failures, but I’m happy with the result of quite a few trials and errors! Then on to glazing the rest of the batch.
Glazed and ready for their close-ups
I attached tiny Swarovski crystals for a twinkle in the Quail’s eyes
I attached tiny Swarovski crystals to add a twinkle to the eye of each Quail. All that was left to do was hang on ribbons and place them with tissue in gift boxes, ready for the big day!
Ready for the celebration!
I hope the ladies had a lovely day, celebrating their milestone anniversary!
The Ladies of Bonny Doon Club is a social club that supports various organizations and charities in my neck of the woods of the Santa Cruz Mountains of California.
Bonny Doon Fire Department with a Bake Sale at each Event
Salvation Army with canned goods
Valley Churches (Layette Project)
Bonny Doon School (Garden Tour Project)
Please feel free to contact me if I can help you celebrate one of life’s special events, or milestones with a custom porcelain keepsake! ~Carol
I’ve been busy adding earrings to my online store. Here’s a snapshot of a few!
Most are one of a kind in a wide range of styles and colors. You’ll find these and more along with a great collection of my porcelain buttons!
Much more in store! Too many to show here, right now. So… go ahead and click SHOP and let me know what you think. I’d love to hear what you like, what you might not and suggestions for what you’d like to see!
p.s. My Etsy shop is also open for business with more jewelry, buttons and more!
I’ve always cherished the crocheted lace doilies that my mom and great aunts had made. They graced most of the wood furniture in our house when I was growing up. I use them sometimes, but mostly just take them out for a look-see every once in a while.
They all have a little different feel. Some are silky soft and flowy (my favorites). Others have been stiffened by starch that has stood the test of time!
Not too long ago, when I was taking a peek at my doily stash, I decided to make a quick press mold to use in my porcelain play. Once I began, I was a bit obsessed and cut a lot of jewelry shapes.
I love the way the freshly cut clay looked. The intricate textures of the fine crochet was clearly visible. It made me miss my mom a bit more, thinking about her making each stitch.
I was so excited about my new project that I glazed everything in a handful of glazes.
Ready to be fired in the kiln
Although I’m pretty happy with the result, I’m missing a lot of the texture of the unglazed pieces.
So, knowing that I’d be cutting out more shapes, probably lots more, I sorted the doilies and pulled out a few of my favorites and made more molds.
Once again, I’m playing catch up. It’s been a long while since my last post. Not that there hasn’t been quite a bit going on, I’ve just not taken the time to put some of it into words.
My last post was to provide a little sneak peek into an exciting opportunity I had through The Artisan Group. What I signed up to do, was to provide 100 pairs of my Sunrise Shell Porcelain Earrings to be included in swag bags given to celebrities at the GBK Productions Celebrity Gift Lounge in Beverly Hills for the 2016 Primetime Emmys!
They were crafted, packaged, shipped and were added to the collection of other amazing handcrafted gifts. I had even prepared, what I think was a pretty decent press release to go out to some local newspapers, etc… before the event.
Plans can change. It didn’t quite hit the presses.
Well, life happens. Really wonderful life! (just not timed terribly well for promoting the Emmys project.) My husband and I traveled to South Carolina to help one of our sons and his family move back to California! YAY!! So, I just happend to be on the road, driving my sweet as can be daughter-in-law and two little grandkids (2-1/2yr old & 4mo old) “home” at the time. Couldn’t be happier to have them all close to us!
Back in Cali!
Just thought I’d take a few moments to wrap up my Emmys project and reflect again that the shell used to make the mold for these special earrings was collected during a visit to the South Carolina coast while awaiting the birth of our beautiful granddaughter!
Sweet times past and present!
:: FOR IMMEDIATE PRESS RELEASE ::
September 9, 2016
We are pleased to announce Carol Milich, in association with The Artisan Group, will participate in an invitation-only luxury celebrity gift lounge hosted by GBK Productions on September 16-17, 2016 at an exclusive location in Beverly Hills, California in honor of the Primetime Emmys nominees and presenters.
All attending celebrities, select press and media, and other VIPs will receive her Handcrafted Porcelain Sunrise Shell Earrings in their swag bags. This event will also be attended by around forty press and media outlets.
Impressions taken from objects that hold special memories are often an element of Carol’s creations. She created these earrings by shaping porcelain clay with a simple press mold made from a knobbed whelk shell found on her first sunrise stroll along the Atlantic. After drying thoroughly, the porcelain pieces are bisque fired to 1888 degrees F, glazed and fired once again, this time to 2232 degrees F to ensure durability and a nice finish. These earrings dangle from either sterling silver or gold filled hand formed hoops.
These special earrings are available in her Etsy shop, www.carolmilich.etsy.com
Carol’s hilltop studio is located in the Santa Cruz Mountains of California where she has been working in porcelain for more than twenty years, creating buttons, jewelry, ornaments and more.
Her buttons are used by many to embellish their own fashions and creative projects. Her jewelry is chosen to add a unique, handcrafted touch to her customers’ style or as a gift for a lucky friend. Her ornaments celebrate life’s special events.
All pieces are made personally by Carol and she especially enjoys custom orders, working with customers, providing reality to a vision.
To learn more about Carol Milich Handcrafted Porcelain and our products or our participation in this exclusive event, visit www.carolmilich.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Carol is a resident of Boulder Creek, California and a proud member of The Artisan Group.
Through The Artisan Group, Carol’s earrings have been worn on TV by characters of “Hart of Dixie”, “Bones” and “BrainDead”. Her jewelry has also been included in celebrity gift bags celebrating Earth Day and Mothers’ Day.
ABOUT THE ARTISAN GROUP
The Artisan Group® (http://www.theartisangroup.org) is a premier entertainment marketing group dedicated to representing small business artisans at the best celebrity gift lounges and press events. The organization provides a collective sampling of handcrafted products to celebrities and members of the press at top luxury gift lounges such as those leading up to The Academy Awards, The Golden Globes, The MTV Movie Awards and The Primetime Emmys.
The Artisan Group also coordinates product placement of its member’s handcrafted products on such hit television shows as Scandal, The Voice, The Vampire Diaries, Days of Our Lives, The Young & The Restless, Modern Family, Jane The Virgin and Law & Order: SVU, among others. Membership in The Artisan Group is juried and by invitation only.
For press inquiries regarding The Artisan Group, please
visit http://www.theartisangroup.org or email email@example.com.
* Neither Carol Milich nor The Artisan Group are officially affiliated with The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences (The Emmys or The Primetime Emmys).
Just one hundred pair of earrings. Only 100, well 200 pieces. That’s all! It didn’t seem too nutty at the time, and doesn’t now that I’m almost finished either. It was a pretty big commitment for a really cool opportunity that I’ll let you know more about pretty soon. After cutting and shaping the first 150 or so, I began to wonder if a pendant might have been a wiser choice with only needing half as many pieces… Well, by then it was a little late to turn back. I was into a good rhythm by then! After drying, I cleaned them up and carved my initials into the back of each piece, getting them ready for the kiln.I was so happy that they all fit on 2 shelves in my new, super cute little kiln! There was even a little space for a couple of new sample shapes.Fresh from the kiln. Ready for glazing! I decided on two glaze styles, because as most of my friends have learned, decision making is sometimes a challenge for me. At least I was able to narrow it down to two, as I would like to see these in lots of colors and glaze styles. Glazed pieces waiting for more for their second firing. Only a hundred or so to go! Success! I’m always a little apprehensive that when I open the kiln (the large kiln this time) because, sometimes a nasty surprise awaits. This time as it most often is, I’m really happy with the result.You might have been wondering why this post began with the photo of a shell on the beach. I made a press mold from a Knobbed Whelk shell that I found on an early morning to watch my first sunrise over the Atlantic. It was a beautiful sight!Until next time…
So, there’s this basket of earrings just waiting for their close up. They are the first in a line-up of earrings, buttons and even some cool tatting shuttles that I will list in my Etsy shop very soon. Well, that is if I ever decide how I’d like to photograph them!
I don’t know why I have such a difficult time trying to figure out how I want to photograph my items. I guess decision making is not my strongest suit, easily demonstrated by my variety of mostly one of a kind items! I’d like to get back to the workshop to try out some new ideas, but I think it will be best to update my shop and list these new pieces first.
I’d like to present a focused collection. Choosing backgrounds and thinking about adding props has been an ongoing dilemma. Should each item be shown on a crisp white background… or maybe a coordinating or contrasting color… or perhaps a texture, a prop or a patterned design and on and on and on….. HELP!
I’m looking for a little help from you. These are a few examples of what I’ve been considering and I’d love to hear what you think might be the best to give my shop a consistent look. I’m open to any suggestions you may have and look forward to your comments!
It’s hard to believe that we are already a full month into the new year and I haven’t even wrapped up 2013 yet!
My last post was in the fall when I had just begun designing my annual Christmas ornament. Here’s a peek at some pieces “under construction”.
I enjoyed making these ornaments every step of the way, really liking a porcelain clay that was new to me. This new clay is very smooth and nice to work with. It fires to a really white, translucent finish. I love that when it’s held in front of a light or in the sunshine, it seems to glow!
I’m happy that many of my ornaments have found their way to the homes of friends, family and wonderful customers who have added them to their Christmas ornament collections! I am honored and grateful for the opportunity to be a part of many families’ traditions.
2014 is already full of new projects and opportunities! I’m in full swing again in the workshop and look forward to what’s in the works!
It may be a bit late, but I wish you a Very Happy New Year!
I know that Christmas comes around the same time every year, but it seems that each year, my handcrafted porcelain ornaments hit the shows and shops “hot off the press”!
Or more accurately, out of the kiln!
I have a design idea that I’m quite happy with right now. There are several pieces ready to be bisque fired so that I can test a few glaze combinations and choose the one that will best tell my story for the year. You probably won’t know what has inspired me, but this year’s will represent a couple of heartfelt events. Just my little secret within the design.
2013 is year 22 for my dated, Boulder Creek ornaments! Boulder Creek is our small town, tucked into the Santa Cruz Mountains. It’s about an hour and a half drive south from San Francisco. Since 1991, I’ve added nearby towns and personalized ornaments for friends and family.
When I meet my customers, I’m surprised that many collect my ornaments! It’s always fun to hear that they have favorites and tell me how they are displayed or sent far away to family and friends. It’s such an honor to be part of a family’s holiday tradition! Very humbling.