Adapt your sketching style to the situation —Guest Blogger theTravelsketcher

What is your Travelsketching style? Trick question! You need more than one to make it work. Here are some examples of the different styles I have used on this trip to Tokyo and Seoul, with explanations as to why I used them Really quick and loose – 5-minute sketches We were in Tokyo for the […]

Adapt your sketching style to the situation — theTravelsketcher

The End Is Near — Guest Blogger The Alchemist’s Studio

I am excited to share that we have reached 127 percent of our total goal to bring ‘A Potter’s Dream: Myths & Legends’ to print, but you can still be involved if you want to get a copy of the book and some beautiful pottery. 411 more words

The End Is Near — The Alchemist’s Studio

Interview with Jay Jasper from The Alchemist

Please welcome Jay Jasper from The Alchemist at, He is a self-taught Raku pottery artist. He’s on the eve of publishing his first book, A Potter’s Dream: Myth and Legends. Jay takes an interesting approach to each piece of pottery by associating it with myths and legends with unique approach to storytelling. 
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I grew up I used to want to be an archaeologist.  I think the ‘Indiana Jones’ series of movies may have had something to do with that!  I spent a lot of time in the library reading about ancient history and reading about the lives of people across cultures and times.  For me, this was an escape from the challenges of a difficult childhood and the source of much daydreaming.  Even back then I could somehow perceive that objects have stories and perhaps a kind of energy of their own.  It makes me smile to think that I am now making such objects and retelling some of those stories that I read as a child as part of my artistic practise.
At what age did you make your first piece of pottery?

I made my first piece of pottery in elementary school.  I remember the piece fondly, though it is now a lost relic of my past.  Ironically it was a vase.  It was made by using a coiling technique where you roll the clay in coils, or as we referred to them at the time, little snakes and build up the wall of the pot, scorring each coil and then attaching them with slip one by one.  The process can be time consuming.  I am grateful that I know use a wheel to make my vases now. My first raku vase was thrown on the wheel.  It was pretty tiny and resembled an ink pot.

What other artist skills do you have or pursuing?
I have had a fondness for art that started as a teenager.  Prior to that I had an art teacher who was also the gym teacher.  He was more of a gym teacher than an art teacher, and I did not really enjoy art.  I started painting while in high school one rainy day with my friend Ellen.  She was an art major in university at the time and she changed the way I view art.  There was no expected outcome or constraints and that freedom helped me express my feelings around trauma I had experienced and teenage angst in general.
I had also started writing at that time, and have a few old journals of poetry from that time.  Teenage poetry!
I have continued to write and paint since then off and on again throughout the years.  I have now been doing pottery for 5 years and have also explored printmaking.  Pottery, and specifically raku pottery has become my main focus and has become a huge part of my life.  It’s love, magic and passion all rolled into one.  It makes my heart happy.
What is the difference in Raku pottery and other pottery? 
Raku pottery and regular pottery have a number of key difference.  The raku process originated in Japan around the 16th century.
Fun fact:  Raku means pleasure or enjoyment, and for me, it lives up to the name!  Traditionally raku pieces were hand built pots.  In my work, most of the pieces I create are wheelthrown vases.
Raku pottery is different from regular pottery in regards to the glazes that are used and the firing process.  While regular pottery is allowed to cool in the kiln slowly over time, raku pottery is removed from the kiln when it is red hot.  From there the pots are placed in easily combustible material like sawdust, newspaper, or other organic materials.  The pot and materials are then covered, and as the flames burn all of the oxygen is used.  This process is known as reduction, or oxidation-reduction.  Variables such as temperature, glaze composition, reduction material and a few other tricks produces unique chance effects that can have unexpected and often beautiful results.
(here is a link to a raku firing video that I did that might be neat to embed in your blog – it really shows off the firing part of the process – )
I’ve seen several post where you ask people to name the of pottery, that’s so much fun. How did you come up with the idea?
When I finished my first few raku firings I was enchanted by the results.  There was so many different effects that can not be achieved any other way that they were spellbinding to me.  As silly as it may sound, I would spend time looking at my pieces.  At that time I was posting my pottery piece on Instagram and I started sharing my impressions and thoughts on these pieces.  This would eventually lead to me creating stories for many of my pieces.  I noticed that people enjoyed reading these stories and reflections and I also enjoyed writing them.  they helped bring the pieces to life.
When I started my website I noticed that there was a great community of writers out there.  One day I thought why not give other people the chance to ‘Name that Vase’, as I was interested to see what other people might come up with.  At the time I thought it would be a one off post on my blog, but I was blown away by the response and the creativity and impressions of others, so much so that this has now become a monthly feature.  People continue to amaze with their beautiful writing.  It seems a community has emerged around ‘Name that Vase’, and they have made me laugh, smile, cry, and shown me things I have not seen in my own work.  It also amazes and humbles me that people want to write about my work.  For the people involved in the community it serves as a writing prompt or a chance to be creative.  People also enjoy reading what others have come up with, so it is a real win for everyone.  An artistic collaboration that has become a very meaningful way for me to connect with other artists while out in the wilds of Canada.
How do you decide what glaze colors to use on each piece?
This is an interesting and more complicated question with multiple answers.  There are times when I throw a piece on the pottery wheel knowing that I am looking for certain shapes and angles that have tendencies to give certain effects I like from a particular glaze.  So sometimes I make the piece for the glaze.  Sometimes, after throwing a piece an idea for a story will come to me and I choose one of my glazes that seems likely to support my story.  And of course sometimes I just experiment with glazes on pieces.
Part of the magic of raku is you can not have total control over the results.  Much like life, you need to surrender to what fate may bring, but as you understand the nuances of raku and your glazes you can increase the likelihood of positive results and influence the outcome.  Of course, sometimes the results are disappointing.  Sometimes they are not what you had planned and something even more intriguing emerges.  I am always learning more about how glazes interact with the raku proces and different variables that are a part of it.
Tell me about the book, how did the book come about? 
It has been a dream of mine to write a book for many years.  I have started a few of them over the years.  I always figured  I would one day write and finish a book when the time was right.  When I became consumed by my passion for pottery, I had put this dream aside.  While at my recent art show ‘The Myth of Family’ (video link available) I noticed that people really enjoyed reading the stories associated with the pieces.  So much so that people were talking to me about their favourite stories.  A few days after the opening of the art show, it hit me.  I had already written much of the book through creating these stories and that there was synergy between my pottery and writing.  After that, I started looking through my content and organizing it and laying out the book.  It has been a steep learning curve, but I have found out I enjoy it.
In order to defray the costs of printing the book I have embarked on a crowdfunding project to offset some of the costs.  I am really humbled and grateful that I am at 75% of my goal.  I am passionate about my book project, because it makes my pottery accessible to people who appreciate my work, but can’t necessarily afford a particular piece.  I often say that if I won the lottery I would love to be able to make pottery and give pieces away to people who love it the most.  But I have not won the lottery and pottery is sort of an expensive undertaking,so this book is the closest I can get to that for now.
Each piece of my pottery is a little part of me, they are almost like my children.  When someone has a piece that I made in their home I am honoured.  To know something I was able to create becomes a part of someone’s daily life in sme small way makes me smile.  I like to somehow think that far off in time some future archaelogist who followed their dream might find a part of one of my pieces and that appeals to the child in me.

My current exhibition at the Oxford Riverside Gallery runs until September 30th!


Potter, abstract landscape painter, nature lover, sculptor, closet geek, gardener, foodie, and outdoor enthusiast.

All of the pieces shown on this site are available for sale. To find out more about how you can own a piece, please visit:

Purchase Art


Thank you, Jay, for the most interesting interview and Raku pottery information. Please check out Jay’s site,, where you can see many pieces shown in the book and purchase your own piece of Raku pottery. I’ve bought two pieces for Christmas. 

I wish you all the success with your book and new endeavors.



嵐の後 after the storm — Guest Blogger T Ibara Photo

**PLEASE DO NOT USE my photographs without permission** 4 photos © 茨原 孝貞(Takami Ibara) 本サイトにおける全ての画像(写真・イメージ)及び文章の無断使用、転記を固く禁じます。 © Takami Ibara (“T Ibara Photo”) All photographs & images on this site are copyrighted by Takami Ibara (茨原 孝貞). Any and all use of materials on this site without prior written consent is strictly prohibited.

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Gallery Travels: Louvre Museum

Do yourself a favor and plan two days for a comprehensive viewing of the museum. You walk it to the vast corridor and are bombarded with one awesome piece of art after another. The Louvre is the number one gallery in the world and requires time to see all its beauty. Melinda

The Louvre (English: /ˈlv(rə)/ LOOV(-rə)[2]), or the Louvre Museum (French: Musée du Louvre [myze dy luvʁ] (About this soundlisten)), is the world’s largest art museum and a historic monument in Paris, France. A central landmark of the city, it is located on the Right Bank of the Seine in the city’s 1st arrondissement (district or ward). Approximately 38,000 objects from prehistory to the 21st century are exhibited over an area of 72,735 square metres (782,910 square feet).[3] In 2018, the Louvre was the world’s most visited art museum, receiving 10.2 million visitors.[1]

The museum is housed in the Louvre Palace, originally built as the Louvre castle in the late 12th to 13th century under Philip II. Remnants of the fortress are visible in the basement of the museum. Due to urban expansion, the fortress eventually lost its defensive function, and in 1546 Francis I converted it into the main residence of the French Kings.[4] The building was extended many times to form the present Louvre Palace. In 1682, Louis XIV chose the Palace of Versaillesfor his household, leaving the Louvre primarily as a place to display the royal collection, including, from 1692, a collection of ancient Greek and Roman sculpture.[5] In 1692, the building was occupied by the Académie des Inscriptions et Belles-Lettres and the Académie Royale de Peinture et de Sculpture, which in 1699 held the first of a series of salons. The Académie remained at the Louvre for 100 years.[6] During the French Revolution, the National Assemblydecreed that the Louvre should be used as a museum to display the nation’s masterpieces.

The museum opened on 10 August 1793 with an exhibition of 537 paintings, the majority of the works being royal and confiscated church property. Because of structural problems with the building, the museum was closed in 1796 until 1801. The collection was increased under Napoleon and the museum was renamed Musée Napoléon, but after Napoleon’s abdication many works seized by his armies were returned to their original owners. The collection was further increased during the reigns of Louis XVIII and Charles X, and during the Second French Empire the museum gained 20,000 pieces. Holdings have grown steadily through donations and bequests since the Third Republic. The collection is divided among eight curatorial departments: Egyptian Antiquities; Near Eastern Antiquities; Greek, Etruscan and Roman Antiquities; Islamic Art; Sculpture; Decorative Arts; Paintings; Prints and Drawings.

The Nike of Samothrace(Winged Victory), marble, c. 190 BC

Casket, ivory and silver, Muslim Spain, 966

French stained glasspanel, 13th century, depicting Saint Blaise

The Mona Lisa(Leonardo da Vinci), oil on panel, 1503–1519, probably completed while the artist was at the court of Francis I.

The Louvre and Tuileries

Musée du Louvre

Palais du Louvre

Palais des Tuileries

Jardin des Tuileries

Why the photographer writes a ​blog —Guest Blogger Prasenjeet Gautam Photography Blogs

Nowadays or now it’s a trend to write something, share & post online. This is something great for the photographer and artist too. A unique platform & best way to communicate to promote your brand, product, your knowledge, your skill, your art and importantly your particular experience about the particular field on a regular basis. This […]

via Why the photographer writes a ​blog — Prasenjeet Gautam Photography Blogs

Indifferent Art

Guest Blogger


Today’s drawing was a disappointment. Again, it was one of those fairly simple drawing projects, and I didn’t anticipate too many problems. I was drawing apples on a tree, you see.

Inktober 8 - Apple Tree (2) Apples on the Tree – Ink Drawing by Judith Kraus

Apples were one of the first things I was able to draw successfully. In those earliest days of learning to draw, I joked how an apple a day was just what the doctor ordered for my artwork, and when I first started this blog, the very first drawing I shared was a bowl of apples I’d drawn in colored pencil. I think it was probably one of the best drawings I’d done at that point. Yes, I recently drew a bunch of bad apples, but all the same, I felt confident about today’s Inktober drawing.

It wouldn’t be too difficult, I thought, but I certainly didn’t want…

View original post 644 more words