In the mail

 Barbara at Sparrow Avenue sent me one of her calendars and it arrived in the mail yesterday. I love her ink drawings so much. There is so much detail, the artist in me just devours them.
 It was so kind of her to send it to me. Thank you Barbara! 
She asked about hanging my nuts as ornaments so I experimented a little and voila! Nutty ornaments. A little smaller so not so heavy with holes for a ribbon to hang. And thanks for the great idea Barbara. I plan on making more as Christmas gifts.
The schools are closed this week for Thanksgiving so I hope to get in some more studio time. I have started a new encaustic triptych that I hope to show you soon.
Enjoy your weekend!


Sparrow Avenue

Barbara at Sparrow Avenue has done an amazing drawing of the robin photo I took this past summer. She is using it for the month of May in her beautiful new calendar. She is such a talented artist!
Take a look at more of her beautiful artwork on her blog. The calendar is for sale on her etsy site too.



Yesterday was very chilly in the morning but it was a gorgeous day for raku! It eventually warmed up a little thank goodness because the students fingers were numb!
There are actually two sections of ceramics this year so I hope to have another raku workshop in the spring if I can get funding for two. I'd hate for the other ceramics students to miss out on this event.
Luckily the kilns were warm so we hung out in front of them like a camp fire.
This is the first kiln load we opened with the pots glowing red hot.
We put the red hot pottery into garbage cans loaded with paper so it lights on fire.
Some of the glazes need to be cooled quickly before they are put into the bins. This one is being sprayed with water so the glaze creates a network of fine cracks.
Then when it is put in the garbage cans (aka reduction chamber) the fire starts and then the lid is closed tight. This will cut off the oxygen supply to the fire so it draws oxygen molecules from the clay and glazes. It's called a reduction because of the reduction in the amount of oxygen.
This is what creates all the great metallic flashing and black carbon colors in the glazes

This is horse hair pottery. The pot is taken from the kiln with no glaze on it. Instead strands of horse hair are singed onto the surface of the clay and leave an interesting burned texture of lines.
Needless to say it really stinks! But it is really fun to do.
I decided to raku fire a few of my nuts. I just can't resist this one particular glaze. It has a nice matte finish and always turns out beautiful. Yet it looks different every time.

On the nuts it turned a beautiful golden color with a bit of coppery magenta flashing on one that you can see on the top.
This is the back side of the same nuts without any glaze on them. I couldn't put glaze on the entire piece because the glaze would fuse to the kiln shelf. Normally I'd just leave that part glaze free but because these nuts roll I just glazed one side. I think I almost like this sooty black side better. You can see the white mark on the one in the middle where it didn't reduce properly. But that's part of raku's spontaneous nature!
This bowl has a red iron oxide crackle glaze on it that turned a beautiful amber color.

And can you believe this is the same glaze I used on the nuts? It was late in the day so it was hard to photograph but it is a cool silvery blue metallic color. On the right side you can begin to see the great pattern of the flames and crumpled paper right on the surface of the glaze.
If you ever get the chance to observe or participate in a raku firing I highly recommend it!
Have a great weekend!


Same old thing

It's been really difficult for me to get to this space lately. Even if I didn't post anything I used to at least check my favorite blogs daily. I haven't even had time to do that recently. October was a busy month for us.
I feel like I have nothing really worthy to share with you. Just the same old stuff.
But I do like making these nuts and I also have really been enjoying this autumn. The last of the leaves are just hanging on and the colors are all faded now.
 The nuts here have been bisque fired and I just finished painting a few with iron oxide. They will be going in the next glaze firing I do for the students next week.
 In my last nutty post my blog friend Barbara pointed out that my nuts would explode in the kiln without a hole, yet she couldn't see one. So here is a close up of the little slit I hide in between the halves of the shell. I try to make it as inconspicuous as possible because I don't want it to be noticed!
I also had the idea to use the jewelers stamps to put my initials on them. So tiny.
Enjoy the rest of your week!