Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Teapot Tuesday - Kyusu

I'm sure I wrote about it before, but I am jinxed when it comes to making teapots.  Goofy things happen every time I make a teapot.  Most of them end up on my seconds shelf. 

Since it's "Teapot Tuesday" (Thanks Gary Rith) I'm sharing the Kyusu I made yesterday.  Yep, I got brave and said forget the jinx, I love making teapots.  

Kyusu by DirtKicker Pottery

It's been a while, so I'm kind of rusty.  The spout is a little long and low for a kyusu, but it's still a cutie.

Right after I finished the mishima illustration, I dropped the lid.  Ughhh!  Jinx!  It only dropped a few inches, but that was enough to make it completely out of balance.    So I made another lid and now I'm moving on to making a couple more teapots. 

Happy clay day :)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Mothers and Daughters

I received an email a couple months ago asking for 3 heart mugs. When I make my heart mugs I usually don't know the story the mug will be a part of.  I only know that it's about love. 

When I made these 3 mugs it was different.  I knew the love story and it followed me through the entire process.  Thoughts of Mothers and Daughters.  Thoughts of three daughters and a mother who signed her cards to them with hearts.   Three daughters that recently lost their Mom to cancer.  
Rustic Heart Mug

Cara wrote:
"  It was a difficult year for my sisters and I, and although surrounding ourselves with family and friends has helped so much…I have been looking for a daily reminder to focus on life’s happinesses. And there are a lot of them! She may not be able to write me letters signed with her heart anymore, but I know that seeing that heart on my mug every morning will bring a smile to my face, and hopefully my sister’s faces too".

Thank you Cara.  I am honored to make something that will be a remembrance of this Love story.

Truly a reminder for me not to take one day together for granted.
I love you Mom.  I love you Tessa and Bobbi. I love you Cherie. 
Any conversation is safe with me, I'm here for you any time of day or night. Angry words forgiven and forgot, lessons learned, lessons taught.  Tears shared and understood, triumphs praised and cheered.  A closeness only death can part, but never taken from our hearts.

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Throwing Bowls

Last week I starting throwing bowls. Mostly Large bowls and noodle bowls.


Happy Clay Day!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

French Butter Keepers - Cracks on Lids

French Butter Keepers have never been at the top of my making list.  Mainly because I have problems with cracking on the lids.  

Mega compressing, slow drying in the drying cabinet and stage drying with plastic bags all help, but not always.  

My latest bright idea was to apply wax resist on the areas that dry the fastest.   

I'm bummed to announce that the wax resist didn't help.  2 of 5 keeper lids came out of the bisque kiln with cracks.   Ugh!

I always thought that uneven drying was the problem, but now I just don't know.  Maybe I have too much of a bottom curve inside the cup and it's creating pull.  Maybe I should make the bottom flat like a straight mug. Thoughts?

I like making butter keepers, but my ratio of success is only about 60%. 

Please share any suggestions or tips you might have on this subject.  

Thanks and Happy clay day!

Saturday, February 8, 2014

New Pottery Studio Table

Any potter who decorates pieces or incorporates hand-building will understand why this table is such a big deal for me.  It's level, big and heavy duty.  Perfect!
When John was designing this table, the height was something I had trouble deciding on.  Many clay artists have tall tables so they can stand while working.  After much consideration I decided to go with a standard table height.
I stand while throwing, I stand while pugging, I stand while slab rolling and I stand while glazing.  I wanted the table to be a place I could be off my feet and sit ergonomically  healthy.   I also wanted the table low enough to set my glaze buckets for dipping.  It's the perfect height for my grandkids to work at too.
A little about building the table:
John welded the frame using 2x2" steel tube
The material for the table top was 12' long, 2' wide maple butcher block purchased from Lumber Liquidators
John cut the length in half.  He attached the sections with biscuits and wood glue.  Then he used clamps to squish it together until the glue was fully dry.
He routed a round-over edge around the table.   I think he looks like a Teddy Bear in this photo :)
John attached the table top to the frame with lag bolts.  He installed heavy duty adjustable feet, which were actually designed to level pinball machines.
We used a stain and 5 coats of polyurethane, with light sanding between each coat. 
Yesterday I worked at the table for the first time.  I'm still kind of babying it until I'm sure the poly is completely hardened.
John has built so many things for my studio.  Everything from shelves to a throwing gauge.  John, my love, I appreciate all the work and free time you have dedicated to making my pottery studio a dream come true. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Ball Opener - DIY Throwing Tool - Pottery Tip

I fondly refer to this tool as the "Ball Buster".

Tom Whitaker generously shared his design for the "Ball Opener" on YouTube.    This tool is used to open clay on the wheel and pull a perfectly even bottom. 

John made mine with a couple changes.  We used regular 1/2" PVC (schedule 40) and built a sized down model to better fit my strength and throwing needs.   We also plugged the peg holes with "JB Weld" Plastic Weld Putty and sanded all the sharp edges.  

A quick way to start your pots on the wheel. I think this tool is great for production pottery making, it definitely speeds up the process.  I like this tool a lot, but I also love the process of opening a ball of clay with my hands.

Happy Clay Day!      

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

2014 at DirtKicker Pottery

Thinking about creative goals for for 2014.

He Loves me ~ Echinacea Flower Mug

I feel like I've been riding a creative wave for the past year.  I plan to continue moving forward and allowing subtle changes to happen naturally along the way.

I have just a couple 2014 work goals:

Goal #1 - I MUST incorporate exercise into my daily routine.  I get so focused I forget about exercise and sometimes eatting... OK, rarely eating.  I think a brisk walk or bike ride in the middle of my day will release some stress and energize me for the afternoon.

Goal #2 - Work on local sells.  I have a cool pottery studio, I would like to open it more often for open studio sales.

Goal #3 - Keep some of my own pottery for my family.   If I were to die tomorrow, my family would be left a small collection of seconds.   I want to start collecting some of my own work.

It was a good year for me.  I'm happy creatively and thankful to my customers for buying my pottery in 2013.  

One more thing...  to my sweet husband John, thank you for supporting me in every way.

All designs and photos are Intellectual property - ©Copyright Cindy Gilliland