Saturday, June 30, 2012

Doodledee Doodledee Doo

Whew! Another hot one today! 26 degree I think, though I'm sure it's even hotter. Tomorrow 31! I shouldn't complain...our summers are so short, but I do prefer it just a little cooler.

I'm thinking it's a good day to work in my COOL basement studio. I haven't felt very productive this week and I have so many things I WANT/NEED to do! I'm trying to focus, but struggling. I probably should be throwing some body parts for my Jarheads. They take ages to dry and if I'm going to have them for this sale the beginning of August, I really should get them out of the way now. Alrighty! I've talked myself into it. It shouldn't take long. I don't need to be terribly fussy about them as I most often alter the shape in some way. So I'll do that..and then maybe have some fun with something new.

I keep saying that I'm going to pull out my oh-so-very-precious porcelain...Laguna Frost...and try my hand at something...anything really. I hear such horror stories about throwing it that I'm procrastinating, but I love the idea of carving into it and having the light shine through. I'm also determined to make some small pendants, decorated with underglaze and hopefully some silk screened print. Doodles I think. I'm really into doodles lately. Not that I've tried them. Nor am a good doodler. Oh, I can draw a box with flaps with my eyes closed! Scribble curly cues 'til the cows come home, but I want to doodle like Flora Chang from Happy Doodle Land! She's my latest blog find. I am in love with her doodled ceramics...the lovely pastel colours, the whimsical sketches she covers them with.


You can see more here on her Doodle Wares' flickr page! I can't help but love them all!

Be sure to check out what some other potters have been busy doing this week over at http://mudcolony.blogspot.ca/!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

50/50



That's right...half. Half of my pots have small flaws. How disappointing! I suppose I've been lucky thus far. Beginners luck? Could be. I'm wondering if another fire might fix the rough lips...especially if I added just a touch of glaze but I'm not sure. The little sandy bumps are probably not something I can fix...and I think I know now what caused them. After glazing and once that glaze has set somewhat, I sand my piece a little to smooth out any drips...with an older piece of drywall sanding mesh. It's black...and I wonder now if it doesn't flake a little? Either way, I really detest when my pieces aren't smooth all over. So these will be for me...or I'll give them away to friends or family. I also had one bowl with some nasty blisters. Seems there are a few possible reasons why that happened. Frustrating not knowing for sure, but I guess we'll see if it happens again. As I've said before...it's all a learning curve!


So today I'm going to sieve my glaze, in case there are any nasty bits lurking at the bottom....and I'll mix another batch because I found it difficult to dip as there's not quite enough glaze even when I tip my pail. I also need to u/g the cups I made the other day. They're getting quite dry and it really should have been done yesterday! I suppose that I'll throw too...more bowls to replace these. Oh! and I made a plate the other day (I can't remember if I mentioned it in a previous post?) Not a big one...although I did try a full sized one as a my first attempt which failed. Just a small one and a saucer and quite honestly I didn't find it at all difficult but from what I've read, the real difficulty is in drying it properly so they don't warp or crack. I have them wrapped up well and I'm in no rush to dry them (read that slow drying is best).



I'm gone!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Things get a little buggy sometimes....

It's 1:00 and ridiculously hot in here, but hotter and terribly humid outside. I think there are weather watches out tonight or maybe they're weather warnings. I was in the basement all evening and so didn't pay much attention. I came upstairs to find my house filled with little annoying bugs! No idea what they are, but they're itty bitty...small enough to get through the screen. All of the windows are open to cool down the house (I think it's still 25C outside, which isn't really cooling things at all!) Outside the screen is covered in fish flies. Thank goodness they're too big to squeeze through the mesh. It must be the heat....or the humidity. I've turned off all the lights, because they're attracted to them and now they're flying around me. My computer screen is the only light and they're bouncing off my skin and flying up my nose!

I'm also firing a glaze load in my kiln, in my VERY warm porch! That is NOT helping the house cool down, but I had to do it...and better tonight than today (meaning yesterday..Monday), because in the end it was a cooker. Hotter tomorrow. Thank goodness for my basement studio, although I find that after throwing for a while with my hands in cold water (I do start off with warm water), I start to get chilled and so I sat out on my front deck...and soaked up some of that heat. Drank a tea. Ate my lunch.

I managed to trim my cups and underglaze a few. Also, threw a small plate really the first time I've thrown one properly), and a saucer. Threw two cylinders...2 and 3 pounds. I think I'm getting the hang of it, but for some reason I always get a thin spot about 2/3 the way up. I must shift the pressure a little on my inside hand. I'll have to be more attentive to that. I was going to mash them but I struggle with that sometimes. Instead I modified them both into funky oval vases. Not in love with them, but I think they have potential. Sometimes...a lot of times in fact, I like to just start throwing with nothing in mind...sort of see where the clay will take me...Is it the same for you?

These bugs are driving me mad! Shutting down this bug magnet! See you in the morning!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sunshine Award For Little Ole' Moi!

What a surprise to find that I've been awarded the Sunshine Award from Barbara Rogers over at Alchemy of Clay Barbara and I have only known one another via blogging now for a short time, but I love reading her blog and seeing what she's been up to! I don't usually do these type of things, but it was so sweet of her to think of me.

The Sunshine Award is an award given by bloggers to other bloggers. The recipients of the Sunshine Award are: "Bloggers who positively and creatively inspire others in the blogosphere." The way the award works is this: Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them. Answer 10 questions about yourself. Select 10 of your favorite bloggers, link their blogs to your post and let them know they have been awarded the Sunshine Award! Don't forget to post the award on your blog!
So it seems that I am to share a little bit about myself and direct you to some of my favourite blogs...which will be a difficult because I have so many that I follow faithfully!

Here's my list of questions and answers and below are the ten blogs to whom I'm sending a Sunshine Award.

1. Favorite color: Robin's Egg Blue...or in fact, any aqua/turquoisey/blueygreen
2. Favorite animal: Dog
3. Favorite number: Seven
4. Favorite drink: Hmmm...I'm not big on favourites but at the moment Tassimo Chai Tea Latte.
5. Facebook or Twitter: FB
6. Good Book or a Good Movie: The book is ALWAYS better than the movie!
7. My Passion: Clay!
8. Giving or getting presents: Giving, definitely.
9. Favorite day of the year: Everyday!
10. Favorite flowers: Gerbera Daisy

My 10 Favourite Blogs...in no particular order

1. Carole Epp at Musing about Mud
2. Adriana Christianson
3. Linda Fahey at We Swim with the Fishes
4. Meredith Host at Sweet Nothings
5. Kristen Keiffer
6. Helen A.Naylor at Finding My Creative Wings
7. Monica DeCampo at Monicats Pottery
8. Helen Perrett over at Auckland Studio Potters
9. Melissa McGuire Bridgman at Bridgman Pottery
10. Not a pottery blog but something I read daily and am always inspired by the beautiful pictures! Erin at House of Turquoise

Monday Madness

33C! Who are they kidding! I'm sitting here bundled up in a hoodie and blanket and seriously consider crawling back under my nice warm covers! Windy...which isn't so unusual for here...and overcast. They're forecasting rain for this morning...possibly thunderstorms, but still 31C...which if it rains, I'm guessing will make it humid! Arrggh...I really dislike humidity!



Of course none of this matters because I am off to throw this morning in my whatnowmightbewarmerthanoutside basement studio. Cylinders it is! I dragged out 'The Potter's Studio Handbook' by Kristin Muller. Great book btw. It's how I learned to perfect my bowls, which..okay...might not be all that perfect, but I've gotten really good at making them. I can even throw them similar in size and shape. I'm sure there are things that need perfecting and I'd love to have someone critique them sometime, but for now I'm pretty happy with them. I followed her instructions, mucking up my pages as I did...because seriously...it's not easy following how-to pictures when your hands are sticky with mud and never mind that you have to flip the page! Luckily the pages wiped pretty clean and didn't dry up and stick together. I've used that bowl making section a few times now! So today, I'm going to blank out all that I've learned about making cylinders and try her method...which at first glance looks easy enough.

If you've been looking for a good how-to book on pottery, check this one out. Literally, Kristin covers everything from soup to nuts...or in this case...from setting up a studio and the equipment needed or wanted, to finishing techniques, including how to make your own glazes. Her instructions are pretty straight forward and the pictures being a visual kinda girl is what I really use most) are great! She covers both hand building and throwing and includes some project ideas at the back, which is what I used to make my teapot!

I'll keep you posted!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Bisque fire complete!

When it rains it pours huh? Two posts in one day!

I really am going...but had to show you! Happy....sooooo happy with the way they turned out! Glazing today!



Is it true that a house stays cooler when it's clean?

I'm up early....with the birds!

Every year, they build on this downspout..which becomes quite a feat as it's slippery and the nesting materials won't stick. I end up with a two foot heap of grass and mud on my deck before they finally finish! Pretty but not very bright birds!

I want to get some things done before it gets too hot. Outside things mostly. I love mornings for the sunshine...the coolness...the chirping birds. But I'm a night owl, so the two conflict. Sadly, my hubby is a morning person and can't understand why I'd want to stay curled up under the covers instead of riding my bike for 4 miles (like he's been doing). I should do it...I know I should...but just give me a few more winks and...'course I fall back to sleep, regretting the fact that I SHOULD have hopped out of bed the minute I woke up!

So here I am up at 6:oo, sipping on my morning coffee and pouring over pottery stuff on the net. How to throw a cylinder. I kid you not. That's what I'm doing. Viewing google images...searching for a fabulous cup shape (not happy with what I did yesterday) and as usual getting distracted and 'off course' when I am suddenly whisked away to a new and wonderful page of some potter I've yet to find (and believe me...I have found a LOT of wonderful potters in here!)

But I won't stay long...I swear I won't! I'm finishing this coffee (which is now coolish because I've forgotten to sip on 'cos I've become so immersed in online pots) and then I'm going to do a little deadheading, wipe the fluff from my patio table (why or WHY did we mistakingly plant those dreadful poplar trees that spew that nasty white fuzz like snowflakes in a blizzard!)and then I'll unload my kiln. Can't wait to see my bowls! Then I'm going to vacuum my house because it's going to be a hot one today and even hotter tomorrow 33C! "A clean house is a cool house". That's what my mom always says. Whether it's true or not, it's so ingrained in my brain that I believe it to be so! So, I'll vacuum, put away a few things and do I quick swipe of the bathrooms. Clean and cool....


That dreaded fuzz....I think it's over for this year!


I had to include a picture of my climbing roses, which until this year haven't done much. I hope they'll grow to the top of my under eave!!

Off I go!
Have a glorious day! 'Til next time...

Friday, June 22, 2012

What I've been doing....

I don't know where the time goes. I am not feeling very productive this week, though I will admit that I haven't spent a lot of time in my studio because of my company. They've since left, so things should get back to normal. Even so, I have been reading blogs of fellow potters over at Mud Colony and I'm amazed at the number of pieces some of you throw in a week (some in as little as a day!). I can't wait for the day that I can throw like that! By the way....check out Mud Colony to see what the others have been doing this week!

I did however, finish my figurative pieces (all but one, but I think it's just too dry)...which have taken forever. Now they're all wrapped up, drying slowly. I will not rush the drying process! (Repeat every 10 minutes).

I have big plans for the weekend. Pottery plans. My sister has invited my mom to visit with her this weekend and that frees me up. No excuses....I WILL get a bunch of stuff done! For those of you that don't know, my mom is living with me as she's now been diagnosed with Alzheimers. She's pretty good on the whole...mostly it's short term memory loss and every day is ground hog day around here (same questions over and over again). For those of you familiar with this, you'll know how important it is to have some time to yourself. For some reason my mom doesn't like me downstairs in my studio working on my pottery. She's always calling me and asking me if I'm done yet. I can't seem to get her to understand that I won't ever be done!

Posting pics of my painted peeps....Can't wait to see them fired and stained! You'll have to wait for the one...remember...gift! (I don't know who'll have more trouble waiting... me or you.....I AM the girl that will unwrap presents to take a peek!)







Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Two down....

Here's a pic of my latest. I have another completed but I can't show you 'cos it's going to be a gift! Two down, two more to go! Hopefully tomorrow! Oh yes! and he'll be needing his tongue!


The ORIGINAL Jarhead...actually Potty Mouth,( Had to do it!) Looking at the picture I think his ears are a little low? FYI, the nose is NOT a lipstick, nor is it something of a sexual nature (get your mind out of the gutter!). It's a bullet or my version of a bullet anyway!


Thought this was a good way to mark the name. Once I wash it with the u/g it'll stand out nicely!


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Careful, you might lose an eye....

I've been neglecting you blog! Busy with my company. I have managed to work on a few new Jarheads and Potty Mouths today, though the body bits have been sitting for a little too long and are drier than I'd ideally like them to be. I have my fingers (and toes), crossed in hopes that the spriggy bits (are they classified as actual sprigs, I wonder? If not, then I mean the little decorative pieces, like the eyes and noses, hats and hair) will stay adhered! I read somewhere that misting the inside of a bag and then draping it around the clay form without it touching (good luck with that!) and then wrapping it again with another bag will equalize the moisture in the clay....let's hope so or I'm going to be losing eyeballs, lips and teeth! hahahah I think I'll keep these wrapped in plastic for a while.

Alrighty! Back to work (and my company...dinner tonight at my sister's) I'll post some pics in a day or two!

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How much time does it take to decorate 12 bowls?

Most of today. That's how long it takes ME to paint twelve bowls! I can't believe that I spent as much time as I did decorating them, but it's pretty involved. I did eat...both lunch and dinner and I had time to watch a little tv with my mom and sit down for an afternoon tea. You need that time of course, for the underglaze to dry between coats!

I think I might try decals on them once they're fired. On these I think the sepia will look great, so I can print something directly onto the decal paper from my printer. I see these as a little circus-y...so I'm thinking something appropriate...maybe some stars? I'm going to look for something now. I'll put a few in some of the small coloured dots.

Anyway, here they are...in all their glory. I'm pretty happy with them. Of course we'll see if I like them as much once they're fired, but I'm thinking that I will!

I was inspired by Merdedith Host. I am in love with her work!

I almost forgot the pictures!





Wednesday, June 13, 2012

My studio!

It doesn't have sky high windows (I wish) or windows at all (I wish that too!) Nor does it have a resident dog resting peacefully on a pillow. I am, however, babysitting a dog in a few weeks and I'll be sure to lay her pillow in a little corner of the room. It can be a little chilly, especially in winter. That's when I pull out my infrared heater and park it near me until I'm warmed up from wedging, throwing and just mucking about. That same chill is more than welcomed in the heat of summer. It's a little chopped up, but turn a corner and you'll see I've hidden away the ugly things. The room itself, or at least the studio I imagined, isn't quite finished, though I'm not sure when I will complete the little things I had planned to do. I wanted to sew a curtain to hide the ugliness behind the stairs and some cute little curtains to hide the supplies in my work table. But those things take me away from clay! I need to find more inspirational pictures for the walls...maybe some pottery posters. And how I wish my cupboards were a different colour! They were pulled from an old farm house long ago with the intent on making a little kitchen in the basement and I suppose that as well as my studio supplies and a sink, it IS a little kitchen as too.

Still it works well enough for me. I have a nice big table for decorating and my husband built me some wedging boards that hook on the edge of my table so they won't slide away when I'm pushing on the clay. I haven't found the perfect height for my wheel. Sometimes when I'm sitting there for a long while, my pedal leg will fall asleep. I think maybe my stool is too high, but I can't lower it anymore. So do I need to raise my wheel up? I'd appreciate any suggestions you might have! The little blue stool was a surprise from my hubby when I asked if he could find me some blocks of wood to rest my other foot on. He whipped up this little stool and it's just so darned cute! Lugging boxes of clay to the basement isn't particularly fun and carefully carrying a ware board loaded with greenware or freshly glazed pieces up the stairs to my kiln in the porch isn't a ideal either, but for now it all works.

I it today and thought it was a good time to share some pics. I know that I love to see where other potters are creating. Looking at these pictures, I think I would have preferred a little mess...just a little, because these look a little stark...almost TOO clean if that's possible! Just the same here they are:


Sink area. I moved all my chemicals to a shelf around the corner so now the shelves above my sink seem so bare! I contemplated moving my u/g to the top shelf but that would mean a stool and some juggling to find what I need. I'm sure they'll fill up in no time. Yes I have a trap under that sink.

Shelves. I doubt that those will be enough. I have some old wooden shelves I'll set up on the other side of the room when I'm desperate for more. My hubby made the magnetic chalkboard. I keep forgetting to buy chalk! The paddle...or as I like to call it "mini oar"...is upgraded paddle I was sent when I ordered a much smaller one. For some reason they thought I'd be tickled to get the larger one for the price of the smaller version! Seriously...I'd whack the head right on my jars if I decided to use this!

View from the sink area. The room looks huge in these pics. It's not really. I do love my counter. I had a little gift shop years ago, and this was a counter in my store. I loved it then and love it now. Lots of room to work on. Can you see my little blue stool sitting next to my wheel?

One day we plan to build a garage, with a nice big studio/workshop on the side. By then, I should have all the kinks worked out and I'll know just exactly what I want!

If you look closely you can the bowls I made this week. They might not look like much, but I'm really happy with them. The size and shape are pretty uniform and tonight I trimmed them all and now they're even better! You can also see the terra cotta "body parts" for my Jarheads and Potty Mouths. Tomorrow I'll assemble them and add give them an identity! (I'm thinking a soldier, vampire (yes again, but they're just soooo trendy right now!), a construction worker, and a girl! Check out Mud Colony to see what other potters have been up to this week!

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Size does matter....

and you always have to expect shrinkage...

Yes I know. Yesterday I told you about all the work I need to complete this week. But, it's so difficult because I'm really in the mood to play with clay! I'm thinking now, the housework can wait...at the very least until the end of the week. That way everything will be spit and polished for my company and for the BBQ. I did plant the last of my bedding plants this morning, as well, I washed the deck, dragged around some patio furniture and sprayed the clay off my mountain of towels, aprons and whatever else I've managed to dirty! Red clay is sooooo messy!

Yesterday wasn't my best clay day. I draw pictures of what I want to do and then plot out how much clay I'll need for the various body parts (I'm talking about the Jarheads and Potty Mouths...yesterdays projects) and then I do a quick sketch of an approximate shape. My third wedged hunk of clay, I take my throwing a little too far and manage to mash my 5 lb. cylinder into a warbled mess! I wish I could say that's the only one I managed to spoil, but it's not. I had several others, and then of course that threw me entirely off and I was making heads from balls meant for hats and hats meant for body balls! In the end I know I'll be okay. I will MAKE things fit! My bridged clay dried long enough that I was able to re-wedge it and then throw an even better cylinder than the first time around! I'm still working on size and poundage and how much things will shrink. I thought that my clown was SO huge, but in the end he's not much bigger than my pirate. A small cookie jar at the very least. This time I've gone bigger still...or so I think. I suppose we'll see once it's completed because I'll never cease to be amazed at the size of a finished piece!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Monday Madness

I figure it's time I start some sort of theme posting. What I mean by that is, I love these creative bloggers who choose a blog theme on a particular day. So, today and each and every Monday will be called Monday Madness.

I figure it represents my life pretty well. It's most often on a Monday that I get the urge to try new things. I pull out one of my many (I have them strewn all over the house), notebooks or sketchbooks and jot things down. 'To do this week' My head is a mess of what I want to do and what I really need to do.

This week I need to focus on what I need to do. I have company coming on the weekend and a big bbq for family so I'll have to get this house in ship shape (or a better shape than it is at the moment). But I also have my bowls to decorate, and I really, really, REALLY want to throw some pots for some new Jarheads and Potty Mouths. As usual, I've left that pretty late and so the chances of me sending home a Jarhead with my company looks pretty grim. Especially after the cracking episode!

Oh yes! I forgot about the bedding plants I picked up yesterday! Sheesh! I'm off!


This is me!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Once a Brownie...

As you can guess, I'm more than a little infatuated these days by figurative pottery. I especially love pieces with a sense of whimsy to them, but on closer inspection, there appears to be a slightly dark side or hidden meaning. I love the work of Pattie Chalmers. These are a few of my favourites! I love the 60's reference!







Friday, June 8, 2012

I 'vant to....

This is for you Carole...Blood suckers....fangs as promised!

...and a toothy smile from Lars

Bowl me over....



Today I threw bowls. That's right...MORE bowls. I probably throw bowls more than I throw anything else. I have to remind myself that I am still learning, and so I'm pushing myself to work on one form until I can throw that form really well. So, I'm trying desperately to perfect the shape, or at the very least, make them all the same shape. (I have quite a collection of mismatched bowls as you can imagine and if you're a potter, I'm sure you have a cupboard full of the same). A dozen bowls of equal height and diameter...that's my goal. I'm getting better! Not only do these last bowls look quite similar but I didn't spend an entire day throwing them either. Twelve bowls. Two and a half hours (not including the time it takes to wedge). I bet you're thinking that's insane!! It can't possibly take that long to throw twelve measly bowls. But in fact, I think I broke a record today. My own record, but a record non the less. Two and a half hours is my best time yet!

*patting myself on the back*

Oh yes....I should also mention that my latest 'Jarheads' and first 'Potty Mouth', will hit the kiln this morning for their final firing. Each interior had been glazed and the exterior wiped with a black wash so they're looking fabulously distressed (on purpose) and dirty in all the right places!!



In a nutshell that's a little of what I've been doing this week! You can check out what other fabulous clay artists have been doing as well at Mud Colony!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Patty cake, patty cake....



Bake a man!...or at the very least a vampire and clown...perhaps, Salt Lick Lizzie is a cross dresser...in that case...bake her up too! I should have fired them last night, when the house was cooler, but they felt a little cold when pressed to my cheek. Ever since my blow up, I worry about damaging another piece, so instead, I choose to leave them sitting in the kiln...lid open...in my hot porch...on this very hot day. Now that porch is sweltering....and of course it will get very hot once I turn my kiln on....so I'll wait until a little later!

So, I've been away. Miss me? We went to visit family. Long drive there...always, always....a longer drive home (or so it seems). For most of the trip I was a passenger, which was nice. When I was able to keep my eyes open (I don't know what it is about me riding in a car...I just cannot stay awake!), I was busy jotting down ideas, scratching not so reasonable facsimiles of what I was picturing in my head into my sketch book. I'm dying to get to my studio. Today, however, was a bust. Dentist and doctor appointments, groceries, bedding plants....but now....I'm set! I might even throw a few pieces tonight!

I did manage to stop at a big pottery store on my drive back. I picked up more clay and more of that Chrysanthos underglaze that I've been so happy with. I also bought that Kemper tool that Diana recommended for the mishima. I hope to try that soon!

I also had a nice surprise when I got home. Carole Epp, included me in her Monday morning eye candy post! I was thrilled...no...thrilled isn't even close to what I was feeling. Anyway pretty exciting stuff and if I was inspired before, I'm ridiculously pumped now!


Lizzie with a little colour!


My tongue spoon! We'll see how functional it is!

Groceries to unpack, and dinner to make. More tomorrow!