Thursday, July 26, 2012

It's a Mad, Mad Week!

Lots of nice compliments on my spoons!! I have my fingers crossed that they'll turn out well! I have a workshop this weekend that I am soooooo looking forward to. Monica tells me that we'll be discussing the idea of glazing only the spoon or the entire thing. I'm told that for cleanliness reasons, glazing the entire spoon is the best option, though I'm not really sure how functional they will be. I LOVE the idea of using them to spoon a big pasta or rice salad with, but, at the same time I worry about that ceramic spoon banging against a glass bowl. My sister has this beautiful rice jar..amber glass (HUGE...they eat a lot of rice) and it sits on display on her countertop. I was thinking how nice a big red scoop would be in that jar, but of course the same worry applies here. I guess we'll see once they're fired. They'll shrink a little more and once someone buys one, I suppose it's for them to decide what to do with it. My other sister tells me she'd love one to serve olives in. I'm not sure if she's talking about the scoop or the spoon...either way, my head is a whir of new ideas (yet again!)

Here's a picture of my latest Potty Mouth. He's quite big! Almost life sized! hehehe Guess you could say he's my attempt at a bust. I've had a sketch of him in my notebook for ages. Pretty happy with him and can't wait to paint him! I'm thinking he's going to have to be red/white and blue!

Okay... so these are the vases that I threw the other day...flawlessly...or at the very least...a pain free throwing session! I had this brainwave to turn 4 of them the same size and make little "pots" that fit into the opening...for the vase could become a combo tea-light holder/vase. Sadly only one of the tea-light pots fits properly and even now I can see that it's almost too small to hold one...and will be smaller yet once dry and fired. So...lesson learned...but still a great idea I think!

I've been thinking about these vases for a while and was all set to turn them into whimsical jungle elephant and monkey...maybe a zebra....I even thought I might do a flamingo. Then I wondered if these animals would really be something people would on the I thought...maybe...being a farm/prairie girl, I should do cows and horses....that sort of thing. I even drew up sketches and while they were cute, they just weren't doing it for me. So instead I decided to do birds...because I do love birds...on anything and these would/will be fun and funky and I think that birds will be the better sell.

Without further bird vases. Two of them. I have many more to "dress up". Sorry for the poor photo. I will incise the stripes and add some other lines and as usual, I'll wash each with a black underglaze to distress them Oh...and before I forget. My turquoise scoops.

Crazy busy at the moment trying to get ready for this sale. My pots are not drying as quickly as I'd like and attaching little bits to them certainly isn't speeding up that process either! I can see that kiln of mine will be working overtime to fire up all these pieces in! I have to finalize my display and paint some tiers....and find a suitable cloth for my table...something natural and linen-y I think....and where is that husband of mine with my lovely little primative stools he's supposed to be making for me!

Hopefully your week has been less hectic! Find out what other fabulous potters have been doing over at Mud Colony!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Just a quickie!

I am really happy with these! Hope they look equally as good once glazed! I can't decide yet if I should glaze the entire spoon or just the bowl only.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Finally Focused....

That's how I'm feeling lately...focused. It started with the spoons I made after watching Diana's video on Creativebug, which led to a few scoops (Linda Fahey if you're reading this, I was inspired by your beautiful scoops, though mine are quite different!) I'm hoping to work on a few self footed platters today. I'm feeling mishima-ish...and finding that doing little bits of it isn't nearly as daunting or time consuming, especially if I combine it with paper resist. I've also settled on a few colours for this series of work, which clears my mind more than you can know!

Through all of this, I've come to realize that I think my preference in clay is handbuilding or a combination of throwing and altering my thrown pieces. I'm not sure I'm cut out for functional work, though the reason for that might just be that I haven't quite decided on what I love to do best. I'm guessing as well, that it's because I still have so much to learn and feel a little lost when my head says "make (insert something more complicated than I am capable of here)" and my hands say "what!!!!"

So here are some pictures of my spoons and scoops ready for bisque firing (red) and some more that I have decorated today (turquoise). These still need a little cleaning up and I've only finished the mishima on one. Should get them finished tomorrow.

These aren't quite finished yet...some are still too wet for mishima. I'm putting birds nests on this series. Can you see the one on the narrow pointy spoon?....neither can I! I found a picture of an antique milk skimmer and it inspired me to make the small colander...though I can see I need some help with aligning holes! I think it could be useful. I LOVE these...favourite colour and nests...'cos I love birds, nests, eggs....I want this set for my own house! Tomorrow I'll work on the scoops.

My first go at it...and the beginning of my new addiction! :) Love the red. I decided on insects for this bunch. Hopefully I can get these in the kiln in the next day or two, but I want to make sure they're absolutely dry!

I'm going to hop over to Mud Colony to check out what others have been up to in their studio this week! You should do the same!

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Posting Made Easier!

Okay..I've removed that dreadful verification garble-dee-goop from my comment page! I know how I struggle sometimes to read them...especially those new numbers they've added! They are so faint sometimes, that I find it impossible.

Love reading your comments. Hopefully this will be easier! Keep on posting!

Monday, July 16, 2012

Working Backwards

Woohoo!! Yippee Ki Yay and all that! I made what I think is an almost perfect cylinder! Okay...maybe the shape isn't so perfect. I think that the flared lip is a little too big or I should say wide. It should probably reflect the widest part of the vase. But I threw this without the usual flaring out at the top! (That dreaded V shaped cylinder!) I threw it skinny....and quite tall (though I would have liked taller). I threw it to the shape I wanted it and then used a metal rib to clean up all of the slip. Then I threw it dry...pulled it a little higher using my metal rib on the outside and my throwing stick on the inside...worked like a charm! I'm a stickler for cleaning all the slip off my pieces when I'm finished throwing. Thank you Dee! (one of my instructors) I'm also a huge fan of the metal rib!

I'm going to try throwing another tonight. I'll use a little more clay and try to get this one taller. I might make a series of them and I think I'm going to decorate them with mishima, because I think this style seems less whimsical than my usual stuff. Speaking of was all I could do NOT to tip this piece and turn it into something Seussical! Thank goodness I didn't spoil my very best cylinder! :)

I need to back track...this is now tomorrow and I worked late, throwing another and another and another and even one more! Some wacky shapes, but I just wanted to play a little. It's interesting to see them together though. I can see how you can get all caught up in trying to make a shape or face from two side by side. Like Greg Pace, though I don't think it can be as simple as throwing some off hand shape and moving pieces around until you see something recognizable. (Trust me I KNOW because of course I shuffled mine a little in hopes of seeing something!)

I'm still thinking mishima, though I'm wondering how that'll work on the bumps and curves. Hmmmmm.... I wish I had a matte glaze. I picture them matte.

So, I've finally figured out the basic shape of throwing. Took me long me to do things backwards....

FYI, I read magazines back to front...THAT should explain a lot!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

What I've been doing....

I managed to get a few pieces done this week. A few bowls which were meant to be latte cups. I got this brain wave after watching Erin Furmisky's cd and trying her method of using wax over my underglaze. I carved out lines and then brushed the black u/g over those so that the black fills in the lines. Slick really! Neat and tidy and keeps the piece clean...but I forgot that I wanted to add handles and of course now there was this coating of wax... So, 6 handle-less latte bowls and 3 with handles. I pulled my handles. I tried a different method but I'm actually pretty good at pulling and I have to say that these really did turn out quite well...though they might be a little big. I guess we'll see once they're fired. I didn't so much in the way of surface decoration on these. I'm thinking they'll be perfect to try my decals on!

I need to work harder at this...especially now that I've been accepted to show and sell at our biggest art market! Woooo!! I'm pretty excited as you can guess as well as a little worried about having enough work finished...but...I'm sharing an Emerging Artist table so I won't need quite as much as I would need if I had my own table (that's the goal for next year!)

I also decorated a bowl. A simple bowl, but a lower profile than I would normally do. I think it will be nice for serving pasta or an equally saucy dish over rice or couscous. I LOVE silk screened prints and lithographs. So, I'm trying something new, inspired by some of my favourite prints. I've incised lines around the u/g paintings and once bisqued, I'll wash over it with my black. This one will be dirty. I considered trying the wax idea but I worry that burning off all that wax might not be good for my kiln or more so for me? You can see the pic at the top of the page.

The last thing I made were some spoons. I registered with Creativebug and watched Diana Fayt's video on spoons. Mine looked more like ladles until I viewed the video again and saw that my sides were too tall. So I shaved them down and after a lot of smoothing, they look pretty nice! Now what to do with them!

So that's my week...claywise. It's been hot...unbearably so and pouring rain at times. I did pick a basket of new baby potatoes and baby beets for dinner tonight. Yum!! Nothing better!

Visit Mud Colony to see what other potters have been up to this week! Adriana Christensen Love her and her work! has also created a MC group in FB! Check that out too!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Blistering Heat...

It's feeling like the inside of my kiln here these past few days. In other words HOT! I'm sure I've said it before, but I don't like it when it's really hot and I like it even less when it's hot AND humid. Like yesterday. 36C on my thermometer and according to the weather people 44C with the humidty. Thank goodness for fans (no air conditioning for me). I have to admit that sitting outside last night around 10 was gorgeous...still warm, not a breath of air and very few mosquitos (most unusual!). Sleeping wasn't too bad...not with the fan blasting on us and the windows cranked wide open. Actually I slept pretty well until the storm hit early this morning. Quite the light show and loud too! It poured much so that it was running in buckets over the eaves!

So as you can imagine this morning the house is pretty sticky and unfortunately not too cool. I've closed things, blinds, curtains. Fans are roaring...I'm sitting here in as little clothing as I can possibly get away with without shocking an unexpected visitor should he/she happen to knock on my door!! hahaha

I think it's a good day to work in my lovely, and still cool, basement studio. Far too hot to fire in my ridiculously hot porch...certainly it's insane to fire something to 2000 or so degrees in that already-too-hot porch. I think this is a good time to get a little ahead of my firing. Ideally, I'd love to have work ready for the firing on a regular basis. To have enough that it's always full, because I sit here with a few pieces that I so desperately want to fire but force myself to wait because I'd prefer to fill it up. I'm finding it especially difficult when I'm working with two bodies of clay that fire at different temps. Low fire and Mid.

Ah the cool and not so sticky studio I go! I should get lots done today!

Monday, July 9, 2012

Just a Prairie Girl...

This is going to be quick! I need to get to bed. I don't know what's wrong with me lately but I don't seem to need much sleep. Last night I had just over 3 hours, with the intention of napping after I'd be up for a few hours, but then I heard my clay calling, and my flowers, and it was such a nice day... I'm been avoiding wheat in my diet. Absolutely no wheat. Limited grains of any sort, in fact, and I have to give credit for my increased energy to that. I'm reading the wheat belly's not that I have so much of a wheat belly, but a friend lent it to me telling me she felt amazing once she started it. I think I'm one of those people that doesn't tolerate gluten well. I don't have celiac. I don't get a tummy ache or anything like that...I just get sleepy...or at least I'm blaming it on the wheat. Anyway, I'm up early again tomorrow. More deck railing...which my hubby tells me should only take about 4 or 5 hours! He failed to mention that tomorrow is going to be hot...HOTTER...32C or something we'll get an early start and hopefully, I can have all the spindles installed while I'm still in the shade! I think we're going to haul the canoe to the lake and once we're finished we'll do a little canoeing. Should be nice!

What I did want to post is my latest clay creation. It's a pod. A wheat seed or berry to be exact. A while back I found the pods of Alice Ballard. They're amazing. I love that they resemble the shape of a heart and I especially love the textures. What I wouldn't give to have a wall display of them! So that got me thinking...that I should do something...umm...prairie-ish. Not typical prairie, because believe me...grain elevators have been done to death and of course there's the prairie lily, overdone as well. So in the back of my head I've pictured a kernel of a wall pod...which is fitting because we were grain farmers (semi-retired now) and I know wheat. Anyway....this is a sort of prototype. I have other ideas. Decals...maybe farm implements or icons of a prairie home. Not sure yet, but, I am gathering photos.

This is what I've come up with. Oh...and yesterday we had friends over and I hauled my lovely wheat pod up to show them (it wasn't decorated yet) and my husband said he's not seeing a wheat kernel in it (it was the brown clay) and one friend said it looked like a football...squashed! I sort of saw it as a vagina...LOL! Anyway. I'm kind of happy with how it turned out! Much less vagina and football, more wheat kernel I think. Tell me what you think and in case you can't see it, it represents the patchwork quilt of the Canadian prairies...with the fields of colour...some summerfallow, sloughs (ponds..I heard recently that Saskatchewan is the only province that calls them sloughs), the trees....which are lining that centre a valley.... I can see it....

I apologize for the bad picture. The lighting in here in the evenings is horrid!

Friday, July 6, 2012

For Your Viewing Pleasure... remember I made those Jarheads? Two Jarheads and a Potty Mouth to be exact. But I couldn't post the picture of the one Jarhead because it was a birthday gift for my daughter? Well, I can now. It's been delivered by my sister and she's opened the box...and she LOVES it!

A little background on it before I post. It's a Miner...Coal Miner to be exact...see his 'coal' nose? She's a mechanical engineer in the processing plant at a coal mine. Her sweetie pie is a heavy duty mechanic. So...this little guy is wearing the coveralls that her b/f wears. Seems I got it exactly right! When I finished him I thought he was a little boring....which is why I added a little more colour on the one 'eye', but once finished I was pretty happy with him...that underglaze wash gives them so much depth! My very favourite thing about him is his hard hat. I was soooo happy with the way it turned out. When I first made it...before I attached it to the head, I thought about making small hard hat bowls! The best thing is....he's the perfect size for a cookie jar!

Here he is!

If you knew/know her b/f, you'll understand the big smile!
Thought I'd show you my finished 'Jarhead' Potty Mouth..though my sister thought he was some African tribesman!
I posted this pic on fb...but here it is for those of you that can't view it there.

Please check out Mud Colony to see what other fabulous potters have been up to this week!

The Dreaded Handle....

Here I am. Almost 1 am. and I'm still awake. A dear and new potter friend just asked me via fb if throwing in the evening keeps me awake. Well, I am WIDE awake after throwing...or truthfully, I think it's the clean up that wakes me up. I know that I wouldn't sleep if I crawled into bed right now. I'd be thinking here I am instead...looking at them! They say that you should limit your computer time prior to sleeping, but I think it helps me to wind down.

So today I threw some latte bowls. I know what you're thinking...because I'm thinking it too...more bowls. But I throw a pretty good bowl! I'm probably best at them and I'm tired of making cylinders. Not that I made many in my Imgoingtopracticemakingcylinders week. I have 10 tumblers waiting to glaze and those two flower vases, that I threw as cylinders and then altered them into a wavy kind of oval. You'll see. I'll take pictures. Anyway, back to my latte bowls. I can't decide if I should give them handles or not. I love to cup my cups (that does NOT sound good!)....but you know what I mean. Even when I'm holding a mug with a handle, I often slip my forefinger and middle finger into the handle and cup it with the palm of my hand. I'd prefer not to give them handles of course, because I struggle with them. I think it's because I'm so hell bent on smoothing the attached bits it's all perfectly blended and you can't see where the handle ends and the cup begins. Even now, when I'm fully aware that the glaze sort of does that for me, I'm still smooshing and smoothing. I could use a lesson in handles. It's not something that I really learned in any of the classes I took. I think we had a quick demo. I did make one mug in one of my classes. I thought it was perfect. Now it just looks thick and chunky...though the handle is pretty nice...but it's not mine. It's the demo handle that our instructor pulled for us...I stole it when no one else asked to used it! Clever me. Or maybe not. I can pull them though...without breaking off those knobbly end fact, I don't even get those anymore! Maybe I will attach handles to those newly thrown latte bowls. I could use the practice!

I'm off to bed. I'm constructing tomorrow. I made the mistake of volunteering to help my hubby install the spindles in a railing he's installing on a cottage at the beach. He tells me there are a LOT of them. So I'll carry them to him so he's not running back and forth and hopefully that'll speed things up. It's going to be hot..29C. Thank goodness we'll be at the lake...waterfront property, deck overlooking the water.

I'd better look for my sunscreen....