Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

This year I bought the equivalent of an adult size Playdo Fun Factory. Boy is it ever fun! The official name for this new piece of equipment is a clay extruder. It hangs on the wall, vertically. A large hunk of clay is put inside the chamber and a lever is pressed down, bringing weight down and forcing the clay to come out in large or small coils. Like I said. It is very VERY fun.

After what seems like weeks of waiting (oh, wait ... it was!) my kiln sitter part finally came in the DAY before Christmas eve. Christmas eve it was installed and late that evening I was able to finally fire! Tomorrow I will open the kiln. If I like how this new batch came out, I will post the pictures.

In January, I will be bringing beads to auction over at www.justbeads.com. Look for me: NKP DESIGNS Many ceramic bead artists from the yahoo group BEADS OF Clay (BOC) will also be putting up their beads for auction. These bead artists are phenomenal and their beads even more so! Drop by and click on the CERAMIC BEADS link and see all the different and wonderful things artists are doing with ceramic beads these days.

I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and may the Lord bless all off you with His peace and joy all this year.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Busy with the Beads

Last week my kiln sitter on my big kiln sat down on me and refused to work anymore. Therefore the entire load of bowls and mugs and platters had to be unloaded and a new plan made while replacement parts were ordered. I decided to just get busy with glazing and firing beads in the jewelry kiln until the kiln sitter parts arrive. These are just some of the beads I have been glazing.

The pinkish white beads with leaf imprints are some of my favorites. Ironstone clay fires a pinkish color and glazing over this natural tint with a bit of white gives off a luscious appearance.

This ceramic green bead with the orange bumps is my take on glass beads. My husband asked me afterwards how I glued on those bumps. I told him they were fused onto the round and weren't coming off anytime soon. The green is a matt finish and the bumps are glossy. I found this to be a fun contrast. This is a look a glass bead can't easily duplicate.

Next is a lovely china sea green ladybug...

...followed by a nugget in a color I like to call 'blue jean'.

This round took a long time to glaze. All those long lines. Worse than standing in the grocery store the day before Thanksgiving.

This purple round was designed to imiate the texture of Turkish Silver . I like the precise definition of the small dots.

While those were in the kiln I started playing with some polymer clay and came up with this. The next day I went to the auto supply store and bought high grit sandpaper in various grades and hours later finally finished this batch. I won't be doing more of these unless I invest in a tumbler. They sure were fun though.

This necklace I designed with disk shaped 9mm freshwater pearls and oval rhodonites. It will retail for $45. See my main page to order.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

What I've Been Doing

The semi-annual TP&SG sale at the Botanical Gardens was fabulous as usual. I got to meet many of my customers and that is always fun. Since Thanksgiving is over and the company has gone home, I thought I'd share some of the things I've been working on. I've wanted to slab-build for some time now, but time is what has been missing from my schedual until

BUT before I forgot: here are the new batch of beads I'm about to bisque-fire.

I started off making some platters. I've never made platters before, but I've acquired some leftover wooden planks from my husband's bookshelf project. He left them outside, never put these away and one day I realized they had warped just perfectly for platter molds. Viola! I won't post all the pictures, but here's the most unusual of the ones I have made so far.

I had so much fun making those platters I decided to make some business card

That was so much fun I thought: SOAPDISHES!

That was so much fun I thought: TEAPOT!

Then I ran out of clay BUT tomorrow is another day.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Bluebonnet Circle Festival

The show last Saturday held at Bluebonnet Circle was a lot of fun. I especially enjoyed the musical entertainment where the young man was crooning songs from Frank Sinatra and others from that time period. Lovely!

The "Dog Jog" was fun to watch. Unfortunately one of those mutts decided to mark the side of my display table and I never noticed until late in the day. I guess that is what happens when dogs are celebrated at a park. I wonder if anyone else had this happen to them.

It was fun to meet so many new customers, and greet some repeat customers as well.

Next Saturday I'll be in the Heliotrope's parking lot and hopefully the new batch of tea-mugs will be fresh out of the kiln.

Until then....

Friday, October 14, 2005


The show in Heliotrope's parking lot October 1st was a lot of fun. I meant to blog about this before now, but that Monday hubby and I were off to NYC and a week later we were finally back in Texas. This week has been spent playing catch up, but I did bisque some tea-mugs. Tea-mugs? Well, these are as tall as a coffee mug, but with an inside strainer made out of the same clay body as the mug. They also have saucers and lids.

I'm going to glaze them this weekend and when they are done I'll post the photos here. They were a lot of fun to make.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Old Pewter Styles

Last week I got out some "Old Pewter" glaze that I've had stashed in the back of the cabinet for a couple of years. I bought it on a whim and because it is a cone 05 and it requires a "fast fire" in order to become shiny like gun metal, I never used it. It's impossible to get things in a big kiln to fire exactly the way one wants. Big kilns are for happy accidents.

However, because of the smaller jewelry kiln with the digital temperature controller I can do anything, including fire "slow", "medium", or "fast".

So out came the "Old Pewter" glaze and I am delighted with the results. These are so shiny! I am in a glazy-sort-of-love daze at the moment.

This next picture is a pattern that I especially am fond. I did some experiements and this is an extremely opaque glaze, able to go on porcelain, earthenware, and red Toas with no visible difference. These pictured, however, are all on a porcelain clay body.

This is a 10 mm round that has a lovely daffodil stamped on two sides.

...and here are some simple, but wonderful, nuggets.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

New Bead Styles

I worked hard every day last week glazing and kilning beads for all the upcoming shows. To recap, I'll be over in the Heliotrope's parking lot on October 1st, and as of last night, I will be at Lockheed Martin's Annual Trinity River sale sharing a booth with a fellow potter October 8th and 9th (more about that in some upcoming posts).

These are some beads I had lots of fun making. I used a clear gloss over a textured Lapis Blue glaze and then I used that wonderful bumpy glaze over that.

These are some beads that are from about 4mm to 12 mm. They are elegant in their absolute simplicity.

I have been glazing these and placing them in the kiln as I have a bit of extra room. These are such fun pendants to make. The demo on how I made them is at:

Take the first link: Sunflower Demo
There is another batch kilining right now. Every day I have that little kiln going. I am growing to like this small kiln with its digital temperature control more and more. At first I thought it would be hard to operate, but I was wrong. It is easy.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Sept. 3rd Show Canceled

I apologize profusely for those who showed up at the show expecting to find me. For lack of a more delicate way to state this, I had some unexpected things come up the night before.

This means I will have even more product when I show in October.

Thank you for your understanding.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

No Peeking!

I went to the Texas Pottery & Sculpture Guild meeting last night. Rachel Bates from Passon Pottery gave an awesome demo on the Majolica technique she has employed in the past and continues to develop currently.

One of Rachel's bowl (Click here to view one of her bowls) was this July's doorprize for the TP&SG's show at the Botanical Garden in Fort Worth.

I am planning on using some of these techniques I learned on some beads. Like Rachel, I enjoy watercolor painting and the exciting thing about this particular technique is that it gives the translucence of watercolor -- something I've tried to do in the past with plain underglazing.

Fresh out of the kiln! These bowls were painstakingly thrown over a period of three days. What I mean by that is that I measured out the clay and threw them exactly alike as I possibly could and it took three days to get these three bowls. I am now well aquainted with the use of a caliper.

Here are the same bowls stacked one on top of another.
Inside two are a rustic turquiose and the third one I used a barn-red glaze. These would make excellent French Onion soup bowls, or could be used for Creme Brule, or (my favorite) ice cream.

These are similar to what I brought to the 2005 July Botanical Garden show with the Texas Pottery & Sculpture Guild. I am continuing to experiement with different shapes and sizes. I am still enthralled with a turquoise swirl over an oatmeal glaze. As always, these are all lead-free glazes and also dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe dinnerware.

I have the kiln going again today. This will be the last load I can kiln before the show on Saturday. In fact, I will be pulling out this batch late Friday night. I am telling myself over and over again: NO PEEKING!

Monday, August 29, 2005

Ron Hollister Pottery piece #3474

Ron Hollister Pottery piece #3474 -- $150

Wheel thrown, 14.5" tall, designs created from carbon left from the burning of rope, horsehair, feathers and other materials. Additions of leather, beads and feathers

Available at For Goodness Sake, North Park Mall, Dallas

View more of Ron's work at: http://www.ronhollisterpottery.com/

Do notice the blue nugget beads decorating the side of this vessel. Yes, as a matter of fact, I did make those beads!

Kiln Opening

There is absolutely nothing like the thrill of opening a kiln and looking inside. The trick is not to get anxious and open the kiln too soon otherwise one could lose ones eyebrows.

So far I haven't lost my eyebrows -- but I've come close.

I have 2 kilns. A big kiln and a small kiln. The small kiln is for glass beadwork and kilning ceramic beads and silver-clay jewelry. The big kiln is for the pottery ... and if there is room, beads. This is the small kiln. And as you can see it is filled with green and blue beads which I will be taking to the show on Saturday, September 3rd.

Recently the big kiln had a malfunction and hubby and I had to take it apart and rewire the box. We also ended up having to replace the top element. It was not as hard as I thought it would be. A big huge SHOUT OUT mega thanks to Alan at Texas Pottery Supply and Clay Company (www.texaspottery.com) for quickly retrieving the necessary parts in record time!

Right now the big kiln is cooling down. I won't be able to open it until tomorrow morning. Lately I have been throwing extremely thin pieces and the last time I opened the kiln to peek at it, I lost 12 beautiful bowls. Someone told me that when things are 1000 degrees and the outside air is only a mere 100 degrees, what would I expect to happen?

Okay .... so I have learned my lesson. No pre-mature opening of the kiln for me anymore. It helps to kiln beads at the same time as the pottery because all day long I can oooooo and ahhhhh over the little tiny things and keep my hands off the big kiln.

Each new bead or piece of pottery is like a tiny canvas. I enjoy making the canvas as much as I do decorating it. These blue babies are about 4-6 mm. They are not painted with this design, but have been impressed with a button that I made a mold from. The glaze settles into the small grooves and gives the appearance of a painted design.

This is a 10 mm round which was stamped with a leaf pattern.

Yesterday I kilned some white porcelain rounds with chinz style decals. I think these are so fun. Until the decal salesman returns to American Ceramics (www.americanceramics.com) this is the last batch of these for awhile. They proved to be the most popular bead at the Texas Pottery & Sculpture Guild show at the Botanical Gardens this past July.

Tomorrow I will post a few photos of the new pottery I will be bringing to the show. Until then ...

Show on September 3rd

I have an upcoming show on Saturday, September 3rd on Memorial Day weekend. I am showcasing some new bead styles and brand new ideas I've had on their designs. Also, I will have some new pottery colors. The show is at Bluebonnet Circle off University Street in Fort Worth, Texas.

I hope to see everyone there!