Oblong Platter

I unloaded the kiln last night and was very pleased with some of the results. It’s always a mystery which pieces will turn out as I’d hoped and I’m sometimes disappointed. This opening, I was please with nearly everything and very excited about a new design I’ve been working on. I’ve began making some oblong platters using clay slabs made with a handy piece of equipment called a slab roller. It works a lot like an old wringer washing machine. (Am I old or what?!). The clay slab is draped into a carved wooden bowl/platter shape I purchased while in Virginia a month or so ago. Here is a picture of the carved bowl. The wood draws the moisture out of the clay aiding in the drying process. When the piece is leather hard, I use slip to decorate the inside of the platter. And here is a picture of the piece I took out of the kiln last night. It is glazed in a rutile green glaze which flows nicely over the slip texture. I’ve got several other platters like this to glaze and fire and I can’t wait to see how they look.

Slip

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I attended a workshop presented by Sarah McCarthy at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts in Floyd, Virginia. The workshop focused on texturing wheel thrown pottery, but we also spent some time discussing hand built and slab pieces as well. I enjoyed using slip to add texture to many of the things we worked on the workshop weekend and wanted to put the technique to work adding interested to some rather plain square plates I’d been making. I have plenty of slip in my throwing buckets at the end of a day so that was pretty easy, but screening out the grog was a little more challenging. With a great deal of determination, I managed to screen an ice cream bucket of slip and prepare it for use in a squeeze bottle. Here is a picture of one of the square plates with a slip design on the rim. I’ll have lots of experimenting to do to find patterns that appeal to me, but that’s part of the fun right? And one of the cool part about slip is you can just wipe it off with your sponge if you don’t like what you’ve done and start over. The possibilities are endless. Thanks for visiting, let me know what you think and stop in again.

Out of touch lately…

It’s been a bit since my last entry. That’s because my husband and I have been on a little working vacation. We just got back from trip to visit the oldest of our kids and her family in Virginia. While we were there, we spent a bunch of time in the wonderful, artistic community of Floyd, Virgina which is just a few miles off the Blue Ridge Parkway. One of the most striking things about Floyd is how integrated arts and music are in their everyday activities.

We stayed at the Hotel Floyd which has 14 rooms, furnished with locally made furniture and art (right down to the tiles in the bathroom). Additionally, Hotel Floyd was constructed utilizing many “green” construction materials, technologies and methods. Each room is gorgeous and carries the theme of a particular favorite Floyd attraction.

On Friday night the Floyd Country Store holds a Friday Night Jamboree featuring local Bluegrass groups on their stage and on the street outside. During our visit to the Jamboree, there was one group on stage and four other groups playing on the street.

And just in case all that Floyd had to offer wasn’t enough, Kevin and I attended classes at the Jacksonville Center for the Arts. Kevin took a blacksmithing class and I attended a class presented by the very talented Sarah McCarthy. It was a three day session in Texturing Wheel Thrown Pottery which I found very eye opening. I do some texturing of my pottery, but Sarah taught techniques and methods I’d never considered and really enjoyed. I can hardly wait for to see the bisqued pieces I’m having shipped home and to start using some of the things I’ve learned on my pottery.

We had a great time in Floyd and can’t wait to get back again.

Power Tools

At the risk of offending any pottery purists out there reading this, I’d like to say, I am grateful for the power tools in my life to make things like drilling holes so much easier. Each berry bowl I make has about 70 holes in it and that would take a really long time using a hand tool. With the drill it takes nearly no time at all and each hole is a consistent size. Using a jiffy mixer in the drill also helps me thoroughly mix large buckets of glaze, slip and plaster. One of my other favorite power tools in the studio is my Dremel with a Lithium Ion battery. With a diamond bit, it is invaluable in removing bits of kiln wash that stuck to the bottom of pots and smoothing any rough edges that could be sharp after glazing. As I age, I’ve come to appreciate making simple things easier so I can put my energy into the things that aren’t so simple. Power tools, an electric wheel, an electric kiln and an Ipod are all tools that help me create. Thank you to the inventors of each!!

Ode to my Roadie

Ok, I’m not really sure what constitutes an Ode, nor am I really aware of how one is written. But what I am sure of is, I could never do the sales away from home without my hardworking roadie. Pottery is really heavy to cart around and a hardworking roadie is a must if you want to attend many sales away from your home base. Today we were in the Art in East Park event in Zumbrota. It was a gorgeous day and after working hard setting up my booth, my hardworking roadie was rewarded with a much deserved nap in the shade before he went to work again tearing down and packing it all home again. He also enjoyed some ice cream which I’m sure made it all worthwhile for him. I am forever grateful for this hardworking roadie. Thanks, Kevin.