Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Getting ready for a happy new year!

Wow I've been too busy to blog. I don't know how people do it.

So my Twisted Sister and I shared a couple booths at the cooler-than-cool "Catacombs Art Market & Bazaar" here in Columbia, MO, down in the groovy North Village area. I am sure hoping all the artistic vibes of North Village are contagious. Made a couple hundred bucks, then sold most of what was left to a dear friend over last weekend. Other online friends are placing orders off the photos I posted. I have had nothing special, but some pretty things, that some people have wanted. My friends love me, that's all.

I was so busy glazing and firing for a couple weeks or more, I have forgotten how to throw! But we have already paid our booth rentals for the next Catacombs event, January 22 and 23 "Love Fest" to shop for Valentine's Day.... I keep wondering if I even stand a chance of making anything Valentiney, but I'm thinking not.... no experience with adorable wall pockets or petite jewelry boxes.... Will have a ball anyway.

My Twisted Sister makes pretty jewelry with Swarovski, silver, and her "therapeutic" paper beads. They were very popular along with her vintage '70s turquoise rings. Later I will make porcelain charms and other beads for her to make jewelry with.

In the meantime, I'm thoroughly disgusted with the glazes at the amazing studio I use. So I had to break down and try to mix my own. I believe I threatened to share this experience with you. Fair warning!

I found Opulence Matte Color Base and bought a bag of that dry mix, and 4 generic colors of Mason stains: Buttercup, Grass Green, Pastel Blue, and Crimson. Here are my first results, just starting at the bottom and working my way up in percentage of stain.

These are Laguna B Mix test tiles fired to cone 5. Rear tiles are 1% of a stain and front tiles are 2% of same.
First up, Grass Green and Buttercup (still invisible at 2%). I like the green!!

THESE. FEEL. SO. GOOD!!!! The backs of these tiles are like the most special river rock or beach glass. Soooo smooth. I'm SO much about the FEEL of my pots. I had to put signs up at the Bazaar: YES! PLEASE TOUCH!!  It's really important to me. I'm very pleased with this Opulence glaze.

Next up, 1% and 2% Crimson and (ahem) Pastel Blue, more later on that.

They still feel beautiful, and I can see I will be in love with the way it treats my textures, but they want more stain before they are "my" glazes.  Closeup below of the 2% Crimson, a sweet pink; much too sweet for this girl!

As for the blue, well, I had my tiny little bowls with screw-on lids to shake my test batches up... was about to walk to the sink for a dribble of water, and DROPPED the bowl of blue stain and glaze powder. It took a small bounce on the table and blue & white dust popped up into the air like it was fired from a gun. Shot across the table top and streaked across the floor. OK so my percentages are a little off on the blue. But it's pastel anyway... I'll want more stain, and actually will probably want a darker stain instead.

Just sweet as anything, and maybe I see a little pearlescence?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Different Drummer

I don't know why, or where the idea came from, but my next project is going to be to make an Udu. The sound of this GORGEOUS CLAY DRUM just completely enchants me. I think I will use decorated slips to make it, because I notice in several videos that the glazed ones sound too tinkly, like someone just slapping a vase. That kind of racket would make me crazy, the way my older brother made us all crazy with his finger tapping all the time. So I will not glaze mine. Then again, maybe my first one can be completely undecorated, so I can just get the sound right. I can see right now this could be a long process.

I got my matte glaze base the other day, and some Mason stains. Will start a few tests soon since the studio glazes are so ugly at ^5. I realize when I get my own kiln, I will have to test all over again at ^6 but I just can't handle those studio glazes any more.

I owe a lot to the studio, and love everyone there, but they get no credit for their cone 5 glazes. LOL

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Counting down

Opened a hot glaze kiln tonight. Oochie. One more before the sale I reckon.

Tonight, some good, some bad. The clear glaze at the studio is milky and hazy and I swear I see a hint of lavender in it over my 5/6 red clay. It's tolerable on some things and crazy ugly on others.The white gloss at the studio is still reliable and I'll use it a lot to finish out the pieces for my first sale, with some brights sprayed over top etc... it's pretty and smooth to touch.

Found several coffee mugs to have rough lips. Not sure if I overlooked something before glaze or if glaze has bits in it (some do). Will pay close attention in future!!

The Amaco GDC (Gloss Decorating Colors) over HF-11 (cone 6 white) still come out SMOOOOOOTH and likewise the Potter's Choice Temmoku -- delicious to touch!!!!

I have 6 small, handled soup mugs I'm happy with and 6 soup bowls in same colors that are mostly fine but one of them realized an air bubble in the clay. I usually feel those bad boys while throwing and they haven't got away from me before. It's probably ok but I'll just give that one away to whoever buys the others. LOL

I'm so green at this it's ridiculous..............................

Sunday, November 29, 2009

The Year Got Away from Me!

Bless me, Potter, for I have sieved. It's been 2 months since my last... OK enough of that, I'm not even Catholic. Been glazing up a storm!!!

Let me back up. The bank where we do business for many years, offered hubby their main branch lobby gallery to hang his photography for the month of December. This has been planned for months. Then, week of Halloween, they said, "Hey you want November too???" heh. heh. ... heh.  Well he said OK to November 15, then we scrambled to mat & frame a couple dozen pieces.  We decided to use my kiln money for that. Don't want to waste a chance, and I still haven't got a line on a good used kiln yet anyhow!

Meantime, I met a gallery owner who I fell in love with (both her and the gallery) and she wants me to bring some pieces in! WHAT?????? Then I found out about her big sale in December, like a big flea market art sale bake sale thing, HOLY CATS SIGN ME UP.

Not sure what came over me. Remember me? The one with no kiln??? OK so here I go again, toting bone dry "treasures" to the studio and cranking out a couple of bisque firings. I still haven't got room to walk through the house, but I see a clearing. I still have lots of things that need firing.

But for now I'm glazing my ass off and not even throwing. I have no idea what I'm doing buying a booth at a sale. I've never sold to anyone but friends and charity auctions before. Whew!!! Taking lots of coffee mugs and flower pots LOL WE WILL JUST SEE.

Dang it's gonna be a blast, because I am sharing my booth with my Twisted Sistah who makes jewelry and the next booth will be a friend from the studio. A blood sister will be manning the bake sale... The catacombs will be ECHOING I tell ya. (I'm the loud friend, here to tell ya!)

OK so I finally had a chip n dip make it past leather hard stage LOL and I decided to try the majolica on it too. Here's a pic.

It's obviously just sponged pink, orange, yellow, but OUT OF THE BLUE there is a single square of turquoise. LOL  The majolica tests were satisfactory and cheerful. Only the red bowl I painted grapes on, did not have enough coverage of HF-11 white, so it looks real dingy and muted.  The stripey vases and coffee mugs and whatnot came out cute and boy that stuff is smooth as a baby's butt. Too fun. Will do more.

Using a lot of Potter's Choice on some casseroles and mugs, and here are some Coyote cone 6 which is just lovely and smooth even at cone 5. These are "Shino" and "Mottled Blue."

Already tired of most of the commercial ones I have sitting around though, so looking for a nice matte base I can color with Mason stains.... That's another story. I reckon I'll drag you into that mess too.

Watch this spot! LOL

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Screwing around while the stew simmers.

It's a gorgeous autumn day in mid-Missouri. The flood in the family room has receded, and I have the warranty for the new heat gun that died in the puddle. I have beef stew in the crock pot and we are just taking it slow.

I have been messing around with some altering and some hand building. Along with some big red stretched pots, I'm in the process of  "screwing together" a bowl.
Practicing on scrap:

I can make a circle in the clay with a drinking straw, then press a screwdriver bit into the center. That needs to be a small bit.

I think I prefer impressing a circle with a round pencil, then dropping a small ball of soft clay into the dent. Stick the ball into the hole by pressing it in with the screwdriver bits. I don't care for the hex head bit so much, but the flat and the Phillips bits are great!

Debating wax resist over the screws come glazing time, and/or other ways to make them stand out. Silly. :-)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Quick break in routine

Took a vacation day, on Woody's day off, so we could go pick up 400 lbs of clay. He said that ought to hold me for a couple weeks. Can you imagine if I had a kiln? LOL The car was NOT happy. I guess fat people don't drive Hondas.

Feels like a Saturday but I have to go back to work tomorrow. But but but but I don't WANNA! I have 150 lbs of red and 250 lbs of B-Mix calling my name from the garage.

But... 9 hours on Thursday and 4 on Friday, I'M DONE.

Should have bought more bats................

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Majolica tests

I am SO dying for a kiln. LOL I have some majolica style pots I'm wanting to test. Amaco HF-11 (white) over bisque with the GDC underglazes painted on top.... waiting for a cone 5 fire!!!! I have never pretended to be a painter hahahaha but here are my test pieces:

The spiral bowl is turquoise and black. The grapes are green, blue and purple. The vases are chartreuse and red or turquoise with black dots. I have some orange and some pink testing on the coffee mugs. I think these will be translucent colors over the white, and I am just praying they don't just run into little rivers. LOLOL

I'm beside myself waiting for a kiln. My stomach is full of butterflies. It's a miserable feeling and a wonderful feeling. I've never been so happy in my life as when I get to play in clay, and I need to take the next step. I have so many new pots waiting for bisque firing!! I refuse to transport my babies across town in a laundry basket with bubble wrap again. Even though I know I will have to sacrifice a few to test the kiln, they are safe here on their dusty old shelves.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Move over little dog

Cuz the big dog's movin' in. Tonight I asked about the little kiln. "Any word on that kiln, or should I start shopping again?"

YES there is word, but on a BIGGER and NICER kiln.

WHAT? Hmmmmmmm I don't know everything the future holds, but for sure it holds bisque ware! LOL

I don't know how much longer I can stand to wait for friends and acquaintances to "know someone," before I have to break down and buy a NEW kiln. LOL I'd rather have one to start with, that someone can tell me its quirks and give me the history and helpful hints.

There is so much to learn, I think buying a used one might save a few test pots. Maybe!

Meanwhile the instructor we signed up with this session just came back from a workshop or seminar or something with some crystalline glaze ideas. He's stoked... but warns us that it moves like a runaway train, so we can't use it on a vertical surface. We've been cranking out plates, upside down platters and really wide shallow bowls. No idea if we'll ever get the kiln loaded in this session. Might have to sign up with Alec again next session. LOL

OK time for the old folks to get some sleep. See ya!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cleaning THAT up...

Wow, I reread today, what I wrote last night. How disjointed!!!

So anyhoo the studio managers had a personal kiln, sold it to someone who's never used it, so they are trying to get it back so WE can buy it. It's going to be awesome for a beginner like me!!!

And, we wait.......... (vacations, busy schedules, etc.)

OH, also confusing was my canister-to-fluted vase transition. By canister, I meant a big ol' barrel shaped pot at the studio, holding wooden spoons and such in the glaze room. Barrel shaped, but with that soft cuff shape at the top. I have NOT managed to make that exact barrel shape! But this attempt was so pleasing to us, that I decided to flute it and then do more like it.

Woody texted from work: there was a curious ad in the paper, Pottery Business for sale (??) and I called and it was just something like they wanted someone to sell off all the dishes they bought from all over. Mexican pots, whatever. I'm like, no thanks, mine are food safe...... and I already HAVE a day job....

But, this guy (realtor dude) says they are moving forward on another project to fill a nice big space in a nice strip mall on the rich side of town, with booths, tables, rooms, walls, whatever, full of gifts, art, handmades, by people who don't want to buy a business but have things to display and sell..... I said KEEP MY NUMBER! I am to pass this idea to all my arty friends and won't we have a time, all coexisting in a space, not having to worry about anything but shared rent or something??? I don't know how it's going to go down, but it's intriguing. Woody, my better half, is quite the photographer, and his pretties will help fill that space too.

I don't know if I have what it takes to go in a gallery or anything, maybe a little, maybe not... but in this situation I'd just be there, you know, here have some nice mixing bowls, they hold water and everything. LOL My friends love my mixing bowls. Maybe strangers would too!

So we'll see. It's not like I can just up and leave my job and follow craft fairs around, and good grief, I don't even have a KILN YET!!!!

Okay, HOUSE is on, so you won't see ME the rest of the night. But I wanted to try to flesh out that skeletal post from last night. haha

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Should be in bed

Nothing quite went as planned this weekend, BUT good plans were made and good foundations were laid...

I might hear about my kiln soon... it's used, it's 3rd hand or will it be 4th hand by the time I get it? But I'll tell you more about that later this week. I really *should* be in bed.

But I saw a cute canister at the studio the other night and thought I'd try to copy it. I haven't nailed it yet, BUT decided to try my hand at fluting a bit, and ended up being QUITE happy with it even though my flutes are wobbly. I will repeat this shape a few more times and see if I can make some really pretty ones.

Been busy. I either need to fire something or slake it all down and clean house! LOL Well that ain't happening...

Remind me later to talk about galleries. There are stories in the wind.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

So to begin...

Woody thinks I should blog. I haven't had my mind on writing for many years now. This might be clumsy.

All my life I've been fickle in my passions. But for over 20 years I wanted to learn to throw pots. Don't know why, and never knew anyone who knew how, either. If it was offered in school I didn't know about it. I'm really jealous of the people who had ceramics in school!

Even while taking my kids to their Special Needs pottery classes at a local studio, paid for by the county family services, I didn't realize there was something there for me! I assumed the studio was FOR SPECIAL NEEDS.

While in the throes of my perennial gardening passion, I realized I would be devastated over winter, not being able to get my hands into the sticky Missouri clay and make things happen. And at some point, I discovered the art studio was FOR EVERYONE, so I signed up. January 2005, I got my hands in clay and learned to make things happen.

Once a week isn't a lot when you're trying to get good at something, but I almost never missed a session from that point on, even taking 2 sessions a week sometimes. Except for the spring when our youngest was hospitalized, I was there. It was my joy.

And it seems like forever ago. I can't believe it was less than five years. But here I am, still a beginner in my mind, and forever a student. Some people think I'm getting good at it. I think I get lucky sometimes.

Looking back through my old photos, I definitely see progress, and if nothing else, pottery has taught me PATIENCE, something I've always been quite short on.