Saturday, September 22, 2007

Clay Ole

I am pushing myself to get some work ready for the guild sale next month but am having a hard time keeping focused. The house/sale and moving situations keep pulling my attention away from my studio. Today I went down town to pick up some of the postcards the guild had made to publicize the event. I was delighted to see one of my pieces right in the center of the postcard.

This should keep me busy in the studio--gotta live up to the advertising! This is not a great reproduction of the card--I scanned it in from my printer/scanner and it looks a bit fuzzy.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

playing with glazes

A friend wrote that he was going to check my blog to see what I had been doing. Oops, I was not sure I was going to report on my last firing because I was not very happy about it. There is really not a single piece that I am proud of in the whole batch. But, as I looked over the out-put today I was interested in what I learned about some of the glazes. I fired the kiln with a hold at the top and a long soak on the way down to try to get good iron red glazes--I was testing two glazes for the iron reds: Berry's Rust and Harris Temmoku. It was the Temmoku that gave me a great iron red in July--but did not do that when I fired it in August. I am happy with the iron red glazes--not sure they are quite as nice as the ones in July, but nice.

The first and third are glazed with Berry's Rust and the second and fourth are glazed with Temmoku--very hard to tell any difference.

The plate is glazed with the Temmoku glaze. I had three pierced pieces in this firing and this the only one I like. The other two are glazed green--and the glaze is OK but the plates themselves are unsatisfactory.

I tested 2 new glazes that were suggested on Clayart. They are totally unsatisfactory on food-carrying pieces but I think would be great on vases or sculptural pieces (which I don't make!) But I will make some vases to see if I am right in thinking they would be nice there.

I had fun experimenting with making these little tripod footed vases and soy pitchers. They have a lot of personality! Look quite saucy!

Even though I am not happy with any one piece, I did learn a lot from the experiments! Now I need to get busy doing some 'real' work!

Friday, September 14, 2007

friends around the globe

I don't know why I started this blog. It is a pretty far reaching out for me. Maybe because I was enjoying the blogs of other potters so much, I wanted to get into the conversation. It has been such a surprisingly wonderful adventure for me. Some time back one of my favorite bloggers, Ron Philbeck, wrote about adding to his blog a little map that showed where readers were coming from. Wow, that sounded like a great idea. So I put one on my blog--but I hid it away down at the very bottom of the posts! However, I have had so much fun looking at it day-by-day that I have moved it up a bit--on the side bar under the archive lists. I can't believe that people from all over the world are stumbling onto my blog! I am amazed each time I check it and see someone from South America has checked in, or someone in Africa, or Australia. It is amazing! Today there was a reader from Korea! I have made friends with a couple of potters in England who check me out regularly--and we've struck up a real person-to-person communication. I'm waiting for my first reader from Japan--I've visited there twice and love their pottery traditions and appreciations.

Another plus is getting to share my enthusiasm for pottery with members of my own family. Some of them are in San Antonio--and they probably get an overdose that already! But others are far away: my sister in Maine; my niece in Arizona; another niece in Spain. On the downside, I don't hear from my sister in Maine nearly often enough because now she keeps up with my doings via the blog--but she does not have a blog so that I can't keep up with her doings!

Well, the friends that the blog has brought into my life are definitely another of the blessing I celebrate daily! Thanks for checking in!

Monday, September 10, 2007

the challenges

Yesterday I loaded the kiln for a bisque firing. Today I mixed up some new glazes (1000 gm each) and a big batch of an old favorite (8000 gm). It seems like every time I mix up glazes I make some significant mistake. Usually it has to do with manipulation of the triple beam scale. Is that because I had no previous experience working with this piece of equipment? Once I read .8 gram as 8 grams! After scraping away what I could of the excess chrome green oxide I got a great glaze that I have made over and over again! Today I put a 1000 gm weight on the scale when I meant to put a 500 gm weight on! I caught it pretty quick--only had to adjust a 3000 gm glaze to a 8000+ gm glaze! I have a great 'process' developed so that interruptions don't cause problems and I try so hard to be very attentive to what I am doing. Yet I manage to create problems anyway!

Tomorrow I glaze and hopefully I will fire on Wednesday. It is always exciting to get things into and then out of the glaze firing! I keep intending to do some 'developmental' work--throwing a LOT of test bowls to improve my throwing skills AND to have lots of bowls to test glaze-overlapping on--but I have trouble finding the time to do the 'developmental' work because I get carried away wanting to see 'real' things come out of the kiln!

Reading about Andrew moving into his newly purchased home, studio first, has me wondering. I have laid out a plan for my new studio-in-the-garage. I don't need to have a lot of work done before I can get in there but some: some electric outlets, a couple vents and the windows. But I am wondering if I should get more help in planning this than just what I can figure out. I plan to take some of the cabinets and counter tops from our kitchen to use in the new studio--but they gobble up the wall space. There is a lot more space in this garage than I currently have in my studio but not a lot more wall space which is where shelves and such go! A great studio space is a terrible thing to waste!

Sunday, September 02, 2007

on the move

I am not getting much potting done because of spending my time planning our move. It looks like soon I will be spending my time packing and really getting a move on.

The house does not grab one's attention from the street--it is unpretentious but pleasant. The whole street is covered with the wonderful Live Oak trees so the neighborhood feels quiet, calm and settled.

But the view inside, from the front door, takes my breath away.

The house has a detached 2 car garage in the rear which will be entirely mine to convert to the studio where I will pot and Kenny will paint. You can see a tiny bit of the wall of the garage through the glass door. We will put windows in the wall of the studio facing the terrace so that from my potters wheel I will have the same view as this from the living room. I am very busy figuring out where each piece of equipment, each shelf and table will go. Where do I glaze? Were is the kiln? Where do I store my materials and clay? What work spaces can I create? Where does Kenny work? Where are his paintings stored? I have pages of graph paper with sketches of the space and cut-outs of the equipment and furniture to arrange in the best way. Not getting much pottery made--but I am very excited about my future in this studio! And our lives in this new home!