Friday, January 25, 2013

Inukshuk's & Yarn Bowls...& subzero temperatures!

It's been so cold here in the Northeast that even the Inukshuk bundled up!

Poor little fella looks like he is dripping icicles!  The lowest temperature reading I got this week was -15 degrees fahrenheit.....not too bad really, but it came with a wind chill factor of excruciating!  Upon stepping outside it is instant ice cream headache time!  The pottery shed has radiant heat in the floor and it couldn't keep up with the demand, so everything from the clay to the chairs were cold.  Fortunately, the heat was enough to keep things from freezing, but unfortunately I had work in it and freeze my inukshuk.  Speaking of which,  I make these guys out of my scrap clay.  On a trip or two to Canada, I fell in love with these little stone figures and started taking my scrap clay to make them.  Now, there's a whole gang of them on the drying rack and more joining them every day....the gang may turn into a crowd.

Yarn bowls have been a big item this winter, everyone wants a yarn bowl and I can see why, they are a great invention (I have no idea who invented it, but it was an excellent idea and I thank them for it!).  I am making more yarn bowls than anything else, but that is good because I really enjoy making them.  It's great to hear the stories of what people are knitting or who they are gifting them to.  It's been a lot of fun, but I'm getting bored with the same yarn bowl design and am starting to change things up to keep it interesting for me, you and the buyer.

The yarn bowl in the foreground was designed during a bout of daydreaming about brook fishing this summer!  I was thinking (dreaming) of warm weather, the 4th of July celebrations, fireworks, water and fishing naturally followed and landed on the yarn bowl!  I hope someone else finds it desirable or else I better go find my knitting (from only 20 years ago ) and give it a new home.

If you haven't been to my Etsy Shop, stop on over and check out what's new.  Below are a couple items recently added to the shop.  This firebrick red bowl is hand-pierced with hearts and would make a lovely Valentine's Day gift...it can even be used as a yarn bowl! Of course, this is the year of the yarn bowl! Click here to go to Peasley Pottery Etsy Shop   and  head over to Facebook and "LIKE"   Peasley Pottery  I sure would appreciate it!  Thank you!

and these are the Katahdin Moose Track Mugs.....

Another great gift for your Valentine or to stock your cupboard with a good-strong 12oz mug worthy of any hot or cold beverage.  I like the feel of these mugs in my hand, they are comfortable and not too heavy.  The thumb stop helps balance it out as well.  

I hope you all are keeping warm.  I don't know how people can afford to pay the price of heating fuel, the price is outrageous! And I don't know how anyone can keep enough in the tank to keep warm.  With these subzero temps, it must be running out of the tank like water in a sieve.   I'm very fortunate to have a wood boiler and the only thing that will prevent me from staying warm is laziness...and that's not an option!   So, go check on your neighbors, especially the elderly and make sure they are not letting their pride get in the way of staying warm........and keep your animals warm, watered and fed, they don't like it much better than we do!!  Have a great weekend and see you here next week when the temperatures are to be in the 30's!!  I can't wait, it will feel like an early Spring!  Take care and God Bless!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Wedding Show and Test Tiles

Peasley Pottery is going to be in it's first wedding show this March!!  Exciting....frightening...maybe both.    I picked up some new glazes and before trying them on finished pots, I will test them on small tiles.   Normally, I have a stock of test tiles in a box, but when I go to the box I find it to be empty!  Hmmmm....how is that so???   I have only tested 1,000,000,001 combinations of glaze in the last year, I'm out already???  

Making test tiles takes a few days, and that doesn't include the bisque firing.  It is best to keep test tiles in stock.  Something I was doing until I ran out....

Usually when I get a new clay, I  immediately make test tiles.  Unfortunately, two of the six clays are new to the studio in the last two weeks.  I will need more of these tiles in order to test all the glaze combinations I have in stock. Whereas, three of the clay bodies have been around for a while and most of the glazes have been tested on them already.  We don't need to repeat history, so that will save time.

I start the test tiles by extruding hollow squares in long sections and letting them set up.  Then I cut these sections with a long razor blade in 3" lengths and set aside.  Once I have all the tubes cut down into 3" sections, I again cut these sections in half on the diagonal which creates a clay fold, like a greeting card, that can stand free in the kiln during firing. 

Extruded Hollow Square Tubes

3" Sections prior to final cut

Once in half, I stamp it with a reference number, a design on one side and a hole for hanging (optional).  If at this point I have any slip decorating, under glaze or other techniques to test out, I apply that now.

Because of the wedding theme coming up,  I wanted to try out my cake decorating kit (yes, I stole it from my kitchen and put it in the studio where it will probably get more use).   I mixed up slip to the consistency of frosting, or close to it.  The first batch of slip was too loose, so I had to remix it.  The second batch was a little firmer, but still not as firm as I'd like it to be.  Over all it worked for the tests and did pipe out fine.  Below are the tiles with the piping tests....and moose/deer tracks!

White stoneware test tiles with slip piping

It should be an interesting few weeks preparing for the wedding show, filling other orders and my favorite EXPERIMENTING!!!!  

Bunny Teapot, Floral Vase, two Urns on drying rack

The Poppy Vases....I hope to finish under glazing them soon...I can't wait to see the final product!