Friday, May 28, 2010

Next Wednesday is the beginning of our summer sessions at Irving. The summer day camps will be starting at the rec. center, so the building will be a lively place with 135 grade school students.

So we will show up in the cool of the evening, Wednesdays, and paint from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., which gets everyone home before dark. We have three sessions of four weeks each; one in June, one in July and one in August. Our daytime sessions will start again on September 1.

In June, we will be using decals on tea and coffee cups. I have piles of decals; everything from windmills to kittens. I also have lots of different flower decals. Then we will paint over the decals and glue glass seed beads on them to accent them. And with the addition of a little potting soil and plant, or with a candle, or with silk flowers, they should make charming little gifts.

Decals can be fired anywhere from 018 to 014. Decals can be full color or just monochromatic. The monochromatic ones can be painted over with regular china paint. We are going to adhere the decals to the china and then we are going to paint on them all in one fire.

The glass beads are glued on with Elmer's glue or any white water-based glue and fired at 016. The little holes disappear at that temperature and adhere to the glaze. The glass beads look like perfect round dots. They can handle being re-fired as well. The beads have to be colored glass, not painted glass beads. So no metallic, opulence or glittery beads. If you glue them in a straight line, then they turn into a solid line of color. Fun!

Decals have been and stilll are considered "cheating" in china painting. It's NOT your own work! But they have a certain place and are fun for these more crafty projects. It is fun to lighten up for summer and to try our hand at something a little different. Come July we will be working on portraits and doing some serious painting.

Last year we slumped wine bottles and made chees trays, also a crafty sort of project, but more on that later.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

This is going to be a far-ranging and loose account of my china painting class and the nature of china painting in the early part of the 21st Century. In other words, not very formal and I hope with lots of input from my readers.

I have been teaching a china painting class for Lincoln Parks and Recreation since fall of 1991. It has been an on-going class with occasional breaks for summer vacation or Christmas holidays.

I was not the first china painting teacher for Parks and Rec. Dee Myers taught a class from around 1971 to 1973 at a recreation center on "O" Street. Dee went on to teach china painting lessons in her home for many years. I learned to china paint from her in 1976.

There have been a few other teachers here in Lincoln. Jane McKlem taught a class in her home from around 1979 to 199-something. Back in the 1970's, Doris Botts taught a class, and so did Mary Halverson at the Cotner Center. Who am I forgetting? If you know, then drop me a line or place a comment on this blog.

My students and I are a small group of about twelve. We meet on Wednesdays. Class cycles are four to six weeks. There is usually a subject like roses, or birds, or scenes, etc., selected, but during any one session only about half of my students will be painting the selected subject. We also host an annual open house in the spring, a potluck at Christmas time and intermittent Saturday seminars.

The only other china painting class in town is offered through Southeast Community College and is taught by Darlene Jansen.

There are not many china painters around anymore; we are a small shrinking group. In the state of Nebraska, maybe a hundred to two hundred people china paint. There never have been lots of china painters, it is time-consuming art and it has a long learning curve. But we are ALWAYS LOOKING FOR RECRUITS!

In June, my students and I will be working with decals, but more about that later...

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Greetings from Irving Recreation Center in Lincoln, Nebraska, home to some of the finest china painters around. Lincoln Parks and Recreation has offered china painting classes for both beginning and experienced artists at Irving Recreation Center since 1991. Stay tuned for regular blogs from our instructor, Peg Pelter.