Tuesday, June 23, 2015

First Looks

Things are out of the inaugural glaze firing! Interesting results. Tell me what you think of my first efforts.

These are the only ones I've done a shiny glaze on. I like the
form of the little handled one, but the glazes ran. Maybe the first coat
wasn't dry enough. And I think it needed more than one coat. It's not
saturated enough. The larger vase in the back was one of my
hand thrown attempts. It had an odd shape so I 'ovalized' the
profile. Now it has a little pot belly. Kind of cute.

Not sure if you'll be able to tell, but this these two were given
the same underglaze. The one in back came out first and I
hated the finish. Then I put the tipped one in to refire at the final
temperature, and lo and behold, the finish completely changed.
Now I like it. I'll do a little sanding on the rear one and refire.

Saturday, June 20, 2015

Making Lemonade

The other day I got to my studio before the building officially opened and decided to treat myself to a cup of coffee from the cafe next door. I opened my studio door, grabbed my wallet and put down my purse. Then I let the door slam behind me. LOCKED OUT!! Drat. With nothing to do, I had a little breakfast and read the paper, then decided to walk around the building in hopes that the manager had come in early. No luck. But while moping and staring at my closed studio door, I realized that the clay room door is broken and is therefore always open. Joy! So I got out my supplies and made some little pots. So fun. When the building manager finally arrived two hours later to open my door, I was so ensconced in what I was doing that I never did get around to playing with metal clay. And the next day I had to put some finishing touches on my work, so didn't work on my metal clay projects that day either.

First day before details were added. The triangular shape
will be a salt/pepper dish.

What I love about ceramic clay? That it can be worked wet for sooooo long. What I'm not so much liking? That when it's bone dry, it's very fragile (chips when you sand it) and cannot - simply can NOT be joined to either dry or wet clay. Using lentil beads as an example - we're used to letting them dry, sanding the bottoms to a knife edge, and using slip to join. With ceramic clay, parts need to be assembled at the leather hard stage at the latest, by scoring and using slip. So I'm wondering about some of the professional work I've seen - how do they get such a sharp join line? I know - practice, practice, practice. Sigh.

Saturday, June 6, 2015


Already... I just found out that I'm wait listed for a big craft show here in Richmond, so my little pots must wait. I haven't done a show in 3.5 years, since the last Santa Monica Contemporary Craft Market in LA. I have almost no jewelry to sell, since I've been spending all my creative time making samples for classes - so I have to get on the ball creating merchandise for the Craft and Design show in November. 6 months seems like it should be a long enough time to create some product, but I'm doing a workshop in Boston next month, and planning a trip to England in October and still have classes to teach, so I'm pretty short on time. Not that I'm complaining. It's sometimes difficult to change hats from my teaching persona to my creative persona, so I'm actually pretty excited to see what I come up with!

I'd show you a picture of my latest pot, but I'm having the worst time getting the phone to download them. When they finally appear, I'll let you know.

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Something New

Hello again! Thanks for checking in. This past spring I decided to take a ceramics class just for fun. And I really liked it. Imagine that! For the first 5 weeks I did exactly the projects the instructor suggested. Namely coil built pots and a try at the wheel. Throwing and I are not friends. That's not to say that we couldn't find common ground - but I'm not that interested. I did manage to throw a few pots, but most of the time I made big mish mosh mistakes. Understandable for a newbie. My walls were too thin, I couldn't achieve height, I bottomed out until there was no bottom at all... I don't think I have the hand strength to throw pots. And my back hurt from bending over the wheel. So I decided to make use of the most basic metal clay building technique - the lentil bead.

I found a couple of stainless steel forms in the back room of the ceramics area, used a yogurt container to cut out two disks, and formed two little bowls. When they were leather hard, I took them off the forms and joined them together with watery slip. Although it's a very similar technique to making a metal clay lentil bead, it is also very different. Some aspects of joining ceramic clay I like better, and for some I'd rather use metal clay. But all in all - I'm very fond of my new hobby. So much so that I've decided to challenge myself to learn more about ceramic clay and glazes by making 100 of my little pots. I'm up to 7 now - even making it to 20 seems like a lot! So I'll re consider at that point.

I think I'll post a picture of each pot as I complete it in some way. They will either be fired, glazed, or just greenware. I'm starting my experiment by just getting better at making the pot shape, then I'll experiment with textures, then I'll explore more glazing and finishing techniques.

Here are my first pieces:

The rounded lentil before the hole is made, Two pots hand shaped and paddled into new contours (The little lentil pot was
formed over a large plastic easter egg), Raku fired pots made in class - the spiky one is a successful wheel thrown effort.