Q & A with Silver Lining Ceramics

If you have scrolled through Etsy in the last week, then you have noticed the fabulous creations from Silver Lining Ceramics. Katie Marks, the creator had the honor of being one of Etsy’s featured shops. I decided to reach out to Katie and find out more about her amazing work!
SilverLining Ceramics
I love how your mentioned in your about page that living in Seattle has been an influence on your pieces. What inspired you to create the gem growing series? I was playing with this idea for a crystal series for quite a long time in my head while I was working on my other items. Since quarts crystals are made of the same stuff I use in my glazes I began thinking about how silica and feldspar would react given enough time and heat and pressure in nature.
When I fire my glazes they melt and turn into a solid glassy surface. I thought it would be fun to use MY hands to create crystals. I love the idea that I am using the same materials that would occur naturally and forming them in new ways to express myself as a human. I am mirroring a natural process and bringing a little bit of me into it as well.

Those pops of gold really bring your work to the next level, have you always been using accent colors in your work? Thank you! That is so sweet of you to say! I haven’t always done anything haha I just started making work I felt proud of last year and I am still very much learning as I go and trying new things. I like to use color in a way that compliments the forms and carvings and illustrations that I spend so much time on while the clay is wet. I love the way the gold looks so I keep exploring new ways to use it. I have a few new glazes I am working on and look forward to using as accents in my work in the future along with the gold.

And how exactly do you add the gold luster? Is that after the glazing process? Yep! The gold luster is fired on for a 3rd firing after they come out of the glaze firing. You paint right on top of the glaze where you want to add gold and then fire to cone 018. its really that simple! It smells horrible, the fumes it gives off while firing are highly toxic and it costs about $45 for a teeny tiny bottle but the results are so amazing I can’t stop using it! If you are going to try it out (and I recommend you do) wear a gas mask and try to paint it on outside or in a very well ventilated area. After it is fired it is totally safe! All the toxins that are used to make gold ‘brushable’ burn out when you fire it so no worries!

What really first drew me to your shop (besides that it was featured – congrats!!) were those little cats! Growing up I had an obsession with tiny porcelain animals – have you always made these figurines as well? Funny you should ask this! in short YES I have made so many tiny animals in my life! I made things out of polymer clay from are 4-18. Instead of getting a job as a teenager I made highly intricate polymer clay fairies that I sold on ebay before etsy was around.These little porcelain kitties in my shop were kind of an accident. Sometimes while in the studio Ill just be chatting away with my mentor about life, the universe, and everything and I’ll have a small chunk of clay in my hands and I just mess around with it mindlessly and something cute happens haha.

I made the first little kitty this way and posted a photo on my personal facebook page and the response was so unexpected I decided to make more 🙂 I still have the very first one though!etsy-blog-featured-shop-silver-lining-ceramics-final
And have you ever made a custom order and fell in love with the piece and decided to keep it?! I feel like I would if things I made looked like your work!! Out of the hundreds of pieces I have made in the last 2 years I think I only have 3 pieces that I intentionally kept for my self.Two especially nice mugs and a 12″ tall vase that is highly carved and the glaze dripped like a waterfall perfectly and I love putting sunflowers in it. It is my favorite piece Ive ever made so I kept it 🙂 Its funny as soon as I make something I am just happy that I got it out of my head and I want it to go live somewhere else haha. sometimes I hold on to pieces for a while and stare at them until they get boring or all I see is flaws and then I have to make it go away. There was a sugar bowl with a spoon that I almost kept once but I know the person who bought it loves it so that makes me happy too. I just know I can always re-make something so I dont feel the need to keep many of them. Screen Shot 2014-05-19 at 12.19.20 PM


Thanks Katie for sharing your story and your work! If you want to see more check out Silver Lining Ceramics page on Esty.

Amazing Abstract Paintings

My inner jealous artist is in full swing when I see these paintings by Britt Bass… they are amazing!
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What I love most about Britt Bass is that her artwork is actually affordable! You can own your very own original for under $200.
This piece, Tickets #2 is listed as $150 on her Etsy shop.

Not only does she sell prints, but you can dec out your Iphone with her creations as well. Or jump on over to Design Love Fest and ‘Dress Up Your Tech‘ with Bass designs.

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Read more about Britt Bass in her tumblr blog here.

Artist and Maker: Elly MacKay

You might have seen in my sidebar a little tweet oogling Elly’s beautiful artwork, but I must admit, I am a little bit of a cyberstalker and saw her work on Etsy last year and fell madly in love! (I also might have purchased a few prints for Christmas presents!!)

Between Tides    A Day to Celebrate

I make miniature worlds out of paper. I ink up a paper called Yupo paper, cut it into layers and set inside a miniature theater. I play with the lighting, and adjust the elements and then photograph the scenes. I often take 50 or more photos to get the one I am looking for.” 

With an obvious careful hand, Elly combines illustration, cut paper and photography into such whimsical narrative pieces. I love how the photograph above really puts into perspective the detail Elly considers while transforming these still scenes into beautiful pieces of artwork.

Bells and Whistles

The Clouds Were Both Above and Below
Isn’t she just the best?  Here are a few tid bits from her interview with Etsy when she was a Featured Seller.

Where does your inspiration come from? I found my inspiration through playing with Victorian inventions. I love tunnel books, magic lanterns, stereoscopes, paper theaters, and zoetropes — they are so magical. My daughter inspires the stories my images tell. In some ways I feel I’ve entered a second childhood and I’m able to see the world through her eyes. She sees the world in such a fantastical way. The other day she made little parcels for the spider that has taken up residence in our bathroom.

When She Held Her Child

How would you describe your creative process? My creative process usually begins with an idea and title; the image. follows close behind. I have a big whiteboard in my studio and I play with themes — weather, creatures, botany, etc. I do really loose drawings there. I keep them up for a while to see what comes from them. I love experimenting as well…. I make a few cut elements from yupo paper and ink or play with the ones I “store” on the wall. Once I have enough layers I begin to install them in my theater. I use filters of coloured tissue to create a distant landscape or clouds and then I take many, many photos of the scene, changing little things here or there.
What Awaits at the Station

Elly is an artist to watch out for – it was so hard to even try and decide which images to post on here because everything is amazing! You would be a real fool not to check out her Etsy shop here!!

And thank you to Elly for bringing imaginative images into the world and allowing Munro Shea Designs to use your artwork for this post.

Calendar Girl

With about a month in a half left in the year 2013 – its time to get ready for 2014 baby! I am digging these calendars – all are artful and graphic.

Stendig Wall Calendar from Crate and Barrel

Gem Mineral Calendar

Language of Love Calendar

Paperbird Eco Friendly Calendar

Falling Leaves, Apple Crisp & Colder Weather Can Only Mean One Thing…

Time for some seasonal (Maybe Halloween geared) cravings Etsy style!

1. From the Colette Bean Shop – Knitted Animal Tails

2. Figure 19 –  Original Silk Screen Soft Canvas Pillow (really cool stuff in that shop!)

3.  Andie Speciality Sweets – Edible Bird Feathers!

4.  The Ramblin Worker Shop – Glow in the Dark Full Moon Print

And last but not least – my favorite item – the Ceramic Skull Planter from Mudpuppy

We’re Digging…

I first fell in love with 2of2 when I saw them on Etsy and with over 8,000 admirers you can see why!  I was looking for a present for my Dad and I thought something for his office would be best, and that is when I laid eyes on this bad boy:
I can’t even begin to explain how perfect this was for my Dad. It had all the elements that we bond over –  fine motor skills, wood structure of some sort, design and love of architecture. And the fact that 2of2 is run by a brother sister duo, Dan and Mer, makes it even better.
“We opened the shop on what would have been our mother’s 61st birthday, 10/27/12.   She passed away in July 2012 after a year battle with cancer.   It was during that time that Dan and I put our careers on hold  (so did our other 4 siblings 🙂 to be home with our mom.   While home, Dan, always an artist, began creating what we now call Ghost Houses and Tabletop Forests.   And I started to reevaluate how much time I spending in the office instead of with those I loved.   So we made the decision that summer that in honor of our mom, we would pursue 2of2 goods.   When we opened it was as much a healing exercise as anything, but as business grew, we knew we were beginning an exciting new chapter of our lives. “
“The first house was probably made a year before we opened our shop. The original design required us to hand cut each individual piece of wood and glue the frame together one tiny piece at a time – it could take a day to make one house!   We now laser cut pieces of the frame, which we then have to assemble. “
“Working with the wooden frames are the easiest because they are the most consistent material.  The reclaimed wood is a different adventure every time and the acrylic houses can be “temperamental.”  429868-610x610-1372610799-primary.png
(All the bases are made out of reclaimed wood) “We search farms in Pennsylvania (where our dad lives) for the reclaimed wood – a fun Sunday activity! We tend to work on batches of different steps (i.e. carve 100 trees, cut 50 bases), so hard to say how long it takes or how many we make.   We are still very new to this, so we are constantly brainstorming about new designs and ways to make our existing designs better and more quickly.”il_570xN.497063509_ew61
In the future we hope to expand our company and our designs – we have more ideas than we could ever possibly keep up with, but right now we are just happy to be doing what we love and chasing a dream 🙂
And they are constantly updating their Etsy page with their creations! Every time I look there is something new in their shop. In true artist fashion they are taking risks with their craft. Dan and Mer are such inspirations – true artisans. Their little homes are pieces of artwork created with so much thought. Read their tumblr blog to see more of Dan and Mer! And thank you to both for sharing their story and work with Munro Shea Designs!