Thursday, September 27, 2012

Lessons learned...

I'm been busy making. I'm trying to get a little ahead of myself and stock pile my jars and stuff. It's not so much the throwing, altering, and decorating. It's that damned drying...that sloooooww drying and then two firings in my teeny tiny kiln that has me thinking that it's better to make now...right now.

I spent yesterday with my mentor, Monica. She watched me wedge... and pointed out where my problem lies...you remember...those nasty air bubbles, and though I'm feeling a little awkward doing it the right way, I know it'll come. Let me just say that it's SO much less work than I was putting into it prior to this back/shoulder/arm saving lesson! No more sweating or aching arms for me! She also helped me hone my throwing skills. Seems I'm a fondler and even after her reminding me (more than a few times), to keep my paws off that nicely centered ball of clay, I found myself touching...without even thinking....THAT is something I'm really going to have to work on!

So today, I'm patiently waiting for my newly thrown pots to dry enough that I can do some altering. I hope I'm not rushing it. While I wait, I'm going to throw a few more, because I have sketches galore of what I hope to do and it's probably more than I'll need but at least I have a game plan!

I'm including some pics of some new pieces I just pulled out of the kiln this morning. A few bigger bowls using my new stencils and some tiny snack bowls that I'd love to call Pit Bowls but thinking that no one will understand what I'm talking about. Curious? I had lunch at a friend's the other day and we had some lovely BC cherries for dessert..AND she handed me this sweet little bowl for my pits! Anyway, I suppose they can be used for so many things!




I am soooo happy with this pink! I mixed a red and white and this is really pretty!



Happy to be back and contributing to Mud Colony! You need to check out the work of the other fabulous potters there!


Monday, September 17, 2012

Productive Weekend!

That's right...I managed to get a few things done. I made some small snack dishes (in the kiln now so no pics!) and then cleaned things up and pulled out the red clay. It was nice to get back to it. I still love it...the smell, the feel... I threw a bunch of body parts for my jars and some bowl-y type things for these handled baskets I'm planning to make. I'm gonna call them Headcases. Yes, I know what you're thinking....why does she have to name everything? Hmmm....well, good question but I do....'cos I LOVE doing it!

So, Halloween is on it's way and I LOVE halloween and all the decorations.....the goblins, and zombies.... I especially love the old vintage stuff...not that I have any...but oh how I wish! I ALWAYS buy the Fall/Halloween magazines and I always save them...every single one...Martha Stewart, House and Home, Country Living, etc. etc. I love the colours of fall, which is strange cos it's a colour I don't even wear, nor do I have them in my house. I wanted so desperately to paint my livingroom orange and had patches of oranges and mustardy yellows on the walls for ages, but not one of them looked any good for felt right in my house. So, I guess that I get my fix from the magazine photos!

Anyway, I am focusing on some Jarheads with a Halloween theme, even though I won't be in a sale until after the 31st of August. People seem to like spooky things....and some people love Halloween all year round...doesn't matter, I have sketches of things I plan to make and I can't wait to work on more!

So for now....here's my first 3. I've actually done a little sculpting. Yes! Taking bits of clay and shaping it into brow bones and cheek bones and I have to say, I liked it! Pics of the finished pieces will be here soon! BTW, the little beret on the girl is a lid! Cute huh? Okay..she's NOT halloweeny, but cute as a button!





No, not an alien! The Man in the Moon! See his crater covered backside! hahahah...






Friday, September 7, 2012

Orientation!

I was accepted into a mentorship program sponsored by our local Crafts Council. I'm really excited about it and at the same time a little bit nervous! Tomorrow is our first group meeting...orientation. I have to present a 5 minute slide show of my work. Five minutes...that's not long...so why am I so worried?

But it should be fun! I think it includes a lunch (we were asked if we had any food requirements or allergies. I am looking forward to meeting the other mentees (though I don't think there are many) and the mentors.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

BIG is the best!

I'm pathetic at posting these days. I'm blaming it on my company and as of yesterday, they've all gone home and I'm feeling much more inspired to play with my clay. That might be because I've come to realize that I need to get busy if I'm to have a nice variety of work for these upcoming sales or it might be because I have finally taught myself to spiral wedge and can now officially say goodbye to those nasty air bubbles that have been tormenting me!

So..spiral wedging... It definitely takes some practice...and STRENGTH! I found standing on my little blue stool was much easier because the how-tos I've read have suggested straight arms and I'm short, with a bench that is a little high for wedging period, let alone spiral wedging. I also find that it goes much better if I don't watch my hands....just get into a rhythm. I am a far cry from doing it well...nothing like the videos I've watched on You Tube, but I'm sure I'll improve! Yesterday I wedged the same 3 balls over and over and over again...and then cut them up to see if there were any air bubbles and nope...nothing that I could see! I'm not convinced that my rams head wedging was the reason for the bubbles prior to this. I think it was my centering to be honest. I think I was pushing too hard and getting air trapped under the clay. Now that I am aware of it, I'm trying some different techniques, and when I do get air trapped and I haven't coned it up and dispersed it into a bubbly mess, I seem to have figured out how to get rid of it! So far it's working!

So....I managed to wedge 8 pounds of clay! That's the most I've ever tackled! Not only did I wedge it but I threw a bowl...a VERY big bowl! The bottom is a little too thick but that I can trim and I wish that I had left the top a little thicker so that I could have left a bit of a rim, but honestly...it turned out so well...and even when it looked pretty perfect to me, I kept on tweaking and had to make myself put down my rib and STOP, before I spoiled the whole thing. I've done that before...in fact 3 times yesterday on some very nice big bowls!

My BIG bowl (now to decide on decorating!)

I also broke into my box of precious...OH SO PRECIOUS, Laguna Frost that I bought ages ago in anticipation of one day working with a porcelain. I'm not sure I'm ready to throw it. I was surprised by the texture to be honest. But I did roll out a smallish slab and cut it into little shapes, which then became pendants (or so I'm hoping), and one thing lead to another and I was decorating them with a variety of leafy patterns! Pretty happy with them, even though I really don't know what to expect once they dry. Will they warp? Curl up? I've noticed that a few already have...which I don't mind so much. I'm not sure what to expect once they're fired either, so it's all a bit of an experiment for me. I'm not planning to glaze them, so I think I can fire them at Cone 5 and skip the bisque firing? Hmmm....I'll have ask to be sure.

Any suggestions on what to use these for would be greatly appreciated. I'm thinking they'd be pretty nice as a necklace but I'm wondering what to hang them from? Leather cording perhaps? Will they be heavy enough?

Anyway, here I am blabbering away and making this post far longer than I suppose anyone is going to want to read. I really should break these down into several smaller posts...yes...that's what I'll do....next time!

Here's a couple of other things I've been doing. The first is a flower pot I made in trade for the cutest stuffed animal. (pictured below). Erin Weiss of Boolah Baguette is so talented! You can find her here on her etsy site!

Bella (she loves swimming so you'll get the cute little ruffled swimsuit and life jacket!)

I also played with a couple of bowls, using the same stencils as I did for the pendants. They're pretty...but pretty simple as well. Not sure what I think of them yet.

I'm about to pop over to Mud Colony to see what my other pottery friends have been up to! You can check them out too...here!