Welcome to my blog and thanks for reading. I post as often as I can listing upcoming events, interesting projects I am working on and some tips or two on using my favourite material - clay! If there is something you would like me to blog about, please send me a note. Please visit my website for more images of my work and an updated listing of events and happenings - http://www.taralynnefranco.com/

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Tara Lynne Franco: Urban Archaeology

As 2009 closes, I am in the process of finishing up new work for my first solo show which opens at the Carnegie Gallery in Dundas on January 8, 2010. This show titled "Urban Archaeology" looks at the history we are leaving behind us for future generations. The majority of this exhibition will be new work that delves into this theme I have been working on for the past 3 years.

Saturday, August 15, 2009


Where does one find inspiration, where do ideas come from? These are questions I often get asked and I have difficulty answering without a long explanation of where my work began and where it has gone. Robert and I are presently on vacation in Geneva Switzerland visiting family members. What I love about visiting a new place is the ability to look around, observe, and be inspired by the natural and built environment. It can be something as simple as a sewer grate, a key hole, the texture of building, the organic patterning of a cobblestone walkway. This is the true value of vacation. While it often seems that there isn't enough "time" to get away, I always return home refreshed and inspired and ready to work on the next series. Robert and I have taken numerous photos that will be a well of inspiration for future pieces. If you are lucky, you may even get to see some great pots! We were fortunate to have been here during the exhibition Swiss Ceramics 1959-2009 which one third is being held at the Musee Ariana in Geneva. There we saw the work of Simone Stocker whose photo is here. The first thing I thought of when seeing her work is that it reminded me of one of the grates I observed on our way to the musuem. We also visited Carouge - just outside Geneva - which is known for the number of ceramic artists who have studios and reside there. There is a ceramic conference and festival that will be held here, when each gallery will host a ceramic exhibition, but not until later in September. Unfortunately we found many "ferme" notices on the doors. We did find one store open - CBOS a collectif d'artisans where we found some interesting slip cast and hand-built work of local swiss artisans. . One of my favourite things so far have been the clay tile roofs. We have taken muliple photos of these tiles including some at Chateau Chillon in Montreaux which we visited yesterday. This is a photo I found online that someone took at the Chateau. I love the variation in colour in the tiles, even the new ones.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Why I do commissions ...

Commissions ... the four letter word of the art world. Many fear them and many avoid them like the plague as they are believed to be wrought with difficulties. Not only do you have to design something new, but the person commissioning the work needs to be happy with the result. There have been numerous horror stories and urban myths about commissions gone wrong ... where countless hours were spent by the artist in designing and redesigning a piece and then finally making the piece and the person deciding not to purchase it in the end. If the artist did not get a deposit or arrange for a preliminary design fee, they may feel that they wasted their time. This fear prevents many from even considering doing this type of work, but I can tell you that my recent experiences with two commissions were positive ones. This year I decided to apply for and was accepted into the New Art Festival in Ottawa Ontario. This ended up being a great show for me, both in terms of sales and in exposure for my work. I had two visitors to my booth who wanted something a little different than what I had there. The first person wanted to know if I could make a specific type of orchid - the phalaenopsis orchid. I hadn't made one before but we agreed that I would try and this person sent me some photos and I went about making them. This was a challenge, but also a great experience as I would likely have not thought of making this flower had it not been suggested. The second person wanted a piece with spider chrysanthemums for a specific place in their home. They originally selected a style from my portfolio that I had made before which I had already sold, but then contacted me once I returned home, asked if I could make something different. A few simple sketches and a few emails later, I had a design that we were both happy with and I went about making them.
Today, just over a month later, I shipped both individuals their pieces after getting their final approval by sending them a photo of what I had made. So, this ended up being both a rewarding experience and a growth opportunity for me as an artist. So why did this work? I have a few thoughts on this first experience:

1) You need to be comfortable with, and trust the buyer. Use your instincts - do they seem like someone who is going to be good to work with?

2) Do something that is not too distant from what you are already doing. In my case the materials were the same, just the configurations and the flower were different.

3) Start as soon as possible. Don't delay or procrastinate

4) Keep in touch with the person. Email is great for this. Send sketches, photos etc.

5) Only do it if you feel you will also benefit from it. A growth opportunity.

6) Take a deposit - 50% of the estimated cost is a good idea. Let them know that you will ship the piece but they will need to cover the cost. Give them an estimate of what you think it will cost to ship it to your location

7) Make more than one. In my case I made about 5 orchids and this allowed me to have more for her to choose from. I was able to keep the rest and sell them. I made a second set of the spiders so that I could photograph it for my portfolio.

8) Bring your portfolio to shows, especially when there are things that you have made that you either are out of or cannot bring to the show - you never know what someone might order

Sunday, May 3, 2009

April Showers Bring May Flowers

Here is my new little mini vase - perfect for those first spring blooms. Available at my upcoming Spring Studio Tours and events including this weekend, May 9th and 10th at my studio. See www.taralynnefranco.com for details.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Spring Studio Tour Season Begins

This Mother's Day weekend, May 9th and 10th from 10am to 4:00pm, grab your Mom and let her pick out her own "Handmade in Hamilton" gift from one of the 20 artists participating in the 10th Annual Southwest Hamilton Artists' Studio Tour in the Locke/Aberdeen/Queen District of Hamilton. I will be at my studio with some great new work. I will be hosting stained glass designer Siobhan Lynch (www.sio2creations.com). All of the artists will be giving you a sneak peek at their work at our Preview Show at the Bold Gallery from April 20 to May 3rd with the opening party on April 24th from 7 - 10pm. Information on the tour and the preview show and maps can be found on the tour website at www.southwesthamiltonstudiotour.com. Feel free to contact me as well at info@taralynnefranco.com if you would like a map mailed to you.
Prior to this tour I will be at the Spring Sale of the Potters' Guild of Hamilton and Region on May 1 -3. See www.hamiltonpotters.ca for details. At the end of the month I will be a guest at Richard Fisher's studio for the Beyond the Valley Studio Tour. For details see www.beyondthevalley.ca. For details on all my upcoming events, how to contact me at my studio and where you can purchase my work, please visit my website at www.taralynnefranco.com

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Online Profile of Hands on History Tile for Archives of Ontario

Tara Lynne Franco, Bertram's Legacy

I was so pleased to see a great profile of the tile commission I completed for the Archives of Ontario on their online database. My tile, Bertram's Legacy was inspired by the Bertram family of Dundas who was an important family in Dundas' history. This tile, along with 7 other fantastic large-scale tiles by Canadian ceramacists Keith Campbell, Ying-Yeuh Chuang, Nicole DeBrabandere, Hugh Douglas-Murray, Richard Gill, Thomas Aitken and Kate Hyde, and Robin Tieu will be installed on the first floor of the Archives of Ontario's new building on the York University Campus. Here are a few of the other tiles. For details on these and the other tiles please visit the website at http://www.archives.gov.on.ca/ENGLISH/exhibits/hands-on-history/index.html

Robin Tieu, Urban Archaeology

Ying-Yueh Chuang, Memories of Osgoode Hall

Thomas Aitken and Kate Hyde, Material Memories, Peterborough County

Sunday, February 1, 2009

More Photos

Here are a few more photos of my work which are now on exhibition at the Katherine Butler Gallery in Sarasota Florida.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Ruth Dwyer and Tara Lynne Franco at the Katherine Butler Gallery Opens Tonight

I am pleased to present a selection of new pieces that were created specifically for this exhibition at the Katherine Butler Gallery. To create this new body of work I built upon some designs and themes I had been working on as well as taking some ideas I have been pondering for some time and bringing these concepts and drawings into reality.
This work continues to explore my interest and concern about our impact on the environment in which we live. I have also reached back into the pool of ceramic history for inspiration for some of the new forms. There are three major themes in the work that is in this collection – the ceramic pillows, the window garden and the Reflection Series.
For images of the work in the show and directions to the gallery visit www.kbutlergallery.com/Templates/featured-exhib.html. The artist reception is tonight, Friday January 16th from 6 to 10pm.