Saturday, March 31, 2012

Designing and making a Yarn Bowl

Yarn bowls are a hot item right now.  I had never made them before.  These two are fresh from the kiln.  I started the process with making a few drawings to get some ideas about design and size. 
There are so many ways to make a yarn bowl unique.   It best to take the time to make it great and make it your own :)

After trimming my bowl, I got a piece of paper and practiced drawing the swirl and when I felt comfortable, I used a stylus and free handed a swirl on my leather hard bowl. 

I used an X-acto knife to cut out the swirl.  I started at the top, but then decided I should begin at the middle of the swirl since that is the most delicate area and needs the most support.

I used a piece of foam to lean the bowl on while making the cuts.  I used a damp sponge to clean up and smooth down the sharp edges. 
I was concerned about the fragile swirl drying too fast in the dry Nevada air, so I coated both sides of the swirl and rim with wax resist.  

I covered the yarn bowls in plastic in such a way that they were supported to help them dry without warping.   At bone dry they were perfect, but after bisque firing I noticed a tiny bit of warping at the rim and swirl.

After glaze firing I notice more warping on the bowl with the larger swirl. 

I had fun and I learned a lot making these first bowls.  I will definately be making design changes and more yarn bowls.

Check out my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy shop for cute yarn bowls and other adorable pottery.

All designs, photos and content herein are owned by and ©copyright Cindy Gilliland 2012.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Plaster Bowl for Reclaiming Clay Slurry

This is a continuation from my Plaster Slurry Bowl post.

As the bowl was drying it became apparent that the surface wasn't going to heal hard enough to use for reclaiming clay. When plaster isn't smooth it has a tendency to flake and crumble.
Since the bowl was still somewhat damp, John suggested that I attempt trimming out the uneven surface and air bubbles. (I would not suggest trimming dry plaster for obvious reasons).

Trimming plaster isn't much different than trimming clay, except plaster doesn't ribbon off, it just make little flakes.  I used a vacuum with  hepa filter to collect the trimmings.  After trimming I used a metal rib and burnished the heck out of the surface.
The result was very good!! Yea! The surface was smooth and hard.

UPDATE:  The bowl worked well for reclaiming slurry.

All designs, photos and written content herein are owned by and ©copyright Cindy Gilliland 2012.  

Thursday, March 29, 2012

How much are you charging for that mug? Pricing handmade Pottery

The time, creativity, experience, effort, expense and love that goes into making a piece of pottery...   blah, blah, blah.    Let me just say, it's a total bargain :)

1- Drive to the next town to buy clay
2- Unload heavy boxes of clay into studio
3- Pug and blend clay
4- Weigh out clay
5- attach bat to pottery wheel
6- throw mug
7- cover and wait for mug to get medium leather hard
8- Pull or extrude handle
9- wait for handle to firm up
10- remove mug from bat
11- trim mug
12- attach handle
13- decorate with bisque stamps
14- cover slow dry for a day or two
15- check handle for separation and repair if needed
16- move to green-ware rack until bone dry
17- final check for cracks and clean up
18- load in kiln
19- bisque fire slow for 12 hours
20- wait 24 hours for kiln to cool
21- unload kiln
22- check for imperfections
23- dust off with damp sponge
24- wax bottom 
25- apply detail glaze
26- wax over detail glaze
27- apply full glaze
28- clean off excess glaze
29- let glaze dry over night
30- load mug in kiln
31- glaze fire for 9 hours to 2185 degrees
32- wait 24 hours for kiln to cool
33- unload kiln
34- check for imperfections
35- set up photo stage
36- take photos at all angles
37- measure Height, width and capacity
38- edit photos in photoshop
39- create listing on etsy
40- if it doesn't sell fast enough - re-list on etsy
41- wrap in bubble wrap and box up for shipping
42- order postage and print out label
43- deliver to post office or fed ex (we don't get pickup in our area)
44- follow up with feedback

* All designs, photos and content herein are owned by and ©Copyright Cindy Gilliland 2012.

DirtKicker Pottery is available for purchase on Etsy!

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Plaster Bowl for reclaiming throw slurry - Pottery Studio Tip

I have been thinking about making a plaster slurry bowl for a long time and today was the day.  

I used a wide plastic bowl that I bought at Walmart and a hump mold bowl form that I bought at  I used about 3 gallons of mixed pottery plaster.
Here is the plaster hump mold.  It came out really smooth and nice.
Here is the bottom of the plaster slurry bowl.   The bottom of the molds came out really nice and smooth.
The inside of the bowl came out with quite a few tiny air pits.   I need to figure a way to smooth it out..  Stay tuned!