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.........