These two vessels came out of the kiln yesterday. They’re first attempts at experimenting with underglaze transfers. I saw a demonstration on Facebook of a similar technique and thought it would be fun to try. Basically, you fill a small squeeze bottle with thinned underglaze and draw on newsprint. When the drawing dries, cut around it with a scissors or Xacto knife and position it on your pot. Using a fairly wet sponge, carefully press it onto the surface. When the newsprint is wet, it clings to the pot. Using the sponge, or a soft rubber rib, gently press on all areas of the transfer. After a couple of minutes, you can peel the newspaper away and your image should be on the pot. I did notice that the longer a transfer sits after drying, the longer it takes to “rehydrate” it.
I started this blog over seven years ago and, in recent years, have tried to post something at least once a month.
It’s been really nice having this journal to look back on. A few of my old projects are a little underwhelming to me now [for example, some of my early tessellation tiles, furniture pieces, and jewelry ideas] but many still give me a real sense of accomplishment. It’s also great to look back at things with a fresh eye and think about how I would do them differently a second time. This blog has been a very useful tool and I hope to continue posting regularly.
In addition to this blog, I plan to start posting images on Instagram. I’ve hesitated to take on this task because I’d rather spend my time doing things other than looking at my phone. However, I do find myself using this app more often these days as I look for inspiration in ceramics, tessellations, and nature photography. I think I’ll be posting mostly process photos to start as these are some of my favorite posts from other people. This app also allows me to post short videos which might be a fun thing to try. I hope you’ll consider following me. 🙂
I’m currently working on eight different tile boards and will post some images when things are a little further along. In the meantime, I thought I’d share a few photos of the fat quarters that arrived in the mail today. In case you’re not familiar with the term, a “fat quarter” is a piece of fabric made by cutting 1/2 a yard of fabric into two equal pieces. I think it’s a hilarious term for a big swatch.
Back in December, while participating in a holiday craft show, glass artist Connie Munford suggested doing something with the tessellating patterns I use for my back drop. I researched companies that print custom designs on products and came across Spoonflower, a company that lets you design your own fabrics. Back in February, I ordered a sample of my walrus pattern to see what the quality is like. It turns out that the quality of their fabrics is very good and I made a pillow cover with the sample.
Not long after the pillow cover, I mustered the courage to make my first quilt. I’ve been inspired by quilt patterns for years but thought it would be too difficult to make a quilt without a lot of sewing expertise and special equipment. While browsing the shelves of the Elliot Bay Bookstore, I came across a good book for beginners called Simple Geometric Quilting by Laura Preston . I considered designing custom fabrics for the quilt but given the cost of the fabric and my own lack of experience, I decided to use old sheets and pillow cases instead. It was a challenging project, but I learned enough to make a simple twin size quilt. With my new (and very basic) sewing skills, I was also able to make a few dozen face masks to donate to local hospitals at a time when masks were hard to come by.
I’m not sure what I’ll do with the new fat quarters. Each is a different type of fabric. There are a couple of canvas samples, a linen, and a denim. All are quite nice and will probably make good pillow covers but I think I’ll be ordering lighter fabrics in the future. It will be fun to make some tessellating pattern face masks and, at some point, I’d love to make another quilt. Now that I know I can do it, I’ll invest in the custom fabrics.
My son Ollie has been collecting Legos since he was a baby. I’ve been particularly fascinated by the Lego minifigures and the detailed accessories they come with. I thought it would be fun to somehow transform them into jewelry. The lunar landscape image above is a crude plaster mold I made using a handful of these little plastic pieces. I then pressed porcelain into them and carved away the excess. They were bisque fired and then glazed with a cone 5 clear glaze. The really fun part was applying gold luster to the clear glaze. It’s the first time I’ve used lusters – they’re magical!
Yikes – I haven’t posted anything since Mother’s Day! With the kids home during summer vacation, there hasn’t been much time for clay work or blogging. In an effort to keep things moving, I thought I’d post a couple of “before” photos of what will someday be my new studio. As you can see, it currently serves as our laundry room/donation collection center. The plan is to build some walls and a door around the washer and dryer leaving enough space for a long narrow work area that will take advantage of the existing natural light. It will be smaller than my former studio but I think, if designed efficiently, it could be even better. Stay tuned…
…it’s August 18 and work has begun. We have the walls built. The studio and laundry room are officially two separate areas!
…it’s September 24 and the basic room layout is done. Time to clean things up and organize supplies.