In April, I went to Tucson, AZ, to take a figure sculpting workshop with Mary Susan Cate. It was a fabulous 4 days in her studio along with 5 other students. I learned a unique way to build armatures using straws, pool noodles and newspaper. Mary described her processes for drying, glazing and firing our figures.
Naturally, 4 days weren’t nearly enough to build my figure, glaze and fire it. Again, Mary to the rescue!! She explained how to wrap and pack the figure so it could travel. And, I checked it through as baggage on the plane.
Now … several months later, the figure was finally refined, glazed and fired. I’m totally amazed that she looks this good and didn’t break in the firing. There is still a lot of touch up work and extra firings in store for her. But, so far …. so good!
Last week, I decided to move one of the ceramic totem poles into a bare spot at the front of the house. So, I carefully took it apart; carried the individual pieces to the front and finally carried the pole to the front and reassembled it.
About 10 minutes later, S.O. and I went to look at it. OUCH!! The totem pole had tumbled over and at least half the pieces were broken. Nothing to do but toss those into the trash and start over.
Next day, I pulled the pole & concrete base out of the plastic pot and “planted” the concrete in the ground. Then it was time to reassemble the totem. Fortunately, there were enough pieces of “totems in progress” to rebuild. It’s not quite the same but I still kinda like it.
In my mind’s eye, a wildflower garden has always had a certain charm. So, a couple years ago, I bought about 1/2 pound of wildflower seeds (1/4 pound for sun gardens and 1/4 pound for shade gardens). Last year, the plants were meager; they struggled because of all the rain and then the heat of summer shriveled them. Fortunately, we didn’t have a harsh winter and most of them survived.
I threw out more seeds in February and they prospered. Boy … did they prosper!! Now I have this wild wildflower garden. Time to thin them out and/or redo this whole plot because we can’t even walk through it.
A major thunderstorm rolled through here in the past 30 minutes. The rain was coming down so hard and fast that it was pouring off the roof in sheets. I ventured out to the covered back patio to grab a few photos (hoping to get one with a flash of lightening), but hurried back inside when the action got too close for comfort.
The pots are finished and packed and ready to go over to the nursery in the morning. I’m such a novice at this that, while I took pictures and documented what’s in each box, I didn’t make a list of the pots and their sizes and how much I should get for each one.
Oh well … live and learn. Fingers crossed that all goes well tomorrow.
About a month ago, my buddy and I visited a local nursery that sells a lot of cacti and succulents. We showed them some of my pots and, while they were interested, they wanted some in certain sizes and certain styles.
So …. for the past several weeks, I’ve been making planter pots. And, because the weather has been so wet, they’ve taken f-o-r-e-v-e-r to dry. Then, some of the glazes turned out weird and I ran out of one of the wonderful glazes.
Here, though, is the first batch … photographed and packed up. There are still about 15 or so pots waiting to be glazed and fired. Then, we’ll go back to the nursery and (fingers crossed), they’ll love the pots and so will their clientele.
Part of the fun of working with clay is experimenting with various textures and procedures.
This tile is a semi-successful experiment. I had some cardboard with a waffle texture and wondered what would happen if I added it to a flat tile. Naturally, the cardboard would burn out in the bisque firing but, if the waffle pattern was coated with with slip before firing it, what would happen??
Well, the waffle pattern was saved but it’s very delicate in the bisque state. So, I quickly added some glaze on top of the waffle pieces and then sprayed glaze on the tile. In fact, the glaze helped the waffle pieces adhere to the tile. This is what it looks like after being fired to cone 5.
Yesterday was a great day!! It was “Kiln Opening Day” and, when all the pieces were unloaded, I had the final pieces for the garden totems.
These totems were started several months ago and it just took time to build the pieces, bisque fire them, glaze them and fire them again. One totem is whimsical faces and the other is state license plates.
When the chance of Spring storms, with the possibility of hail and tornadoes, passes, they’ll be added to the garden. Can’t wait!
About a year ago, I fell in love with succulents and cacti. The sheer variety is amazing. The more I bought and collected, the more pots I needed. Thank goodness, I happened to have a large supply of clay in the studio.
So, I started making pots for the plants. I made big pots and small pots, glazed them and settled the plants into my pots. For the most part, they seem to like the custom made pots and are rewarding me with new growth and offshoots.
Happy plants … happy pots … it’s all wonderful!
Finally decided it’s time to post some of my pottery/ceramic work beginning with these butterfly tiles. The images came from a couple of rubber stamps that I have. And, yes, it’s possible to use rubber stamps on clay.
The hard part was letting them dry a bit and then painting the details with underglaze. Then came the harrowing part of bisque firing them and hoping that they didn’t crack. Fortunately, they didn’t.
They were finished in a rake firing using a clear crackle glaze. Then, I added hangers on the back of them so they could be used on the wall.
They’ve both been sold and I hope their new owners are enjoying them.