Friday, July 30, 2010

"Room Temperature Glaze"

So I've been cleaning and sorting out the studio lately and ran across this small tray that's been knocking around for some time.

Originally it had only the 6 blue dots in glaze, which did nothing for it.

I stopped, took a good look at it and, grabbing my 'Room Temperature Glaze' of Pebo Porcelaine and a liner brush, added a few brush strokes and now the whole thing looks much better.

This finish will set in a kiln temp of 300 degrees for 30 minutes. And it truly does bond with the glaze.

This can be done in a regular household oven, but I'm not having that--don't know what kind of nasty off-gasses might stick to the oven lining and transfer into the next loaf of bread dough--not worth it, to my mind. So, I would recommend putting it into the next kiln firing at the very first when you're candling the ware or just do it in an empty kiln. I doesn't take long and you can dry a few pieces of greenware while you're at it.

Besides, this little tray is designed for serving only and not for the oven anyway. Doubt if I'll sell it.

I would use this on anything that is decorative. If you layer on several coats thinned with a bit of water, it produces a very satisfying result. And you can accomplish a nice watercolor effect as in the tray.

Given the choice between this as an overglaze and using an underglaze, however, I'd choose the underglaze every time.

See how easy it is to get out of cleaning and organizing the studio?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Test Tiles and Stamps

I'm in the process of making a lot of small test tiles for some new glazes.

I've just rolled out 1/4 inch thick, 1 inch by 3 inch tiles for drying.

These are previous test stamps.

I was doing just indentations across the bottom of the tiles to check for pooling and breaks, but when I looked at my great collection of stamps and these, I thought, "Why not use stamps on the new test tiles?".

Friday, July 16, 2010

New Blog

While I'm in the process of converting old slides of my fiber work, I decided to begin a new blog called, Fiber, Needle and Thread.
Progress will be slow because I plan to post as I organize the slides-- whenever I can grab some time.
Anyway, give it a look and tell me what you think.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Feed Your Inner Potter II - Internet Images

I keep files on my computer desk top labeled: Reference Clay, My Work, Teapots.
Whenever I download digital images of my work, I stick them into My Work. That way, I can keep better track of what I've photographed lately and what I have in my files already. I have a Resume, Portfolio and Shows Applications file folders located within My Work folder. It's a good way to keep track of where you are with your digital records.

The other files, Reference Clay, Reference Jewelry and Teapots are for images I run across on the web that I want to remember and look at some more. Or I might print them off for my paper files that I take to the studio for personal reference. With a Mac you can click on an image, hold down the curser and move it off a page onto the desktop. Then it can be sorted and filed for later viewing.

I started an image file 'way back in college in conjunction with study in commercial art. The idea was if you wanted to do an illustration, having actual photographs from publications and your own making of faces, locations and articles would help in pulling it all together for a composition.

I began filing references for paintings and graphic designs also. Loose examples in a file folder were much more accessible than images in a book or magazine or a group of slides or photographs. Until the computer, managing slides and photos always seemed to be clumsy and difficult.

Today, If you want to have an image within easy reach, you can even photograph it, download the image into your computer, print it off onto paper and file it in your personal files.

Tile piece by Bede Clark. Isn't it great?
When I tend to get too tight with glaze application, I can take a closer look at this jewel and get inspiration from it.

Since that beginning in college, I've kept up the idea of an image file. Over many years the idea has grown into many other files like travel, architectural design and interior files, antiques and furniture references, ethnic clothing, weaving, quilting and specialized sewing like French hand sewing.

I have a whole section of art business with shows, consignment form examples, information articles.

I have painting references such as faces, landscapes, abstracts. Jewelry files, paper box making, holiday designs, 2-dimensional graphics, handmade books files are also there.

I also keep files of my work in design and commissions. They take up 3 drawers in my office.

In my studio I have 3 more drawers filled with images of clay pieces--teapots, plates and platters, animal images, sculptures, drawings, patterns, booth display layouts etc.

There may be a photograph of a beautiful piece of fabric filed in the glaze ideas drawer--a motif in the design could be the beginning of a design on a pot, for example.

The rule is, if I look at anything in a magazine or on the web for more than a few seconds, it goes into the 'to be filed' stack or desktop folder.
When you think about it, 6 file drawers is not a lot of space, but once in a while, I purge them removing outdated images, information or ideas I am no longer interested in.

The system has served me well when I need an image for reference or to re-engage with an idea.

Recent images:

Monday, July 5, 2010

Advice for Artist - Feed Your Inner Potter

Become Master of the Pot

Art books are expensive, but they really never go out of date.
I still have my old Daniel Rhodes' Clay and Glazes for the Potter textbook. I keep that book more out of nostalgia than for use.

I try to keep only the books that are relevant to me. I sell ones I've 'outgrown' or find are not relevant anymore.

You can find some great books in used bookstores and thrift shops. And if they are a bit worn, so what? They fit nicely in the studio where you don't have to handle them with kid gloves.

"Working" books in my library are written all over, have pages turned down and notes and bookmarks jammed all through them. "Keeper" books are in the house lined up in bookshelves and kept pristine.

Great art books like great cookbooks are enhanced by finger marks, dog ears and splashes....don't you think?

Magazines are good too. Ceramics Monthly, Pottery Making Illustrated, Clay Times and are the leaders.
The Studio Potter is pricey and is published a few times a year.

Crafts, a UK publication, are excellent magazines, though pricey, it gives you a good idea of what is current in the UK and Europe.
Ask your local library to order them. Librarians are usually delighted to get input from patrons for
their orders budget.

Make it known that a subscription to one of these magazines would be a welcome gift for your birthday or Christmas.

There are some good discounts are available through Potter's Council membership for Ceramics Monthly, Pottery Making Illustrated and Clay Times.

Check out the online site Ceramic Arts Daily to see information and other artist's work.
UK Art Magazines on Google is another great art magazine online. I particularly like Danish clay work. is another international site full of works from Europe.
Don't limit what you look at to only clay-related publications. I keep images of baskets, weaving, jewelry, glass, metal work and other kinds of work I like. Even a piece of pottery on a coffee table in an interior design magazine gets put in my files. Many can inspire you and feed your inner artist.