Saving this here so I can find it again.
shane mickey on mon 18 dec 06
A Potter's Life
Saving this here so I can find it again.
shane mickey on mon 18 dec 06
I'm still making Dotopia, and expect a majority of my orders to be from this line. It's the one I offer to wholesale accounts, with a product sheet & samples. But my love of excessive decorating has not evaporated, and predictably, it's back! Check out this new work I am making.
I also will save a little time on the glazing end, as these - I think - will not even need flashing slip. I am hoping for the peachy-grey of Bmix + soda glass for the background, and the porcelain slip to be a somewhat-glossy white. Probably white inside, although my mind keeps tugging me towards a pale iron-chromate grey. Not a glaze I currently have but easy enough to alter a recipe.
The artists, clockwise from the upper left:
Josh Rystad, Bethel
Jeffrey Lipton, Litchfield
Fine Mess Pottery, Augusta
van der Veer Studios, Lincoln
Jody Johnstone Pottery, Swanville
Tyler Gulden Ceramics, Walpole
Delany Arts, Yarmouth
The Pottery Tour Road sign!
Reminds me of old times! Today I am shopkeeping at Monkitree, a fine crafts store in Gardiner which carries Fine Mess Pottery. The owner is ill - recovering! but still not quite back on her feet - so needed some help to keep the store open. When you are self-employed, you don't get sick time!
Anyway, here I am, behind the register at Monkitree. The first sale of the day did not go that well! I am lucky that the customer was very kind and understanding, and we did eventually get the deed done, but because the register system and item codes are new to me, it took longer than it should. Anyway, I think I've got it figured out now.
And in between customers? I'm shopping! So many lovely things to covet. Let's have a look! First, so cute things for the house:
|I mean...tea towels! Is there anyone who |
couldn't use tea towels?
|Ok this? Is SO me. Purple, floral, fancy but cazh, stretchy, comfortable. Want.|
|I could wear the hell out of these!|
|I might not actually be able to resist these fingerless gloves. |
They're only $24!
|Mostly interested in this one for the "Chasing Frozen Waterfalls" headline,|
which is not a thing I would have said before I started Hiking with Yowie, who has all the good equipment!
|I *really* need a new book. How many times can I read A Knight of the Seven Kingdoms? Maybe one by a Maine author! This one looks good!|
The Ox is a symbol of diligence. hard work, and reliability. That seems at least promising! Things have already begun this way, as I have more orders in February - mostly not due until spring - than I have ever had before. Clearly the sellers of fine handmade items believe this will be a good year. I will need to be diligent, hardworking, and reliable to get these orders out on time. What I will need to avoid is waiting until a month before they are due & then scrambling to do them all at once.
I am doing pretty well with this - yay me - which is, I hate to say, unusual for me. My more typical mode would be to tell myself, Plenty of time, that's still months away! and then go into panicked, 12-hour-workday mode when I realize it's actually only 5 weeks away, barely time for a firing cycle. My plan is to make a couple kiln loads of pots while the weather is wintry, then bisque-glaze-fire, bisque-glaze-fire, 2 firing cycles in succession.
Wishing everyone a successful Year of the Ox.
But when I hit the moment just right - firm enough to hold shape easily, soft enough to accept slip, with plenty of time to spare - I really go to town with the pointy-squirty (what regular people call the sliptrailing bottle.) This is one such bowl!
More trimming & decorating to come today, and a virtual meeting with the owner of a new store that will (hopefully!) carry my work; and answering a few email queries about the Maine Pottery Tour.
As inevitable as the nick is the loss of a few pieces. Some firing processes demand more sacrifices to the kiln gods than others; these pots got some bits of wadding crumbled into them from between the bricks of the door. (Not sure why there was more crumbling than usual. I'll have to think about that.)
In the past I might have argued with myself that I could dremel out the bits, apply more glaze, and refire; or that I should save them for a magical someday when I will have time to make a mosaic with my broken pieces; or that I should place them between plants in the perennial garden. Now I'm just like, Nah, toss 'em. The sooner they are out of my sight the sooner they don't matter. If I saved all the pots that didn't work out I'd be surrounded by now, obstructed in every direction by buckets & boxes of unusable pots. Letting go is a valuable skill, for a potter. It's one I teach my students, when their handle separate or their rims crack: let it go. Take the lesson & let the piece go. Make another one. I try to live my own advice.
Otherwise the firing was pretty good. The very bottom layer was a little pale - I stacked differently, and it affected the way the soda vapor moved around the kiln. (I don't have to let go of those, because they don't require any additional work from me - just load em in the next kiln as if it were the first time.) Mostly mugs & pasta bowls, a few dip dishes & berry colanders. Bread & butter ware, so to speak, although no actual butter dishes.
Speaking of actual butter dishes, I have some in progress that need assembling, so that's where I'm headed now.
I started putting out feelers last week, and got a good response! Not everyone has replied, but so far only two "no" responses. It looks like the tour will have about 40 stops this year. I'm encouraging studios to hold their events outside as much as possible this year, because pandemic. Mine is always outside anyway.
If you are a potter in Maine & you'd like more information about the pottery tour, give me a shout at info[at]finemesspottery.com
Looking forward to a great year.
In a conventional stoneware firing, the 6 is just a watch cone - it's there to judge how evenly the kiln is firing (answer, always, with my kiln: not very) For the soda firing, the six falling is my signal to mix up the soda salad. Some firings I start adding the soda right after 6 falls; other times I wait until the 8 is falling. I kid myself that I can see a difference: that I get more even application if I wait, more directional if I start early.
This time I think I'll wait. I'll do up the soda mix now, but apply it when 8 falls. We can judge the results together on Saturday!
I candled the glaze firing overnight Sat/Sun, but when I got up in the morning it was pretty windy! Because I am 1 part stupid + 2 parts stubborn, I decided to try to fire anyway. Bad plan! Not disastrous, but, you know, annoying & expensive. The wind was supposed to be only around 17 mph - quite breezy, but not crazy - but every time there was a powerful gust it blew out one of my burners.
This isn't a safety problem - that's what baso valves are for, to turn themselves off if the flame goes out - but it was hella annoying. The 10th time it happened - after ^012 had already fallen, unfornately (see above, stupid + stubborn) and after I had already burned a boatload of propane - I called it off. I'll fire Wednesday instead.
Silver lining? I basically have today off. I'm catching up on some cleaning & reading a book, and fiddling around with my new (used! but still) iPhone.
One of these days I'll have some new pottery to show ya, I promise!
...my bubble of energy last week? Got abruptly popped when a rightwing mob invaded the US capitol, intent on killing the Vice President and the Speaker of the House. I thought I was back, but no. My productivity is the least of the problems with this, of course, but THANKS ALOT, RIGHTWING MOB. I saw a post on social media asking something like, "Am I the only one having trouble focusing on anything other than the deadly pandemic and the imminent threat to democracy?" No, anonymous poster; no you are not. It's wreaking holy ol' havoc with my professional life.
If everything really does have an equal and opposite reaction I am about to have my most amazing year yet - as is America.
I finally got the kiln loaded - a little loose, but I often get better pots that way. I went to candle the load but discovered that I need new thermocouples (well - I knew that. I kept putting it off, & now one of them doesn't work at all) and the burners are loud & flame more orange than blue - the burners need a good scrub with a wire brush. Thermocouples are easy to replace, and burners are easy to scrub, but it does mean the kiln is still not firing! Luckily nobody is waiting for these pots...yet.
My list today: