A sharing of ideas, techniques, successes and failures in the volatile world of pottery and family life.

Monday, September 23, 2013

It's Only Mud

Where did the summer go?  What summer?  Being business owners can limit many things including summer vacations.  Time and money are always diverted to keeping the store open and profitable.  So, no Jersey shore, Dorney Park and not too much pottery going on either.

 I've been continuing with my pottery classes.  We've been working on throwing taller.  This week one student made her first closed form.  We were both so excited!  Teaching is reminding me of my fears as a new student and I'm trying to eliminate those fear in my students much sooner in the process.  The biggest one being fear of failure on the wheel.  In pottery, like in life, you learn more from what goes wrong than what goes right.  Thin walls, thick bottoms, uneven lips, air bubbles are all things that can be overcome with practice and experience.  Mistakes on the wheel often turn into disasters in the kiln.  The most important thing to remember:

"It's only mud and as long as it isn't fired you can reclaim it."

 We had a pigeon mosey into the studio
then it just moseyed right out again.

 I was very late getting my show applications in again so I'll probably get crappy spots but I did get accepted so no wait list for me.  =/

Here's where we'll be:

October 20 - Wayne Valley High School
Wayne Valley Fall Craft Show
Wayne, NJ

November 9-10 - Whitehouse Fire Co.
Whitehouse Fire Co. Holiday Craft Show
Whitehouse Station,NJ

December 7 - Warren County Technical School
Crafts in the Warren Tech Holiday Craft Show
Washington, NJ

December 15 - Wayne Valley High School
Wayne Valley Holiday Craft Show
Wayne, NJ

Mark your calendars and make a point to buy something handmade this holiday.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Enough of the Cicadas Already!

What's all the hoopla? The big cicada invasion's been all over the news and everyone's been bracing themselves for....

...listen for it...             ....wait...             


Except at my house!  We've had a full blown infestation in our neighborhood. I'm not sure how far it extends but my friend, who's about a mile away, has them and they're not at our shop which is about 3 miles away or anywhere else in the area that I've heard of.  When they said the not-so-little buggers would be localized I didn't expect them to be this selective.  Lucky us!

So for the past several weeks, from dawn to dusk (unless it's raining) we get to hear this:

It sounds like constant static!

Unfortunately, our dogs are fond of them and we've had to watch them more closely in the yard so they don't snack too much (bla-a-a-ahgug)!  The cicadas aren't toxic but their exoskeletons aren't digestible and can cause intestinal issues.  Enough said.

On a more humorous note (because that's how I roll!) quite a few years ago one of my sons (not mentioning names here, you're welcome!) mispronounced cicadas.  So their official pronunciation in our household is sik-uh-duhs (emphasis on the sik).  So for the first week it was amusing using "our" word for them but honestly I'm more than sick of the sik-uh-duhs and they can go away now.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Sucked into the mudS

Spring is SO distracting! Everything is blooming in abundance and all I want to do is play in my other favorite kind of mud: my garden!

Oh, my bleeding heart!

There are so many blooms on the azalea that it's sagging!

Lily pads ripe for pickin'!

We also had a couple of big orders that have been time consuming and I'm still giving lessons which is so much fun it's criminal to get paid for it!

I've been wanting to show you how my stamping adventure turned out but I wanted a pic of the Japanese ikebana vase.  I keep forgetting to dig out the epoxy to glue the flower frog in but you wouldn't know if it's glued down or not, would you? So here it is...

And the stamped mugs that didn't sell at the Wayne Valley HS show...
This glaze was too thin but shows off the stamps very well.

This glaze was a little thick and filled the stamps in too much.
And, of course, the ones that came out just right were sold!

I continue to struggle with my photography. My latest set up is on the front porch in the afternoon when the sun's on that side of the house. That might have something to do with why I haven't posted here or added too many new items to my shop lately. Timing is everything and who's home that time of the day?

I did get some birdhouses posted though.  Even after photo editing they still look too dark to me.  Any one have any tips they can share? 

I made a bigger sign for my show display. It's a bit heavy but much more visible.  What do you think?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Inspiration from Gary Jackson

I've been following Gary Jackson's blog for a while now.  The textures he gets from stamping clay is amazing.  He has hundreds of stamps he's made himself and uses different combinations to get beautiful effects.  So after oohing and aaahing over his work for ages I thought I'd have a go at making my own stamps...

...and having a go.  Getting the spacing down was more challenging than I expected.

 Can't wait to see how they come out glazed.

Monday, March 4, 2013

New Items

These are from the latest firing.  Some are listed in our Etsy shop.  I really need to get a better photo set up.  I know, I've been saying this forever but I'm kinda at a loss.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Victims of Crack

Unfortunately, I didn't notice the birdhouses were cracked until after I glazed them.  Another result of unloading the kiln to quick because I was freezing and didn't inspect the pieces properly.  Then when glazing time began I just switched on auto-pilot.  Big bummer!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Dry already, will ya!

It took a lot of sanding to get the lid to fit again. 
I hate shrinkage!

Bowls, birdhouses, tumblers, flower pots and soap dishes.
Mugs and birdhouses
As soon as these banks are dry we'll get a bisque firing going.

And finally....

So this is what my production looks like.  Not dozens of anything but dozens of different things.  I guess we all have to work at our own pace and try not to compare ourselves with the Jones' too much. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Fog & Snow

There is something about fog and snow that I love.  I hate snow and am so over winter right now.  So maybe it's the fact that I know the air is warmer than the snow covered ground that causes the fog.





Surely, this must be a sign of spring!

I know.  I'm delusional.  A girl can dream.  Can't she? (grumble, grumble damn ground hog. And stop calling me Shirley!)

Tuesday, January 29, 2013


I rarely make teapots.  This is why....

I loved it last night but I'm hating it this morning (another lesson on why I shouldn't work on new ideas after 5 pm).  I love the body shape and the handle but the spout is too big.  I cut it down twice before I attached it but it's just too fat.  And the lid doesn't fit snugly enough.  What do you think?

OK.  I guess I got lazy or arrogant.  I only made one spout and two lids.  Even the best potters makes several of each in order to get a good fit.  I'm gonna go with lazy and I'm paying for it.  Hopefully, lesson learned.  Again!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Sunday, Muddy Sunday!

The momentum continues!  Yay!  My fingers were actually a little pruney after all of this.

I know you production potters out there are probably underwhelmed but this is really good for me.  I actually was going to make all soap dishes but got bored after four and started making bowls, then a lidded jar and a tea pot (haven't attempted one in ages).

Maybe this is how my production is going to work: frequent sessions yielding a variety of items.  Hey, whatever gets the job done.  Right?

How do you get over the tedium of making the same thing over and over?  We need to make what will sell but how do you resist not spending too much time playing and experimenting?  It's just too much fun!

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gettin' Busy With It

Things are looking busy for the coming year.  We're gonna try a fuller show schedule in addition to doing some consignment along with increasing our online store inventory.  Yikes!  I had better get busy!

As excited as I am, I was having a hard time getting myself motivated to change into my "grubbies" and go into the FREEZING garage and sit down to pot.  We have a heater and rubber mats down on the floor but that cold cement always finds it's way into my bones. It was too tempting to make excuses to not get into the pottery after dinner when I'm tired and a little cotton-headed.  So Craig insisted I rearrange my work schedule to get in more quality potting time.  I knew there was a good reason I married him!  I'm getting down there for a few hours first thing in the morning 3 days a week.  Mandatory.  So far it's worked out well this week.  So far....

Future mugs.

Not what my original idea was but it took on a life of it's own and I like it!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

And the Winner Is....

Well....  No one.  =/  Unless you count my family, who got to eat some apple pie.  

I was trying to give away one of these slightly naughty pie birds/vents by having a guessing contest.  But no one guessed correctly.

The adventure started with a request from my brother-in-law (aka "anonymous" in a previous post) for a pie bird.  After a little research (I've never seen one in person.) and taking my BiL into consideration (he did marry into our family, after all!) I thought it would be appropriate to make his pie bird/vent look like a pig's butt.  So that's what I did.

And because one great idea spawns another, other posteriors were produced: a cow and a black bird along with another pig.

Don't be too impressed. It's Pillsbury's pie crust.
I thought the black bird was too tall but he turned out to be the perfect height for a deep dish pie.  The cow and pig will work in a regular sized pie.

YUMMY!  Guess who forgot the ice cream & RediWhip?
Now, if only I could get a picture inside the oven of steam actually coming out of the hole....   You smiled.  I know you did.  =D

Click here to see the Etsy listing.

Click here to see the Etsy listing.