Friday, November 29, 2013

Product review: Ceramic Watercolor Art by Faith Givings

Happy Purple Weekend!  The first day of my open house was a bit slower than we hoped for, but it was still fun and well worth the time to rearrange the living room and dining room.  We're open again tomorrow ("Small Business Saturday", as American Express calls it) from 10-5.  If you're anywhere near the Milwaukee area, please click here for my newsletter, which contains all the information on this weekend's show and the two shows I'm doing in December.

Since I blog on Fridays, and since I have a house full of Faith's ceramics, I thought it would be a perfect time to show you what she makes and tell you a bit about how she makes it all.  She might write a guest blog showing some of the process as we create a piece made with a bay leaf I used to make soup with this Thanksgiving.  Intrigued?  Stay tuned after the holidays!  Well, continue to stay tuned throughout the holiday season, but this project won't get started until the hustle and bustle is over.

I first met Faith at the Bead&Button Show.  I noticed she had an ad in the program that said if you say, "Nice buttons," you get 50% off.  I had to see if they really were nice buttons.  They were, but I bought an iris pin and a cat pendant instead.  No big surprise for either of those.  We chatted for a long time, and we have since become friends.  My dad saw her at another show, and they got to talking, and they ended up talking about me.  I hope they said all good things!  :D

Faith makes a wide variety of ceramic products: ornaments, pins, pendants, tiles that can be hung on a wall (because "hangable" supposedly isn't a word), serving trays, buttons, and probably other items.  She has so many, I wouldn't be able to keep track of them all, even if I was the artist!

Here's how our Christmas tree looks right now:

While there are a few ornaments I made on the tree, the vast majority of them are Faith's.  She brought so many that I had to put some of them on a separate table!  Here is one of the ornaments close up:

Each of her ornaments is packaged on a sturdy card, very securely so you don't have to worry about the item coming off before you're ready.  On the front she gives a list of what she makes, and on the back she tells you about what she does:

The process begins in my garden...

With my grandmother's rolling pin, I press freshly picked real flowers & intricate leaves, along with my original handcarved designs, into fine, white clay.  You might see me in the garden, in my little studio, or in the wavy patchwork of sunlight where the magnolia and ginkgo branches meet, at the big old picnic table in my Wisconsin backyard.

During a 6-8 week long process, I gather local perennial favorites, wildflowers, & occasional "volunteers".  I carefully press, dry, & sand each one, glaze by hand with my signature "watercolor" technique, & kiln-fire each piece twice.  I make one piece at a time, by hand, and am honored to have you choose my work for your home or for gift giving.

Wow!  That's pretty impressive, isn't it?  Let's see some more of her ornaments, shall we?

Here are some Wisconsin ornaments:

She has other locations, too, like New York and San Fransisco.  There are more locations in her Etsy shop.

Here are a few inspired by nature:

She even brought a few holiday/winter-related ornaments, such as a holly wreath, a snowman, and a Star of David.  Here's a very cute Christmas tree:

Here's one that's right up our household's alley:

 "EXTERMINATE standard holiday decorations!"

(For the uninitiated, that's a Dalek from Doctor Who.  Also, this one's been purchased - by us - so if you'd like one, you'll have to ask her to make one for you.  She can do different colors, although Steve says, "Purple isn't canon.  We can't have a purple Dalek."  Spoil sport.)

That's enough of the ornaments.  Here are some buttons:

Yes, that big Wisconsin one is a button.  You'd need a huge buttonhole for it, or you could even sew it on some fabric and frame it.  That'd be very pretty.

Here are some pins:

She brought some pendants, too.  She has them on rubber necklaces and put them in organza bags in such a way that the pendants can be seen pretty clearly, and the whole thing can be hung on hooks.  I was all set to take them all out of the bags, but Steve noticed the necklace loops.  He's smarter than I am.

The one other type of product I have to show you are her hangable tiles.  I don't care if spell check says it's not a word, I'm using it anyway.

You can really see the pressed flowers and leaves on the tiles.  They're so pretty, and the colors are just gorgeous.

I think the thing I like best about Faith's items is the colors.  Most of them are muted and look like watercolors.  She does have some more vibrant colors, but they don't overpower the pieces.  They all look natural.  Her original designs are interesting and intricate, and the colors compliment them nicely.

"But what about the quality, Traci?  Will I have to handle them with kid gloves?"  Good question, dear reader!  I wondered that myself, because the pieces I bought from her seemed very fragile.  She says that they're very durable, though.  It takes a lot to break them.  She produces an unbelievable number of pieces each year, and she says she's not very careful with them and only breaks about one a year.  Even so, I'm still not going to try to snap them in half just to prove I can't.  :)

So, now that you know all about Faith and what she does, here's how you can get in on the action:  If you come here tomorrow (here's that newsletter with the information again), she's offering a buy one, get one free sale.  The free one is of equal or lesser value, of course.  That's quite a deal!  Stock up for gifts, and justify getting items for yourself because they're free.  That's how my logic works, anyway.  If you are too far to come (or if you're pinned down under a bookshelf), you can check out her Etsy site, which has a number of items I don't have here.  There are a few coupon codes on her Facebook page, but you do have to look for them.  Think of it like a scavenger hunt, where you can see many pictures of other items on your way to finding the codes.

Thanks, Faith, for bringing so many beautiful items to my home and for allowing me to share your work with my friends and family!


  1. Traci!
    My work and I have never been so incredibly well profiled! Between your wonderful descriptions and photos, you've made me feel like quite the artist!

    Your gorgeous living room re-do and the rest of your 'architect's dream-home' is the perfect warm and welcoming setting!

    Thank you so very much for inviting me to be a part of the first Purple Weekend!!!

    1. You're too kind, Faith! You put a lot of work and love into your products, and I'm so happy you agreed to join my open house!

  2. Great article, I'm a big fan of Faith's work and who doesn't love a Dalek!