Thursday, May 31, 2012

Work and Roots

The biggest thing today is that it's the final day of the quarter at SCAD and I am stoked!  I get to start my week vacation tomorrow and it's going to be unending studio time for this chick.  I thought that I had left my procrastinating ways back in undergrad, but  It's exactly one week before I need to leave to go to the group show in Roswell and I still need to make and fire work.  I am going to try to creatively kick ass, but it's going to be intense.

Yesterday I made some white terra sig, and I need to go home tonight and decant it, but I'm so excited to try it out.  I'm not going to use it on the pots for the show, but hopefully it will be incorporated into some future work.  For the show, I am planning on making a few more caged pieces with more complex decoration on the interior.  It looks as if my buyer for the "caged teapot" wasn't real or maybe lost interest, but I am very relieved.  I know it means not making dinero, but I really needed the piece for the show.

My cloud mold is awesome now.  There was some serious sticking that occurred with the prototype, so I had to saw the top portion in half with a ban saw, but I was able to repair it with epoxy and plaster.  I want to go home tonight and make a cast.  I hope to have one or two for the show.  ::crosses fingers::

So the adventure with trying to reglaze the plates did not work out.  Most of them cracked.  I was unwilling to accept that most of that hard work was lost, but now I have to suck it up.  I got an extension on the deadline for the final order, so in the midst of all my crazy studio time next week, I will be cleaning more plates.  My earlier celebration for completing the UG commission was premature.  This time I will do it right (buy an expensive bottle of alcohol and have a dance off when the UPS truck picks up the box). :)

In other news, I also found out about a month ago that Yves, Jessica, and I will have a exhibition space at NCECA in Houston, TX.  The theme of the show is "Transplant." At first, I was not thrilled about the idea, because I haven't fully executed the current ideas I have now, and making work with a new theme seems unfair.  Then, I did some research about the word and found my niche.  I brainstormed in my sketch book and "I'm back in the game." It has to do with roots, but I'll explain more on that later.

Onward to the studio...

Thursday, May 24, 2012

I wonder what's next...

I feel like a weight has been lifted off of me.  :)  I have one final order to submit to UncommonGoods and I will be FINISHED!  I wasn't able to produce as much as I had originally hoped, so I have lots of boxes left, but those will eventually come in handy, right?

I also won't be teaching a summer class at the Clay Spot.  I think all of the stress from all of my extracurricular activities was impeding my creative juices, because now I feel excited to create my other work and it's coming at a really good time too.  I only have...basically two weeks to make my pieces for the Roswell show. Eek!  I've got to get it done.

I completed my cloud bowl mold last night, but I wasn't able to get the prototype off of the second half and there was some sticking issues with the first half, but they weren't as bad as the first mold.  I'm pretty excited to cast.

I re-fired the plates, but what I anticipated happening didn't.  The decals were stable, but the bubbles didn't go away.  I am doing one more test, and hoping that it works.  The first cone 6 glaze firing was fine.  I then decaled the pieces and that's when the black glaze bubbled.  Just re-firing didn't work so I added more black glaze all over one of the pieces and then added a clear glaze to the outside of one to see if that would help to encourage the bubbles to melt.  I get to see the results of my tests today.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Introducing Big Brother and Little Sister

I'm not sure how long it's going to take me to adapt to this way of thinking.  I have always waited on a kiln to be available.  For the past few years, I've had to pack up the work, transport it to the kiln, unpack it and then load it into the kiln. Rinse and repeat in between firings.

Last night I decided on a whim to re-fire some of my UG plates that had bubbled to see if the glaze would melt properly.  All I had to do was walk the plates from my garage to the kiln.  It was so simple!  The more exciting part was that I fit 18 plates into the large kiln!  I was anticipating only being able to fire 8 plates at a time, but once again the ingenuity of a potter prevails. ;) I started it last night at 10pm, so I will see how long it will take for the kiln to reach cone 6.

I am testing to see if the glaze on the plates will melt again.  The decals are what I am expecting to be problematic.  My hope is that the iron oxide doesn't move too much during the firing, so that I can just realign the new decals with the old ones and re-fire to cone 04.  ::crosses fingers::

I've got to say, at first I was pretty disappointed with the small size of the larger kiln (let's call him Big Brother).  I was already thinking of how I was going to pay and install an L&L Easy Fire e28t-3 (my dream kiln) after I had just gotten the electrician to install these two!  Now, I am rethinking that all together.  It's pretty amazing how much you can fit into a kiln when you really take time to organize.  Also, the smaller kiln runs on less amperage, therefore, less electricity, therefore, less money.  Another thing that I simply adore is that the kiln has a sitter.  With digital kilns, you hear the clicking of the relays "on and off", "on and off." I was sitting outside last week when I was firing my test kiln (let's call her Little Sister) and I felt the subtle warmth of the kiln and saw the orange glow.  It was really comforting, kind of like sitting near a wood kiln on a cool night.  The feeling reminds me that the whole process of ceramics has its treasurable moments and that's why I love being a ceramic artist.  So in other words, I really enjoy my kilns and I look forward to becoming familiar with their firing schedule.

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Caged Bowl

Just fired this in my test kiln!  :) One of the chains broke, but I think that I needed to remake this piece anyhow.  The chains aren't flexible, which is something to consider if I were to ever ship this to a gallery; these would break in a heartbeat.

Thursday, May 10, 2012


In my web search for patterns and designs, I stumbled upon this:

It's a ceramic cloud stool!  Love it. :)

See more here.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

UG, Kilns, and Roswell...

I'm a little tired right now because I stayed up a little later than normal last night packing a few pieces to be shipped to UG.  I recently had the great misfortune of under-firing my plates in the decal firing.  In my last experience, I lost quite a few plates when I had to re-fire and that's what happened in the this batch.  There was weird bubbling on the black glaze on the back, so instead of sending them 20 plates, I could only send them 8. :(  I am going to try to re-fire some of those again and see what happens.

Speaking of re-firing...

look who got her kilns hooked up!  I got an electrician out to look at the connection on Thursday, and he was out hooking up the kilns on Saturday!  It is such a luxury to have a kiln at my house where I don't have to rely on anyone else's schedule.  Since they are on my back porch, I'm going to add clear plastic over a few of the screens so that there won't be any water damage to mah babies.  I have ordered kiln shelves and posts that I hope to get in the mail by the end of this week (c'mon Clay King!).  The only unfortunate thing is that I didn't realize that the larger kiln's inside diameter was so small.  I will only be able to fit one plate per shelf.  A friend recommended that I should use plate setters, so I have a few of those ordered as well.  I will see how those work with the clouded beasts.  

In other news, I think having my kilns hooked up has reignited my motivation to make new work for the Roswell show.  I've felt so overwhelmed during the past few weeks (months maybe), that when the weekend rolls around I just want to sit and veg in front of a book or the TV.  I need to figure out a balance between working on my new work and UG, so that I don't feel burnt out.  I have a couple of great ideas that I really want to start creating.  I don't have lots of time left to make pieces, but I'm going to try!  Here is the post card for the show (June 8-August 10).