Friday, July 31, 2015


White Echinacea 
at DirtKicker Ranch

Such awesome inspiration God gives us
heart emoticon

Friday, July 3, 2015

Goodbye Blocks - Hello Shimpo Extension Legs

Extension Legs for
Shimpo Whisper pottery wheel 

I've been throwing standing for nearly 5 years now.  It was a change that saved my back.  Once I began standing at the wheel, my back pain was greatly reduced.
Shimpo designed these leg extensions right.  The legs look sleek, but they are totally sturdy and stable!  The height is adjustable too.
It's so much easier to keep my wheel area clean.

An early birthday gift to myself.  I give these Shimpo Extension Legs 5 Stars :)

This was my old set up.  Glad to be rid of the clunky garden blocks.

©Cindy Gilliland 2015.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Handmade Coffee Scoops and Kitchen Scoops - By DirtKicker Pottery

Making scoops is a fun way for me to relax and experiment with new decorating ideas.

My scoops are handmade from silky smooth porcelain clay.

I make them in 4 sizes
Small, Medium, Large and.......

This big scoop can be used similar to a ladle or serving spoon.  Perfect for serving thick soups or chili.

Honey Bee Scoop

I like to put a little hole in the handle so the scoops can be displayed when not in use.

Coffee Scoop
by DirtKicker Pottery
DirtKicker Pottery Scoops are adorable and full of personality.  Currently available for purchase in my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop.

All designs, photos and content are ©copyright Cindy Gilliland 2015

Monday, June 15, 2015

Concrete Wedging Table - Pottery Studio Kneading Table - Pottery Studio Tip

Last year we poured a big concrete patio.  John built a slick smooth form and we poured a concrete wedging block.   

I finally retired the old plaster block.  It was very worn, plus it wouldn't let go of the red clay contamination.

Cinder blocks are a safe sturdy foundation for the heavy concrete block.  I could totally do the smack down and this thing wouldn't move at all.

The surface is just smooth concrete.  No polishing required.  It's very similar to wedging on plaster.  It wicks moisture big time, so I usually wipe the surface with a damp sponge prior to wedging my clay.   

This new concrete wedging block Rocks!  I love it.  Should have gone with concrete years ago.

Thanks to my Sweetheart for making it.

©copyright Cindy Gilliland 2015.

Friday, June 5, 2015

Microwave Egg Cooker by DirtKicker Pottery

Microwave Egg Cooker 

DirtKicker Pottery Egg Cookers are a cute and convenient way to make breakfast.  Total prep and cooking time is less than 5 minutes (4 minutes if you've already had a cup of coffee).  Many people are surprised to learn that microwave scrambled eggs are awesome!  They are fluffy and tasty.  
My husband John will demo in the photos below how he makes a fantastic Scrambled Egg Breakfast Sandwich..

 1 large egg and 1 tbsp of milk

Mix it up.  At this point you could add goodies like diced bell pepper or turkey bacon.

Place in microwave with lid on and set for 30 seconds.  (no longer!)

After 30 seconds remove from microwave and give it a stir.  Then place back in the microwave for 30 more seconds.  Toward the end, the lid might lift a little and that's OK.  (If the eggs are not fully cooked increase cooking time by 5 seconds)

After the egg is cooked, season with lemon pepper or what ever you like.
Serve on a toasted wheat English muffin.  OR..

..add a pinch of shredded cheese, set the lid back on and the cheese will melt from the heat of the egg.    Yumm!  

Egg Cooker in Mint Green

Check out my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop for Egg Cookers and other fun handmade pottery.

All photos, content and designs are ©copyright Cindy Gilliland 2015

Sunday, May 31, 2015

fun with ladybugs

Yesterday My Grandkiddo's and I set free 1500 Ladybugs in our yard.  We had dozens of ladybugs crawling all over our hands and arms.   We put them on trees and flowers.   It was so much fun!!

Ladybug Garden Bowl
by DirtKicker Pottery

Friday, May 29, 2015

Getting the rehydrated clay workable - Lesson learned

**  Besure to read UPDATE below.

After 10 days of the rehydrating process, I removed the red clay bags from the buckets of water.  The results were different for each bag. 

This rehydration process kind of sucks. It's hit or miss on how much water you need to add depending on how dry your clay is.  Also, if it's really hard clay you may need to leave it submerged for a full 2 weeks or longer. 

Hand-built Red Clay Mugs
by Cindy Gilliland


The 2 bags of Laguna Redstone Clay turned out very soft on the edges, but still firm in the center.

When I opened the 2 bags of Laguna Hawaiian Red Clay, all I could say was.. "What a flipping mess".  One bag was way too soft and the other was very firm.  I decided to combine the soft and the firm in layers and homogenize it by wire wedging and hand wedging. 

This process just proved to me again why I wouldn't be making pottery if I didn't have a pug mill.  My neck is screaming at me.  Btw, I didn't use my pug mill because I didn't want to messy it up just to wedge 100 lbs of red clay.

I don't plan to use this rehydration process again.. ever.

Wire wedging soft and hard clay

I got lots of practice improving my spiral wedging skills.  I'm still not a pro.

It would have been easier to just clean out my pug mill.

**UPDATE!!!  9/3/2016 -  I got a much better tip on rehydrating hard clay.  (See comment below from Marian Williams).  Soak a towel.  Wrap it around the clay.  Put the towel wrapped clay in a plastic bag and let it rehydrate for a few days.   I tried this technique and it's easy and works VERY well!!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Wheel Thrown Mugs by DirtKicker Pottery

Honey Bee and Echinacea Mug
by Cindy Gilliland

.. and the cycle begins again.

I love the beginning of a new making cycle.  After reflecting on the good and bad from the last firing, I can now go forward to make even better pots and incorporate new ideas.

I love making mugs, so I always start a new cycle with my favorite form.  

See my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop for Romantic and adorable Mugs.

Throwing a DirtKicker Pottery mug


Saturday, May 16, 2015

Rehydrating hard clay - Mother's Day Camping

Cute Honey Pots
by DirtKicker Pottery

My last 2 firing have been in my old kiln.  My old kiln really came through and fired some nice pieces.  It felt good to open the kiln and pull out beautifully fired pots.     

This weekend I started the process to rehydrate 150 lbs of rock hard clay.   I haven't used red clay in about 3 years and I'm really looking forward to throwing it again.    
Rehydrating rock hard clay

The rehydrating techinque I'm using is from a Janis Hughes video.   If you haven't seen Janis' youtube videos, you really should check them out.  She has a fun sense of humor.

**UPDATE:  This technique seemed to work OK for Janis, but unfortunely for me it was a lot of work and a big mess.  If you're interested in seeing my results, click the link to see my blog post on "getting re-hydrated clay workable".

Rehydrating hard clay

Add a cup or two of water into an air tight plastic bag containing the hard clay.  Then submerge the bag into a bucket of water up to the top of the clay.  Remove the air and tightly close the bag.  Allow the clay to re-hydrate in the bucket for a couple of weeks.

We spent Mother's Day weekend camping with my Daughter Robin and her 3 kiddo's.  It was still darn cold in the Sierra Mountains. Thankful for a nice warm camper to sleep in.  All and all it was a fun camping trip, except that we didn't catch any fish.   Next time!

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Spring Kiln Opening at DirtKicker Pottery - Firing the old Kiln

SNEAK PEEK ~ DirtKicker Pottery's Spring Kiln Opening.

DirtKicker Pottery 

Lots of mugs, honey pots, bakers, big bowls and more.  I'll begin listing new pieces in my Etsy Shop starting Monday, April 6 and will continue thoughout the month.   Keep an eye on my Etsy Shop so you don't miss out on your new favorite mug ;)  

This photo was taken looking into the kiln peep hole at about 1600°.  Can you see that cute little flower getting toasty?

L&L Kiln e28T3 

My Old L&L E28T3 kiln "R2" all polished, vacuumed and jam packed with glazed Spring Pottery. This 11-year-old kiln fires beautifully.  This firing ran for 9+ hours to cone 5.5.  

All designs, photos and content are owned by and ©copyright Cindy Gilliland 2015

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Pottery studio tip - Forbes Wax Resist

I finally ordered a quart of Forbes wax to test it out.

Best wax resist ever!   It doesn't clump up during application.  It dries super fast.  After it dries it's shiny smooth and not at all sticky.  Brushes wash out with soap and water.

I add a little food coloring to wax resist to help me see the application area.

Forbes is wonderful to use when creating mishima decorations.  It makes surface clean up a breeze.

Sold by Highwater Clays, which is an East Coast company.  If you're West Coast, shipping is going to exceed the cost of the wax, but I still think it's worth the cost.

I love this product and highly recommend it.


Friday, February 6, 2015

Loving the Pour-Over Coffee Makers

I love coffee, I always have.  I remember being a tiny girl and my Daddy giving me "just one sip" from his coffee cup.
Pour over drip coffee maker 
by DirtKicker Pottery

There's just something about making and serving coffee in handmade pottery.  It's very satisfying and cozy.

I make my pour-overs kind of big, because I usually make generous size mugs.    

Keep an eye on my DirtKicker Pottery Etsy Shop for One of a kind pour-over drip coffee makers and adorable coffee mugs.


Wednesday, February 4, 2015

First Glaze Firing in New L&L Kiln - Pottery Studio Tip - Modeling Stick / Ruler

Test Firing new kiln

First glaze firing is done.  My 9 hour firing schedule finished in 8 hours 35 minutes.  The moment of truth will be Thursday morning.  

I realize now that this kiln is much bigger than what I really wanted.   Probably should have purchased a Liberty Belle.

Studio Tip:
This tool is next to my wheel everytime I throw.  I use it to under-cut fresh pots and to check height and width.

Just take a simple wood modeling stick, measure out each inch and label with a Sharpie.   

Ruled modeling stick

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