Saturday, November 20, 2010

Agateware

I've been dabbling in a new technique. All are food safe, dishwasher safe and microwave safe. What do you think?









Sunday, October 31, 2010

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!!!

New items in the For Sale tab! Click HERE to check them out!


Now I'm back to the lab for some more creating :)

Thanks for looking!

Pinky

Thursday, August 26, 2010

A Story About Neglect...

It's true. I have been a bit neglectful lately in the blogging department... I find it easier to post things on my Facebook page than on the blog, and in return, the pictures are low quality phone camera shots, and the true colors are poorly represented.... But none the less, I'll post aforementioned pictures for the sake of posting pictures. Enjoy :)



































On a positive note, I've purchased a small photo booth to get some better quality, more professional looking photos to post on my sale page. Here's Dad experimenting with the new booth...


I've also had the bad habit of selling things before I take pictures of them... so this is a big contributor of me not having any new material to blog about :)
I'll be better, I promise...

Until next time-

Pinky

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Electric Kiln Raku...



A few years ago, when I was taking pottery classes at the college, I was lucky enough to have access to an outdoor raku kiln. Loving the results, I've been wanting to fire a few raku pots of my own here in my own "lab". Horsehair and Ghost Willow pots are my personal favorite, so for the past little while I've been contemplating how to get raku results in my electric kiln without completely destroying the elements. After not actually thinking it through, I just went for it. :0)

First, I applied terra-sigillata to green-ware, buffed, and bisqued. Then I prepared my ghost willow pots with my super secret technique, which I'm not sharing :) Then I put everything in the kiln on a shelf so I could easily get to them with tongs without having to singe my eyebrows off to get to, and fired to 1300*


At temperature, I opened up the lid and snagged a pot with some heavy duty tongs (which I may, or may not have found by the fireplace). I'm not sure this is 100% fantastic on an electric kiln... but the results were worth it.

First the horsehair pots. The goal of a horsehair pot is to drag the hair in a natural flowing and artistic manner, across the extremely hot vase so the hair burns and leaves lines on the surface of the pot. These look best when the pattern is random not planned, and since I can't draw a straight line with a ruler, this is easy.

The hotter the pot is when you apply the hair, the more smokey effect you'll get.

Cooler pot, more detail.

Of course, the pot can't be too hot, or the hair will burn before it touches the pot. And it can't be too cool, or the hair won't burn at all. So work quickly.

Final result:




This one is my favorite horsehair pots I've ever made.



And as for the Ghost Willow, I'll share the fact that it was fired to the same temp, but involved this:

Fire,
Not burning your eyebrows off while trying to smother it,

And smoke.


Final result:
Beautiful result, and always a mystery until the final revealing. I love it. Thanks to my favorite potter Blaine, for discovering this technique and sharing with me!



Until Next Time,
Pinky














Saturday, May 8, 2010

Experimentin'

So I've been on the prowl for some new glazes lately, and I think I've found a company I love. Coyote Clay has some really amazing and unique colors for really reasonable prices. They ship me the dry chemicals, and mix them up myself. I really loved the first few glazes I got; consistent results are always a plus. However there is one glaze where get the most beautiful result:

unfortunately, it is also the SAME glaze I get the most awful result!


It's so unpredictable and I can't seem to get the right result when I want it! I need to do some experimenting with this Red Gold glaze and see how to get the EXACT same result every time. I have a crap load of the stuff so I'd better figure it out quick!!
I emailed the owner of Coyote, and he had some good tips- so I'll give them a whirl. For any other potters reading who may have the same problem with Coyote's Red Gold glaze: Hotter kiln, thicker glaze application. Also, it seems like the lighter the clay I use, the more gold the glaze goes. But according to a review I found online, don't use it on Porcelain. Only stoneware. So, hopefully this should work.

Courtesy of said glaze, I had a massive disaster with a set of nesting bowls I was making for a local lady's mom for Mother's Day (Sorry Carrie!!!!). Although the bowls themselves were beautiful and nested perfectly, the glaze was rough- blotchy- a horrid color brown and disgustingly drab. Mom described it as: "Blech."
I feel horrible that they turned out so badly, and that she didn't get her gift on time. I'm working on a new set now- and learning from my mistake, I'm making multiple sets in case one comes out "blech".

But, an entire kiln load was not lost due to the blech-ness of one faulty glaze... I re-fired them last night, and I'm pleased with the result.
I haven't ever had much luck - or desire to re-fire pottery, and I'm always hesitant to waste the energy and my time on another possible fail. But this time I believe it paid off.


A deep cinnamon-terracotta color with hints of blue and purple make them interesting and eye catching.
Because I re-glazed them in a different color, they're the wrong color to match Carrie's mom's new kitchen, so I'm still working on a new set for her. They're drying in the basement now.

Speaking of the basement! Because it's warming up outside, and getting closer and closer to Goldwingin' Season, I needed to get my stuff out of Mom and Dad's motorcycle trailer, and into their basement :o)


I threw down a tarp and some plastic sheeting to catch the splatters downstairs and got to work.
It's a lot easier to just go in the basement and throw some clay around, than back and forth and back and forth between the house and the garage and the trailer and back again. I believe I'll enjoy this... Mom and Dad on the other hand, are still deciding....


Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Mugged.

After some gentle persuasion from a sweet friend, and some poking from relatives, and prodding from co-workers, I've finally made myself hold still for two seconds and write a new post (sorry Kevy, you're being neglected right now).

A hectic transition between jobs, and the 14 hour work days that came attached with said transition, made blogging lower down on my list of things to do than it should have been. However, despite the miserable lack of posts in the last couple months, I actually have been busy with my pottery.

A friend of my sister's discovered one of my pie plates while visiting her, and eating pie, a couple months ago, and had my sister tell me to contact her about participating in a giveaway on her website. Red Head Recipes featured one of my Wiggle Bowls, and had an amazing turn out!

Click HERE to see the post!

119 posts on people wanting to win MY bowl! I couldn't even believe it! I was honestly stunned! A lucky girl named Andrea in Orem, Utah was the lucky winner- I hope she loves it!

Also, I've been keeping myself busy with mugs. I've been trying to force myself to work on mugs with handles, since those who know me, know have a deep seeded hatred for them. The way I was taught to do mug handles just never worked for me, and I acquired a love for handle-less tea mugs in return. However, the demand for tall, fat tea mugs isn't nearly as high as the demand for squatty, 10 oz mugs with handles. So I gave in, and decided to get past my anger towards handles, and just re-learn.
I've probably watched fifty how to videos across the web, and looked over a million websites just looking for new ideas or different ways to make handles. So far, I've discovered that attaching a lug to the side of the mug and pulling a handle directly from that, is the easiest way for me.
And here's the result.

Of course, I couldn't resist putting my signature thumb-print button on the bottom of each handle, like I've done on every other mug I've made with a handle... so not very many.
In addition, I love my new glaze combo here. It's most definitely my favorite so far. It reminds me of the beach. I'll be experimenting some new color combos on my next batch of mugs. I plan on making more this weekend.

I've also had a couple local orders, like a set of nesting bowls for Carrie, (which just came out of the kiln!) some strawberry pots, a few stray bowls, some Piggies, and a giant coffee mug.


So I suppose I should get some rest for a long day of work, and some more potting tomorrow. I will update soon with pictures of my newer items soon.

Until next time,
Pinky

Friday, February 19, 2010

Bowls Bowls Bowls!

Needing a break from my pitifully-paying day job, I decided to take a couple days off to spend in my "Studio". I also needed a break from making piggy banks and mugs, since the last batch didn't turn out exactly like I had planned. I decided to go back to my most favorite thing to make - Serving Bowls.

Approximately 60 pounds of clay and an entire day in the trailer later, I made 9 large Serving Bowls- 10-15 inches in diameter each, and a Vegetable Steamer and lid. St. Tutilo was definitely with me, because I only had 2 casualties. One because I pushed the limit of the lip edge further than the clay wanted to go, and one because I was paying far too much attention to Harry Potter (I know, the Potter was Potting while watching Potter.... sad day in word play) and not nearly enough attention to how thin I was trimming. Unfortunately, the one I lost to trimming (which I haven't done since my 1st year learning!) was the lid to my Vegetable Steamer. So I'll have to make another one later and hope it fits.

On an even better note, I finally used up the last of the horrible pugged clay! And not too terribly many hunks of mystery objects were to be found! It truly was a good two days.

As of right now, the bowls are sitting in my parent's guest room drying. Hopefully they'll be dried out completely so I am able to bisque fire tomorrow.

Until Next Time,
Pinky

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Underachiever

I feel like I've been the Ceramic Underachiever of the Century the past month or two.

Perhaps I've been a little discouraged due to the lousy weather (my temporary studio is my dad's motorcycle trailer with a space heater...), lack of time away from my other job, my bad attitude having negative effects on the cooperation of my clay, the fact that everything I've managed to actually make lately I look at and it's ugly to me... and of course, my horribly awful pugged clay.

Let me expand. This clay I've been trying to use the last of is H-O-R-R-I-B-L-E. I'm even inclined to say it's rounding up on evil. It has so much ---- crud in it, for lack of a better word, that it's barely even usable. Sponges, wood chunks, plaster chunks, tool tips, rocks, a piece of a pencil, and what resembled a part of a shoe lace.... is driving me mad!!

Perhaps it's my fault for being lazy and cheap and deciding to use a local art classes pug mill to mix my used clay, since I don't have my own mill. On top of that, because I'm a nice person, I decided to pug all of their clay along with mine (they offered me 2 free bags of pugged clay in addition to mine, and really, who can say no to free clay?). So I can't complain too much I suppose. I just need to get through the last of this clay... only 70 pounds to go.......... Good thing I requested two days off this week to get some thrown. Maybe I'll be able to convince myself of what everyone else is telling me, that they are beautiful.

But enough about negativity.

The tiny bit of work I've actually managed to do the last few weeks has actually been going relatively well. It's a little harder when your clay and wedging table are in the garage- your wheel is in the trailer, my drying shelves are in my mom's guest bedroom (it's too cold in the trailer and everything freezes, thank you Utah winters...) Glaze is back in the garage and everything has to be transported between these areas multiple times before I can fire.

Luckily though, my parents are a huge support. Dad put together all of my spreadsheets and graphs I need to ensure my firings are on schedule, and my finances are in line. He also strung me a new outlet so my kiln no longer sits in the back yard (however, the dog's did enjoy basking in it's warm glow) and is now located in the garage as well, and he supervises my kiln firings when I'm stuck at work. Mom bundles up in her winter coat and sits in the trailer with me while I throw, and gives me that little extra nudge I need to get going. She's also my official Pot-Pusher, and is doing a fantastic job of getting my pottery recognized locally. Mom has also taken a shine to making ceramic beads, and hangs out with me doing those while I do handmade elements, like pigs and handles (p.s., I despise handles - but that's a whole separate post).

So perhaps I'll go pick as much of the crud out of my clay as I can, and wedge some up to get it ready for throwing later this week.

Until Next Time,
Pinky

Friday, January 15, 2010

The Waiting Game

The worst part of the pottery game...... is..... waiting.... Now, contrary to the popular belief of those who know me, I am known to have the patience of a Saint! .... OK... so, not exactly.... Turns out I'm probably the most impatient person on this lovely planet.... But we'll get back to that.

Chemicals for glazes came yesterday and I spent part of the afternoon mixing those together in giant pickle buckets I got from work (as every *starving potter* knows, it's called "taking advantage of the resources available to me"-haha!-). I woke up bright and early this morning and headed to my parent's house, which, as some of you may know, has been overtaken by my ever-growing amount of pottery supplies.
*Starving Potter: (Objective Noun) Much resembling a Starving Artist, only less likely to be drawn to eat their medium.

I was almost sure of it, and when I opened my bucked this morning I realized I had, in fact, added too much water in my green "Chive" glaze, and instead of doing the smart thing, and skimming the water off the top of the glaze, I decided to mix it all up, 'just to make sure'.

After waiting (eye twitch) a few hours for the glaze to resettle, I skimmed off the excess water and dipped a load of pottery, experimenting with the two new glazes to see how they'll turn out.

Mom and I proceeded to get the kiln ready for firing... This daunting process includes hauling the snow-blower out of the pottery-supply-induced-over-stuffed-garage (Dad, apparently, is temporarily being allowed to park his car, motorcycle, and snow-blower in "my" storage garage) heaving the kiln into a wheelbarrow, which we had to dig out from underneath the deck, slogging through snow, ice, mud and more mud to get to the back deck where Dad has wired a 220 volt outlet to, all while trying not to either lose a shoe, or fall over face first, in said mud, and finally dragging the kiln out of the wheelbarrow, and placing it on it's base, which is precariously placed in snow, ice, mud, and mud. (Phew!) I then proceeded to load the freshly glazed pottery into the kiln, reviewed my incredibly frustrating and ridiculously vague circa 1971 owners manual, opting to fire instead, following the advice of Blaine, sent up a prayer to St. Tutilo, the Patron Saint of Artists, carefully closed the lid, and pushed start.... It didn't work. So I hit start again, and off it went.

Ok... where was I going with this?...... ah yes. That was at 3 O'clock this afternoon. It's now 7:53 pm, and I'm 'patiently' waiting for cone 6, which in non-potters terms, is approximately 2200 degrees F. Perhaps I'll go check...

1778 degrees. ho hum... So here I sit. ...........Tick...........tock............... I'm hoping that within the hour, we should be reaching temperature, so I can shut off the kiln and... wait... until morning... to even take a peek inside. I'm so nervous!

I'm sure I've driven Blaine to madness the past month or so with all my questions. I'm also sure I wouldn't be nearly as a ridiculous pest if my manual didn't have directions like this, small excerpt from the "Firing Steps for Manual Kilns" section (now, keep in mind that this is word for word from my manual, and, sadly, I'm not even exaggerating here).

"Turn all dials to OFF position.
Open Lid, latch securely.
Check all necessary parts (see page 5).
Lower Lid.
Open Lid, load kiln, including pyrometric cones, in kiln sitter, and behind all peepholes.
Lower Lid.
Raise Lid to highest lid prop position.
Insert all peephole plugs except the top one.
Lower Lid.
Latch kiln sitter (if using) plunger by pushing it in to lock.
Turn all dials to low. "

After opening and lowering the 25 pound lid 50 times, I tossed the manual aside, and opted to truly appreciate Blaine's experience for every word, even if I do pester him.

8:23pm. Time to check the pyrometer again.

*insert "Jeopardy!" theme music*

UHG! ONLY 1890 degrees!! I may be here a while longer. So I'll post a few pictures of mixing glazes, and look again.


Glazes came in the mail!! Look how excited this girl gets to receive chemicals via Postal Service!

Carefully pouring chemicals into pickle buckets, trying to stir up as little dust as possible in Mom's kitchen...
Just Add Water! The best kind of directions!

Mix well. Make sure there aren't any lumps of dry chemicals and everything is blended nicely.
You'll want to make sure that you let your freshly mixed glazes sit at least overnight so they have a chance to blend together. That way you probably won't get any strange results when firing (probably is always the keyword... it ensures no one holds you responsible for crappy advise-haha!-).

8:49pm.... and 1957 degrees... We're getting there! but here I wait.

Perhaps a movie to keep my mind off things while my kiln gets up to temperature. Good night, and I'll post pictures very soon of the results from tonight's firing. .........tick............ tock............

Until Next Time,
Pinky