Thursday, May 29, 2014


The sun came out this morning after yesterday's chilly, gray, windy, cloudiness.  It felt like we were going backwards to March!  It was a shock and a let down after Tuesday's 80F. complete with swimming.

I put the fish out on the pond rocks a few days ago.  I will probably move them around a bit as summer progresses.  I have to remember to take my camera out with me when I take Winter out in the early morning.  The light is much kinder to pottery at that time!

There have been some questions about how I mix stains into clear.  Below are two examples.  The small one on the left is Mason 6131 Titanium-Iron; the one on the right is Mason 6134 Red-Brown.
My clear is Spectrum 700 which has a light green colorant in it so the glazes have a greenish tinge to them.  I mix entirely by eye.  I want the look of strong tea with milk in it.  I don't generally bother to test  anymore because it always seems to work.  I use this mainly as a liner glaze for teapots and covered jars.

I tried to get a picture of the hummingbirds at the yellow flags.  The blossoms started popping yesterday.  I think the hummingbirds showed up within an hour of the first one to bloom.  The buds really do pop open once they reach a certain stage.  It happens so quickly that you can turn away for seconds and when you turn back you will have an open flower.

NOTE!  Yellow flags are incredibly invasive.  If you do grow them there should not be any access to ponds, streams, rivers etc.  They should be disposed of by drying and composting.  It does no one any favors to discard them into a local waterway.

We've been experimenting with making pizza with a garbanzo (chick pea) flour crust.  It's based on Socca, an Italian flatbread.  We put the toppings on and baked it in the oven.  I think it might be better to pre-cook it for a few minutes before doing the toppings.  Cooking it on the grill should add to the flavor.

Enjoy the day, and as always, thanks for stopping by.........*s*

Monday, May 26, 2014

Majolica Monday

I see Mugshot Monday and other Monday pots on Facebook.  Since I do majolica I've decide to try to post something about majolica.

This is a cookie jar I made for a show I did last year.  I love nursery and nonsense rhymes, so of course the Egg came to mind.

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall

Humpty Dumpty had a great fall

All the King's horses,

And all the King's men

Could not put Humpty together again.
As with so many early nursery rhymes this one has political over/under tones.

This is bisqued and glaze fired to ^04.  The interior is glazed with Spectrum clear with a little Mason Iron stirred in which I brushed onto the unfired clay.  (Spectrum glazes in particular once fire very well.)  I find that just a bit of iron gets rid of the milkiness that can happen with clear over terra cotta.

 It's glazed In either Linda Arbuckle's Majolica or Spectrum's Majolica White.  I do add a little rutile to my whites to take away the over-whiteness and get a slightly creamy quality to the glaze.

I paint mostly with Mason Stains mixed 50/50with Frit 3124.  This gives me a watercolor look which I can blend with my fingers when dry.  Before I do my outlining I spray the whole thing with super hold hair spray.  The colors are just a little bit more stable and make outlining much easier.  I always use a black underglaze for my outlining.  If I want my color to be more opaque I mix my stains with a gerstley borate and frit mix.  This gives them a flatness comparable to gouache.  This mix also works well as an underglaze.

I've begun planting some of the big planters.  I potted up eight small dahlias yesterday and a bunch of moonflower seedlings.  I saw them in the greenhouse and decided to go with seedling this year.  I ended up buying large moonflower plants last year because rain kept washing out and rotting seeds.  I feel a bit ahead of the game.

It's cloudy now.  I would like to be out planting, but unfortunately we have to go out for a bit!  It's supposed to get sunny and warm later on......toes crossed.

Have a fine Memorial Day.....drink to The Lost.

As always, thanks for stopping by..............*s*

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Yes! It's Tuesday! Time for a Teapot!

We changed our shopping day from Friday to Monday this week.  Consequently I have spent the better part of the day thinking it's Saturday!

At least I realized the correct day today rather than tomorrow.

The teapot below is one that I bought at the League of New Hampshire Craftsmen at Sunnapee.  I fell in love with the glaze and the form particularly its perky little spout.

Unfortunately I lost the maker's card.  On the bottom there is a signature.  The first letter is G.  If I can find one of my old programs I might be able to track the name down.

Not remembering who made it does not take away any of the delight of using the teapot.

Perhaps there are a few other Teapot Tuesday people out in blogland.

Today was gorgeous.  The pool water was up to 72 F. by this afternoon.  I just have to do some vacuuming so we should be swimming by this week end.  Providing the weather cooperates!

As always, thanks for stopping by..........*s*

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bottoms Up

Christy Culp posted a photo with the question, "Do you decorate the bottoms of your pots?"  It got me thinking so I looked at a few pots I have in the studio.  I put something on the bottom of anything that has a foot on it.  Sometimes I even put something on the inside of a lid.  It gives a little extra surprise to the pots.  It's something I started doing around 2002 after I did a workshop with Linda Arbuckle.

 I want the bottom to be a hint of the design on the rest of the pot.  Most of these photos speak for themselves.

The pot below is an example of why it's a bad idea to load a kiln when you are tired.  I left the lid on so it's permanently attached. In spite of that it pours well.

 It was more an experiment with form.  It's a bottle shape turned on its side with added spout etc.  I'm not thrilled with the design, but I love the glaze, Andrea Gill's WOM.  It's  a step down from the glossy whites usually found in majolica.  It has a satiny, buttery feel and it a delight to paint on.  I just had a new batch mixed so I will be using it more.

With our cold, wet early spring everything is blooming at once now that it has warmed up a bit.  I went out to turn the pool pump on this morning.  There was so much pollen that it looked like a layer of milky plastic was covering it!

Here's to sun and happiness.

As always, thanks for stopping by............*s*

Saturday, May 17, 2014

A Wedding

Dear CJ and Jane,

Raise high the roof beam carpenters, for Jane and CJ come....

Now, if ever, comes a perfect day.

Thank you for all the joy you have given us; may it be returned a thousand fold......*s*

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Teapot Tuesday

This is a Teaching Pot I made when I was teaching one of my last classes.  I was covering a lot of things with this one:

1. Trimming an odd form
2. Pulling a spout
3. Making ribbon handles
4. Underglaze

They all sort of work together, but that wasn't really the point.  However, it does pour nicely without dripping.

I hope everyone is enjoying the same sunny days we are having here.

As always, thanks for stopping by...........*s*

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sunday Ceramics


I must admit to having mixed feeling s about this day.  On the one hand I love the idea of the original day which promoted by Julia Ward Howe as a day of peace, against the carnage of the Civil War and the Crimea to be celebrated on June 2. ( Her idea never got off the ground.  The  day we celebrate nowwas promoted by  Anna Jervis, who was not happy with the resulting commercialization of the day. ) On the other, I hate what all retailers have done with what is supposed to be a day of honoring those who gave us life, which is to turn it into a guilt ridden day if you don't spend a lot of money on flowers, dinners and what-not!

So I acknowledge the day, but don't really celebrate it.  May all of you who disagree with me enjoy your day!
Doris Gravenhorst Caswell ca. 1939 -1940
The photo is of my mother, taken when she was about thirty years old.  How strange to think that she would be celebrating her one hundred and fifteenth birthday this coming December.

My first saved pot. 1965
 We have been talking about our first pots on one of the facebook sites I post on.  I'm sure I have posted this before, but I thought I would put it up again.  I say first saved, because I threw out everything I made for about four weeks.  I'm not in love with the glaze but it has sentimental value because it's an ash glaze of apple wood from my fireplace.  Don't ask anything about process because I have forgotten what was complete gibberish to me at the time.

Twenty years later I returned to pottery in ernest and wondered why I had ever gets in the way I s'pose!


White Violets

Lance Leaf Violets'm
Finally we have spring.  The top two photos are the common violets that grow everywhere.  The bottom photo is of lance leaf violets.  They are tiny, about a third the size of other violets.  There's something very sweet about the way they grow in grass and pots.  Unfortunately the wind picked up as I started taking their photos.

I am going to link this over to Sunday Ceramics 17.  Hopefully others will post and see what is going on in the world of clay!

Enjoy the week ahead.  As always, thanks for stopping by........*s*

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Teapot Tuesday #4


I've been putting spouts and lids on the pots I threw a few days ago.  I'm thinking about the handle.  I want something a little funky to echo or reflect the bent spout.  Sketches are in order!

Salmon has been on sale this week at our market .  Proge cooked this on the grill last night with lots of dill on a bed of cedar twigs.  He also roasted golden beets.  I made a warm salad with green beans, fiddlehead ferns, peppadews and Kalamata olives in a lemon balsamic vinaigrette.  It was delicious.

  Three days of sun and warmth have seen the trees start to leaf out.  Some of them have been at the 'pre-pop' stage for weeks.  They just needed a little encouragement, as do we all at times.

I hope everyone is enjoying sunny days.  As always, thanks for stopping by.....*s*

P.S.  Go take a look at all the Teapot Tuesday posters....GaryMeredith's post of Mark's teapot;  Linda; Lori.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Sunday Ceramics 16

Wow!  It doesn't seem possible that we are on our sixteenth Sunday.  Busy potters; busy days!

I threw five teapots yesterday.  I don't throw a lot anymore; my wrists just can't take the stress.  These are about two pounds each of terra cotta.  The clay was so wet that I had to wait until today to throw lids and handles.  The openings are all the same size.  I have the measurement from when I threw them so fit will not be a problem.

I was inspired by looking at the strawberry pot I posted on Teapot Tuesday #3.  It will be interesting to see where this goes!

It was warm enough to cook outside so we made pizza on the grill.  While we love pizza at any time, it's so much tastier when made on the grill.

Above is a potato and caramelized onion with smoked mozzarella.  Delicious!

The one above is one of Proge's inventions.  Chopped eggplant in mango chutney with a little spicey lime chutney.  We decided the mango was a little overpowering.  Next time we'll add less with something else.  It also has chicken sausage and provolone cheese.  It is, however, very tasty.

We found the feather in the yard by the pond.  I am taking it as an indicator of what happened to Moby Fish a few weeks ago.  We think it's from  either an owl or a hawk.  Any opinions?

And last an example of why it's a bad idea to bake bread and then forget about it for a few hours.  A little bigger and it could be a curling stone!

We are finally enjoy some early spring weather.  It should be mid spring, but we are happy for sun and warmth.  I actually put my laundry out on the line for the first time this year.

This post will be linked to Kim's Sunday Ceramics 16.  I hope many people will link in.  I have been enjoying Facebook lately, but I still enjoy blogs more.  They feel so much more personal.

Enjoy the beautiful day.  As always, thanks for stopping by.........*s*