Saturday, February 20, 2010

Pottery, Purses, and a Wonderful Giveaway!

You could win this beautiful bowl!

One of the things I love most about blogging is how it allows you to meet some of the most amazing and talented people that you would likely never meet any other way.  There are so many creative people all across Blogland and I'm constantly awed and amazed by their ingenuity and skill.

Lili from Fearless Nesting is one of those wonderfully talented people that I was lucky enough to meet through blogging.  She was one of the first people to ever comment on one of my posts and she's been a faithful and supportive friend ever since.  I've also become a big fan of her blog where she posts wonderful photos of her lovely home state of Maine along with yummy meals she makes with all of the fresh seafood she and husband Henri catch!  And of course she shares her beautiful pottery and felted purses on her blog and through her Etsy shop!

In Lili's Fearless Nesting Etsy shop, you'll find some of the amazing and really reasonably priced Raku pottery she and Henri have created.  You'll also find the beautiful and unique handmade felted purses she has for sale. 




Lili and her husband Henri (pictured above) are both kind and generous souls, something you can tell just by reading her blog.  And she has generously offered one of their beautiful Raku pottery bowls (pictured below) to one lucky winner along with an easel to display it on!! (Details for the Giveaway are at the bottom of this post)  It is a gorgeous bowl and if you read Lili's blog you'll quickly find out that she has a real love of sea glass and collects it.




If you look closely at the photo below, you'll see bits of sea glass that she incorporated into the bottom of the bowl, how cool is that and wouldn't you love to win it?!




Here are some photos Lili sent me of some of the wonderful pieces of pottery she and husband Henri have made!







These are some of Henri's handiwork.  The colors and textures make them true pieces of art!



A closer look at Henri's work reveals the copper used to give the pottery it's rich, dramatic colors.




In my interview with Lili below, she explains the process of creating Raku Pottery and how incredibly hot you must heat the pottery to create these unique pieces.




Another shot reveals a red hot Raku fish at a "cool" 1900 degrees Fahrenheit!




Lili's creations are equally as lovely, as you can see by this beautiful copper Raku bowl she created.




Here is another one of her pieces. I love the vibrant colors in this pretty little miniature pot, it reminds me of the sea.
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Pottery isn't the only thing that Lili is good at creating.  She also makes these wonderful felted purses.  I love this stunning aqua one!




And see the darling Raku pin on it?!




And here is another one of Lili's beautiful felted purses.




It features a cute little Raku fish pin!




And here is where Lili and Henri work their magic, in their home studio.




Lili and Henri have the perfect place to create their wonderful pieces of art, don't you think?!




I got the chance to ask Lili a few questions about the pottery they create and about her wonderful purses, below are her answers.   

1.  How long have you been making pottery and what inspired you to become a potter? 

In 1994, soon after we first became empty nesters, we began evening classes at Baker-Hunt in Covington, Ky.  I don't think we set off to become potters, but eventually Henri's brother, Jeffrey, suggested we display some of our pieces in the downtown Cincinnati hair salon he managed, and people started asking about them and that's where we had our first sale.  They were never advertised as being for sale, they were just part of the decor, yet we ended up replenishing the displays when much to our surprise, they started flying off the shelves for $20 a piece.  

2.  Do you have a studio in your home? 

Yes, and it's a basement studio that we just recently infused with a funky mix of Old World dungeon meets up with outdoor French cafe on the Coast of Maine.  It's such a fun place to hang out now, and I can't wait to host what I will call our first *Artsy, Fartsy Dessert Party* where we will get together with friends that want to do art together.

3.  I see that you make mostly Raku pottery.   Is there a reason you were drawn to making this type of pottery, and can you tell us a little bit about the process of making Raku and what makes it different from other types of pottery?

Raku differs from other traditional or functional pottery in that the glaze firing is done outside in the open air due to the amount of black smoke and fumes that occur during the process.  Basically, you're taking a pot and bringing it up to 1900 degrees F. in a relatively short time (20 minutes) and then, while it is still glowing hot, removing it from the kiln with the aid of asbestos gloves and long handled tongs while wearing a respirator.  It then gets placed into a garbage can, and with the addition of combustible materials such as leaves or sawdust, it quickly ignites into a swoosh of flames that completely envelop the pot.  From there the lid goes onto the can, which begins the process of reduction, where the environment inside the can is starved of oxygen.  This is what produces the brilliant flashes of coppers, lusters and crackles that raku is known for, as the chemicals in the glaze react to this starvation. Opening that can is a little bit like Christmas when you get to see how the fire worked it's magic on your final piece.  That is why we were drawn to raku.

4.  I love how you incorporate colors from the sea into your pottery, including sometimes adding sea glass, how did you get the idea to try this? 

Somewhere in the process of learning about glazes, I learned silica was one of the ingredients in glaze, which is also the main ingredient of glass.  That's when I got the idea of adding more glass into the pot to see what would happen.  Also, Henri recently experimented with combining a couple glazes together that ended up looking somewhat like the pink granite found here along the coast of Maine, at least that's what came to our mind when we first saw them.     

5.  Where do you find inspiration for the pieces that you make?

As far as the shapes that form, we both kind of let the clay tell us what it wants to be.  Clay has a memory, in that it will naturally take a similar shape to how it has been worked up getting it ready to throw.  That may sound a little strange to someone who has never worked with clay, but it's the best way I can describe what happens on the wheel.

6.  You also make beautiful felted purses, when did you start making these? 

I made my first purse just last year.

7.  Can you tell us a little about what goes in to making a felted purse? 

Basically, you knit an over sized bag in wool, that when washed and agitated in hot water, will shrink and virtually obliterate any evidence that it was even hand knit in the first place.  It hides a lot of knitting mistakes too.  Then you attach your handles and embellishments, such as my hand made raku pendants, and ta da, a felted purse.

8.  How many hours go in to making just one purse?

It varies depending on the size, but generally I can have one completed within two weeks, working on it in my spare time.  I've never sat down and counted the hours though, it's a wonderful past time for making the most of time spent waiting.

9.  Which do you prefer, felting or making pottery and why?

I enjoy them both equally.   I like the ease of taking my knitting along with me, but I enjoy when I can stay home and have the time to work on pottery too.  Both of them have that element of surprise at the end though, I think that's why I am drawn to both.

10.  I see on your blog that you are taking up the craft of stained glass.  Do you hope to add stained glass items to the list of things you currently sell on Etsy?

Oh heavens, no.


I would like to thank Lili and Henri for letting me showcase some of their beautiful wares and for their generous donation of their gorgeous Raku Bowl with Sea Glass for my latest Giveaway.  Below are all the details about how you can enter to win this wonderful bowl! 

***Sorry, this Giveaway is now closed, check back soon for another great giveaway!***


To Enter to Win...

1.  Simply visit Lili's Fearless Nesting Etsy Shop by clicking HERE and then come back and leave me a comment letting me know what your favorite piece was.

The Giveaway will be open until Thursday, February 25th at Midnight PST.  The winner will be announced on Friday, the 26th!



I'm linking up for Metamorphosis Monday with Susan at Between Naps on the Porch!


49 comments:

  1. I'd already been over to Lili's shop and am eyeing this pot "Wheel Thrown Raku Pot With Seaglass Surprise". Her pieces are wonderful!

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  2. I actually like the little white vase over at the etsy shop but don't enter me in the contest because I just won one of your wonderful contests recently. Thanks for the link to the site, though. Nice interview. Beautiful souls.

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  3. charlenejoy@hotmail.comFebruary 20, 2010 at 11:01 AM

    I loved the copper glazed vase. I tend to be drawn to shiny things. The shape appeals to me . Thier work is lovely.

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  4. I love the copper pieces and that bowl is beautiful !

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  5. I love seaglass and have some in my home...so, the Wheel Thrown Raku Pot with the Seaglass Surprise is wonderful! I also really love the bowl for the giveaway. They have wonderful pieces and the prices are really reasonable. Thanks for telling us about them.

    Sue

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  6. Wow they are SOOO talented:) I love it. I always admire people that are artistic. I love the interview especially when she says that the clay has a memory and it is what inspires the shape. That is why I love artists-so creative. All the pieces are so beautiful and the interview was great to read.

    My favorite piece is Small White and Turquoise Crackle Raku Vase... and you are right about the prices-super affordable. Going to show my boyfriend the pieces and maybe we can purchase some:)

    Always a joy to read/learn
    Aimee

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  7. What a gorgeous giveaway! How wonderful to share such a creative, wonderful hobby with your spouse :) I'm drawn to the copper luster vase. The colors are mesmerizing.

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  8. I love the copper luster Raku vase and enjoyed reading the interview about their work and life.
    ~Nancy
    Loving that pendant, too!

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  9. What a wonderful post. I just love all of the interesting, talented people that you meet through blogging. I visited their etsey shop, and not only do they have beautiful things, the pottery in particular is incredibly reasonable. I love the copper luster Raku vase. And I would love to win that bowl, it's gorgeous! Kathy

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  10. Thank you Kat for that write up. I am so humbled by all your kind words and so very flattered to be featured on here. You have truly made my day, and then reading all these wonderful comments on here about us is truly the icing on the cake! Thanks everyone! ~Lili

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  11. I'm drawn to all the pottery! Love the turquoise in the small vase!!

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  12. I adore the Copper Raku Bowl by Lili. The finish is outstanding! Much thanks for the give away!

    Karena

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  13. what a wonderful post, I love raku pottery and Lily's definitely creative... Thanks for droppin by my blog. happy Sunday to you...I'm now following!
    Flory

    follow me: Living Creatively with Flory
    http://flo-ry.blogspot.com/

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  14. How wonderful to have a husband as creative as yourself and to create such gorgeous piecestogether. I love all the color combinations you use...Your work reminds me of much that I saw in art/gift shops in Hawaii. Best of luck to you!

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  15. What a wonderful post. It is so nice to meet kindred spirits in blogland.

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  16. What a great post and giveaway! All of the pieces are beautiful but I love the small white and turquoise crackle Raku vase the best.

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  17. What a beautiful piece it is. I think my favorite in the store is the Copper Luster Raku Pot. Gorgeous pieces.

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  18. WOW! What an amazing artist! I am so in love with the piece you are giving away. We collect sea glass when we go to the beach...we leave all the shells, etc. as we live by a marine sanctuary (and it is illegal to take the shells). My son would actually swoon over that piece...for 8 he has a great appreciation of art.

    I visited the Etsy shop and while it is all beautiful, I love the Copper Luster Raku Vase.

    The process of making Raku pottery was so interesting to read about...I had no idea!

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  19. I love the small white and Turquoise Crackle Raku Vase. It would look fantastic on my new kitchen counter!!!!

    Lili has a lovely blog too!!

    Happy Sunday.

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  20. She is talented! I like everythihg in her shop. I love felt purses AND pottery!
    -Trish

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  21. I'm also so inspired by artists... there work is beautiful and the bowl is just lovely.
    Thank you for featuring such a talented artist.
    xo,
    LuLu

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  22. Kat, I think I have solved the comment box error I kept receiving ;)
    Once again, their work is beautiful and I especially like the small white and turqoise vase!
    Jane T.

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  23. I LOVE the Copper Luster pot. What a grogeous blend of colors! And the bowl with the seaglass for the giveaway is simply fantastic! I love seaglass since I miss the beach at home in MA (we live in GA now no where near water. :-(

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  24. the felt purse with the moose head is gorgeous - but they all are, so it was hard to choose!

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  25. I love Raku, and have enjoyed owning several pieces. The Copper Luster is gorgeous!

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  26. The "Copper Raku Vase" has my heart! It would be perfect in my kitchen as a utensil holder...such beautiful colors!

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  27. What truly gifted artists! I am amazed at the work that goes into creating the purses and the pottery. Ilove the floor with the fleur de lis painted on in their studio. Love the wheel thrown pot in her etsy shop too. Thanks for the opportunity and for the info about her blog!

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  28. Wow. I am in love with all her purses, and the adorable moose charm. :)

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  29. THe copper Raku vase is my favorite of the Etsy inventory, but I LOVE the bowl that you are showing above. It would go beautifully in my kitchen.
    Beckie in Brentwood, TN

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  30. What beautiful work! Loved seeing it and thank you for sharing.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

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  31. I loved this post! What a talented couple...I ♥♥♥ the aqua felted purse...just gorgeous.

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  32. Oh, the bowl is elegant. I enjoyed the interview!

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  33. Ooo - the moose head pendant - it is delightful - just like Lili - she inspires me with her creativity and clever use of natural items in her art. Thanks for the great post about Lili and Henri - no one deserves it more than they do.

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  34. What a talented artist...her work is outstanding! I luv the aqua felted purse.

    Blessings,
    Linda

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  35. What a great find. Of course in the beginning of your post.. my eyes drove straight to the "sea glass" posting... but when I went to the site... I fell for the Raku pot..
    I would want a ton to do my whole yard! They are fabulous!
    So count me in.. please!
    Cat

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  36. I love the Raku Pot. The idea of putting utensils in it makes me think it will go wonderfully in our new house - when we find it.

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  37. wow, I had never heard of raku before, how very cool! i like the small white and turquoise vase, love the colors. Thanks Kat!

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  38. The Raku pot by all means is a fav. WOW! I am amazed at so much talent.

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  39. Those deep colours in the pottery are lovely.

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  40. I loved the Raku Pot, but all of her things are beautiful. I definitely want to win this giveaway!

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  41. Wow! Thank you for sharing the pottery bowl is gorgeous. Sea glass is a favorite ~ my niece and I collect it when we spend summers together.
    Also love their Etsy store. The Small white and Turquoise Crackle Raku Vase immediately caught my eye and "instant love"....so much so I bought it! Will be following along from now on :-)

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  42. The pottery piece with sea glass is outstanding! I collect sea glass and shells, so it really catches my eye. The aqua purse, however, is equally gorgeous. It would be very hard to choose only one thing from their Etsy store. Thank you for bringing it to my attention!

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  43. I love your Raku pot, it is just goregeous! Your whole blog is gorgeous! Its hard to believe you can create such beautiful work, the shine, the style and coloring is just so beautiful!
    Pattyjo

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  44. oh what beautiful pieces...i have never had any sea glass..beautiful..I love the copper luster Raku vase..

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