Lime Fiesta

Celebrating Summer

Posted by on Jul 23, 2011 in About Me, Lime Fiesta, Teabowl | 2 comments

My favorite time of the year is fall so summer has always felt like a long waiting period.  And, in eastern NC, fall doesn’t come until October so the wait is even more prolonged.  Add high heat and humidity, and summer has never been a favorite season of mine. I spent a lot of years in school until I finished my MS, therefore I was accustomed to an academic schedule setting the rhythm of my life rather than seasonal variations.  Essentially, I defined summers by time away from study and work, not by warmer weather.  After I began working full time, I realized that the season had no bearing on what I did.  Subsequently, I lost the sense of ‘summer’.  To that end, I decided that I needed to find ways to celebrate summer so I wouldn’t homogenize my days. I started a tradition of making a list of the things I wanted to do in the summer but didn’t get a chance and of the things I really enjoyed doing.  I make this list at the end of the summer and put it in my journal until May of the following year.  That list becomes my ‘to do’ list for the next summer.  It includes lots of small things: buy produce from the farmer’s market, swim with my nephews, take a day trip to the beach, walk in the morning before it gets hot, plant geraniums and marigolds, go to the movies in the afternoon, get a pedicure, wear a sleeveless shirt (an act of defiant bravery), pick strawberries, go to the library, etc.  All of these things have sensory or sentimental significance that help me embrace a season of the year that I would prefer to be shorter and cooler. This year, I added a couple things to the list.  I am really enjoying cucumber water – it is very simple but amazingly refreshing.  A few slices of cucumber in cool water, drunk from one of my tumblers – it is a perfect summer drink.  I think drinking out of a tumbler keeps the water cooler longer and I love engaging with pottery!  I serve cool beverages to my guests in ceramic tumblers (when they aren’t in the dishwasher – I really need to make more tumblers).  And, several of my regular guests have requested tumblers for themselves.  This is a major conversion since most people prefer glassware for cold drinks. I also love ice coffee.  So, each morning, I make a little extra coffee and pour it into a ceramic pitcher, which I store in the refrigerator.  I like to mix the chilled coffee with vanilla soymilk – it is a great mid-morning break.   And, pouring it from the ceramic pitcher makes it even more celebratory – and another great way I can commemorate...

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Sticks and More

Posted by on Jun 17, 2011 in Bowls, Gifts, Lime Fiesta, Mugs | 0 comments

Today, we took new pots to restock inventory at Sticks and More in Snow Hill, NC.  This was the first shop to host pottery by A Bit Off Center.  It is a cute store – actually it is a renovated petroleum station.  Although I am a potter by passion, I work for an environmental consulting firm by day – which means that most of my clients are petroleum retail facilities.  But, none of my project sites have an AST (above ground storage tank) painted pink! Sticks and More is just as adorable inside as it is outside.  They have quite an assortment of fun and unique gifts and they host arts and crafts made by local artisans – and we have been thrilled to be included in their eclectic collection since August...

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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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Considerations and Logistics: Tape Resist

Posted by on Apr 16, 2011 in Casserole, How-to, Lime Fiesta, Taping, Uncategorized | 1 comment

In this series of entries, I am sharing some of the discoveries I am making as I try to add texture to my pots. Some techniques I have been experimenting with are: Slip trailing Carving Brush strokes Tape and wax resist Technical – Again, this has been the easiest of the logistics to resolve.  We have use tape resist on greenware and bisqueware.  Masking tape sticks great to bisqueware.  But for greenware, it is easier to use strips of newspaper.  Wet the newspaper, then apply like tape and underglaze exposed areas.  (This is how the small casserole was glazed.) Method – There are so many methods… If I apply underglaze on greenware, I can wipe it off if I make a mistake.  After the bisque-fire, the underglaze won’t smudge if I dip the pot in glaze.  But if I want to use 2 glazes to make a stripe pattern, I apply masking tape to the bisqueware, paint the exposed areas with a glaze, remove the tape, paint the remaining areas with a second glaze. Glaze response – Understanding the properties each glaze exhibits has been key (this is a prevalent truth).  Some of the glazes look great if they overlap so making ‘clean’ stripes isn’t necessary.  (I am avoiding glaze combinations that need a ‘clean’ stripe because they are too unforgiving for hand application.)   Also, if I underglaze a portion of the pot in black underglaze and bisque-fire it, I can paint lines using clear glaze.  The contrast between the raw matte underglaze and glossy clear makes a subtle stripe pattern. Design – All that the factors I identified with slip and carving are true with tape-resist – what patterns, how do the patterns relate to the rest of the pot, how to designate a space on the pot.  In addition, applying tape or newspaper is restricted by pot curves – the curvier a pot, the more gaps there will be in the tape and newspaper.  Gaps permit glazes to be applied in areas you don’t intend for them to be. Design continues to be the most challenging...

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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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Surface Embellishment

Posted by on Apr 6, 2011 in Glazes, Lime Fiesta, Mugs, Philosophy, Pottery, Spring Snow, Uncategorized | 2 comments

Surface decoration is my current focus.  This is proving to be challenging because it is stretching my drawing and design skills.  Also, it is forcing me to reconsider the glaze combinations that we worked hard to develop.  It is easy to cling to something because of the time and effort it cost.  And, it is hard to ask something that is good to be better. Last year, we focused on developing glaze combinations.  And, I think there are several successful combinations.  Even so, as I was working on some teapots at Christmas, I began to feel like my teapots are flat.  I want my pots to host elements that will tactilely and visually engage the user. I think adding texture will bring those elements into the pots.  We began slip trailing and carving (it was a bit of a revelation to use both applications on one pot).   Also, we are dabbling with underglaze in order to add a matte surface.  I like its contrast with the high gloss color glazes we use.  Changing the surface topography is the next step in developing distinctive...

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