Slip

I’ve had about 50 pounds of Continental Clay’s Buff Stoneware around for about a year and today I finally got around to making many 5# bowls with it.  Since it fires a toasty, dark brown in the wood kiln, I used white slip on the insides with some designs in the slip.  



I’m thinking these will look great with the contrasting white slip and dark clay body under a nice transparent celadon.  That’s my plan anyway.  We’ll know if a few weeks if t works that way.  

Have a great week.

A Little Texture


The extra day this holiday weekend was great for getting some extra pottery done and enjoying a nice weekend at the farm studio. Among other things there are a couple dozen mugs on drying boards with a little bit of texture around the base. No two are alike and some of the textures worked better than others. It’s all part of the learning to try many different tools and stamps to see which achieve the look you seek. I think the simplest may be my favorite – the mug below was textured with a piece of dowel.


I’m hoping to put them through the next woodfire (targeting July 4th weekend) – can’t wait to see how they turn out.

Have a great week.

Happenings

With our record snow fall of the past winter melting and the rain we’ve been getting lately, the stream and wetland behind the house have really been rising and filling up. We can’t normally see water from the house, but today, it’s just a couple hundred feet away. With more rain and snow due the next couple days, I hope it doesn’t come up much higher.

On the pottery front, I unloaded another glaze load today. A while back I’d mentioned changing my clay body and hoping to focus on more colors in my cone 6 work. The lighter, smoother clay body works really well for texturing pieces. And the brighter colors break well over the texture. Here’s the rim of a large bowl glazed in the deep grass green glaze.


The photo below is a close up of the grass green and bright sky blue glaze combination I’ve used on a rectangle platter. I love how the blue on the green give it a watery look.


Also in this kiln load was several mixing bowls, yarn bowls and mugs. So far I’m liking the clay body change and the brighter colors.

Have a great week.

I’m Not A Gadget Geek

I’ve been called a Gadget Geek on more than a few occasions. My first impulse is to deny it, but it might be true, maybe I am a gadget geek. I think it’s all about how you define gadgets. If we’re talking about tools that make something I’d do anyway easier, then yes, I proudly admit my love of gadgets. But if we’re taking about gadgets, as in gotta have the latest, greatest. Then no, I’m definitely not that kind of gadget geek. Gadgets just for the sake of owning the latest gadget doesn’t really interest me, but I love a gadget that makes my life or pottery making easier and/or better.

My favorite pottery tool is this awesome Brown trimming tool. I’ve been using it for about two years and absolutely love it. It’s reasonable priced and the loop parts are replaceable. I used to have to buy whole new trimming tools when the loop got dull. Now I can just remove the dull one off and put a new loop on. Love it!!

Some of my most used tools are very low tech like the collection of sponges and wooden ribs above or the ear of corn used for texturing pieces shown below.


A month or so ago, I picked up a little netbook. It felt a little frivolous. But I’ve found it’s been a really reasonable way for me to keep up with computer tasks when I wouldn’t normally have computer access. Do I need to blog, edit photos, list new items on Etsy, track income & expenses or maintain extensive mailing lists at any moment? No, but it really has a huge impact on the growth of my business. And the netbook helps me do that more efficiently.

Call me a geek if ya want, but I think tools were invented for us to use them. Where would we all be if our ancestors didn’t use the newest tools invented for them?

Butter Dishes

French butter dishes or keepers have been a staple in my pottery stock for many years. Basically, you place (squish) a softened stick of salted butter in the lid and about ½” or so of water in the base. When the lid is covering the base, the water creates a seal on the butter container and keeps it from spoiling. This way you can leave the dish sit out and always have soft butter without having to worry about it spoiling. It also keeps the butter from getting that dried out look it gets if you just leave a stick sitting out uncovered. Here is one in use on my table.


I sell them just about as fast as I make them, and customers who have bought them in the past come back to purchase them as gifts for family and friends. Here are a couple I made recently.


I’ve been experimenting with adding some textures around the lid. On the first one I applied texture using the grinder inside a pencil sharpener to make a kind of hatched pattern. The second one I gouged out small circular divots in rows around the lid. Each have a very different look which appeals to an individuals taste.

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.