Sunday, October 26, 2014

Using Produce Bags to Help Pottery Dry Evenly - Pottery Making Tip

Usually I throw pots the first half of the day, then afternoons I trim and decorate the pots I threw the day prior.    I stand while throwing, so breaking up the day is a healthy balance for me.      

The dry climate in Northern Nevada gives me a lot of control over how quickly I would like my pots to dry.    After throwing my pots I let them sit out until the rims firm up, then I put them in my DIY drying cabinet over night.


Aurora Mugs in process.
This will be my 4th Christmas making them.

The next morning I remove the pots from the bats.   I place them in produce bags rim side down with the bottoms up and open to the air.   The produce bags protect the rims from over drying while allowing the bottoms to quickly dry to leather hard for trimming.

When making mugs,  I trim, handle and decorate,  then place them all together under plastic.  I leave them under plastic over night and it helps equal out the moisture level of the body and handles.   An even moisture level helps prevent attachment cracks.

The following morning I place them upside down on a wire rack and loosely drape a sheet of plastic over the top.    By afternoon I remove the plastic and allow them to finish drying in the open air.

It may sound like a lot of steps, but it's well worth  it.

Happy clay days everyone!
Aurora Borealis Mug
by DirtKicker Pottery

2014 Aurora Mugs will be available for purchase Early December in my 

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Loving Fall

I love most everything about Fall.  The colors, the crisp cool mornings and warm afternoons, the beautiful squash and veggies.  

I bought a couple organic squash.  A butternut squash and a spaghetti squash.   
I roasted the butternut this morning and it turned out so good.   Here's how simple I make it.

Preheat oven to 400° F.  Wash, carefully slice the squash in half and remove seeds.


On each half, top with 1/2 table spoon of butter, 1 table spoon of Kahlua,  1 teaspoon brown sugar, pinch of salt and lots of black pepper.

Bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender

Butternut squash is naturally sweet, so you really don't even need to add the brown sugar if you don't want to.   It can be blended into a lovely soup or cubed as a side dish.   For me, just give me a plate and a spoon and I'm in squash heaven.

Since this is a pottery blog, I must add some pottery.  Here are my latest Fall lovelies fresh from the kiln.

Side Handle Soup Bowls
by DirtKicker Pottery

Hope everyone is having a wonderful Fall weekend!


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pie Dishes, Just in time for Fall Baking!

I wouldn't mind if these pie dishes took a while to sell, because I'm enjoying having them in the studio.   My mishima illustrations along with the bright colors turned out pretty darn cute.  

 Pie Dish with Poppies,
by DirtKicker Pottery

  Pie Dish with Echinacea Flower,
by DirtKicker Pottery

I almost forgot how much I enjoy making pie dishes.  This year I'm making them with the deep fluted French rims.  I love the over the top exaggerated pie form.    
A little secret.. When I'm making pie dishes I always sing that song from the movie "Micheal".  "Pie, Pie, me oh my, I love pie!"

These pie dishes are currently for sale in my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop!
Happy pie making everyone!

©Copyright Cindy Gilliland

Friday, September 5, 2014

37 Test Tiles in the Kiln

Gorgeous Iron Oxides

Just look at those colors!  The Crocus Martis is an iron oxide.  In the chemical state it has a rich raspberry hue.   The Spanish RIO is more orange and reminds me of terracotta.  I mixed up a few cone 6 iron recipes, plus a few with revisions. To get the nice rusty orange/red results in oxidation, a slow cool is suggested.   I decided not to program a custom cool down because my kiln is pretty big and it cools slow naturally.   Also I didn't want to chance messing up my other glazes.    If the reds don't happen in my current firing schedule, I might try a programmed slow cool at a later time.   I would really love to have a small programmable kiln for testing and small loads.  I checked out a new little L&L and about fell off my chair when I saw the price.  I'll just keep watching craigslist. 

Labeled and ready to dip.  I only have one Mason Stain in this test run.  I'm more curious about arriving at colors with oxides and other chemicals.   I love being surprised.

There is just something really beautiful about test tiles.



Firing today.  Hope these tiles will result in some glazes worth keeping. 

Saturday, August 30, 2014

Removing wax resist from bisque

When applying wax resist to bisque, smears and drips can happen.  Re-bisque is the best remedy for wax resist mistakes.   If the smear isn't too bad, I remove it with rubbing alcohol and sandpaper. 


I can't say this wax removal remedy will work with all wax resist, clays and bisque.  I just know it works for me.  My clay is porcelain and stoneware blend.  I bisque to cone 04.  I use Laguna wax resist diluted 50% with distilled water and several drops of food coloring.    

I start out with scrubbing the unwanted wax with a alcohol saturated cotton ball .  Try to keep the scrubbing contained only to the area of unwanted wax.  The wax will break up and the sheen of the wax will become dull.



I then use a 150 grit sandpaper on the area to remove any wax that might remain.  Don't over sand and deform your pot.

After the pot is completely dry, I look for any sheen evidence of residual wax.  If I see more, I continue sanding the area.

Before glazing the entire pot, I test out glaze on just the wax removal area to make sure the glaze absorbs well and coverage is good.  

I've had good results with this technique.






Monday, June 2, 2014

Mugshot Monday

Vintage Bubble Gum Machine Mug

I designed this mug to be playful with a cartoon style illustration.  Mishima with velvet underglaze, clear gloss finish.

Sorry, this mug is sold, but you can see more of my pottery in my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy shop!


All designs and photos are intellectual property.  ©Copyright Cindy Gilliland 2014.

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Bringing Attention to the Cause with Word Tile Props

I was trying to figure out a way to get more attention for my St. Jude charity piggy banks, and this is what came to mind. I made little tiles with positive words on them.   Here are a couple examples.


Hula Girl Piggy Bank

"CARE" is the perfect word for my piggy banks because I give 100% of the sale proceeds to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.  

Rainy Day Mug


I think they're pretty cute.  


All designs and photos are intellectual property.  ©Copyright Cindy Gilliland 2014.