Wednesday, April 29, 2009


I am going to Tucson Arizona for a vacation.  I'm seeing friends ( I lived in Tucson for years and years) and I am attending a Robert Burridge painting workshop in Tubac, which is 40 miles south of Tucson.  If you want to find out more about Burridge, check out his web site

I am not planning on having much computer time, so you might not hear from me until I get back.


Saturday, April 25, 2009


I am giving a test to blogging via e-mail.  I am just about to go to Tucson Arizona and take a painting workshop.  I don't know if I'll be able to get to a computer, but if I do it would be nice to update my blog.  But there won't be pictures.  Well, let's send this off and see if it works.

Remember: Good things happen to people who buy art. M. Ruley

Thursday, April 23, 2009


Here are the olive dishes that were made last week. Once they have been glaze fired they are bright and shiny. I really like the black edges I put on them. I think I'll do that again. And I will have to make more, because at $23 a piece these were snapped up in 2 days.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Here is a quick peek at how those fish are made. A flat fish is cut out using a template, then it is scored on the fins and body for some detail. The fins are ruffled, the eye is added and tissue or newspaper is put under the fish to give it form. After the fish has hardened to the point of being what is called "leather hard" a piece of clay with some holes in it is added to the back so that you can put a wire loop through it so it will hang on the wall. But notice the boom box on the table. I usually listen to books on tape, but while I was working on these, I was listening to George Thoroughgood and the Delaware Destroyers, LOUD!

Monday, April 20, 2009


I normally make my wall fish facing left. The reason for this is because I read from left to right and most of my customers read from left to right. Our eyes are trained to start at the left and move to the right and then in a clock-wise direction. And when we look at someting alive we tend to look at the eyes and face first and then take in the rest of the body. So I plan my fish so that you automatically start with the face and move down the rest of the fish. This is something to take into consideration when planning the composition of anything visual. But rules are made to be broken and every once in awhile things need to move away from the normal or comfortable zone. Like fish swimming upstream.

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Once the flip flops are out of the kiln all that is left to do is to attach the backs. I use a silicon type of glue that remains flexible. If you use epoxy, it eventually turns brittle and the backs come off.

Flip them over and they are finished! The glaze is crystal clear and the colors are vibrant. This size sells for $48 a pair at 7 Artists Key West, 604 Duval Street, Key West FL (305) 293-0411.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The canvas keeps the wet clay from sticking to the table. When I use a sponge to smooth down the clay it would adhere itself to the table if the canvas wasn't there. And it needs to be nice heavy canvas. Light weight muslin or duck just slip and slide around or buckle.


I used to make so many flip flops that when I called my wholesale customers I identified myself as the flip flop lady. I don't make that many anymore, but I do still make them on a regular basis. They are another item that I build by hand. Here you can see the progression. Above they are on the work table being assembled.

Here they are drying. Notice that I have iron weights holding them down. If I didn't do that the toes and heels would curl up.

Here they are after they have been decorated.

Now they are in the kiln for the bisque firing. The bisque fire is the first fire before the glaze is applied. Notice that the lid is propped up. I do an oxidation fire so that the colors get nice and bright. So the kiln needs oxygen. The lid stays up for about the first 2 1/2 hours. Then it gets shut. The top peep hole always stays open.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Here are the olive dishes that were started the other day. They have dried, I have wiped them down with a sponge and started the decorating process. I use commercial underglazes for nice bright colors. They are now finished and loaded in the kiln and will be fired on Thursday.

Monday, April 13, 2009


Back to basic hand building. I've rolled out a slab of clay, I've used a template to cut out the shape I want. I move the shape to a piece of heavy canvas. I use a sponge to smooth out the clay.

Next I cover the piece of clay with some dry cleaner plastic and smooth it out. Then I flip the clay slab into the dish I am using as a form. The piece of plastic will be between the clay and the dish. This keeps the clay from sticking to the dish.

Next I use my fingers and flute the edge. While this piece is drying I put some tiles in the center of the form so that the bottom will dry flat. You can see lots of examples of finished platters in earlier posts. I pair these platters with small bowls for dip and sell them together as entertainment sets.

Sunday, April 12, 2009


Last winter and spring I worked on a series of "green flash" paintings. It was a series of paintings that celebrated the instant the sun collapses into the ocean. They were all 12 x 12 inches. Recently I picked up the series again. This time I am working 12 x 16 inches. The one above is Green Flash #15 and I will probably give it a word title too.

This one is "Green Flash #16" and I am still working on a title. As of this morning (Easter) it was unfinished but when I looked at the Pam Hobbs twilight photos I knew just what I had to do. So I added a few points of light and called it done. Maybe it is an "Ethereal Twilight"?


I use many different techniques to make my pottery. One of them is handbuilding, which means not using the potters wheel, or molds, or press machines. Handbuilding can be very easy or very complicated. Here is an easy project straight out of the hand books. Start with a slab of clay. I use a slab roller because I do so much, but you can use a rolling pin.

Next cut out your shape, I use templates so that I get the same shape every time. With my slab roller I can do lots of pieces at once. Right now I am showing you what to do with the long skinny oval in the front of the photo.

Move your cut out pieces to a canvas and smooth them with a wet sponge. Next take one end of the oval and pinch it together and roll it towards you. Pinch the other side and roll it in the opposite direction. Now you will have a boat shaped dish. You can leave it plain or you can use your fingers to flute the edges like I do. You might want to click on this photo to enlarge it so you can really see how it's done.

Here are a couple of these dishes finished. I paint olives on the inside and sell them as olive dishes. They are easy and fun to make. And while this project is right out of a beginners book the results are great.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009


My personal life interfered with my studio life last week (don't you hate that!) and I am struggling to get back in the groove. Plus, I have been out of glaze, but it came late yesterday, so all the pieces that have been sitting on my work table will be finished this week. Yeah! The painting shown here has just returned from Tubac, Arizona where it was part of a juried national show. The juror for the show was Robert Burridge, whose works I admire.

In two weeks I am going to Tucson Arizona for a vacation and while I am there I am going to Tubac, for a workshop with Burridge. I am very much looking forward to it. I have very deep roots in Tucson and I will be visiting with friends and exploring new painting themes. I can't wait.

This painting is available for sale, framed $475.00

Well it's off to the studio to work, everyone have a great day!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009


Although my friend Chris thinks these are all portraits of her, they are as follows.
  • upper left, Buster Keaton
  • lower left, NYC real estate (Gilda)
  • upper right, Euro transplant
  • lower right, sweet and slow
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