I’ve been taking photos here and there of some of the things that came out of the last kilnload. As you can tell by the lighting changes in these photos, I probably need to pick a location and stick with it!
Some of these pots are a warmer white than others. The warm ones were made with Aardvark Bee Mix 5 (Yes, they spell it “bee.”) It was nice to throw with, but I did have some trouble with handles falling off. That could probably be solved with a better joining slip mixture. I’m not sure how I feel about the warm white. Some days I love it, some days I don’t. I am going to test one more clay, and then I’ll decide. I just want to stick with one clay for a while!
I’ve been playing with making the underglazes behave like watercolor, and the buttons came out the way I wanted them to. I’ll have to try some other colors. I am partial to teal, obviously.
I am just about done with my studio shuffling. It feels so much better in here already! I’ll post pics soon.
I started a big glaze firing on Saturday night, and I waited oh so patiently (not really) until today to open the kiln. I’ve had a lot of troubles with crazing since I’ve gotten my own kiln, and I didn’t want any quick temperature changes to trigger little cracks. If I had another load full of craze-iness, I wouldn’t have anything to submit with my application for the clay guild’s holiday sale. So by the time I opened the kiln, I was really nauseated and stressed. (I shouldn’t have been, but that’s my nature.)
I’m happy to report that most of the pieces came out just fine! I had a few that I suspected would be problematic, and they were, but no big surprises (except the test tile of gold glaze that was more baby poop than gold).
So I walked around all morning with a goofy grin on my face. And then I started to get very, very nervous about submitting my application for this sale. Short of a few Etsy sales, I have never done anything like this, and putting my work (myself) out there is nerve-wracking. But I did it. The application is in. I picked a pot for the guild to photograph for the poster (above). I chose one that was graphic and colorful, because that seemed right for a poster.
I always know it’s time to run the kiln when I run out of horizontal surfaces in my studio (and I still can’t get used to the word “studio,” but “office” just doesn’t seem like the right word here, even though that’s what we call it here at home). I still need to reorganize my space so I have more shelving dedicated to pottery, but for now, my work dries on my work surfaces, and I work until I am dealing with only about a square foot of work space.
Tonight I’m bisque-firing cups, mugs, bowls, buttons, test tiles, props for the test tiles, and models for drop molds and sprig molds. I’m very nervous about this firing and the glaze firing. I really want some functional, non-crazing work to come out of this load. One of my goals for the year is to participate in the Kansas City Clay Guild’s annual holiday sale. If I want to do this, I need to send in a sample for photographing ASAP. But all of my samples have crazing, and that bothers me.
So my fingers are crossed for this load. Maybe I need to make some sort of sacrifice over the kiln. Or at the very least stick my little tiki in the garage to protect the kiln from bad glaze monsters.
Look! I am making a mini village of pyramids! Technically, these are a specific type of pyramid called a tetrahedron. I intend to use these as models for some molds (my first try at molds) because I want to make super light, translucent versions of these.
I started on this two weeks ago, when I went to the KC Clay Guild to renew my membership and roll out some slabs. I intended to turn the slabs into pyramids during my next work night. So, the next week, I put on my apron to work, and the power went out. So no working that night. The kids were up half the night because their night lights and sound machines were not working. And the zombies. SO, I put these together during this week’s work night — with two-week-old slabs that I had babied with a lot of spraying. So far they seem to have made it.
Because of that same power outage, the monthly demonstration/workshop at the clay guild was moved to this week. Paul Donnelly demonstrated how he puts together pieces like this with a combination of throwing and slab work. He said something about how important it is to figure out the timing of when you work on the different stages of a piece. I, of course, was thinking about my two-week-old slabs, sitting there getting old and ruining that crucial timing.
I’ve almost got enough work to justify a bisque firing. I tried some new clays, so I’m hoping I won’t have the crazing problems I had last time. Please, please, please let me, let me, let me. Let me have a successful glaze firing. (Sing along.)
Here are some gigantic buttons I worked on during my last work night. They aren’t intended for clothing. I’ll show you soon what I am doing with them. All of this rolling-pin work is making me want a slab roller though. I need to renew my membership at my local clay guild so I can pop over there and crank out a pile of slabs. I have some other slab ideas I want to start on, too.
Speaking of the KC Clay Guild, I noticed that they are going to have a workshop with Meredith Host in November. I’m pretty excited about attending that. I have gotten out of the habit of going to the monthly workshops at the guild, and I need to remedy that. There are a coupleother workshops around town that I would love to attend, but don’t know if I’ll be able to work it out financially or time-wise. At this point in my work, I feel like I need to invest more time than money into this and just get the basics really worked out. I am quite the education-junkie though, and I always have been, so I’m always interested in more classes than I can take. This year, I took an online class taught by Diana Fayt that was truly wonderful, so I’m also tempted by the new Creative Bugofferings.
Education. Junkie. (I suppose there are worse things to be.)
Here is a Photoshop document I put together to try out some decals on my pots. This will be an experiment! I don’t intend to use the full images. There will be lots of slicing going on. They will become less ocean and more color and line. But still ocean-y. If they work at all. We shall see.
I would like nothing more than to be transported into one of these photos right now. The beach is my happy place, and I’ve been a little crabby today. A couple days ago, I started my own version of the Clean cleanse that Blair mentions here. I’d been thinking about doing something like this ever since I had my food-allergy reaction a couple months ago. So here we go. 21 days. (roughly) No coffee, alcohol, wheat, oats, dairy, eggs, soy, or a whole list of other foods. Liquid foods for breakfast and dinner. I’ve been making my own smoothies rather than buying the expensive Clean stuff. I just stick to the Clean Elimination Diet ingredients and try to get a good number of calories and a balance of protein/fat/carbs.
After a few weeks, I’ll add things back into my diet one thing at a time and see how I feel. Maybe I will get some sort of clue about why I haven’t been feeling so great lately. If anything, it will be a good reset. That is, if I can get through the first few days. Crabby.
I came across the Belgian design studio Unfold last week on the blog Musing About Mud. This is some crazy cool futuristic pottery! They are using 3D printers to extrude coils on a set path, creating some pretty amazing pieces.
While I love things that are handmade, there is also something really intriguing about this process, too.
Check out their work here and watch the 3D printer in action in the video below. (Photos by Kristof Vrancken.)
Here are a few of the things that came out of the kiln today. I sure wish they weren’t covered with a crazy amount of crazing (tiny cracks all over the glaze). They are sitting on my work table, and every once in a while I hear another little “ting” as they continue to crackle. So I still have not found my ideal combination of clay and transparent glaze. This clay had crazing problems with multiple commercial clear glazes. Unfortunately, I threw a number of things with this clay on Wednesday, so those pieces will be getting teal and green glazes for sure — no more crazing clear!
I think I am going to try an Aardvark clay next — either Nara Porcelain or Bee Mix 5. I think my heart is in porcelain though. I just like throwing it. I do like Laguna Frost if neither of the Aardvarks work out. Frost just cracks on me occasionally, so if I can avoid that I will. But Frost sure is pretty. It’s so, well, frosty!
One of these days I will finally have a batch of pots that looks the way I want it to and is functional! It just takes so long to experiment with the limited work time I have. This is a test of my patience for sure.
Here a few things I was working on during my weekly work night (the night Chris puts the kids to bed so I can work from dinner until the wee hours). My hands are still not healed from last month’s allergic reaction, so I’m avoiding throwing. I figured buttons would be a good way to test some glazes. On the mug, I’m trying to give my underglaze more of a watercolor look, with gradient edges. We’ll see how that fires.
Glazing, firing and finishing up a quilt I’m working on should keep my hands busy until they heal. My new approach: slathering them in various oils and wearing gloves overnight. This photo does not show you the ugly cracks I have going on on my right hand. No one wants to see that! I’m off allergy meds right now so I can have some testing done soon, so I’ve been feeling pretty out of sorts today. Off to bed I go!