Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Good Salting

Salty mug!
My most recentkiln firing yielded good results and a good salting. I was pleased with most of the pieces.

Here is what the kiln looked like when I loaded it:

And here is what it looked like after it was fired:

Most of the other firings I have done with this kiln have resulted in the bottom half of the kiln being drenched in salt and the top being dry. This time, I closed the damper when I salted and allowed the salt to fume within the chamber. It made a huge difference!

New flowerpots!

Good salting for the crocks

Decent results with the cobalt. Need to make a new slip.

And although the weather was not fantastic, I did go out this past Saturday while Hurricane Irene was blasting the coast and participate in the Preserving Our Heritage Day at Cedarock Park. Even with the iffy weather, there was a decent turnout of participants, musicians, and attendees! I had fun doing a little demonstrating and talking about pottery manufacturing.
Demonstrating pottery at Cedarock Park

Monday, August 22, 2011

Kiln Brick and Kiln Firing

I recently purchased kiln brick and have been hauling it to our farm. The photo above is our company we had while loading the brick-- a large flock of silkies! They crack me up.

First load of brick on the trailer. I know it does not look like much, but there's about 4,000 pounds on there!
I also loaded up a kiln yesterday for the Preserving Our Heritage Day this Saturday at Cedarock Farm. I packed it really tightly, so I am going to keep my fingers crossed for good results!
Loaded up and ready to go!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Fabricated Guilty Pleasure

Improperly stacked and stuffed mugs in a cupboard.
I have cupboards full of mugs made by myself (mostly seconds, ha!) or potters I know or have worked with. However, every once in a while I need my fabricated guilty pleasure. I do not own many fabricated mugs, and those I do own usually have a story with them.

Meet my belted galloway mug from Fearrington Village. My mother found this mug for me and I think it is endearing.

I find belted galloway cows incredibly heart warming for some reason. They make me smile. There are a few herds near where I live, and I try to drive past them as often as I can. I was moving a little slow this morning, and reached for this mug, so I thought I would share my guilty pleasure.
Belted galloways at Fearrington Village. Photo from their site.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Production Push

I realized the other day that things were thinning out in my inventory and with a few shows coming up, I decided to start making a production push!

Part of my ware rack
It felt good to make some more faceted mugs and stick the bottle glass on the sides of some of them.

Faceted mugs

Faceted mugs
At the end of this month I will be at Cedarock Farm in Alamance County for their Preserving Our Heritage Day, and then early next month I may be at the Silk Hope Old Fashioned Farmer's Day. Because at both of these events I will be demonstrating and not having a lot of time to sell much, I made some extra more traditional pieces to (hopefully) appeal to the crowds attending these events.
This started out as an intentional design, and then went its own route. I think it turned out well!

Decorated crocks

I was really excited to make these bottles, mostly because I love making bottles, but also because I think they turned out well!

Bottles, I'm really enjoying the neck of these
I started making some more of the decorated mugs in both 8-10 and 10-12 ounce sizes.
Decorated mugs
I finally have gotten around to testing some mason stains in a porcelain base to see how they will turn out in the salt kiln. I am running out of the cobalt concoction I made some years ago and want to see whether I can get a slightly brighter blue. We will see!
Test tiles

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Trying out Etsy

You might have noticed that the sidebars of my blog changed this past week when I added a "Buy Online" section linking to my new Etsy page. I know there has been a lot of debate about whether to create an Etsy page in order to sell online.
I made several observations. Etsy can be hit and miss for the quality of work and there is quite an ocean of quantity there. However, there are potters whose work is well developed and whose work I admire, such as Joy Tanner, and are listed on Etsy. I figure as a new potter to the market, I do not have ten, twenty, or more years worth of devoted followers and buyers as some. I certainly don't have a name people associate with generations worth of potters or even big-named people I have worked and trained with ( that is not to say that Walter Hyleck, Philip Wiggs, and Tina Gebhart are not big names and amazing potters, but you get the gist!). I also figure that Etsy takes care of the billing and payments for minimal fees, and it allows me to reach out to a community of buyers and artists who are already on the site looking. Because I have a limited following right now on my blog, I figured having sales on my page would not sell that well.
I've had a lot of good reception. Two listings I made were sold within one day! This piece below was my first listing and my first sale:
I'm going to keep plugging along and see where it leads!

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Other Passion

All dressed up and teaching Morse Code.
If you ask some people who know me they would tell you there is nothing I am more passionate about than ceramics. However, I would beg to differ. It may not exceed ceramics, but my other strong passion is teaching about the Civil War. Particularly the communications systems of the Civil War, and more particularly about female telegraph operators during the War.
I have been working with the Ohio Valley Civil War Association for nearly ten years. The other weekend between my jaunts to research kiln furniture in Rockbridge County, I attended the 150th anniversary of the Civil War at Manassas. Our group taught about the Signal Corps and communications during the Civil War. I actually did not even get a chance to go see the big battle reenactment! It was incredibly hot, much less adding an additonal several layers of clothes and standing for most of the day! But, as usual, I had a great time working with everyone, and teaching. Now, back to making pottery!

Me with a reproduction Beardslee Flying Telegraph

Tools and other implements for Signal Corps and telegraph communication

Our camp setup in an original Union earthenwork fort!