Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Friday, August 12, 2022

summer beauties on gleena.com

Perfect for ice cream, or arranged on the table with votives inside, these porcelain beauties feel great in the hand. Glazed with an eggshell white on the outside, and glossy, easy to clean, watercolor rose glaze on the inside. Available on gleena.com.





 

Saturday, May 29, 2021

A Part Together - solo show at farm projects

My solo sculptural installation at FARMA Part Together is a narrative journey. It is an exploration of ceramic material through hand-building and slip-casting. It is a weaving together of nature with human form, and of thoughts drifting during the making process, asking, seeking and exploring. 



The free-standing sculptures echo tree trunks where the roots sink into the ground.



The small pinched pods are like sprites popping among flowers.






The "remnant shells" are hollowed out remains, sometimes found enveloped in vines, home to insects and other magical creatures. The wrought iron wall mounts were forged by Ken Roby in his Ohio-based studio, The Village Blacksmith.





The word tiles are thoughts that surface during the making process. 

Growing up in St. Petersburg, Russia, I was surrounded by the historically rich world of Imperial Russia. Summers were spent outside the city, at my family dachya, not far from tsars’ summer marble and stone residences. In direct contrast, our rustic dachya was built by great-grandfather, Simon, with wood found on the property.   

Family legends describe Simon’s soft spoken demeanor and  the healing power of being in his presence. Great-grandpa Simon built the dachya after his return from Siberia. He served in exile after being found guilty of owning his own business. 

Surrounded by a deep pine forest, he found solace in working with his hands. Immersed in nature, it was an escape from busy city life, perhaps an escape from his Siberian experiences. His serene presence is still felt there. The meditative repetitive motion of hand-building with porcelain, connects me to experiences from the dachya. With nature as my muse, my work explores human vulnerability, fragility, unease, and resilience. 



Wednesday, September 9, 2020

brightening up the 70's fireplace brick

My house in Cleveland Heights was built in 1920's, and came with a working fireplace taking up a third of the living room wall. The bricks have not been cleaned prbably since the 70's, and the only way I could brighten up the space is by painting the bricks. It took two coats of masonry primer, calking, and three coats of paint, over seven days. My 2020 "shelter at home" project.

After one coat of masonry primer.

After two coats of masonry primer, calking (the brick had so many nooks and crannies), and three coats of paint later. The space in front of the fireplace was also raw brick, crumbling and hard to clean. I painted it a dark slate grey, using outdoor deck paint.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

all about change

This year is all about change, and adapting to the new. Even though the past six months have been incredibly challenging, I am, what feels like, on the other side. 

The Covid pandemic has forced me to close my brick and mortar shop, my wholesale business plummeted, but I have seen customers shop online in greater numbers, and with kind words of support and encouragement. 

I am in a new studio space, in a building populated by artists and entrepreneurs. For the first time since grad school, I feel part of an artist community where the building’s owner is invested in my success.  

It has taken me two months to set up the new space, moving studio is much more work than moving my house. The kilns are finally working properly just last week, and I am back to making. It has taken me some time to establish a routine. 

Here are some views of my new space, which I hope will be gleena’s home for a very long time. This is my seventh (lucky!) studio:



I have a nice showroom, where visitors are welcome, please make an appointment for a visit by emailing info@gleena.com, or calling 216-310-5718.



The making studio is naturally separated from the showroom by the layout of the space. It feels quite different from one side to the other. I like this very clear separateness. 





The kiln goddess presides over all the firings, I created her in grad school almost 20 years ago. 

My two kilns, Big and Thor, which I have had for about ten years. They are a pain to move, mostly because they are so very fragile. Luckily, over the years, I have learned to fix any electrical issues that might arise. 

I was finally able to unpack my “remnant” series, an installation started in grad school, which I hope to continue exploring. Being in this space is urging me to create more sculpture.

The beginning of a sculpture, though the holiday season, which is a robber of free time, is right around the corner. I am hoping to have at least two pieces made by the end of the year.

I even have a small office, where I can catch up on computer work without getting clay all over the keyboard.

Friday, April 10, 2020

working while isolating

I am fortunate to be able to continue to work while many cannot due to the current Covid crisis. Studio life is generally an isolated life, and with the shop being closed since March 12th, it is just me in the space. The freedom from the regular hours of the shop allows me to run errand for my parents who live nearby and have been staying in. It is an odd, surreal experience to be driving on nearly empty streets every day. All days feel like Sunday morning due to no traffic. I am grateful for my work, the kilns which beg to be filled, to retain a bit of normalcy.


My focus has been on gleena.com, filling the website with all the items from the physical store. It is a time-consuming endeavor, photographing and color-correcting images, measuring, uploading and describing product. I am offering free shipping for now.





The weather has been odd, in one day we had a thunderstorm, snow, sun, hail, high winds, temperatures from 60’s dropping to 30’s. As if nature is also confused as to what day or season it is.


A heartfelt thank you to customers, shops and galleries, to friends, neighbors, and family, who have reached out with words of support, love, encouragement and understanding. Thank you to my sweet customers who purchase online. I am grateful for all the kindness. With long daily walks I turn to nature for peace and inspiration. Spring is pushing forward regardless, with many flowers popping up despite weather’s mixed signals. Be well, everyone.


Monday, March 30, 2020

drips, bumps, indents, and other variations

Today I received a very informative email from a customer, detailing in excellent photos (shown below) everything that they saw was wrong with the custom name bowl they received. They were disappointed in their purchase. I refunded their payment immediately, it is important to me that the customer is 100% happy. But as I studied the photographs, I realized that these drips, bumps, indents, and other variations are what make gleena, well, gleena.

This bowl is so uniquely handmade by me, with my porcelain (made from scratch), with my glazes (formulated and made from scratch). This is what distinguishes my work from all the other makers: perfects, and imperfects, out there. Keeping in mind that the bowl will go to a one of a kind person, I experiment with glazing. Uniformity abounds at department stores, I strive to create a unique piece.
The drips happen when I swirl the glaze around the inside of the bowl, and then pour it out the side. Holding the bowl on the outside, I swirl the glaze around once, covering the inside completely with a light layer, then swirl it around one more time, creating the color variation.

My glaze likes to drip, and pool, it is the nature of its eggshell finish. I can scrape the drips off, even the glaze out, but I choose not to. The inside of the bowl dries overnight, and the next day I dip the outside.

The indents on the rim happen when I stamp the letters in, and then sponge the edge smooth. Each letter is stamped in individually. The suction of the metal letter pulls the porcelain in unpredictable ways. When I sponge the rim, each edge ends up being unique.

The indents and variations show up after the glaze firing. They are always a surprise. I totally enjoy the way my porcelain likes to move in the high fire (up to 2300F). Porcelain turns to liquid during high fires, and dances.

I understand that these variations are not for everyone. But they are for me, and I will continue to explore this mutable material to its full drippy, bumpy, indenty, variable self. The porcelain together with high temperature kiln firings serve up many surprises, kind of like life in general.

And one day, after I am gone, an art historian will pick up this bowl, and say, “Ahhh, these glaze drips and indents are so gleena circa 2013...look at that unique pale dusty rose, and the gorgeous vibrant orange, and the translucent silky porcelain...”

Please visit this post on Hella Jongarius for more thoughts on imperfections.

Friday, January 3, 2020

a very happy new year


Happy New Year! 2019 was a full and colorful year. The year was most notable for raising my very high-energy enthusiastic super friendly and funny pup named Bernie. He was able to come to the shop with me, until he grew too big and hairy.



Also new for 2019: the shop hosted many workshops, and a few open studio work sessions. During the summer months, when filling wholesale orders slowed down a bit, I had space to invite students who had taken my workshops to make any project they choose. It's been inspiring seeing student creativity and enthusiasm.




I feel that 2020 is a year of big change for me. I am looking forward to it. I hope it is a good year for you, too.