Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Time to Breathe

Well - the sales are over, and it's time to breathe deeply before the next round starts.

I've just finished 6 different shows and sales during the month of November. They went very well for the most part - but I don't think that next year I will be inclined to line up quite so many shows. It's just too hard to get other work accomplished.

Here is a picture of some of the birdfeeders and birdhouses that were a real hit with the customers this season. I love the organic shape of the birdfeeders - and the colours.

I have 3 new pottery students starting in the next few weeks. So - I am very busy trying to clean up and organize my studio. I have to figure out where I'm going to put everything - and everybody - because my studio isn't really all that large.

And - I have orders - orders - orders to fill.

The latest item of interest seems to be
"Yarn Bowls".

Here is a side view of 3 that I made earlier this month. They are all the rage for knitters.
You place your ball of yarn inside the bowl - and thread the yarn through the slot on the side of the bowl.

It keeps the yarn up off the floor and confined so that it doesn't pick up dust and dirt - and possibly pet passing kittens, cats and puppies.

This is a top view of 3 of the bowls that are in the top picture. They show that there are 2 slots - so that you could put 2 balls of yarn into the bowl.

Actually a really neat idea.

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Quick Update

Seems that life is always too busy. There are never enough hours in the day to accomplish everything that needs to be done.

I have 5 sales coming up in November. Which means I need to have approximately 300 pieces finished for the end of October. As of today - I have about 25 pieces glazed and ready to go.
I also have another 100 pieces unglazed - and will probably run a couple of glaze firings in the next week or so.
And - I have about 25 pieces on the drying rack that aren't quite what we call greenware just yet.

So - that means in the next two weeks - I'll need to finish off at least another 50 pieces - then I can work on getting the other 100 pieces done before the last show in the end of November.

I can say for certain that it's going to be a difficult task.

I took this fella out of the kiln the other day. He has to be lustre fired yet - but, I thought I would test him to see how well he works.

If you look closely - (click on the picture to make it larger),
you can see the smoke coming out of his nostrils.

This is my only one - I'm hoping to get a few more done before November.

Back to the wheel.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Where Have I Been?

Umm - I've been hearing that a lot lately.

Truth be told - my daughter came home for the month of July to visit - so I spent as much time as possible with her, as I won't see her again until Christmas time.

I have also spent a lot of time in front of the wheel - and handbuilding.

I have a new line of pottery out - called DragonWare. So there has been much design work - and preparations for the upcoming fall shows. Orders have been rolling in - and I'm trying to keep up - but I'll give you a little sneak preview.

None of it is glazed yet (a stray cat has had kittens in my studio, and I can't fire up the kilns because of the heat) - but hopefully I can move the kittens out this next week - and get some glazing done.

So - here we go:

I'll start out with the dragon teapot.

Then there's the mug:
I call these little guys "hitchhikers" because that's exactly what they are doing - hitching a ride on your mug.

Then there's the incense burner that my
wonderful husband says looks like a drunken
cow - but really - I think it looks like a dragon puckering up for a kiss. The smoke comes out of the nose.

This is a wine goblet - he's guarding your drink for you.

This guy is kinda cute too - I call him drinkin bud, cause he's kind of hanging on to the side monitoring how full the glass is.

And here's the last one for now:

Another teapot - this time the dragon is hanging on to the
side, with his tail curled around the spout. I will have
a bamboo handle on it when it's done.

I have more - but don't want you to suffer from
Dragon overload.

So - if you don't see me for a bit more - it's because I have to get out 300 pieces for
the end of September - I'll try to post more pictures as soon as I get a chance to glaze some of these.

Monday, June 29, 2009

This is for Heidi

Heidi is a friend of mine that lives in Eastern Ontario and also raises Shetland sheep.

Heidi is also a dragon lover like me - so we have much in common:

Heidi - I thought I'd post this picture for you:

This is a group of my dragon pots - the ones that
didn't melt. I also have a couple more at a local

They range in price from $18 - $35.

The dragons are all done in either gold or platinum lustre - and they are quite striking.

I'm also working on more sheep:

The problem with sheep - now everyone
wants me to make nativity sets.

I can't seem to keep these guys in stock either.

I have 50 going out in the next week to
Haliburton School of the Arts - and the Ontario
Sheep dog trials.

This picture shows the comparative size
of the sheep with our coins.

I rather like doing miniatures - they are just a bit
of fun.

Tomorrow - I'll try to remember to post a picture or two of the little bird houses that I also do.

Today - I have to get down to the wheel. I now have my pottery in 3 different stores around our county. It's almost all sold out - and I have orders for several more pieces.

When it rains - it pours!

Hope you like the pots Heidi!!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Bragging Rights

Well - I feel the need to brag a bit.

Not exactly the best picture.

But - Puff is all done - I lustred his wings and horns with gold.

I entered him in our teapot contest.

And -

He won first prize for the "Funkiest Teapot".

This picture was taken during set-up at the contest - so, I'll have to remember to go up and take another picture of him.

He's now on a nice pedestal with the other pots - and there's a card mentioning the prizes.

The competition was stiff - there were some gorgeous teapots there, so I was very surprised when I went to the opening, and saw him up with the winners.

I'm proud of me. Now - I have to get back to making some more, as I have a couple of orders to complete. I have some ideas for changes. Watch this space for further updates.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Now for a Bit of Fun

Meet Puff-n-Stuff (remember the old kids TV show)?

I have a major affinity for dragons - and it shows in my pottery.

Anyway - Puff is a little Teapot that I've been working on - and he was a real challenge in many ways:

-How to position the spout and body?
-What to do about hands and feet?
-Where to put the wings - for that matter - how
to do wings?

Our local guild is having a "fun" teapot
show/contest in a few weeks, and I've been
busy working on this fella for a few weeks now.

I have to say - he has been a learning process,
as he is mostly handbuilt - and I am not a
hand builder.

But I think that is a big part of this whole competition - is to learn from our experiences.

If I had to do it over again - there are several
little changes I would make to him.

But for Now - I am pleased. All that is left to
do is put gold lustre on his horns and wings.

I think he should be a fun addition to the contest.

I'd love to hear what you think?

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Crystalline Glazes

I have to say that crystalline glazes have been some of my favourites!

In February - I took a two day class with a potter from this area who is very well know for his crystalline glaze pottery - Jay Burns.

It was hands on - so we learned on the first day, then went home, made some small pots, and brought them back for glazing on the second day.

Now - for those of you that aren't familiar with crystalline glazes. There are actually crystals growing on the surface of the pottery. This is achieved by having the right glaze medium - and maintaining a particular temperature in the kiln for a certain amount of time, in order to let the crystals form. The glazes for crystals are very runny - and in some cases will run right off the pot - so you have to make little drip trays to catch the glaze - or else your kiln shelves will be ruined. Crystalline glazing is actually a rather work intensive process - which is why crystalline pots will sell for so much more money.

These are some examples of my pots:

(if you click on the picture you can make it larger to see better detail)

This first image is of 3 small bowls that I made.

Now - we did encounter some minor problems
with the glaze. We had to reformulate the glaze
to a cone 6 from a cone 10 glaze - and it didn't
want to melt and run the way that it should.

So you will see a couple of bare spots on the
bowls where the glaze didn't fill in - but all
in all - for a first attempt - I was very excited
to get some nice crystal growth.

The second image is just a closer shot of the blue bowl that I made.

The third shot is of one of the green bowls that I

I actually made 2 green bowls - but one of them had a very large bare spot on it.

And this last shot is of a little bud vase that I
made. I am quite pleased with the
vase - there is a little spot under the rim that didn't run - but it was pretty good over all.

I decided to try the blue on top of the green just for a bit of fun - it ran nicely and gave quite a good effect.

The pot did start to slump ever so slightly - as we were firing these glazes to cone 8, and I was only using a cone 6 clay - but it's not too noticeable from this angle.

I have been collecting crystalline glazed pottery for several years now, and have a sizable collection from various potters.

In a future post - I will show some of their pots - and the beautiful colours that can be achieved with crystalline glazes.

Hopefully by then - I can add in some more of my own pots to show.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Gee - Forgetful Me.

Well - I started this blog in January - and I've been so busy, I haven't had time to post to it since.
But I'm back.

I've been away a lot the last few months - taking pottery and glass courses. So, I finally have a weekend at home - I thought I'd catch up a bit.

First of all - not all pottery turns out good. As a matter of fact - sometimes - really bad things happen.

In December - right before a show (of course) - my kiln decided to get cranky - and overfire.
Now - luckily - I wasn't too far away - and caught it before everything melted completely.

Unfortunately - my glazes - all started to melt - and bubble.

This first photo will show you the unfortunate

If you click on the picture to make it big - you can see the bubbles. This is supposed to be a lovely
light green bowl - with red celtic accents.

The same thing happened with this jug - it was sitting right
beside the bowl on the shelf.
So when I opened my kiln - it was rather upsetting
to see this.

Now - not all glazing accidents are unhappy.

I also had a few birdhouses in the kiln that did the same thing - and it was a real interesting effect. I put them in the
sale - and they sold immediately.

Well - I figured that I should watch the kiln a little closer for the next firing.

Guess what - it overfired again. Seems - in the first overfiring, the sensing rod in the kiln sitter became bent - and - well - a lot of technical jargon later -
we now have it fixed.
But not before I lost another shelf full of pots.

This Blue dragon pot - was one of the unfortunate losers in this load.
Even after it came out, and was ruined- I still like it - I can never sell it because -

If you look inside the pot - you will see all the
glaze gooped into the bottom of the pot.

What you probably can't see in this picture - is that the clay pot actually started to melt - and there are lumps that we call "bloating" down in the bottom of the pot.

I figure as a reminder - I can put it up on the shelf - and look at the outside of the pot.

The same thing happened with this unfortunate
dragon pot - which the glaze turned brown and
ran off the pot. It was supposed to be a
very nice green and gold.

Now - the flip side of this is - that these are still
quite striking pots. And a friend of mine that is
a manager of a business out of town - just loves
them. He has asked me to do several more,
so that he can sell them.

Go figure?

The kiln is now fixed - and - I'm working on
another load of dragon pots - keep your fingers crossed for me.

Not all has been rough going. I recently took a glass fusing and slumping course - and have decided to incorporate the glass into my pottery business.

These are the first two dishes that I made.
They are basically test pieces for me - using the different types of glass. There are all kinds of glass items that can be purchased for the process - and you just need to be creative from there.

Of course - with glass work - the most important tool in my kit (especially since I'm such a klutz) - is a box of band-aids.

I only suffered one small cut while putting these
together. So I am very proud of myself.

I've also taken a course in crystalline glazes - and I have the vase that I made at the office, so I will bring it home tomorrow - and my next blog will be about crystallines. Until then.........

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

In the Beginning

Well - here I am. I've had several requests from people, to set up some sort of site so that they could view - and possibly purchase my pottery. I'll see how this goes - I'm not quite ready for an Etsy Store just yet.

So - about me.

I'm really a structural steel estimator - and project manager for a small family owned business.
What does that mean? STRESS!!!!!!!!!!!
I spend my days - looking at blueprints - determining what steel is required for a particular project, then I estimate the cost of said steel, labour, etc. Then - we are supposed to fabricate the steel and install it. Most days - it doesn't go that way. Usually - I end up trying to figure out why someone who has a diploma on their wall - doesn't know what they are doing - and I'm supposed to figure out what they want, how to make it fit, and get the job done with the least amount of cost to the customer (that was wording it all very politely). It usually goes like this:
$%^#^&&%#@#@%$*&@@@$#%$^%! (sorry - can't say those words here).

This is where the pottery comes in.

In the year 2000 (remember that - Y2K thing)? I decided, that I needed a little bit of Me time - and to de-stress. My mother had suffered a massive stroke, there was that Y2K thing, I had this farm, 2 young children, this crazy job, and just needed a way to relax.

Enter - our local community college. I took a beginner's pottery course over the summer, as a one evening a week getaway. To my surprise - I really enjoyed myself. Scroll forward.........
to 2009.

I still work. The job is still stressful (very). I still have the farm. My kids are older (one is in university - the other is in grade 11) - and, I still need to de-stress.

Only now - I have my own studio (Green Dragonfly Pottery) - so I can do my pottery at home.
Hmmm - so much for the one night a week out. I might have to re-think this plan.

My pottery is getting better. I am always learning and going to workshops. But now - I feel pretty secure in the knowledge that I could probably show or sell some of my stuff. Here are a few of my creations - I won't say latest - because I have to take pictures of some of my newer stuff.

These are my Raku sheep. Each are about 1 1/2" high. I love the funky colours - you never know what you will get with raku.

These are little birdhouses - again - about 1 1/2" high. They turned out very rustic - I will post a picture. Once they were glazed - the colours became very intense and bright.

Tiny sheep again - they all became mobiles - then they all sold very quickly. I will have to make some more - as I have to do a little class at an upcoming meeting on making mobiles.

This is a raku vase - I donated it to ARF (Animal Rescue Foundation of Ontario) for a fundraiser. I have a few more dragon vases ready to glaze - just have to get out to the studio and get to work (soon as it warms up a bit)
Well - that's it for today - don't want to overload everyone with info.
In the next few weeks - I will take pictures and post what I have available - and show some of my upcoming work. Lots of great ideas - and I love to hear from people with ideas for pottery, so don't be shy - leave a comment.

Until next time..........