Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Good news and Bad News

OK! Let's do the good news first. It's almost SHOW TIME! Yeah! I am going my best to get my beads strung into sets and otherwise ready for the show this weekend. It is Berks Bead Bazaar... it you are interested in joining us :-)
There are trays all over my house right now. This photo shows all new work.
In other news, we have 2 very wonderful entries into the Complimentary Section of the color challenge! Yay! I will show them off soon!

And the bad news... My kiln is broken :-( Here are the decal pieces I was firing on Monday. They didn't work out very well. The kiln never reached temperature and I believe it was because my elements wore out. They were over due to wear out. I have been expecting it for a while, and then I forgot about it-- so now they broke. That's what happens :-) I really hope to get the kiln repaired soon after the show this weekend... and play with some more decals left over from the workshop.
So today I am busy busy getting this show business set up. As Soon as I have everything organized I will have to dig out the price tags. There is a lot of stuff to pull together :-)

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Potter's Exchange Decal Workshop

Here are some photos from yesterday's Decal workshop. It was pretty neat! I already had some knowledge of ceramic decals. I went to a printing on clay workshop around 5 years ago... This was a good refresher, and this time I got to take home a sample instead of just watching someone else go through the process. ... and since I'm a pesky student, I took home my sample to fire myself instead of leaving it with the host to fire for me.

Giselle was our wonderful hostess, and this is an example of her work with decals. This piece was very interesting to me, because the decal ink is still black in color after firing instead of a brown sepia color. I wonder Why? Decal work needs to be fired three times. I wonder if it is because she fires her decal work at a much lower temperature, some of the black ink does not burn out. ?? I don't know for sure. Some of her work does have the brown sepia iron oxide finished effect that is in a lot of decal ceramics.

Here Bianka is test fitting a decal to a piece of pottery. I don't know if you can see it, but Bianka's mug bubbles out at the bottom. That bubble caused her troubles when it was time to apply the decal. That paper is the decal. It is cut to more easily fit to the finished ceramic mug.
Here Linda is applying a decal to a plain white tile. She is applying "backwards" because she had lettering on her design. Decals are really pretty simple to apply. They go on in much the same way as children's fake tattoos. There is a special decal paper printed with a black and white design, and that paper is soaked in warm water to separate the saran wrap-like film and design from the paper backing.
The Saran Wrap like printed film slides off the paper backing and onto the ceramic piece. The film can be slightly re-adjusted to place it on the ceramic for a few seconds until the film starts to dry out and can no longer be moved. The Decal paper is an interesting material. It is printed on a computer laser printer with your design. The decal paper is soaked slightly to apply it to the ceramic. Soaking the paper water makes a pliable film separate from a paper backing.

The fern on this plate is a scan of an actual leaf placed on top of the computer scanner. It was a really nice effect. Giselle's work had a lot of Japanese maple leaves, ferns and maple leaves scanned into the computer from nature. Using different copies of real leaves gave the designs nice variations.
This was my piece. A white stoneware with clear glaze. I am firing it right now. I am firing at a different temperature than Giselle uses for her work. I will be able to see if this firing temperature works or not when I open the kiln in the morning. The glaze may liquefy too much and blur the design. We'll see :-)

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Split Complimentary Color Scheme Challenge

Yesterday I announced the start of the Split Complimentary Color Challenge.
I am not going to repeat all the details here, but I didn't want anyone to miss it. All the details are on the Beads-of-Clay Blog here--

I made these example with some of my new beads from my recent firings.... The kiln is humming now with some more new work. I didn't really expect to load the kiln up again so soon, but I needed to finish up my test pieces for my workshop tomorrow--- so that meant glazing an entire kiln load, because I am unable to fire an "empty" kiln. Silly me! Anyway-- that means even more new work for next weekends Show :-)
I hope everyone is having a fun Saturday! I hope to take some photos at the workshop tomorrow, and I also hope to run into a fellow Beads-of-Clay member there :-)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Our color Challenge Winner!!!

Today was the day. Summer Hodgmen entry was randomly chosen to win our wonderful Beads-of-Clay prizes! And she won..
This wonderful Pendant and coordinating bead set from Shattera Clay Studio

And this Bold pendant by Artisan Clay (that's me)
Thank you everyone for your entries in this section of the Color Challenge!
So far we don't have any entries for the next section of the challenge-- A piece of Artwork made in a Complimentary Color Scheme.... This section is a little more challenging-- but you can do it! And right now, you have a pretty good chance of winning the prize :-)
I will announce the next section of the Challenge, along with examples, Later today. ( but I need to photograph my sample first ;-) )

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fire away!

I have been busy busy making new work to fill my table at the Berks Bead Bazaar on the 27th and 28th... I guess that's just a little over a week away. I am going to have to pull out the booth photos and display stuffs and make a plan.
I made a lot of funky, or primitive stoneware discs and connector beads and horizontal or bib pendants. All those flat white pieces in the back of the photo are for my workshop this weekend on Ceramic Decals! Yay! I love my potter's group! I can't wait to see everyone. In previous years I have had really really busy show schedules and I have not been able to go to all the wonderful and often free workshops and classes offered by my fellow potters. Next month we have a workshop on Terra sigillata and slip and surface design and, and, and, Wa hoo! And with no shows on the horizon, I may actually get to experiment with all these "new" techniques! I have tons of mason stains and have tons of old ideas for slip that have been on the shelf for a few years.
I am considering making a bunch of "pot luck" or grab bags with the new beads I made for the Berks show. I am going to have to think over how I need to go about doing that. Perhaps I will need to sit down with some string or bags and a good movie tonight and work it out.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Oh Cuteness!

I had a blast yesterday. I took my potter's wheel to our Daisy Girl Scout Meeting. This is Kaitlynn, she's a little sister scout- Here we are adding a swirl to the bottom of her new little lunch plate.
This is Jessica. Those girls were so excited to sit at the wheel. It was a really fun time. And I successfully helped all 9 of them make something that they were proud of AND I did not break any when I trimmed them, no matter how wobbly they were :-) I am going to miss these cuties when they go into an older troop next year.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Our winners! My day

Last night I posted a quick link to my Artisan Clay Facebook Fan page. I added a comment/Suggestion box feature to the blog and I needed to test it out because we are thinking of adding it to another site. So the first person who left a suggestion in my new box won... We have 2 winners cause I'm a softy (and I so love feedback) Melissa and Marcie you will be getting a surprise in the mail. Melissa-- can you please send me an etsy convo with your address?
And also, here is my Distlefink. I love it! Keep in mind it is a big barn sign, and I have it on my kitchen wall.... I have a bunch of them in my kitchen. OK, so the special thing I hinted about is my birthday. It's a round number this year, and today I am happy about it. I have reached my goals with tons of surprises which I never would have planned for myself sneaking in along the way. This past year has been a lot of transition, and I am happier in my work that I have been in previous years. I suppose it is time for new goals and new surprises, and CAKE!

On a side note, something has gone wrong with my computer today and tech support is off for the weekend, so I will be slow to respond. I can't use the Internet at all right now. I hope it is just a little trouble from all the ice on the lines from this big storm.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

What's new?

I have to apologize for getting all cranky here the other day... What can I say? It's tricky this living stuff. And you know, this chick shouldn't let it fly when she's on day 2 of a big storm headache. Does anyone else get weather headaches? I certainly do. And then... the storm is done (this time leaving 2 feet of snow behind) and I'm like tra la la.... Sunshine and puppy dogs :-) What was my issue anyway? I'm sure it wasn't just the headache, but funny how I let it get to me every time.

How do you like my new tree tapestry? It is SO BIG! It covers almost an entire wall and covers up some old yucky wallpaper that I'm sure used to be a lot nicer in it's day. There used to be a big bulletin board on this wall, and OMG!!! It collected everything! It was there when we moved into our house and I am so glad that it is gone. It was such a clutter magnet. Now we have a wonderful Tree of Life, Ahhh, that feels better!
And here's a shot of some new disc beads just unloaded from the Bisque fire. I got my husband to fire the kiln for me while I was away helping my brother early this week. Thank you Joshua! I think I am going to have to get him to start my glaze fire too, since I have a lot of commitments away from the studio these next couple of weeks-- And a show on the 27th ~~ I still haven't decided if I am going to this show just to see my Local Beady Friends or if I am going to make a lot of inventory and going to try to work. Not a good attitude, I know but I did officially quit doing shows a year ago. That's it then, I'm just going for fun! Ha!

This last shot is of my newly painted kitchen. Everything is not set up yet and we have not decided on what knobs or handles to put up, but hooray for no more paint buckets and drop cloths and paint fumes and not being able to cook. Yay! It was a week and a half of disruption and I am so happy to have clean looking paint on the cabinets! You can see a couple of my Hex Signs above the cabinets. I didn't get them all placed before I took this photo, but I love Hex Signs! I live in "Historic Bucks County" Where there are the actually a lot of old covered bridges and decorated barns. The Pennsylvania Dutch. I grew up loving all the beautifully painted signs that decorate the barns in the area. I'll share more shots of the kitchen when I figure out what to do about the hardware. (That window is usually lined with antique bottles that my husband has found while walking in the woods and plants~~ got to have plants!)
So that's it, I usually like to share photos of new work in my "What's New" posts, but I didn't add anything to my etsy shop last week since I have been busy getting ready for the show and painting the house.
I hope everyone is having a good week, and those of you who are covered in snow, I hope you get yourselves out safely :-)

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Bead Soup Blog Party!! The Big Reveal!!!

I have to say, I cannot wait to get checking out every one's work! I haven't been able to visit all the Bead Soup Participants blogs prior to today, but I plan on diving in and seeing all 80 blogs today and for the rest of this week!
So here is what I started off with. My Partner Janet McDonald, sent me such wonderful natural assortment. Janet made a really great wire hook clasp in a gold tone, and sent a beautiful HumbleBeads bird pendant, an assortment of wooden beads and glass beads in orange and blue to match the pendant. Thank you so much Janet! Check out Janet's Blog here.

Here is what I ended up with. I used brass wire and my brand new hammer to make links and a horizontal wire focal section to match the clasp that Janet sent along. Unfortunately, I broke the 2 blue beads that perfectly matched the Humblebeads Pendant. Whoops! ~~ That is when I added my own blue burst clay bead and blue wooden rhondelles to pick up the blue of the pendant. At first I had used a blue silk to form the body of the necklace, but I didn't think that the color quite matched, so while everyone in my area was running out to the grocery store to pick up goodies before the snow, I was at the bead store buying chain :-) I like it a lot better!

Here is a close up of Janet's Clasp and some of the wire work...
Now it's time for me to shovel my way to the kiln shed, unload all the new bisque and spend my day glazing and reading every one's blogs. It has been a while since I have been able to catch up on my favorite blogs. I can't wait to see all the goodies!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Blog smog

I have to admit that I have had a lot of trouble keeping up with the blogging...
I have taken another part time job to help out my family while my husband is layed off and my brother is taking over a second business. I don't have time to read my favorite blogs and it doesn't seem like anyone is reading my blogs either. It is a funny thing, how that all works out. It is funny how feedback can makes me keep going, and lack of it makes me feel like I am just talking to myself. So.... If I am just talking to myself, can I say whatever I want?!? Yeah, I didn't think so..... anywho-- I need to clear my head. ( a long complaining ramble used to be here) <--- You should be glad it's gone ;-)

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Working Working

Almost time to do a bisque fire. Berks Bead Bazaar on the 27th and 28th in Reading, PA

Monday, February 1, 2010

Louise Bourgeois, Femme Maison

Femme Maison Two Drawings, Ink on Paper 19445-47, 91.3em x 35.6cm and 23.2c, x 9.2cm

Images from this site-- with some text on their meanings

I saw a Louise Bourgeois show with a good friend a little over a year ago at the Guggenheim Museum. I keep thinking of this series of Drawings and Paintings. I do feel so chained to my house. The family, everything. I feel so connected to these paintings and the things Louise has said about them, but remember how my friend and I thought that she must have been a horror of a mother, and felt bad for her children.
I have been dreaming of travel, and just the freedom of leaving this space and my family and just not having to be concerned with all this day to day stuff. Now how do I convince myself that I deserve to break away? What do I say when my husband and kids want to come along? And what do I want to do in this fantasy time anyway?