6/23/15

No Texting

No internet, no texting, just two spirits standing alone in a space.

I had the honor of meeting a gentleman within the last couple of months.
He was courteous and patiently working on his form of art.
We began to visit a bit and this is where the story begins.

6/16/15

Put a lid on it....

This piece has been patiently waiting for a top - for over a year..
So this week, I completed it!
It is a bit tricky when the lid is made at a different time than the base. (Think shrinkage...)
There is typically a difference of 10 to 14 percent between newly thrown and completed pieces.
It worked!
Kind of a funny angle shot here, however it is ready to bisque fire.

6/11/15

Is it Good, Bad, or Just Plain Ugly?

The year is 1990...

Do you remember the influences at that time?
Clean lines, earthy, and simplistic, coupled with organic images in bronze and copper.

Louise Comfort Tiffany lamps were being revisited along with Roycroft and Stickley gems. Pulled out of dusty corners in the attics and antique shops, these and

6/2/15

I remember now

Over the last years, as you know, life got chaotic.
Today was 'clean out the files' day. Not that I had any paperwork to go through. (they are dust remember...)
However, cleaning out the clutter of files in a computer is the most cleansing experience!

I am grateful I have a computer to clean out!
(sigh)

5/29/15

This week...gears and life

This week I received a package filled with parts
used by a gentleman during his shortened lifetime. I could feel his presence when I opened the package. Oil and grime from his hands on the parts.
I will have the honor of transposing those elements into a vessel that will carry his spirit forward.
Feeling humbled.

5/27/15

Art Challenge: The Mask

My first project selection, how appropriate. A mask of a woman. I found during the self-guided journey, as I was choosing the pieces to work with, that I was gravitating towards images of women.
However I did not know it was of a woman at first glance. When I look at it now though, I see the effeminate nature of the eyes and facial features.
Elements I want to work with from the mask: The frame around the face, and the use of the feathers.

5/21/15

A challenge for myself

I am such an advocate of viewing inspiring art. I make a trek to the MIA quite frequently for that worldly experience. There are also some fabulous galleries locally that I go to as well. Like the Art Center of Saint Peter, the Hillstrom Gallery at Gustavus Adolphus College, and the Carnegie Art Center of Mankato.
This week I made an impromptu visit to the MIA because I am giving myself a challenge.
I love the Art in Bloom spring exhibit that has occurred for quite a few years, and attend this event as often as I can. The thought of interpreting art through flowers is so refreshing, and challenging! Some arrangements are really out there.
Oh, the artists of the floral arrangements are very serious about this exhibit too! Daily, carting their wagons full of fresh replacement flowers, plucking the wilting petals. The new debutants standing at attention for their moment of fame, until the next round of replacements come in during this four day fashion extravaganza.
Actually it is a sensory overload of the most rewarding kind. The galleries are ethereal with the fragrance of fresh flowers. The sculptural movement of the arrangements make you feel like moving with the twists and turns that are made with twigs, and greenery.

And the vessels.
The vessels.
These are the under-stated acoutrement of each arrangement.

The best arrangements in my estimation are elevated to a higher level of exquisiteness with vessels created by artists in their own right.
Oh to be one of those.....(sigh)

So back to my challenge.
Every time I visit the MIA, I gravitate towards my favorites. And then there are the new additions. The recently acquireds. Ahhhh.
And so I decided to do my own interpretation of Art in Bloom.  

Yesterday, with my cell phone in hand, I took 'snapshots'. (No they were not high photograph quality, however they are great for my interpretation.)
And so I will begin to share with you...
My favorite art pieces, and the creations I make that are inspired by these works of art.

I hope you enjoy them as I share the process and evolution with you.
Yes it takes me a while to go from start to finish. (About 4 - 6 weeks) So you will have to 'hook-up' with me so you see the finished product when it is complete.

Note I took lots of images, so there is not only one I will be creating!
In the meantime.....breathe in Spring!!!

5/19/15

The creative process | Behind the scenes

We learn, we grow. This I know.

This little photo collection is from inside my studio, as I create a vase.

The first step, not even shown here, is the creating of the vessel itself on my potter's wheel.
It takes about 8 pounds of clay, and once it is shaped, the piece is set aside until it is leather hard, and able to be carved.

The whole process takes about 4-6 weeks...of patience.
Hope you enjoy!

Here is what I love to do. Carve.
Bases! I enjoy carving a unique 'foot'. Typically it is a round base. I like to create a more moving and interactive platform.

Earlier in the process, I apply lines to initiate the design

4/10/15

The Soul dance

Today I finished working on a piece that was initially started back in July. Through careful wrapping, this piece was kept in the 'leather hard' stage for .... hmmm... that would be 9 months!!!! Wow! That is incredible!
And today I actually finished it! I am hoping to use it as a pro-type for a project on the house.

I collected leaves from around our property; oak, sumac, willow, and crabapple, and after placing them strategically, I drew them, and now after carving them, I plan on making a mold to use with polar ice slip. (Technical I know, but it boils down to this...) I am hoping to come up with a set of 9 sconce translucent shades to use at our new home. Cross your fingers! I will keep you posted if it works - and also - if it doesn't.  Experimentation is important to share, right?!

4/8/15

What do farmers, electricians, and dentists have in common?


It is everywhere....
Everywhere.

I was visiting with my daughter the other day.
"Mom" she said...."I get it now."

Ahhh the joys of wisdom! (smile)

An Accountant.
They use numbers, work on budgets. Deal with deficits. Figure out how to

4/2/15

Coffee shops, a Waste of time, and Visions

A visit at the coffee shop. A gift. For my 55th birthday.
Coffee shop conversations with my mother are always ones of deep reflection and wisdom. She has always been a woman ahead of her time, and she has shared that wisdom with me, always. Encouraging me to find what makes my life tick. As a person, as a soul. Not your usual fluff, really deep questions only asked of by wise women. 

Mom asked to get together for my birthday, her treat. It was a lovely sunny day, and it was my day, so I said yes. After chatting a while our conversation meandered into comparing our memories of what it was like while living at home on the farm. Yes, I do remember.

3/24/15

A New Perspective

An elder, and an inspired 7th grader.
Searching for simple answers.
Nothing profound actually.
Just two people working on perspective drawing.
One age 13, the other, age 72.

This is a true story about the power of connection.
The setting: a community room in the public library
The purpose: play time

There really is nothing special about this story.
Except that it is a testament to the way we as humans interact. And the ripple effect it causes.

3/3/15

Coming out of the fog.....

As I come out of the fog of the last three years... I realize I am planting myself. Again.
"Which way do I turn?"
It is self evaluation time in the life clock world. I have gained so much wisdom, measured outside of BFA's or MFA's. So the re-entry into "where do I fit in?" turns into a threshold of "What really matters?".
This past weekend I was jolted -

2/3/15

Rebirth


How poignant.
My last entry was one year ago this month!

My husband and I have been "gifted" a sabbatical of sorts, with the outcome being one of many blessings.

Now we are rebuilding our lives, rebuilding the focus of my work, and reconnecting to the world.

After all of this change, I am finding my groove, with fresh excitement. I. Am. Slowly. Moving. Doing. Creating.
I am totally immersed in heavenly artfulness. I am blessed.

Living life fully,

Michelle

2/25/14

Will you be found in 200 years?


In the near future - in four more days precisely - a historical record has the potential of being broken.  And many stories will be told about that record in particular - for generations. Guaranteed.

2/14/14

Will it stop you in your tracks?


It's just part of the every day Minnesota winter - which translates into six whole months out of the year. Snow. Really?

My plans were for a complete weekend of creative inventiveness and freedom in my studio while my husband was out of town.
These intentions were somewhat dismantled by an unexpected

2/13/14

Days like this?

Want a glimpse of what I have been doing lately?
Ahhh...That would be an image of my brain wrestling with the laptop...reflecting, contemplating, planning, all that 'business' stuff.

I needed a break from all of that,

2/4/14

What will you capture today?

The power of emotion. As visible as the kinship between a clydesdale and a puppy dog.
Evoking smiles, sighs, excitement, happy tears, memories.
Our little Nellie....
filled with unconditional love...
and a part of many,
many wonderful memories!
As I reflect on the annual social sporting (and commercial) event of the "Super Bowl", I realize the power of emotion is present in everything. What car we drive. What clothes we wear. What house we choose. What music we listen to. What pets we keep or do not keep. Yes the list is endless.
All of these elements create memories. Feelings. Emotions.
This gathering of emotions is unique to each individual.
What emotions do you hope to capture today?



1/28/14

Is yours a shoe box?

They start out as shoe boxes hidden under our beds. Holding small trinkets and earthly finds or shared treasures given to us by those close.
As we get older, the items in the box, and the box itself, evolves. Maybe a special corner tucked away in a dresser drawer under a sweater, or an heirloom itself; a hand held keepsake. Passed down through generations, the sentiments felt about those pieces never fades.
What does your keepsake box look like?

1/16/14

Is it a Sycamore? Or Eucalyptus?

The bitter north winds of the mid-west awaken the senses in ways unexplainable to those in other parts of the country. They also heighten our longing for warmth in the thick of winter.
Myself included.
In a far away land, in celebration of a new year, the sun's rays energize those in need of rejuvenation. 
Myself included.
Navigating through San Francisco with my car windows closed,

11/26/13

What is art?

During my travels, my companions lose their patience. My camera is in my hand, and I am taking literally hundreds of photos. Thank goodness for digital cameras!
Images of nature for future studies. Architectural examples of carvings... the list goes on and on.
A particular trip took me to San Diego with a visit to Balboa Park.

11/14/13

Clay to Bronze

This little keepsake is called Petit Three Feathers.
It is so sweet, with three feathers swirling around the base and also perched on the lid.
When I go for walks and find feathers I am intrigued by their beauty and truly appreciate their symbolism.
These feathers hold dearly the contents that are kept inside. Giving it respect and honor.

Through most of my pottery years, I have worked with clay on the wheel, starting with a cylinder, then making a lid, and after the piece has been shaped and set aside to allow it to firm up into a leather hard consistency, the carving begins. Leather hard is a term...

10/18/13

Days flow by

When I look at this image, it reminds me of how engrained things can be. I swear I am an extension of a soul that was present during the Art Nouveau period. Flowing, organic style that was prevalent in the early 1900's.

Earlier this spring my husband and I went to the The Czech and Slovak Museum and Library in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and saw not only beautiful artwork, but an informative video about one of my favorite print artists of that time. Alphonse Mucha. Ironically, he was Czech. I did not put the connection together until we were sitting in the theater, viewing the video...my husband is full Czech!
Many of Alphonses' pieces are labyrinths of entwining flora.
In my early 20's I would page through books of his work, night after night, translating the movement of line and plant life over and over in my head.

I carry those images of movement into my pieces to this day...

9/24/13

Let's take a break!

I went to lunch with a dear friend today. And during that time we discussed life notes.
How important it is to take the time to do what we love to do.

Do you love to sing? Breathe in nature? Go for a run? Play games with the kids? Or put yourself into your own zone and do what your hands and mind want you to do-
however not as often as you would like?

That's me too. I don't do it as often as I should. I need to eat my own words. Not just my lunch!
So here is an image of something I created a while back. It's reminding me to get back to the wheel.

8/27/13

Life is a funny thing...

...not always in the humorous sense, sometimes unpredictable, challenging, memorable.
I realize I avoid a lot of things in my writings.
Gently skirting what's really happening.
Everyone handles life events in their own way, and I respect that completely.

What is illuminating to me - is the need for each spirit to act upon what feels right to them.  Read more...

4/17/13

Natures healing power

This last week I was fortunate to be carried miles from the unending snow of this late winter season that stubbornly refuses to welcome spring.

As we traveled 10+ hours south, I left behind my tiredness,
Read more....

3/22/13

Why?

A friend asked me the other day how people react when I bring urns into a conversation when talking about my art work.
Responses ranging from uncomfortable, to raising an eyebrow. "Really???"
being a frequent.  I can just see the question rolling in their brain "Who in their right mind would make urns unless they were a bit quirky themselves." Really!However I believe the hesitant responses may be more from the topic it is connected to:
Read more....

2/26/13

A Sculptural Twist

I have loved working with wire since I was in my mid-teens.

It all started when my grandmother had the family members all bring a handmade ornament to decorate the Christmas tree. I had relented. Then I saw the wonderfully created ornaments on the tree. I wanted to chime in with my part. However it was too late, for it was already Christmas.
Read more..

1/17/13

Changes of a life time

Throughout September and October, and November for that matter, there were additional changes - that have brought forward good things. Not how I expected them, however
Read more....

10/19/12

We are all connected

Such a respite to be able to work in art. In many ways it is our only voice.
Teachings of many cultures share that we are all connected: Earth, People, Creatures of the Earth. I also believe this, and it was my message as I created this design.

Now it is translated into clay as it takes shape as a keepsake lid.
Live fully,

Michelle

10/11/12

Life's Path is ever changing

I look back and I see my last post was July 4. My how quickly things can change.
Just 3 days after that post, my father
Read more....

7/4/12

Willows in my back yard


Living on an acreage filled with nature, I am intrigued and inspired by an elegant and grandiose tree that grows nearby. The willow. It has these beautiful seedlings that emerge on all of its branches every spring. Fuzzy bristles
Read more....

6/10/12

Life Lives

at The Keyhole Studio 101 Broadway Ave, St Peter, MN 56082, USA

"Life Lives"
Cremation Urn

Nature surrounds us. And it is such a powerful connection for us as we live our lives day to day.
This piece echos the importance of nature with grasses and cattails, carrying the soul forward.

Because each piece is unique and inspired in the moments of its creation, I decline recreating this piece, in respect to the holder of this urn. See other pieces currently available in the Keyhole Studio shop on Etsy, or on this site.

5/25/12

Guardian

"Guardian" Cremation Urn

The Oak. A tower of strength. This small acorn is where the life began,
Read more...

5/24/12

In memory of the young...

In memory of the young...

My sister died when she was 18 months old.
The pain my mother and father felt? Unimaginable.
And almost 50 years later,
my sister's presence is still near.
When I first began creating urns, they were medium to larger in size. Then one day, I made one that was smaller in size. A heartfelt sigh, a pause. A tribute to the young - like my sister.

Since that day, I have created smaller vessels, along with the medium and larger urns. All reverent, all made with intention to carry a loved one's spirit into the future.

Blessings,

Michelle

More images of created pieces at The Keyhole Studio.

4/9/12

The Soul Remains.com welcomes you!

at The Keyhole Studio St Peter, MN 56082, USA

The Soul Remains.com welcomes you!
With ever expanding technology - it is becoming more and more advantageous to have work in more than one viewable location. With that, please note my work is now also available on etsy.com. I monitor this site every business day, and it is a very accessible site to use with paypal.
I have been enjoying my new studio which I moved to in September of 2011. It is still called the Keyhole Studio, and I still work reverently with the urns. They are viewable through the www.thesoulremains.com site and through my shop at etsy.com. Not all pieces are shown at both locations, so feel free to visit both sites if you are so inclined. Thank you for visiting and if you have a piece you would like made specific to your needs, please feel free to email me.

Blessings,

Michelle

3/1/12

March 1, 2012. Status? Spacious studio in hand. Check. Urns selling. Check. Additional pottery vessels selling. Check.  Desire to work with metals a reality. Check. Check. Etsy account established. Check. The Bridge: for culture and life started - and growing. Check. Wow! Life is good!

6/22/11

Life moves forward.

Things have been evolving here. I am in the early stages of moving my studio to a business location. The environment change will be good. I am looking forward to expanding my studio as my pieces are getting larger and I am enjoying the spaciousness. As you can see, I have not been posting to my blog site for a while as I am also on Facebook. Won't you join me there? My Keyhole Studio Facebook is linked to the right. Enjoy!

1/26/10

Extra ordinary memorial vessels


How do we express life when selecting art objects that represent how we feel? Are they eccentric, fulfilling, purposeful, intentional, or fun? Do they exude our enthusiasm? Coming from the world of interior design, it is easy to purchase something because it is pretty or because it matches the decor.

But what about our life's representation in a memorial vessel? Should it be somber? Or should it be delightful?

I have been deliberating this question for a while now. I have been working on a number of urns that are reflective of nature. This is the soul of what I create. But there is that side of me that says - why not something more playful or outlandish? With that thought I will retire - and see what develops.

Live fully,

Michelle

10/13/09

Finding your own voice

Selecting an urn can be an act of embracing life - as an integral part of our world around us first, and a cremation urn second. By choosing a vessel that represents who we are while living, we prepare those around us for what will hold our ashes after we are gone from the physical world.

The urns I create are so personal to me. None of them are preconceived, or production pieces, but are made one at a time, as the spirit guides me. The shape is 'thrown' on a wheel, and then after quiet reflection, an image is sketched that melds with the vessel, which is then hand carved out of the clay.

Having that special vessel in your home, as a sacred piece, is a process of embracing life with reverence while still here on earth.

Live fully,

Michelle

6/16/09

Carved Urns


Inspiration

Shapes and images of seedlings, leaves, flowers, and creatures. All gifts of nature that initiate shapes and carved features in my urns.

How do you look for the right urn?
What inspires the perfect representation of those you love who have passed on?
I think of this every time I create a vessel. Can an urn express ones' existence? How do you articulate appreciation, reverence, care, gratitude, peace, or love?
Through nature, I have found that voice.

Whether you are searching for a cremation urn, memorial urn, or a keepsake, each of these vessels are made with an emotional voice.

With the deepest appreciation for the world around us,

Live fully,

Michelle

3/27/09

Herons

Elements of living.
I have probably thought (and said) a million times - Life is an inspiration.

Why?
It is quite simple really. It's all about essence. Who we are. What makes us tick.
When I create a piece, there is a life force of it's own that guides me to complete each piece.
I capture that essence of life that I feel. My hope is that these vessels evoke reflection and connection, and that these cremation urns create a tangible element for those who are needing to say farewell to a loved one.

Live fully,

Michelle

3/6/09

My newest work!

Welcome to The KEYHOLE Clay Studio blog!
I am excited for people to see what I have been up to and for all to get an 'up to the minute' glimpse at the newest of my creations.
These are all one of a kind - as you will see, as each new creation is added to my blog.
Each piece reflects life's encounters.
From walks in a nearby woods, to motorcycling on back country roads, or simply - as life moments pass, I pay attention to my surroundings, and to the wonders of nature. Truly, beauty can be found in a single leaf! And I place much focus on these beautiful wonders.

I also see life as a journey, and you will notice some of my pieces have curves and lines that twist, cross, indent or alter the flow about a piece. - Just like in life!

My kiln is half-filled and I have been working on staining more pieces in prep for a glaze firing.

This piece is a vase that is quite large. About 18" high when drying for the 'bisque' firing.
Thought you would enjoy getting a glimpse of the pieces I am preparing to finish!
Be inspired! Be creative!

I will share my belief with you: We are all creative. Support it where you live!