Thursday, November 17, 2011

A Peek In The Studio

Bisqued and ready for the next step

Pots ready for waxing and glazing

Next for the bisque kiln

Just finished and ready for a quick dry
I am getting ready to glaze for the next 
load for the wood kiln- I was hoping to have 
the new gas kiln ready to go, but
hopefully that will happen soon.  Shortly, I
will be going to 2 shows- the Old Church 
Show in Demarest, NJ- curated by
Karen Karnes, and then to Boston 
for the CraftBoston Show organized 
by Society of Arts and Crafts.  I'm 
looking forward to a great firing...hoping
also that this mild weather lasts another week
to see me through this next work period!

More box shapes drying quickly!
Drying here is one of my favorite, classic box shapes-
 I'm also hoping that you'll  notice my heavy
duty banding wheel!  It was made for me by a very
talented and close friend.
I love it and use it all the time!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Old is New Again!!!

The small shed where the kiln was housed

The amazing feat-2000+pounds of kiln!

    I am very excited about a "new" old kiln I recently is smaller than anything I have used in the past, but I'm sure I will adjust to a new and different cycle of making work and firing it.  Instead of working and waiting sometimes for months to fire new pieces, I will be able to fire and see results in 7-10 days...if not sooner.  I rented a u-haul and drove down to Cape Cod, had a forklift pick the kiln up (all 2000+pounds of it) and load it into the truck.  I drove the 6 hours back to Maine, where I hired another couple of guys with tractor and forks, along with a lift truck to pull it off the truck and position it on the concrete pad!  It was all very exciting, and a bit anxiety producing at the same time.  Alas, now I need to build a roof to protect the kiln from the elements, and I will be off and running!  It is a small alpine- with a swing need to brick the door up after each load!  I am anxious to fire it, but am running out of time before winter.  So, I may have to wait- we'll see!  Here are a few photos of getting the kiln onto the u-haul-
Moving down the alley

On the truck!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Wyatt the Penguin!
 A Halloween greeting from my house to yours!  I hope everyone had fun and enjoyed the creepiness of it all!  I enjoy making my son's costume each year...this one did double duty in keeping him warm on the chilly trick-or -treat eve.  

Now for the fun stuff...

Various clays ready for mixing
 All the clay potters use comes from our beautiful earth.  How it gets from the ground to the studio is more complicated, and potters from around the world deal with this part of the process in many different ways.  Many years ago I was a resident artist at the Baltimore Clayworks.  When I was there, I met a great Jamaican potter who used to go to Baltimore-Washington airport to dig his clay (among other places).  He would come back to the studio, and spend many hours cleaning and screening the clay to make it workable.  It was labor intensive, but he yielded beautiful results.  Many others (myself included) bought our clay from a supply company in 50 pound boxes- it was wonderfully de-aired, and ready to use.  These days, my husband and I buy our clay dry, in powdered form, and mix it together to achieve the character and properties we want.  Things we consider are temperature, color, plasticity, strength, shrinkage and coarseness.  We recently had over 5000 pounds of 50 pound bags delivered- it was then hauled down to our basement for storage- and slowly over the next 8-10 months we will use it all up!  Here are some photos to visually explain some of the process:
The dry stuff in the mixer

Clay and Water

Ready for the pugmill