You can often find me here

You can often find me here

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

It's a Big Week

The Catwaba Valley Pottery and Antiques Festival is this weekend! This will be my second year participating in this show, and I am really excited.  I have worked very hard to get ready, so I'm pretty pooped at this point too.  I spent a lot of time over the weekend getting things packed up and ready, so I hope that I can just load up the truck on Thursday night and be ready to roll out early on Friday morning for set up. My hope is to try to rest up during the week as much as I can, so that I am red hot and raring to go for the weekend.   Set up is during the day on Friday and then there's a Preview Party Friday night before the actual festival all day on Saturday.  By the show end at 5 pm on Saturday, I will be exhausted.  Let's hope that I'm exhausted but with significantly fewer pots at that point.

I have been so focused on getting things ready and packed up to go that I haven't been as good about photographing the process as I would have liked, but I do have a few pictures that I can share of some of the new pieces that will be with me in Hickory on Friday and Saturday. 

I have been working with a new clay body and I'm pretty happy with how the first pieces have turned out.  This is a very dark brown clay.  Ryoko Cream glaze shows off the texture. 

I have also used a turquoise glaze on this clay that has turned out really nicely.
I am excited to have this new work to show off at the pottery festival.

Do you remember my lamps from a few weeks ago?  It was so much fun to make them and I'm really happy with how they turned out too. 

Glazed and in the kiln.

First look after firing.
(Aren't those bowls on the left shelf nice?  Credit to Vicki Halloran for those beauties)

Happy so far.

And here is the finished product!

I discovered last year that the lighting inside the Hickory Metro Convention Center is not the best.  I hoped to have a couple of finished lamps to help illuminate my booth.  We shall see how it all looks when I've got it all together.  I will have these two lamps that I plan to put on the low shelves plus a couple of lights that I will mount on the tall shelves.  I hope that will help make things will look nice.

If the lamps look familiar it is because they are very much like the ones that Allen used to make.  I figured that I need to start somewhere, so it made sense to start with what I knew would work.  After this success, I'm excited to make more.  I want to try some different shapes and even some that are wheel thrown instead of hand built.  It would be GREAT if these two would sell quickly. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Throwing an Oval Shaped Casserole

I made these oval casseroles a few weeks ago.  

Since wheel throwing involves making round forms (that is the hope at least), altering the forms to get oval or even square shapes take a few extra steps.  For these, I started with throwing the sides.  I opened the clay all the way to the bat leaving no clay on the bottom.

After allowing each piece to dry to leather hard, I cut it off the bat and squished in the sides to make an oval ring.

Scored and slipped the bottom edge.

 Then stuck it to a slab to make the bottom.

Trimmed off the excess.

(Not shown is all the work to make sure that the joint was really strong between the sides and bottom.  If not joined correctly, cracks can open up. That is never a good thing.)

Added some texture for interest.

Attached handles and done!
As you can see, these two pieces are different from the ones at the top of this post. (Check out the handles)  There are so many different things that can be done with the handles.  I can't decide what I like the best.

I will share pictures of the finished pieces when I've got them.  I am very excited about these and hope they turn out well.

Monday, February 25, 2019

One Thing Leads To Another

I woke up in the middle of the night last Friday/Saturday because I was thinking about lamps.  In particular that I needed to make some.  RIGHT NOW.  I've probably been thinking about lamps off and on for the past 10 months, but for some reason last week, I FINALLY NEEDED TO MAKE LAMPS.

Last weekend was devoted to lamp making.  I've never made lamps before, but I watched Allen make them.

I started with slabs and added some texture before cutting them and fitting the pieces inside the molds.  The textured side of the clay is on what will be the outside of the lamp. I worked to completely seal up the seams on the inside.  

The top and bottom started out as 2 different pieces.

They were scored and slipped and carefully joined. I worked hard to try to conceal the joint where the 2 pieces meet.  The other seams are part of the design and texture, so I left them visible.  

It was about a 3 or 4 day process to go from waking up in the middle of the night with the idea and getting two lamp forms completely put together.  The slow down was the drying time.  It's been raining a lot here recently. When it rains, the clay dries very slowly.

I will try to remember to take some after pictures when they are all finished.  I don't have a good plan for glazing yet.  I think I'm leaning toward blue, but I could be talked out of it if someone has another great idea.  What would you like to see sitting in your living room?  Once they are glazed and fired, I'll get lamp kits and shades.  For now the focus was on getting two forms that more or less match.

I hadn't done any serious hand building in a long time. I generally like working on the potter's wheel a lot more, but this was a lot of fun. The day after I got my lamps put together, I had a request to make a tall vase for flowers.  The requested height is around 12 inches.  To get something that is 12 inches tall finished, it needs to be 13 or 14 inches wet.  That's more than I can get from one ball of clay, so I either need to throw two (or more) pieces and join them or find a form and do some hand building.

First I tried throwing two pieces and joining them.  This is the second effort.  With the first try I learned what not to do. This was actually three pieces.  That is a 12 inch ruler for perspective. 

I also tried a hand built vase.
I wrapped a slab of clay around a large cardboard cylinder we have in the studio, added some texture, and then threw a top for it.  I attached a slab bottom and the top when it dried to leather hard. 
This ended up looking a lot more like an umbrella stand than a vase, but it could work if one had some BIG flowers to display.  The slab that I used to make the cylinder was 12 inches tall, so this one is also a good bit taller than the finished size that I need. Right now it is giant.  I have to keep reminding myself that it will be a good bit smaller when finished. 

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Treasures of the Earth

Treasures of the Earth is a pottery show and sale at the Cleveland County Arts Council.  It's a cool show.  There's an opening reception (generally the first Thursday in February) and then the show stays up for a month.  If you buy some pottery (this is strongly encouraged by all involved), you can pick it up at the end of the show in March.  (NOTE: Exceptions are made for people from out of town.  If you were to come from Maryland, South Carolina, Kentucky, Texas, California, West Virginia, or someplace other than right here in the City of Pleasant Living, I am fairly sure that the kind Arts Council folks will let you take your purchase with you.)

Set up and tear down a month a part?  Yes, please!  Pottery shows can be exhausting when the haul in, set up, tear down, and haul out all happen on the same day or even over a couple of days.

Treasures of the Earth 2019 starts next week and I have been working my tail off in the studio since right after Christmas trying to get ready.

This big casserole will be there.

Along with these bowls.

These mugs will be glazed like the casserole and bowls above.  That's the plan at least.  Sometimes plans change, but this is what they look like in my head right now.

I made some tall vases or utensil holders...

...and some taller lidded jars.

I have experimented with some different shapes.  Sort of squarish...

... and sort of ovalish.

I tried some bowls with altered rims.  These will be available at Bowling for Dollars.

See that cake plate? 
(More about the cake in a minute.  For now, focus on the plate.)
This is a hand made pottery cake plate that is the right size to fit in a Rubbermaid or Tupperware cake carrier.  This one is not for sale, but there will be 5 or 6 others that will be making their debut at the opening reception for this show at the Cleveland County Arts Council.

Oh yes.  The cake.
The cake pictured above is a Pecan Praline Buttermilk Pound Cake and it is DELICIOUS if I do say so myself.  I plan to make this cake to share at the opening reception for the show.  Well, a cake like this one.  I already ate that one. 

Opening Reception
Treasures of the Earth Pottery Show and Sale
Thursday, Feb 7, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm.
Cleveland County Arts Council
111 S Washington St
Shelby, NC 28150

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Let's Get Small!

In my best Steve Martin voice, "Let's get small!"  
Some spoon rests from the last glaze fire.

I knew last Saturday that I probably wouldn't make it back to the studio for a few days.  We were forecast to get somewhere between 4 and 8 inches of snow beginning late Saturday night and all day on Sunday.  In case you don't know, this is a big deal in my part of the world.  We don't usually get significant snowfall and certainly not in December.  

I made some small things that would not require me to do anything else to them before they dried.  
I hope these soap dishes will turn out ok.  Some of them may be too small when they are done to hold a bar of soap, but there's always other uses for little dishes.

I also threw some small vases.  It had been a while since I'd made anything this size.  I had fun playing with shapes.

We ended up with about 4 or 5 inches of the white stuff after all. It was enough snow that I was content to stay home and inside all day on Sunday.  I ventured outside and contemplated driving in to town to check on the studio on Monday (school was closed - woo hoo!)  I got the car stuck on the driveway and changed my mind though.  I managed to get out of the driveway and safely onto the nicely cleared road this morning and everything at the studio was just fine. 

While snowed in, I cooked breakfast and used my bacon cooker.
It works great.  The bacon doesn't sit in the drippings as it cooks and when you are finished, you pour off the grease and put the cooker in the dish washer!

Since it's been a long time (again) since I updated you on what was going on at the studio, so here are some things...

New paint and new sign on the building!  I put the middle picture in there for comparison.
If the weather ever is nice again, I'll get a good shot of the whole new look.

Here are some shots of the most recently finished pieces:
Cake pans.  I still have 2 of these available for sale.

Large leaf platter.  The green glaze did something kind of interesting there on the bottom where it overlapped.  The leaf is more subtle on this one.  I didn't stain it and block it out with wax resist. In person, one can clearly see the leaf through the green glaze.

A not so subtle leaf design in a plate. I love this combination of blue glaze and he red/brown stain on the leaf.

Believe it or not, it is time to start putting 2019 on the bottom of pots.  Everything that I'm making this week won't get glaze fired until the new year!

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

My, My How Time Flies

I cannot believe that it has been two solid months since I wrote a blog post.  I realize that I am making excuses, but I have a good one. 

I am teaching four online classes this semester.  Yes, four.  F-O-U-R.  Every semester it seems there is something strange about how my classes work out.  This semester I have four onlines and only one seated class.  It is going well, but I spend all day at work every day sitting at my computer.  I respond to student emails and answer questions and even hand grade their written work all at my computer.  Technology is wonderful that way.  As a result, I have not been able to make myself sit down at the computer when I'm at home to do anything.  Thus, no new posts here.  

I would promise to do better, but realistically I probably will not do better.  Let us just skip the empty promises this time and move on to what I can share right now.  

First of all, the Carolina Pottery Festival is this Saturday!  Hours are 10am to 4pm at the LeGrand Center in Shelby.  It is worth the $5 admission to see the wide variety of work.  I would love to see you there!  

About a month ago, I realized that this was happening again (as it does on the first Saturday of November every year) and I was not even close to prepared for it.  Pottery panic ensued.  Since September 26, we have been working in high gear at A Griffin Pottery.  I think the kiln has been fired 4 or 5 times already (previously unheard of in my studio), and I have another glaze fire to load up tonight after I finish glazing my last pieces.  I was not the only one who did not have as much work ready as she felt like she needed.  Gail and Lisa have both been right there with me frantically churning out the work. 

I made mugs...

soup bowls...

and bunches of other things that I did not stop to take pictures of. (Sorry.  I ended that sentence with a preposition.  I am exhausted.  Cut me some slack.)

All these things will be at the festival on Saturday.

We have experienced lots of rain and some wind due to two different hurricanes in September and October (Who am I kidding?  I can not remember when those storms were except that they were not this week or last week.) that have blown through our area.  The second one brought down this limb.  Only minor damage to a couple of cars that were parked there.  We were really lucky. 

Perhaps most exciting thing that has happened since I last posted here is that some long needed work to spruce up the outside of the building began.  This is further proof that when one thinks that one cannot do one more thing because she is too busy, that is when that one more thing will have to happen.  (Did you follow that?)

Check out this before and after.  Well, it's an after and before, but you get what I am trying to show you.  The building looks amazing!

Obviously, we are not finished.  I have to get the "stuff" back up on the outside now that the new paint is on. (Again with the preposition. Yikes!)  There will be a new sign soon too. Once that goes up, I'll get this guy back up and we will be all set.

For now, he is content to hang out inside where he is safe.

 Oh yeah, we have a new door knob on the bathroom door too.  I no longer have to worry about someone getting stuck in the bathroom because the door knob broke.  The knob broke on Sunday afternoon.  Lucky for me, I was on the outside and not the inside.

BIG thank you to my "handy" husband, Jeff for replacing this today.