Introducing… //
New Year, New Ideas… New Clay

Are we already halfway through January 2015?! Wow, the holidays were that long ago? I hope you, dear reader, had a wonderful and warm holiday season with those you love.

It’s been a while since I’ve posted something up here. My bad. But hey, it’s a new year… time to begin again! While I can’t promise that I’ll be blogging as regularly as I would like to, I think I can handle some quick updates every so often. As they say, lower expectations to avoid disappointment, right? Or am I just setting the bar too low for myself now? Introspection to continue later, on my own time…

My update for now is that I started the new year with some new ideas. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to share them here in a month or two! That’s all I’ll say for now. (If you’re really interested, you are welcome to follow along on Instagram @bluebeanstudio.)

As for what I was up to over the holidays… I had the pleasure of spending a few weeks in Asia (one of which was at a warm tropical destination where I drank out of coconuts pretty much everyday). During my stay in Shanghai, I made it a point to spend some time back at the old studio. It was great to catch up with friends, to see how things have changed or stayed the same. Being rather ambitious, I even managed to squeeze in a couple of clay sessions into my visits. For some reason, I just really wanted to get my hands on that yummy dark chocolate Yixing clay again. Of course, I couldn’t get much done within the time constraints; but in the end it was fun to get my hands dirty.

Ever since moving back to North America, I’ve missed working with the Chinese Yixing clay. It’s the stuff they make those amazing little dark purplish brown teapots out of — great for hand building, decent for throwing (not that the Yixing teapot artisans would ever think of throwing a teapot). I was told that there was nothing really that special about the clay and that there should be equivalent or superior types on this side of the globe, so I looked for something similar out here in the Pacific Northwest. Well, I did end up picking up a bag of dark stoneware clay last summer. Of course, I then proceeded to get distracted by other projects — mostly hand painting and working with the. usual. clay. (Case in point, these two cups below.)

I am, however, happy to report that I did eventually get around to trying out the new stoneware. It’s got a bit more grog in it, so throwing and trimming is tougher; and it also seems to have a rougher finish as a result. With respect to glazes, I’m loving the way they look on the darker clay and look forward to playing around a bit more! In the meantime, a few of the pieces are up in the Etsy shop (click right on the photos for the listing)! Go check them out : )

CATEGORY: Introducing...


January 16, 2015


Here’s a sneak peak of what’s in store for the Etsy shop in August.
Say “hello” to the Speech Bubbles collection!

They say “hello!” back : )

Up until now, this collection of work has not made it on to the interwebs, though a couple have made appearances on Instagram here and there. The hand painted pieces mainly feature a few fun and friendly bears and bunnies having conversations with each other… and with you. Occasionally, the drink contained within the vessel might even pipe up with a word or two.

These guys will be popping up in the Etsy shop over the next two weeks!

CATEGORY: Introducing...


July 31, 2014

Introducing… The Raindrop

raindrop bowl

Since it has been raining so much these past few days and there is no sign of it stopping anytime soon, I thought this would be an apt time to introduce The Raindrop.

The raindrop motif is a recurring one for me. I started playing around with it when my husband and I first decided to move back to North America after a couple of years in Shanghai, China. Specifically, we decided to move to Seattle, known commonly as the “rainy city” – so I decided to make the most of it and have some fun with raindrops.

raindrop ring dishes

Once I started playing with the shape, I found that the curves were fun to paint and afforded a great way to practice my fine brush control. I also enjoy putting expressive faces on some of the raindrops to give them a touch of whimsy and mischief.

raindrop spoons

On particularly rainy days, you can find me curling up with a book in one hand and my little raindrop mug full of hot tea in the other.

(The items in the 2nd and 3rd photos, as well as other raindrop pieces, are currently in my Etsy shop.)

CATEGORY: Introducing...


March 5, 2014

Introducing… the Rope Series

For some time now I’ve been meaning to introduce some of the various elements and themes in my work. It’s a new year, so I’m gonna go ahead and get started on that. First up, Rope!

rope series

The blue bean studio Rope It In series is a play on the rope texture and an exploration of connection and the tie that binds.

When I first started trying various items to create texture, I found myself being drawn immediately to the rope because its texture is at once recognizable, and its form is easily manipulated and is full of potential. There is, however, a slightly deeper reason for my choosing to use the rope for my work.

A rope is made up of many strands. It is a simple everyday object that has varied, and sometimes essential, uses. That is, the rope reminds me that while we, as individuals, may be ordinary strands or threads, many individuals can be woven together to become a strong cord or community that can carry a heavy load or perform a greater function.

Most of the pieces in this series are hand built from stoneware clay and decorated in a clean color palette that brings to mind the beach and the ocean. The texture is simple and minimal. The designs are usually unplanned and organic. At times the lines intersect one another, sometimes they don’t. On occasion, the lines come together to connect or to form a recognizable shape.

rope dishes
These Rope series ring dishes are currently available on Etsy.

As I love experimenting with texture, this series is particularly fun for me.

CATEGORY: Introducing...


January 15, 2014


Etsy Store Launch Special

9:10 11.12.13
Today is THE day!

After months of preparation, the blue bean studio Etsy store is being launched. Everyone is welcome to come on in and take a look…

To celebrate the occasion, I am offering FREE SHIPPING for the FIRST TEN ITEMS sold. Here is a little taste of what I have in the store right now…

A Sunny Bunny Cup to add some cheer to your tabletop.

A Blue Lagoon dish to make those beach vacation memories linger longer…

The Cheery Sun and Sleepy Moon spoons to wish you g’day and bid you g’night!

Opening day has been a long time coming and I have to say there is a bit of relief that it’s actually happening (believe me, there have been many days of questioning on my part). Leading up to this, the emotions were a mixture of excitement, anticipation, and dread. Does the world really need more whimsy and cuteness? Will the enormous Etsy community even notice that a new little shop exists? Can I live with the possibility of failure after putting so much heart and soul into the project?

In all my questioning I have realized that I am, in fact, motivated by many other things outside of success. At the core of it all is my need to be creative. I intrinsically enjoy the creative process and I have loved every moment of putting this all together.

Hop on over to the blue bean studio Etsy store to check out the rest of the pieces and to take advantage of the free shipping. The virtual shelves are stocked and the packaging material is standing by; the web window display has been put up and the digital doors have been flung open. And now that the sign has flipped to “OPEN”, feel free to contact me if you have any questions or would just like to say hello!

CATEGORIES: Insider, Introducing...


November 12, 2013

You know me: Yunomi

I am a fan of yunomis. You can say I like smallish pots, especially ones that can hold a couple gulps of tea. It would come as no surprise to those that know me, as I am a sucker for cute little things.

The Japanese term “yunomi,” based on a basic understanding, simply refers to a form of ceramic tea cup that has certain characteristics. They are generally cylindrical forms, greater in height than in width, with a trimmed or turned foot. Yunomis do not have handles. With respect to function, they are made for daily use rather than for traditional formal tea ceremonies.

Unbeknownst to me at the time, the first thing I threw on the wheel was a yunomi. Many have come after that first one. I mean, it’s the most basic form to throw when you’re starting out: “the assignment: throw a cylinder… or fifty.” After getting the walls relatively straight, one moves on to shaping, adding those lovely little curves.

Before you know it, you’ve got an oddball collection of yunomis.

CATEGORY: Introducing...


April 23, 2012