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
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!