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.
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!
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!!!
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.
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!
SNEAK PEEK ~ DirtKicker Pottery's Spring Kiln Opening.
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.
When January 2015 came around I felt a self imposed pressure to present something new for the year. A new direction, something totally different. I played around making pieces that I've never made before. I even considered testing out some new clays.
Rustic Rose Mug - 2010
Rustic Rose Mug - 2014
I tried, but nothing new appealed to me. Probably because I have already found a style and direction in my work that I really enjoy. Sometimes we have to force ourselves to turn off the voice of ego and turn on the voice of good work. If we are patient and pay attention, we will see creative change happen naturally.
Aurora Borealis Mug - 2010
Aurora Borealis Mug - 2011
Aurora Borealis Mug - 2013
Aurora Borealis Mug - 2014/15
It's fun to look back and still appreciate what I made 5 years ago. It's also inspiring to know that year to year it will continue to morph into something new.