Fall Barrel Firing

Somehow this whole summer slipped away before I was able to get the rest of the pots, that I had ready to barrel fire in the spring, through the process. This past weekend my husband and I packed up the barrel and burnt it down to great results. All the new pieces are up for sale here.

I took some pictures, documenting the process a bit, that I have to share too. If you’d like to know how I create my barrel fired pots here’s a step by step.

My barrel fired pieces start off at the wheel like all my work. Here is a link to a video I shared on Kayci Stanley Ceramics facebook page of me throwing a pot for the barrel firing. After the piece is thrown and dried up a bit I clean up the bottoms by hand and add my initials. Some pieces get burnished and some don’t, here is a link to another video on my facebook page showing me burnishing a pot.

Once the pots are completely bone dry, to prepare them for the barrel, I put them through a very low bisque fire to cone 018 in my electric kiln.

That terracotta was so orange after the 018 bisque!

After the pieces are bisqued sometimes I wrap old scraps of wire around them in random patterns, wrap them in dried sea vegetation, or wrap them with (dried) sea salt soaked cotton fabric or string. If I have done any carving in the pieces before hand I usually fill in the carving with underglaze before the firing as well.

Once the pots are ready we get the barrel ready. My husband is forever the tinkerer, always making improvements. We started out firing in a straight burning barrel, he put some holes in it to help the air flow.

Our barrel fire last summer (2018)

This year he added a door in the bottom to help us light it more efficiently and a smoke stack up top to help keep the heat in and smoke us out less.

Barrel (2019)

To stack the barrel my husband gathered a bunch of branches and sticks that had fallen off the trees in our yard. He also chopped some larger logs that we had into more manageable pieces. We used the sticks and the logs to stack up the bottom third of the barrel, leaving room to start a fire by the door.

On top of that we put a little saw dust, a layer of newspaper, and a thicker layer of saw dust on top of the newspaper.

I mixed into the saw dust a mixture of copper carbonate and salt, along with some dried sea vegetation and walnut sawdust. I’ve put nails and other scraps of metal, coffee grounds, banana peals, and grass clippings into this saw dust layer in the past. This layer of sawdust is the bed the pots lay on, so whatever is put around the pots here will create the atmosphere in the barrel that results in the surface decoration on the pots. I’m still experimenting with adding different things to this layer and seeing what I get. I think all this sea vegetation caused more orange this time around and made some lovely patterns on some pieces. I know nails have left pretty rings in the past and coffee grounds create a rich brown color.

Once the sawdust bed is ready the pots go in. I try to give them room. I don’t like to crowd them too much.

We covered the pots with a little more newspaper and sticks.

Last we topped it all off with sticks and logs.

Tony started a fire with sticks and leaves and paper inside the door at the bottom of the barrel. It took a while to get the fire to spread throughout the barrel, it always does.

After the fire was cooking, we closed the door and let it burn down. It smoked the rest of the afternoon and died down into the evening.

The following day we were able to go out and open it up once things had cooled down. I carefully pulled the pots out of the barrel and wiped them off. I then applied a thin layer of protective wax on the outside to finish them.

We’re getting better at this process. There was a lot of color in this firing, purples, reds and oranges. I’m happy with the results. We won’t be able to do this again until the spring, but I think we’re both looking forward to experimenting more.

I always find myself picking a favorite from every firing and this piece has caught my eye this time.

https://kaycistanley.com/product/barrel-fired-pot-10-2/

Wine Cup Restock

I have been making wine cups again. I think this batch turned out pretty alright, and there were definitely a few that I’m really stoked about. You can find them for sale here. I’ll post a few pictures of my favorites below. I’ve been playing a lot with throwing lines, and working with altering pieces a bit too.

https://kaycistanley.com/product/copper-wine-cup/
https://kaycistanley.com/product/gray-and-purple-wine-cup/
One cup from a pair I altered the form on. I’m interested in exploring this more, it feels really comfortable to hold. https://kaycistanley.com/product/pair-of-glittery-dark-brown-wine-cups-1/
https://kaycistanley.com/product/pair-of-metallic-spotted-gray-and-green-wine-cups/
I tried out Amaco’s Cosmic Tea Dust glaze on a few pieces this firing and found out how sparkly it is from start to finish. It’s pretty cool. B) https://kaycistanley.com/product/glittery-brown-wine-cup/

With the weather turning cold again I think I’ll be moving my clay and glazes back inside for the winter soon. My hubby and I are hoping to better winterize my studio space this year, so hopefully things will be a little warmer when I’m working out there in the cold months ahead.

I’m enjoying working on these multiples, which kind of surprises me because making multiples was something I use to hate doing. I’ve been finding the repetition kind of nice lately though, and have plans for smoothing out the process and getting better consistency. I think next I’ll be working on more mugs, bowls, and piggy banks. If the weather doesn’t get too cold I’m hoping to finally get in that second barrel firing I had planned for this year. We’ll see what happens I guess. Thanks for reading, much love <3

Back to Normal

Phew! I’m starting to feel back to normal after a couple weeks of high anxiety. I just finished fixing my inventory on the web store. I took down everything that sold over the weekend. It’s nice that all my work fits into the cupboards I store it in again. I can tell I need to start making more, which is cool with me. I always have ideas I want to get to. I need to work on more wine cups and beer mugs. There are pots ready to be barrel fired sitting on my counter, and I have corks that are waiting for more piggies. Of the 12 piggy banks I brought to sell at the show I ended up with only one that came back home with me. This little guy’s the only one I have left for sale right now.

https://kaycistanley.com/product/piggy-bank-3-2/

I’m so relieved and proud that the show went as well as it did. There was a steady stream of people there all day. I was able to snap a few pictures, but didn’t have time to really capture it all. It sounds like the rest of the artists and craftspeople that showed enjoyed themselves and sold a lot of work too. We’re definitely in talks for doing this again next year. I’m ready for a break now though, and some time back at the wheel. <3

Me selling, towards the end of the day.
Parrot Feathers 2019
Parrot Feathers 2019
Parrot Feathers 2019

Parrot Feathers was a Big Success!

The show went great and I sold a lot of work. My current inventory in the store needs to be adjusted, and I will get to that tomorrow after I get home. A lot of what is in the store right now was sold, but I need to get back to my computer to update it completely. Sorry for any inconvenience. I’ll be updating more soon. <3

Parrot Feathers Art and Craft Show Tomorrow!

Well, after many months of work and preparation Cheeseburger in Caseville is here and tomorrow is our Parrot Feathers Art and Craft show. Not going to lie, I’m pretty nervous. Anxiety is very normal for me, but this last week or so it has up there. I’m ready to go though, a little more packing this morning and we’re on our way. I went through and priced all my work with price tags made from my business cards a few days ago. I think it looks great and makes me feel kind of professional 🙂

It’s always a little fun to get all the inventory I have out and go over it again. I have some really nice stuff 😉 I was able to get a few more piggy banks made to bring up with me, that makes a dozen total. I had the extra room in my last glaze firing to refire those 3 vases in the top photo too. I’m usually not one to refire a piece, but they had such nice shapes and i just wasn’t super pleased with the glaze after the first firing. I gave it a shot and all 3 are way better the second time around. Perhaps I should give refirning a try more often.

I digress, the show is tomorrow and behind all the nerves I’m excited. There are a lot of great artists and craftspeople selling along side me whos work I’m looking forward to checking out, and probably purchasing as well. I hope we get a good turn out and it all runs smoothly. Wish us luck! Hope to see you there <3

New Barrel Fired Work and Thoughts on Burnishing

Results from our first barrel firing of 2019.

We had wonderful results from the first barrel firing of the year! All new work is up for sale on the shop here. This is one half of the work I have prepared for barrel firing currently and I’m itching to get the second half fired as soon as I can (that will probably be in a few weeks though because May is a busy month).

This time around I put in the extra effort to do a very old technique called burnishing on these pieces and I really couldn’t be happier with the results. To burnish a piece of pottery I wait until the work is completely dry, at what is called the bone dry stage, and then wipe on a little water and rub the pot with a polished stone to smooth the surface. I go over the whole pot, bit by bit, three times with this process. The end result is a shiny, soft to the touch, surface that shows the coloring from the atmospheric firing beautifully. Here is a link to a video on my facebook page that shows the process.

The pot in the foreground is before burnishing with the polished stone, the pot in the background is after.
More pieces I burnished, the tallest piece to the back right in the picture is yet to be burnished and has a more rough texture than the rest.

While burnishing is a time consuming process that requires patience, I feel it is very much worth it. I will continue my work with burnishing in the future.

After burnishing I bisque fire the work to cone 018 in my electric kiln and then the pieces are ready to be barrel fired. This time around the weather was dark and a little rainy so I didn’t get any photos of the actual firing, hopefully next time. In case you’re interested, here is a post I wrote last year that talks about the barrel firing process, and here is a post I wrote a few years back about the process of pit firing, which is pretty much the same as barrel firing.

We have been adjusting the way we layer things in the barrel and the different colorants we add. We’ve also learned that getting the fire as hot as we can has a very positive effect. After getting such lovely results this time I think we’ve got things figured out. I am very proud to say these pieces are my work, and if you know me you might know how rarely I give myself props. I am certainly my hardest critic, but having my name on these pieces makes me feel good 🙂 The following are pictures of my favorites this time around.

https://kaycistanley.com/product/barrel-fired-pot-13/
https://kaycistanley.com/product/barrel-fired-pot-10/

As always, I want to give a huge thanks to my husband for all the work he puts in to helping me with my pottery. I wouldn’t be able to make these barrel firings happen without him. Thanks to everyone else that shows me love and support as well. <3 take care all <3

New Stuff!

I have new work up for sale here! I recently finished up a few sets of tumblers, some piggy banks, garlic keepers, and more 🙂 Go check it out! Here are a few of my favs <3 Much love <3

First New Work of 2019

I made more piggy banks!

7 new piggy banks made it through the firing process for me this time. I have sold 4 of them already, but these 3 are up for grabs still 🙂

They are up for sale here if you’re interested. There are new mugs for sale too! I’m really digging this handle style.

It has been nice getting back into the swing of things after the holidays. I’m excited to see my work improving as well. I always end up keeping a few pieces for myself after a firing. Usually the ones that don’t turn out the best, but are still nice and usable. It gives me a chance to test out how they feel and quality check a bit. Also a nice little treat for myself, not going to lie 🙂

I’m currently drinking some berry cinnamon tea from this lovey mug.

I’m happy to say it’s a very nice weight and the handle is quite comfortable to hold. All my new mugs for sale are similar to this one. I might be bias, but I’d recommend them 😉

I’m planning a big trip to my local pottery store soon to replenish my supplies. After that I’m sure to be making more piggy banks, mugs, and more. If you’d like to follow what I’m up to I post pretty regularly on my instagram and facebook pages. Thanks, and much love to you all <3

Parrot Feathers Fine Art and Craft Show

I’m pretty excited about this new project I’ve been working on. I’ve been collaborating with fellow creatives and the Caseville Chamber of Commerce to help create a fine art and craft show that will take place during the Cheeseburger in Caseville festival this year. Parrot Feathers – Fine Art and Craft Show is now taking applications!

If you are a professional artist or craftsperson that would like to apply for a space to showcase and sell your work at the Parrot Feathers – Fine Art and Craft Show please read and fill out the application form here- https://goo.gl/forms/MC03PuNmige0wyyA3

Applications will be accepted between January 17th, 2019 and May 17th, 2019. Those picked to participate in the show will be notified at the email they provided in their application on June 1, 2019.

Event Summary: 
Parrot Feathers – Fine Art and Craft Show is an event taking place during the second weekend of the Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival. The Cheeseburger in Caseville festival is a yearly, tropical themed, festival in the small town of Caseville Michigan. The festival draws tens of thousands of people to the town every year. Caseville has gained the nick name, Key North, because of the massive popularity of this 10 day island themed festival. This quaint little beach town, in the thumb of Michigan, transforms into a palm tree, parrot and flamingo covered, sand in your toes party. There are events for the whole family and fun for the adults, many different kinds of cheeseburgers, a lot of tropical music and concerts (Jimmy Buffet songs being a favorite all around town), and this year there will be an art and craft show to add to the fun. A small group of creatives working with the Caseville Chamber of Commerce are putting together the first ever Parrot Feathers – Fine Art and Craft Show. This art and craft show will take place on the second Saturday of the festival, August 17th, starting at 10:00am and ending at 6:00pm. Fifty artists and craftspeople will be chosen to exhibit their work in a grassy open lot, located just east of the Wooded Island Sports Grill in Caseville Mi (6868 Michigan St, Caseville, MI 48725). We plan to bring a variety of professional artists and craftspeople together to show, and sell, their work to the parrot loving people of the festival. This event will be a lively celebration of art and craft in the midst of island fun.

Mission Statement:
Parrot Feathers – Fine Art and Craft Show aims to give Michigan artists and craftspeople a space to show and sell their work to the public during the Cheeseburger in Caseville festival. It is our goal to showcase quality, handmade work, as to foster a greater appreciation for art and craft.

Please like and share our facebook page to help get the word out. Thanks <3

https://www.facebook.com/ParrotFeathersArtandCraft

Giveaway Winner!

Congratulations Beth S. for winning the giveaway for one of my handmade ceramic cups! I have sent an email to Beth and will be sending the cup out as soon as I can. I would like to thank everyone that participated! The love and support mean the world to me <3