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More Empty Bowls

  • Posted on January 29, 2014 at 7:13 pm

It came to my attention from one of the instructors at the studio, that the Burnsville High School does a fundraiser every year to raise money for kids who go home to no food.

Want to know one of the things guaranteed to make me emotional?  Hungry children.

Saturday I went to the high school to throw bowls with some of the other potters from the Art Center.  We had a great time, and they have a great studio!

https://sites.google.com/a/isd191.org/emptybowls/home/potter-s-all-call

I hope to make it back for the February throwing day.  We will see how my hands are doing, which is the next post!

Twin Cities Art/Craft Sale Events

  • Posted on November 4, 2013 at 7:13 pm

There are two local events where you can purchase some of the things I make!

brandjensale

This sale is in a local housing community center.  The building is a refinished barn.  It is beautiful!

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http://www.ci.lakeville.mn.us/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=968&Itemid=1439

This one is at the art center where I do pottery.  We have a student and teacher holiday sale that starts on November 23 and ends December 5th.

Come check out the sales!  It will be fun!

Pottery Studio

  • Posted on October 16, 2013 at 1:18 am

I am sure you have all thought, “Where do the scuttles get made???”

Okay, maybe you haven’t but you get to find out!

I work out of a studio that is run by the city.  They offer classes for kids and adults. I enroll in a class, and then get studio time whenever the building is open.  Sometimes my darling 2 year old goes with me some days and “helps” me get work done.  Today she played My Little Pony Memory on the Kindle while I glazed scuttles.

 

Here is a view of the wheels.  We have 10 Brent wheels.  They are terrific. Behind the wheels is a counter where we can cut and wedge clay.  Above that are shelves for storage.  In the right hand corner is a slab roller and a pug mill.

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Here we have a view of the tables where we can work, bats, hand-building tools, glaze samples, tools, and other assorted things.  The higher table is great for standing to attach handles and work on things while keeping your back happy.

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More shelves!  We have finished pieces on the black shelf on the left, more tools for special classes and workshops, and in the right corner we have a bunch of storage for wet pieces.  We cover them in plastic to keep the moisture levels even while we let them dry enough for trimming.

IMAG0360

 

The studio manager promotes cleanliness.  That is not the case in all studios, but we work hard to keep ours as clean as possible.  The studio manager has asthma, and a few students have other health issues.  Clay dust can be harmful to your health, so we work hard to keep the studio very clean.

I hope you enjoyed the virtual tour of the studio.  I love it there.  Pottery is very relaxing to me and a great stress reliever.

Happy Kiln, Sad Kiln

  • Posted on October 5, 2013 at 10:22 pm

So, when you go into the kiln room when you are at the studio, here is what you hope to see:

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A Happy Kiln!  Everything inside is done and ready to be unloaded.  HOORAY!

This is not what you want to see.

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SAD KILN!  Nooooo!  This kiln has between 13-16 of my pieces in it, including all 11 pieces of a special order.  Eeeep!  I about had a heart attack.  The studio manager said this is the messages she gets when the  thermocouple has gone out.  She is so awesome, she got it replaced in about 30 minutes or less. While she had lunch and worked on the sad kiln, I unloaded the happy kiln, which had a load of bisque pieces in it.

Pottery can be stressful at times!  Cross your fingers for me.  I hope everything that is getting refired in the sad kiln comes out okay!  I should know by Tuesday at the latest.

Bye-bye Productivity!

  • Posted on April 6, 2013 at 2:00 am

Productivity is at a new time low.

I got sick for a week and missed my weekly work time.  Then Spring Break started and there were some issues that needed me to be home.

This week will be better.  There is a ton of free time on the calendar, and I have to start really getting stuff made and glazed for the Spring/Summer sales.

This means everything will go perfect and I will get tons of stuff done, right???

Cross your fingers!

OUT OF CLAY???

  • Posted on February 28, 2013 at 5:00 am

Tonight was a studio class night.  So I went with the grand plan to accomplish ALL THE THINGS!!!  HA…HA…HA.

That did not happen.  We ran out of clay at the studio.  Now, do not get me wrong, there is still clay.  It is just not the clay I use.  I guess I am a clay snob. I probably have 100 pounds of clay to recycle, but I am unable to hand wedge it.  That means I have to wait for one of the studio employees to have time to run it through the pugmill.  I am supposed to check in tomorrow, and find out what the plan is for Project: ACK! MORE CLAY! and see if I need to go pick up some of my own.  The studio usually purchases the clay in bulk, and then  I just buy it from them.  It works great, because they get a reduced price for the amount they purchase, so it keeps my costs down.

If I do have to head up to Minneapolis to get clay, maybe I can squeeze in a lunch date with my favorite college student.   Hmmm!  Let the plotting begin!

Pottery this week!

  • Posted on February 9, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Monday I had a lunch date with my eldest honorary daughter, in Minneapolis.  I had planned a trip to http://www.continentalclay.com/.  My trip was delayed by derailed by many things: snow, shoveling, and a roadblock due to our current US President being in town.  The baby and I finally arrived at Augsburg, where we picked up Kat and went to get some yummy Indian food.  After lunch, we took Kat back to her dorm, dropped off the extra food and snacks we brought her, and went to the clay store.  I had plans to get one item: a shrinkage ruler.  What were they out of? Shrinkage rulers!  I consoled myself by finding other things I knew I needed, or wanted to try out.  One of these things was a Kemper handle maker.

Kemper_Handlemaker

Wednesday morning, I dropped one of my kids off at school for a few hours (she has been sick, and this was a trial run.) While I waited to see how she did, the baby and I went to the art studio to drop stuff off and do a quick bit of glazing.  The baby did great!  I was worried she would fuss and wail until she got to get down and play around with things.  Instead she walked around, looked at stuff, and was friendly to the other people there.  One of the other students looks like her Papa, so he was her new friend.  It was pretty nice and is hopefully a sign of her being willing to hang out at the studio more often. We were there for about 90 minutes, before we had to go pick up the big kid.

Wednesday night I had my normal class time.  The studio I frequent does not have the option of paid studio time at this point, so you enroll for a class, and then have access to free studio time.  It works well for me, as I know I will get at least 3 hours of studio time a week.  I asked my instructor for advice on my handle maker.  It seemed pretty straight forward, but I wanted to check to see if she had used one. We both were new to it, and had the same thoughts: chunk of clay, run the tool through, and VOILA handle.  Well, that was not exactly how it happened.  I use a very soft porcelain and stoneware clay, and the handles would not come out.  I thought about it, set out some clay on some paper, and went back to trimming.  I finished: 1 shaving accessory, 2 unmatched goblets, and 3 scuttles.  The scuttles need handles, so I went back to my new tool.  Tips: use slightly firmed up clay, and lubricate the tool!  It worked great after I figured that out.  Made three beautiful handles and did not have to use the big extruder.  I ended up taking longer, and was the last one to leave, but it means I got to do some extra cleaning.  I like to pitch in a little extra time, and do some cleaning when I can, as the studio gets messy quick.

There was no extra pottery time for me until today (Saturday).  I am not sure if I am getting sick, or just did not sleep well, but today did not go great.  I arrived to find out that another student’s clay chicken exploded in the kiln and the shrapnel took out a few other pieces.  One of my pieces got chipped, and the handle that was being difficult cracked.  So, it the base piece of the scuttle got tossed, and I kept the inner bowl as a glaze test piece.  I only threw 4 things, and 2 of them were quick and easy bottomless pieces that I cut up to use for test tiles.  I glazed two of my special order pieces that came out of bisque, and they will probably get loaded on Monday or Tuesday. There is a huge amount of stuff ready for glaze firing, since it is the end of a class session next week.  I did get a few things out of the glaze load, I will post pictures of them later.

I hope to make it back either tomorrow or Monday, so I can throw a few more things.  I really need to be getting some general stuff done.  We are talking about having a Raku workshop in March/April, and various people start hosting sales in May/June.  It would also be great to have some general stuff available here.  Quick, someone find a way to stop time while we sleep!