Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Leaving is such sweet sorrow...

My new website is up and running!  To check it out, go here. I'm pretty jazzed about it.

This means this will be my last Blogger post, but I will continue to enter Friday 5x5 and other various ceramic related things in my new blog on my website.  Please come and visit as regularly as you would like!  I plan to continue following all of my Blogger friends, I just won't be posting anything here.


Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday 5x5

This week:
These are the tumblers from last week with a little window underglaze and Forbes wax resist.  They are ready to be carved and mishma-ed!
Adding the slab bottom.

5 new forms ready to be decorated.
I'm going to be honest, I actually had to push myself to complete the 5x5 this week.  I'm kinda disappointed that I did not complete the mishma on those other 3 tumblers from last week, but I really do have a good excuse.  I'm running a 5k this weekend with a group of my friends where we get pummeled with colored corn starch as we run by checkpoints.  Check it out here. My friends and I decided to amp up our outfits, so this is what we've got. :)
Crazy awesome leg color.
Safety first!
Can you guess what this is? Yup, 6 yards of tulle!  
Combine the white tutu with a white tee and we have an outfit ready to be colored! I think we're ready to run tomorrow and hopefully after this I can finally finish those tumblers! :D

Thursday, October 18, 2012

La Maison Basse and website

I finally finished my website and I'm so excited about it.  I am waiting to get my domain name transferred and then arrivederci Blogger and buongiorno Wordpress.  (I am starting to learn some basics of Italian...more on that later.)  Yes, I will be leaving this blog site, because well, I am using Wordpress, I might as well start blogging there.  I think it might be more convenient and I'm really digging their setup.

I also received images today from the event of La Maison Basse.  I gotta say, my cloud catchers look pretty killer and the table set up ain't too bad either. ;o)

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday 5x5

I decided to continue working on tumbler forms.  While those from last week are cool, they don't allow me very much room for more surface decoration.  I want a simpler form.  I was inspired by Martha Grover's demo she does for Ceramics Arts Daily.  Martha's pots are very fluid and unique, and to construct them she throws open forms and attaches a slab base.  I wanted to explore creating unique bottoms for my work as well.  I really enjoy the bottom of #1 the best because it looks like a little cloud took up residence on the foot.  I think this is something that may be incorporated in a lot of my work from now.    

1, 2, 3
I also wanted to start making some spoons.  I have created a board on Pinterest dedicated to spoon research. :)  I have only made one other spoon in the past and it was like spoon #4.  I wanted to alter the form, so I attached little clouds.  The spoon was rather fragile when I was working on it, so I need to go back and touch up shape a bit, but overall I am kinda excited about it.


Spoon #5 is simple.  I plan to do some underglazing and mishima to both it and the tumblers up top.  Pics of those will come later! ***You may notice the grog in the image of #5.  It's driving me crazy!  I mixed the clay without cleaning the mixer, so this is all my fault, but still. :(

Also, meet my handy studio helper.  It's quite wonderful to look down and see his face when I'm working.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Shrinky Dinky

I've been needing to do this for my cone 6 casting slip for a long time, but since I have cone 6 clay (and I need to screen/blunge my casting slip), I decided to go ahead and make a shrinkage test with what I have. Very simply, all you have to do is take a wet slab of clay and draw a 10 cm line.  Measure the line once it's bone dry, then after it's been fired in a bisque and glaze.  You will be able to determine how much your clay shrinks at each stage.  So if your clay shrinks to 9.5cm between wet and bone dry you will know that your clay almost shrinks 5%. See below.


The Formula
Where x is the measured distance in centimeters at any given stage of dryness/firedness, and is the percent of shrinkage for your clay:


Clay at wet stage.

On another note, I may be leaving Blogger for Wordpress.  Don't worry, I'll still be blogging, but I am revamping my website because I don't like my current host and Wordpress is a blog site.  I'm pretty excited about the new website, but it's taken a bit longer than expected because I need to sit down and concentrate on rewording my artist statement and about page.  Here is a little sneak peek:


Friday, October 5, 2012

Some finished pieces.

I mentioned I was glazing some pieces to test my new cone 6 clay body (my casting slip recipe without deflocculant).  I think the results were fairly successful!  All of my new 5x5 tumblers were made with this clay.  I also finally finished one of the cloud pieces, which I haven't gotten around to remaking the mold of yet. :)

My Clay

Helios Porcelain

My clay

My casting slip
The form on the vase is interesting.  I'm not sure how I feel about the piece.  It's supposed to be a flower vase and you can put more flowers into the raindrops.  I plan to professionally photograph them with flowers and the bowl with fake ice cream. :D

Friday 5x5

Here it is!  The first of many 5x5's. My goal this week was to make a few different tumbler forms.  I also wanted to incorporate my new stamps into the design.

Group shot.


This was my favorite, so I made a few of them.

#1 and #2 I started producing as a result of a Scandinavian mug I saw.  I think those both need some more work.  Those evolved to #3 and I thought about adding a foot.  I like the addition of the foot on #4 and result seems familiar to me, but I don't remember where I've seen it.  #5 is a keeper.  Annnnd #6...I honestly didn't want to post this one, but it's something I want to continue working with. I tried using the stamp of my raindrops, but those were unfortunate, so I slip trailed the drops and I liked that a lot better.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Throw-veralls and A New Goal

I think I may need a pair of overalls.  I haven't had a pair since I was 13 and there was a student who came into the studio at SCAD with a pair and she called them her "Throw-veralls."  I think she was setting a great example and I need to follow suit.  :D

I've been pretty involved with Pinterest lately, and I discovered Jillian Owens website.  Her concept (remaking at one item a day for 365 days) was pretty inspiring.  I've been toying with the idea of doing something similar, but obviously my ceramics could not be completed in one day.  I'm not sure yet how long I want to carry this out.  Perhaps 1 or 2 months; I think a year would be a bit adventurous.  Then there is the obstacle of what happens when I travel on weekends or when I can't access my studio?

Hrm...what about "Five Forms by Friday."  Ooh, I like that.  That I could do. Five months?  I think this may have to be my new goal.  "Five Forms for Five Months by Friday" or "5x5 Friday" Whad up!  Okay so starting this Friday, Oct 5 (very poetic, yes?) my first 5x5 will make an appearance. :D  These forms will have to all be unfired, so each week I will have something new to present.  I will finish them later once I have enough to bisque.

Get ready folks for 5x5 Fridays!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012


There is a chapter in Annie Dillard's A Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, titled "Fecundity."  It's such an awesome word (and that book is incredible), and it applies to my studio life lately.

I finished the commission for SCAD.  The cloud catchers were "okay" in my opinion.  Apparently, if you apply too much RIO, it acts like a black stain.  Some fired too dark, but alas, I did not have time remake any, so I cleaned them the best I could and added a little Indian ink to a few.  The events coordinator seemed thrilled by them, so I guess I should be happy.  Here is a link to the event if you're interested in discovering what SCAD La Maison Basse is all about.

I've done a few firings in the past few days.  Little Sister is sick, so I'm trying to get an electrician out to check out the connections.  She keeps throwing the breaker when she fires, so I've been relying on Big Brother.  I fired a cone 6 glaze last night that reached a perfect cone.  I can't wait to see the results.

I bisqued my stamps and I plan to make some cups soon to use them.  My favorite one is the flower that is in the top left corner of the image.

I also poured another cloud bowl prototype.  The mold was requiring too much clean up time, so I am planning to remake the mold as mentioned before.  Oh and yes, that is a plaster replica of a 1/2 gal milk jug.  I had some extra plaster, and that's what I found to use.

And finally, the most exciting news as of late was that I finally sat down with my new sewing machine and learned how to thread the darn thing.  Last night, I dedicated myself to making curtains and a new pillow cover for my chair.  I'm so proud.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Some things I've been working on...

Cups I tested my white terra sig on and then added decals.

Roxie's finished plate!

Testing out my cone 6 slip casting body in throwing form.

You can't see it, but there are lines and dots in this bowl.  I'm going to add bug decals. :)

If you're in need of scoops, Target $1.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Cloud Catchers

I've been focusing this past week and this weekend on getting these cloud catchers finished.  Here are the samples that I gave to SCAD.  We both opted for the larger font.

I'm going to be honest, I don't really enjoy the idea of production (which is silly because I've dreamed of being a production potter someday...) Sometimes the argument in my head looks like a responsible, square-shouldered, argyle wearing, adult (picture Mr. Rogers) scolding a quick tempered, curly blonde pig-tailed, little child (Shirley Temple-ish) who is holding a large multicolored lollipop.

"Listen, you have to wait until dinner."
"No! I don't wanna! ::stomps her right foot:: And you can't make me!"

Believe it or not, it's quite annoying.  So in order to do this project, I had to convince myself it wouldn't be that difficult to create 40 small little hands, and since I don't have a gallery right now and I'm not teaching a class, the money is enticing.  However, after I got this last sample approved, I got an email from the events assistance asking if I could create 70.  Now, considering it's almost double the dinero, of course I was eager to say, "Absolutely!  I can definitely make 70..." meanwhile, that little girl was rolling all over the floor screaming and flailing her arms and legs because it's almost double the production and the deadline is only a little over a week away.

Okay, so it's really not that difficult to make these pieces, it's getting the words on the hands that had me stumped.  I was using the carbon copy transfer method, but the transfer wasn't dark enough.  The process also took forever and made my hand cramp because I was trying to apply enough pressure to get the image darker.  Even still, I had to go back over the words by hand with a paintbrush.  Then, one night while laying in bed with this problem plaguing my mind, I was finally able to placate that tiny girl.  Sometimes I think that cliches like "If it was a snake, it would have bit you," were meant for me.  Since the hands start out as flat slabs, I should make a screen.  Since the words aren't that detailed, I wouldn't need to go through the whole exposure process.  All I needed was to break out my handy screen drawing fluid and screen filler (by Speedball) and bam...the screen was ready.

Newly made screen.  I'm using an black underglaze as my ink, which is thickened by black mason stain and frit.
This is what production of cloud catcher looks like...just FYI. :) This is pre-foot.
Footed and waiting to dry before being scraped and dusted with more color.
After the UG experience, I actually find myself siding with the little brat rather than Mr. Rogers.  It was too much to handle at that time.  Yet, I found myself getting into a groove yesterday screen printing those pieces.  It was surprisingly enjoyable.  I had forgotten what it was like to become familiar with a process that was reliable.  I'm sure that's one of the things that frustrated me about the cloud plates.  My loss rate was just too high and the needed quantity was also too high.  But back to the good things, the joy of making these hands have made me want to sit down a make some mugs and bowls.  If time permits, I may have to do that today.  I plan to fire these guys later this week and I'm sure I will need some more work to fill up my kiln, so more motivation to do so.

Friday, September 14, 2012

To New Orleans and Back

My mom, oldest sister, and I just recently vacationed to New Orleans to visit my middle sister.  Along the way we stopped in Tallahassee and Pensacola, FL, and Biloxi, MS.  Here are pictures from that visit.

Banana's Foster at Landry's Seafood, Pensacola, FL
Mom, me, and Lynn at Landry's Seafood
Soaking my feet in the Gulf at Pensacola Beach
Pensacola Beach
Mom and me soaking in the sun.
Biloxi, MS along Hwy 90
The George Ohr and Georgia O'Keefe Museum of Art 
We wanted to drive along the coast without feeling rushed, so we stopped in Tallahassee, FL to eat some lunch and I dragged everyone to Florida State's Museum of Fine Art and to their Ceramics facilities.  (I went there thinking that I had seen an exhibition at NCECA Tampa with their student work, but it was actually Florida Atlantic Univ., which is in Boca Raton...just a little distance from where we were.  So while it was interesting to see, it wasn't what I expected.)  Then we were on to Pensacola, where we spent the night.  Going through Biloxi, I discovered a fantastic treasure-The George Ohr and Georgia O'Keefe Museum of Art,  Unfortunately, it was too late for us to visit, but the architecture alone was amazing.

We finally arrived to New Orleans...
My first true beignet at the Cafe Du Monde.
Lake Pontrachain
Lake Pontrachain
Me being excited about liquor at Target.
A morning jog along a levee.
A morning jog along a levee with Lake Pontrachain in the background.

My middle sister at our second visit to Cafe Du Monde.
The French Market in the French Quarter.
The Presbytere.
The Cabildo.
New Orleans was a great experience.  I feel like I will need to go back to fully experience it all because it is such a diverse city...perhaps a Mardi Gras trip needs to be arranged?!?  :)  There was so much to see and do that there was no way we could get it all accomplished in the short time we were there.  There was also the fact that they were still recovering from Isaac.  Power was out in parts of the town, but these people are so resilient that there were city workers cleaning up the streets on Labor Day.  Things started to get up and running by the time we were about to leave (another regret was not getting to see the New Orleans Museum of Art, but they didn't have electricity).

I knew that since I was this close, that I had to visit LSU and check out their graduate facilities.  We day tripped to Baton Rouge, and I was honestly expecting more culture and charm from the city (much like I experience in New Orleans), but it was strictly a business district downtown.  We did go see their Louisiana Museum of Science and Art (kinda disappointing), but their Old State Capitol Building was incredible.
Old State Capitol Building, Baton Rouge, LA
Then we went to Louisiana State University's Ceramic Department.  It was spacious yet slightly dilapidated (seeing as I'm used to SCAD's renovations and aesthetic). Ceramics clearly dominated the Fine Arts building, which was unusual for me to see (AND exhilarating).  Their kiln room was packed with a variety of kilns (think huge room with at most 4-5ft of space between each).  Overall, it was interesting to see, but gah, it was HOT. The sticky, damp heat that you can't escape in the shade and that makes it hard to breathe.  That was the dominating factor that made me decide that I am pretty sure (89% at least) that I would not be attending LSU for grad school.  It may seem superficial, but the entire environment of the campus didn't seem to promote my creative spirit (including the heat).

Heading back home was quicker than it was going because I needed to get back and work in my studio.  Another post will soon follow!