Sunday, January 20, 2013

Kiln Wash

Old shelves
Cleaning kiln shelves is one of my least favorite things to do. But lately that chore has become less of a hassle thanks to John Britt's Super-Awesome No-Crack Kiln Wash. I had some shelves that I was ready to throw out because they had over 10 years of kiln wash build up. The minute I put the wash on it would start cracking and flying all over the kiln, getting on fired pots... It was a disaster! 
John Britt's kiln wash is amazing. Not only are my new shelves protected and looking good, but the nasty old shelves with all their old cracked wash are back in working order. This wash covers the old wash so it isn't a problem any more.

Here's the recipe: 

Super-Awesome No-Crack Kiln Wash


Alumina Hydrate

Calcined EPK Kaolin

EPK Kaolin



G-200 Feldspar

1 – 2%
Shelves w/ wash drying in the sun

And you can read all about it in John's article, The Many Layers of Kiln Wash.  

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Season of the Witch

This box became a honey jar.
I make pots and imagine the kind of life they will live when they find their home. But, more often than not, they go on to live completely different lives than the ones I envision. I make and sell a lot of brie bakers and imagine them serving delicious brie cheese with all kinds of scrumptious toppings, but a friend thinks that her brie baker makes a perfect sandwich plate! I make small boxes that I imagine will serve as jewelry keeps, but this box went on to a life as a honey jar.

 Last year, on the drive back from the Utilitarian Clay Conference (at Arrowmont School of Arts and Crafts), Donovan came on the car radio singing Season of the Witch. That is a great song and I've always liked Donovan! As I was driving north on I-81, I decided to make a Season of the Witch yarn bowl. The bowl I made had the words "you've got to pick up every stitch" on the outside and cutouts of two rabbits running. I finished the bowl just in time for the City of Fairfax Holiday Show. I never took proper photos of the yarn bowl because I thought it would be an item that people might chuckle over but not buy... I figured I had plenty of time to take photos.

Here's the Season of the Witch bowl
Well, the bowl sold the first day of the show to a lady who didn't get the Donovan reference at all. But she thought it would make the perfect gift for a friend who just started to learn to knit. "This will remind her to pick up every stitch," she said. I thought about telling her about Donovan... but didn't.

I wonder if that yarn bowl will ever encounter someone who'll say: "Wait a minute! ... pick up every stitch... two rabbits (running in a ditch)... must be the Season of the Witch!" I hope so!     

Thursday, January 3, 2013

The Artist's Way

My 1994 copy of The Artist's Way, a gift from Jane Cullum
A group of Etsy potters who are members of the Etsy Mud Team have decided to form a "sacred circle" and start working Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way together. This is a wonderful opportunity for me because I started doing it by myself many years ago (1994!) but never got all the way through to the end. Now, I look forward to working through the resistance with the support of this great group of friends!

For those interested, Julia Cameron also has a website and I believe that she runs some groups and forums through it.

Looking forward to a year of unblocking creativity and letting it flow! Morning pages: here I come!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Ceramic Prep Bowls

A set of 3 small ceramic prep bowls will add the perfect touch to any kitchen. Use them for your ingredients while cooking or as individual dip bowls with your favorite olive oil or dip.

The bowls are about 2 inches tall, 1 1/2 inches deep and about 4 inches in diameter. They hold 1/2 cup (4 oz).

Use them also as trinket or catch-all bowls for your rings or pocket change.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year!

I need inspiration. I can go into the studio and make work to fill orders and list on Etsy, but there's something else stirring... I can see it out of the corner of my eye and then it's gone. It occurred to me to pull out my old copy of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way to wipe away some of the cobwebs. Paging through it I realized that one of the things I haven't done in a long time is the artist date. The concept is simple. The artist date is a block of time that is especially set aside once a week and committed to nurturing your creative consciousness. It's a play date with your inner artist! It can be going for a walk or to an art gallery, sitting in a favorite spot by the shore or taking a long soak in the tub... anything that gives you time to be with yourself.

So, after deciding that this year I will start to do this and maybe go through The Artist's Way again, I googled "ceramic pottery inspiration" and got a slew of images of great pots (mostly Pinterest pins, apparently)... pottery porn!

And then I remembered that I have some great pottery inspiration at home. This amazing pot and pottery shards have been in my husband's family for a long time. The story is that his grandfather brought them back from Colorado. It is just an incredible little pot and the shards speak of what they used to be... Inspiration! ... right in my living room!