I disappeared there for a bit. Where did I go? I went into the iphone black hole. I got my first smartphone.
Actually, I’ve been around, just not here. I don’t really like sitting at the laptop now that I have this handy from-the-future toy. I bought a used phone and am using a value service, so if we get rid of our land line, I’m on track to actually save us money every month! I didn’t think that would be possible with an iphone, but there you go.
I’ve signed up for instagram and vine, and I’ve been having fun taking little photos and videos. If you would like to follow me, I’m ameliastudio on instagram, and I’m Amy Harding on vine. I suppose I should have made those the same, and actually I thought I did, but I don’t know — I’m new at this.
I’m already starting to get a case of texting thumb, which is apparently possible even if you don’t really text and can only type about two words per minute.
Here’s what I have been working on this week. I made a couple plywood molds with a jigsaw. Working with power tools is always a little bit exhilarating. (You know, with the threat of cutting off your fingers and all …)
I made an asymmetrical mold because after all the wheel-thrown pots, my brain needs a little asymmetry. I also wanted to start making some tray forms because that’s really the easiest way to play with some new surface designs.
My goal with this one was to reproduce the look of bokeh. I tried to use a paper stencil method I learned in a Meredith Host workshop, but I had some problems. First, I was too impatient to let layers of underglaze fully dry before peeling off the paper stencils. (When you have limited studio time, you get impatient. Well, I do.) Also, I think my paper was weird. It was just copy paper, but it seemed to have some sort of coating, and the water turned blue when I soaked my stencils. Then the stencils stuck and shredded and tore, even when I broke down and let them fully dry, and it was not fun.
I need to figure out a better way to deal with the stencils, because I do still like the basic idea of this. The white areas may burn out more than I’d like, but this is an experiment. Next time I also want some of the bokeh blobs to go up the sides, too. I’ll show you how this turns out. Soon. I have a whole lot of making to do before the kiln is full.
These are the first couple pots of 2013. It took me a while to get back to work! I guess I have been working — it has just been the boring stuff: listing things in the etsy shop, setting up bank accounts, paying state sales tax. I suppose it all needed to be done, but now I’m out of throwing practice. My arms were a little sore after wedging up only four balls of clay. I don’t know if I’m not used to it anymore, or it’s because my studio is very, very cold and the clay was pretty stiff. (probably a little of both)
While my sister was visiting for Christmas, we decided that I should make a tiki mug version of my inverse mug. So the tall cup up there is my first attempt at this. I don’t have the best handle on shrinkage rates, so we’ll see if this is the right size. It seems a little wide to me. I can calculate the shrinkage — I just can’t visualize it very well. Anyway, I hope to make a bunch of these cups. They’ll be great for tiki drinks or any tall cocktail.
My work last night was accompanied by Kate‘s best of 2012 mix on Spotify. Since I’ve had kids, I don’t have as much time to seek out new music, so I have become a big fan of end-of-the-year music wrap-ups. They help me do all my new music scavenging all at once. I haven’t had a chance to check out my usual go-to yearly lists from Pitchfork and The Onion. So I’ll link to them here for your sake and mine:
I’ve been working hard to get ready for the holiday sale, but I had a bit of a hiccup last week. My kiln stopped working. I had glazed all the ornaments in the photo above, and they were loaded in the kiln. Then I turned it on, and it would either give me an error message or tell me it was -20 degrees in there. I figured it was the thermocouple on my kiln, and that is what it was. I had a new one installed today, and I’m back on track. I’m not sure how practical it will be to list ornaments on etsy at this point, but I’ll do my best, and I’ll have them at the sale.
Trying to get ready for this sale has been maybe a little too much for me. My days are already full to the brim with three small children, and this has pushed me into exhausted/weepy territory. So I expect this small business to stay super small until I can get all the littles into elementary school. That will at least lead me into a realm somewhere between part-time and full-time. Right now it’s more like wee-hours-time. Or during-The-Little-Mermaid-time. Or please-for-the-love-of-pete-stop-yelling-at-me-for-snacks-time.
I’ve been working on Christmas ornaments to sell, uh, soon. (Too soon! I’m running out of time!) Creating the templates for these geometric designs really stretched my dormant spatial reasoning skills. I also dusted off what little Illustrator skill I have. I swear, every time I start a new Illustrator project it is like starting from square one. Use it or lose it, I guess.
I’ve been calling these Gem Ornaments, but really they are a mix of cut gem designs and crystal formations. These are in the greenware stage, so the colors will be more jewel-toned after firing. I considered making them neon, but I hate to make Christmas decorations overly trendy, color-wise. In my mind, Christmas colors fall into one of these categories: traditional red/green/jewel tones, candy colors (turquoise, pink, red, etc.), metallics, white/neutral, and crystal/sparkle/glass. I think those groupings have stood the test of time, and I don’t want to make one-year ornaments! But neon would indeed have looked pretty cool.
Now that I’ve done a practice round of these, I’ll be working assembly-line style, one color per batch. In my factory of one.
I’ve been messing around with altering some of my photos in Photoshop, eliminating the subject and reducing photos to the basics of color and composition. Somehow the mood and undertones of a photo remain, even when you eliminate the subject. The transformation to pixelation is really kind of addictive — I’ve been having fun making these. I want to use these somehow in my pottery (it always comes back to the pots). But I want to think of ways that I can integrate the ideas behind these images into forms, and not just slap these images onto forms. And the bottom version of these makes me want to learn how to use watercolors, and how to use underglaze as watercolors (not easy, considering the unfired color is different from the fired color).
I’ve been realizing that I show a whole lot more process here than final product. Part of me feels like I should be more productive with my creative work, but really, this is where I am. I am still learning my craft, and my head is full of ideas, and all of this play in different directions will lead me to pottery that I really love producing and selling. Eventually. A little bit of imagining and sketching here and there fits into my schedule of taking care of three small children all day so much more naturally than being in production mode (which would be pretty much impossible at the moment).
So here’s to being OK with sketchiness and ideas that lead nowhere and everywhere at the same time.
Oh, and the birthday gift I mentioned last time is a Giffin Grip! I’ve been trimming the bottom of my pots by tapping/adjusting them to center on the wheel and then holding them in place with wads of clay. This will be much easier! (I hope.)