Details

It’s getting down to the wire for the Celebration of Seagrove Potters. Today I have been working on all the little things that need to be done to the pots. None of it is glamorous, but it’s still important stuff. In the morning I worked on polishing the bottoms of pots from the last firing. After that I moved on to printing some tags.

 We added foaming soap pumps to the offering. I can tell the difference between the pumps but I don’t think most buyers will. I created tags for the foamers, to make it easier for buyers to choose. When the booth is busy, there isn’t as much time to answer question.

The cheese stones got tagged. The backside of the tag has “instructions for use.” I wish I had more of these for the show, but they just didn’t fit in the kiln. That’s the downside for flat items. They are space hogs. The upside is, we will have more fired for our holiday open house in December.

My afternoon job was lino-block printing our large handled bags. I didn’t do as many as usual. The upside of this show is that many people bring there own bags, baskets, and even little wheeled carts. I really don’t go through a lot of bags.
Tomorrow we start boxing things up for the 1/2 mile trip down the road on Thursday.

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Collaborations for Celebration

The Celebration of Seagrove Potters show is next weekend. Each year at the Friday night Gala Preview Party, there is a live auction of special collaborative pots and sculptures. Jeff and I have been collaborating on a couple of pieces with our friend Phil Pollet of Old Gap Pottery.
Phil created a large slab built square bowl and stamped his design in the center. He delivered it to our studio and Jeff applied white slip.
When the slip set up, I carved ginkgo leaves onto the rim. 
We all signed the back. One piece was lost in the bisque so we were glad that we made two! Jeff sprayed the bowl with ash glaze and we fired it in our gas kiln.

We are all really happy with the finished piece. Almost hate to donate it! You never know what price it will bring at an auction.

Celebration of Seagrove Potters 10th Anniversary Show
November 17-19th
Historics Luck’s Cannery 
798 NC Hwy 705, Seagrove NC

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The Race To The Finish Line

We have three deadlines to meet. Etsy orders to ship on Friday, Pottery for the Piedmont Craftsmen’s show next week, as well as the local Celebration of Seagrove Potters show. We unloaded a bisque in the gas kiln and started glazing on Sunday, while we had another bisque load firing in our neighbors electric kiln. Since the move we have not wired our electric kiln. It may be time to get that done, although it won’t be as easy as one would think, but that’s a whole other blog post.

We had a lot of pots that needed to be sprayed with ash glaze. In reality, all the pots for Piedmont Craftsmen had to be sprayed. Jeff got started on some and I took over mid-afternoon. When I flipped the switch on the compressor it made some very strange noises and didn’t produce any air. Thinking it had run too long, I shut it down and gave it a rest. Twenty minutes later and still nothing.

Jeff had to leave in two hours to do the evening shift at David Stuempfle’s wood kiln.
The next day we would have another load of pots that would need spraying.
Thankfully, there is a Harbor Freight in nearby Asheboro!

I hopped in the car at 3:00 pm and at 4:30 arrived home with a new compressor.

It’s a step up from the very old one and on sale, was under $60. While I was gone, Jeff took the old one apart and put it back together.

It’s been working fine ever since.

At least we have a back up.

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Rules were meant to be broken?

The “No Drying Pots In The House” rule has been broken once again…

These make me laugh. Don’t they look like they are at the hair salon getting a color?

I ordered a bag of these elastacized platic bowl covers to see if they would work in the studio. We have been trying to keep rims from drying out too quickly. Jeff cut a whole out of the center to allow the bottom to dry. We really wanted them for larger platters and bowls but they don’t stretch to size they were advertised to. They were less than four dollars. If we don’t find them functional in the studio we will use the rest of them in the kitchen.

We have a lot of pots to get fired in the next three weeks. After that I am sure it will be the mad dash for last minute piggy bank orders.

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Process

Jeff and I are getting our collaborative work done for the Piedmont Craftsmen’s show next month. We will be exhhibiting our work in a group booth, the weekend before Thanksgiving… the same weekend as the Celebration of Seagrove Potters.
Last week Jeff threw a few large platters and shallow bowls. It was so humid that it took forever for them to get to the point of being trimmed, slipped, and carved.
Yesterday I was finally able to get my hands on them.
Jeff had brushed on the slip days before.
I lightly sketch my design with a pencil. It was a little softer than I like to draw on, but we really needed to get these platters done.

Next I carve the ginkgo leaf outline.

 Then I carve away the background. This is obviously the part that takes the longest. I usually like to turn on the radio and listen to whatever is on WUNC public radio while carving. Sometimes I am amazed at how much time has passed when I am finished. I often switch between standing and sitting while I carve. It’s a little easier on my “getting old body” to move around a lot.
Done!
One more to go today and then it’s back to the wheel.

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Green and Shino

We unloaded the gas kiln on Saturday and I was really happy with a couple of green and shino bowls. I haven’t done as much in this glaze combination this year, since I have become infatuated with ash glaze. This combination is time consuming because I have to wax the rims and then carefully pour out the green, without getting any drips onto the sides of bowl. Occasionally I have gotten some drips and have had some success with scraping off the green over the shino. This go around I had one drip that was problematic. I scraped it a little thin. Jeff hit on the idea of spraying a light coating of the ash glaze over the shino and it successfully covered the thin spot.

I had a lot of piggy banks in this firing. Many were orders but there were also some extras to have in stock in my Etsy shop. It would be good to be able to be ahead, the holiday rush will be upon us in no time.

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Green and Shino

We unloaded the gas kiln on Saturday and I was really happy with a couple of green and shino bowls. I haven’t done as much in this glaze combination this year, since I have become infatuated with ash glaze. This combination is time consuming because I have to wax the rims and then carefully pour out the green, without getting any drips onto the sides of bowl. Occasionally I have gotten some drips and have had some success with scraping off the green over the shino. This go around I had one drip that was problematic. I scraped it a little thin. Jeff hit on the idea of spraying a light coating of the ash glaze over the shino and it successfully covered the thin spot.

I had a lot of piggy banks in this firing. Many were orders but there were also some extras to have in stock in my Etsy shop. It would be good to be able to be ahead, the holiday rush will be upon us in no time.

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Black and White

 These mugs came out of the kiln a couple of weeks ago. I wasn’t sure how I felt about them and left them out on the shelves under the kiln shed for more than a week.

I finally decided to bring them in and photograph them. After spending some time with them, I decided they were OK. 

I think I would be more in love with them if I had a more transparent glaze. My next plan is to apply velvet under glaze onto the white stoneware and carve through it, instead of the slip. The velvet under glaze has a nice finish without any glaze over it. I will first do some tumblers or small cups. If wanted to do mugs I would have to wax over all of the under glaze in order glaze the handle too. I am open to suggestions!

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Innovative Raku Kiln Design

Our good friend Andy Hampton has built a raku kiln using an old electric kiln. I am sure most of us potters have seen that done many times before. The raku kilns that we fire in are also made from recycled electric kilns. The difference is, Andy has taken it to an all new level. His process is broken into two short videos. 

Don’t you just love that swinging door! Andy Hampton primarily reduction fires in both gas and wood. You can see more of his work here.

Next month Andy will host the NH Potters Guild Meeting and members will have the opportunity to fire a pot in his new raku kiln. If you are a New Hampshire potter or are located close to New Hampshire, you may want to check out an NHPG membership. The guild’s website appears to be down but you can find them on facebook by searching NH Potters Guild.

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One Hit Wonder

I love butter dishes. Maybe because I love butter?
I just wish I could be successful at making them. A few years ago a made quite a few and I only had one the I could sell. The others warped or cracked.
The rejects all got the hammer, except for this one that I kept for myself. You can see in the photo below that there is a crack along the join. It’s been in constant use for years. I hardly notice the crack anymore.

This summer I started another round of butter dishes, but wasn’t happy with any of them. They all ended up in the reclaim bucket.

Each year, when we are at the League of NH Craftsmen’s show, I spend some time in Tom White’s booth drooling over his butter dishes. He makes some simple dishes, but he also makes some that look like buildings and barns. Many years back he had butter dishes that were churches with steeples. To this day I regret not buying one. This year Tom mentioned that someone should put on a butter dish exhibition. I agreed that it would be a great show. I better get busy perfecting a butter dish… because I want to be ready for that!

You can check out Tom White’s pottery here.

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…Better Living Through Handmade Pottery.