Spring Snow

Liberating Multiples

Posted by on Sep 5, 2011 in About Me, Casserole, Multiples, Spring Snow | 2 comments

I have the pleasure of teaching pottery classes at a local art center.  And, it is typical for the potters taking the class to want to make a pot for some one special.  I often wonder if the recipients of the pots know how much care and thought go into making these gifts. The potters focus diligently on making a pot worthy of giving to a friend – sometimes to the point of debilitation.   This is where multiples liberate me. I love to make pots for some one in particular.  But,  I don’t typically sit down to make a pot for a friend.  Rather, if I decide I want to give my friend a mug (for example), I begin a series of mugs, all the while thinking about her, her colors, her coffee cravings, etc.  And, I also spend time praying for her as I cycle through the mugs.  After I finish the series, I select the best mug, which is the mug that I give.  Making a series helps alleviate the pressure to make the perfect pot and it increases the likelihood that I will make one worthy of my friend....

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Cupcake Stands

Posted by on Jun 11, 2011 in Cupcake Stand, Lime Fiesta, Multiples, Spring Snow | 4 comments

“When you look at a cupcake, you’ve got to smile.” – Ann Byrn Detail of incised lines LIme and Green Cupcake Stand Detail of rim Pink and Black Cupcake Stand Detail of Ruffled Rim Lime Fiesta Cupcake Stand...

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A Potter’s Most Challenging Request

Posted by on May 25, 2011 in About Me, Glazes, Mugs, Multiples, Pottery, Selling Pottery, Spring Snow, Surface Decoration | 2 comments

I love mugs and I love making mugs – they are probably my favorite pots to make.  However, I shudder with anxiety when some one wants to replace a beloved but broken mug. As a potter, I get a lot of  requests for mugs.  But, when some one is looking to replace a mug, they don’t want a new mug; they want the same mug that they had.  Inevitably, these are coffee drinkers who have spent countless mornings with a familiar friend.  And, they often tell me in detail why their mug was perfect – ‘the handle was comfortable’, ‘it fit the curve of my hand’, ‘ it held exactly the amount of coffee I can drink before it gets cold’, etc.   One gentleman who visited our craft show booth even carried his broken mug of 20+ years with him trying to find its replacement!  No mug can live up to such legacies. The real issue is not that there aren’t wonderful mugs to choose from.  The real issue is that those mug-seekers will initially compare every mug to their old mug; and, all they will notice are the deficiencies of the new mug.  Change is challenging for most of us.  We cling to the comfort of the familiar.   But, if those mug-enthusiasts overcome their loss and if they select one of my mugs, I count it an honor because I hope that something I made will become a celebrated and familiar part of their daily...

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Mid-May Maintenance

Posted by on May 14, 2011 in A Bit Off Center, Maintenance, Spring Snow | 0 comments

Our first craft show is over, the stores are stocked with inventory, and there are no gifts to be made at the moment.  It is a still time for A Bit Off Center.  We have a few orders to fill; but, for the most part, there is nothing pressing.  It is a nice reprieve – one that I have filled with lists. There are several projects that I have wanted to work on; and I plan to work on a few of those.  But, there are lists of non-pot-making things that I will be focusing on this month. Maintenance (non-pot-making tasks) feels cyclical to me.  We are out of one of our basic glazes so I need to mix it up; and, the other glazes could use sieving.   After our glaze-athon, the kiln shelves are desperate need of attention.  We have buckets of clay that are waiting to be recycled; and, the slip should be replenished.  The studio has been very neglected so I plan on cleaning it.  I spent most of today taking pictures of pots because we want updated photos to accompany craft show applications.  And, the website needs some freshening up. These are not complaints – I really enjoy all aspects of ceramics.  I am also very thankful that I have a partner who splits the maintenance with me so I can get back to my most favorite aspect – making...

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Considerations and Logistics: Brush Strokes

Posted by on Apr 19, 2011 in Bowls, Brush Strokes, How-to, Mugs, Plates, Red and White, Resist, Spring Snow, Tools | 0 comments

In this series of entries, I am sharing some of the discoveries I am making as I try to add texture and interest to my pots. Some techniques I have been experimenting with are: Slip trailing Carving Brush strokes Tape and wax resist Technical – Technical logistics include types of glazes and brushes.  Although this has been the easiest of the logistics to resolve, it eluded us for a while.  We kept trying to paint fine lines with thick brushes – that doesn’t work.  Fine lines require very fine brushes. Method – The preferred method is to paint underglaze on greenware  because it can be wiped it off if I make a mistake.  After the bisque-fire, it won’t smudge when I dip the pot in another glaze.   I have also used underglaze on top of glaze which is good for lines but not as good for designs. Glaze response – Understanding the properties each glaze exhibits has been key (this is a prevalent truth).  Translucent and clear glazes allow the underglaze to show.  In order to use opaque glazes, brush strokes need to be applied on top of the opaques. Design – All that the factors I identified with slip, carving, and resist are true with brush strokes – what patterns, how do the patterns relate to the rest of the pot, how to designate a space on the pot.  However, this application demands a bit more representative drawing...

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Considerations and Logistics: Slip Trailing

Posted by on Apr 9, 2011 in Casserole, How-to, Lime Fiesta, Mugs, Slip Trailing, Spring Snow, Surface Decoration | 4 comments

Insight:  Embellishing the pot surface is more complex than simply adding slip or carving a design. As with most things, one decision impacts several others  which means that there are several considerations and some logistics to work through as I incorporate textural elements into the pots. Among the many surface embellishments that we have been experimenting with are: Slip trailing Carving Brush strokes Tape and wax resist Implementation of each of these techniques has challenged technique, method, glaze response, and design. Technical – This has been the easiest of the logistics to resolve.  It included adjusting the consistency of the slip (less viscous for narrower lines and more viscous for dots and wide lines).    Also, in order to apply a slip line that is fluid with variable line weights, it must be done quickly.  I am practicing a lot in order to develop muscle memory.  Slip lines and dots have potential to be sharp, but smoothing out sharp edges can result in removing the slip from the pot.  A finger rub and dry-damp sponge seem to soften the edges without much design loss. Method – I have tried several dispensers to figure out which make the best lines and which are better for making dots.  So far, a narrow tip hair dye bottle and red bulb slip trailer are easiest for me to use and produce good lines and dots. Glaze response – Understanding the properties each glaze exhibits has been key.  Some of the glazes don’t break or are too pale and the slip gets lost.  The best glazes for enhancing slip design are translucent or break with contrast. Design – By far this has been the most challenging.  First, there is the question of what patterns to make on the pot.  I have been doodling and looking at fabrics to develop some ideas.  Then there is the question of how these patterns relate to the pot’s form.  I have begun to change some of the pot shapes in order to designate space for slip design.  This allows me to build in a ‘frame’ where I can start and stop the slip.  I thought I had resolved some forms (like mugs) but slip has forced me to expand my shape...

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