Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Name for the Farm!

Over the summer we purchased a farm. We have settled on a name for our farm! We have named the farm Emmaus Farm. Our focus is growing small grains, dry beans and garden vegetables using sustainable practices. The photograph above is of the wheat which was planted recently. The farm is named after the 18th-century Moravian agricultural community just southwest of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. When I was working on my Master's thesis on the Moravian potters in Bethlehem, I drove through Emmaus quite often. My other half and I have been impressed with the industriousness and culture of the 18th-century Moravians. When I was also working on my thesis we discovered that both of our families had Moravian connections. Very exciting!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Slip Testing

In getting ready for Joseph Sand's kiln firing I made a bottle in order to test some slips in his kiln atmosphere. Normally most of my pottery has turned fairly dark in the reduction, so I put a layer of white porcelain slip as a base all over the bottle. I then carved away at some points to reveal the clay body. Then I painted with cobalt blue slip and a red slip.
The red slip which looks reddish-brown in the photo below turned very brown in the kiln and reacted well to the salt.
Red slip on the flower at the base

Results of the red slip
The blue slip which you can see on the leaves at the top of the bottle worked out really well over the porcelain slip. The blue slip looks purplish-gray in the photo below.

Blue slip looks purplish-gray at the top of the bottle

The blue followed the path of the flame
The carved away area had some nice orange-peeling where the salt glazed the surface.
Overall, the bottle was wonderful, and I was happy with the results. Now to decide whether to hold on to it for a little while or sell it right away!

Monday, November 14, 2011

STOLEN Gravemarker

Stolen Gravemarker
I received an unfortunate e-mail from the North Carolina Museum Council this morning. If you know of anyone to forward this information to in order to keep an eye out for it on the market or elsewhere, please do. I hope this piece finds its way back home.
1834 SGSW handmade pottery gravemarker made by Solomon Loy in 1834, from the Cane Creek Friends Burial Ground of Alamance County, NC, after nearly 180 years in place. If you have any news of it or hear of anyone who's seen it please pass the word to the Cane Creek Friends Meeting in Snow Camp, NC or to the Alamance County, NC Sheriff's Department. Theft is a real problem with the pottery grave markers.

If you have any information please contact:Alamance Sheriff’s Office 109 S Maple St, Graham, NC 27253

(336) 513-6317 Cane Creek Friends Meeting in Snow Camp:

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Kiln Shift

O' Dark Thirty this morning with the kiln firing
I worked a kiln shift at Joseph Sand's anagama kiln this morning starting at 5:00 am. It was a rewarding, exhausting day!

Salting the kiln
It was a warm morning standing in front of the kiln. I was the person stoking at the front of the kiln. When I got to the kiln a little before 5:00, Joseph had the kiln rolling around 2400, with stoking around 2380. We held the temperature through mid-morning when we salted around 10:30 or 11:00.

Joseph pulled one of my mugs out of the kiln to check the salt and glazes. I think it looks pretty good! I'm excited to see what the rest of the kiln looks like! And the photos below are shots of the interior of the kiln while it was crash cooling.
You can see the edges of my dishes at the side of the shelves

Peeks of the tops of pitchers

Sides of the dishes

Joseph's pots

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Little Update and a Laugh

First shelf stack in back
Yesterday I helped Joseph Sand start loading his anagama kiln. I'm heading out there today as well and we will be firing this coming weekend. It's a lot of work to load these big beasty kilns, but it's rewarding all the same.

Working our way up
For your laugh:
As a potter, the movie "Ghost" is the bane of my existence when trying to demonstrate. Do any other potters feel this way, or just try to laugh EVERY TIME someone asks? On the note of "Ghost" however, my other half sent me this link which I thought you all might enjoy. It's a good laugh.

Friday, November 4, 2011

New Photography

I have been trying to take better photographs and created a photo booth using the tips given by D. Michael Coffee on their blog. I am appreciative to D. Michael Coffee for sharing this detailed information as well as to the Carolina Clay Guild for forwarding the link for photo help. Don't mind the black edges on these photos, I was formatting them in square, but wanted to share them with you after I had edited them a little.
I would show you a photo of my own set up of this, but I am embarrased by mess which currently surrounds the improvised photo booth. So you will have to deal with the photos on the aforementioned link. I have to work on getting the lighting better with dishes, and getting the right angle for pitchers and other taller vessels. But overall, I think I am off to a good start!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Busy days

Busy days at Liberty Stoneware!

Me in presentation mode before things got started
Last week was my presentation at the Randolph County Arts Guild on my historic kiln research. It was well attended and there were many great questions from the audience. I am especially grateful for the opportunity to start formulating some thoughts about my research and getting some of it on paper.

Inside at the pottery festival
A few weekends ago I was at the Greensboro Curb Farmer's Market for the Triad Pottery Festival. I had a new location this time and got to try out my new sign which came in the mail the other day. Always good to talk to potters and make new acquaintances.

My booth layout-- check out the new sign on the wall!

Smattering of wares
And if that wasn't enough to be going on, this past weekend was an event I have been helping coordinate for several months now at our local museum, the Patterson Cottage Museum. We had a Heritage Festival, which, despite the nasty weather in the morning, was decently attended and I think rather well for our first year.
Inside the Patterson Cottage Museum

Outside the Patterson Cottage Museum at the Heritage Festival
I am working on getting pots thrown for a firing with Joseph Sand. We are loading next week. I am doing a combination of single-fired pieces as well as bisqued ware, so we will see what happens!