Join me on the adventure of starting my own business

Posts tagged ‘pottery’

Here We Go Again

So, it’s been AGES since I have been able to throw pots. It makes me sad, but I know it is not forever. It can’t be, because I love it too much. I still dream of clay often, and wake up smiling when I do.

Although the elbow is fine now, we just don’t have the space in our current home for me to pull out my wheel. Also, said apartment is covered in wall-to-wall carpeting. So, I may just have to pony up the funds to pay for local arts council classes and get my clay fix once or twice a week. Of course, this reason gets added to my TOTALLY LOGICAL (ahem) list of why we need to buy a house rather than living in apartments.

My path to a professional pottery career is once again on hold. Makes me wonder if this is the Universe’s way of telling me I’m not meant to do this professionally. Or maybe I am not as dedicated as I thought I was? It’s something to think about. Maybe I have the love, and possibly even the talent, but not the discipline and focus needed to work for myself?

Even though I have not been throwing, I am still keeping the creative juices flowing, so to speak. Let me just tell you, in case you were wondering, it really is possible to learn nearly anything on YouTube. Last Spring I taught myself to sew, using the “Watch YouTube and Replicate on My Sewing Machine in Real Life While Swearing” method, and am now enjoying it quite a bit. Our dining room has been covered with my sewing machine, fabric, thread, and all sorts of associated paraphernalia. I began with tote bags, moved on to purses and baby dresses, and within the past couple of months progressed to quilts.

I seem to have a particular talent for finding hobbies that are NOT inexpensive. However as my skills have improved (and swearing has decreased dramatically), I’ve sold several of my projects among friends and coworkers, which allows me to keep feeding my growing fabric store habit (SO MANY PRETTY COLORS!). Also, my husband has been extremely tolerant of the constant clutter. Mainly because I made the goal to finish every project I start, and have (so far, mostly) stuck to it.

I am still an optimist, and I have a nearly pathological need to be creative. Which means that in addition to pottery photos, you may start seeing photos of finished sewing projects popping up here. And as always, comments and constructive criticism are always welcome.

Furthermore, since I now FINISH things I start (ahem), I WILL be posting more often! 🙂

Have a fantastic day!

 

Optimism and Baby Steps

Sometimes it’s the small steps getting done that can make you feel really accomplished. It feels wonderful when I bring my pots to the studio for bisque firing. Dropping off pots is a small step in toward the end product, however:

1) I got all my greenware across town without breakage!

2) My shelves got emptied, which gives me room to make more, and even better thrown pots.

3) Taking the greenware across town gives me a reason to get out of the house and spend the rest of the day with my husband.

Last week my pots were relinquished to the care of the kiln gods. Today I will go by the studio and thoroughly rinse all my bisqued pieces. I find that the glazes turn out better when I include this step. Then tomorrow, the clean, dry pieces will be glazed, and given back into the care of the kiln gods. 🙂 This prospect makes me one very happy girl!

So tell me, what little things make you feel happy and accomplished?

Inching Closer to the Goal

Happy November, Everyone!

I know it’s been awhile since I have posted, and it’s well past the projected deadline for getting my pieces done, but that’s okay. I can honestly say that although there have been delays, they have been mostly positive.

The rain and associated humidity eventually cleared up here in North Carolina, so my greenware is finally dry. YAY! I will be transporting everything to the local studio for firing on Friday or Saturday. I have about 35 pieces ready to go, so I am not going to estimate how long it will take me to finish glazing. One of the many things I have learned over the past few months is that my estimations are almost never correct. Too much optimism in the calculations just yet, and not enough realism. Sigh!

I also started a new day job in the beginning of October, so that put a crimp in my productivity. Creativity temporarily came to a screeching halt! No more late nights throwing for me! But now that I have gotten used to working 9 to 5 again, I will be scheduling pockets of time to get good and muddy! Another YAY! It seems strange to have to schedule something I once considered a hobby; that’s one characteristic separating the professional from the amateur, I guess. And a passionate professional is what I aim to be. Someday, pottery WILL be my day job.

Having a non-artistic day job is a bit unpleasant, no matter how much I like the job and my co-workers (and I do!). Most evenings it feels like my poor, neglected pottery wheel is standing in the corner throwing me dirty looks. I feel guilty when I go to bed at night not having to wash clay off my hands first. But in reality, the second paycheck sure is nice. Finances were way tighter than we liked with me staying at home, and it was sort of depressing. Now the bills are being paid on time, and I can set aside a little bit for firing costs. Bills paid, and quicker pottery completion equals a double bonus in my book!

The past several months have been a huge learning experience for me. I’ve gained perspective; learned which of my goals are realistic as they are, and what others need to be reworked. I’ve come to terms with what I am physically capable of completing, and in what time frame. And I am re-learning to prioritize, so my personal life does not fall apart as my professional one grows. Tunnel vision is an unfortunate weakness of mine, and life cannot proceed smoothly if the pots are beautiful, but the clothes are unwashed and cupboard bare. Not that it’s gone that far, but you catch my drift. Balance… I am striving for balance in equal measure with progress.

Wishing you a happy, healthy, balanced, and blessed Thanksgiving! 😉

Some Practice Photos

I was taking some pottery photos the other day for practice. Since photography is not a talent of mine, much practice is needed! 🙂 But the photos are slowly improving, so I am happy.

Happy October 1st everyone! Make it a fantastic day!

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

Getting Closer!

It’s been a crazy couple of weeks. But after some delays, I am finally getting closer to my goals. I’ve been doing some glaze experimentation, practicing photography, and throwing, throwing, throwing! My second batch is nearly ready for the kiln, and I fully expect to have my Etsy store up and running before mid-October. Woot woot!

Earlier this week I smashed several pieces of greenware, after giving them careful scrutiny. Got rid of the pots that were overly heavy or seemed slightly crooked or unbalanced. A while back that would have upset me. But this time, it felt strangely liberating to crush up all that dry clay and dump it into my recycling bucket. I would much rather ditch unfired pieces than finished ones. At least with a little water they can be worked again. And I know I can do better!

That’s really what this journey is all about – striving to do and be better. Many things in the world can hold us back, but we should never become our own obstacle. Up until recently, I was my own worst enemy. Who needs a stranger to cut you down, when you can do it so much better to yourself? But that’s no way to live. If you are at all like I was, it’s time to tell that internal critic to shut up, pack his bags, and don’t let the door hit him in the butt on the way out!

I think being in my 40s has changed me for the better. Although I wish I didn’t take so long to wise up, I am extremely grateful that I have! And 42 is a great age to become a first-time entrepreneur!

Now, I must get back to playing in the mud. 🙂

Happy Friday!

Some Glazing Mistakes

Okay, so a week or so ago, I was telling you all about how disappointed I was with my first glaze firing. Since I am trying to learn from my mistakes, I would welcome any input from you knowledgeable potters out there. Currently, I do not have my own kiln, so I am paying a neighborhood studio for use of their glazes and kiln. Therefore, I cannot do much altering of their glazes, except for application methods and mixing together of colors in small enough batches to use up on my own pots. I will outline the issues I had, then follow with the photographs below.

1- Saki set. Glaze is Scott’s Red. I generally like this glaze, although it tends to lean more towards pink/cranberry. I did have some issues with pinholing (not much, though), and ended up with a large bare spot inside one of the cups. Never had that happen before! Someone suggested that an air bubble during firing could cause this, pushing the glaze up, and making it “fold” over itself. Could this be correct? I am intending to refire these.

2- Creamer. Glazes are Licorice and Panama Red. Since I fired in oxidation, the Panama turns turquoise, which I love. But the Licorice pinholed badly on ALL the pieces I used it on! Is there a way around this, other than maybe adding a layer of clear glaze? I love how the glazes look on the area where they overlap, and would like to do this over an entire pot, but not if it’s going to be totally pockmarked!

3- Goblet. Glazes are Bottle Glass Green, Warm Jade Green (drips), and Nutmeg. My problem with this one was the Nutmeg. It is supposed to be a warm, toasty brown. Instead, I got something that looks underfired, and also looks and feels like sandpaper. I was going for a rough look, but not that rough! I had another piece in the same batch that the Nutmeg did this on, and the studio very graciously refired it for me. But there was no change. The studio assistant was just as perplexed as I am about it.

4- Teabowl. Glass Bottle Green, with Panama Red interior. The interior of this bowl is great! There is a big area where I dripped the Green over the Panama, and the effect is wonderful, although I couldn’t get a good picture of it. But on the outside… sigh! The Green is supposed to be a semi-transparent glaze, but I wasn’t expecting it to leave me bare clay in places! If anyone has any tips for working with this glaze, I sure would appreciate it.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. Have a fantastic remainder of the week!

ImageImageImageImage

A Pot I am Rather Pleased With

Image

It’s not the greatest photo (still working on that!), but this is one of the few pieces from my recent firing that I like. As a matter of fact, I like this vase quite a bit – drips, imperfections, and all!

The pot was dipped using Falls Creek Shino under Scott’s Red. I like the way the red broke and allows the shino to peek through all over. The inside is just shino. But instead of the cream color you see on the outside, inside is a textured, toasty-looking  brown. You can get the idea by looking at the very top edge of the vase in this photo.

This did not turn out even remotely like I thought it would. I wasn’t going for pink! According to the test tile I had, it should have been a good solid crimson. I am thinking I may have put the Falls Creek on a bit too thickly. But I am calling this one a happy accident!