I’ve been a member of the Potters Guild of Frederick for a while now, and recently, I took my first batch of work in to be displayed for sale! This little nook beautifully mixes my work (the striped pieces) in with other members work. I love the stripe of purple paired with the solid purple. I never would have thought to do something like that but now, I’ll probably make some sets with this combination! This is just one little corner of the potters guild, there are hundreds of awesome pieces for sale there! Stop in and check it out if you’re walking around Market Street downtown!
I’ve been making these cute little jars recently! I love the different handle style on these ones. They would be perfect for holding trinkets or sugar cubes, or bobby pins. Or loose leaf tea! The possibilities are endless. And they’re just so cute! They are about the size of an apple and fit comfortably in your palm. They are some of my favorite pieces to date.
Some of them I wanted to make specifically into sugar and creamer sets, like these two pictured here. The sugar bowl has a sweet little catch for the sugar spoon, and the creamer has a teapot- like spout. This one has no handle and is very comfortable, but the mini teapot idea was so intriguing that I had to try another.
I love it!! How could a creamer be any more adorable. I can’t wait to see these glazed!
One of my duties at the studio is to measure and combine the dry ingredients for glazes before hydrating them. The unfired glazes are almost never the same color as the finished product, but some of the ingredients are truly beautiful! Almost all the ingredients are a shade of white other than the colorants, although the textures vary widely- from powdered sugar(ferro frit) to sparkling white sand(spodumene)! The bright green and pink seen here are copper and cobalt carbonate, being mixed to make the color Variegated Blue. Isn’t chemistry cool!?
I’ve been making a lot of mugs lately and they’ve been turning out really well! However they do all have a fairly similar look… a look that I like, but still, there isn’t much diversity. Thats why I was so excited when some members of my studio suggested a challenge for anyone interested to make 100 mugs! I want to try at least 20 new techniques if I can, which means I would have 5 mugs to practice each technique. I’m not sure of all the things I want to try, but some of them are faceting, slip trailing, and new handle making techniques. I can’t wait to get started tomorrow!
Besides how fun and challenging it’ll be to come up with all these new forms, once they’re done, they’ll make a fantastic display for my booth! Today and tomorrow I’ll be checking out local farmers markets as potential venues to sell my work, and hopefully very soon I’ll be selling at them monthly, if not weekly. Wish me luck!
Anyone who has ever worked a retail job of any kind probably knows how frustrating inventorying is. What makes it even worse is when theres no system in place for the inventory, and you are in change of not only coming up with the system, but also deciding what really needs to be recorded, what information is irrelevant, what record keeping system works best for you, how to organize between locations, how to store your inventory….!!!! That isn’t even all of the struggles involved in creating your own inventory. I tried searching the internet for possible help and online record keeping systems, and I found one that seemed pretty good… for 100$ a year! Even the best inventory system is not worth 100$ a year at this point in my career. Instead I looked over its best features and used their ideas to tweak my current inventory, which is an app on my iPad called Sortly. It has pretty much the same features as the expensive online program but it was free (or less than 5$, at the most) and even though its kind of of a pain in the butt, I’ve realized that its probably always going to be a pain in the butt to inventory so I might as well get used to it! I spent a full day last week re-entering and re-tagging every piece I currently have at home. This pile is everything from the last 2 months or so, and after inventory and pricing, it’s worth close to $2,000! Now I just have to get it into the shops.
Glazing has always been one of my least favorites steps in pottery making. It can really make or break a piece, and its so unpredictable that I generally only use specific glazes that I know will turn out a certain way. When I do try out new glazes its with the knowledge that it could very well ruin the piece, so when I tried out this new glaze combination on this vase, I just had my fingers crossed that it would turn out ok!
This was a decent pot before glazing, its fairly large and has a nice shape, and I thought the smooth surface would take this new glaze I’m trying out nicely. The glaze I wanted to use is called variegated blue, and though I had never used it before, the test tiles and student work using it all looked very nice. The color changes from a lovely yellow-y light green to deep blue when layered over a red glaze, and I thought i’d give it a try!
SO BEAUTIFUL! This is probably one of my favorite pieces I’ve ever done based solely on the way the glaze came out. I didn’t expect it to be so beautiful, although the colors are pretty much what I had hoped for. I love the way the red transitions into the green around the neck, and that deep, dark blue on the bottom is just perfect. Also the fact that the green transitions into the blue in such a smooth line- just gorgeous!
I know many potters keep detailed records of their glaze choices so that they can reproduce them later, and even though I know its a good idea, I have never been able to be so meticulous in my record keeping. I know what glazes I like and I somewhat recklessly throw the glazes onto my pots… I’ve never forgotten what glaze was used on what, and I can repeat my colors with reasonable certainty once I’ve tried the glaze a few times, but the beautiful outcome of this glaze makes me want to get more involved with the glazing process. I am somewhat limited in my glazing choices by the glazes we have available in the studio, although to be fair we do have TONS of colors. What I’d really like to try is painting with underglazes or wax to achieve different textures and patterns. My lack of interest with the glazing process has stopped me from trying too much with it but I’m really pushing myself to go out of my comfort zone.
One other glaze change that I’ve been playing around with recently is “the snot sucker”- I’m sure they have a more medical name but thats why we call it at the studio! It truly is the little rubber sucker ball used on babies to clean out their noses. You can suck up glaze into it, like a turkey baster, and squeeze it out onto your pieces to make lines and decorations with the glaze.
These mugs are one of my favorite examples of the snot sucker in action. Those deep purple lines are made by swiping it back and forth around the piece and overlapping the purple over itself. That light blue/pale purple backdrop is the same exact glaze quickly dipped! It really is just amazing to me how cool the glaze interactions are when layered differently.
Side note, these are one of my first mug sets that really match! There is a fourth one still in the kiln that will be paired up with them shortly. The mug forms are almost all exactly the same size, and the glaze really unifies them beautifully. I’m very happy with the results!!
Thanks for reading, this got much longer than I expected but I’m just so excited about all my new work!
I haven’t written much of anything recently because I’ve been insanely busy. I feel like I constantly am doing things, and yet always have a giant pile of more work that I need to get done! During this super busy time I’ve been making amazing progress with my pottery though. I can now make multiples with true ease, and today made this mixing bowl set on a whim- without even measuring!! They fit together perfectly in every way. Its truly thrilling to try something out and have it work fantastically. But not everything turns out how I planned- I wanted to make some cappuccino cups today, and not only did they turn out juuust a little too big, they also got overly dry while I was teaching a class- too dry to add any kind of handles to- and they ended up as a whole bunch of ice-cream bowls.
I still like them as ice-cream bowls though so no real harm done! My next workday will be yarn bowls forever, which was what I had actually planned to make today… sometimes you go in with one goal and end up doing something totally different. This can backfire if you’re not focused but when it ends in a perfect set of mixing bowls it really works in your favor. Thats all for today but I’m going to try to write more whenever I have a free minute!
Yesterday might have been one of my most productive days at the studio ever! Besides these AWESOME hanging planter pots, I also made 8 pitchers, 8 mugs, 9 chip’n’dips, 7 brie bakers, 7 yarn bowls, and a serving platter! And all in pretty close to matching sizes.
Less than a year ago I wouldn’t have been able to make even 2 matching forms and now I’m doing 8 at a time! Tomorrow I’ll be putting handles on the mugs and brie bakers and cutting the yarn bowls. Handles are definitely not my strong point but I have to keep working on them to get there! I’ve also gotten better at trimming efficiently and consistently. I love intricate trimming, but for something like a yarn bowl it makes more sense to have clean, simple feet.
And now for the best part- these great hanging planter pots!!!
These are all pretty big, with probably close to a gallon of space inside them. They’ll hang upside down by macramé strings and I can just imagine them with long hanging ivy or flowers! I really hope these sell well because I LOVE making them!! And I get to do my fancy trimming which always looks so beautiful.
This is probably the most trimming scraps I’ve had from one day! Hopefully I can keep up this super productive mode I’ve been in recently!
Lots of glazing to do today!! I had tea bowls, candle plates, some brie bakers, and some large vase forms ready to be glazed.
I’m continuing to test out newer glazes, and I’m finding some really gorgeous ones! I also want to try out painting with underglazes, and I left some large flat surfaces on my vases for just this purpose. I’m not sure what I’ll paint on them yet- it could be a pattern, or even a scene of some sort!
Bisque ware is so beautiful in its own way! In the corner here you can see my very first bisqued porcelain bowl!! I can’t wait to see how the glazes turn out on such a beautiful white surface. Thanks for reading!
A few days ago I replied to a call for entries to the DC Realists exhibition, and I was accepted!! Two of my pieces, including the one pictured above, will be on display April 10th-30th at the Artworks Gallery in Bethesda. I’m so excited!! This will be my first chance to display my 2D work since college, and the exposure could be really helpful towards selling my drawings and paintings in Frederick! The opening reception will be April 10th at 6pm, at 7740 Old Georgetown Rd, Bethesda, Maryland 20814. I can’t wait!!!