Sunday, December 5, 2021

Remind me again


Here we are another December.  The older I get, the faster the years fly by.

Let's talk Pottery!   I'm still making decorative fun pieces.  Anyone who is familiar with my work will know that mugs are my zen thing.   I love, love, love making sweet mugs.

I have a zillion making techniques in my tool box but I believe that I have found my technique soulmate.   Mono-print allows me to illustrate, paint and work with clay.   It doesn't get better than that for me.  There's so much of my heart in these pieces and I feel a connection with each one.  

"Meant to Be" Mug
 by DirtKicker Pottery

Not everyone knows how much time and creativity goes into making and selling pottery.  Starting at wedging the clay and ending with driving boxes to the post office.  It's a labor of love for sure.

Many years ago I wrote a blog post "how much is that mug?"  I want to remind myself and others about the work that goes into making a handmade mug.   Even if my work isn't selling as fast as I would like, I still need to put a value on my time and art.  Not just for me, but for all makers.    

"Winter Bird" Mug, 
by DirtKicker Pottery 

One more thing.  I'm thinking about leaving Etsy.   It pisses me off when I market myself on social media and Etsy re-directs my customers to other shops.  Really Etsy?  So I'm searching for a new selling platform.  Any suggestions, let me know.
For the time being, you can find my work at DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop

I wish everyone a blessed and beautiful Christmas and Awesome 2022!

Love to all,


Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Emotional Attachment to a Favorite Mug is a Thing

Broken mug, broken heart

Over the years I've received several requests to make replacements for favorite mugs that had been broken.  I've learned that it's not uncommon for people to feel a personal attachment to a favorite mug.  I experienced that feeling first hand today.

John dropped and broke my favorite mug.   I heard the crash and sure enough, it was my favorite broken into pieces.  I think he felt worse than I did.  He knew that mug was special to me.

I made the mug during a difficult time.  I was able to express my feelings through the art for this design.   Somehow using the mug brought me comfort.  When the mug broke I felt that weird little piece of comfort disappear. I know it sounds ridiculous, but now I personally know the attachment that so many of my collectors have with their favorite mug.  It's a real thing.

Does a replacement mug take the place of the original?    From the feedback that I've received, the answer is yes. There is always the understanding that the replacement mug will not be the same as the original.  It will have it's own one of a kind personality.

So please, use your mugs and enjoy them.  Find comfort in drinking from them.  If your favorite breaks, don't feel bad for too long.  There's always more favorite mugs in my Etsy shop!

Love to all.
DirtKicker Pottery

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Lowering my Pottery Wheel

10 years ago I raised my pottery wheel for the health of my back.  Standing while throwing was awesome until my feet started having problems.

Years of standing in place for hours at a time took a toll on my high arched feet.  

Today my hero husband John cut 7" off the leg extensions on my Shimpo Whisper Wheel.   I'm no longer standing at the wheel, but I'm not sitting low either.

The height of the wheel is now 29".  My adjustable tall chair allows my legs to be just slightly bent and feet flat on the floor.   I'm being mindful to keep my back straight and not slouch over the wheel when throwing.
This new set-up feels healthier.   I honestly don't believe there is a perfect ergonomic throwing position for any potter.  Throwing standing, sitting or leaning will take a toll on your body over the years.  I guess it's the price we pay for doing what we love.    

Just a bit of advice.   If you're standing at the wheel and your feet are hurting, don't delay changing your setup.   Feet problems are no fun.

Cindy Gilliland, DirtKicker Pottery

Mother's Day is just a couple days away.   My baby girl sent me 50 hot pink roses in the mail today. They are just too beautiful not to share.

Love to all!

Sunday, December 15, 2019

It's Complicated

It's Complicated Mug
DirtKicker Pottery

2019 has been kind of a crazy and awesome year for sure.   

This year I've made a lot of hand-built pots and experimented with new decorating techniques.  I love to paint with watercolor and now I'm bringing that to my pottery.
Watercolor Daisy Mug
DirtKicker Pottery

There have been compatibility issues with slip, stains and underglaze on my mid-fire porcelain.   Little by little I worked out the problems and learned a bit more about glaze chemistry. 

Watch my Etsy Shop for new inspirational and romantic theme pottery.

Watercolor Coneflower Mug
DirtKicker Pottery

Love to all,

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Making slip for slip trailing on pottery

I've always loved adding slip trail details to my pottery.  I love the texture on the finished pots.    This is how I make my slip.  

* Clay (I use the same clay body, that I use for making pots)
* A mixing cup or bowl
* Distilled water
* Immersion blender

I shred moist clay 
(helps with dust control

let it dry out completely

Put about 1 cup of distilled water in a mixing cup, then slowly add dry shredded clay until the clay stops absorbing water and a layer of dry clay accumulate above the water line.  Let the clay and water sit for 20 minutes.

Mix with the immersion blender until nice soft peaks happen.  

Store in a wide mouth air-tight container.

squeeze the air out of the slip trail bottle and submerge opening into slip to fill.

Now you're ready to rock the slip trailing.

Some of my recent slip trail work.

Hope you all are doing well!   

Love to all,

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Love Coffee and Pottery?

I've been trying several different techniques for making Pour-over coffee makers.   I'm kind of obsessed with them at the moment.

I made a little YouTube video showing one of the ways to throw a pour-over.  Click the link and check it out!

LINK to YouTube Pour-Over video

This style I trim the drip catcher

This style, I trim and then throw a drip catcher

© cindy gilliland 2018

Saturday, May 27, 2017

Getting it done!

DirtKicker Pottery

So last year I really set myself up for a glaze nightmare.

It started last May when my Mom passed away.  I was sad for a long time and I spoiled myself in the studio.  For 8 months I worked only my favorite part of the making process.  I threw on the wheel, hand-built and illustrated on pots.  I didn't glaze or glaze fire and I didn't sell pots.      

So you can imagine what 8 months of making left me with.  Tons of  detail glazing, taking photos, measuring and listing new pottery for sale.   For me, that's the tedious work part of the process.

I don't mind spending a few days glazing, but I do mind spending a few months glazing.

A lot is lost when there is a long stretch between firings.  Ideas are forgotten and inspiration is cloudy.  Also, technique gets rusty and results are not as good as they should be.

Procrastinating the glaze work is not something new for me.  It's been a problem always.

SO FROM NOW ON.. I will not allow my making process to go beyond the number of pieces that it takes to fill "one" glaze kiln.     A promise I'm making to my future self.

I can do this!

My Spring-Summer pottery is finally starting to make it's way out of the glaze kiln.  Now it's time to get it sold and make room for what comes next!

DirtKicker Pottery
Nature Girl Mug