Spent a little time today working on another round of oblong vases. I made the first batch of these nearly a year ago and after firing them in March I was really pleased with the results. Some have a stamped plug on them, some don’t… but they all have these full of personality handles.
This morning we held a beginning pottery/handbuilding class where the participants made fairy houses. Attendees seemed to have a great time and it was fun to see the various ways they embellished them and made them uniquely theirs. Read more
The last few days of February were spent firing our wood kiln. Read more
These last couple weeks of November and the first week in December are always busy with Holiday sales and this year is no different. I’ve been working like a mad woman (not much of a stretch really) on ornaments and a good selection of mugs for my upcoming holiday events.
This past weekend was the second session of the two session Beginning Handbuilding/Raku class we held here. Everybody seemed to have a great time. There were some really pleasing results, some disappointments and lots of fun.
Hoping to offer this class again in October.
One of the great benefits of the 100 mug challenge I did earlier this year was a wide variety of mugs for both the wood kiln and the electric kiln. It’s a great opportunity to try similar glaze themes on different styles to see how the designs work on the different shapes.
This is usually the time that my husband, roadie and employee of the year says “Uh oh!”
A few weeks ago I attended a work session/dinner put on by our local art’s organization. We were asked several questions about arts in our community and the results of our discussion would be used to create a performance to be presented at the upcoming Rural Arts and Culture Summit in June. Liked the idea… but since then have been kicking around some of the discussion topics in my head.
|April 2015 Firing
A couple weeks ago, I needed a little distraction from my usual thrown work. So I put the slab roller to work and made some little trinket dishes. The first group of them were fired yesterday with green glass marbles in the stamped impression. I really like the outcome.
Last Monday, Becky Brandow of Willow Avenue Pottery joined me to unload the wood kiln we’d fired the weekend before. Between the firing and pizza party we had during the firing, I didn’t manage to get any photos of the firing itself. Didn’t even get my traditional pic of the loaded kiln before we brick up the door. Apparently I don’t deal well with distractions. Oh well…the photos would have looked just like my previous firings anyway.
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.
I’ve been distracted by holiday goings-on and neglected to post photos from my last woodfiring. Fortunately… I know you’re a patient bunch.
We fired the kiln on Thanksgiving, finishing up on Black Friday. The following Wednesday, I quickly snapped my after photo and unloaded so I could have the pots ready for my Holiday Mud and Suds Sale that Friday. A little whirlwind like, but the timing worked out great.
There was a great deal of turquoise in this load which is always a popular color.
Also in this firing, I was testing some decals I’d applied to the pots while leatherhard. The decals are printed on decal paper with a black only laser printer so really any black/white design would work. Lots of people apply decals to pieces after glaze firing, but I kind of want to get a subtle iron effect without adding an additional firing.I like the possibilities, and will probably have a few more tests in my next firing before deciding if I want to make the process part of my regular work.
And here are a few of my favorites from this firing. Many are available in my Etsy shop.
To transport the pots home for the sale, I packed them in bins in the back of the truck with bubble wrap and newspaper between the pieces. I transport pots like this all the time with no problems. HOWEVER… I’ve never gone over a speed bump quite like the one I experienced in the parking lot of a craft shop I stopped at to quickly pick up some ribbon for the ornaments in the firing. It was a monster of a bump. Upon unpacking the pots, here is what I found.
There were some choice word heard in the studio that day. Fortunately there were no sailors around to be embarrassed by my language. All these pieces have found a new purpose with several mosaic artists so I’m trying to see this as a silver lining kind of experience.
Enjoy your holidays everybody!!
For lots of people it’s Small Business Saturday. But for me it’s the day after a firing so I’m having a Peek In A Cooling Kiln Day or Melt Your Flashlight Day. I’ve done both today and will continue to peek in the kiln with a different flashlight and try to remember not to place the light so close to the peek hole.
Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving and successful Small Business Saturday.
There is nothing more fun than getting and putting a new studio toy… I mean tool into use.
A few weeks ago, I purchased a small pugmill. After several years of bagging up my trimmings and storing them in every studio nook and cranny, I can finally process the trimmings into usable clay again.
The first batch of reclaim was a bit wetter than I’d have liked, but it was just BEAUTIFUL!!! If you’ve never used a pugmill, it’s an amazingly useful piece of studio equipment. Clay scrap and water go into the hopper and mixed for 15-20 minutes. The mixture is de-aired with the vacuum pump and then pressed out through an extruder as usable clay.
Only about 500 more pounds of clay scraps to go. More playing tomorrow.
One of my favorite sales venues is Simple Soaps for Simple Folks in Dover Minnesota. Before you even step in the door, you can smell all the awesome fragrances Shanna (owner and soap maker) uses in her fabulous goats milk soaps. I stop on the doorstep, breathe in all the wonderful scents and step in to a warm, inviting shop with ever changing inventory.
Shanna and I met a few years ago and have enjoyed discussing our upcoming events and the trials and tribulations of being a small business owner. I try on all the hats in the shop wishing I was a hat person, smell all the soaps and thoroughly enjoy my visit,
Earlier this week, I delivered new inventory to the shop, still didn’t find a hat that looks good on my head and picked up a new bar of Pomegranate soap for the shower.
Stop in at Simple Soaps for Simple Folks and see everything this welcoming shop has to offer.
During one of our earlier Lanesboro Area Art Trail events this year, I had a group of studio visitors at the studio participate in a raku firing. It got me thinking – maybe that would be a great addition to our Art Trail weekends.
With three events remaining this fall, I’ll be offering a Raku Experience workshop during Lanesboro Area Art Trail weekends. These workshops are targeted at folks with little or no pottery experience. Each attendee will glaze a pre-made ornament, participate in the raku firing and take their ornament home that same day.
More information is available by visiting the Raku Experience page on this blog. Click HERE
A few years ago, we were younger and more naive woodfiring. We fired the kiln over the weekend that followed the 4th of July. It ended up being a very hot, humid weekend with no breeze made so much worse by the fact that we were standing in close proximity to the kiln as it reached it’s peak temp the same time the day reached it’s peak temp. After that firing we vowed to never fire in July again.
Now a few years down the road, we are older and wiser in our woodfiring practices. We’ve adjusted our firing schedule so we encounter the top temp of the kiln through the night to take advantage of the cooler air temps. A large barn fan has become a wonderful breeze in the kiln shed on days when nature isn’t providing one. And by keeping our firings to primarily spring and fall of the year we avoid the super cold of Minnesota winters and the hot, humid days of Minnesota summers.
So what was I thinking when I scheduled a firing for the last weekend in June??? Isn’t that pretty much the same as July??? Anyway…
For the most part the firing went well. There were some unusual happenings but overall, I feel really good about the anticipated results.
We experienced torrential rains, then sunshine and humidity, and back to the rains again through the entire firing. We lost power for approximately 3 hours during the night and had to use a collection of solar lights from the garden as the only light (other than the firebox of course) in the kiln shed. The following morning was beautiful. And we finished just before another storm blew in to start the days downpour/sunshine rotation all over again.
Can’t wait to unload and see how everything looks.
Even with a short power outage just when I was ready to start a bisque firing, I managed to get a couple rhubarb leaf platters complete for the upcoming Rhubarb Festival in Lanesboro Minnesota.
Normally, it takes me several weeks to see the end results of projects I’ve started, but this time it worked out really well that I had nearly a kiln load of stuff already complete and could just sneak these platters into that load and get them done in just one week.
The festival is tomorrow and hopefully, these platters will find new homes then. But I’ll definitely be making more. In addition to the green they are glazed in, I painted a stripe of raspberry glaze into the vein indentations to give them a little different color. Was hoping for a little of the red color to show, but it’s more a darker blue/green. Still worked out nicely.
Have a great weekend all.
Next week, I’m participating in Rhubarb Festival in Lanesboro Minnesota mostly to promote the upcoming Lanesboro Area Art Trail. One of the requriements of being a vendor at Rhubarb Festival is that your product be in some way related to rhubarb. Hmmm…
I have a green glaze that is similar in color to rhubarb, my bowls work excellent to hold cut up rhubarb and my tall vases work great as a display for rhubarb stems & leaves. But that didn’t seem like enough of a tie to rhubarb to me, so today I’m working on some serving plates that are definitely rhubarb themed.
Now to get them made, dried, fired and glazed by next weekend. It’s definitely possible.
Have a great weekend all.
Yesterday Glynnis Lessing posted this video on her Facebook encouraging followers to try out the technique on their own.
Harlan House RCA – Canadian potter at the throwing wheel. from Harlan House on Vimeo.
At the end of my time throwing today, I had about 5 pounds of clay left, so I figured I’d give it a try. It’s not as big as the one made in the video but it seemed to work pretty well for me. Since I didn’t have a throwing stick or dowel, I ended up using the handle of my long handled sponge. This was a great challenge and I hope to try this technique again in the next couple weeks.
Give it a try.
A couple weeks ago, I mixed up a small batch of a glaze I’ve been meaning to try for a while. I’ve had a great cone 10 Turquoise glaze really wanted to have something similar looking for cone 6 electric. Yesterday I ran the electric kiln and had a chance to run some tests tiles to see how the glaze performed.
The test tiles seemed to turn out pretty well, but the glaze on this test mug didn’t see to do as well. The mug is made from a white cone 6 stoneware, where as the test tiles are buff stoneware coated with white slip. I’ll need to test this glaze further to see if I can isolate why the mug bubbled so badly and the tiles didn’t.
Something to working on tomorrow I guess. Have a great week.