Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gallery Night Pottery Show

The Texas Pottery and Sculptural Guild will be offering pottery for sale in the Heliotrope parking lot on Blue Bonnet Circle from 12 pm to 9 pm this Saturday, March 29th. Go on I-30 in Fort Worth to University. Go South. Blue Bonnet Circle intersects University a few miles down. Here's a ph. # to Heliotrope if you need directions or more information. (817) 924-1113.

Empty Bowls

I am going to try to make one bowl a month for Empty Bowls. This is what I donated to a drop off center yesterday. It is hand-built with simple (but hopefully exciting) glazing on the inside. Most potters donate to this worthy cause and those who can't pot, buy tickets and pick out a bowl. Take the link above and find an Empty Bowls event nearest you!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Marketing Ploy

I have tons of gemstones that I meant to use to make jewelry with but have not utilized. I've been so busy with clay (beads and pottery) that I simply have not had the time. But oftentimes when I see a certain bead I think, "It's a SHAME not to use it with such and such gemstone."

This particular sunflower decal goes perfectly with these square yellow jaspers. So I'll be offering some combinations like this in my Etsy store over the next few days (or weeks).

It dawned on me that I can really tag these babies! I can label these types of listing in 'commerical' supplies because, well, the jasper are not hand made -- but because I made the porcelain bead myself I can also market it as 'handmade'. So I will have double the exposure.

I'm kinda of excited about that. It may not float, but it certainly is worth a try.

Bird, Snake, Frog, and Rocks, .... Pitcher

I had a lot of ideas going on in my head when I made this. It was a wheeled thrown vase that I shaped into a pitcher, I was thinking the shape reminded me of a bird, so I formed a hat/lid by hand.

Then I thought I'd give it a snake for a handle. Then the snake made me think of river beds, so I carved the outside and added 'river rocks' ...

...then I thought the lid should have some river rocks on it and that led me to think that perhaps there was a frog perched on top of the rocks, sunning.

So this is the end result. I'm really enjoying combining handthrowing with sculpture and hand-building. Note to self: MUST DO MORE!

Monday, March 24, 2008

VOTE for Etsy Mud Critters

Etsy Team members will create a CLAY CRITTER. The piece can be anything, functional or non-functional. Photos of the Critters will be displayed in the Current Contest section of our web page (members are responsible for uploading their photo). Members will “hide” a photo of their Critter in one of their shop listings. Visitors to our web page will be instructed to vote for their favorite Critter and to visit participating members’ shops to “seek out” the shop Critter and receive a free prize with their purchase. To claim their prize, buyers must include in the comment section of their order the word CRITTER and the ID number of the listing where they found the Critter. The free prizes can be whatever members decide to give away for their shop – magnets, pendants, etc.

I have hidden my critters in my shop -- this is what they look like. I usually put in a Thank You gift of a magnet or pendant anyway, but for this game I'm going to include one extra! Yay! Happy Hunting!

Click Here to view all Critters and vote for your favorite.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Forest Green Stoneware Chopstick Holders

I think I'm going to go back and punch up the description of these in my Etsy Store. I just listed them today, but I made them a few months ago.

I have had a challenge photographing them so that it brings out the daisy pattern without distorting the color.

Also, I wanted to photograph them with chopsticks. These I found in the Oriental grocery store near my house. They are a hard plastic, nondescript, and do not take away from the holders.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

New Mexico Sky Turquoise Porcelain Rounds

I put these in my Etsy store today. They are 20 mm with a smooth matte finish. I wrote in my description that this color of blue reminds me of the blue New Mexican sky I grew up with.

Now folks here in Texas, a state I have grown to adore the last 20 years, think the sky is pretty and blue -- but it is nothing like the southern New Mexico sky. The sun is much brighter there, probably because of the higher elevation.

Now I'm not dissin' Texas ... I would never (like some who have moved here) spell the vowels with an '*', Texas is a lovely in every way. I'm just saying that the sun is much brighter where I grew up. This time of year is probably my favorite time of year there, too.

This is one of several small pendants that I will be offering later this week, probably tomorrow.

Breakfast Teamugs

I was busy today putting handles on these. I threw them yesterday. I have three more to put handles on for tomorrow. These are all going to hold between 12-16 ounces (I think).

Hopefully I won't drop and shatter them during the bisque and glaze firing. I've been somewhat klutzy the last week or two and destroyed more things than I care to remember.

Right now the kiln is doing its thing. I have a prototype of a big round baking dish with a big tall lid that is being fired. I'm firing it 4 cones hotter than normal, but doing it for a longer period. What I hope to accomplish is a clay pot that is strong enough to withstand a 300 degree oven but porous enough to absorb water. I will probably not be putting something expensive in it the first time. I probably will not cook with anything the first time other than to coat it with grape-seed oil.

This clay pot (minus the top) might just end up making the world's biggest apple pie! (ahhh ... apple pie!)

Cat Proof Sugar Bowl

Behold ... the Cat Proof Sugar Bowl. Recently I was contacted to make a sugar bowl out of a certain glaze and while it was a disaster, that might have been a good thing because I found out that the customer had a feline friend who might want to bat around that sugar bowl.

There's nothing like a bit of a challenge to get one's creative juices going. I threw three bowls. The lid, when not in use, could possibly be used to hold used teabags ... or the drippy spoon could rest inside, too.

By now some may be wondering ... how? HOW is it cat proof? Answer: it is in the way the lid fits over the bottom bowl ... or actually, the TWO bottom bowls.

The inner bowl can be lifted out and the bowl underneath can be used to hold used tea bags or a drippy spoon. The lid could, if one so desired, be used to elevate the sugar bowl, like a pedestal.

Here's another way it can be used. The sugar bowl could sit open and exposed while the top and bottom are one single unit.

As I put all this in writing, I'm realizing that this bowl is beginning to remind me of that trend that was popular in the early 80's . It was a shirt/skirt that had a wrap and it could be worn 1000 different ways but it only came in four colors: blue, red, white, and brown .... it maybe have come in green but I don't think so.

This is by far one of the most interesting custom orders I've at
attempted. Now ... if it can only survive the bisque and glaze firing!

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Mugs

I have two new mugs in my store. I hand-threw this on the pottery wheel and applied a hand-pulled handle and allowed it to dry.

After the stoneware clay was bisque-fired, I stamped it with a pattern with a black under-glaze, then covered the entire mug (even the bottom) with a clear gloss glaze and re-fired to maturity.
This holds 6 ounces comfortably and is food safe (lead free), microwave and dishwasher safe as well.

Now this one is more accurately described as a teacup. It is small, only holds 4 ounces. I had made the most beautiful 12 oz breakfast teacup and when I was about to take its picture, I knocked it over and it shattered into a billion pieces. I could have cried. It looked exactly like this one. It can be found here here. In any event, I am going to throw some more that are bigger this week and start the process over.

Introducing My Lil' Sister and Newest Bead

My little sister came to visit with my folks this past weekend. She is a well behaved two year old and I'm glad to have her added to the family unit.

Amazingly she does not crawl on the furniture one bit. She didn't even attempt a jump! I don't know what they did to her between this visit and the last visit. Apparently my folks are big fans of the The Dog Whisperer cable show... and now I am too!

This is one of my decal beads that came through the fire fantastically! I have had much trouble with this process. So much trouble that I have almost completely abandoned it and am in the process of having my drawings (such as this) transfered to a stamp instead.

Handpainting a bead (such as this one) is easier than applying the decal and ruining the bead!

At least the handpainted bead stands a chance! But this decal bead looks great! I like the translucence of the clay body which shows through. There are three 'decal' drawings on it. Of course, I will be putting it in my Etsy Store. I'll be adding it to the Focal Bead section.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Natural Gemstones with Ceramic Beads

This is part of a necklace I made from some simple stoneware rounds and some blue stoneware 'knots'. The rondells are jasper, and so are the faceted rectangles. This was a simple design, but I find that simple designs are sometimes the most dramatic.

Jasper is one of my favorite gemstones. It is opaque (because it is formed from clay), so what better to put with ceramic beads but jasper? Next week Rings and Things will be making its annual wholesale trek through Dallas. So if you haven't yet made plans to go and you're in the area, now is the time to visit their website and plan your day!

Blue Landscape Tea Mug

This Tea Mug has been through a couple of glazings, which is why it shows this wonderful scene, which in the photo looks underwater-ish, but the photo does not do this tea mug justice.

It actually looks like snow covered mountains with rushing waterfalls and streams drifting through a valley. I am going to have to figure out how to photograph this particular tea mug properly.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Handbuilt Mug

This was a fun experiment I started a while back. I just now got around to taking its photo, too. I rolled out a slab and pressed a pattern into it. To get a closer look at the pattern, click on the photo, then when you're done, click your 'back' button to return here.

Next I took an empty paper towel roll and cut a circle around the bottom for the bottom of the mug. Then keeping the empty paper towel roll in place, I wrapped a strip of the slab around it and worked the edges in place with my fingers, and as well as shaped the top to flair out a bit. After it had hardened a bit, I cut a strip for the handle and applied that as well.

After bisque firing it, I applied a stain to the outside and covered it with a clear gloss glaze and refired. Voila! A handbuilt mug!

Handpainted Bead Beauties

Here are some beads that I will be putting in my Etsy store in the next few days. I handpainted the lot of them. I am finding out that I am enjoying this process very much.

This bead has such pretty colors. These are a combination of blues and yellows and oranges that are all transparent so they lay nicely layered upon one another.

Finding out which kind of glaze will have what effect is exciting. Opening the kiln is such a thrilling experience!

Here is a rose. It is a bit daunting to paint a rose on a bead, but I am getting braver with experimenting.

I have some decals that are very similar to the pattern I applied to this bead. I didn't realize until it came out that is how it would come out.

This last bead is one of my favorites. Unfortunately on the other side, the side that doesn't show in this photo is a blemish near the hole opening. It can be covered with a bead cap, but I will probably make this into a piece for myself and try again with this color combination.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Kiln Offerings

The miniature daffodils which are in full bloom in my bulb garden fit perfectly into these. I am a wild flower fanatic and I love a small bud or two or three (or more) in small containers, but I don't have much table space for knick knacks and if I happen to put a knick knack on a small table, inevitably I knock it over. These flower wall vases solve MY problem ever so nicely.

Here are a pair of salt and pepper 'purse' shakers. I did not get them finished in time for the Etsy Mud Team's salt and pepper challenge but here they are, finally done. I still have to find corks to insert into the bottom. I have a feeling I'll be whittling them down to size.

I had a disaster with my first set of critters. I knocked over the tray they were sitting on and they went flying to the floor and shattered into a zillion bits. So I got some new clay and started shaping again. Here are the results. It's a mom and her puppy. I am sure enjoying learning a bit about sculpture these days thanks to the Etsy Mud Team!!!

Friday, March 07, 2008

Make Yer Own Pottery Wheel

I've been in the studio working hard glazing glazing glazing. I have so many things to glaze that I've forbidden myself any greenware goodies until I get it all glazed. I am having a blast glazing, though. I don't know why I let it pile up like this!

In the meantime, enjoy this video ... and if anybody makes one ... I'd love to hear about it.

USB Pottery Wheel - video powered by Metacafe