Tuesday, August 31, 2010

A Work In Progress - China Painting

It's time to repost this as I have been getting questions again. I hope you enjoy it.
Inspiration Piece
Blank China

So people always ask me how I do this. This time I took some pictures at each stage. Each piece of china is painted and fired in a kiln to a temperature of 1800 degrees multiple times. Here's some pictures of how it progresses:

Design Sketched in
The paints used are powdered paint pigments, mixed with oil for a painting medium.  Some people buy special mixtures of oils, however, you can use anything from mineral oil to motor oil!

Brushes used are very soft.  Unlike other types of painting very little paint is loaded on the brush. Your brush "kisses" the porcelain as you paint.

TheFirst Painting & Firing
Second Painting & Firing
Each piece is painted multiple times as you build up your color from light to dark. There is no white on the palette, the white seen is actually the porcelain showing through. At each firing the glaze opens up and the paint goes into the glaze. As it cools the glaze closes and the paints become permanent. They will never wash off. They are dishwasher & microwave safe.

Third Painting & Firing
The only exception to this is if the porcelain artist uses gold or lusters on the piece. Gold is actually 24kt. liquid gold. When fired it doesn't go into the glaze. It sits on top of the glaze. Lusters like mother of pearl also sit on the top of the glaze. For that reason should you have gold or lusters, handwashing is advised.  Gold should never be put into the microwave as it is a metal and might give you a fireworks show!

So, if you are interested in porcelain art (a gift to treasure for generations to come), please visit the porcelain section of my Etsy shop:

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Prayer...On Schedule?

Watercolor ACEO
Father Carl always tells us we need to be more disciplined in our prayer. He says we should pray every morning and every night. I can do the morning thing. Every day before my feet hit the floor  "Thank you  God for another day of life and my blessings."

At night I'm not so disciplined. Sometimes I remember sometimes not. I feel bad about that but I think I make up for it during the day.  How much prayer is enough or is there never enough.  St. Paul  does say  pray unceasingly.  But he doesn't say we should be on a schedule.

Sometimes I think I do pray unceasingly. My day is one giant prayer. An ambulance goes by "Dear God please let that person be okay". A fire engine goes by "Please Lord let the firemen contain the fire and spare the people involved." On seeing a wild bunny in the yard, "Lord thank you for the animals." When the news says someone died, "God please forgive their sins and give them eternal life...give their family & friends strength". When my kids travel, "Thank you God that they made it safely." I hear someone needs surgery, "Lord get them through it okay and guide the hands of their surgeon."   When it's a nice day, "Thank you God for this beautiful day...thank you that I am able to be retired and enjoy it."  I could go on and on.

 It seems my day is always full of prayer.  But I'm not doing the night time thing. I end up going up to bed to watch a little TV and bingo, I'm out like a light.  I have to work on this evening prayer thing!

Saturday, August 28, 2010

May Their Souls....

...and all the faithful departed rest in peace. Amen.

St. Vincent de Paul Icon
So a month ago, I went with my Dad to a funeral. He wanted to go to his Mother's grave and so we did. On the way home he said he remembered going to a little graveyard in Clifton Park with his mother to see the graves of his two brothers who died as babies.  I asked him did he want to go and he did. It seems at his age (he's 82) he wants to tie things up going places for one more time.

Well we drove for over a hour looking and looking for the cemetery. He kept saying things had changed. I gave up. We left. Later I went online to find the cemetery. It is "St. Vincent Cemetery". I read there had been major desecration to the point that the church had tombstones bulldozed to keep people from finding the dead and it was left to become an overgrown jungle. That to me was unthinkable. I keep saying to myself, what happened to the 7th Corporal Act of Mercy-Bury the Dead? How was this possible?

Sad piles of tombstones litter the grounds
Searching online I found a group on Yahoo, dedicated to the restoration of the graveyard. It had just gone up online a couple weeks before. I joined. I was obsessed with helping out. I'm sure it was my Grandmother prompting me to save her babies.

It's been a whorlwind couple of weeks. I have found myself at the Maryland Archives every week rummaging through and recording the Internment Records for St. Leo's church for those buried at St. Vincent's. Most of those buried there were poor immigrants and mostly children and babies. So sad. There I find the record for my Uncle Angelo who died at 6 weeks. My poor grandmother. My heart sinks and is sadden for her loss.

Does this look like a cemetery?

In a short time, our group raised $1,250 and the church (St. Vincent de Paul) gave us another $1,250. We paid a landscaper to come clear out everything but the large trees. Now you can walk throughout but it doesn't look and feel like a cemetery.

I visited the cemetery yesterday with one of the group leaders. We met someone from the Friends of Clifton Park, a very knowledgeable woman. She gives me hope.

I couldn't help but cry as I walked around the cemetery. Seeing the tombstones in piles and some piled over with soil.  Looking at an old map trying to find my uncles. Praying for all the dead who rested below my feet as I walked. My church (the Roman Catholic Church) may have let the dead down but I won't let them down.....I remember what I was taught by Sister Trenta...that 7th Corporal Work of Mercy. She was a good teacher!  But I wonder, will we ever make it a dignified resting place?

God help us. St. Vincent de Paul Pray for us!
The icon above was painted by me  for  a friend, Sister Liz Sjoberg of the Daughters of Charity.

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