Autumnal Equinox

Posted by on Sep 22, 2012 in About Me, Teapot | 5 comments

“Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree.”                                                  – Emily Bronte Happy Fall!  Today is the first official day of fall and I am so excited.  In fact, I have hung a harvest wreath on the front door and bought some beautiful red flowers to put on the table because this is my favorite time of year. The changing season brings certain rituals that I enjoy.  I make soups, set out decorations, light candles in the evenings, buy mums for the deck, drink tea, etc.  But, there isn’t much that changes in the studio.  Although, I am a bit more apt to work on holiday projects.  But other than going to craft shows, my work continues.  With such pleasant weather, it is even more enjoyable to be in the studio with the door open!  Perhaps I will make some leaf mugs...

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Teapot Photos

Posted by on May 11, 2012 in Teapot | 0 comments

great camera + talented photographers = beautiful photos Special thanks and appreciation to A La Mode...

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Timing is everything

Posted by on Mar 27, 2012 in How-to, Teapot | 1 comment

Timing is critical in life and especially in pottery.  After I had taken pottery classes for a while, I realized that if I wanted to make better pots I had to do two things: practice more and control the drying time. But no matter how well-thrown a pot is, if the drying time is not controlled, then the pot will never be as good as it can be.  If pots are dried too quickly, they can crack and attachments can pop off; and, it is impossible to trim a dry pot well.  However, working on a pot that is too wet will cause the pot to be distorted or damaged.  It is a delicate balance. Because of the number of pieces that comprise a teapot,  there are several drying challenges through which to maneuver.  Before I had my own studio, the best way I was able to manage the drying time was to transport the teapot pieces home and assemble them when they reached the appropriate dryness.  Although there is no better substitute for managing the drying time by keeping a close watch on the teapot, here are some tips for navigating to a successfully assembled teapot: Throw the spouts when the teapot is ready to trim; they tend to dry very quickly.  After trimming the teapot and lid, the spouts should be dry enough to attach. Pull the handle and allow it to set up before attaching it in order to reduce the amount of pulling required; this will minimize distortion of the teapot body. Once the spout and handle are attached, check the teapot to verify that it hasn’t been distorted.  Adjust if necessary. Once assembled, allow the teapot to dry under plastic for a few days. Dry with the lid on the teapot to accommodate for best...

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Posted by on Mar 23, 2012 in About Me, Teapot | 0 comments

Teapots are among my favorite pots to make – right behind mugs.  So when there were enough potters at the art center who expressed interest in making teapots, I quickly jumped at the opportunity to spend six weeks sharing ideas and tips about teapots. A teapot is part of my daily routine.  I look forward to morning coffee very much; but, as I rarely drink coffee later than mid-morning, tea is often my choice.  And, I get a lot of enjoyment from making it in a teapot. Teapots are not teakettles.  The teapot is for brewing tea, not boiling water.  I get this question A LOT at craft shows.  Ceramic teapots cannot be put on a stovetop to boil water. The proper way to use a teapot is to boil water in a kettle, add the water to the teapot, swirl the water around to warm the pot, discard the water, add tea, then fill the teapot with hot water, and allow the tea to steep to desired strength. Most people tend to use teabags to make tea because they are easy and convenient.  For the potter, this means that our teapots do not need a built-in tea strainer (sieve).  The teapot can have a large hole where the spout attaches and it will still be very functional for most teapot-users. However, for those who enjoy loose tea (and I contend there is a flavor difference), a built-in tea strainer is a nice addition.  Teaballs, infusers, and such are pretty paraphernalia but not the best choices for brewing quality tea as they don’t permit the tealeaves to expand.  It is better to allow the tea to be loose in the pot and strain it as it is poured.  With all this ritual surrounding its purpose, it makes sense that the teapot is the diva of...

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A Brief Study of Teapots

Posted by on Feb 24, 2012 in Teapot | 0 comments


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Considerations and Logistics: Carving

Posted by on Apr 13, 2011 in Carving, Creamer and Sugar Set, How-to, Peaceful Meadow, Teapot, Tools | 4 comments

In this series of blog entries, I am sharing some of the discoveries I am making as I try to add texture to my pots. Carving is one of the techniques I have been using recently.  When I began carving on the pots, I quickly recognized that no choice is made in a vacuum – other factors must be considered. Technical – Again, this has been the easiest of the logistics to resolve.  It includes carving at the appropriate point of dryness – too dry and the carving chips; too wet and the pot is gouged. Method – Factors that I want to control when carving are width and depth of the lines.  There are 2 tools I have been using – a wire loop sgrafitto tool and a linoleum cutter.  I like the sgrafitto tool because I can make the lines quickly but they tend to be subtle and shallow.  The lino cutter is nice because it has multiple tips which make various width lines that are clean and bold.  I need to work a lot more with both of these because I haven’t achieved the application I want.  Also, I found it is easier to make curvy lines with slip rather than carving them.       Glaze response – Understanding the properties each glaze exhibits has been key (this is a prevalent truth).  Some of the glazes don’t break, are too pale, or are too thick.  The best glazes for shallow carving break with contrast and don’t run too much.  However, if the carved line is wide, it allows two glazes to interact with one another and introduce a third color which can highlight the carved pattern. Design – All that the factors I identified with slip application are true for carving: what patterns to carve, how to relate the patterns to the rest of the pot, and how to designate a space on the pot for carving patterns.  In addition, I noticed that some of the carved patterns feel flat so I have begun to combine slip and...

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