Well my kiln broke last weekend so tile production is on hold until Seattle Pottery Supply sends someone out to fix it. In the meantime, I’ve been playing around with stamps and vessels. I made a few new stamps and I’ve been experimenting with pressing them into different types of clays. The act of pressing can be a little tricky. I think the patterns look better when they’ve been pressed deeply into the clay but this often results in cracking during drying or firing. Hopefully, some of the clay bodies I’m testing out will be more resilient.
I’ve been enjoying the new slab roller so much that I decided to buy an extruding gun. The Super Duper Clay Gun (yes, that’s what it’s called) is amazing! It only comes with a small round die but you can purchase additional ones. They even sell a set that allows you to make hollow shapes. It’s really, really fun. So far I’ve only used it to make feet for a couple of vessels but I can’t wait to make other things with it.
I’m always trying to keeps things simple in the studio (and in life) but here’s an instance where my efforts were kind of backfiring. For the past 5 years or so, I’ve insisted on rolling out all my slabs the old fashioned way – with rolling pins. The problem is, this is difficult to do without a lot of patience (which I don’t always have). I knew if I wanted to enjoy making vessels it was time to invest in a slab roller. I don’t have much space in the studio and they typically require 8 to 10 square feet. I’d seen table top versions but they seemed kind of cheap. Then, I came across one on Etsy that looked pretty good so I bought it. https://www.etsy.com/listing/449252632
So far, I’m very impressed. It was designed by the husband of a potter who was dealing with some of the same challenges. It’s well constructed of steel and wood (no plastics) and, although it required some assembly, the instructions were clear. The only flaw with this roller is that there should be measurements near the adjustment knobs. I printed out rulers and taped them on.
I couldn’t wait to try it out so I decided to make some mugs based on the “darted cups” by ceramic artist Liz Zlot Summerfield who posted a great demonstration video. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w63bZyZ9svo
Everything went smoothly at first. I build the cups, painted the sides with underglaze, and carved my coffee beans. Then I made the mistake of attaching the handles at two points. My clay body is not very forgiving and all the handles broke. I managed to scrape them off but it’s kind of odd having tea cups decorated with coffee beans. I did make one cup with a different handle design that works as a mug but I’m still exploring other ideas. It’s so nice to be making vessels again 🙂
Happy Holidays to all the dog and cat lovers I met at this years’ PNA Winterfest. I’m truly grateful to those of you who trusted me to make a tile for you. I hope you, or the recipient of the tile, will enjoy them for a very long time.
I’m so excited to be be displaying my latest “Scratching Dog” portrait tiles at this year’s PNA Winter Festival on December 1st and 2nd. There will be over 120 artists and craftspeople selling their work, as well as, live music and food. I’ve never been to this event but I’ve heard it’s a lot of fun. Please check it out if you’re in the area!
The 2018 ATNW Tile and Art Festival was this past weekend. I was truly honored to display my work with such a talented and diverse group of tile artists from all over the Pacific Northwest. It was great seeing many familiar faces at their tables and meeting a lot of new members. It was also great seeing some the festival visitors that I met last year. This was the first year that I volunteered to help with the event and I’d like to thank Barbara Clark and Steve Moon for the many hours they put into organizing it.
Just a week and a half until this year’s Artisan Tile NW Tile and Art Festival http://artisantilenw.org/annual-festival at the Mount Baker Community Club in Seattle on November 3rd and 4th. There will be about 25 tile artists represented at the festival, including several first-time participants.
For this year’s show, I’ve finished three panels showcasing my newest designs, as well as, loose tiles of a few of my tessellating animals. These tiles are finished in a variety of colors and will be available for purchase. Hope you can make it to the show!