I'm glaze shopping again. For clear this time; the new batch of white is doing exactly what it is supposed to, but the clear- oh goodness. I tell you that it BITES to spend, say, six hours on a set of cups (start to finish, hands-on time is about 10 hours for these 20 cups, not including firing) and pull them from the kiln and find them rough and streaky and/or cloudy. I tried to reglaze them but the glaze wouldn't stick because it was too thin. Not terribly good for someone trying to fill wholesale orders. On Tuesday I cried about it and told my son I didn't want to be a potter any more. He asked what I'd do with my wheel and kilns. Good question.
And then I see lovely photos of my work in friends' homes, and someone I know sees me out at supper and tells me that she loves the new piece she bought, and my knitting friends are tickled with their newest batch of seconds, and I realize that it's ok. And that I am in serious need of a re-boot. A vacation. So we're taking one. I'll be back here in a few weeks, with some new clear glaze, and hopefully some work to share.
Happy Memorial Day. Enjoy your holiday weekend. Remember those who have given and lost and be thankful.
Friday, May 20, 2011
I keep feeling like I'm working and working and not having much to show for it, but I remind myself that keeping things in inventory is not my goal. Making and moving them out is. I do need a certain amount of inventory to, oh, stock an etsy shop or have a sale at home, but I realized that I'm accustomed to having six huge rubbermaid bins chock full of pottery- 60+ lbs each, but that's not how I'm working anymore. It isn't efficient or, frankly, the best way to generate income for my family.
Tomorrow I'm getting a new batch of the glaze that worked best for me so that I can finish one of my dinnerware orders and start a second. (hint to Melissa- THAT's where your effort has been going!)
This afternoon I'm going to pick strawberries with a friend and our children, and then we're going to make JAM! Canning season has begun (I snuck in a batch of rose petal jelly and syrup on Mother's Day) and I have a plan. Tonight will be rocking at Levitt Shell, our neighborhood free concert venue- I'm thinking about a picnic of Zapps (google it!), banh mi, and rose- or abita, as it's a new orleans band. And on Sunday, I'm working on putting those front-yard raised beds in. In the middle of the yard. Because it's my yard, dang it all, and I'm out of veggie space. Possibilities.
I hope your Friday is full of potential.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
Hope your weekend is swell.
Thursday, May 5, 2011
I didn't glaze under ideal conditions- it was raining cats and dogs for most of Tuesday morning, and I was in the even-more humid basement. I always have problems with the glaze sticking on humid days, so I expected some problems. I'm pleased that I didn't ruin too many pieces with Glaze 1, that 75% of the pieces I used Glaze 3 with came out near-perfect, and Glaze 2 did exactly what I expected it to, which was to under-perform.
If you're interested in knowing which glaze I used for Glaze 1, shoot me an email (I don't get most of the email addresses with your comments) and I'll tell you. Glaze 2 is an at least 3 year old 25 lb bag of Opulence Gloss White. Glaze 3 was a brand-new bag of the same. There is one other white glaze I'd like to test, but since I buy all of my clay and most of my other glazes from Opulence (they're based in Nashville, fairly close to me), I think I'll stick with them. Now to work on those dinner and wholesale orders!
I'll be at MFM for Mothers' Day shopping on Saturday. Maybe in the new section of the pavilion. Come say hello!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
Weather aside, yesterday I tested my three white glazes. My old white glaze that had been giving me problems, a new batch (same glaze, but made recently- my I bought my old batch several years ago), and an entirely new brand. I mixed them up on Monday, let them rest for 24 hours, then screened and glazed a load to see what they would do. Mugs, small platters and little bowls- I tested dipping (my preferred method of glazing) and brushing (what I have to do for larger pieces) to see how they'd turn out. The kiln finished firing around 4am, and I'll need to wait until Thursday morning to unload it. My fingers are crossed. There was a discernible difference between the new and old versions of my "regular" white glaze- both in how the glaze felt when mixed and dried on the pieces, and in its color. I loaded the kiln so that each glaze got its own shelf - we'll see. I'm hopeful that the new/old white will work well and that maybe the new-new white will, too. Because I've got a TON of pottery that needs to be glazed white, and I'm ready to put that dinnerware set to bed!
Thanks for your good thoughts and emails about how my family fared with the bad weather here in the Deep South. I really appreciate it.