Getting Started In The New Year

Like so many other artists, I like to take a bit of a break through the holidays to enjoy the season and my family.  We had a great Christmas and fun with friends on New Year’s Eve.  And just before settling into the studio for the winter, potter friend Becky Brandow of Willow Avenue Pottery in Iowa visited for a couple days.  It was two days of potter shopping (Continental Clay, Ikea, The Container Store and Northern Clay Center), discussion of glazes to test in the woodfiriing we’ll be doing in February and just plain lots of fun.  

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Ornament Extravaganza

I hate to admit it, but Christmas is right around the corner.  Which means I need to get to work on some ornament.  The last few days I’ve been working on some snowflake ornaments. 

 After rolling out slabs of Continental Clay’s B-Clay, the ornaments are cut out using a snowflake shaped cookie cutter.  When leather hard, slip in a squeeze bottle is used to make the raised design.  Then the snowflake is glazed with my studio white liner glaze and wood fired.  Ornaments fit in all the nooks and crannies between the other work in the kiln filling up all the gaps that would otherwise be wasted space. 

Other designs include angels, stars, trees and a studio visitor this week made these greyhound ornaments and pendants. 

Slip

I’ve had about 50 pounds of Continental Clay’s Buff Stoneware around for about a year and today I finally got around to making many 5# bowls with it.  Since it fires a toasty, dark brown in the wood kiln, I used white slip on the insides with some designs in the slip.  



I’m thinking these will look great with the contrasting white slip and dark clay body under a nice transparent celadon.  That’s my plan anyway.  We’ll know if a few weeks if t works that way.  

Have a great week.

New Clay

During these winter months, I do a lot of throwing getting ready for spring and summer events.  Since I don’t have as much time to spend in the studio during the spring and summer, I try to get as much made during the winter as possible.  This process has helped relieve some of my anxiety and allowed me to better enjoy warm weather season that is so short here in Minnesota.  

Today I was throwing mugs and some bowls for an upcoming wood firing.  I normally use Continental Clay’s B-Clay but occasionally like to try some different clays to get a little variety in each firing.  This time, it’s Continental Clay’s Woodfire Porcelain.  It’s a dream to throw and not a huge change from the B-Clay which is a porcelain/stoneware mix.  I’ve got about 25 pounds more of this clay and then I’ve got some Buff Stoneware to work with as well.  I’ve used the Buff before and it fires to a much darker color than the B-Clay so it’s a great clay to use a white slip on for the color difference. 

Have a great week.

Photos from the Woodfire

An awesome group of potters

And below are a few photos of some of the pieces I had in the firing to test glazes for possible use in future firing.

Squared plate with Penn State Shino and Reitz Satin Matt Blue


Oblong vase made from Continental Clay’s B-Clay with Green Celadon glaze inside.
Cup from Continental Clay’s Soda Clay with Shaner Oribe glaze.

A Pottery Topic

The last couple posts have been about other project and not about pottery, so I felt it was time to return to the primary topic on this blog.

I spent a little time working on some medium sized cylinder shapes out of B-Clay from Continental Clay this weekend. I’m still a few (or maybe a hundred) pots short of what I need to fire the wood kiln up for the first time so now I’m short a few less. In the past I’ve wood fired using a Buff Stoneware clay from Continental, but there are several other choices now I’d like to experiment with.

So far I’ve got a couple dozen pieces out of Buff Stoneware and maybe a hundred out of B-Clay. I also purchased 50lbs. of Tableware Stoneware and Soda Clay to add to the experiment. I’m hoping to have some pieces of each in the first firing to see what speaks to me.

Compared to the mid-range stoneware I usually use, the B-Clay is awesome to work with. It’s so smooth and easy on the hands. Even the Buff is a joy to work with by comparison. I’ll maybe have to give serious thought to a full scale switch of clay body.

Be well.