Saturday, February 28, 2015

Swirly Bowl

This is one of the handbuilt projects I've been focused lately.  I arranged the stoneware clay in coils into this wooden bowl.  I actually laid plastic in it before coiling the clay inside, this is because I wanted to be able to dump it out after a few days and smooth down the rim from the underside with a sponge.

After doing that I took a homemade stamp and stamped around the edges after I placed the it back into the bowl in which it was formed.  Not only is the stamp pretty, not only does it echo what is going on outside the bowl, but it will also give the rim added strength because the stamping compresses the clay.

Back under wraps this goes to finish slowly drying.  

Thanks for stopping by! -- Natalie 

Friday, February 27, 2015

Teapot (part four)

I started out placing the lid into a bowl ...thought it might be nice to curve it, after looking at it on the pot I had other thoughts. I cut off about 1 1/2" off the middle part (It just made the teapot top heavy).  And I decided to go with the same type of lid as the model.

 Next it was time to work on the spout.  I have that same mindset a carpenter does: measure twice before cutting.  So before I actually affixed this to the pot, I arranged it on there temporarily and looked at it from all angles. 

 Now it is sitting under wraps to dry slowly.  Now what?

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Teapot (part 3)

Yep, it's definitely going to be a teapot.  I thought it would be, but now I'm certain. I better be. I threw a spout for it.  I began this morning by going into my studio and evaluating the handle I put on it late yesterday afternoon.  I wasn't happy with it.  I agonized.  I like the first handle on the pot on the left so much better, but now that the teapot is leather hard, there's not a lot I can do  ...I could cut it off and start over, yes, I could bathe the pot carefully in paper towels and bring it back to a more workable level. A lot of potters work things out this way, but me? I'm too much in a hurry...I'm not a patient potter.

The photo on the left is what I saw after unwrapping the teapot.  I did mess with it a bit ....I carefully pushed on one side and smoothed the other ... I also added rolled joints to the top and bottom part where the handle attached (for added strength) and burnished the entire teapot a bit.

I then sat down and pugged out a small log of clay (de-aired it, yay, no wedging) ... and in no time had formed a lid and a spout (see picture below).  Yesterday, try as I tried, I could not throw the lid.  I lost count of how many I destroyed. But today?  I suppose that happens when the brain rests.

Later today I will attach the spout (gotta let it dry) and the lid will need some fiddling with, too.  I haven't decided whether or not to attach a handle to the lid.  


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Teapot / Vase (part 2)

I added the feet today to the pot I made yesterday (see previous post).

The shape I am basing it is on this teapot on the far left.  That is a stoneware that was gas fired to cone 10 and covered with an all over iron oxide decal pattern that I designed.

This new vase/teapot is bigger, but once it dries, and once its fired, it will be roughly the same size.

I plan to try to duplicate (as much as possible) the same firing in my home electric kiln. This is cone 6 stoneware clay. It will fire to a buff brown with dark speckles ... then I will apply the iron oxide decals.  And like the version on the left, it will not be glazed.

I still have to form the handle and the spout and the lid. So I had better get busy.

Thanks for stopping by! -- Natalie

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Wheel Throwing Project: Vase (or teapot)

I may or may not turn this into a teapot.  I am not done throwing it yet.  Do you see that small shape in the left top hand corner? That is the shape I am planning to make this vase/teapot.  Not that this shape isn't very nice, it is nice, just not the shape I am going for.

I had a hard time seeing the difference until I took the picture, now I can see I will have to push this out a bit more from further down, and the neck could be a teeny bit more curved inward.

It is easy to see what needs 'fixing' in a in photograph. It's kind of what a painter does when he/she steps away from the painting to get a broader view.

I went back into the studio and worked a bit more with this shape.  I am still not happy with the lip and the shoulder could be a bit higher. I will let it sit awhile and mess with it a bit more.

I let it slowly go around the wheel for about an hour while I made mashed potatoes and gravy from a chicken that had just come out of the oven.

After supper I got to work again and below is he finished pot ... well, it's not finished yet ...I'm going to put some little feet on it and a handle and a spout and a lid, but that's for another day.

It doesn't look much different, but it is just a bit wider at the shoulder and I worked on the neck, made it a bit taller and ready to accept a cap lid.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Oval Dip Bowl

Thank you to PicMonkey once again for providing an easy way to collage these five photos.  I started off with compressing coils into an oval plate (thank you to Chipotle for the bowl, and by the way, their Burrito Bowls are awesomely good!) 

Second Picture:  I pushed the coils together with my fingertips.
Third Picture:  I smoothed out the clay
Four Picture: I compressed with a plastic rib and a sponge
Five Picture:  I added a section to hold the dip.

Now this is under wraps to dry slowly.  

Other news: It's very cold here today. We've had an ice storm and so we are home bound. I went out to give the chickens and dogs water this morning and discovered the heat lamp in the hen coop had broken during the night...well, it would be more accurate to say the lamp separated from the base and fell out of the lamp. Odd.  I have another bulb so I replaced it.  The hens didn't seem to be bothered by the cold but once that bulb was replaced, they all hopped in and are currently standing under its warmth.  I don't blame them one bit.  

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Children Ceramic Divided Plates

 My daughter is disgusted with plastic. Yay!

She asked me to handbuild some plates for her children and asked for the areas to be divided.  After some thought, this is what I came up with.

I used a plain paper plate as a mold. I guess it is not really a mold, though. It is more like a holding area.

I used coils and smoothed them out.  Then placed coils from one end to the other.
I decided to add three areas total and on when one more coil.

I smoothed these out and placed this under plastic.  If it will dry out slowly, perhaps it will not crack.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Handbuilding On A Saturday

 I get in the mood to coil and handbuild every so often.  One of the first projects in any pottery class is to roll coils and make something fun.

This is my something fun.

I've gathered a couple of odd shaped bowls from the Asian store. I think they are actually used to smash herbs and spices, but I think they make great molds for small cups and bowls.

Also on my favorite things to use for a mold is this oval platter/bowl that came with a Chipotle Bowl ... wash it out, let it dry ... and it can be used multiple times as a mold.

Here are some above shots of the coils placed into the molds.  It takes some doing to smooth out the coils and compress them in the hopes that they will not crack while drying.

I typically place them into disposable plastic bags which the groceries come home in.  The city where I live have not banned them and I find they have lots of uses in my pottery studio.
If you've been following my blog, you have seen this picture on the left before.  It is what this particular cup/bowl  looks like after it comes out of the mold and I love putting those small tri-feet on the bottom.

Last time I made these, I made five of them. I wanted four and usually when I'm after a certain number, one never turns out, or it breaks, or it ...well, something usually happens and I end up with one less than I hoped.  But this time I made five and ended up with five. Maybe I am getting better?

Friday, February 20, 2015

Yea Ladybugs!

Floral Ladybugs Porcelain Oval Beads
I found the cutest decals with teeny ladybugs on them and applied them to these light green oval shape beads.

The pink tulips are a perfect reminder that spring is right around the corner, even though an ice storm is heading toward North Central Texas as I type this blog entry.

We are hoping that by the time Monday gets here that the ice storm will not have happened, but in the event it does, we'll be sure to stock up on Strawberry PopTarts. 

Thursday, February 19, 2015

New Decal Beads in my Webstore

Shamrock Clover Ceramic Beads
I just added these to my webstore. I purchased these decals a few years ago and there they sat in their plastic sleeve until I found exactly the right beads on which to apply them.

I love the light minty glaze combined with the yellow green of the three leaf clovers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Dusky Seafoam Fossil Ceramic Bead

Dusky Seafoam Fossil Ceramic Bead

I just renewed these lovelies on Etsy.  The minty green 'seafoam' glaze has a certain dusky glow (I think), possibly because of the white stoneware clay, which tends a bit toward dark vanilla after firing.

It's hard thinking of a title sometimes, and so I have also added the word 'daisy' to the official 'title' because the fossil is actually a flower 'button' that I picked up in the sewing store.  

These have a texture that reminds me of fossil coral, which is one of my favorites.

These are not being sold in a batch (unless requested of course), but one at a time.

Check them out. They are in my Etsy shop.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Hummingbird Decals Are Firing - UPDATED

Today I have some smooth beads with commercial decals fixed onto them. They are firing to cone 016 with a hold time of 10 minutes.  I am excited because I found hidden under some other decals, some hummingbirds. I thought I was completely out of those!

I applied them on a smooth sky blue round bead with little speckles of cobalt blue.  I searched for some beads with hummingbird decals from an old listing and that is the photo up in the left hand corner.

Years ago, I sold this bead (in the above picture) along with some beautiful square bars of garnet.  I should think about combining some of my new listings this way again.

Hummingbirds Ceramic Beads
 UPDATE:  Here is how they turned out.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Antique Doily 7797 - Texture

Antique Doily 7797
This is a doily I am currently crocheting in order to use for a texture in some of my pots. I am using a waxed linen thicker thread.

I have been knitting lately and have been thinking about incorporating some of the fiber arts I am familiar with into the pottery (maybe some beads, too, somehow).

Thanks for stopping by!  -- Natalie

Monday, February 09, 2015

Tri-Pod Feet on a Pot - a Ceramic Daily Video

I want to share this video with those who enjoy watching pottery demonstrations.  This website has so many super techniques for potters to share with each other and learn from. They also sell dvds.

Here is the link: http://ceramicartsdaily.org/pottery-making-techniques/handbuilding-techniques/handbuilding-video-how-to-make-a-textured-tripod-pot-with-soft-slabs/

I have always wondered about how the feet on these types of vessels were made. Now I know. I got to looking at it and though, well, of one of those sections were a spout and if those other two sections were trimmed off and a lid was made ... a teapot could be born.  So now an idea is germinating and one day may sprout.  The picture above is a photo of the finished piece in the video. I did one of those 'print screens' as the video was playing to capture it.  Beautiful piece of pottery, yes? 

Sunday, February 08, 2015

Sea Life Latte Belly Mug Series

I threw these large big belly mugs and added sprigs of clay to them to resemble sea life.  The one on the far left shows fishes swimming in a school.  The middle one represents tube worms, but I wanted to make them curly instead of straight.. artist license....

The one of the far right represents those spiky underwater flowers which filters the sea water.

I coated these with a clear gloss glaze and voila ..... this is how they turned out.

You want these mugs? Drop me an email and make me an offer.

Saturday, February 07, 2015

What is that Drawing on that Mug?

Both of these have been glazed in a chartreuse green glaze then decorated in underglazes.

Hubby thinks the mug in the foreground has the footprints of a frog ...I just wanted to mess around with some abstract stuff .... I thought it looked a bit like closed eyelids ... then I got to thinking they kinda resembled spiders ...then I thought, oh that will never sell. It has a creepy factor.

The "mom" tumbler in the background has words on it, done in a sloppy 'kid' sort of way, which isn't hard for me because I have the world's worst handwriting.  I covered these with the same clear gloss (5 coats inside and out) and fired them.

I love the shade of green and the mug on the left is fun (keeping it!) ... unfortunately the lettering on the "mom" tumbler has run and is unreadable.  Aaaaand .... this is the perfect example of why I do not take custom orders.

I will probably glaze and refire to hide the mishap (much in the same way people get their tattoos covered when they turn out badly or have regrets).

Friday, February 06, 2015

Blue Mug for my Daughter

This lovely mug is going to my daughter for her birthday.  It has a turquoise glaze combined with a bright blue glaze for the bottom and outside of the handle.

She knows I am making this mug, and picked out the blue herself.  But she doesn't know it is a birthday present, but like the rest of my family, she doesn't read my blog.

ha ha ha ...

And ... here is how it came out.  I posted a picture of it fired on Facebook and she loves it.  Whew!

Thursday, February 05, 2015

Two Carved Mugs

These are two mugs I threw a while back and carved.  I showcased them on Facebook, then set them on a shelf until I had a reliable kiln to fire them in.  Well, if you have been following this blog, you know that I did purchase a new kiln and it is running.  After a few test fires and a bump in the road, finally fired it and these two mugs were in it.

I used three different shades of green and a deep yellow in the carved leaves. I also rubbed a black underglaze in the recesses of the leaves.  I wanted them to really pop and give a lot of definition.  The background is a soft turquoise (which pretty much faded in the firing).

I also wanted to retain as much of the brown stoneware clay as possible. 

The two mugs were coated with 5 coats of this clear zinc free glaze.  I prefer the zinc free glaze because it doesn't turn cloudy.  It stays clear.

From start to finish the glazing took me 3 hours.  It is not that I am a slow glazer, but the leaves had multiple coats of color and the overcoats of clear had to dry in between coats.  So yes, there were times I was sitting twiddling my thumbs, well, actually I was watching the Superbowl while glazing.

Congrats to the Patriots!

These mugs are going to be an anniversary present for my parents. They both have loved gardening over the years and they both love drinking coffee.  I don't have to worry about them finding out ahead of time about this because they don't get online.

So this is how those mugs finally turned out. I sure do hope my folks like these as much as I enjoyed making them.

Wednesday, February 04, 2015

Kiln Firing

I stayed up late the night before the firing to finish all this glazing.  This would have more than filled up my older (and smaller) kiln, but as it is, I did get four layers instead of the normal three, and I probably could have fit more onto each shelf as well.

But then disaster struck.  I went through my checklist: Turn on timer for kiln sitter.  Put cone 10 bar in kiln sitter, push in plunger to engage .... because unless the kiln sitter is engaged, the digital part of the kiln will not run (and if you missed that small saga, it is a few posts back in time) ...

Alas.  The kiln sitter plunger did not engage. I pushed, I shoved.  I muttered.  All to no avail.  It would not work.

I unloaded the entire kiln.  I did a google search and find something about some spring action that should be happening and isn't .... so I take my hand dandy screwdrive and unscrew the kiln sitters face plate and wiggle the parts around. Nothing happens.

I screw the kiln sitter face plate back in, readjust the claw that holds the small cone bars.  I try again. Repeat.  Nothing happens. Repeat.  I started this process at about 10 am in the morning and at 11:30 finally (I don't know why) the plunger engaged.

I reloaded the kiln and it is firing right now.  It's more than ironic that I bought this kiln so that I WOULDN'T have to disassemble it every time I wanted to fire.  Why?  Because that's what I had to do with my old kiln.

On the other hand ... this has a nice 'soak' function that my other kiln didn't (it being only equipped with a manual kiln sitter and infinite control knobs and all).

UPDATE:  It fired almost 14 hours with a 20 minute soak.  At this very moment is cooling down  and is just above 200 degrees.  Tomorrow -- pictures!

Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

Latte Mug

I have this glazed and am eager to see how it will turn out after it is fired later this week.  I used a non-toxic lead free chartreuse glaze for the main color.  The textured garden area has blue, green, and red daisy flowers.  The 'ground' has not been glazed.

I created this mug a few months back but had to wait to glaze and fire it.


                                                              UPDATE:  Here it is ...

Monday, February 02, 2015

Funky Pineapples Pasta Dish

I created this pasta dish a few months back.  The bottom is completely flat because I want to be able to also place it in the oven and bake lasagna for two (hubby and I are happy empty-nesters).

I painted these happy (albeit funky) pineapples all around.  The main color is a chartreuse green, the pineapples are a darker leaf green, with accents of black and red.  There are tangerine 'toppers' on the pineapple and also in 'dot' form, which for me symbolizes the sun.

Hubby has been asking for a pasta dish for a long time, so this is also his birthday present. Shhhh ... he doesn't know, but he doesn't read this blog either so it will be a complete surprise.

                                                                  UPDATE:  here it is: 

Thanks for stopping by -- Natalie

Sunday, February 01, 2015

First New Kiln Load

Behold, no control knobs.  To fire this kiln I must put a bar cone into the kiln setter and set the timer to go beyond what I think the kiln might take to fire. The bar cone should be the same cone I am firing to, or more than I think I might be firing to.  And I must have the kiln setter completely set before I turn on the 'off/on' switch or it will not raise the temperature beyond 80 degrees.

I had to do a couple of test fires to figure out what it would do. It might have been nice to have been given instructions.

AND ... in keeping with the mishap of the kiln order, my first firing wasn't that great. Two of the three slabs blew up.  I should have programmed it for a slow fire instead of a fast fire. 

I vacuumed out the kiln (should always do that regardless) after I emptied the rest of mugs and pasta bowls that have been accumulating in my studio since fall.

I am going to be glazing these over the next few days and then refire to cone 6.  I used to have to fire at cone 7 on my old kiln because there was no way to coax it to 'soak' ... but I will be programming a soak on this newer kiln.

I'm looking forward to everything coming out nicely.  Fingers crossed.  Thanks for stopping by, and hey, if you are going to buy a new kiln and if it is a custom order, really discuss with the person who takes your order not only WHAT you want but WHY you want it...then you won't make the same mistake I have made.

On the bright side, it is a very nice kiln and I'm sure I'll get a lot of years usage out of it.