Monday, June 19, 2017

Try Out

This is one of the first tripod mugs I made last year.  I decided this morning that before I make a bunch of them I really should see if they stand as sturdily with beverage in them as they do when empty.

So far so good.    It seems to be very stabile.  Holds eight ounces with room for milk or cream.  I haven't tried it in the microwave yet.  I personally never put mugs in the zapper but I know people do so I like to know what will happen.

I'm okay with the design.  The base is glazed in a low fire Spectrum metallic; I have no idea wich one!  I meant to glaze the interior with clear, but used the clear with a little Mason Red-Brown that I use on terra cotta.  Live and learn!

We have had another period of heavy showers.  I am hopeful that it will clear enough for me to finally plant my dahlias.  Last year the caterpillars devastated them, so I decided to hold off until they were pupating.  With our wet, chilly spring they have not done well at all.  HURRAH!

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

Monday, June 12, 2017

Sun! At Last!

Spring, or perhaps I should say early summer, has arrived.  At last we are having warm, sunny days.

Yellow flags, white flags, and poppies are in full bloom.  At last we are having a good year of poppies.  I covered them during the last week of rain because they are so fragile that one good shower reduces to soggy masses of tissue paper.

Due to the continued rain, chill, and most particularly the various caterpillars the gardens, pond and pool are in a sorry state.  Now to play catch up!

We had many praying mantis egg sacs last fall.  Two days ago we found babies had hatched from one of them.  I managed to get a shot of this little guy before it took off.  This is a much enlarged photo.  It was about one quarter the size shown and almost transparent.

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

Monday, June 5, 2017

Farewell Red Rabbit

My Toyota 4RUNNER, the Red Rabbit, has finally bitten the dust.  Took it in for inspection and the verdict is that even if I were willing to spend the thousands to fix it there is no way to to put new parts into the rusted underbody.  The rear end is gone.  I can't really complain as it has over 250000 miles on it, half of which I put on in all the years I have had it.

The photo is the little whistle I mad in its honor many years ago.

Now to get a replacement.  My car guys think they can find something within the week!

Toes crossed........we'll see, grasshopper............we'll see.............

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

Thursday, June 1, 2017


Some say White Rabbit.  I am sure there other variations to wish good luck on the first day of the month, or year, or millenium.

Whatever you do or don't say, here's to a great June!

We even have sunshine, and the yellow flags are starting to bloom.

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

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Mug Feet

I've been looking at my mugs again and have decided to work on the feet on my handbuilt mugs

In one style of mug I leave the edge of the bottom slab visible.  Other times I blend it into the form and mark a bottom ring with a squiggly line.  I've emphasized these with black underglaze so I can keep track of them more easily.  I am experimenting with indenting the bottoms to form a foot or at least a ring.  This makes for a steadier cup.  Because my majolica glazes are so stable I can glaze the indented center.  This can lead to a nice little surprise on the bottom.

This all thanks to Tim See, who talked about feet and the bottoms of pots in the workshop he did at S.C.A.A. last month.

I also took a good look at my favorite Linda Arbuckle mug.  In addition to having huge admiration for the way she decorates her work, I like the way she pays special attention to all the little details in the foot ring, the decoration and her signature inside the foot, and the interior of the mug. The eye for all these little details and the way they add up to a sum greater than the items is what makes her work so exciting. 

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

Monday, May 8, 2017


I am currently testing different terra cotta bodies.  In this state they all look alike; it will be interesting to see what happens in the glazing and firing process.

Sheffield terra cotta on right; Miller #20 on left. 

We'll see, grasshopper......we'll see.........

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

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Sunny Sunday

Here are some columbine and white bleeding heart to enjoy on this spring day!

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

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Foo Foo

Little Bunny Foo Foo showed up among the daffodils by the house yesterday.  He/she spent all days hiding in the foliage, but was gone this morning.

It was hard to get any sort of a picture due to the bright sun.  

Winter, who goes nuts over chipmunks in the yard, ignored it completely!  Go figure!

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

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Spring Surprise!

About a week ago I found a bud stalk in the midst of all the amaryllis greenery.  I staked it as it was in danger of breaking.  By yesterday it was in full bloom.

Although I have had them bloom midsummer, I generally think of them as a dead of winter flower.

I have no idea where this came from.  I have no memory of ever purchasing this color.  I think it is many years old and only decided to bloom this year.  I wish`I could figure out what I did during their growing/dormant season last year. Toes crossed that I can bumble my way into the same good fortune this year!

Happy Easter to those who celebrate.

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

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Tea with Tim See

Tim See mug (Well, it doesn't have a handle, but I am using it as a mug) I bought at his Earthworks workshop on Sunday, April 10 at SCAA.

This is one of Tim's robots, facing out.  I'm not sure what it is planning, but i am sure it will be interesting.  As in, "May you always live in interesting times!"

I took lots of photos before my battery ran out.  I will be sorting and posting them as I get to them.

Meanwhile, it is finally spring (toes crossed) and things are beginning to grow!

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

Monday, April 3, 2017

Monday With Sun?

Monday is for mugs!  I seem to have inadvertently started a collection of what I call SIPPERS.They all hold about four to five ounces.  Just the right size for a bit of whisky or brandy.

The best collections are the ones that happen on their own.   

Although it has not been terribly warm the crocuses have begun blooming.  I can only assume that spring is on the way.

We may be able to do a bit of yard work this afternoon.  That's if we have the energy to do anything after braving the Monday Market!

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

Monday, March 27, 2017

Monday 'Mug'

Not really a mug at all.  It holds about three ounces.

I used to make these many years ago at the end of throwing off the hump sessions.  I would keep them for glaze tests.  This is rust with yellow over brown speckle clay.

I know I made it in my first year because it's a ^6 clay body and glaze before I switched to majolica.

I also remember signing these with the signature I now use.  I used a different one when I started so I would not associate my early work with later stuff.

We are in the middle of a rainy, cloudy spell.  It's warmed up a bit from last week.  But I still have one very lonely daffodil shivering in my garden.

Toes crossed for some sun this week.

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

Friday, March 17, 2017

Now and Then

Five years ago today we drove to Connecticut and brought Winter home.  She weighed all of eleven pounds.  Since then she has grown up to be a big girl of twenty-eight pounds.

I usually take a picture of her sitting in the daffodils.  This year the is still ice covering the garden with green spears sticking up.  Winter was having no part of sitting on ice for a portrait.  So we compromised and settled on her couch with blanket.  She is rather suspicious about this whole photography thing.

Although the daffodils are not anywhere near flowering, the petunias I wintered over indoors have begun to bloom in profusion.  Spring flowers are spring flowers wherever they bllom!

I made a loaf of my favorite Soda Bread in honor of the day.  This is a plain loaf which is very nice with butter and lemon marmalade, and a cup of tea.

I finally remembered to stop in a Michaels to buy some foam sheets.  I'll be making more templates this weekend.

I go to Michaels because it's convenient, but I like A.C.Moore much better.  Not so much better tha I am willing to drive an extra fifteen miles to go there.

Toes crossed that it really will warm up a bit this weekend!

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

Friday, March 3, 2017

Follow Up

As a follow-up to my last post here are some of the forms I use, and the mugs I make from them.

I also like to use balloons.

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

Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Handbuilt Mug

Here is a pictorial on how I make mugs using slabs with a form.

Materials: form, (Be sure it's cylinder or the bottom is smaller than the top.),slab rolled to even thickness, newspaper to cover form and make template, various tools and items for decoration.

Cover form with two layers of paper, leave enough overhang to cover the bottom Tape in place on side and bottom.  DO NOT tape paper to the form.  Using measured template cut slab for walls; allow for overlap of about 1/4 - 1/2 inch.
 Roll slab carefully around the form.

Overlap and attach edges.  The seam can be blended in or left as part of the decoration.  Trim edges at the seam to even out.

Cut circle slightly larger than the form for the bottom of the mug.

Fold edges of circle onto wall of mug and attach firmly.  Again this edge can be blended in or left as part of the decoration.

Roll a coil for the handle.  Drop coil gently to form flat side. Tap ends against work surface to make them fatter. Curve so the flat side is the inside of the handle.  It may take several tries to get one that works with the mug form.

Score clay on mug and handle and attach firmly.

Decorate the mug as desired.  Remove the form when the clay is set up enough to support itself.  Any extra paper at the top should be damp and tear away easily. When the clay is the consistency of firm leather and can be handled with distorting it, clean the rim and any other areas.  Remove the paper when the mug is completely dry.

Because I used wetter than usual clay for this project I did not need any slip to attach edges and bottom.  A good slip is a mix of vinegar and water.  Score and slip edges before attaching.

If there are any questions please respond below or PM me on FaceBook at Suzi Caswell.

Oh and because it is March 4........HARES AND RABBITS!

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

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Sign of Spring!

  • Sun and clouds with temps in the sixties.  What a treat!

  • I took my first real morning morning walk around the yard, looking at what needs to be done. And I raked the leaves off the crocus bed.  The daffodils are up enough so that I will use the leaf blower to get the dead stuff away from the house.

  • I found this little viola blooming in one of the pots I didn't empty last fall.  Their hardiness is always a surprise!

The fish are swimming sluggishly  The water is still pretty cold..  Proge left the small pump in last fall to provide a bit of circulation.  It appears to have helped.  We don't usually take the net off until the trees are leafy and some of the water plants are covering a bit of the surface.  Otherwise we have visits from Hawk, Owl, and Heron, to say nothing of raccoon and fishercat!

Warm weather this early can be chancy.  The wild blueberries are apt to bloom then freeze if we get down to more normal temps.  We'll see, grasshopper....we'll see.....

Toes crossed that all are enjoying weather throughout the world.

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

Monday, February 20, 2017

I'm Still Here!

No!  I did not drop off the face of the earth at the end of January.  I ran out of clay; I have been prepping small amounts so I can get back to making.

Most of my clay is at a stage where it is too stiff to work with, but not completely dried out.  I usually put the entire bag in a cat litter bucket.  Pour water into the bag and into the empty bucket.  After a few days to a week it's ready to use.  Thanks go out out Clay Buddies on Facebook for this one.

The photo below is of all the stuff that has fallen out of bags.  I think talking about prepping clay is about as exciting as watching grass grow.  It needs to be done, but......

It took me a while to figure out why I didn't process enough last summer to get me through the winter.  Then I remembered our caterpillar infestation and the the resulting poop parade.  I usually do all my processing outside, but having clay full of caterpillar crap was/is not at all appealing.

Meanwhile my amaryllis have been in bloom since Christmas.  I planted them at intervals so they wouldn't all bloom at once.  I wish I knew what I did differently to get so many of my old bulbs to bloom!

Below is the last group.  Toes crossed for the beginning of spring bulbs when these finish.

Our weather is being pretty typical for this time of year.  Sun yesterday, sun today. Who knows what tomorrow will bring?  We'll see, grasshopper.......we'll see.

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

Monday, January 30, 2017

Soft Slabs

I've been having fun working with soft slabs.  

I take the clay I recycle into a very thick slip and put down a puddle on several sheets of paper.  I use a bench scraper to smooth it out to a more or less uniform thickness.  I then let it dry enough so I can work with the slab without it being jello.  I painted on the hearts a little too soon, but I find the result interesting enough to want to experiment more.  I did use a form for this because the clay was not as dry as I initially thought it was.

I have made several, but this the first one I have kept.  Obviously it needs some finishing and clean up.  The rim needs rethinking and evening out enough so beverage does not spill when trying to drink.

I have not been posting much anywhere due to my poor, misused MacBook.  I do need to learn how to transfer stuff to my IPad.

The sun is fitfully trying to break through many gray clouds.  Well see, Grasshopper.....we'll see......

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

Sunday, January 15, 2017


No this is not a tiny igloo!  I've been making forms so I can handbuild some bowls.  If I use tissue paper as a separator I can use them unfired.  I will fire them in my next kiln load.

The one below is much smaller.  It may become an egg.  I had a dream about majolica eggs so I may give it a go!

This is a shot of a hazy full moon I took early Saturday morning.  At one point there was a rainbow halo around it that only lasted for a few minutes.

After several days of forty and fifty degree sunny weather with the woodstove off and doors open temps have dropped again.  This is not unique in this area.  We are about five miles inland from the Atlantic and just on the very edge of the upland plateau.  Microclimates abound here.

Toes crossed that all are warm and dry, or cool and dry, depending on location.

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

Sunday, January 8, 2017

More Snow

Yes, we did have a goodly amount of snow all day yesterday into the early hours of this morning.  So of course Aloysius had  to go out for his yearly snow expedition!  It was a lot deeper on the deck than he thought it would be.  I wish I had been able to catch the expression on his face when he landed in the snow bank!

The picture below was taken mid afternoon.  This is what it looked like until I went to bed.

And this is what the deck looked like when I went out around 9:30 this morning to clear a path to the bird feeder.  They are flocking to eat.  It is so important to keep feeders filled when the ground is covered.

We got between eight and ten inches.  Fortunately it's very light and fluffy so it should be easy to get out the driveway.

I've been hearing snow plows out on the road.  This is definitely a good thing.

Today is going to an indoor day.  If I can warm my studio up I want ti make some more forms for handbuilding.  I recommend indoors to one and all.

As always thanks fir stopping by.....*s*