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.

February 2013 Wood fire

Last weekend Becky Brandow from Willow Avenue Pottery joined me for a wintery wood fire.  Yesterday, I unloaded the kiln and spent a little time taking photos. 

Every firing has it’s good and bad outcomes – here are some of my favorites pieces. 

A couple slip decorated bowls glazed with amber celadon.
 

Snowflake impressed tile with turquoise glass

 

Random other things
 
 

And my favorite Becky item… you’ll have to watch her blog 
for more of her work from this firing.
As I mentioned, not everything turns out as you’d hoped and I’ll discuss those in my next post after I’ve had a little time to explore the hows and whys of my disappointment in them as well as what can be learned and improved.  
Have a great week.

Wintery Firing & Giveaway Reminder

I just finished up a winter woodfiring with my friend Rebecca Brandow of Willow Avenue Pottery.  Becky pushed the kiln through a stall at around 2000 degrees to get this firing done.  Way to go Becky!!.

Here is a the last picture we took while holding the kiln at temp so the bottom part of the kiln could catch up to the temp on the top of the kiln.  Cone 10 is on the left, cone 11 center and cone 12 to the right.

And just a reminder… my Blog Anniversary Giveaway ends on the 15th.  To find out how you can win one of these pendants, click here.

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.

I Got Distracted

Really… it’s the story of my life.  Look – something shiny.  

Anyway.  If I hadn’t gotten distracted, I’d have told you that I dropped some pottery off last week at a new sales venue.  But now that I’m at least temporarily back on track here, I’ll let you know all about it now.  

Now through the end of January, a selection of my pottery will be available at Simple Soaps for Simple Folks in Dover Minnesota.  Simple Soaps for Simple Folks is a super cute shop east of Rochester MN selling not only amazing goat milk soaps and body products, but a wonderful collection of handmade items from many other local artists and crafters of SE Minnesota. 

Several months ago, I mentioned several opportunities I had as a result of participating in the Thursday’s on First & 3rd events in Rochester this summer.  This is one of those opportunities. 

Stop in at Simple Soaps for Simple Folks and you just might find some of these soap dishes there along with many other amazing gift ideas.

You might be a wood fire potter if…

I had a load of slab wood delivered by the local mill a couple weeks ago and this weekend Kevin and I spent a little time cutting the 8′ slabs into pieces that would fit into the kiln’s firebox. After getting through one bundle of slabs, the chain was wasn’t working so well so we called it quits for the day.  We’ll need to have the chains sharpened and fill a couple more pallets next week.  

 
While we were working we ended up having a conversation which ultimately evolved into “You might be a wood fire potter if…”

So all you potters following, give me your “You might be a wood fire potter if…” ideas.  I’ll start –  You might be a wood fire potter if you have saw dust in your underwear and you don’t care. 

Have a great week everybody!!

New Sales Venue

I’m so excited to announce the Bank Gift Haus in Wykoff, Minnesota is now carrying my pottery.  This gift shop has changed hands recently and re-opened last weekend with many great new items, including my pottery.  Yah!  I delivered several pieces for their open and have lots of new pieces for in progress for their fall and holiday season shoppers. 

As you might guess, the building is a renovated bank complete with a large safe and teller window.  If you’re in SE Minnesota, stop in and visit the Bank Gift Haus. And did I mention they also sold delicious fudge??

Thursdays on First & 3rd

This Thursday you’ll find me and a large collection of my pottery at the street market in downtown Rochester MN called Thursdays on First & 3rd.  It’s usually a huge event and I’m hoping it will be a great pottery sales venue.  If you’re near Rochester, come down and see us.  There are countless food and art vendors and performers on two stages. Look for us on the far north end of the booths on First – see ya there. 

Bluff Country Studio Art Tour



The Bluff Country Studio Art Tour is just two short weeks away and I’m still busy making new pieces to have available for this fabulous event. Here is all the information you’ll need to visit our studio during the tour.  

Where:      Sue Pariseau Pottery at Old Crow Studio
Location:   40051 County Road 12, Lanesboro, MN
When:        Friday, April 27 – Sunday, April 29, 2012
Time:          10am – 5pm each day

Link to map
   & follow the signs to location

We are also hosting a special event during the art tour – We’re having a Kiln Opening Party!! Please join us on Saturday, April 28th from 5pm to 8pm for all the oos and ahs while we unload the kiln.  We’ll be serving pizza and you’ll get the first opportunity to purchase pots fresh out of the kiln.

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!!

Next week

With a wood fire scheduled for next weekend, today was really the last day I could throw anything to be included in that firing. I know… always waiting until the last minute. Have you been talking to my husband?!?

Anyway, in addition to several medium size bowls, cups and wine bottle coasters, I threw a few large pieces today. Not sure if they’ll be dry in time to bisque before the firing, but I’ve got my fingers crossed. I could really use a little help from the weather – NO MORE RAIN!!! Please



The bowl below doesn’t look that big in the photo but it’s about 16 inches across. I always need at least one big bowl in my inventory.

The plan is to run a bisque kiln on Wednesday, unload on Thursday, start glazing on Friday and load the kiln and start a fire mid-day Saturday (which really means sometime before midnight – right?).

Interested in checking out a wood firing? If you can make it to SE Minnesota near Lanesboro, you’re welcome to stop by.

Be well.