Salavaging Pottery

Posted by on Oct 6, 2013 in Creativity, Surface Decoration | 1 comment

I messed up.  I over-fired a bisque load. It was careless and I still can’t figure out how it happened.  Unfortunately, it isn’t the first time that I’ve done this…it is the second. The first time it happened, our kiln was full of small bowls.  Although they didn’t take a lot of time to make, there were so many of them that we decided to try to salvage them.  When bisque pots are fired to maturity, they are no longer porous and therefore do not absorb glaze.  So the challenge to saving them is to get glaze to adhere to the pot during the re-firing.  Vertical surfaces are especially difficult as the glaze often succumbs to gravity and falls off the pot.    We averted this particular difficulty by applying iron-oxide to the outside of the bowls.  In order to glaze the inside of the bowls, we heated them and applied several coats.  The results were mixed.  The iron-oxide was successful; but, there was a lot of glaze crawling inside the bowls.  So we re-applied glaze to them again and re-fired for a third time – and several were saved. They say necessity is the mother of invention – or in our case, the mother of creativity.  Since my debacle, we began incorporating iron-oxide into our surface treatment options when using runny glazes. Unfortunately, this most recent kiln load had an assortment of of pots.  The larger the pot, the more prone it is to cracking when re-fired.  We spent a day trying to salvage the pots that resulted in little success and a lot of ugly or broken pots.  In fact, the only success was the mugs that Julie thought looked like ancient maps.  The lesson learned from this most recent episode is sometimes we need to cut our...

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The List

Posted by on Feb 20, 2013 in Creativity, How-to, Inspiration | 0 comments

February is in full swing.  Last month, I was focused on closing out 2012 and preparing for 2013.  But now, I am back in the studio and I have been enjoying the time working on various pot forms.   But Julie wanted a little more structure and one of the things that she asked for was a list of pots to make on a monthly basis.  So based on last year’s work, we each have a list of things to make; I hope this will help keep things balanced during the busier times of the year. Although I like lists (well, that is an understatement), I recognize that I need to use the list to help me develop new ideas rather than re-create old ones because I could get sucked into finishing the list rather than creating new and soulful pottery. Last year, I corralled all my clippings and notes for pottery ideas and put them in a box – mostly to get them in one place.  If I make some time to flip through the box, and pick an idea to try while I work on the list, it could help keep the list from being just a checklist.  I just need to remember to make time for the...

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New Year’s Goals for Creatives

Posted by on Jan 16, 2013 in Creativity, Inspiration | 0 comments

One of the benefits of working in clay is that I get to meet lots of creative people – and not just potters.  I have met musicians  painters, book binders, knitters, weavers, jewelry makers and many other craftspersons.  The world is filled with interesting people who are actively pursuing a passion.  So regardless of what your medium of choice is, perhaps you are like me and desire to increase your creativity.   But if I am to make distinctive and soulful pots, then I need to pursue it because I know it won’t ‘just happen on its own’.  So here are some things I intend to do this year in order to cultivate creativity. Take a monthly inspirational outing – I read this suggestion in a book on creativity, and, I implemented it last year.  The outings included concerts, walks, museums, historical sites, etc.  It wasn’t really about what I did but more about the attitude with which I did it.  I approached each outing with anticipation and attentiveness.  Although I didn’t have a plethora of new ideas after every outing, I was always revived. Turn off the noise – This is a challenge for me and causes me a lot of discomfort because I tend to work and listen to audio books/podcasts/TV/music (you get the picture).  But, whenever I turn off the noise, I think of new things I want to try.   So I am going to try to incorporate more quiet in my work time. Make an idea box – Gather all the clippings, quotes, writing, notes, pictures, recipes, or whatever you tend to accumulate.  Put them in a box and shuffle through them when you feel like you need a new idea.  I made the box last year; but this year I plan you select ideas and try to work them out in clay. Take a workshop/class – This is always a great way to cultivate creativity.  Last year, I took a class in paper marbeling and one in book binding.  Sometimes it is fun to just dabble.  Even if you can’t go to a class, perhaps you can find some instructional courses on  You-tube. Whatever your craft, I hope you find more ways to be inspired this year so you can fill this world with lovely expressions of yourself – and, if you have any suggestions that have been helpful to you, please share them!...

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Don’t wait for it – work for it

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in About Me, Creativity | 0 comments

I’ve never been successful waiting for creativity and motivation to strike.  However, I have been successful finding creative solutions and getting a lot of work done when I work – even if I don’t feel like it.  The discipline of engaging with the clay and following a work schedule hase resulted in more successful pots for me. Creativity and success are not the result of lightening strike work habits.  However, I am a lazy person who will squander time piddling around the house without much to show for it.  So I avert my naturally tendencies toward slothfulness by cultivating habits that induce focus.  By this, I mean, that I plan what I want to do, write it on a list, post the list, give myself a deadline, schedule time to work with Julie (accountability), and schedule time in my own studio (continued work time).  I also try to remove obstacles that distract me from working.  By this, I mean that I try to keep current with my day job, meal planning, housework, and paperwork so they won’t interfere with time I have scheduled to work on pottery.  I also try to incorporate incentives for me to get to work.  For example, I listen to an audiobook only in the studio (a good book will help me log a lot of studio time).  Sometimes, I give myself a challenge  (like make 75 mugs in 30 days).  Although I don’t think I am very competitive, accomplishing a personal challenge really motivates me to work. Lack of productivity is not usually the result of lack of inspiration; lack of inspiration is often the result of lack of work.  In order to do creative work, working is the first step.  There are many days when I don’t feel like working in the studio, but when I keep my commitment to my schedule and press through my ennui, I often find that the motivation...

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