Sunday, August 26, 2012


Today was a glaze day. Lately a lot of my pieces have been multi-step processes. I've been putting one or more glaze colors on the pieces, letting it dry overnight, then wiping the excess off getting the piece totally soaked, of course. Then letting it dry again overnight... Then adding my final colors. Sometimes I do that last glaze coat and decide it needs some touching up so I let it dry overnight, then touch up. It's a long process, but I love the results when I layer up a variety of colors.

I finished up the piece on the left today, will be starting on the one below tomorrow. First I covered the entire piece in a dark brownish glaze, let it dry, wiped off the excess. Then I glazed the tile patterns using blues, aquas and other colors. I let them dry then wiped off the excess. Then I glazed the entire piece with a tan-ish glaze, making sure to leave some of the browns and as much as possible of the tile colors showing. Well, guess I'm not quite finished --- tomorrow I'm going to touch up some of the tile colors to make sure they pop a little.

I haven't quite settled in on the colors I'll use for the piece to the right. Usually I have a good picture in my head when I start making the piece but that one has been evolving. I keep thinking blacks, tan, brown but then my mind shoots over to red, yellow, blue, primary colors. I may fire the one above and let the one below sit for a while until the right colors "speak" to me...

The studio is a mess! I go like crazy for a while, then have to take a break and neaten up so I can start the messing up process again.

Playing around with a lot of glazes and using more than one kind of clay means I have a whole lotta test tiles floating around! I used to leave them laying out, grouped by color type (blues, etc.) but now have one of those plastic drawer sets where I keep them. For starters at least! By the time I've been out there in the studio glazing for a few days it looks like someone took the test tiles and threw them up in the air, let them land wherever!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Clay Dreaming

I wonder if I'm the only one who wakes up in the midst of building a pot? Some good ideas have come during the night as I slept... Sometimes I simply complete a piece I've been working on during a dream. Once in a while I come up with a color scheme for glazing a piece that's been sitting on a shelf awaiting inspiration.

This morning I woke up in the process of puzzling on building a coil pot. A HUGE coil pot. I stayed with it in that quasi-half-awake state for a bit, thinking about it. Then went "eh, not gonna happen" and moved on to thinking about my day. I think that may be the first time I ever remember deciding against what my subconscious mind tossed out at me during the night or waking moments.

I believe that idea may have come from some stellar coil pieces I posted a few days ago by 童建銘 on Facebook. I guess they've been rattling in my mind. They are fabulous. I'd post them on here but I need to check on copyright issues before sharing photos of someone's work. If you click on the link in the first sentence it should take you to a photo on Facebook but you may need to be signed in.

Here's his Facebook page:

I'm going to zap him a message and get permission to post --- you must see some of his pieces.

Well, first cup of tea is complete, time to move on to the list of things-to-do that I made after deciding not to do the dream pot.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

My new pottery trees

In my last post I was tossing around ideas on how to show off my new series of hanging pieces. I've pretty much stayed with pieces that would sit on a shelf or table in the past although off and on have made wall pieces. Since I only had a few I usually just used a wooden plate stand to show them off or hung them on the ends of my shelf. With so many now I had to come up with a more "dignified" way to show them off.

I painted the shutters I mentioned, and the frames but it just didn't work for all the little pieces.

"Tree" is to the left, you can see the smaller one off to the right.

Cathy Spitz, who is teaching me how to do stained glass, found a couple of very cool "trees" at a local place that she uses to display her stained glass hangers at shows. It's made of welded metal, some rebar and other added metal, is slightly rusted and a creamy off-white paint. I loved her trees!

I finally took my butt over to the store a few weeks ago and... of course, they were closed. They're only open Thursday through Sunday. Long trip for nothing.

What made the trip that much more frustrating is that I got almost there, realized I needed gas, pulled into the gas station only to discover that I'd left my credit card and drivers license in my work out back-pack. I had to drive all the way back home, then drive all the way back over to learn they were closed. Ha. And yes, if I had known the name of the store I would have called before the trek. Possibly. It really never crossed my mind that a store would be closed during business hours.

I did go back the following week and found two perfect pieces to hold my hanging "dangles" (my term for the small ceramic pieces). I bought one large one and a small one. I would have gotten two big ones but didn't like any of the others.

Top of the large tree. Stands maybe 6 feet?
Turns out it's a good thing I didn't get two large ones --- they don't break down and the one I bought barely fit inside my vehicle once I've packed my shelves and pottery! Because they're metal I have to wrap the entire thing, too. Ah well, I think they look good. Usually my hubby is able to help with set up but he's been having some rough times so I had to do it alone on the way up. My son helped on the way home.

I seem to always take pictures as an afterthought and only when the lighting is bad, but I've included a few shots of my new trees. I took them while setting up for a show in Cumming, Georgia. I wish I had paid for electricity as the lighting was pretty bad. I talked with them about the lighting -- they were upset and apologetic. Someone had set the lights wrong and there wasn't a darned thing they could do about it. My pieces need light.

I put a piece of rebar between two of my shelf sets to hang some of the larger pieces. It was a happy accident that I found the bar, plan to buy another so I can do this again.

Little tree and one of the sheers I mentioned. Two shutters, too.
I backed the rebar hanging area with a stone colored sheer (straightened it out before the show started!). I backed the smaller shelf with a similar sheer to give me definition from the booth next to me. Not sure how I feel about the sheers. I like that they don't take up much space and they let light through. Not so sure that they look very professional. We'll see. Most shows I do are outdoors so they won't be needed.

I plan to paint my shelves to make them lighter as I mentioned in my last blog. I've been searching the stores for just the right color and texture...bringing home paint samples.

Anyone still reading? I was thinking as I typed that this may be the most boring series of blog posts ever! How many people are interested in the trials of getting a booth "just right"? 

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Changing my display...

Well, it struck me that now that I'm doing more hanging pieces I am going to hafta figure out how to nicely display them.

In my booth it's fairly easy, however, in an indoor show I'll need free-standing "hangers" to display the pieces.  Given they're all different sizes it's going to be an interesting challenge. For me. Maybe not for some of you!

I have been wandering through websites, booth displays, and how-to articles for ideas. I have also been looking at what I have on hand. I want a tasteful display that is lightweight, flexible (as in, fold-able, easy to transport) and a good fit for my shelving and overall "look"...

I spent the morning sorting through the things I have stashed in the garage and out in the studio. I have a number of tall and short shutters that can be connected or painted. The big ones are not exactly lightweight but they are flat. They might look good painted, standing up at the back of the booth. The short ones would work on top of a table but you can't see through them so I'm wondering if they would block too much. On the plus sides, I can use both sides, they fold flat and I could paint them any color.

I have dowels --- thinking about adding some cup hooks to the back of my shelving, hanging a dowel and using it. I would need to also hang a back onto the shelves to avoid having the hanging pieces clash with the pieces sitting on the shelf. That would also only work when I have room on the back side of the shelve for people to walk. Maybe I'll save that one for an outdoor show. I rather like that people can see my art from both sides so not sure if I really want to go that route.

I also have a number of old window frames without glass. I am toying with making a free standing contraption. Not sure if I can convey the picture in my mind but I'll try. It would have a center pole with frames branching out, hinged somehow so they'd fold together. When standing they would form a Y (well, close enough, more like an X minus one leg ;-) with the pole being at the middle. I think that's an idea I might carry up to my Dad's for some ideas and help!

I like the idea of using the frames and shutters as it kind of fits with my basic design. You can see how I've used them in the booth shots I included, but they hang from the tent frame, something I won't be able to do in an indoor show.

I have three different size shutters, that's the medium tall thin one in the bottom picture. The smaller ones are hinged and can stand alone on a table. The larger shutters are about the same height as the tent walls.

I have a maybe five or six pieces of free-standing driftwood sculptures that I've used for smaller hanging pieces. They look good but you can't hang much and they can break --- plus I've found a lot of people ignore what's hanging on them and want to buy the driftwood!

I also have some stands that my Dad made for me --- you can see one in the bottom picture next to the window frame.

I'm thinking about changing the color of my shelves, too. Right now they're black. I like them black, but black absorbs light and my pottery does best with a lot of light given the way I mix colors, add glass, etc. They used to be natural wood but they looked a bit unfinished. I wish I'd stained them, but the idea of black worked for me back when I did it.

So, I guess I'll be outside playing with displays if they rain will hold off. I'm a notorious last-minute person. My next indoor show is next weekend so for a change I'm kinda-sorta ahead of the game...