Artwork by the Famous Nan! Heh, heh...

Above, 30x72inches

My main medium for years has been ceramic tile. I am famously bad at taking pictures of my finished work, which makes Sean tear out his hair: "You Fedexed it to ALASKA?? AAARGH!" Now that we have internet, I realise that he was right all along.

I learned everything I know from my parents at Ajoupa Pottery. Mum is an amazing artist, and Dad is a technical wizard. Together they have built up a great business which, unlike many art-based businesses, has been a financial success.

We use Duncan and Gare glazes for painting on the fired clay. These are a great convenience, and the colours are gorgeous as you can see! Mum and Dad make glazes from scratch as well: Cobalt and silica and other ingredients, which I am too lazy to get into.

For these 18-inch vases, a potter named Chandool threw the forms and I decorated them with "Slip". Slip is wet clay which has Oxides added to it for colour. Cobalt makes that black background of the jellyfish, which is one of my favorite pieces ever. These pots are decorated when they are "leather hard", so that the oxide can be applied with a paintbrush and then scraped off. It's a bit like the school art where you colour a piece of paper with crayons, paint over it and then scrape off your design. These were fired after decoration, and then glazed on the inside. Chandool the potter died a few years ago, and his son Ganase works at Ajoupa. Chandool is sorely missed, he was a genius potter.

These were also thrown on the wheel by Chandool, but then they were "bisque" fired and decorated with glaze. Mum made the jug shape and handle. Ajoupa is really a team effort, and we work really well together. These days Mum is doing more sculpting and I have moved my studio to be closer to the boys' school in town, but we still brainstorm together, borrow each others' designs, and share techniques and raw materials. One of these days I should learn to throw pots properly, instead of just making a Horrible Mess!

These days, I am getting back to watercolours. It's pretty exciting, and waaaay less disaster-prone! With ceramics, you can spend weeks working on a piece and then you open the kiln and AAAARGH! Disaster! Reds burn out, clay cracks (or explodes spectacularly!), weird things happen when chemicals collide at a thousand degrees. Duncan and Gare change their recipes regularly, and so do the tile manufacturers, and that makes the end results uncertain.

Of course the boys spend time at the Ajoupa Workshop, and at my studio. Chas made this "Pot Head" for my brushes, and he has recieved ORDERS for more! He's such an entrepreneur!

So there you have it, some of my work. I am in the process of building a "Work" website, but it's time consuming and I need to locate photos.

We Fedex! Tilework is approximately $200 US per square foot, plus shipping.


Wuzdescene said…
FABULOUS!!! ... you really need to get that website up and running ...
Anonymous said…
WOW! I love your work! Thanks so much for showing us some of it, and telling us about it.
I think my fav is that jellyfish vase, or maybe the crazy fish tiles. (Not that you care, just that I felt like picking favs!)
Nan Sheppard said…
Thanks, y'all! and I always love to hear what the "favorites" are. It's interesting because I do MASSES of pretty "Hummingbird with Flower" and "Butterflies", because they are crowd pleasers and they sell. And then I get surprised: In the middle of the "Jellyfish Vase", which i was making in a fit of "I never want to SEE another hummingbird! Bah Humbug! I will make Ugly Jellyfish and they won't sell and I DON'T CARE!", an American lady walked into the workshop and said "I must have that! How much do you want?" I told her I didn't know, and she said she didn't care. She would buy it at whatever price. So you see, Scary Art does sell! Let that be a lesson to you all!
Anonymous said…
Excellent! And how cool that you are passing this on to the next generation.
Sickout stuntwoman