Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Colors of the Christmas Season

Many jewelry artists design jewelry based on particular religious holidays or spiritual beliefs. For example, I see elements of Buddhism, as well as Hinduism all year round in certain jewelry designs.

For the most part, many Christians prefer not to use images to represent the God of the Bible, and instead resort to the symbolism of color, and Christmas is the perfect season to rally around certain colors.

If you or your child has ever gone to a Vacation Bible School during the summer, you/he/she may have come home with a Salvation bracelet, where each bead on a bracelet represents an explanation of the Salvation process taught in the Bible.

Likewise, during Christmas, we Christians often utilize colors in jewelry to represent our beliefs. If I was to string some beads for a necklace I would choose three basic colors: White, Red, and Green, with Gold accents.

The white of the beads represent the purity, or the sinlessness of Christ. Being 100% God and setting aside His glory, He wrapped Himself in human flesh. God physically entered the world He created, thus, He was also 100% man, giving up none of His deity. While He lived on this earth He never once sinned, not in thought or deed, yet the Bible teaches He was tested in every way. He did what no human being born could ever do: be perfection and live a perfect life. White is the perfect color we have to represent purity ...

The red of the beads represent Jesus Christ's work upon the Cross. He was beaten to a bloody pulp before He was placed on the cross and when the guard stabbed Him with the sword, He bled out blood and water from His side. Because Christ lived that perfect life, His death was able to satisfy the wrath (intense anger) that mankind's sin had caused. Christians believe that a man can never pay for their own sins because no matter how long the punishment lasts, God's anger is never abated or  appeased. Only Christ's blood, because He lived that perfect life, could completely rid God's anger at mankind's sin.

This teaching about Christ's blood paying for sins repulses many regarding Christianity, but for the Christian it is a treasured belief because Christ's act of shedding His blood is a precious gift and act of love from the Creator to His creation.

The green of the beads represents the resurrection (coming back to life again) of Christ and what happens when a person lets go of self and stops trying to placate God's anger and simply accepts what Christ did on the cross. Though the body may die, that person will life forever with God in perfect peace and everylasting joy, being accepted by God in every way, forever.

Forever is a hard concept to grasp, perhaps that is why the Creature designed some trees to retain their green color all year round.

I do not have any gold beads, but I do have this intense yellow pendant. Gold represents the richness of being a child of God, not physical riches, but spiritual riches. I found this A-Z list over at Bible Study Planet and thought it was a perfect way to wrap this up. Have a blessed Christmas!

Accepted in the beloved (Ephesians 1:6)
Born of God (1 John 5:1)
Crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20)
Delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13)
Enriched in everything in Him (1 Corinthians 1:5)
Forgiven for Christ’s sake (Ephesians 4:32)
Grounded in love (Ephesians 3:17)
Hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)
Instructed in the way of the Lord (Acts 18:25)
Justified by his grace (Titus 3:7)
Kept by the power of God (1 Peter 1:5)
Led by the Spirit of God (Romans 8:14)
Made near to God by the blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:13)
Nourished in the words of faith and good doctrine (1 Timothy 4:6)
Ordained to eternal life (Acts 13:48)
Perfected forever (Hebrews 10:14)
Quickened together with Christ (Ephesians 2:5)
Redeemed from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13)
Sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13)
Translated into the kingdom of his Son (Colossians 1:13)
Unblameable in His sight (Colossians 1:22)
Victorious through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57)
Washed from our sins in His own blood (Revelation 7:15)
Yearned over by the Holy Spirit (Romans 8:26)
Zealous of good works (Titus 2:14)

Saturday, December 01, 2012

How To Use Coupon Codes on Etsy

It is not so easy to figure out how to apply a coupon code on Etsy.  I found a screen shot on etsy and altered it with these red arrows and such.

I wish Etsy would simply have the coupon code box on the checkout page without having to click on the blue link to make it appear. But for now this is how it appears.  I'll link to this from my shop announcement.  Anyway, have a great day and thanks for stopping by. Hope this helps!  - -Natalie

Monday, November 12, 2012


Sorry if this picture of my cut fingernails is a bit gross. 

I had my pottery show this last weekend and it took me about three weeks to figure out what to take, what to tag, and also to fire several loads of pottery.

During that time my fingernails grew ... and grew.  Today I cut them off because I'm going to get out the clay and fingernails and clay do not play together well.

There is that feminine side of me that mourns the loss of my budding long nails, but the practical side of me understands that unless I want to leave small crescent moons in all my pieces the nails must go.  Also, cleaning out clay from underneath fingernails is really really difficult.  So goodbye sweet nails .... hello CLAY! 

Thanks for stopping by!
- Natalie

P.S.  The pottery show was really fun! 

Tuesday, November 06, 2012


I had these two owls and sent them along to the other two ladies who left comments on my owl giveaway.  I packaged them up before I applied the mailing labels so I do not know which lady got which owl.  

 Actually the one on the bottom looks a bit like a vulture.  Do you think so too? I think it is cute, though and if I tried to make another one like it, I don't know if I could. 

I want to thank all the kind folks who sent me prayers and good wishes while I battled the Elevator Cold. It seems to be going around and hits some people worse than others. It moved up and down from my sinuses to my throat to my voice box and then back up again and down again. It seems to be gone though but my voice still sounds a bit hoarse. It sapped my energy level though but I feel my energy level coming back again. Yeah!

I have an announcement to make, a small announcement. I am going to be closing up my etsy NKPDESIGNS store where I sell my pottery. I don't have the time to manage more than one store so I am going to move everything into my bead store with its own pottery category. I'm also going to be playing around with my picture presentation to see if I can get my photos of the pottery more 'homey'. It seems as though the dramatic shots do not work well on Etsy (big light dark contrast). Any thoughts on this setup would be appreciated. Have a great day and thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

2nd Bead Packet Design Challenge

Note:  I set this blog article to run early this morning at 1:30 am to coincide with Sharyl's, but for some reason it didn't work.  :(  Anyhooos .... here it is:

For those who have been following Sharyl on her blog you know she has a "2nd Bead Packet Design Challenge" going on this month, where jewelry designers purchase a set of 9 pre-picked NKPBEADS and come up with their own designs ...Here is a link to her original blog post: Click Here

 Because my beads were in the spotlight I decided to make things more interesting by throwing in a $25 gift certificate to one of the participants by drawing a name out of a 'hat', randomly of course.  Here is a link to that blog post:  Click Here

For the 'hat' I used one of my pots that I made out of sparkly micacious clay.  I printed out the entries, cut and folded them before placing them into the pot.    I swirled my hand around exactly 20 times and then picked out a name.  

  The winner is: Whimsical Monkey!

WMPlease leave your email address in the comments and I will contact you with instructions on how to collect your $25 in beads from my NKP Beads etsy store.  


Below are the participants and their blogs. Please click over and take a look at each design.  Also, hop over to Sharyl's blog.

Sudafulee... Always in Bloom
Kashmira Patel

All the Pretty Things

Creative Designs by Cheri

Laren Dee Designs
Laren Dee Barton

Beads and Bread
Shirley Moore

Alice's Beads and Baubles
Alice Craddick

Tell Your Girlfriends

Whimsical Monkey
Whimsical Monkey


Jean A. Wells Handcrafted Artisan Jewelry
Jean A. Wells

Thank you to all the participants.  This was a lot of fun!  I look forward to seeing all the beautiful items you designed with some of my beads.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ceramic Owl

There is an Owl contest over at Artisan Whimsey, a new website for jewelry component makers of all mediums as well as for Jewelry Designers. 

I was hesitant to enter at first because I was afraid that my owl would look too much like someone elses.  However, I think I was able to craft a unique owl in the end. 

I used a glaze called "Waterfall".  It shows up nicely on this porcelain glaze.  I used sprigs of clay and textured with a skewer.  Both the front and the back have this same owl shape.

Voting begins on Artisan Whimsey on October  28th at Midnight and continues until October 30th midnight.  The winners will be posted on October 30th midnight.  There are two categories: one for component makers and the other for jewelry designs, a nice blend of participants I think.

Here's the link to vote at:  http://artisanwhimsy.ning.com/page/hooters .  I would urge you to vote for mine but there are already some spectacular entries posted. Just participate and vote for your favorite.  Then leave a post here and I'll enter you in a drawing to win this particular owl.  The voting doesn't start for two more days so bookmark this page to come back and vote and leave a comment at that time.

Yes, that's right, you don't have to vote for this owl but you can definitely have a chance to win it!

Thanks for stopping by!

Crazy Lace Agate Circles

I went to a small wholesale mineral show held in Dallas last week and picked up this pair of Crazy Lace Agate circles.  

I think they look like miniature landscapes. 

I plan to eventually work these in some sort of bezel, maybe clay, maybe metal, I don't know.  In the meantime I can dream. 

Saturday, October 06, 2012

The Whole Herd of Elephant Beads

These are what came out of the kiln about a week ago.  I just wanted to share a quick pic of them. Thanks for stopping by!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Sharyl's Bead Packet Design Challenge Participants Announcement

I wanted to let my blog readers who may be following along that Sharyl of Sharyl's Jewelry has 10 participants that have been announced on her blog.  Read all about it here:   http://www.sharylsjewelry.blogspot.com/2012/09/announcement-of-participants-2nd-bead.html

If you asked to be a part of it and need details, the link above is the place to go to learn further details. She has all her packets of beads ready to be mailed.

As  I stated in this blog article  I am giving a $25 gift certificate to my bead store to one of the 10 participating designers to be revealed the day of the mini bead blog hop on October 27.  The winner's name will be drawn randomly.  It's going to be a lot of fun to see what designs the participants come up with! 

Friday, September 21, 2012

Marbling Clay

 I have three distinct types of bodies in these marbled beads:  brown stoneware, red stoneware, and porcelain.

This photo on the left shows what the glaze I used (Sea Glass Gloss by mayco) looks like individually on all three, and the fourth is a marbled nugget of all three clays mixed together.

It's a light glaze which lets the clay body shine through with a touch of minty green.
I have these four nugget beads on the right on sale in my shop right now. If you're interested: Click here.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Making of a Seed Pod Bead

At the end of the day it is great to relax with a bit of clay and some mellow music. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

New Tool of the Year

This year I bought myself a birthday gift, a Peter Pugger pugmill. I have lots of dried out clay in my studio that needs to be reclaimed and I have slowly been doing that but it's very hard on my wrists and so this was an expensive, but lovely, solution. It's supposed to arrive on Friday. FRIDAY! :)

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Jewelry Challange and Gift Certificates

Sharyl over at Sharyl's Jewelry blog is having a Second Bead Package Design Challenge using some of my beads.  Hop over there and read all about it.  The deadline to ask to participate is Friday, September 21st.  To make things more interesting I'm throwing in a $25 gift certificate for my nkpbeads Etsy store to one participating designer drawn at random to be chosen on October 27th, the mini-blog hop date.

Sharyl is opening up the challenge to 10 designers and emphasizing Art Beads as part of the creations.

Sharyl is also having a drawing for a $25 gift certificate to "Sharyl's Jewelry" from among all who ask to participate in this event.

It's going to be SO MUCH FUN! 

Monday, September 17, 2012

Artsie Beads

Tomorrow when I load the kiln, these will be in there.  After they are fired, the black will turn a maroon brown.  The glaze is a robin egg blue with cobalt blue speckles throughout.

Basically I drew three circles and Zentangled the insides with circles and rectangles and such.  I printed them onto decal paper with my laser printer and cut them into 4ths, and reassembled them onto the round bead.

Okay, onto the next experiment!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Porcelain Beads of Eggplant Purple and Pale Golden Yellow

I pulled these out of the kiln this morning.  I was hoping for a darker shade of yellow but these have grown on me over the last couple of hours.

Anybody want the entire batch for $30 plus $2 shipping?  If so, leave me a comment and your email.  If there is no interest, I'll list them in my Etsy store  individually.

Sizes?  The daisy lentil near the top is 22 mm and 17 mm at its thickest. The smaller round with the leaf imprint (there are four imprints on the entire bead) is 17 mm hole to hole and 16 mm at its thickest.  The other lentil bead near the bottom is approx 24 at its widest.   If you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment.  Here's a close up of them individually.


Friday, September 14, 2012

Studio Updates

Do you like my jack bead?  I tried to make more of these but for some reason or another only ended up with this one.  It is a brown stoneware clay to which I applied a purple underglaze.  I sponged off the excess glaze so it only peeked out from the recesses before coating it with (my favorite) Victoria Red mayco glaze.  I rather like the effect. I've been using blacks or greens for underglazes and now I'm utilizing some dark purples.

I sat down yesterday with a lump of clay in my hands and made some new bead styles, variations of things I've already done actually.  As I look at them I wonder when I will glaze and fire them. I have so many beads I have not glazed and many more that are sitting around glazed but not fired.  They sit on paper plates on my studio shelves with cone numbers written on them:  cone 1, cone 04, cone 6, otherwise I will forget and fire them at the wrong temperature.

Yesterday I cleaned out my studio closet and threw out boxes that I have saved (hoarded) and suddenly my closet was navigable.

The day before I hand built some saucers for myself using my small tabletop portable slab roller.  I bought this several years ago and have hardly used it.  It is so easy to use I'm ashamed I haven't played with it before now. It's is absolutely darling to work with.  My husband has requested all new dishes and so I have begun doing that.  I tried to fire the big kiln the day before that and the relay blew. I am awaiting a new relay.  I don't know why my relays blow so often. At least this time I didn't automatically replace all the coils before figuring out the real problem.  I've done that the last two times the relay has blown.  I'm actually afraid to load beads into my smaller kiln for fear I will find that something is wrong with that kiln too! They tend to all break down about the same time.

I have been also photographing beads and trying to put as many online in a single listing as possible (you know, batches) but I'm finding I really do only have a few of each kind, except for a particular green bead which I am finding in all sorts of places in my bead stashes. 

I was thinking about that yesterday when I was creating some beads and so I tried to make at least 24 beads per style but I must have forgotten all about that because by the time I put the tray away I had 10 beads with only 1 style per 2 beads.  It is almost painful to make the same bead more than twice.  Some days I am more disciplined than others.

I went hopping through my already sold beads which is now totaling about 60 etsy pages and I found several styles of beads I want to remake but I can't remember which glazes I used.  On one particular bead I will never get that color of brown ever again because I've tried ... several times.

In one of my past bead sales I used this photo above with the piggies standing all around it. I confess I was in an odd mood that day.  I had gone to the dollar store and found this package of piggies and thought they would be good models to look at pigs while I tried to sculpt a pig. Come to think of it, I haven't tried to hand sculpt a piggie in quite a long time.  I love their little ears and snouts.  Too cute.   Maybe I'll try to create a couple today. What are you going to be doing?

Thanks for stopping by!  -- Natalie

Thursday, August 16, 2012

How Does She Do That?

I'm going through all my beads and checking them twice.  I have had two listings that have been in my Etsy store that were not in my stash. One I caught before it sold. The other I did not.

Both of the listings were relisted under the new Quantity functions.  I caught the first 'already sold out' listings in my expired area.  One day I renewed it and immediately realized, "Hey, I don't have any of those left" and promptly deleted the listing. I should have send Etsy an email about it, but I didn't think too much about it until a day or so later when I sold something else that I had renewed which had sold out completely.  Unfortunately I didn't notice that I had renewed it like I had the other.  Since them I've been looking at all my multiple quantity listings and (finger crossed and many prayers) all seems to be in order.

That brings me to the subject of today: How Do I Store My Beads that I have listed. Well, I have them in their individual tiny jewelry bags stored in large Ziplock bags.  I have the bags labeled "2" "3" "4".  So if a listing has 2 beads, it goes into the large Ziplock bag labeled "2" and if the listing has 3 beads, it goes into the large Ziplock bag labeled "3" and so on.

All the single focal beads (packaged in tiny jewelry bags) go into large Ziplock bags according to type (handpainted, nugget, decal, sprig, etc ...).

About a year ago I decided that it was much too easy to accidentally send the wrong bead to a customer (um .... don't ask .... lol) ...

Now I take the listing number (or copy number) of each listing and add it to the bottom of each listing.  It looks something like this:  "#594830292"

And I write that same number on a slip of paper and add it to the small jewelry plastic bag with the bead.  And I double-check the number on each listing.  Now instead of 1 focal bead in a certain glaze, I can offer many more at a single time. 

It's not foolproof but it helps.  If anybody has some other great ideas to improve my system, feel free to share.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Shop Sections Changes

Howdy!  Today I waded through all my listings.  I haven't been happy with my sections the last few months. 

I have eliminated the Sprig Beads section. 

It was fine when I first started making them and didn't have very many, but I have just way too many and in all different shapes.  I have round ones, lentil shape ones, nugget shaped ones ... blah blah blah, you get the idea. 

I also got rid of the 'handpainted' 'decals' and 'iron oxides', for the same reason. I'm doing them all in different shapes and it is just too much.

There are so many decisions to make sometimes when listing and why add to the confusion?  I hope this has simplified things, and not just for me.

The bead above is a nugget bead, with textures, with sprigs AND it's green!  Here's where I put it: In the Nugget section!  Woo hoo! Go eat some cake or ice cream or something to celebrate! :) 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Elephant Safari with Jean A Wells and Stringing Magazine

The long awaited event is here. I've been waiting all summer for this fall issue of Stringing magazine because Jean A. Wells had a necklace accepted for publication with one of my hand sculptured elephant beads as the focal bead.

It should already be in stores and I expect you should go out and get yours today because they won't be on the shelves long and you definitely want to see Jean's other two pieces of fabulous jewelry which are also in this magazine. Or you could click over to her blog and check it out there first.

I really enjoyed making this elephant that Jean eventually included in this necklace.  When she told me that it was accepted for publication she asked if I would be sculpting any more. I immediately said yes and then sat down and tried to remember how I had created one.

It took me a couple of tries and I did make a few.  However, the glaze didn't come out the same on these as they did in the magazine. I realized after I had fired all of them that I had used a soldate 60 clay and not a white stoneware clay.  I remade some and had them fired in the gas kiln at the college and brought them home for glazing.

At the moment they are on my glaze shelf waiting to be fired. Hopefully by next week they will be finished. Until then, check these out:  Click Here for Elephants .

Monday, August 13, 2012

A Very Merry Shark Festival

...and so this blog title may be a bit mystifying .... last weekend my husband and I traveled to Houston and ended up in our kayaks in the Galveston ocean.  The waves were much bigger than last time we went and I wasn't in the most adventuresome mood, either.

The waves were breaking a farther distance than they normally do, or at seemed that way to me.  I did good, keeping the nose facing forward to get past most of the breakers.  I remember I decided to push the paddle  down to see how deep the water was but it didn't touch the bottom.  That was when a breaker seemed to come out of nowhere and I capsized.  I saw the bottom of the yellow kayak above me.  I was wearing a life jacket, even though I am a good swimmer, because I'm kinda cautious about doing dangerous stuff ... stuff like paddling out in the middle of the ocean where the sharks hunt.

I know there really aren't any sharks out there in the gulf of Mexico. They are currently all in the Atlantic northeast, up near Massachusetts, but that didn't stop the fear that ran through me when I was trying to turn the kayak over so I could climb back in.  I kept imagining that a chunk was going to be taken out of my leg.

So where was my husband? He was paddling near me grabbing my water bottle and my paddle.  He watched me finally climb into the kayak, face down, only to watch me go over again as a wave hit me from the side.

By the time I was back in the kayak I paddled with my hands to turn it toward shore. The next wave that hit did not topple me and hubby handed me the paddle and I went to shore. And I got in the truck.  And I wasn't going back into that ocean again.

From now on we are sticking to slow moving streams and lakes, where the only thing we have to worry about is the occasional alligator.

Now .... back to the pottery and the beads.  :)  Thanks for stopping by!  -- Natalie

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

A Necklace For Me

I have tried to take the ceramic beads in this picture and put them online for at least a week, but every time I do, I catch some small imperfection.  I enjoyed making these, but I didn't glaze nearly nicely enough near the stringing holes. 

Today I was going to snap their picture again and I whispered to myself, "Just make yourself a pretty necklace out of them."  So I did!  Yes, it is a simple design. I do not fancy myself a good jewelry designer, but I do enjoy making myself a piece every now and then.

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Online Fundraiser Auction of Mugs

And this mug to the left is also being auctioned.  It is available until noon today. However, there are lots more to come.  Here is a webpage of the upcoming mugs:

Here's where to go to view the auction:

Here is the previous article I wrote about why we are holding the auction:

Do you want to place a bid?  Simply leave a comment with the price you want to bid under its photo.  If you win I will send you a Facebook message asking for your name and address and I will ask you at that time whether you prefer paypal or if you want to send me a check.   I hope that makes sense. If it doesn't, please ask.

There are still 17 more mugs waiting to be fired at the local college where I take ceramic classes.  I went by there yesterday to see if they were finished and they haven't had a firing yet. They have a small class and are still trying to fill up the kiln. 

I guess that's all for now ....thanks for stopping by!  -- Natalie

Monday, July 23, 2012

Philip Pappas Fundraiser Update

 The fundraiser Saturday night was so much fun!  I brought 60 mugs and 42 of them have new homes now.  $2443 was raised (over $300 in flat out gifts) Philip only has $3431 to go. 

The mug to the left had quite the bidding war going!  I think it went for around $75, but it wasn't the highest bidded-up mug, two of them went for $100, and I'm sorry to say I don't remember which ones those were!

So much of the evening was a blur. 

I used one of those Squares on my Ipad to accept credit cards and I was so surprised at how easy that was to use.  I was also surprised at how much people enjoyed signing their name with their fingertips.

Oh, and the music was fabulous!  Is there anything better than coffee house musicians?

For those who missed the fundraiser, I still have 17 mugs that have not yet been fired.  And I also have the 18 that did not go to new homes. I plan on making them available, hopefully by the end of the week.  Never fear, I will update this blog and on my facebook page as well.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Why The Mug Fundraiser?

Tonight is the fundraiser that my son, Philip, is holding for himself. Yes, himself.

Backstory:  About a year ago, about the time I was going through my own cancer treatment (I am in remission, cancer free, btw) , my son, Philip, showed me a mole that was growing on his back, up near his neck.  I told him at the time that it didn't look good and he ought to go to the doctor. I think he didn't go because of what I was going through. 

Finally his girlfriend (now his fiance) urged him to go. He did and the doctor said it was moderate melanoma.  He also told Philip that the thickness of it meant that it had already spread into his lymph nodes and he would need to undergo surgery, to remove the mole, the surrounding skin, and that he would have to be injected with a certain kind of dye to determine which lymph nodes were affected. Oh, and he'd probably have to have chemotherapy on top of all that, afterward.

I relay all this because I have the hope that if anyone reading this has a suspicious mole that he/she would have it checked out and not wait. The doctor said that if Philip had gotten it looked at a year earlier that it could have just been cut off for about $300, all done, no problem.

Since Philip doesn't have insurance he came to his father and myself and asked if we would pay his medical bill.  So we did. The bill totaled:  12,212.

Right before the surgery was the procedure to inject his back with the dye to see where it would spread, specifically to see which lymph nodes were affected.  Because his mole was between his neck and shoulder, both the lymph nodes in his neck and under his arm pits should have showed cancer growth.  They wanted to pinpoint to see which ones should be removed, and apparently there are quite a few in each place, 20 or 30 or some crazy number like that.

However, when they injected the dye, the dye didn't move toward any particular lymph node. So he was taken into surgery and the doctor removed the skin and inside the operating room they kept trying to see where that dye was headed and you know what? It wasn't headed anywhere.  The cancer had NOT spread. 

The doctor came out and in a long rambling fashion explained that he didn't take any lymph nodes and that this sort of thing is very rare.  The surgery instead of taking hours took only about 45 minutes.

My son, after he recovered wanted to hold a fundraiser to pay his parents (us) back.  Here's the link to the facebook page if you live in the Dallas/Fort Worth area and you want to attend:  Fundraiser Tonight

But wait ... there's more to this story!

A few weeks ago, something amazing happened ... we received a check from the hospital for $5700.  There was no reason given as to why there was a refund.  We can only surmise that it was because the surgery did not take as long as expected.  Also, some money has been donated already in the amount of $570.  So Philip only is going to only have to raise a bit less than $6000.  This is a far cry from the original $12,000.

His original plan was simply to play his guitar and play music and hope for donations but I told him I would handcraft some original mugs and he could hold a silent auction.  I took 6 weeks and made these mugs which are showcased on my flickr site .

After I put the mugs on the flickr site, there was a lot of interest from those who don't live in this area who wanted to participate.  I have 17 more mugs that have not actually been fired yet.  However, when they are finished, I plan to hold one more auction on EBAY.  If you follow the FB page link above I will be posting more about this part of the fundraiser once the mugs are ready.

Thanks for stopping by --

P.S.  I included my son's picture to show how much skin had to be removed around the mole.  This is what happens when moles are ignored. Do NOT ignore suspicious moles! 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Wedding Set Plates

I thought I'd take pictures of this plate making process which I've been doing all week.  

The picture to the left is the clay in the gloppy state.  It was completely dry and I added water and over a period of days scraped outer layers of clay off.  

I started off with about 50 pounds of dry clay.  There are easier ways to hydrate clay and next time I'm gonna do it the easy way! 

I placed the gloppy clay onto my plaster wedging table on the right.  After it sucked up the excess water, I wedged it and pressed it flat.

I placed the flattened clay between two pieces of linen fabric and ran them through my rolling machine until they were a little less than 3/8ths of an inch thick.

This process reminded me a lot of running a pizza dough machine back in my teenage years, except that one was electric.  Who knew rolling all that pizza dough would be a skill I used as a potter?
I sprayed cooking spray onto paper plates, and regular bigger plates, for the different sizes.  The spray keeps the clay from sticking to the form.  It also helps the edges not dry out so quickly.  In the beginning of this process I had some problems with cracked edges. 

I cut out circles and on the back placed my potter mark, which is my three initials all run together (nkp).

The linen pattern on this clay is subtle.  I plan to glaze these plates with a clear glaze.  The clay is a mid-fire porcelain. 

The smallest plate has a small wave to it. I placed round bisque beads under the edges as it dried to create that effect.

All together I made 8 sets of these.  Now I will be waiting for them to dry out so they can be bisque fired.  I hope they will all make it through to the final glaze firing or I'll be dragging out the rolling machine all over again.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Great Plates!

This is one of the beads I listed today and I particularly liked the way the glaze sunk into the recesses. 

I have a few more with this glaze color that I'll be listing tomorrow and the next day.  If you search my store for the phrase Sea Green with Blues you can see them all.

In other news ... the dinnerware project is going well, albeit after a rough start.  I checked the two plates I had made yesterday and there were cracks on the edge, so into the scrap bucket they went.    If I had not taken them out of the forms and turned them upside down to dry I don't think they would have cracked.  However, when I got to looking at their shape I decided I didn't like them anyway. They were too flat.  There was absolutely no visual interest. 

I thought about how to make these plates most of the day and finally after 5 pm I got to work.  I made them a bit bigger and used a different form to lay them inside.  I ended up making four.

The 50 pounds of clay that I began slaking down last weekend is finally all broken down into good bits and pieces of slop.  I am taking about 10 pounds a day and slapping that on my big plaster wedging board to dry out overnight.  I have another 25 pounds to break up but I think I'm going to take that outside and wrap it in plastic and a towel and go after it with a sledgehammer until it is in little tiny chunks.  I'll have to wear a mask when I dump it into water but it will be better than waiting days and days for it to soak up water.