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!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Down to cool off and glaze!

Sorry to be so incommunicado the last few weeks. Been working but "life" has gotten between me and my blog...

It is blistering hot here in central New York state!!! We do not have central air conditioning, and could not if we wanted it. Our house was built in 1840 and it just won't have it. So once again I realize how "green" my business is as I will be heading down to my basement studio as soon as I sign off here to happily glaze in a much cooler area. If you remember, glazing is not my favorite part of the process, but today I can't wait!

I have tested the green glaze in a couple of loads and today I'm making the plunge to apply it to the mugs. It's been turning out beautifully. The picture shows one of the dinner plates as well as a cup from another order that is a preview of coming attractions. On this hot summer day I also have a bisque load going (which includes the salad plates) but it does not heat up the basement, in case you were wondering. I have lots of orders and of course this big project to finish off so I will be loading and glaze firing later this week. Stay tuned!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

The long awaited glaze...

is finally in! It was on backorder for over a month, but I will drive into the "big city" later this week to pick it up along with some cones necessary while firing the kiln. I am anxious to get it applied to some testing bisqueware, hopefully this weekend. The glaze comes in dry form so I have to add water and I need to run tests to be sure it is the right consistency before I use any on my customer's bisqueware. I certainly don't want the glaze to run like crazy down my pots and onto the kiln shelves, which makes a huge mess.

Right now I have a full bisque fire about to turn off. It is loaded to the top with miscellaneous pieces but I also squeezed in a few dry salad plates. All of them are thrown now but I have a few to trim in the morning and the rest are drying. It will be fun to start glazing those.

As soon as I get the green glaze mixed I'll let you know how it applied. Thanks for checking in!

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

So far, so good!

I have gratefully received the news that after using their new pieces for a week, my buyer and spouse are delighted with their new pottery! PHEW!! I always get nervous with custom orders since they are buying "sight-unseen." Can't wait to get the next batch done and sent their way...

As I continue to throw and trim the smaller plates, I think about what I have left out in this blog information. I realized I assumed you knew what wedging clay is all about. Now that I am throwing the smaller plates, it seems appropriate to tell you that wedging clay is like kneading bread. It is done to get the clay ready to throw: to align the clay molecules and to remove air bubbles which could cause major problems in throwing, as well as cause a blowup when the pot is fired. When the clay comes from the manufacturer, as the 500# I show in my first post, the clay only needs a touch of wedging to get it ready for centering on the wheel. That's the easy-to-use clay.

The picture shows buckets of "reclaimed" clay. All those bits and pieces that are trimmed off the leather hard pots and all the wet, messy stuff that's in the water bucket and any other clay that needs to get rewedged, all get thrown into large buckets with water and mixed together. From time to time I poke my hand in there to make sure it is all becoming evenly consistent. When that is the case, I allow it to slowly dry 'til it becomes workable and can be wedged again and thrown. I always have several buckets going in various stages of wetness. Many potters have a wonderful machine called a pugger that wedges reclaimed clay and is much faster and easier on the hands. I consider this a necessary tool for serious production potters, but for me, I can get by without it and besides, without one I'm even "greener."