Sunday, August 25, 2013

In Progress

I've been making some more of my large platters or bird baths.  I've been trying to make these a little thicker so they come through the firings in one piece.  I've been making the bodies too thin and the rims too thick which seems to lead to stress cracking.  This old/new method seems to have solved the problem.

I have several ideas for decorating them.  With these larger pieces I think of them more as a canvas than a bowl.  The tradition of round paintings is an old one.  The Della Robbias did many of them so I feel I am echoing an old tradition.

I've been making bigger, more one of a kind pieces for the show I have coming up at the end of September.  I have a teapot and a bird to finish and the finishing touches on a few glazed pieces.  One of the great benefits of working at ^04 is that I fire glaze and bisque in the same kiln.

There are many other things happening out and around the house.  I'll try to post more in the coming week.

Meanwhile take a look at Mud Colony and see what is happening around the world in clay.

Enjoy what is left of the weekend and as always, thanks for stopping by.........*s*

Friday, August 16, 2013

Turtle and.....

Now I remember why I don't do large (for me) animals.  They're a complete b#tch to do.  I start with a slab of clay over a bowl that is approximately to shape and size of the shell.  It has to be soft enough to drape easily but dry enough to hold its shape.  The first step of drying has to be watched carefully as the whole thing will crack if it dries to much. Sometimes I take it off the form and place a smaller bowl under the curve.  Once the clay has set up enough I reverse it into a shallow bowl lined with several layers of a towel.  I rough in the head, legs and tail and wait for it to set up a bit.  The hardest part is finding the patience to let it set properly.  I've been going out to work in the yard in short bursts.  I set a timer so I won't lose track of what is going on with drying.  Once it's set up enough I add the bottom shell and make sure it's well attached all around.

I turned it right side up so I could work on the feet and head  with eyes.  Later I will work on the bottom and post a photo of it.  The main thing is go slowly without losing the gesture of the turtle.

Below is a photo of the way not to do it.  I started building one the inside of the bowl.....well, it has been a while since I've done one of these.  Needless to say, it was a disaster.....and I couldn't find my notes on making a turtle.  As I started, it didn't feel I broke it down and started over, more successfully this time.  Sometimes the memory is in our hands not our brains.

Below is a long ago calamari platter that I made on commission. I found it when I was cleaning some unused shelves.  A nice little surprise to put out as a bird bath.  Actually this is a glaze failure.  I made two and fortunately the octopus was defined and clear on the second one.  For more thoughts on the perils of commissions read Gary's post for today.  He sums it up very nicely.

Now if a customer wants something, if it's at all feasible, I make a bunch of stuff and invite the customer to have first choice.

Does anyone out there do commissions?  If you do, what are your criteria for accepting and how do your arrive at a price?

This post will also be over on Mud Colony.  Everyone should click the link and see what is happening world wide in clay.

It looks like a real summer week end ahead.  I doesn't seem possible that we are halfway though August.

Enjoy the sun, moon and stars.  As always, thanks for stopping by...........*s*

Monday, August 12, 2013

My That Was Fun.....or

It's Always Sumthin'.......

We had a lobster feast on Friday after finding them very much on sale at the market.  They steam them there and put them on sale......sometimes.

They we delicious!

That was the best part of the week end.  We had torrents of rain all day Friday.  That evening both pond and pool were full to the brim!  When I went out early Saturday with Winter the pool was down to the inlet.  Aaaaarrrrgh!  After careful inspection, which included crawling around under the deck, we realized that the gasket on the junction between the pool exterior and the little pipe inlet had disintegrated.  The was definite evidence of a leak, plus a lot of ground even soggier than other areas that had been inundated with rain. The fix was relatively easy....take everything apart, make a new gasket from pond liner scraps and replace.....but not fun.  I can't complain; the pool is almost thirty years old and has needed few repairs.

Fortunately we have had so much rain this year that there is no problem with refilling the pool.  I do it slowly at a rate of about 250 gal. per day.  It's no strain on the well, but also gives the pool a bit of time to warm up.

We've been clearing sassafras every week.  It's extremely invasive here and serves no good purpose....not even for firewood.

It's cloudy today with sun coming this afternoon with more rain expected tomorrow.  I'll be spending more time in my studio...yes!

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

Friday, August 9, 2013

Look What I Got!

When I went to the Post Office today there was a package/present waiting for me.  My mug from Lori Watts's Kickstarter Campaign had arrived.  The blue is so, decoration, and handle all add up to the whole being greater than the sum of the parts.

The little stars are reflections from my flash......but are well deserved.

See how prettily my tea contrasts with the blue.  In the afternoon I drink it plain.

In the morning I always drink it with sugar please.

I like the way the blue changes depending on what is next to it.  It sound odd, but blue can give many colors an extra zing.  Perhaps that's why it's such a popular color.

Well done Lori!  Thank you.

The photos below in my last post are pieces I bought at the League of NH Craftsmens Fair.  I ate my cereal out of Jeff's bowl this morning.

It was great seeing Michele and others.  No, I have no photos of the actual fair as I forgot my camera. Michele has some good ones on her blog.

I'm going to put this over on Mud Colony  I may do some edits, but I wanted to get in early this week.

Enjoy your week end, and as always, thanks for stopping by..........*s*

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Sunday, August 4, 2013

In Progress and.....

To do a post you actually have to post it!

I've done a late addition or edit down at the foot of the post.

I've been working on these woven fruit bowls lately.  Originally I built it on the outside of a bowl.  As soon as it was slightly firm I inverted it into a larger bowl and started adding the rim.  I use a thin jersey fabric to separate the bowl from the form.  Unlike paper it is easily used as a sling when I want to shift or move the piece.

Here I have turned the bowl upside down again.

It's not strong enough to support itself while I start the feet so I have put a much smaller bowl inside.  This one is wrapped in tissue paper.  I've also begun to work on the rim.

I did all this last night so I should be able to do more work on it this morning.  We've had many humid to rainy days so things are drying slooooooowly, which is good for handbuilding, but......

We've been talking about making tools lately.  In the foreground you can see the little tool I made from a popsicle stick to get into the nooks and crannies.  I find popsicle sticks so handy for making small tools.  They are easily cut with a strong utility knife and sanded to and edge and point with fine sandpaper.  Plus they're smooth so no worry for splinters. 

No, I do not eat an inordinate amount of popsicles; I buy them by the box full at A.C. Moore.

There's a warm, sunny and busy day ahead of me.  I'm off to New Hampshire tomorrow to see my brothers and to visit League of N.H. Craftsmens Fair.  I'l stop in to see Michele and Jeff in Tent 5, Booth 518 and many others.  This show is always a treat.

Late addition @ 12:19 PM.

I went out this morning and found this day lily has started to bloom.  I bought it from Larry the Pond Guy before he closed last fall.  I had forgotten how pretty this one is......ruffled and doubled in a peachy, apricot color.  This one is a late bloomer so it will extend our season by a few more weeks.  Again I wish Larry had not closed; he had such wonderful plants and was always willing to give advice.  I suppose even the best want to retire at some point.  He is still missed by a number of customers.

If I had remembered to post this last night I would have this up on Mud Colony.   Go take a look anyway.  Good things are going on there.

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