Welcome to our B.O.C. blog. Learn about the world of handcrafted ceramic beads, buttons, pendants & components from our talented and knowledgeable Artisans.
May 2011 BOC Spotlight
Artist!
Lisa Boucher
of
ClayWorks of New Hampshire 


Clayworks of New Hampshire
Located in Center Tuftonboro NH, Nestled in the Ossipee Mountains and east of Lake Winnipesaukee.

What do you call yourself?... artist, beadiest, ceramic artist, potter.???

I don't typically "call myself" anything. (that I would want to repeat) I've worked in all kinds of arts and crafts mediums from sterling jewelry, collage, pencil, pointillism, watercolor, macrame, you name it, but mostly clay. For the purpose of my clay business, etsy shop, and blog, I am a "clay jewelry artist".
How long have you been working in clay?
I took a few ceramic classes in high school, but really started experimenting with clay in 1985 while living in Florida as a young mom. Once I started making things that resembled actual jewelry, I hit the road selling my tropical themed ceramic earrings and necklaces to boutiques from Key West to Jacksonville. I still have dreams about walking the cobblestone streets of St. Augustine with my basket of clay creations.
What clays do you use?

I use low fire white and terra cotta clays that fire cone 05-06. Sometimes I like a little grog in the terra cotta clay to make a nice rough texture to contrast with the glazed areas especially in my ornaments. One of my 2011 goals is to try out some high fire clay and glazes.

How/where do you fire?

For my jewelry I use a small jewelry kiln, or a test kiln. For now, it works great for my purposes of making beads and ornaments etc. It’s an Aim Kiln 88/T. At some point I’ll be getting a larger kiln for firing pottery etc. and lots and lots of beads!!
For now, my kiln is located upstairs in my husband’s shop, away from the house so we don’t poison anyone with the fumes. In the dark and in the winter it can be an adventure just getting over there without slipping on the ice, and getting up the stairs since there’s no lights on the second floor. So, I try to start my firings in the mornings when I can. I always open the window upstairs for ventilation. Once I have the kiln loaded, I select the right cone for the glaze, bisque or mother of pearl firing and place it in the kiln sitter. I start it on a low temperature and have the lid about half open for the first couple hours. After two hours I turn up the temp and just crack the lid for a few more hours. The third time I check the kiln I usually put it on high and close the lid and I’m done. In the morning I check on it, then unload it in the afternoon since it usually takes most of the day to cool down.
Where is your working space/studio?

A few years ago, my husband decided to reclaim the dining room table. Being a builder, he transformed the storage closet adjacent to the upstairs spare bedroom into a new workspace for me. I have a counter, bookshelves, room for my cabinets etc. and windows with a nice view of the backyard. The only stipulation was that I couldn’t call it a “Studio” since a past customer wore out the word, so I agreed we would call it the “Craft Loft”. Fine by me. Now we can dine without looking at clays and glazes, and I don't have to move my projects around until they're finished! If you're looking for me, I'll be in the “Craft Loft”.

Do you work alone?

I’ve always worked alone. I don't usually do well with distractions, and I enjoy quietly doing my clay work or glazing, although I have enjoyed taking pottery classes and mingling and mudding with the other students.
Favorite glazes?
My favorite glazes are Cone 04 underglazes which allow me to paint in fine detail if I wish, then I use a clear glaze on top. I tend to favor Amaco Velvet underglazes and Duncan Cover-Coats. I’ve had pretty good luck with them and love the colors.
Favorite themes, design inspirations?
Nature and the seasons have been the biggest inspiration to me. I’ve always loved the seashore theme using waves, shells, palm trees, floral and fish designs. I'm also a fan of snowflakes, autumn leaves and other seasonal themes. I really do tend to live from holiday to holiday it seems. Once one holiday is over, I’ll put away any unfinished projects for the next year and start on the next holiday or season. Another big motivator is a good challenge, and Beads-of-Clay has been a fabulous source for those!
Ceramic artists you admire?

I admire anyone that can do what they love, create beautiful work and make a living at it.
Where do you sell and show your work?
I'm a juried member of the Wolfeboro NH League of NH Craftsmen shop, which has the largest selection of my jewelry and ornaments. I also sell my necklace pendants at The Guest House, A Creative Studio in Meredith, NH, and The Clay Gallery in New Smyrna Beach Florida sells my seashore necklaces and earrings. I’ve been really pleased with my sales this past year in my Clayworksnh Etsy shop, and occasionally sell some pieces in the NHMade.com shop. Since I also have a full time job as a registrar at Merrowvista Education Center, I just do one local holiday craft show a year, the weekend after Thanksgiving which seems to improve every year!
Advice to newbies?
Don’t get discouraged, keep trying new things, and do the craft for yourself, not to please anyone else. Write down and sketch those random ideas that come to you in the shower or wherever so you don’t forget them. The more you experiment the sooner you’ll find your niche, and just have fun!

Favorite piece tool or piece of equipment?
One of my favorite tools is this McGill Utility Hole Punch which has a 2” reach and allows me to punch holes in jewelry cards for my pins. A regular hole punch doesn’t reach far enough, so I found this tool which does the trick!
http://www.mcgillinc.com/products/utility-punches/?F_Sort=2
 Years ago, this was the only one I could find, but now you can get less turbo ones that are more reasonably priced that would probably achieve the same effect:
http://www.mcgillinc.com/products/long-reach-punches/?F_Sort=2

Web site

http://www.clayworksnh.com/
www.etsy.com/shop/Clayworksnh

Blog

http://www.lisasclayhappenings.blogspot.com/


A Big Thank you to Lisa for a wonderful interview!!!!

6 comments:

  1. Love Spotlight artist!!!!! Thanks for sharing your process Lisa! Wonderful Work!

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  2. Thank you Lisa ~ With pleasure. You're so kind. Really appreciate that. :)

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  3. Fabulous interview Lisa. You are such a wonderful artist and person. Love learning more about you.

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  4. Thank you Mary - the feeling is mutual. Thanks for the friendship and inspiration. It's been great fun sharing and learning from everyone in this group. :)

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  5. Love following you Lisa and seeing what you are creating. Love your enthusiasm for experimenting and searching for something unique. You are truly an inspiration and I thank you for this.

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  6. Gerry - that is the nicest thing I've heard all day. You're awesome and I love your work as well. Thanks for the boost. :)

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