I was honored to be asked to become a regular blog posting member here on LMAJ.
I am formally Marsha Minutella, but most people know me as Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio (Neal being my maiden name).
|Marsha of Marsha Neal Studio|
I started to work with clay in college in 1997 as an elective class while perusing my BS degree in Entomology (Insects), concentrating in Wildlife Conservation. I ended up adding a minor in ceramics to that undergrad degree, then immediately continued my studies and received my MA in Ceramics at the University of Delaware in 2001. By 2002 I started making pendants, and by 2004, picked up a few shows and quit my day job to travel around the country to sell my work.
|Marsha Neal Studio Bead Show Tray|
I stopped traveling to sell my items at shows back in 2007 because my husband and I wanted to focus on having kids: Chloe, now 5 and Riley, now 3 (you mean you have to be present to be pregnant. Oh!).
And I was reaching a burn out stage with traveling to over 30 shows a year, traveling time, and making pendants production style when I was home.
My body of work for the last 10 years has been porcelain and stoneware pendants, beads, cabochons, buttons, and donuts.
|Marsha Neal Studio Spiral Waves Pendant|
|Marsha Neal Studio Handmade Chevron Inspired Beads|
|Marsha Neal Studio Chocolate Clay Crescent Pendants in Speckled White Glaze|
Below are some of my pieces after the initial bisque firing, which is to harden the ceramic clay and make it more durable for the glaze firing (top left), and what the glaze firing looks like before (top right) and after (bottom left). I'm a bit obsessed with colors and textures - just so you know...
|Marsha Neal Studio Handmade Ceramic Pendants and Beads|
After I stopped traveling for bead shows, I sold all of my excess bead show inventory that was not my own work and these hand painted silks, to my friend Darlene (D7Studio) so she could continue to sell at shows here in the north east US - she does carry a line of my items with her.
|Marsha Neal Studio offers Silk Painting Is Fun: Hand Painted Silks|
I was just too attached to this line of hand painted silk ribbons (painted by Ute of Silk Painting Is Fun) that I picked up in January of 2005. They just are so much fun to design with, are of very high quality, and I love sitting and pulling different color palettes for people to buy and work with - as it can be overwhelming to pick out individual colors at times.
I definitely consider myself more of a bead maker than a jewelry designer.
But I also feel that it is extremely important to understand how your work may be used to create something that is easy for the jewelry designer to work with. I strive for interesting, high quality work.
As a child I would sit for hours and make macrame friendship bracelets, and later learned how to use tigers tail with crimps to make beaded bracelets and necklaces.
I still remember how exciting that was (and I still have all my materials from then!)
|My little Chloe - age 3|
As a mother, I love to spend time watching my kids figure out things and be creative and explore the world around them - even if it is watching my 3 year old figure out how to get those yummy snacks off that high pantry shelf by moving the kitchen chair over and then climbing... He is a high energy kid for sure!
My inspiration for my clay work comes from textures, designs, patterns, and colors from the world around me - both natural and man-made.
|Marsha Neal Studio Zentangle Inspired Sketchbook Drawing|
I love to draw and doodle with a gel roller pen on smooth sketch paper (amazed with Zentangle and quite fond of having a way to finally communicate verbally about doodling).
I carve my own designs into clay, which I bisque fire then use as a texture plate.
You could say that I print with clay.
|Marsha Neal Studio Hibiscus Flower Texture Plate (Printing with clay)|
I get colors by applying glaze (a glaze is glass: silica that is held in suspension with colorants, fluxes, binders, and such, by mixing dry materials in a specific formula with water to a brush-able state. Then after drying, firing it into a kiln to it's mature stage - which for my work is around 2230 degrees F).
So I guess that is a good intro about me for now.
If you want to see a bit more of what I am working on in my studio (like these small sculptures below), check out my Marsha Neal Studio Blog, and keep an eye out here for some posts of things that I'm going to be working on for LMAJ.
|New Terrarium Sculptures from Marsha Neal Studio|
PS ~ I post on my Marsha Neal Studio FaceBook page frequently as I keep my iPhone on me and usually have my Hipstamatic app at the ready to grab a studio shot, and post to FB when I take a break from working.
I look forward to expanding my jewelry making expertise here with you all!
Thanks for having me...