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

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

Saying "sorry no" to custom orders

It's been a couple of years since I said yes to a custom order. The last custom request helped me make a decision.

The order was for 10 large (24 ounce) custom glaze mugs.  When it came time for the customer to buy them, he declined because the mugs turned out to hold 2 ounces less than what he wanted. Even though I had previously disclosed that the capacity would be an approximate.   He wanted me to start over and make more, but I was done with him and done with requests. 


Stormy Mugs
by DirtKicker Pottery

I won't say that all of my custom orders were a bad experience, but most were overly time consuming due to the back and forth planning and confirming that I understood the customers vision.  Custom request orders were never a good fit with my work style, plus they stress me out really bad. 

When a special request comes in, I no longer hesitate,  I just say "So sorry, I don't make custom requests, but I appreciate your interest in my pottery".  

Some potters thrive on the challenge of custom orders. Glad they do, because someones gotta do it and it's not me. 

It is a little difficult to say no, when the request comes from a return customer.  I explain as nicely as possible and hopefully they understand.  

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

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

Results...

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 ©DirtKicker Pottery

.. 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







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

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. Our family enjoys camping, but it's still pretty darn cold in the Sierra Mountains.  My Daughter Bobbi and her 3 kiddo's tried to sleep in a tent, but in the middle of the night they got so cold they had to bunk in the camper with John and I. All and all it was a fun camping trip, except that we didn't catch any fish.   Next time!






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