Saturday, April 30, 2022

Here we go!

It's probably not a great sign, that I am still tired from yesterday! & this year Doug can't be here to help me set up the EZ-up (not all that E-Z, honestly, but doable, even with just one person.) 

Still, every year I for get something, & it's fine. 

Still to do:

  • Put up the tent & shelves. This is the biggie.
  • Price pots. I was going to do that last night but it was so cold & after dinner I was so tired! 
  • Place the pottery tour signs
  • Bring out all the sales materials: bags, wrapping paper, receipt book, Square device. 
Those are the crucial things. Once those are done I can do the less critical stuff. 

Right after I finish my coffee. 

If you're in Maine, I hope you'll come visit one or more of the stops on the tour this weekend. Lots of great stuff to see! 

Friday, April 29, 2022

Getting Ready!


A peek into the spyhole! Unloading Saturday at 11

This might be my busiest day of the year: the day before the Maine Pottery Tour! (& yet here I am blogging, lol.) No matter how prepared I think I am, there is always too much to do on this day. Get change, print flyers, price pots, double check the Square app, set up the road signs. I would normally set up the shelves on Friday but we are meant to get high winds today, so that seems like a Bad Plan. Guess I'll just have to get up way early tomorrow!

Anyway. I was pretty excited to see how nice things look thru the spy, can't wait to unload with visitors tomorrow!! 

Friday, April 22, 2022

Off the Bench at Last

Put me in, coach! 

Because I can fit more pots in the bisque firings than the glaze firings, there are always a few leftover pieces of bisque ware. I keep them against the day that I need to do a firing but don’t quite have enough stuff to fill it. That day has come! After my mishap last weekend - dropping a board of pots on another board of pots, after the last day I could throw & have stuff dry enough to bisque- it was looking like this firing would be short. Normally I would just wait, & for when I had made more stuff, but this time I have a hard deadline: I’ve promised visitors that we will unload a firing Day One of the Maine Pottery Tour. 

Time to call in the benchwarmers! As you can see, some have been waiting a very long time for their moment to arrive.

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Squish Happens


I spent all day yesterday in the studio, attaching handles, decorating, throwing for a couple of hours; I even thought I'd get ahead of the game & pull the handles I'd need to attach later. I did all that with a little tickle of worry in my mind: I promised I'd unload a kiln for the pottery tour, which means I have to load Wednesday & bisque Thursday at the latest, in order to fire a glaze next Wednesday to unload Saturday the 30th. Would I have enough stuff? 

But I felt pretty good about my progress, until this morning when I went in to attach the handles I'd pulled. When I grabbed the board of mugs, somehow it became unbalanced & slipped from my hands, landing on the board of big bowls below it. FUUUUUCK!!

I was pretty irate, for a minute, but whaddaya gonna do? This stuff sometimes happens, and melting down over does not make it unhappen, no matter how hard I try. So, I'll still fire, but it'll be a light load. 

I handled the 2 surviving mugs, trimmed & decorated the surviving bowls, and I'll throw some little vases that can dry in time to load Wednesday. 

I'm reflecting back to a time when I would have spent the day angry & bemoaning the lost pieces. An important lesson it took me way to long to learn: not all ware is going to  make it to the kiln, & not all ware that comes out of the kiln is going to be successful. Letting go means you don't lose the day & your good mood, also. 

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

Third Firing is in the Books!

 Despite having the mother of all colds (definitely not covid; I have tested 3 times now - 2 at-home & one pcr), I could not wait to unload the third glaze firing of the new soda kiln this morning. Got some amazing color - kind of a bronze-y gold - on the bare bmix body; and the Bauer orange, that reliable standby, got almost uniformly glossy & bright. See for yourself!

There were a couple disappointing factors, tho - some of the pieces were made before I started slow-drying anything with slip decoration, and as a result there was a little bit of popping off. Slow drying seems to have solved this problem, so yay; but of course those individual pieces will have to be seconds. 

And speaking of seconds, some of the Dotopia pieces - the ones with Oribe dots, as opposed to yellow dots - some of those will have to be 2nds also, because a lot of the dots jumped right off the ware & onto the kiln shelves (mostly) or other pots. This is a super annoying new problem, which I suspect is caused by a change I made it response to advice, and upped my bisque temperature from ^08 to ^05. I can't see any advantage to this - just higher fuel costs - & now it has made my glaze behave badly. So, not to put to fine a point on it, fuck that. 
Some dot pots that didn't have that annoying problem

You might think I am unhappy with this firing but - au contraire! - I am quite delighted. I got a lot of good pots, I know (at least I think I know) how to correct the problems, and best of all I feel like I am getting a good handle on how to fire this kiln. I think the level of reduction & amount of soda were just about perfect. 

I am always happy when I am learning new things. 

Some of these pots are off to Mainely Gallery in Belfast; a few - mostly mugs - are headed for Bay View Company; and the rest will be available for sale here at my studio during the Maine Pottery Tour. 

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Coffee Pour Over Cone

 I've resisted making these for a long time, because I figured like lots of specific-use items, there were some specs I didn't know, & wouldn't know until I went to use it. I didn't (& don't) have time right now to do the experimenting that would be necessary to make coffee pour-over cones that work well. 
But, then I got a jump start from my colleague at Portland Pottery: fellow instructor Brian Buckland. Brian had drawn this image on the whiteboard in our shared classroom: 

Brian makes these a lot - you can purchase one of his here & here, if you've been wanting one! or visit his studio in Buxton during the Maine Pottery Tour. Anyway, Brian is incredible generous with knowledge & information, & he filled in the last 2 pieces I needed: how much clay to start with (2 pounds) , & how big is the hole in the bottom (1/4 inch.) 

Here's my first attempt: 

I took a slightly different approach to the base - I gave the tray a little upward curve, thinking it would seat itself better on a wider range of mug widths. I think I will leave the outer surface of the try unglazed, to create a little more friction so it won't slip around while in use. I also made a more conventional one, with a flat tray at the bottom, but that still needs to be trimmed. Looking forward to testing out both of them, & maybe making more if they work out well - hopefully I will have one or two in the kiln I unload during the pottery tour. 

We get by with a little help from our friends!