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Category Archives: Tools

michael sherrill: pottered plants

Self-taught ceramic artist Michael Sherrill is nourished by the natural beauty of the North Carolina mountainside that he calls home. Sherrill’s finely honed skills jump to life with this series of realistic plant sculptures – pictured here are details of ‘Beauty in a Hard Place’ and ‘Leaves in the River’.

You can see the full-sized work and others by the artist at accessCeramics, an online image resource of contemporary ceramics.





For those of us who long to see the color and texture of plant life again after a long, bleak Winter, Sherrill’s flowers offer hope. More images at the Ferrin Gallery.

In addition to being an artist, sought-after lecturer and teacher, Sherrill is also the creator of Mudtools, a line of innovative clay tools for the ceramic artist.


During my years of working in clay, making pots and art, I have often had ideas that required working outside “normal” processes. I found that the available “clay tools” did not serve my ideas well. So, out of necessity I would make a tool, or modify an existing one to suit my needs. These new tools quickly became indispensable and were always the first thing to come out of my toolbox. Naturally, I would show these off at a workshop, and as a result I found that people were interested in buying them!


art supply tote from recyled yoga mats!

This is my new favorite way to carry a stash of art supplies for my creative play dates.

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The bucket bag is made from repurposed yoga mats and discarded scraps from the companies that make yoga mats.  I’m not sure that designer Merle O’Brien had art supplies in mind when she created this one, but the  minute I saw it I knew it would be perfect for the job.


The mat’s PVC material makes it easy to wipe down, the bag is deep enough to hold a variety of materials, there are mesh pockets all around the outside of the bag for more supplies and seeing the mat material is really a daily reminder that I must practice my yoga more often.  I love it!  Check out her story here and see some of the collection of bags here.  More designs are  sold in stores across the country.


My bag is a marriage of three things that I love:  organized art supplies, yoga and recycling.  Can’t go wrong there – and besides, O’Brien is a Grateful Dead fan.  ‘Nuff said.

inspiration sent and received

There are days when I wonder if this blog is actually influencing anyone’s art-making.  Then there are days when I get emails that make it clear to me that Daily Art Muse is making a difference. Oh yes, this blog is tickling muses, inspiring products – even providing research resources for art students.  A recent email from Valerie Claff made my day:

Dear Susan,

I wanted to write and thank you ENORMOUSLY for your amazing blog/musing.  I am an artist and art professor at Clark University in Mass.  For some years now I have been teaching a class called Exploring the Natural World – a combination of field drawing, printmaking and mixed-media.  The other day I stumbled across your site while searching for examples of work for inspiration.  I have to say, your site is THE BEST resource I have found so far.  I don’t have a ton of time to research as I’ve got the teaching to do, so your site is an amazing help for me.  THANK YOU!  I love the work you’re including as they are great examples of a broad range of materials and mediums.  I probably won’t venture too much further than your daily blog and archives this semester and will require my students to do some research there to help with generating ideas.  Again, thank you!

Valerie Claff

DAMuse as required reading for art students.  I like it!  I look forward to seeing Valerie’s students’ work before the end of the semester.

Then yesterday I was scrolling through Canadian based Shades of Clay’s online store looking at Helen Breil’s latest product line.  I was delighted to see that Helen credits a post on Daily Art Muse as the inspiration for her new flexible textures stamps, Tango and Mambo.  Which post sparked the idea?  Zentangles, of course!

As always, Helen’s work is beautifully designed and executed.

Helen Breil’s Mambo Texture Stamp and Mambo Leaf Bracelet

Helen Breil’s Tango Lentil Pendant and Tango Texture Stamp

Come back this afternoon for more DAMuse-inspired work and words.  And do tell – what has DAMuse done for you lately?

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