Sunday, February 20, 2011

playing in the mud.

If you know me, you know that I am addicted to the pottery wheel.  This year I am trying to challenge myself by stepping away and devoting some of my time and energy to .... *gasp* hand-building.  Here are a few pieces I have been working on this week--in their rough draft form.  I have been using the slab roller and texture mats to make these.  Dare I say that I am finding the hand-built projects to be very rewarding and fun?

 These were meant to be butter dishes, but they ended up a little large--I might have to sell them as "cheese keepers." You could put your Roquefort in there... get it "rock"forte... Bad, I know. We'll see after they are done.  Sometimes that 10-12% shrinkage really ends up making things look a lot smaller.  I am going to add some cute little handles that look like rock cairns.

 Sushi trays?  I think they could also work for other appetizers or as candle holders, etc...My fave is the one with the fish fins.
These are going to become mugs when they are be-handled and sanded.
Sometimes I think clay is most beautiful at this stage, but everyone else seems to prefer that shiny, finished, glazed look:)  

jazz up your kitchen: projects for the ambitious!

 A fun project to challenge yourself with would be a set of two or more forms and a ceramic container to hold and/or display them.
 This project would take a bit of math, hardware and epoxy--but what a great way to brighten up your kitchen!  The theme possibilities for this project are endless!
If you are comfortable throwing on the wheel, or using wheel-handbuilding combining techniques, here are three projects that would be really fun to tackle!

Friday, February 11, 2011

5 intermediate projects to jazz up your kitchen

1. French Butter Dish/ Butter Bell

For a video tutorial that explains how to throw one of these butter dishes,  click here

2. "Standard" Butter Dish (Wheel-thrown or Hand-built)
 If you are interested in making a circular butter dish on the pottery wheel, here is a three-part tutorial from Simon Leach Pottery. For a tutorial on how to throw the base click here, to make the "lid"click here,  for finishing and trimming click here.

If you would like to try something hand-built with a few more angles, these textured slab butter dishes are pretty awesome.  There is a step by step tutorial in a book at the studio if you would like more info.

3. Berry Bowl/ Colander
This is a cute and versatile form depending on the size you make it. 

4. Fluted or Carved Pie Dish
Hand-made pie dishes are the best.  You can custom tailor them to the diameter/depth of pie that you prefer.  Here are a couple of pretty examples.

5. Stamped or Carved Serving Platter-Handbuilt
Make a small set of these beauties to serve up your side dishes or appetizers OR build a bigger one to hold a main dish. This is a great project for hand-builders!
slab-rolled and carved

slab rolled and shaped over a slump mold.

slab rolled and stamped.

slab rolled over french lace for texture

Thursday, February 10, 2011

5 small, quick & easy ceramic forms to jazz up your kitchen

1.  Mortar and Pestle 
This tool can take on a variety of forms depending on what you plan to use it for.  Here are a couple of examples.  To see a tutorial on how to throw one on the wheel, click here.

2. Salt Cellar/ Salt Pig
These are a handy storage solution for coarse grain sea salt and they make an excellent conversation piece.  They can be made in one or two sections, thrown or hand-built.
this simple for could be wheel-thrown & altered or made using an extruder, or a combination thereof.

these mini-salt cellars would be a cinch to throw in one piece on the wheel.

A quick and easy hand-built project: Slab-rolled, textured and stamped.

could be wheel-thrown or hand-built.

3. Salt & Pepper Shakers
The sky is the limit when it comes to imaginative forms for this classic.  For an interesting tutorial on how to throw a bottom dispensing hollow shaker (first item pictured below) please see pages 29-31 of the May/June Pottery making illustrated (available in the studio--just ask me). Here are just a few forms to get your wheels a spinnin'.
one piece wheel-thrown (tutorial available)
graceful, minimalistic, hand-built

wheel-thrown & altered, but also hand-buildable.

simple, wheel-thrown and elegant.

4. Spoon Rests
A very quick and easy project.  You can either hand build a form and slump it, or wheel throw.  For a video tutorial on making a wheel-thrown spoon rest, click here.
hand-built using a slab rolled over a crocheted doily and slumped over a form.
carved, hand-built spoon rest. Simple & elegant.
Wheel thrown spoon rests... also very quick and easy.
5. Measuring Spoons
Since we're on a spoon kick, these are a simple, quick ceramic form that is really fun and would make a great gift.  I can't attest to how accurately they might measure, though it is probably close enough for government work.

Friday, February 4, 2011

I just got a copy of Kristen Kieffer's Surface Decoration in the mail today.  Ohmygosh, it was like Christmas in February.  I can't wait to try out some of the techniques she showcases in the DVD.  Woohoo!   I really admire her work; I think it is graceful and ever-so lovely. It is also of note that she is using a cone 6 porcelain and electric kiln setup similar to what we have at NWC.