The Magic of Relief

Carving for lines and depth.
Banjo Girl Relief Tile
I love taking a drawing, and sketching it out on a fresh slab of clay. I then draw the legs, bangos, etc, that I want to stand out an pop. I carve these out of a second stab, and attch then to the first drawing.
I then wrap it in plastic and let it meld overnight.
When the slab is a soft leather hard I start cutting away, smoothing the edges. In doing this I create undercuts that add depth. It means I can not recreate these tiles by making moulds and reproducing the same form.
I do use my first drawings to create more tiles, but they are never the same. Check out these wren tiles, that were done from the same first drawing:
For these I added an extra layer for the bird, and cut away around the tree.
After I have the basic shape I them paint the tiles with underglazes. I use techniques I learned doing egg tempra painting with pigment, and egg yolk on gessoed wooden boards, Ater painting with colour is good training for this work. A person in our studio has been studying watercolour and does amazing work for our local Empty Bowls project.
After I put 3-4 layers of colour on, I go away for a day. I come back and see if there is more underglaze work to do, or if areas would benift from having glazes painted on, that would add more depth of field.
The above tile uses glazes and underglazes on the colour layer.
I leave them for a day, and wax the back of the tile, and spray them with cone 6 clear feldspar glaze in my spray booth.
After they are completely bone dry, I once fire them in my kiln over 15 to 18 hours, to a high cone 5. This keeps the underglaze colours from fading and saves on energy and the environment.
I do NOT have higher warping/shrinkage/breakage rates by once firing.
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Woodland Caribou

I have been sculpting Woodland Caribou since April of 2015 when I saw the gala at the Museum of Nature in Ottawa for Our Incredible world series on this noble beasts.

Woodland Boreal Caribou are an animal who have sustained life in the boreal forest region for centuries. When I learned about them I just wanted to share them with folks, so I made miniature critters,to use as an educational tool. To spark interest and conversation.

You can learn more about them by going to the Incredible World Website:   https://incredibleworld.ca/2017/woodland-caribou-series/
Our Incredible World is a educational project. This 6 part video series on Woodland Caribou is aimed for 4 – 7th graders with lesson plans. So great for home schoolers, teacher (there are lesson plans and more resources). A team of 2 teens go and talk to Cree Elders, Scientists and others. They learn about Woodland Caribou habitant. And You will, too. Yeah.
I am writing now because an important deadline is coming up for maintaining the Caribou’s habitant. To quote the David Suzuki foundation:

” In 2012, the federal government gave provinces and territories five years to develop range plans for each herd that show how ranges will be managed to effectively protect critical habitat. The recovery strategy identifies a minimum of 65 per cent undisturbed habitat in a range as the “disturbance management threshold,” which provides a 60 per cent chance of the local herd surviving.

The five-year deadline (October 5) for caribou range plans is coming up fast. And the Forest Products Association of Canada (FPAC) is now casting doubt on the science to further delay action!”   So click on the link below to write a letter.   http://action2.davidsuzuki.org/caribou

 

 

It is what inspired me to create the Caribou charms.
And if wearing this charm can inspire conversations about Boreal Forest, Woodland Caribou, saving habitants in the north, then awesome!  Half of the money from any purchase will go to the David Susuki foundation.

Here are the purchase links:

Woodland Caribou Charm

Woodland Caribou Earrings

Miniature are available by emailing me dirrectly at crittersandtales@gmail.com

 

 

Critters Photography

Being a person of little means, I can’t go out and hire a photographer to photograph my artwork. In fact I work on a small laptop, so I can’t buy the Adobe software, that gets recommended by lots of websites.
My tools are an aging Canon digital camera, a free on line photo editor and iphoto on my aging Mac Air. Plus the great outdoors and it’s beautiful natural light.
Last summer I hired Emmet to take some photos. They are awesome. The light is perfect, and she really captured the animals.
Cows saying hello 1.25 in

Alas – Emmet is busy with life, many jobs and projects. Plus physical distance. And then sometimes natural light fails – snow, rain, wind…

All in all I keep changing how I photograph, or the light is differant, from one hour to another… And I end up with photographs with backgrounds in MANY different colours and many differant shades of that colour depending on time of day, ie light.

So for now I am learning to live with that and add some artsy photos of my work into the mix:

I’ll share solutions I come up with as I go along. And if you have any thoughts, stories… please send me an email at mollycritters@gmail.com I’d love to hear from you.

Pit Fire

The Pit Fire was unloaded this morning.

We all gathered round and unloaded our pieces, dumping the ash out of our cans. The pieces in the back were mostly black. Rosie’s dear fox – exploded, so I will not put in a piece that I can’t bisque first. Pieces near the chimney had hardly any colour, though Lyndal’s turtles had some lovely peach colour from the banana peel, and Jan got some lovely rust colour from the seaweed.

The mica terra sig. gave some lovely sparkle, even through the black on my rune stones. Victoria got a little colour from the oxides she added to her terra sig. as well. And Jan’s Hedgehog was black on the inside, where there were coffee grounds, and stayed shiny, but with more dark spots on the terra sig and burnished side.

All in all it is not nearly as exciting as a Raku fire, so I think that must be our next adventure in the fall…

 

Molly’s Pit Fire Prep

I have been wanting to do a pit fire YEARS, and I am finally getting it done.

Folks from the MERA Pottery created one or two pieces each from: Tuckers brown (^6) or white (^10) sculptural Clay.

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Some are covered with Terra Sig. and or Terra Sig. mixed with Mica Power, found by local prospectors – Moses and Deb.

All but the fox were bisque fired to cone 018.

I built the pit kiln in our back yard, open shelter, designed to use for making maple syrup in the spring, and doing pit and raku firing other times in the year. The shed was finally finished late last fall, and we had our first maple syrup season in it this spring.

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First I gathered the materials to burn in the pit fire:

The Pit Fire is happening Monday. So stay tuned.

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Up and Coming

For Emmet’s news go to: Emmet L.F. Cameron on Patreon. For just $3 a month, and get access to much of Emmet’s work. June held writing workshops, with ideas from those workshops sure to be included in future postings.

Molly has been regularly posting on the Critters and Tales Facebook page. Seems like a good time to finally update here.
Living half time in Cape Breton has brought some awesome connections, and you can now find Molly’s work in some favourite galleries on the island:

Water’s Edge Gallery in Baddeck

22 Water St, Baddeck NS   902-295-3600  www.thewatersedgeinn.com

A delightful collection of art, innovative craft, smoke fired animals… Each corner of the gallery holds another delight in a large variety of media from paintings, pottery, glass and wood to fabric arts. As varied as going into the Ontario or Cape Breton centre for Arts & Crafts. Insightful new work here constantly.

Molly is so happy to be included in the work this year, WOW!

Sunset Folk Art Gallery in Cheticamp

The Sunset Gallery has a large collection of wooden carved folkart focusing on William Roach. His studio is on the property, and is open, when he is available. There is also a large collection of rug hooking, prints and more.

Frog Pond Cafe, with great pastries and coffee. A place to sit and watch the birds. We saw a grackle, cardinals, sparrows… while we we there this time.

William Roach’s work and the other Folk Art in this gallery is truly unique. Visiting here, always brings me laughter and makes me think about perception. A lifetime dream of Molly’s to be included in real folk art gallery, with a shared vision of art.

Doll Emporium in Louisbourg

7555 Main St., Louisbourg, NS
This little shop in Louisbourg is run by Margaret Smith, a native to Louisbourg. Her and her assistant are full of many wonderful stories about Louisbourg over the years. The front of her shop is full of tall ship models, with affordable simple models you can build. Margaret has a small collection of books on Louisbourg. With a variety of delights in every corner.  Molly looks forward to all the knowledge and community to be gained here.

Emmet and Molly continue to sell there work on ETSY:

Cheering for the Habs PDF Edition

Continental Drift Turtle Charms on ETSY

Hope you all are having a healthy happy Summer.

 

Amidst Animals in Florence, Italy

I spent most of March in Italy with my sisters looking at art and architecture.

I just wanted to share a few treasures with you.

House Carpenter

The thing is done!

My new weird lil art baby clones are finally ready to go out to my $5+ patrons! If you’re not one yet, you still have until the end of February to pledge & get this particular surprise in the mail (& lots of surprises thereafter)
House Carpenter Ballad
Broadside Ballads – Available to Emmet’s $5 Patreon supporters

For more info. Check the link below:

https://www.patreon.com/posts/thing-is-done-8213540

Adventures in Wren Tiles

Late December I received an order for a wren tile. While making the one that was ordered I played around with other wren tiles.. playing with texture and form. I wanted to share the process here.

I rolled out soft slabs of clay, using a rolling pin. I have learned from Chandlier that rolling and flipping tiles, gives them so many memories, that they then to be stronger and lie flatter than tiles I have made before using a slab roller. I have been experimenting with different methods since 2004, and am really enjoying the tactile nature of hand rolling the slab.

For this set of 5 tiles I played with differant  sculpting techniques, from simply carving the picture onto a harden to soft leather hard slap to sculpting softer slaps into sharper relief, creating more depth:

wren-lg-grnware
Carved Soft Leather Hard Tile
wren-burlap-grnware
Sculpted Soft Tile

I then hand painted with underglazes the tiles:

Wren
Wren
Greenware Wren - Under glazed
Greenware Wren – Under glazed
Unfired Wren in Birth Tree - Underglazed and ready for Bisque Fire
Unfired Wren in Birth Tree – Underglazed and ready for Bisque Fire

The tiles are then bisque fired, cooled, and airbrush sprayed with clear glaze. They are then fired to a low cone ^6 in an electric kiln, so they retain their colour and have a glossy finish.

You can view the Finished Tiles on Molly’s Critters ETSY site:

https://www.etsy.com/ca/listing/507238547/winter-wren-tile-ceramic-tile-5-12-art