Welcome! I've set up this blog to show the process of creating 12 custom 5-piece place settings out of stoneware clay. I will do my best to stay fairly current with what is happening in my studio. Please stop by often to see the progress!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Sometimes it's a waiting game...

Now I have to be patient:

I am waiting to hear how my customer likes the first finished pieces. Keeping my fingers crossed that they are a success and that UPS treated them kindly enroute.

I am waiting for my kiln to cool from a glaze fire which has several pieces from other orders. I am trying so very hard not to peek.

And I am STILL waiting for that darn glaze to arrive. Don't the shippers know it really is summer in central NY now and I can almost promise there will be no snow?

So I'll hop back on my tractor seat and start throwing salad plates... 12 wedged lumps of clay await.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Time to begin shipping!!

Yippee! It's time to start packing and shipping the first installment of finished pieces! These pictures show 6 tan mugs, 6 tan bowls and 7 tan dinner plates (an extra for my buyer.) This weekend I'll start packing them up, very carefully, to send on to their new home. Hopefully they will be well received.

A very important part of this entire process, and one you probably would not consider, is securing good packing materials. I have never bought bubblewrap to ship anything which means I scamper all about my little town collecting from businesses. This isn't merely because I am frugal-- which certainly is a huge consideration when you have a small business like mine-- but also because I am THE GREEN THROWER! Remember?! I try my darndest to keep bubblewrap, packing peanuts and boxes out of the landfill. So that means I have quite a nice working relationship with area businesses and my friendly UPS driver, who is always on the lookout for good "stuff." Yesterday I was elated to receive a call from a gift shop that had good materials and boy, did I make a superior haul. The only problem is that my basement makes me look like a hoarder...

So while I am very excited about this part of the project being completed, I continue to wait for my other glaze which is coming from California and here I am in NY state. When that finally arrives, I'll be able to crank out the other half of what you see here. Moving forward next week, I will begin to throw all of the 24 smaller plates. My studio space is a bit limited (though not because of my packing materials) so I did not want to get started on these plates 'til I had moved inventory out. The count is now 18 done, 42 more to go... off to the studio I march to adjust my kiln which has a load bisquing and then I will plunk down on the old tractor seat to contemplate my good fortune to be a potter.

Thanks for continuing to read my blog!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Moving along...

I DID throw the next day! I finished making all the large dinner plates and bowls that I need for my wonderful order. That was a week ago and since then they have dried to "leather hard" and were trimmed. They now sit on a shelf continuing to dry and will go into the next bisque.

In the meantime, my kiln has been going... previously thrown and dried pieces have been bisqued. Today my first order of business is to glaze those pieces which include the bowls and some more plates and start loading up my kiln for a glaze fire later this week.

I also snuck a glaze fire in while you weren't watching and all 6 of the tan mugs are completed! I'm very anxious to get the green glaze (which I had to order) needed for the other half of this project. The next post will show quite a bit of finished product-- stay tuned! And now, to the studio I go...

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A new name for me?

Today wasn't quite the day I envisioned when I got up this morning, but that often happens... I had high hopes for throwing the extra plates and bowls I still need, but it wasn't meant to be. Too much other work: taking care of other orders, photographing pots, driving into the "big"city (Syracuse, NY) for more glaze, a replacement tool for an overworked one, and another kiln shelf. After many, many firings, the shelves can develop cracks and the last thing you want is to use a cracked shelf one too many times and lose everything and create a mess.

What I DID do today was first, take this picture of the bowls as greenware (simply dried and very fragile) as I promised. Secondly, I started my kiln early for another glaze fire. In addition to some other pieces I needed to get done, I have some of the mugs and a couple of plates in there. As I mentioned before, it will be firing for approximately 14 hours. A few words about kilns: there are several types used in the making of pottery and they can create very different looks. I would love to have a walk-in gas reduction kiln in my backyard but I know the village inspector would frown on it. Another type of firing method is raku firing which produces very cool and unpredictable results. But practicality entered into the equation in order that I could work independently and so I have my own electric oxidation kiln. Now you might think 14 hour firing cycles must be awfully expensive, but for me it is very, very affordable. I live in a small village at the north end of the deepest of the beautiful NY Fingerlakes and Skaneateles Lake is one of the 6 cleanest lakes in the country. The city of Syracuse draws the drinking water directly out of the lake for the entire metropolitan area. (Until last year the only chemical added was flouride.) So as a "gift" to Skaneateles residents, our electricity is very inexpensive, which makes my electric kiln a no brainer.

Another "electrical" fact: I use an old kickwheel, rather than a compact electric wheel, that my dad found for $200 one summer during the college years. He bought it to encourage an entrepreneurial spirit in me and for several summers I used it to make and sell pots. My dad was quite a guy and it makes me feel good to think of him when I hop on the tractor seat to throw. I know he's looking down with a grin on his face. I'm grinning too because it just occurred to me today that since I only use leg power (and I wear a knee brace to show for it), perhaps I could promote myself as the "Green" Thrower!
Tomorrow: I throw...