Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays from Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery

Wishes for the New Year.
Seasons greetings from Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery. May your holidays be filled with laughter and good food. And may the coming year bring all the things that you need.---Morgan and Toni

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Should children go to art classes?

Today over on myLot, there was a discussion started by a mom whose seven year-old daughter wants to start attending art classes.

(myLot is a place where you can get paid to participate in discussions---the pay is not much, but I personally do it to harvest article ideas. MDE's myLot referral link.)

Now, this mother feels that it is unnecessary for her daughter to attend art classes, for she has observed that "Some art classes end up with their young students drawing the way that the teachers do." Furthermore, this mother feels that in art, there is no right or wrong. "[Art] is one way to express yourself, so attending some art classes will only stifle a young child's talent." She goes on to say that "It is different when you are old enough to attend an institution where they broaden your mind with the different ways of expressing yourself." Now, her daughter thinks that she could do with some help with her artwork and wants to learn how to draw "properly."

I do have to give the mother points, for asking the myLot community for their opinion.

And yes, I give her my opinion.

(Please note that my wife started out as an art teacher---it is how she justified her art degree---before discovering that she really wanted to do ESL instead. And that I, myself, may be classified as an artist, depending upon how you define the profession/hobby. Therefore, you may want to take my opinion with a grain of salt.)

To me, it sounds like her child is entering that stage of mental development where they realize that their art skill does not match what they want to accomplish. It is that stage where you start noticing that your drawings do not look anything like what your eye sees. It happens with all artists...and all normally developing children. Often, if no art training is undertaken at this point in time, the child/aspiring artist gives up and never does art ever again because they believe that they "can't draw."

What I told this mother is that I encourage children to attend art classes. After all, we need more artists in the world.

But I also warned her to check out the art teacher (if possible) before sending her child into the class. I understood completely her concern. I had a horrible teacher in high school art, who basically give me failing grades because I was doing things that he did not think were necessarily (such as doing studies of other artists' work, and working from photographs)---things I learned later were actually being done by professional artists.

(Years later, my sister Mary also had him as an art teacher. Turns out that he is one of those artists who can draw directly from his head without needing models and photographs to improve the final product---and he did not understand that some of us need a template to work from. My sister survivaled his class by doing abstract art.)

I told the mother that ideally that the art teacher should be teaching skill sets (color theory, how to use the equipment, how to draw what your eyes sees, etc.) and not "this is what real art looks like." I also suggested, if the local school's art teacher was not up to par, that she check out the local artists' guild. And that art books and self-training was an option (that is how I eventually got to the skill level that I have).

My closing advice to her was: Figure out a way to increase her skill set and knowledge of basic techniques. And yes, (you are right) avoid those who are going to impose their idea of right and wrong art.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving sale!

Royal Blue Cork Jar.
My wife would like to announce the fact that she is having a Thanksgiving sale on her Etsy site, Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery. Take twenty-four percent off your order by entering THANKSGIVING24 (there is no minimum or maximum order for this code).

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Pottery headed to Quantum Alchemy

Pottery available at Quantum Alchemy.
MDE here---Tonight, I helped my wife pack the pottery that she is taking over to Quantum Alchemy tomorrow afternoon. It was (as you can see from the photo) an assortment of mortar and prestles, cork jars, and offering plates. And one lonely ankh cauldron. For those who live in Denver or thereabouts, Quantum Alchemy is loacted across the street from the King Soopers at 9th and Corona (913 9th Ave). There is also a pet supply store in the same Victorian house (both on the first floor).

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Feltmeup Designs (Art I like)

It is a box of birds.
Morgan here---I follow several artist's blogs. One of which is the blog of Melanie Ann Green, the woman behind Feltmeup Designs. Today, she talking about completing an order for a shop, and she posted this picture. Ain't they cute? So many birdies!

I stumbled across her work work through other blog. I believe that it was through Confessions of a Pagan Soccer Mom, but I am not sure.

I do know why I started to follow Melanie's posts---I love her owls.

I just love owls---especially felt owls,
Ain't her owls cute? And if you want to buy one, Melanie has an Etsy shop, The Felt Menagerie, where you can buy as many little felt birdies as your little heart desires.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Blue star pendants

Ocean blue star pendants with stone bead (left with lapis, right with jasper sapphire).
Was busy taking and editing jewelry photos this weekend. Two of the pieces I was taking pictures of were these two ocean blue porcelain pendants. These are not new items; the photos were to replace some pictures that I was not happy with. As my skill as a photpgrapher has increased, the less happy I am with my earlier photos---go figure. Besides these star pendants, I was also taking pictures of new items (dragonfly necklace, bead bracelet, a pair of earrings) that are now available on the Etsy shop.---MDE

Saturday, October 1, 2011

20th Annual Witches Ball

Are you ready for the Witches Ball?
It is just 28 days until the 20th annual Witches Ball and midnight Samhain ritual. This year it is being held on Saturday, October 29th 2011. This year's Witches Ball is being held at the Highlands Masonic Center, 3550 Federal Boulevard, Denver Colorado.

Tickets prices are $20 for adults at the door, and $5 for children 12 and under.

This year, the live music will include Mythica, Tuatha, Pandora Celtica, and the Orpheus Choir. There will also be the costume contest, trance drumming and dancing, and children activities (until 8 pm for the latter).

And of course, there will be psychic readers and merchants. Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery will be one of the vendors, and we will be sharing booth space with a friend of ours, Capital City Holistic Health, who will be selling bath salts and lotions (I believe).

I, Morgan, will be there as general pack-mule and gofer. I may or may not be handcuffed to my goddaughter depending upon her and my behavior. Please bring us some candy when you visit the booth---we promise to be good.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

SpiritWays celebrates 17th anniversary

Here are a couple of pictures taken at Spirit Ways 17th anniversary celebration today.

Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery at Spirit Ways.

The first set of hoop earrings that Toni has ever made.
The 17th anniversary celebration continues tommorrow at Spirit Ways (noon to 5 pm).

{Opps, turns out that this was actually their 14th anniversary.}

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Spirit Ways 17th Anniversary

Some of the pottery available at Spirit Ways
This upcoming weekend, Spirit Ways is going to be celebrating their 17th year in business. There is going to be refreshments, local artisans (including my wife---Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery), raffles, psychic readers and spiritual healers, chair massage, and live music. There will be a drum circle on Saturday Night. The celebration will be held 10am to 7 pm on Saturday, September 17th 2011, and noon to 5 pm on Sunday, September 18th 2011.

Spirit Ways, a unique metaphysical shop, is located ar 3301 E. Colfax, Denver Colorado 80206.

{Opps, it turns out that this was there 14th anniversary.}

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Just four days away

Some of the stuff we had at the last Handmade Hookup Show.
It is just four days away from the September 10th 2011 Hademade Hookup Craft Show. This Colorado craft show is held outside at the Shops at Stapleton Northfield area (just north of I-70 east of Quebec). Admission is free. Toni's booth will be someplace south of the Macys store. She will be doing primarily jewelery at this show (I think)---though she might have some bowls, coffee mugs, and mortars and prestles also with her.

(I will not be at this show---I have a lot of university homework that has piled up that I need to deal with.)

Monday, September 5, 2011

My jewelry is now available at PolkaDot

Apollo says that he is too manly to pose with jewelry.
Toni here---My clay, porcelain jewelry is now at the PolkaDot at 1577 S. Pearl Street in Denver. If you happen to be near South Pearl, stop by this shop. It is a really cool shop! Especially for women!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

September 2011 Employee of the month

Montimer Sabrehagen --- September Employee of the Month

Montimer hard at work setting up jewelry for the photographs

Montimer gets right into the midst of the action
Something every business needs is good employees. And Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery has some of the best employees around. This month's employee of the month is Montimer Sabrehagen. Montimer is a photographer assistant, and also occasionally helps out Toni in the studio.

During a photo session, Montimer gets right in the midst of the action, helping set up shots by occasionally readjusting the placement of jewelry pieces. Montimer is such a hard worker, and deserves more variety in the selection of snacks available to the employees of Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery. Maybe some freeze dried shrimp is in order to reward him for all his hard work.

[Montimer is one of the cats that got fixed through the "trap and release" program. Since he gotten fixed, he has mellowed out a lot, actually letting Morgan and Toni pet him. He is currently plotting to become an indoor/outdoor kitty.]

Friday, September 2, 2011

At the Celebration Metaphysical Show

Handmade plate by Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery

Handthrown plate by Toni Penn
For those of you who are in Denver Colorado this Labor Day weekend, Karen (a local shop owner) is going to be displaying some of my wife's pottery at her Quatuam Alchemy booth during the Celebration Metaphysical Fair (415 E. 58th Ave #4240, Denver Colorado 80216).

The Celebration Metaphysical Fair runs September 2nd to 4th 2011. It is the oldest Conscious Living Fair in the United States; it has ran during Labor Day weekend since 1978.

The daily admission is five dollars. Last year, they were doing reading for twenty dollars for twenty minutes (I am not sure what the rate is this year).

The hours for the Metaphysical Fair are Friday: 1 to 9 pm; Saturday 10 am to 7 pm; and Sunday 10 am to 6 pm.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

More stuff available at Spiritways

Just some of the pottery that was taken over to Spiritways.
More pottery has been taken over to Spiritways (3301 E. Colfax, Denver Colorado). The pottery includes several items that are similarly glazed. An example is this chalice, cauldron, offering plate and lidded jar. Click on the picture to see it larger---ain't the pentacles on the plate and chalice awesome? A person could buy several of these pieces to create a set of ritual tools.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

New pendants up on Etsy

Handmade Ceramic Blue Spiral Sun Pendant
I finally got around to editing some of the pendant pictures I took a couple of weeks ago. I am doing the rest of them tonight before going to bed. My wife has listed nine of the pendants on Etsy tonight; the rest will be listed on Etsy sometime before the end of the week. The pendants are selling for ten dollars (one dollar US shipping/three dollars international shipping)---though I think that she has a few that will be listed for seven dollars apiece.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Falling behind in my photography duties

Kitty approved since 2011.
I have been falling behind in my photography duties. I took a whole bunch of photos ten days ago, and another batch of photos a whole month ago, that I have not edited yet. Part of the delay is the bloody heat; the other part is the periodic depression that I am prone to (most of it caused by being a struggling freelance writer---and there not being enourgh hours during the summer to make up for the fact that I am a full time college student the rest of the year). There were also a couple of events that cropped up that I did not plan on happening. Hopefully, I manage to get my rear in gear and get the editing work done soon. ---MDE

Monday, August 8, 2011

Been taking pottery photos for a long time

Assorted pottery by Toni Penn of Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery.
Morgan here---Today, I am busy editing the latest round of jewelry photos. Earlier today, while doing a "brute search" on the computer for a photo that Toni wanted to consult of a past pottery piece, I realized that I have been taking pottery photos for six years now. Some of the photos I am still pleased with (aka I still like the photos). Like this photo which was taken in September 2008 of assorted herb jars, a mortar and pestle, and a cauldron---I still think that this is a good photo. The herbs in the background, spearmint and mugwort, are from the herb garden that grows outside of the pottery studio.

Toni is busy throwing more stuff for both the September 10th Handmade Hookup Craftshow and Spiritways as well as writing up descriptions for some pendant pieces that are going to be put up on Etsy by the end of the week.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Morning Cup of Sunshine

Morning Cup of Seashine 1 MDE 2011
Like many people, my wife starts off the day with a cup of coffee. Personally, I can't stand coffee, but I do indulge in my own cup of morning sunshine---a soda (Pepsi, Coke, Dr Pepper, something with cafferine in it) and a few drops of sweet chestnut flower essence (it is supposed to help with low self-esteem and depression). On the pottery front, more mugs are being scheduled in the production cycle.

[The picture used in this post is a kitty paw mug (the paw print is from one of our cats) and a sunflower from the garden.]

Friday, July 29, 2011

Handmade Hookup Craftshow this Saturday

Wheel thrown jars.
If you are in Colorado and near the Shops at Stapleton Northfield area (just north of I-70 east of Quebec) this Saturday July 30th, noon to 5 pm, come by and visit Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery at The Handmade Hookup Craftshow. Besides jewelry with handmade clay pieces, there will also be wheel thrown items (mortar and pestles, jars, kitty bowls, candle holders) for sale. For the first time ever, we will be accepting credit card payments---yah progress! Both Toni Penn (the artist) and her husband Morgan Drake Eckstein (the photographer and blogger) will be present.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

More items available at Spiritways

Two of the mortar and pestles and a herb jar now available at Spiritways
This morning, my wife took twenty-five items of pottery over to Spiritways. There were both medium and small mortars and pestles, as well as corked herb jars, in this shipment.

So if you live in Denver Colorado and want to personally check out some of my wife's pottery, slip into Spiritways, which is located at 3301 E. Colfax Avenue.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

My brief workday today

Bracelet modeled by my dear wife
MDE here: Today, I edited a small batch of the jewelry photos that I took on Monday. Yes, my July 4th holiday was a work holiday. And yes, I still have five hundred photos to go though; a large number of them looked good on the first glance, so I have got a lot of editing still to do.

And more photos to take.

The setting that I am now using for the camera is working out better than the setting that I was using before. Amazing what you learn when you actually crack open the manual. In my defense, I never had to take these types of photos until recently.

So basically, if you are keeping score, I need to redo all the photos that I have already done before I discovered this camera setting.

Sent out fanpage suggestions to those on my Facebook friend list. I am hoping that those who are interested in following the progress of her jewelry and pottery business are willing to like the fanpage because I plan on eventually posting less news about it on my own personal wall and business pages.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Upcoming craft show---The Handmade Hook Up July 30th 2011

Celtic Soul Pottery at a Craftshow
Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery is going to be at The Handmade Hook Up craft show (Northfield Stapleton outdoor mall) on July 30, 2011 (noon to 5 pm). It will be mainly jewelry this time around, though a few regular pottery pieces might make their way into the mix depending upon how much time Toni has after her summer classes are over.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Alchemy of Glazes

Ceramic Jewelry Pieces Before Glazing

Jewelry Pieces In The Process of Getting Glazed

Jewelry Pieces After Bing Glazed and Fired

MDE: One of the things that I find interesting about the process of making ceramics and pottery is the alchemical changes that the glaze undergoes. There are many glazes that I would never be able to guess what color they will turn to upon being exposed to the high temperatures of the kiln if I haven't seen the label and test-fire pieces ahead of time. My wife has a better idea of what a piece will look like after firing, but even she is surprised by some of the pieces that come out of the kiln. It is one of the reasons that I think of pottery as a form of alchemy.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Morgan Drake Eckstein introduces himself

Hello everyone, I am Morgan Drake Eckstein, the photographer (and unofficial manager) for Celtic Soul Jewelry and Pottery. What does being the photographer entail? At the moment, it involves taking time away from my freelance writing to take hundreds of photos in hopes of getting a few usable photos of the jewelry that my wife is currently making. For instance, I took over three hundred photos (almost one gigabyte worth) today, and I think I got maybe a half-dozen that I can use. I would be upset about that, except that the lighting conditions were not the world's best; there was a cat who wanted attention at the same time; and I managed to get both the Facebook fanpage and this blog page set up today. Yes, I consider myself multi-talented---my wife considers me a loon. She may or may not be right. *wink*