Monthly Archives: July 2014

Cat in the Nest

Bird Cat Pot

Bird and Cat Flower Pot

It all started one hot April night with a regular pot:

2014-05-01 20.40.01

First 3 pots I made after my return to pottery in April

Scratched in a circle and poked a bunch of holes all the way through the wall and made a small ring (on the left there). Today, after carving more than a dozen vases, I would have used an x-acto knife:Photo May 08, 9 31 38 PM

Attached the wall back to the pot with its own walls:Photo May 08, 9 40 49 PM

The first attachment was a bit rough b/c the pot was much drier than the walls of the hole and I was in a rush. That’s the downside of only 2 hours a week and nothing in between classes: things dry out. Anywho, after the rough attachment I wrapped the whole thing in plastic and set it aside until next class. By the next class the moisture evened out between the walls and the back of the hole and I was able to smooth it out:

Photo May 08, 9 41 07 PM   = > Photo May 15, 7 23 55 PM

Next, the fun part! Couple of birds and a nest:Photo May 15, 9 38 24 PM

The nest looks sad and empty and this piece is for my parents and they have a cat, so they get a cat in the nest.Photo May 15, 9 45 53 PM

Now it’s the end of July and the pot is only now finally done!!!

The birds and cat are Blueberry (3 coats) with Pumpkin Spice beaks, the inside of the pot is 1 coat of Emerald Green covered by a double coat of Crackle Celadon. The outside is Nordic Light. I painted the birds first and covered them in wax resist, co make sure they don’t get green on them.

New Glazed Pieces!

This is the first set of pieces where I planned the glazes and for the most part I’m pleased.

Exhibit 1: The Soap Dish.

I did a couple of color samples before glazing the piece. My first concern was that neither shade of what looked purple on the websites were I bought glaze was actually purple enough, They were both more blue. My second concern was that because both colors are translucent, they would show off imperfections on the carved surface and look bad.

Photo Jul 27, 7 06 40 PM

Sample Tile: Plain Blueberry, plain Larkspur, and Larkspur with a coat of Tea Rose

The final product: a thick even coats of Larkspur for blue and to highlight the texture and 2 coats of tea rose on top to get the purple color. I did the back in plain Blueberry (2 coats).

The final product: a thick even coats of Larkspur for blue and to highlight the texture and 2 coats of tea rose on top to get the purple color. I did the back in plain Blueberry (2 coats).

Exhibit 2: Sugar Bowl

The sugar bowl is Tea Rose with Copper Adventurine accents. I really should have done a test for how the border between the glazes would turn out. It’s not awful, but there was probably a better way to do it. From now on I’ll be doing test cups for sure!

Pink Sugar Bowl

Pink Sugar Bowl


Wedding Vases – Continued

About a month ago I posted about making wedding vases for my brother. As of today, I’m known in the studio as “the girl who’s making those vases”. I’m commonly greeted with, “Hi, how are your vases coming along?”

Well, i’m pleased to report that they are coming along rather well!

Photo Jul 24, 9 59 04 PM

All the vases that are just waiting to be glazed. We’ll have the bride and groom do the honors.

There’s been a couple of deviations from the original design. First he and his fiancee decided that they would prefer a celadon over white. Great choice in my opinion! And second, After making 8 vases with swirls I was itching to try something different and made one with a flower design. I figured if they don’t like it, that’s fine, I’ll just keep it for myself. But they did like it and now the vases are 1/2 that original swirl design and 1/2 the new flower design.

wedding vase samples

Glaze samples. The more blue-green is the celadon.

WV design 2

Second vase decoration design

Putting In the Time

I spent so much time in the studio last week! I was there literally every night and then about half the weekend. All the work is paying off, though. I’m getting better at working with larger pieces of clay (up to about 5lbs) and with so much studio time I can allow for 2-3 hours on end of trial and error or practice and not worry that I won’t make anything. Oddly enough, I really enjoy making 5 unsuccessful bowls in a row, wasting 20 lbs of clay. Maybe because there’s no pressure to produce anything… I’m also getting better at making small vases for Greg’s wedding series (3/4 are now usable, at first it was 1/8 or so) and learning to make decorative carvings look nicer.

To illustrate, here’s the “stuff”…

First, the result of a 2-hour bowl-making session. I made a beautiful 11” bowl that held together really well up until the moment I took it off the wheel at which point it fell apart.

Photo Jul 17, 9 06 28 PM Photo Jul 17, 9 23 38 PM

Second, fruits of a very productive weekend. Three vases, a lidded jar, and a bowl. I made the pieces on Saturday, trimmed them on Sunday, and carved the vases during the week.

Photo Jul 20, 6 36 20 PM Photo Jul 23, 11 05 19 PM

The first large bowl I made turned out pretty well (8.5″ in diameter) but it was a bit too deep, which is how I got on the whole spend-2-hours-practicing-bowls thing. Here it is, with a dozen little glaze tester cups that got bisque fired this week. I don’t know how i’ll be decorating the bowl yet. Ideas are welcomed.

Photo Jul 24, 9 59 32 PM Photo Jul 24, 10 00 15 PM

Wheel Throwing Tips – Wheel Speed

Photo Jul 06, 4 11 23 PM

I’ve been having trouble centering and pulling up walls as if i’d never done pottery. Kind of sad. My instructors  gave me a few tips that really helped:

1. Slow Down: center at full speed and then slow down to about half speed on one of those standard yellow wheels for the pulls

2. Use a metronome: when pulling the walls, move up only on the metronome tick to make sure you’re not going too fast. I was pulling the walls too fast and they were getting spirally and uneven.I’ve found that listening to music helps me keep a consistent pace as well.  

3. Put a marker on the edge of the bat: something like a clump of clay will do. Ideally, your hands don’t move up until after a full revolution has been completed. Don’t move your hands up on a pull until you see the marker come all the way around to its original spot.

Glaze Test Tiles – Results

Oh my god did like half of these glazes NOT turn out how they were supposed to! I’m so glad I did test tiles! I did 1, 2, and 3 layers of glaze left to right; that’s why it’s darker on the right.

 Amaco Artists Choice A40 Seafoam Green  Duncan Envision Glaze Emerald Green IN1609  Duncan Envision Glazes Peacock IN1016  Duncan Envision Glazes Holiday Green IN1019
 Seafoam green  Emerald Green  Peacock  Holiday Green
Seafoam green test Emerald Green test Peacock test Holiday Green test
 Duncan Envision Glazes Celadon IN1018 Duncan Crystals & Crackles Glazes Celadon Crackle CR823  Duncan Envision Glazes Blueberry IN1066  Duncan Envision Glazes Larkspur IN1034
 celadon  Celadon Crackle  Blueberry  Larkspur
celadon test Celadon Crackle test Blueberry test Larkspur test
 Duncan Envision Glazes Sun Yellow IN1670 Duncan Courtyard Art Glaze, Pumpkin Spice CY118  Duncan Courtyard Art Glaze, Fireluster CY124  Duncan Envision Glazes Tea Rose IN1006
 Sun Yellow  Pumpkin Spice  Fireluster  Tea Rose
Sun Yellow test Pumpkin Spice  test Fireluster test Tea Rose test
 Duncan Envision Glazes Nordic Light IN1002
 Nordic Light
 The test tile for this guy got lost.