Lots Going On

As the heading says, there is a lot going on here πŸ™‚ I’m preparing to take my work and go sell at the Cheeseburger in Caseville festival this Thursday-Saturday at the Wooded Island Sports Grill. Last year and the year before I set up there as well. I’m getting excited to share all the improvements I’ve made both in my work and my display.

Since the last time I posted I’ve been making, making, making!Β  It has been a lot of throwing, trimming, hand building, puling handles, decorative carving, and all that jazz. My lovely husband helped me set up my kiln and with that my studio is now fully functional πŸ˜€ Over the last few weeks I’ve done 3 bisque firings, 2 glaze firings, a barrel fire and a refire. It feels awesome to be putting my studio to work and finishing up pieces that have been in the process for months now.

My kiln set up

We’ve decided to move to barrel firing instead of pit firing here at the new house. It’s very similar in both method and result. Although, there has been a learning curve for us. In the first fire we didn’t get things quite hot enough to see much color on the pots. After that, we decided to refire some of the pieces. In the refire we had issues with some of the additives I put in the barrel sticking pots together and making a mess in general. The good news is we’ve learned a lot. We had lovely color results in the second firing too, and that bodes well for future firings.

The barrel on fire during our first try.
A look inside the barrel after our refire.
My favorite piece from the first firing.
Two lovely pieces that survived the refire.

While the barrel firing is a work in progress, I have had great luck glaze firing the electric kiln. Over the last two weeks I’ve glazed and fired 14 piggy banks and 45 cups/mugs. I am very pleased with my results, the piggies especially. They just catch my eye and make me smile πŸ™‚

Kiln loaded before being fired
After the firing

All the piggies together

Now that all my work is completely through the making process I’ve been busy taking inventory and pricing things.

I will also have some paintings for sale with me up at Cheeseburger. I was even able to frame most of them up. These little iris paintings are a few of my favorites <3

I think that’s all I have to share for now. I’ll update more when we’re in Caseville selling. As always thanks for the love and support. I’ve been getting lots of great feedback on social media and it means a lot to me. <3

Low Fire Results

The low fire (cone 04) I ran last week went very well. Compared to the last time I tried to fire some planters this firing was 1000x better! I actually threw these planters and vases a few months ago, so it feels nice to finally finish them. I’m very happy with the planters and can’t wait to make more.Β Here is a link to my store if you’re interested in purchasing something πŸ˜‰

This planter was a lot of work. I can hardly believe it didn’t fall apart on me some time during the process. I’m over the moon with how it turned out, my favorite from this firing by far!

I have to give a shout out to my wonderful husband. He helped we with the hemp rope knotting and macrame on the hanging planters. He’s pretty great with knots, and a creative himself. <3

I’m also in love with this vase. I worked a lot on the texture and the glaze flows in such an eye catching way <3

I see myself exploring more low fire work in the future. The results I achieved from these glazes are promising πŸ™‚

If you’re looking for holiday gifts for your loved ones I still have a lot of new pieces for sale. I’m continuing my 30% off sale on my older work until after the new year also. This lovely is only $21.00 + s&h.

Happy Holidays to all those out there celebrating. Thanks for all the love and support <3

Improvement

Hello πŸ™‚ It looks like it’s time to write an update!Β  Ever since Cheeseburger in Caseville I have been hard at work in the studio.Β  I’ve been focusing on functional ware and have been seeing vast improvement all around with my work. Everything is lighter, my forms and decoration are progressing, and most importantly I am getting a much better grasp on what it takes to run a good cone 6 oxidation firing in an electric kiln. My two most recent firings produced a lot of good results. I have new cups, mugs and bowls up for sale here. All my older stuff is on sale 30% off for the holidays too!

One of my favorite new pieces is this beautiful mug.

The purple on the inside is just stunning and the drippy glaze is even more gorgeous in person than I could capture in the picture. Porcelain is really starting to grow on me. I may be making the switch to using it for all, or at least most of, my functional ware in the future.

Another lovey piece I recently finished is this wide mug. If you can’t tell I’m a fan of drippy glazes πŸ™‚

One thing I’ve been working on is adjusting the size of my work. Previous pieces I have made seemed to be a little too big. I think I’ve hit on just the right sizes now though. These wide mugs would be wonderful for a rich hot cocoa or a hot bowl of soup.

Most of my new work consists of cups, mugs and bowls, but I did have one larger piece work out. This serving dish was a bit of an experiment for me that turned out so nice πŸ™‚

While I’m sharing pieces I have to show off the garlic keeper I made for myself. I really just love it <3 It turned out exactly like I wanted it to.Β I will be making more like it in the future to sell for sure.

I currently have aΒ  handful of pieces set aside that I will be making more candles out of in the next week or two. I have plans to try a low fire soon as well (fingers crossed on that one). I am hoping to low fire some vases and planters I started a while back. I’ll post about these projects as they happen. I’m often most up to date on my instagram (there’s a link to it on the side of this page if you’re interested). Again, don’t forget about the 30% off sale. This striking pit fired pot is only $21.00!

I hope everyone is enjoying the holiday season <3 Much Love <3 and thanks for the support!

 

 

 

 

New Work and Annoying Pottery Problems

I ran a glaze firing in my electric kiln last week. I’d say I got mixed results, but ended up with some nice pieces and lots of information. The new functional ware is up in the shop here. This bowl mug is by far my favorite this time πŸ™‚

I would say I got mixed results because I’m dealing with some common potter problems. When you run a glaze firing there are a number of things that can go wrong. Two of the most common glaze defects are pinholes and blisters. I have been seeing both on my work and it’s super frustrating. I put in a lot of time and effort creating my pieces and carefully glazing them. When I open up a freshly fired kiln only to see glaze defects it’s disheartening.

For example, I created two pitchers for this last firing.

They both ended up having gorgeous glaze combinations, but they have too many defects for me to feel comfortable selling them due to major blistering on the inside and out.

On the one hand, cool I get a couple of pretty pitchers to use personally. On the other hand, I want to smash them in my frustration! Unfortunately it was more than just these two pitchers that came out of the kiln blistered. Fortunately, a lot of the other work is usable in one way or another. I don’t like to sell work with lots of glaze defects if it’s going to be used for food or drink. It isn’t a big deal if the work is more decorative though, like vases and the candles I am working on.

So, after the initial disappointment of things not turning out the way I had hoped I went into research mode. I don’t need to go into all the details here. Glaze firing is more complected than one might think, even in an electric kiln. Suffice it to say, I now have a plan for the next glaze firing that I think will reduce/eliminate the pinholes and blisters. I will probably always be learning more in this craft, but ultimately the mistakes only push me to improve.

Looking forward I have plans for another pit firing in a week or so. I think the candles that are in the works will be pretty neat. I’m also thinking of making more mugs, bowls, cups, vases, pitchers and the like. I’m just going to keep moving forward!

Thanks for the support <3

 

Bowls, Mugs and a Vase

We had another firing of my electric kiln and there was definite improvement πŸ™‚ I did have a casualty involving 2 mugs, and a few minor glaze issues. Over all things went well though. I now have some nice new work up for sale.Β 7 Bowls, 5 mugs and 1 vase.

You can shop all my work by clicking on the Shop tab on the main menu above (or click here).

I also have some cool news to share. I have started working on ceramics full time! I’m excited to be devoting myself to my craft and to continue in the direction I’m heading.

There will be more bowls, mugs and vases being made soon. I also think we will be doing a pit firing in the near future. I’ve been waiting all winter for that! Planters, cups, pitchers and candles are some things I’m thinking of exploring next.

Thanks for the support <3

The Process

This isn’t easy for me. I happen to be a quite a perfectionist. I enjoy sharing my triumphs and my steps towards my goals. I don’t feel comfortable sharing the set backs and bumps along the way. I have come to realize that it’s healthy for me to share the good and the bad though, because it’s all part of the process.

Yesterday I put a lot of my work and effort into a glaze firing. For me this is a big deal. I haven’t been in a position where I’ve been able to fire my kiln, especially glaze fire (cone 5/6), until quite recently. This is the first time we’ve fired it for a glaze firing since moving it to our garage too. I have a good amount of time and experience in the throwing and creating part of ceramics, but I have a bit less experience when it comes to glazing and firing.

After two days of glazing work that I had made over the past few months I gave it a go. One thing about ceramics is you never quite know what is going to happen in the kiln. Once it’s loaded and you start firing all you can do is hope for the best. This time was not the best.

The planter pictured above is the same one that is in the middle of all the mugs in the picture of the loaded kiln. The clay body that I used to make the hanging planters apparently isn’t made to be fired to cone 5. When a clay body is over fired it starts to slump and melt. Unfortunately this planter slumped right onto half of my mugs. When glazes melt together there isn’t much you can do about it. My husband was able to clean up some of the mugs that were only messed up on the handles for us to keep and use personally, but they look a little rough. Some were justΒ not salvageable.

I fired 4 hanging planters and they all melted and slumped. Just for the record I had fired this clay body in the previous glaze firing we had done when the kiln was at my sister in laws house. It made it through fine, but the kiln fired much differently over there and might not have quite hit the cone 5 temperature. I have learned my lesson.

Bubbled, melted and messed up hanging planter.
Hanging planter that melted to the kiln shelf. Good thing I had a nice layer of kiln wash on the shelf.

I was pretty bummed when we opened the kiln today. It’s always exciting to see what happened in the firing process, but you hope to see more good results than bad ones. That is the process though. The creative process doesn’t move in a straight line forward. It’s often a winding path and you might need to backtrack sometimes to move forward.

So, I pick myself up and move forward. What did I learn? Actually, I got a lot of information from this firing. Obviously I learned that the clay body I used for the hanging planters needs to be low fired. I also learned that with the new set up in our garage the kiln can easily hit temperature. I got good results from my glazes because of this. My mugs ended up being a nice big size in the end too Β (clay shrinks as it drys so a piece will get smaller though out the firing process). I obtained good information to work with in the future and it wasn’t a total loss. I did end up with 6 mugs that turned out nice. That included one I was asked to make by a family member. I’m happy about that.

The mugs that turned out πŸ™‚

I am currently working on some nice soup bowls and will be making more mugs soon as well. I’m still learning as I go. Thanks for the support <3