2013 new Horsehair Raku work


I worked on an order for a 22 inch big horsehair raku plate during the months of August and September.

It is quite a process.

First, you throw several big plates because with the shaping, trimming and drying a lot can happen.

Ferric fuming Horsehair Raku Plate “Caldera”, 22″ x 22″ x 1.5″, 55cm x 55cm x 2.5cm.

Then you have to deal with the thermal shock from hot to cold when you take it out. The plate just fitst in my 24 inch round electric kiln. I lift the plate out of the kiln with my gloves on (it is too big and too heavy to get out of the kiln with tongs), then I put it down quickly on a very porous heat resistant brick before it burns through my gloves. With such a big plate I need help. My husband picks up the plate with gloves on, rushes over to the spray booth and puts it in on the heat resistant bricks for the decoration process. This goes all very fast.

Ferric fuming Horsehair Raku Plate “Volcano”, 22′ x 22′ x 1″, 55cm x 55cm x 2cm.

Then quickly and very controlled I put on some horsehair, sugar and/or feathers and spray with ferric chloride for the brownish-orange coloring. You see and hear the piece expanding and working and of course sometimes you hear the inevitable “crack” sound! Too bad. You continue decorating until it is too cool for putting on more horsehair etc. It is fast like 1 – 2 minutes!


And when one plate cracks and brakes very nicely you continue very fast with the decoration process and try to connect both parts with horsehair running across. So even though it are 2 pieces, it will make 1 whole work.

Ferric fuming Horsehair Raku Plate “Open up your mind”, 19″ x 19″ x 2.5″, 48cm x 48cm x 6cm.




The ACGA Art Festival in Palo Alto

The ACGA Art Festival was a wonderful happening held on July 13 + 14 in Palo Alto California.

I set up my booth on Friday and on Saturday morning prepared still some small things before the arrival of the customers.

It was great to meet potter and glass friends and to see their booth full of their work by walking around and to admire the work of the rest of the 150 artists, who came from far and beyond from California. Also the customers came from very far to this well-known festival.


I showed Horsehair ware, Kamakura-Red ware and former ware: Blue-Slip ware, Connection ware, Yellow-Red ware, White ware and Fumed ware; a nice mix and combination! 🙂 I sold from every kind to wonderful customers.

Thank you all for making this a wonderful experience, especially with the help of my husband Adriaan!


Palo Alto news article about me and 2 other artists

The story behind the glass
Artists share their stories before displaying work at the Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival

by Karishma Mehrotra
Palo Alto Weekly Staff


Before 2004, Deme Theofanous knew nothing about being an artist, other than watching a video about glass-blowing in second grade.

Now, along with more than 150 California artists, she will present her clay and glass pieces at the 21st annual Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival on July 13 and 14 at the Palo Alto Art Center. As in years past, the Association of Clay and Glass Artists will host thousands of guests to peruse the various art collections and purchase the ones they enjoy, witness live art demonstrations and even make clay sculptures themselves.

Theofanous said she never expected to be at this festival, but throughout her life, the memory of that glass-blowing video stuck with her.

“I joked with people that I was going to be a glass blower when I grew up,” she said.
But instead, she stuck to the path that her parents wanted for her: business school.
One day, though, Theofanous decided to make a change.

“I thought, ‘You know, I really don’t have to do something that I don’t enjoy,” she recalled. Theofanous said she used this moment to restart her life and “find something more true to (her) passion and (her) art.”

Soon enough, she found herself in a class learning to make glass beads and jewelry. She said she never knew what the phrase “my calling” meant until now.

“That was kind of my start,” Theofanous said. “I took that first class and I knew. I guess the way to describe it is that I’ve always gotten straight A’s but never felt like anything was a natural thing for me.”

Not only did she find her calling in that class, she also found Dean Benson. They soon became romantically and professionally involved, launching a new art-business venture together called Avolie Glass, based in San Francisco.

At the Palo Alto festival, Benson and Theofanous hope to show off pieces with colors that are derived from nature like the tropical ocean colors painted on their tall, glass, teardrop-shaped “Surf & Sand” series. Their prices will range from $35 to $495.

While the Avolie Glass duo prides themselves on involved color applications, Doris Fischer-Colbrie — an artist displaying work at the festival for the third time — said she uses instruments from nature, such as real plants, to make imprints on her pieces.

“(My fascination) with plants and nature, in the beginning, was very, very simplistic,” she explained. “It’s gotten a lot more interesting in the use of design and the glazes and the imprinting.”

Fischer-Colbrie started her work on clay in while completing her PhD in mathematics at UC Berkeley. Similarly to Theofanous, Fischer-Colbrie quit her day job as a teacher at Columbia University and San Diego State University and immersed herself in ceramics 10 years ago.

“When you are working in clay, you can actually get results. You can show people,” she said. “Sometimes in math, you can’t for a while.”

Her festival pieces range from $20 to $300. She specializes in functional clay pieces that she said are one-of-a-kind, such as a stainless rod topped with clay animal heads that can be used like a toothpick cake test to check whether or not a baked good is done cooking. She said she is most excited to present large brown platters decorated with dynamic plant patterns.

“I am very much an artist that wants to include art in just the daily life,” she said. For example, her “Serial Bowls” are bowls that can be stacked into one decorated unit.

Much like Fisher-Colbrie’s attraction to nature, Swanica Ligtenberg — whose work will be displayed at the festival for the first time — has always felt a connection to nature and the “meaning of life,” especially after she moved to Japan.

“As an artist I connect my work with culture, history and mother earth,” she said. “My stay in Japan provided me with insight into how craftsmanship has evolved into art and has become an essential part of the culture and Japanese spirit.”

After returning from her seven-year stay in Japan just a few months ago, she sees how this trip allowed her to fuse her father’s attraction to history and her mother’s attraction to art. She lived with her husband, who was able to start a business there after falling in love with the country 20 years ago, in Kamakura, a city with a rich history in carving and red glaze where Ligtenberg felt right at home. The prices for Ligtenberg’s art will range from $20 to $2,000.

She said at the festival, she will present smoke-patterned pottery that were made with a decorative technique called the horsehair raku technique, in which burning hair leaves permanent lines and smoke blush on the pot. Ligtenberg won several awards for this technique in Japan, like the Mashiko Special Judges award — a highly sought-after prize that honors worldwide known potters.

“I form, transform and decorate my work by playing with the clay and doing research and being influenced by spiritual thoughts and designs: Mother Earth, Circles of Life and Flower of Life, Paths in Life,” she said.

While these three artists find their inspirations in different places, they will all join the numerous other artists in Palo Alto’s 20-year tradition of celebrating creativity in the arts.

What: Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival
When: Saturday, July 13, and Sunday, July 14, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Palo Alto Art Center, 1313 Newell Road, Palo Alto
Cost: Free
Info: Palo Alto Clay & Glass Festival

Editorial Intern Karishma Mehrotra can be emailed at kmehrotra@paweekly.com.

New cutting-edge Kamakura-Red works June 2013

I made some new Kamakura-Red works in May and June for the upcoming ACGA Art Festival in Palo Alto, California on July 13 + 14, 2013. ACGA is the Association of Clay and Glass Artists of California.

I started cutting again in my work. I don’t have to take it around the world to Japan at the moment, so it gives me more freedom and exploration. I had lots of fun!

Kamakura-Red “Whirling Wave” Bowl. 



Kamakura-Red “Guri” Bowl.

Kamakura-Red “Nami” Bowl.

Kamakura-Red “Whirling Wave” Vase.



Kamakura-Red “Swirl” Vase.





Kamakura-Red “SwanFlower” Vase.


A good start of the New Year

First, I would like to wish every body who reads my website/blog a very happy and healthy New Year 2012 with hope for lots of new possibilities and adventures!

It has been exactly a month ago that I wrote a blog. Too long, but lots happened.
Of course, the holidays and we went to Hawaii with the whole family (almost). Unfortunately, the girlfriend of my oldest could not come, because her Grandma was very terribly ill. Luckily, it seems she is somewhat better now.
We had a nice time and some of us did some diving; we all snorkeled with the Manta Rays!; we did some deep sea fishing and caught a tuna!; we traveled some around the island; had a wonderful Luau dinner and relaxed near the pool and the sea with lots of snorkeling. We saw also dolphins and some turtles! How lucky can you get!

After the New Year I went finally back into my workshop after 3 1/2 months. I tried during and after the radiation period, but somehow I was quite tired. Not that I did not do anything (I did go to Holland), but I got another breast infection and having two antibiotics is tiring your body.
I started first with spraying some small works and checking if it still all worked and that the kiln was working properly. Then I sprayed 2 big plates (17.75″ x 19″ x 1″ or 45cm x 48 cm x 2.5cm) for an order and today they choose one of them and will hang it on their wall. It turned out very well. The plate is called “Schellen” (Shell) plate. Their last name starts with schellen, so, it is a very appropriate plate!!! 🙂

A wonderful start!!!!

My life is still planned around my Herceptin treatments. They go all fine and you kind of get in the habit of going to the hospital. They know you by now and it is a welcoming place in the sense that they are there to help you. It feels to me like that. I understand that for others it may and will be completely different. Again, I just feel very lucky and thankful.

Next week, I will go to Israel for a week with Adriaan. Can you believe that? It is just wonderful. It is my birthday next week and he has a boardmeeting there and I don’t want to be by myself, so, we make it a little vacation. We are looking into this already for some time but every time there was something else and the company is about to be sold or they are working on it and the temperature is very nice now. So, it seemed like the right time before the chance is gone.

I will keep you posted!

Flower of Life Engravings

Today, (Monday, August the 1st) I had my 3rd chemo. Everything went well. You are there the whole day, but they take good care of you. The medications also keeps you going. So, I quickly want to show you some pictures of the decorations I finished on 3 big plates. They are still green ware, not fired yet. The clay has a red color and on the 3rd plate you see it is still drying. The 1st and 2nd plate I already put the black slip on (a liquid paint able clay which you have to put on before the 1st firing).

19.75″ x 2.5″; 50cm x 6cm

It is already Friday. I didn’t succeed to put on the pictures. The chemo got to me, especially yesterday and today. Tomorrow, may be better.

21.25″ x 2.75″; 53,5cm x 7cm

The engravings on the plates are inspired by the Flower of Life symbol, which dates to at least 400AD, and is possibly much older that that. Throughout human history, philosophers, artists, and architects around the world have known the Flower of Life for its perfect form, proportion, and harmony. It is considered to be a symbol of sacred geometry, depicting the fundamental forms of space and time. It is the form beneath our being and points to a divine order in our reality. It is a visual expression of the connections life weaves through all mankind. A Flower of Life pattern can be constructed with a pen, compass and paper, by creating multiple series of interlinking circles. The Flower of Life can be found in the temples, art, and manuscripts of cultures all over the world.

21″ x 6,5″ ; 53cm x 16,5cm


1st Chemo

This is the view from my potter’s wheel when I open the garage door. I feel so lucky. The parking space is a beautiful dance floor for some exercise.
When I look out the window of our kitchen/shower the bunnies are hopping around and yesterday, I saw a hare running like crazy through the yard. In the backyard, a deer with two little fawns scurried away when I approached from my hike and in the valley next to our house, two hawks often fly high in the sky and soar on the wind. They have a nest across the valley in a big tree.

This big plate I threw on the wheel on the 3rd day after the 1st chemo treatment. I had some energy, but then after it I was completely exhausted and could hardly lift my hand or fingers to type on the computer.

It is all a very weird experience and you don’t know what to expect. It went actually all very well.
They accessed the mediport just by icing it and after the examination of the blood draw and consultation with the oncologist that everything was well, they started the infusion. In the meantime, we had quite some waiting in between, but still we were out of there by 4pm.
I have not been nauseated or sick at all. The day before already I started some and the day off I got quite some anti-nausea medication. Also, the day after, but then I stopped taking it. And I was really surprised by not being nauseated. Although, I felt crappy and tired, dizzy and a metallic taste in my mouth. I don’t have much appetite and have an aversion for certain foods, but I have enough other little goodies.

My immune system will be the lowest between the 7th and 10th day and then I hope that the level of red and white blood cell will go back up again to be ready for the next round on July the 11th!

Alexander Salazar Fine Art Gallery

Alexander Salazar has his fine arts gallery in downtown San Diego. He liked my Kamakura-Red glaze so much, that he asked me to make some work. So, when I went down to San Diego from San Francisco to help my oldest son with his conference,  I brought a big red plate to the gallery and my husband had already taken in the overhead bin of  the airplane from Japan  the big Japonica Kamakura-Red Vase.

This “Encircled Line” Kamakura-red Plate was sold within 3 days!


Opening Gala of Exhibition at SDAI

The opening reception gala of the 50st International Exhibition at the San Diego Art Institute was on March the 20st.
My husband, Adriaan, son, Arjan, and I drove down from the Bay Area. We stopped at Arjan’s dorm house in Los Angeles. They drove all the way and it took us about 8 hours. It was quite a drive, but we made it on time. And there we met up with our other son, Roland, who lives in San Diego. We always stay over at his place. So, with still some other friends we all went to the reception together.

The museum in situated in the famous Balboa Park, which is a 1,200 acre (4.9 km²) urban cultural park named after the Spanish explorer Vasco Núñez de Balboa. It is one of the oldest sites in the United States dedicated to public recreational usage in 1835. Balboa Park was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977. Many of the park’s attractions are along El Prado, a long, wide promenade running through the center of the park. Most of the buildings lining this street are in the Spanish Revival style, a richly ornamented eclectic mixture of Spanish and Latin American architecture. Along this boulevard are many of the park’s cultural attractions and museums like “The Museum of the Living Artist at the San Diego Art Institute”. 2) Opening Gala_1

1) SDAI Museum of the Living Artist_1

The exhibition is a mixed media show. There were two ceramics works, one sculpture and one fabric artwork and lots of 2D works in all kinds of media.8) Horshair Vessel_1
This is my “Golden Lotus Horsehair Vessel”.


6) Swan Vase_1
My work surrounded by beautiful other artworks.

9) Other Art_1

9d) Sculpture_1 9b) Other art_3

9a) Other Art_2

There were so many more interesting works, but it is impossible to show them all.

So, if you are in the neighborhood, please, make a stop and go see this wonderful exhibition, which is until May the 10th, 2009.