Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sharing Ideas

I would never suggest to a painter that she paint her work in a different way or use different colors, or to a photographer that he choose a different subject matter or angle. However, it often happens that people suggest to potters different ways of making their wares or how, with only a few tweaks it could be repurposed. I don't have a problem with this. I think that the reason people feel more comfortable making these suggestions is that we make functional items that are more personal. After all, there's a difference between hanging a picture on the wall and the intimate action of bringing a cup to one's lips and drinking from it. Also, people bring their own life styles and experiences to bear on how they might use it. I made my Mom a vase, but she uses it to hold kitchen utensils. She loves it because the colors match her kitchen perfectly (totally unintentional on my part!) and she gets to have it out all the time, not just when she has flowers to put in it.

So, I made this business card holder a while back...

One of my regular customers saw it in my Etsy store and suggested that I make a casserole with impressed sided. What a brilliant idea! So here are some casseroles following Ronnie's great suggestion. To make them I first throw a bottomless form and push it into an oval shape. Once the clay is dry enough to handle, I attach a bottom to the form. The bottoms can either be made from a slab or thrown. Then I use clay stamps to impress a design and attach handles and feet. After they are finished, the pieces are carefully wrapped in plastic and left to dry slowly. Once bone dry they are fired once to make them easier to handle. They are then glazed and fired a second time.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kiln Opening!

I did a glaze firing last night with a couple of new glazes: the bright blue and the emerald green. You've already seen the emerald green, but I've mixed a large batch of it now and I'm having consistently great results. I think it's my new favorite: it looks great in the teapot and the casserole dish!

I had done a small test with the blue and originally thought that it was too blue, but I think I'm liking it more now that I mixed a large batch of it. It's a shiny, deep, deep blue that I think is going to go over well.

I have a feeling that these two new glazes are going to end up replacing the blue and green Pharsalia glazes, which are a bit more tricky. For example, the Pharsalia blue on the rim of the casserole sometimes comes out with brown splotches or speckles. These can be very nice, but other times... not so much. In this case, the brown is concentrated on the casserole's feet so that it looks two-tone...

Another experiment in this batch is the two small boxes in the bottom shelf: one blue and the other green. This is not a "new" idea, but a return to an old one. I use an oxide wash to stain the bisque making sure that the texture is highlighted, and then I dip the piece in a clear glaze. Here, I used cobalt carb for the blue box and copper carb for the green one. The pieces are white on the inside.

I painted some leaves on the soup bowls. I'm still having a bit of trouble with the green color burning out, but there's a bit more green in these than in past experiments. I think I'll just have to paint it on thicker.

And finally, my brother is getting married in a couple of months and I was thinking of making a set of dishes. I can't decide exactly how to glaze them and did this trial run using the Randy's Red and Pharsalia Green glazes. I'm liking that combination a lot!

Monday, July 19, 2010

Summer Clearance Sale!

I am in the process of marking down items in my shop for my Annual Summer Clearance Sale. This will take a bit because I have to open each item listing and edit 3 different pages. Unfortunately, as far as I know, we don't yet have a tool that will allow us to apply percentage discounts to each item without having to go through the editing process. But, that's okay... It gives me an opportunity to tweak a few other things in the listings anyway.

So please keep checking my Etsy store because, like the items shown here, everything will be marked down!

If you are local, keep an eye out for information about the Kiln Club's Clearance Sale, which will take place on August 7th at Bethesda Elementary School from 9am to 2pm.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Wedding Favors

When one of my daughters got married 4 years ago, she asked me to make tiny vases w/ a heart to hold the table assignment cards. I made them all different sizes and glazes, and guests even traded them! These are the vases:

I also made some personalized hearts to be used for gift bags at her shower:

But that was it. I never really got into the "wedding market"... until now!

I met a delightful bride-to-be and her fiance who asked me to make 100 olive dishes. They plan to give them out as favors. Apparently, there is a family story connected to olives! This is the olive dish they want:

I am delighted by this order! First, because weddings are a time of such high hopes when it seems that the future is wide open. Second, because I love olives! Third, because making these little dishes is a lot of fun!

So, there it is. I have until next April to get them done and I started this week.

Here are some dishes waiting for handles:

And some handles waiting for dishes:

And the first batch of 8 dishes drying: