xmas barks and brittles.

thank you martha!



honeycomb brittled


  • vegetable oil, cooking spray
  • 1 1/12 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda


coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. bring sugar, honey, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly. reduce heat to medium-high. cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. remove from heat, and whisk in baking soda until combined and mixture bubbles. gently pour mixture onto baking sheet without spreading. let cool. break into pieces.

brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.


basic brittle recipe


  • vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup light corn syrup
  • mix-ins, according to variation


  1. coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. bring sugar and corn syrup to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring and brushing down sides with a wet pastry brush to prevent sugar crystals from forming, until sugar dissolves. cook, swirling occasionally, until mixture just starts to turn golden around edge.
  2. stir in mix-ins. cook, stirring occasionally, until mixture is pale amber, about 8 minutes. pour onto baking sheet without spreading. let cool. break into pieces.

brittle can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.



add-ins (slightly modified by yours truly):

cashew and cayenne:
2 cups whole raw cashews
½ tsp cayenne pepper
½ tsp sea salt flakes
extra salt to sprinkle on top

coconut and spice:
¾ cup large unsweetened coconutflakes
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp chinise five spice powder
¼ tsp salt

pepita and lavender:
½ cup petites (green pumpkin seeds)
1 tbsp dried lavender (and extra for sprinkling)
¼ tsp salt




peppermint m&m bark:

  • melt 12 oz. of  white chocolate in a double boiler (aka bowl-in-a-pot).
  • spread over parchment on a sheet pan.
  • bash up a large package of peppermint m&ms and sprinkle over the melted chocolate.
  • cool and break into pieces.

peanut butter crunchy two tone bark:

  • melt 125 oz. of white chocolate  in a double boiler.
  • add  3 cups of puffed rice, stir.
  • spread over parchment on a sheet pan.
  • melt 6 oz milk chocolate in double boiler.
  • add ¼ cup creamy natural peanut butter and stir.
  • mix in 1 cup crisp rice.
  • spread over white chocolate.
  • cool and break into pieces.

chocolate of choice and nut of choice:
as above, with whatever you’ve got hanging around



hope everybody enjoyed!


new home

i may have a snuggee for a curtain at the moment but i’m pretty much totally unpacked and moved into my sweet west philly apartment.  bg,  my new roommate met me at the train station and we squeezed all of my possessions into her spacious hatchback.

this is what i was working with.  sweet windows and nice floors.

everything is unpacked but some stuff still needs a place.  and i definitely need some sweet curtains for these tall windows.  in the meantime a few glimpses of my space…

shadow boxes with work and tchotchkes from all over.

bowl and saucer by sarah tancred, octopus rattle by kelly sullivan

mini wall piece by jamie bardsley

wall button by kelly sullivan

another wall button and one of my first art purchases, plate by lisa orr

st. pete clay co. annual flower and garden sale.


St. Petersburg Clay Company’s


Looking for a creative way to spice up your home and garden?  Look no further.  St Petersburg Clay Company is hosting their one-of-a-kind Annual Flower and Garden Art Show on June 6th & 7th from 10am – 4pm. The show will be filled with unique ceramic sculptures, plaques, vases, pots and much, much more.  All items are handmade by local artists.  In addition to the ceramic wares, St. Petersburg Clay Company is hosting a variety of artists whose mediums include glass and metal. There will be rare orchids, one of a kind bonsai, tropical plant vendors, wine tasting, along with The Florida Garden Railway Society and Creative Clay will also be featured.

This is a great event for all ages.  Tie dying and spin art on the potter’s wheel will be offered for both the young and the young at heart.  And for those that wish to sit back and relax, there will be food, beverages and demonstrations throughout the entire event.  Come join the local artists, vendors, and your fellow community members at St. Petersburg Clay Company located in the Historic Seaboard Train Station on the corner of 22nd Street and 5th Avenue South.  Free Admission.  Free Parking.

Annual Flower & Garden Art Show

June 6th & 7th 10am to 4pm

At St. Petersburg Clay Company

420 22nd Street South

St. Petersburg, FL. 33712

Phone (727) 896- 2529

Hours of operation: Tuesday through Saturday 10 am to 4 pm.

blog wish list

things i wish i had some spare minutes for/coming up on pickled eggplant:

post pics of the egg plate i made my mom for her birthday/easter.

post about salting the  kiln the egg plate was in.

make the “opportunistic bacteria” plates for a third time and have them work.

post pics of the soda fired microbes.

post official pics of the showtel 7  “microcosmic exploration” installation by sue stevens and me.

opportunistic bacteria plates

below is an image of the bacteria plates i was working on for a doctor i work with.  i had scavenged some underglazes that were getting trashed at the studio to use for the color. i covered them with underglaze while leather hard and sgraffito’ed the image.   i once fired them, putting clear glaze on top of the underglaze while everything was still bone dry.  unfortunately when they came out of the kiln chunks of underglaze were flaking off.  i thought it might be because i had once fired them?? so i remade them, but this time bisqued the underglaze on, THEN clear glazed and glaze fired.  same problem.  any idea what the problem could be?  i’m stumped.  i decided to get rid of these underglazes and go with something new.  news to follow.

virus plates

virus plates

*presents* and sexually transmitted infections

matt long and his students were visiting in january and they tore down and rebuilt our soda kiln.  today r, our lovely kiln tech was putting the finishing touches on the burners.  he and b have been working hard on it and i’m hoping we’ll fire it up this week.  i’d like to get the garlic in if possible.  i think that it would look super in a soda fire.

recently i have been interested in jason briggs’ work.  actually i fell in love with it when i saw it in the exhibition “biomimicry” at the 2004 NCECA.  it was totally awe inspiring.  it was one of the pieces which i looked at and saw in it so much visual language that i wish i could speak.  if you know what i mean.  it seemed perfect, more exquisite than is possible to make by hand.

recently i googled his website (why had this never occurred to me??) and was delighted with what i found.  his site has lots of information and images as well as a image loop showing a piece from start to finish.  in lieu of seeing briggs demo in person, i was pretty satisfied by viewing his site.  it’s here.

seeing the progression of his work and reading about his process really gave me a different perspective on atmospheric firings.  i guess i think of them in a rustic kind of way.  though i see the amazing way they work out for other folks i hadn’t really thought they were right for my work.  his chicken skin speckaly, bumpily blushes really turned that thinking around and has given me a fresh perspective on atmospheric firings.  yeah!

this week i finished a set of slab plates with sgraffito.  they are for a doctor at work and they feature a stylized pneumocystis pneumoniea (sp??) carving.  i had a mishap with one and had set it aside and today i went at it with the carving tool and fashioned a  “syphilis” plate, the first in what promises to be an exciting series.  next up, chlamydia, gonnorhea and trichamonis. note, i am only featuring curable infections.  non-curable infections are way too much of a bummer.

be productive, b-e productive

today was a great work day at the studio.  right now i’m obsessed with slump molds.  i’ve been using some i borrowed from b to make my wall pieces and had been meaning to pour my own for a month or so now and today i powered through three of each size.  i also rolled slabs for all the slump molds i already have (also did this yesterday) and now i have 7 slumped slabs ready to build wall pieces from.  friday night i got a few more wall pieces out of a bisque fire and my collection of bisqued wall pieces in growing.  i need to glaze these puppies and get them up on my etsy site asap (but trying to quiet the internal critic, it’ll get done).  once i get the photos done i can get them up on my retail shelf at the clay co and hopefully make some cash.

anyway, i also worked on a little birthday present project for my brother.  he requested a garlic shaped wall hanging with the words “garlic isn’t a spice, it’s a vegetable.” inscribed.  today i rolled out some luscious porcelain which i trimmed into a stylized head of garlic embellished with some simple lines.  i had intended to stamp the words (with stamps also borrowed from b right into the garlic but i stamped up some scraps to start blocking out the words and it looked so cute that i decided to stamp the phrase out on little slabs of clay which i attached separately to the garlic.

while this garlic isn’t cutting edge art but i have to say i really enjoyed getting a request and executing  it.  kitch is so satisfying!  sometimes it can feel so difficult to make what’s in your head come out of the clay.  it feels like doing some kind of math problem but there are no signs for multiply or subtract.  like j said one night when she was working on her coils and i was working on my belly buttons “you just have to roll them until they’re right.”  i think folks who are really successful have found a systematic way to extract their visions and that i’m still very green artistically, working intuitively but needing to move to the next step.  i’ve always had this fascination with idiot savants though so maybe that’s what i’m going for……

ideas for my next body of work are congealing and i think i will start posting pictures again soon.

p.s. just a note on new year’s resolutions i haven’t failed at:   today from about 4-6 pm i took a break to bike up the pinellas trail a bit with k.  we’ve been trying to go every week and it’s really delightful.  we’re doing 6-10 miles in a couple of hours, which isn’t too bad for beginners (of course there are a lot of hard core bikers on the trail, flying by us and i did get yelled at the first day for meandering over into the passing lane while chatting with k and m-“trail! trail! heh heh) and we’re improving!  and it feels great!  physical activity just can not be beat!