Tuesday, February 26, 2013


"how did kevin crawl out on the gravel?" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photo paper.


Kevin Wayson, 18-month-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Leonard Wayson of Center Point, is a patient at the Virginia Gay hospital here. The baby suffered a broken arm, bruises and scratches when a car was backed over him.

source: Waterloo Daily Courier February 18, 1954
See full series on flickr. Also for sale on Etsy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013


Here is the second half of my two part mold making. The baby figure did stay put, that was good. But the plaster that I cast the first go round was not smooth and especially in the leg area it makes some nasty streaks that don't look nice. Also because I did not let the first half air out and dry, I think when I poured the second part, even though I used prell as a resist, the mold stuck together a little and had to be pried apart and you can see where one of the registration holes broke off and stayed in the first half.

In this pressing I did last week all the cracks and lines are visible. I guess if I wanted the effect of aged encrusted figures it would work, but I did not.

This week I pressed some sprig molds using clay for the form of some more baby figures, let's see how that works. More to come.

Note: If you are using painted figures to press into the clay be careful. Some of the paint stuck to the clay and came off the face. Now I am sad.

Monday, February 18, 2013


"deadly assault in jerome" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

George Roop Yuma Prisoner 1897

Found guilty of assault with intent to kill ____ Carpenter, George Roop was put on the Saturday evening train on July 14, 1902 to Yuma, along with James McKay and Wm. Connors.

George Roop's legitimate occupation was steel blower. I had no idea what that was and finally found a definition in a 1890s book. When steel is being poured, it is the job of the steel blower, who stands on a platform, to pull the whistle to alert the workers to stand clear of sparks.

Sunday, February 17, 2013


"life sentence commuted" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Frank Delaney Yuma Prisoner 1402

After serving seven years for the murder of Ed Madden, Frank Delaney's life sentence was commuted by Governor Brodie in 1905 to 25 years. Prominent citizens and lawyers for both sides concluded that there was no premeditation, as argued in the original case. Madden, boss of the construction crew on the Santa Fe Pacific RR line, and Delaney were both drunk one night. After Delaney had fallen asleep in one of the cars, Madden woke him up by kicking him and then slashing him in the face. When Delaney regained his footing he went for his gun, followed and shot Madden dead.

Thursday, February 14, 2013


A friend of mine, Liz Massey, asked me if I would do an interview on her Creative Liberty blog.

"Liz is a writer, editor, media producer and a creative agent provocateur. Experienced in artistic disciplines as diverse as music, photography, filmmaking and journalism, Liz has a deep hunger to understand how the creative process works."

My immediate reaction was, oh no, I have to deal with words. But I think it worked out fine. Here is the link if you would like to read it.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Here is my little baby mold using the down and dirty method shown by John Britt on YouTube. I cast the first half last week and here is the result. Today I turned it all over and made the second cast. I hope my little baby does not float up into the plaster. This method is fast and so much easier than using boards. I think there is some waste as you have to throw away the clay base you had used in step one, but for the sake of convenience it's worth it.

I'll let you know the results next week.

While I was casting the mold, Pam, one of the instructors at Phoenix Center for the Arts, came in and just freehanded some clay around the original baby and pulled it off. I poured some plaster into it and here is the result. I love it. Even though it broke because the clay shrunk as it was drying, I think it looks so wonderful.

Don't be surprised if you see some babies plastered to my walls soon.

Next week I will try to make some sprig molds.

Monday, February 11, 2013


"marshal's son kills his prostitute girlfriend" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Nabor Pacheco Yuma Prisoner 2991

Nabor Pacheco, Sr. was sheriff of Pima County and Tucson city marshall, with his dog, Jack, his constant companion on the beat.

On March 16, 1909, his son, Nabor Pacheco, Jr. (featured above) shot to death his prostitute girlfriend, Alice Cain aka Rena Edga. She was planning on leaving Tucson for Los Angeles and he objected. As she brought her trunks to the lobby to get ready to leave he shot her in the head. He then tried to kill himself, unsuccessfully.

Marshal Pacheco tried to resign immediately, but Mayor George Benjamin Henry, talked him out of it. Also note that Marshal Pacheco was disgusted by the spectacle of public hangings and would not have wanted this fate for his son.

Nabor, Jr. went to trial and was found guilty of manslaughter (a lighter sentence for the marshal's son?) and was put in Yuma Territorial Prison. According to the records, he had $23.85 (equivalent to $600 now) in his pocket. Ironically his legitimate profession is listed as County Jailer.

It must have been quite an upset to be on the other side of the bars.

Find more details of the story here. See complete PRISON HILL series on flickr.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


"mr. courthorpe dreams he was an english gent" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

The Sportsman

No. XI

We have already adverted to the extraordinary number of accidents that have occurred this season from hunting. Last week added two serious ones to the number. On Friday, Colonel Standen broke his leg while hunting with the East Sussex foxhounds near Brighton. Mr. Courthorpe has likewise fractured his arm, from his horse falling during a run; but, we are glad to hear, is going on uncommonly well. The Irish papers bring us melancholy intelligence of _____ Fogarty, Esq., who broke a blood vessel in his exertions during a severe fox chase in December last.
source: The Court Journal, from January to December 1835, London

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


"they put me in a ball and chain" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

Sidney Smith Yuma Prisoner 2968

Sidney Smith, sentenced to 4 years for burglary in the 1st degree. This was not his first offense.

His legitimate occupation was laborer and he is also listed as a musician. He was educated in Tucson and could read and write.

See all of the Prison Hill series on flickr.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


"he just got married one year before" 3 x 3 inches, acrylic on photopaper.

This is the beginning of a new series of paintings, entitled Prison Hill, featuring inmates of the Yuma Territorial Prison. The prison opened in 1876 housing a total of 3,069 prisoners over its 33 years of operation. 

Juan Miranda Yuma Prisoner 2977

This is Juan Miranda, convicted of burglary in the 1st degree, May 12, 1909, and released one year later. His legitimate occupation was shoemaker, he was married to Petra Peralta and had no children at the time of his arrest.

Using these paintings, I will be working in collaboration with Christine Cassano combining them with her concrete work, found objects and other prisoner information.

NOTE: The inmates were photographed in a most innovative way. Not only did they do a before (assuming upon their incarceration) and an after (when given a hair cut, a shave and a prison uniform), they also used a mirror, propped up on the right shoulder to give a profile view at the same time as the front view, thus saving time and plates.

What I plan on doing in this series is combining the before image front view with the after image mirror view into one painting.

I found this obituary posted in the Yuma Daily Sun, May 24, 1950. There is no mention of prison, or a previous wife, Petra. Could it be the same Juan Miranda? The age and occupation match up.


pinch pot using soldate clay body, with "patina" glaze

One of the things I love to make in any clay studio is a pinch pot. If I am waiting for something to happen, or I have extra time, or just a ball of extra clay, all of a sudden I am making a pinch pot. In this piece I love how this glaze reacted on the clay body. The complete interior stayed a nice charcoal gray, while the outer surface contains a variety of greens and blues to form a very nice patina indeed.

pinch pot using b-mix, shaped into a face

I know I told you about the wonderful collection of dolls that I bought and how the plan is to make molds of some of them, to do what yet, I am not quite sure. But last Tuesday instead of making a usual pinch pot, it gradually turned into a doll head. I think low fired under glazes will work well on this piece.

Today, I also started a mold and will fill you in on all the details next week when I check in at the studio again.


b-mix clay body with linseed oil and black mason stain transfer, glazed with "angel spit" 

It's always fun when a glaze firing is done. Today I got to the studio to find the pieces that had the linseed oil transfers had been fired. The studio has a glaze called angel spit which leaves a slight blueish hint, and the clay body has a warm finish so I was very happy with the test of how the transfer would hold up in a high fire. I think it looks pretty good and I am willing to try this on a finished piece, once I make something to try it on.

This sample (above) was also the same combination with a more complex transfer design. If you are interested in seeing how it's done, here is the link again to the video by Kristina Bogdanov.

b-mix clay body with mason stain and gerstley borate transfer, bisque fired

Last week I tried another transfer method. It was much easier to do than the litho one and I am happy to say that it held up in the bisque firing. I was a bit confused as to the method and wrote to Erin Furimsky for the formula, she was very helpful. Use 50/50 ratio of stain to gerstley borate and add water. In this method, I found the clay should be a little more moist than dry, so I used slabs that were rolled out and wrapped from the week before and they seemed to absorb the image well. Here is the video from Erin Furimsky.

To do these transfers, you make a "paint" with the stain and gerstley, paint it onto a glazed ceramic tile (store bought), let it dry, place a piece of paper on the painted tile, and draw an image on the back of the paper, pressing firmly. When you remove the paper, you have the image ready to transfer onto the moist clay. It was sort of a reverse carbon paper effect. 

I'll let you know how the glazed pieces come out the next time a glaze kiln is fired.