Monday, December 31, 2007

Daisy Frost

Here is the back and front of a bead I pulled from the kiln a couple of weeks ago. It is a new clay I've been wanting to try for a while, if I remember correctly the name is 'Southern Frost'. There is a Southern Ice, but I believe that is a Cone 10 clay while Southern Frost is a Cone 6 clay.

The other thing I've been doing is drawing a lot. I think I've tackled the ins and outs of firing these iron oxide decals but I needed to make some more and also make them smaller. So now I have a page of decal doodles and only have to wait until I have some glazed rounds to apply them onto. So I guess I'll be spending the evening a glazen'.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

New Stuff

The hearts on this mug were spontaneously added after I had attached a handle. I also stamped a some around the sides with a heart stamp dipped in glaze. The photo doesn't show the stamping as well as it looks in person.

These are my first attempts at building chopstick holders. I pressed a stamp into the clay, then cut out circles, then rolled them with a small roller to make them oval and curvy. Last I attached little footsies on the bottoms. I may give this as a present or I may list it in the Etsy store. Haven't decided yet.

Still in Progress

This is a bowl I'm making for my mother for her birthday, which thankfully isn't until May! The outside came out great but as you can see in this next photo, the inside is riddled with glaze blisters -- click on photo to see more details. I'm going to reglaze with a clear gloss and refire one cone higher.

If I had a digital kiln instead of a kiln sitter this would probably be an easy problem to fix because all I would have to do is set it to 'soak' for about 10-15 minutes and the glaze would cover properly. I thought maybe plugging the vent holes would work, but it did not. No worrys here about Mom seeing her upcoming present though because she doesn't like computers.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Mugs Mugs Mugs Fresh from the Kiln

Here are some mugs that I threw on the wheel recently. The first three from the left to right, right now, hold 16 oz. The next two hold 12 oz, and the one on the very right hand end holds 8 oz.

Isn't it neat the way the short rounded shape of one mug holds the same amount as a taller, more slender one?

They will shrink in the glaze firing, but I don't think they will lose more than 2 oz. I'm predicting maybe an ounce. Measuring is certainly something I should have thought of doing earlier. I'm finding it very interesting.

I very much appreciate my customers who ask me to try different things that I never would have thought of without their input.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Almost Fired

This is my workspace in my studio. Lots of brushes, mixing sticks, and glazes. Today is glazing day. I've got my shelves full of bisque ready to be glazed. Note the tiny chopstick holders hiding in the back. I can't wait to see how those turn out.

This is about to get three coats of clear gloss glaze. It is a requested piece from someone who really liked my Spring Blossom series but has a yellow office and needs a paper holder. It's a hand-built piece. I love yellow and I'm thinking I really like this color combination with this particular pattern. It's very happy.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Hot Chocolate Mugs

I threw about 15 mugs on the pottery wheel earlier this week. These are but some of them. The smallest pictured will probably hold about 12 oz. The largest? I'm not certain, maybe 20 oz or more? I'll know for certain after it goes through its first firing. Click on the photo for a better look. Here are the rest of them:

Monday, December 03, 2007

Pottery Assignment

One of the members in the Pottery Basics Yahoo Group gave an assignment to throw something over 9 inches tall. He said to use a certain amount of clay. It's been a while since I did this and I am only now posting a photo of it. I was thrilled to throw higher than what was the goal. Is this the tallest I've ever thrown? Yep!

Here it is, dried and decorated. Or rather, decorated and dried. I put a bunch of stuff in the kiln today and this simply would not fit. It will have to wait until next time. It was a great project.

Thanks Jan for the terrific assignment!

Mug Swap

This is the mug that I sent for our Etsy Mud Team pottery swap. I received a most beautiful mug that I'm presently enjoying coffee. But this is the mug I sent.

It, as you can see, it is really a teacup.

Lots of Stuff

This sold today. It was one of my favorite bowls. I'm a bit sad to see it go but I know it has a good home. So farewell dear bowl.

This is a handbuilt item that I'm calling a paper holder. I got a question asking if I could handbuild one with the dimensions shown here, to hold paper. So this is in the kiln today for its first firing. The photo is blurry. I'm eager to see how it turns out.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Measuring Clay

I put a new demo on my webpage. It's on How to Make a Bead Measurer. Go Here to read it.

I also have joined a group called Ceramic Bead Artists. I have also put the tutorial there and will begin adding more as time allows.

Gotta Luv The $ Store.

I spent this morning wandering the local dollar stores in search of some low quality plastic dishes. Why? So I could line them with wet newspaper. After the newspaper dries I can begin rolling slabs and extruding coils for the bases and laying them into the plastic dishes. Once those are dry, I can bisque-fire them and have a mold for each shape. Each shape can be decorated differently to be completely unique. I will have molds for plates, platters, bowls, and oven bakers.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Texas Pottery and Sculpture Guild show

This weekend we had our big show. It went great. So many wonderful potters with their fabulous work on display! I wrapped. I love wrapping. I get to see everyone's art closeup. I also get to chime, "OH! You've bought my (fill in the blank)!" Fun!

Thank you to all those who bought my beads and jewelry. I hope you love it! Come visit my Etsy store and see more of it! http://nkpbeads.etsy.com

Texas Pottery and Sculpture Guild show

This weekend we had our big show. It went great. So many wonderful potters with their fabulous work on display! I wrapped. I love wrapping. I get to see everyone's art closeup. I also get to chime, "OH! You've bought my (fill in the blank)!" Fun!

Thank you to all those who bought my pottery. I hope you love it! Come visit my Etsy store and see more of it! http://nkpdesigns.etsy.com

Friday, November 02, 2007

Speaking of Magnets

I bought some glazing crayons at the ceramic store last week. I thought they'd be smooth and buttery like oil based pastels, but no. These crayons had the consistancy of chalk. After playing around with them for about an hour I took some of my watercolor brushes, and some small bisque circles that I had made some months ago, and painted minitures on top dabbing the crayons with a wet brush.

I do like how they came out and plan to make more of these. I forgot how much I have missed painting in watercolors! I'm so glad to have stumbled accidentally on these crayons and I'm so glad they turned out to be like chalk instead of smooth and buttery!!! These were fired at Cone 6 and are nice and bright! Yay!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Oh So Beautiful Bracelet from Gypsy Spirit Studio

Sharon from Gypsy Spirit Studio designed this beautiful bracelet using one of my large ceramic beads as the focal bead. It's the one almost directly in the middle (the BIGGEST, Yay!).

Sharon writes in her Etsy profile that she has been involved with some form of creative work all her life, whether it be supporting others art work or doing her own (although way too rarely).

She has sculpted clay, stone, and bronze; painted in oils,watercolor,acrylics and pastels. When not creating she has been a gallery director, an art museum director, an art auction coordinator, and a graphic art director(way before computers were prevalent).

Currently her work is focused on recycled glass(faux beach glass), driftwood, wire, beads, and shells.

This bracelet was hand formed using ceramic beads. Included in the design is the focal turquoise green bead and also some smaller coordinating white and green ceramic nuggets also made by me (Natalie from NKP Designs).

Sharon has randomly strung black agate gemstone nuggets, a rare vintage white silver etched plastic bead (from the 40's and 50's era), metal spacers, tiny hematite, glass and czech faceted turquoise green colored beads. All are strung on 3 black beading wire strands.

The bracelet measures approximately 8 1/4 incles including the toggle.

It is beautiful! Please visit her Etsy Store and buy it at once!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Fresh out of the Kiln

Congratulations to Remember Me Emily who won the Muddy Magnet Give Away by the Etsy Mud Team. Emily voted in our Autumn Contest and was randomly selected from all who voted. Information about this contest and future contests can be found here. Also randomly selected are Mud Team Members who have volunteered to create and give away magnets. These are the ones I sent to Emily today. Please visit her store, she has some awesome vintage treasures and handmade art trinkets.

Summer to me is chancing upon a bright field of wild asters. As it so happens, I also recently found a chalk type of glaze that allows me to use a wet brush to achieve a watercolor painterly effect. More about that later. This came out of the kiln today!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Celadon Ladybugs (or ladybirds)

I'll be putting these in my Etsy store today: a set of five Celadon glazed ladybugs (or ladybirds as some prefer).

I got to wondering about why this color of green is called 'celadon' so off I went to Wikipedia. Thought I'd share it.

"Celadon colored pottery is a specific style of pottery produced in East Asia. It is normally associated with a pale sea-green pigment though the style originally was made with much darker pigments. The pale green pigment came from the Korean artisans who used specific clays and potting techniques to create the style now associated with the name. Chemically, celadon is formed by combining chromium oxide, cadmium yellow, and titanium-zinc white. It was most commonly used in Korean art and spread to the other Asian cultures. "

Daisy Bowl

It's been a hugely busy week in the studio. I'm trying some things I haven't attempted before. This large bowl for instance ... I lined a favorite glass bowl of mine with newspaper and coiled the clay inside the bowl, smoothed it .. let it dry a bit, took it out, smoothed the outside and added daisy sprigs.

Now it's under plastic drying very very slowly and I'm hoping for NO cracks. We'll see. This took no time to type but it sure did take a long time to make this bowl.

I like the look of the inside of the bowl, too. It's smooth but the smoothing outward created some subtle but interesting texture, as if a flower was in bloom.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Chocolate Beads, Good Enough To Eat

These are some stoneware beads that I applied a crystaline glaze onto and got some wonderful glazing effects. They look like light and dark chocolate melted together wonderfully! MMMmmm!

Teeny Teapot

Just 2 1/2 inches high, this teeny teapot was sheer joy to put together. In an earlier post I wrote how I had been to You Tube and had watched a demo from Peter Fong Choo and how he put together his amazing teapots.

This is my effort to build a teeny teapot, Choo style! I barely brushed on a purple underglaze and applied a clear glaze over the body, but left the top, legs, and spout unglazed. However, Choo uses porcelain and the clay I used is stoneware.

Oh, and the lid also doubles as the handle. Imagine your hand wrapped around the body with your index finger on the lid. The lid is firmly in place though, it isn't necessary to hold it down.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Mug Showcase You Tube Video

I put together many of my recent mugs. Some have sold, some have not. Check my Etsy store in the event you just HAVE to purchase one! Enjoy!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Empty Bowls

Today after I put the lid down on the kiln I went over to Janet Rodriguez's Hart Street Pottery Studio to paint some bowls for Empty Bowls.

I've meant to go before now but this is the first time I've attended this year. Of course I'm kicking myself for NOT going before now. It's fun. Yes. It's for a good, most excellent, cause. Yes. I have to admit though, that the reason I'm kicking myself for not going sooner is that I learned so many new techniques (FOR FREE) from what other people were doing.

It was even better than You Tube.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


This photo reminds me of the old joke where you wrap your arms around yourself as though you're hugging someone!

I pulled this bead out of the kiln the other day and I'm very happy with it. It's here at the moment.

I just finished getting black and white Bead Swap beads packaged up to send to the Beads-of-Clay group that I'm a part of. There are 33 of us participating this Swap. The theme is 'Black and White'. After three failed attempts I am finally happy with the results. I'm not posting the photos, however, because I want the Swappers to be surprised. I do have about 10 leftover and they will probably show up in my bead store eventually.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New Batch

This is a technique I should have thought about doing a long time ago. Basically these are pieces of clay, rolled and shaped, onto a round ball of clay to form flowers and leaves. Now onto glazing ...

Decals and Teapots

To get a better view of this teamug, click on the photo to see a bigger version. I'm not certain how stable these decals are for the dishwasher. I'm not positive they wouldn't eventually fade away. If it never had to be washed I think it would be fine. However, I am going to coat this with a clear gloss and refire. So the experiment continues ...

... as does this one! These are some teapots made after viewing Peter Fong Choo's miniture teapot You Tube videos. I am sanding them today.

Monday, October 01, 2007

HomeMade Decals Part Two

WOW! They are sepia colored! I achieved this at Cone 06. Opening the kiln is always such a surprise! I thought they would only become sepia at a much higher firing, such as Cone 6. A few more firings will perhaps shed more light on the subject of why. As it stands for now, I had these in the big kiln. I fired at low for about an hour, medium at about an hour, high at about an hour, and then closed the lid. It was not a full load, however, and that could make all the difference.

This is one of the beads close up. I'm going to add it to my BEAD Etsy store which I only opened last week just for the beads. I have tried to blend the two different art forms into the same store, web-blog, etc .... but it is hard because I get sidetracked with one or the other and those who are only interested in the pottery (or the beads) are really only interested in that. For those that are interested in both forms, there are links on the side to the other blog/store and I would love it if you visited both. But if you don't ... that's okay too! I'm glad to grab your current interest.

For those who are interested in seeing these daisy forms on the pottery, check out my pottery blog. I am going to showcase a lovely teamug later today or tomorrow with all the Daisy characters.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

I'm STILL Excited!

I opened up the kiln and I was floored! For some reason the iron oxide black ink from the laser printer decal completely burnt out the red glaze, and itself in the process. But how cool is this?

The bad news is that it didn't burn out on all of them. I don't know why.

But when it worked: WOW!

I have a load in the big kiln right now, full of plain colored glazed beads of every underglaze. I can't wait to fit them all my with very own decals. There's no telling WHAT will happen!

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Homemade Decals

A few weeks ago I discovered that I could design, create, and print my very own decals in my studio! I have been wanting to do this for such a long time, but my only option was to buy a $3000 set up ... however, I ran across someone in the Etsy Mud Team forum who was excited about a laser printer that used a black ink (iron oxide) and had begun making his own decals.

So of course there I was ordering the printer and the decal paper online and it seemed like it took absolutely FOREVER to finally arrive. Right away I printed a sheet or two and put them on a couple of items.

The first couple of tries I ruined because I didn't read the instructions carefully enough. I had fired the decal in TOO low of a temperature. I took it out. I touched it. The ink came off on my fingers. I was horrified!

Then I discovered that the decals work best on cone 08 through cone 6. So I did it again, except this time my glaze was so dark that the decal was hardly visible. I put it aside to work on some teapots and marketing and other projects.

This morning I got out a pad of paper and doodled away. I came up with several drawings, one of which is on the right. I took a photo of it with the camera, uploaded it, reduced it to 2 colors. I did the same with the rest and printed the sheet of paper out onto the decal paper.

Then I took some bright red beads and began applying them. Tomorrow they are going into the kiln. I'm! So! Excited!

I finally figured out that in my kiln that I get good results at cone 04. If I fire hotter, the decal melts into the glaze and begins a slow slide downwards. If I fire less hot the decal rubs off. But cone 04 works GREAT!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

More Beads

Even though it's been a while between posts, I have not been neglecting making and firing pottery beads. But I have neglected taking photos of them! This is a bracelet I made out of monsoon sea rounds and nuggets. The transparent rounds are some vintage lucite, and the spacers are sterling silver. I have this (and other others here) for sale on LovLi.

This little old man is part of a series I did a few months back. Most of these have sold, the three on this bead strand is still available. I make a round ball of clay and push with my fingertips to make the eyes and the nose. Then with my fingernail I form the mouth. The pupils and nose holes are made with a bamboo poker.

This buttercup blue round is not online yet. I am planning on adding it today or tomorrow. I have taken a picture of this before but the colors came out waaaay to bright. I am going to add it to my fantasy bead series. Sometimes the picture is so different from the bead, but SO much prettier than the actual bead that I could almost weep. It has happened before. It will happen again. That is the nature of the bead photo. The goal is to represent the bead's actual color!

These are some bigger focal beads that range from 20 mm to 22 mm. I think they would make a great necklace. I love how the colors contrast with each other and yet meld with each other at the same time. I can see this put together with jasper and jade. Someone else might shout, "No TURQUOISE," and I would have to agree with that assessment too!

Pulling Handles from a Pot

This is a lesser known technique for attaching a handle to a mug.


I did this only once and it was only after I attached the top part of the handle I realized it was too thick for the mug. Aesthetically it simply didn't work. Since I didn't want to completely remove the handle, I cut about half of the clay 'rope' off and then pulled the handle as shown in this video. I figured it was a good save, and now I run across this technique and am amazed at all the different ways potters have of doing the same thing!

Monday, September 17, 2007

In Which I pretend to be Peter Fong Choo

I spent the morning in pottery class watching Potter Fong Choo on YOU TUBE. He was demonstrating throwing and assembling 3 miniature teapots. It was wonderful!Here are the links!


So of course I had to try, too! Here's my first one! It's nowhere the quality and wonderful-ity of Peter Fong Choo but it SURE was fun to build!

Saturday, September 15, 2007


I have another online store: LovLi. I will be putting different items there than what is in the Etsy storefront. This is one of my newest items in the LovLi store.

I have a kiln full of things cooling down. It's SO hard to wait. SO HARD!

I have other items which I pulled out on Thursday that I still need to take photos of. Today is sunny and should make for some good pictures. I am enjoying the homemade light box which I put together a couple of weeks ago. It really does help for better pictures. I believe I blogged about it and posted a picture of it on my Bead blog.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Kiln Peek

So I quickly opened the kiln and snapped this photo. As you can see my shelves need to be seriously recoated with some kiln wash. Maybe patched up a bit?

The teapot came out great but I think some of the floaties from the stainless steel rods may have settled in the bottom of the teapot. The magnets came out great, too!

See that square with the holes on it that the little measuring cup is sitting upon? I got that at the BBQ store! And if anyone was still in doubt how to hang beads in their kiln, doubt no further. As you can see it is quite simple.

Alas I have to wait to peek at the other shelves.

Kiln Peek

So I quickly opened the kiln and snapped this photo. As you can see my shelves need to be seriously recoated with some kiln wash. Maybe patched up a bit?

The teapot came out great but I think some of the floaties from the stainless steel rods may have settled in the bottom of the teapot. The magnets came out great, too!

See that square with the holes on it that the little measuring cup is sitting upon? I got that at the BBQ store! And if anyone was still in doubt how to hang beads in their kiln, doubt no further. As you can see it is quite simple.

Alas I have to wait to peek at the other shelves.

Friday, September 07, 2007

It is my Favorite Mug!

I almost kept this one. I fell in love with it right after it came off the wheel. I carved the lines in it, and loved it more. As I glazed it I thought, "I really love this mug." Some mugs do that to me! But after long deliberation, I am going to sell it. Sigh. I can't keep them all!