Upcoming Pottery Class

fairy house

Legend has it that if you build a fairy home and leave it in your garden, you might attract a fairy into your domain… Yet, even if you don’t believe in fairies, this is a great creative project that will warm the heart of any person who loves miniature projects and pretty things for the garden. It’s also a great project for kids with some adult help. Read more

June Woodfiring – Unloading

Wow – it’s been a while huh?  Realized I hadn’t posted the results from my woodfire in late June so I’m getting all caught up. 🙂

When we closed up the kiln at the end of the firing, I knew we wouldn’t be unloading for quite a while since our grandkids were coming to visit and we wanted to wait to do the unloading while they were here.  


Once my helpers were here, we were able to get this kiln unloaded and see all the fun things inside.


Here are a few of my favorites

 


This firing had lots of great ash action especially those things closest to the fire box.  This mug turned out super gorgeous, but was unfortunately very stuck to the shelf.  It’s currently on my seconds table due to the amount of grinding needed to free it. 

All in all, it was a wonderful firing and I was so fortunate to be able to unload when I had such great help available. 

It’s a Wrap

Ahhhh… sitting with my feet up just basking in the feeling of having a big event behind me.

Yesterday was the last day of our annual Bluff Country Studio Art Tour.  While the event is just one weekend, we’ve managed to make it into a multi-week event here at the studio.  You know how it gets – it starts out a simple thing and then you gradually keep making it more and more and before you know it… it’s taking up several weeks of your life.  But I love it!!  It’s the kick off to our summer sale season so worth starting out big, right?

The weekend before the tour, we fired to wood kiln so it could be opened during the tour with a kiln opening and pizza party.  It’s always fun to be able to share the pleasure of opening a kiln and the surprise and wonder discovering what is found inside.  

So, on Saturday evening, with the help of a great group of friends, we unloaded the kiln fired the previous weekend and it was fabulous to see the results.  The firing was longer than usual and the results were wonderful.  The occasional peek inside while it was cooling did not do this load justice.  

 
Here are some photos of a few of my favorites.

Ok – no more time for basking.  It’s time to get back to work again.  Be well.  Have a great week.

The Morning After…Woodfiring

It’s the morning after a woodfiring.  I’ve gotten a good nights sleep, my morning caffeine, the second coating of lotion on my heat dried skin, assessed the injuries incurred during firing and gotten a second round of Ibuprofen into my system.  Just an hour away from being right as rain.  🙂

Having now completed our 11th firing I feel like we’ve arrived at a process that works well for us.  Instead of doing everything in one four day weekend, we’ve spread the tasks out a bit.  One weekend I glaze everything I think will fit in the kiln and then some.  The following Friday is spent wadding the pots and loading the kiln.  Then after a good nights sleep, Saturday morning the kiln is lit and we  fire into mid-day Sunday.  The weekend after that we unload.  



It’s a lot of work but so worth it.  Today, I’ll be loading a glaze load in the electric kiln to get one more load done for the the Bluff Country Studio Art Tour next weekend.  I’m a potter, it’s what we do – always have one more load to get done before something. 

Have a great week. 

ps – 
Peeking in the wood kiln will begin on Wednesday and it will be unloaded on Saturday evening during our kiln opening party.

Flashbacks of 2013

I was feeling a bit inspired by the slideshow video Lori Watts shared earlier this week on Facebook and since it’s currently -13 here in MN indoor activities are on my to do list today as well.

2013 was a great year here with a whole collection of activities and lots of new pots

  • Becky Brandow of Willow Avenue Pottery in Iowa joined me for a woodfire in late January.
  • We had a great time and lots of visitors for our annual Bluff Country Studio Art Tour kiln opening and pizza party.  This was our second year for the event and it’s growing.  Hope we can see even more folks in 2014.
  • Enjoyed making a custom cake plate for a bride’s special day as well as custom place settings for another wedding gift.
  • Had some great studio help when the grandkids visited.
  • Attended several art festivals and enjoyed seeing so many new faces and some old ones. 🙂
  • Participated in The Color Run with some of my favorite people.  What a great event and a fantastic time.
  • Saw some beautiful sunrises and sunsets.
  • Joined forces with other Lanesboro artists to create a new event called Lanesboro Area Art Trail.
  • Had a great time starting my bottle garden and hope to add more bottles in 2014
  • Rang in the new year with the best roadie ever. Thanks Kevin for all your help this year.

In my last post of 2013, I mentioned some news… well… I left my day job after nearly 34 year and will be working as a full-time potter in 2014.  It’s a big change for me and I’ll probably do a whole post on it in the next couple weeks.  So scary, but very exciting.

Have a great 2014 everybody.  Be well.

Barnyard Boutique 2013

The Barnyard Boutique in Dover Minnesota is coming up in a couple weeks. Located on a quaint farm just a short drive from Rochester, this event is a must attend for anyone looking for unique pottery and gifts. 

Want to have even more fun? The Barnyard Boutique is one of the stops on a bus tour taking place on Saturday, August 24th.  Here is more info on the bus tour.


Bus trip – Saturday, August 24, 2013
FIRST 32 WHO SIGN UP WILL HAVE A SEAT ON THE BUS
8:15 Meet bus at Shopko South (far end towards Culvers)
8:30 Bus leaves
9:00 Arrive at Barnyard Boutique in Dover
9:45 Leave Barnyard Boutique
10:00 Arrive at Simple Soaps in Dover (enjoy donuts and coffee)
10:45 Leave Simple Soaps in Dover
11:15 Arrive at Adourn in Chatfield
12:00 Leave Adourn
12:30 Arrive in Lanesboro
Lunch is on your own and explore the town
4:00 Bus leaves Lanesboro for Rochester
4:45 Arrive in Rochester at Shopko South
Cost is $15.00 includes bus trip, goodie bag and prizes
Deadline is: August 18th please call or e-mail to get your name on the list (contact info below)
Send check to: Melissa Burnett 423 River St. SW, Chatfield, MN 55923
Any questions contact: Melissa at mmcmanimon@hotmail.comor 507-421-5592

2013 Wood Fire Workshop

 
Join me for a wood firing workshop in picturesque Lanesboro Minnesota.  We’ll be glazing, loading and firing a bourry box wood-fired kiln over the weekend of May 31 – June 2 and unloading the following Saturday, June 8. 


It’s an excellent opportunity to try this dynamic firing method and enjoy the company of other potters at a quiet, beautiful location in SE Minnesota.  


For more information about the workshop and how to register – CLICK HERE

 

Lessons Learned

So… last week I showed you some of my favorite results from the last kiln firing.  Today, I want so show some of the things I wasn’t so fond of.  

In this firing I had a number of larger bowls with slip chatter design in the bottom.  Most of them turned out great, but a few had some significant bloating.  It’s hard to see in this photo, but this is probably the largest bloat at approximately the size of a quarter.  The bowl was at the front of the kiln near the bagwall.  

Speaking of bloating… check this one out.  The side photographed was facing the fire and just above the bagwall.

 The entire top part of the kiln fired a little hotter than usual this time.  On top, cone 10 was touching the shelf while on the bottom it was just getting soft.  Contributing factor to the bloating issue?  Not really sure, but I’m going with that thought for now and hope to really keep an eye on the next firing to keep the top and bottom closer as well as making sure nothing in the front hangs over the edge of the shelf.  We’ll see if that helps.

My last disappointment was with the Woodfire Porcelain I was testing.  Its a great clay body to work with, but my disappointment came with the lack of color in the firing.  The bare clay stayed pretty white through the firing and I guess I was just hoping it would take on a more toasty color.  I don’t necessarily dislike the color of white clay, but I can get that effect in my electric kiln.

If made from B clay, the mug in the photo below would have been a golden brown with black dots rather than just white with black dots.  Lesson learned… I like my B-clay and Buff Stoneware.

Now to apply these lessons for my next firing.  That’s always the hardest part.  If anyone has any suggestions on the bloating, I’d love to hear them.  Be well.