Wednesday, February 26, 2014


A few weeks ago I demonstrated how to achieve a highly textured surface on a thrown pot using slip with sodium silicate. When the sodium silicate is "dry" and you begin to expand the cylinder, you get a crackled surface. I had added red iron oxide to achieve a more dramatic contrast for demonstration purposes. The end result were about 3 very fat forms with some excellent texture. Anyway, after the bisque, I rubbed in some Barnard slip, and then a thin wash of iron oxide and a further wash of a rutile/Gerstley Borate/Neph Sey mixture. The trick was then "how to glaze neatly" without obscuring the texture. On 2 of them I brushed on a thick layer of liquid latex on the untextured areas, let it dry a bit and then brushed on a wax emulsion over the textured areas. Once the latex was removed, I was able to glaze those areas fairly cleanly. I decided to see if the latex would work directly on the textured areas instead and brushed a very thick coat all over where I did not want the glaze. I was worried that it would stick in the copious nooks and crannies, so I let it dry for several days. I removed it last night, after dipping the whole thing in some glaze and it came off beautifully. So beautifully in fact that I kept the rubber ring that came off in one complete sheet. The texture it picked up was amazing, now I just have to find a way to use it in future work. As I am forgetful, I don't have an image of the textured latex, but these are a couple of the bottles before the oxide baths I gave them....

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pots waiting for the kiln

This week blew right on by. Last weekend was a long one so I took advantage and threw, made glaze, fired a bisque and then a glaze. As usual, I have photos of the pots I have waiting, but none of the finished work. Maybe I will take them tonight. I need to get a batch of pots down to Galleria on Saturday, so tonight is the only option for picture taking. This is an arty shot of a bowl and a casserole with various other pots in the background

These 2 pics are of a lamp base I am working on. Fish seem to be my theme lately...wonder why that is...
On a not pottery note, I met with the contractor yesterday afternoon to walk through my condo to make sure everything looks ok in terms of wall locations and to discuss the kitchen. Nothing was left of it when they got there, so I had to let them know what it should look like and then any changes that I would like to see happen. I really want a pantry, and I hated the peninsula/island so instead I am putting the pantry where the peninsula started and then I will buy a counter top height table with drop down leaves in that space. It will act as a counter as well as an eating area that actually functions. I asked the "when" question as well. He says that there is a 14 week timeline that will begin as soon as they pass the last inspection before drywall starts. So it could be 15-16 weeks. Possibly a move back date 1 week before the 1 year anniversary of the flood. And that's all I know for now.

Friday, February 14, 2014

A very nice way to kick off the long weekend

Perhaps I am jumping the gun, but I wanted to share my good news. I was contacted today by someone who was inquiring about the pots I have on display at Sunlife and if any of them were still available for purchase. Up until now, I have not had anyone express an interest, or contact me about them, so yes, they were all still available. I sent him a price range and thought he might be interested in one or two pots. The response back was that he would take them ALL. So if you are the one that just bought all of my pots, I thank you, A LOT.

I must say that my experience with selling my work has been “interesting”. I have met a lot of people and I have sold a lot of pots, but man, is it hard work. I get the tire kickers; the ones with $20 in their wallet who try to spread it around as many vendors as possible; or the ones that will try to chip away at your price because you should be so lucky that they want to buy your work, but at the price they want to pay. I also get the ones that love the work, and will buy a piece without even knowing how much. The ones who boggle my mind are the ones that ask that age old craft sale question “what would I use it for?”. Usually they are referring to a bowl. I mean really, what would you use a bowl for? Oh ya, the other question I get is “ooooh, I like that, but do you have it in blue?” These people never buy anything (at my stall anyway). They will not flinch at paying $20 for a temporary tattoo though…..weird.

I began selling my pots a couple of years after I joined Fairview Studios at one of the semi annual pottery sales that Fairview puts on. I was a bit hesitant and nervous, having never put my work out there for the public to openly judge, but was pleasantly surprised when I made $400. I thought that was fantastic and have been present at every Fairview sale since. I soon realized that the quality of my work was getting better and that the prices I was charging was not fair (to me). So I upped the prices a bit, not much, but enough to help me continue doing this crazy pottery thing. A couple years later, I started selling at Galleria and was again amazed that people buy my pots (I am my worst critic). I participated in a group show at Centennial Gallery and was essentially Shanghaied by a gallery member to join and start selling my work there permanently.
I like selling out of galleries for the ease. I don’t have to work hard to keep my pots on display and they sell them for me, what a deal.
I have also occasionally entered into the world of commission work. Some successful, some not so much. I won’t go into the bad, but there has been some good and that is what keeps me open to commissions. This is a scary way to sell work. It is basically like buying a house on spec. I can tell you what it will probably look like, or show you a similar example, but the finished piece probably never matches what the customer had in their mind’s eye, especially when it comes to glaze colour. Expectations rarely match reality. Although, sometimes reality surpasses imagination.

So, from kitchy craft fairs, to more sedate gallery settings, dealing with demanding and unknowledgable customers asking for the unattainable, to the most amazing clients that keep asking for work and never balk at your prices and then sometimes pay you more than you ask. It is a crazy thing trying to be your own sales person. I almost feel embarrassed asking people to pay me money for something that is not (and never will be) a “job”.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

So close, but still so very far away

It is almost 8 months since the flood, and itt will be exactly 10 months since I was told to evacuate my condo on April 20th. I had a meeting this morning regarding the rebuild stage and although I was not given an exact timeline, it has been estimated that it will take 3 months from Feb 3rd before we will get occupancy for the units that were destroyed. So I was a little off on my Easter guestimate, but notby much. If all things go as planned, with no supply hiccups, or subtrade shortages/difficulties, I might be back by May 3rd. My fingers are crossed, but I am not holding my breath. Once the dry walling starts (possibly next week if inspections are ok for the fire stopping work that needs to be done), that would only take a couple of days apparently. Then we will begin meeting with the contractor to discuss finishings etc. The thing that might tip me over the edge will be the 7am weekly meetings with the contractor and the owners. I don’t get out of bed sometimes until 7:30 am. That is going to be tough, but I will just have to suck it up.

On the pottery front, I have bisqued round one for the galleries, but I still need to glaze. I am in the middle of getting work ready for the second bisque firing and it will have large bowls, platters, casseroles etc in it. I threw some really lovely 7-8lb bowls over the last week, as well as some large 5-6lb platters and a couple more teapots, ‘cause you just can’t have too many teapots in my opinion.

No pottery pics today, so here is a puppy pic…

Friday, February 7, 2014

It's been like driving down a washboard road with no idea how long it will be until you hit pavement again.

If I squint, I think I can see a tiny pin prick of light at what I am hoping is the end of this very long tunnel.
I found out yesterday that construction has begun in the main floor units (one of which is mine) of my condo building that were destroyed during the flood last June. There is a week of bringing the units up to code, as this building was originally constructed back in the mid 1960’s. Then, in hopefully a week, they will begin hanging drywall, laying down flooring, installing cabinets and other fixtures. Exciting times are ahead. I will need to go out and buy all my appliances soon, as well as furniture. I just need a timeline so that I can have all this stuff delivered and installed.  
Who knows, I might even be moved in before Easter (fingers and toes all crossed).

Monday, February 3, 2014

Production Mode

My hands were wet all weekend. I now have a severe case of lizard skin. I spent about 3 hours on the wheel on Friday night, again on Saturday night and then a full 7 hours on Sunday. It felt like I got a lot more done than the picture says I got done. However, I threw all the mugs on Friday and Saturday, trimmed and handled them all on Sunday. The teapot is to go with the short mugs and was thrown on Saturday and then trimmed/assembled on Sunday (required a torch to get it stiff enough). This shot shows all that I made/completed over the weekend.
Here is a shot of all the mugs (19 in all). The short little guys are new for me and I am really liking their simplicity.
This bowl was thrown on Sunday and will have a few handles stuck on the rim.
Finally, this teapot is not my normal bulbous style. I figured I needed something that matched the mugs, so here it is.
I am focusing on resupplying one of the galleries I have neglected over the past while since the flood. I just never seemed to have the time or energy to devote to it. Next will be some more large bowls, serving platters, casseroles etc