Summer has been a productive time in the studio. Lots of flowers and ladybugs for inspiration.
I like inscribing words on some of my pots. Inspiring or positive words. I use letter stamps, but sometimes the feeling is best conveyed if the word is handwritten.
Handwriting on pottery
Anyone who has tried it, knows that handwriting on clay can be a little tricky. I find that medium leather hard clay works best for handwriting. Try not to over-think placement, size etc. Just let the word flow spontaneously and natural.
My precious Momma is now resting in God's care. She was the Mother of 12 children. She lived 93 years. She died at home with her children all around her. My sisters and I cared for Mom in her home. On the days I spent with her, I would always bring my sketch pad. I would sit next to Mom on the sofa and she would watch me design pottery.
One day we designed a mug together.
Mom's "Are You Ready?"
Mom loved to witness for God. She would ask anyone and everyone "Are you ready?" That would open the door for her to tell the world about Jesus and God's promise of eternal life.
Our mug came out of the kiln 2 weeks before she left us. She loved it. My heart is broken and I'll miss her forever.
My electric kiln is 10 years old and the thermocouples had never been replaced. Last year I started making thermocouple adjustments to account for drift. So, when my elements wore-out I figured it was time for a little tune-up.
Cone results PRIOR to tune-up.
Kind of wack-a-do.
John and I replaced the elements, thermocouples, relays and 2 power terminals that had crumbled. I ran an ^04 slow bisque to burn-in the elements. Then I ran an empty ^5.5 slow glaze test-fire to confirm that the kiln was firing in the ballpark of my target temp.
Cone results for ^5.5 Glaze test-fire
of EMPTY kiln after tune-up.
The Empty test-fire was a little warm, but still in the ballpark of ^5.5.
Next, I fired a ^5.5 slow glaze test-fire loaded with pottery.
Cone results for ^5.5 Glaze test fire
of FULLY LOADED kiln after tune-up.
The load fired on the hot side of ^5.5. I'm going to make thermocouple adjustments to slightly cool all 3 sections. Next glaze fire should be perfecto.
If you have ever asked the question.. Does an empty kiln fire hotter or cooler than a fully loaded kiln? According to my testing, the results were very similar. I probably should have titled this post "Tales of a Witness Cone Nerd".
A very cool box came in the mail. The kids couldn't wait to get it into the house and help me open it.
It's a Michael Kline mug from his kickstarter kiln project. It's beautiful!
Handsome almost 11 year olds. We have a lot of fun together.
Trying to explain in sign language and demonstrate how to apply underglaze inlay on fragile greenware, was like juggling. Reilly carefully completed the inlay on his dinosaur mug. He did a fine job and the mug is still in one piece.
Last week I worked on inlay and TODAY I'm firing a bisque kiln Yeah! Finally.
My first blog post of the year. It's been a slow start, but I'm sputtering along.
Along with my 4 sisters, I have been assisting with the care of my 93 year old Momma. Caring for an elderly parent is difficult. Dementia is setting in rapidly and it utterly breaks my heart to see her drifting away mentally and physically. As always I have 3 of my Grand-sugars a couple days a week. I plan to get them involved more in studio activities. Even though my time in the studio has been limited, I have gained a renewed appreciation for working with clay. I savor every day that I get to be in the studio making pottery. When I'm not in the studio, I still have thoughts of pottery swirling around in my head. Sketchbooks are an awesome way for me to preserve those design ideas.
I like to use watercolor with my sketchbook doodles as a way to try-on color with design. I enjoy the unexpected effects of watercolor.