In the home stretch

This past weekend we had our last event at the Lanesboro studio and have official closed the studio for the winter.  Having received our first significant snow for the season, I’m busy getting indoor things done today.

Like addressing post cards for my last sale of the season, photographing pots for my Etsy shop, and anything else I can think of to avoid having to shovel the driveway.  Maybe while I’m doing this, the sun will come up and melt everything so I won’t have to shovel.  It could happen.  

Anyway… also getting some glazing done for my next wood firing coming up in a couple weeks.  Lots of mugs in this load because I always seem to be short on mugs.  

Dots, stripes, swirls and panels – the most popular designs.

Thanks so much to everyone who has served or is serving.  Your sacrifices are greatly appreciate.  Have a great Veterans Day.

Glazing Day

I’ve been throwing lots of pots lately, which I bisque and then store up to glaze just before spring sales start.  I do, however, have a couple orders I need to get out of here soon, so I decided to run a couple glaze firings through the electric kiln next week.  

Pots have been cleaned, the bottoms waxed and now it’s time to start glazing.  Hoping to run the first load on Monday.  

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

September 2011 Wood Firing

Two weekends ago we fired the wood kiln.  And because the kiln is at our rural SE Minnesota farm (nearly two hours away from our weekday home) we didn’t get to unload until the following weekend.  Having two studio spaces can be fun, but it usually means lots of patience and driving. 

This load had 122 pieces plus some small pendants and buttons (they don’t really count because they just fit in the nooks and crannies between larger pieces).  The above photo is about 1/2 the pieces getting ready to be glazed.  Most of these pieces are glazed on the inside only to allow the wood ash to do its magic on the outsides.
Early in the firing when everything is just starting to get hot, but ash is floating through the kiln on the flames, you can see the ash being deposited on pieces closest to the firebox.  It looks like dust collecting until it gets hot enough to melt.

We had several visitors during this firing which always makes the time spent stoking go a little faster.  The Kolnberger family visited on Saturday evening.  Sydney enjoyed sitting in the glow of the firebox and absorbing some of the heat rolling out. 

During the firing and again during the unloading, we had cameramen from KSMQ’s Off 90 program here shooting video for a potential segment on their story telling program about people, places and events off I90.  During the firing they were using a big TV camera, I think I accidentially splashed glaze on it a few times.  For the unloading, they used a smaller SLR-like camera and it was easier to forget the camera was there. 

I haven’t gotten to really sort through and photograph the pieces that came out of that firing, but here is one of my favorites.  Hopefully, I’ll get through things soon and have another post of just photos. 
Be well everybody!!

Today I took advantage of the sunshine and our long deck railings to wash up some bisque and help the waxed feet, rims and designs dry. These pieces will be glazed over the next week to be fired in the first firing of the wood kiln built last summer. Flashing slip will be applied to some and then all will be glazed and packed to take to the farm for the firing. They look kind of boring right now, but soon they’ll be sporting coats of shino, tenmoku and celadon soon.

New Pots

Yesterday I took advantage of the great spring weather to get several kiln loads of pots glazed and ready to be fired. I like to sort through the bisqued pots I have and separate them by what glaze I’d like to use on them. Then I glaze many pots of the same color before moving on to the next. This process allows me to make best use of my time and glazes since I don’t have to go back and forth from one glaze to the next repeated. It also helps make for more efficient kiln loading. With so many pieces ready, I never find myself with a small space left on a shelf with nothing the right size to put there.

Here are some of the pieces in the glaze load I unloaded this afternoon. The green bowl in the center, low of the photo turned out very nice.

Well – time to reload and get another batch going.

Have a great week.

Pre-Spring Glazing

I don’t usually do much glazing until Spring, but I have some custom work that needs to get done. But yesterday, I glazed up everything that has a new home awaiting and I hope to fire them yet today. My normal process gets almost an entire years worth of sale inventory thrown and bisqued by late March. Then I start glazing enough to start my sales season and the rest of the summer, I just glaze as needed. April days in Minnesota are great for glazing lots of pots and letting them dry in the sun on the deck railing.

This process helps relieve some production pressure during the summer. I can still throw things as I’d like, but don’t have to hurry to get things made and fired for the next show. Since I also work full time, I often don’t have enough time between summer shows to accomplish much.

In the past I’ve used lots of brown/rust/red iron based glazes on my cone 6 work. Now that I’ve got my new woodfired kiln built, I’m thinking of filling my earthy brown pottery needs with pots from there and bringing more colors into my cone 6 firings. In the photo at the top of the post, the plates are a wonderful buttery yellow with green drizzled across and wine bottle coaster in the upper center of the photo is green with a medium blue drizzled across it. Well, that’s what I’m thinking right now anyway… I can always change my mind. Right?

Throw, Trim, Fire, Glaze, Repeat

Just short of a month before the Bluff Country Studio Art Tour, I’m busy getting inventory ready for the tour which is my first show of the year. I never feel like I have enough inventory for upcoming shows, and this one is no different. So I’ll continue my cycle of throwing, trimming, firing and glazing right up until I have to pack things up to go to the show.

On a completely different note, I bought three metal chickens this weekend to have in the garden at the farm. My hubby won’t let me get any real chickens so this was the next best thing. (I total get not really having chickens, but I don’t want to let him know I’m letting it go that easily)


Today I managed to get several custom order plates glazed and ready to fire. Unfortunately, in loading the kiln I lost one of the plates by dropping a shelf post on it.

Good thing I made a few extras when I was throwing them. Now I’ll just need to get one of the extras glazed. The first glaze load in the kiln is running and hopefully, I’ll get a second glaze load of plates fired later this week.

Studio progress

After the cold, rainy, snowy, dreary days we’ve had in Minnesota lately, I was very grateful for the cool but sunny day we had yesterday. Yesterday was a glazing day and it worked great to use my deck railing as additional drying space for pots that had been glazed. The weather earlier in the week didn’t help things dry very fast so all my horizontal surfaces were covered with pots that were still too damp to put in the kiln. Some time on the deck helped that problem and I’ve got a glaze load in the kiln running right now. Adaptability is a must have characteristic for a potter I think.

Glazing Flurry

With two one-day sales this weekend and a weekend sale next week, I’ve been a glazing cyclone the past couple weeks. I unloaded a glaze load last night and here is a vase from that firing. A month ago I mixed up a new blue and have been testing it in combination with some of my existing glazes. This combo speaks to me. I generally don’t go for blues, I’m more of an earth-tone kinda gal, but I really like this combo. First I drizzled some sapphire blue around the middle, dipped the entire thing in sky blue and then dipped the top half in glossy white. I love how the white gets mottled or speckled over the sky blue.

We’ll see what the reaction to this combination is at the sale this weekend. It may make it’s way into my line permanently.

Be well.

Glaze Load

I opened the kiln to empty a glaze load today. As so often happens, some pieces are just OK and others exceeded my expectations. Maybe my expectations are too low, but it saves being overly disappointed if things don’t go as expected. This load had a couple shelves of mugs which I’d been running dangerously low on. Here is a pair I really liked from this load.

This load also had several wine bottle coasters which is something fairly new in my line. They are slightly larger around than a wine bottle and keep the drips that run down the bottle from staining your table. I hate when that happens and I’m banking on other people do too. They are also good fillers between larger things in the kiln. Check this one out. It’s kinda hard to see the design on the coaster, but it is the same beige color as the mugs with iron red dots around the rim.

Well, back to glazing for me. Visit again soon.