Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Bill Van Gilder Workshop

 I was lucky enough to attend a fantastic workshop this weekend by Bill Van Gilder.  I learned a lot and was entertained by his many stories.  He demonstrated several techniques and gave everyone several tips.  If you ever get a chance to take one of Bill's workshops I highly recommend it.  I am anxious to try some of the many pots he demonstrated. I took several pics so hopefully I can remember how they were done.  The beauty of some of his techniques is the simplicity of it.  Here are some of my favorites that I am inspired to try.
The squared then faceted mugs were my favorite.

 It will take me a while to work up my nerve to cut into the rim of a perfectly good plate and risk loosing it.

 Lots of hand built handles.

Thrown, streched and altered.

Slab built with a block of wood hump mold.

Lastly, The simplest way to make feet for the bottom of pots...A Bisqued spring mold.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Studio tour

In the spirit of all the pottery blogging studio tours, I thought I would join in.   My studio space is not nearly as spacious and inviting of some that I have scene, but it serves its purpose for now.  My garage is definitely better than when I had my wheel in the laundry room, and before that in the bathroom.  We have a three car garage and I share a portion of the single bay with my three kids.  Last summer we put in a wall partition and insulated the ceiling so this summer I can put in a window air conditioner and not get quite as sweaty and be able to keep the garage door closed to keep out our ferocious mosquitoes.   One day soon  (I hope)  we will put the dry wall up so I don't have bits of insulation falling on me.  I only partially cleaned up for my photos.
Looking in from my garage door.  

Since my hot water heater is next to my utility sink it was very easy to tap in and get warm water.  I have the sink drain to its own drain field outside my garage.

My mascots Max and Lucy.

Max is usually laying in the center of the room so I trip over him where ever I go.  If I am not in the studio, the dogs will sneak in and eat my clay scraps.  I have yet to figure out why they want to eat clay.  I separated a set of shelving to make a door way to help keep the kids bikes, and sports equipment out of my space.
I have my kiln on wheels so I can roll it out of the way when not in use.  I want to get a bigger kiln so I can make larger pieces, but haven't quite figured out where I would put it.  The inside dimensions of my kiln is 16" x18".  If I got a larger one, I would want to have it on the opposite wall so it would be easy to vent to the outside.  Now, I just open the garage door and roll my kiln near the opening to vent.

If I bought a larger kiln, the bikes, skate board, unicycle and such would be on the other side and forever be in the way.  I will probably wait until my teenagers are gone to take over the rest of the garage.   Then I can also spend more time potting and less time driving them all over town.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 gets my outstanding customer service award!

Every once in a while a business amazes me with outstanding customer service that goes above and beyond.  This is a follow up to the last entry I made about the mystery substance in my glaze.  As you recall, I ordered some test glazes from .  One of the glazes I ordered was Ohata.  The first time I mixed and used the glaze it mixed perfectly well.  After another week or two I went to use the glaze again and I found hard crystals in the glaze that I could not mix or sieve out of the mixture.  I sent a brief e-mail to about what it could be along with some photos of what I saw.  I quickly got a response saying that it could be the container I keep it in or possibly the fluctuation in storage temperature, and that it usually only happens with glazes that contain lithium and boric acid.  He also told me how to fix it.   Add a small amount water to the sieved out crystals and heat to about 150 degrees then mix it back into the glaze mixture.  I was very happy with his quick response and solution.  Then today in the mail yesterday,  I received a replacement batch of glaze along with an apology note.  Receiving this in the mail was completely unexpected and very much appreciated.  A loyal customer has been earned.

If you would like to try ordering from mention this coupon and me for saving a few dollars!