It’s not pottery, but here is some cuteness I had to share. There’s part of a vase in one picture!
I made this one to celebrate earth tones:
And Dorothy has a great one in Treasury East celebrating the same colors:
One thing I have mentioned in earlier posts is that pottery has a tendency to take over one’s house. There are pottery books and magazines, glaze test tiles, not quite right pots, pots to sell, show materials like tents and shelves, business stuff like printers, faxes, filing cabinets, packing materials, boxes, tape, GAH! I haven’t even mentioned all the actual clay, glazes, kiln, and other stuff you need to actually make the pottery.
Over the last year, this little business has grown in random spurts all over the house. We had our original office and then the pottery office, the spot where we packed up pottery, the place where we stored the tent and shelves, test tiles in little boxes all over the house, GAH again.
So, just like last year when we had to regroup when we had a breathing spell, we’re doing the same thing now. I decided to put my organizational skills and Quality Management experience to work. It’s very useful to audit your work habits and space planning to maximize your productivity. Folks might not think of doing this for an art business, but it really works for all businesses. I am happy to say that all pottery paraphernalia is now consolidated in one room. I am now able to take care of orders in the same room where the computer/printer/files/etc are without running all over the house.
All this just to say that you don’t ever know how to set up a space for a task until you’ve done that task quite a lot. I’ve also found that this applies to moving into a house and getting comfortable in it. You just can’t know in a new space how you will “be” in that space until you’ve been there for a while. So, don’t be afraid of taking stock of your space and asking yourself, “Is this working for me?” You might find that things can be streamlined into a smaller footprint that facilitates your work habits.
cone 10, Em's Persimmon Glaze, Em's Tenmoku Glaze, Emily's Mossy Mahogany Glaze, Glaze formula, Glaze recipe, Green Leopard Glaze, Midnight Peacock, Moss Agate Glaze, Promethean Pottery, Prussian Peacock, Quartz Clear Glaze, Spruce Juice Glaze, stoneware, Verdigris Sage
The awesome thing about the internet is you can tell what’s going on out there. I mean, I can see what people are using as search terms to find our blog. Some things are immensely funny, and I really have to think how I possibly could have used those words during the course of the entire blog. Other things are fairly obvious.
So, when someone searches for “Tenmoku” and finds my article on Taxonomy of Iron Glazes, or gets to my Glossary of Glaze Colorants, I am really pleased by that. I hope that person benefited from the hours of research I did that enabled me to write those articles. I also hope they give me credit for consolidating the information if they mention it to their friends. Those kinds of things are a lot of work after all.
Then there are the searches for “Em’s Honan Tenmoku recipe” and “Mossy Mahogany recipe”. See, I name my glazes the way I do for a reason. I have worked very, very hard over the last few years to develop the glaze recipes I currently use. I lost count on how many glaze tests I had done after about 2500. That’s 2500 in less than 2 years. I am extremely proud of my glazes, so I give them unique and identifiable names like: Em’s Honan Tenmoku Black, Mossy Mahogany, Midnight Peacock, Spruce Juice, Verdigris Sage, Prussian Peacock, Emily’s Persimmon, Green Leopard, Quartz Clear, Moss Agate, Chalk White, and others. I develop my glazes from the ground up and take pride in the fact that I have educated myself on glaze chemistry as well as I have.
On one hand, I am flattered that people like my glazes enough to be searching for their recipes by name. On the other hand, I am dumbfounded that people would spend the time and energy hunting around on the internet instead of just writing to me and asking me directly. If you appreciate my work, please do me the favor of telling me so. I take it as a huge compliment. You can post a comment here, and I’ll respond.
There are exceptions to the “lurkers”, of course. Just last week a very nice fellow emailed me asking for recipes. It was a pleasure to talk to him and get to meet a fellow potter.
I come from a science background. When you do research, you publish papers in peer reviewed journals and get credit for your work. You’re recognized for the accomplishments you’ve made by others in your field. Someone can always go back to that publication and find out what you did and how you did it. The convention is, you give them credit for that work when you build on it. I find this is lacking in the field of glaze chemistry where studio potters are concerned. If you are using a recipe someone has given you, then give them credit for it. There’s no shame in using someone else’s glazes as long as the usage is honest and straightforward. The converse is also true. When you’ve busted your bum and worked out a killer glaze formula, you get the privilege of naming it and calling it your own.
So please, just ask. My recipes are not published anywhere by me, and I’m pretty sure Rob isn’t selling them on the black market. I look forward to meeting other artists and always enjoy discussing glazes.
Thanks everyone for coming out to the Melbourne Art Festival this weekend. We had a great time and enjoyed meeting so many awesome patrons and fellow artists. One of the highlights for us was our next-door tent neighbor, Bonnie Carter, who is a fabulous watercolor artist. Bonnie doesn’t do your typical “watery” watercolors. She’s not afraid of color and vibrant subject matter. Please check out her paintings at http://bonniejcarter.com/.
Come see us this weekend in Melbourne, Florida!!!
The Melbourne Art Festival 2010
April 24 and 25, 2010
I was just looking back through my Glossary of Glaze Colorants and realized that I still have a lot of work to do on it. A picture is supposed to go everywhere you see a little bracketed piece of blue text. I have these test-pots ready to be photographed, but just haven’t had the time to set them all up and shoot them yet. After the spring shows are over, I promise, I’ll fill in these gaps.
In the meantime, please enjoy random pottery picture number 4. Maybe it’s 4? I lost count. We really enjoy making canisters and here’s a trio of them. Robert, of course, threw them and turned them. If you’d like to know more about throwing and turning, ask Robert. I keep trying to get him to write an article and he keeps forgetting! So, here I go chattering about the glaze…
After bisque firing, I glazed the group in my Mossy Mahogany Glaze (you know I like my glitzy names). Many of you may have seen the first version of my Mossy Mahogany last year. It was nice but not spectacular. I spent a lot of time revamping it so it would shine even more. What this picture does not show are the little gold crystals that dance around in the upper amber portions of the glaze. It’s a real pain to apply – too thin and it’s just brown, too thick and it runs all the way down the pot during firing in olive drab puddles. Sometimes, it runs onto the shelf (hence the angle grinder – which was surprisingly anticlimactic in actual use yesterday, phooey). I am sure with time I’ll get more used to it, at which point, I will be bored with it and change it again or come up with another glaze and discontinue this one. Enough talk. Here it is:
For our booth display, I decided we needed some pictures showing how we make pottery. Having been brought up as a good little scientist, I decided a PowerPoint presentation was the best answer. So, over the course of a few weeks, I took pictures of Rob and he took pictures of me doing our respective things. They all got narrated in presentation format, printed, laminated, and hung up in the tent at our last show. I think the amount of information might have overwhelmed people. Hmmm… What do you think?
I’m always struck by how awkward mugs, pitchers, creamers (anything with a handle) look before they are bisque fired and glaze fired.
I didn’t take any pictures of us sanding pottery. I just didn’t think that was very interesting. After I wax over the signature, each pot gets a bath with the hose.
What these glazing pictures don’t show is all the time and energy I put into formulating new glazes. All of the glazes we use are formulated by me and I’ve done over 2500 individual tests (at last count, meaning I’ve lost count and it’s probably a lot more than that by the time you’re reading this). Our house is cluttered by boxes and boxes of little tiles and testpots with hideous glazes on them!
I’m usually up first in the morning – like now. I like to spend quality time with the kitties (they’re actually already outside except for MooMoo, who’s at my feet) and some coffee before I get started on whatever random project is looming from the day before. Today, sanding, signing waxing and washing several large canisters is looming as is figuring out how to grind melted glaze off of kiln shelves. The up side is I get to play with my new angle grinder. The down side is that I have no idea what I’m doing! Thankfully, all the different forms of taxes are finally done – thanks in large part to my brilliant mother. So, I can – and should – focus on pottery again.
But in the morning, with my coffee and my kitties, I like to read through some of my favorite blogs. It’s really the only kind of news I care about. You’ll never find me cuddling up to a newspaper. Call me oblivious. This morning, I’m reading Jim’s latest posts on his blog: Sofia’s Dad’s Pots. He has a very readable style of writing (that my early morning brain can follow, better than Kafka) and his pots are stunning.
OK, I’ve justified my laziness by means of this piddly post. So, now I’m off to work.