BEGINNING TO TAKE FORM

_june (3)

I’m just finishing up my last pottery class before summer.

My signature has become half hand-built and half wheel thrown creations.  When both elements are present, I get the most unusual pieces.

_june (2)

I am hoping to add these to my Art Show on July 19th.

Like a ding-bat, I didn’t take any photos of the three beautiful hand carved canisters I am finishing up currently, as well.

One has a blue bird motif, the second wild sunflowers, and the third a peacock design.  I also made a little  sugar bowl in red, white and aqua with little chicks on it.  These four are going in the kiln for their final glazing so I will post photos when they come out.

It’s been a bad scene at the pottery studio.  2 of the 3 kilns have been failing for the last two weeks, so progress has been slow.

Well, enough pottery doom and gloom.  It’s almost hydrangea picking season, so I need some flower vases ASAP. I  sure can’t wait to fill these vessels!

Enjoy your afternoon.

http://www.becreativemary.com

Any Guess What These Are?

_axxx

How many of you guessed Frogs?

How many of you have no idea what a frog is?

_axxx (2)

_axxx (3)_axxx (1)

_axxx (4)

Well in celebration of upcoming Mother’s Day and hopefully the spring tulip season soon surfacing, I made these floral frogs to sell at The Guild’s Pottery Show tonight (6-8pm).  I made the ceramic frogs from slab pottery and they rest on top of old fashioned Ball jars.  They keep your flowers upright and seperated.

I can’t wait for everything in my yard to bloom.  I will have my jars ready and waiting!

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

 

 

 

Letting the Cat out of the Bag!

_a2014-03-27 11.52.00

I’m taking my “CAT IN A BAG” and heading on out to my student pottery show tomorrow night.  You know, it’s a place for us nerd artists to share in our learning process; sort of a show n’ tell of sorts.  It’s great to see the many levels of potters at this studio and what creative processes they come up with. For those of you in the area, check it out:  The Studio is Plum Pottery East at The Neighborhood Guild in Peace Dale. The show is from 6-8 Friday night.

_2014-02-27 12.35.15

This cat in a bag takes my pottery work to a whole new category of weird!  The cat is super cute, but really what do you do with  a ceramic cat in a bag?   Well, it is water proof.  So as soon as something pops out of the frozen earth, I’ll have to add some flowers to it!

_a2014-03-27 10.11.19

I’m also taking my merry band of freak ceramic figures to the show.  All of these are potential vases as well.  I guess what I really love about my crazy clay creations is that they are truly unique.  There is no way I’m going to find this collection in any one else’s house! 

I love quirky.

I have a silly confession on this front.

Being a lover of one of a kind things, for years I would buy children’s clay sculptures from the Salvation Army.  A pinch-pot here, a crooked vase there, sometimes even those beloved horse/dog figurines we can’t even figure out what they are.  I’ve always wondered who made them and my second thought has always been what wicked parent chucked them in the donation bin?

Like those who take in stray cats, I fall in love with that which has been hand-crafted.  Whether it is a lump with two eye’s carved or a lop-sided vase, I know what it feels like to learn something new, to try your best, to be proud of yourself, as homely as your creation may be!

_a2014-03-27 13.42 (2)

So to all those well-meaning artisans out there, I salute you.  One man’s trash is another man’s treasure.  And one day, as some poor family member cleans out the messy art studio of my life, they will come upon many an item too, which I am sure will be sent to the donation bin!

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

DAY #337 – POTTERY SHOW AND TELL

 

#337 - POTTERY SHOW AND TELL (1)

I got a bunch of my pottery back today!

First were these trays I created to hold all my costume jewelry.

#337 - POTTERY SHOW AND TELL (4)I also got 5 of the 8 soap dishes I made to give as teacher thank you gifts.  I bought some soap hand-made by students at a school fair, which I think ties in nicely.

#337 - POTTERY SHOW AND TELL (7)

I also got this crazy polka-dot mug back today.  This mug is what gave me the idea to hand build the tops of all the other mugs.  The bottom flew off the pottery wheel and got smashed and dings throughout it.  I probably should have chucked it, but you know me, that would be too easy.  Instead I tried to salvage it into something else.

Now If I hadn’t done that, my great idea to hand build the tops would never have come to fruition.

 

#337 - POTTERY SHOW AND TELL (6)To the right is a re-do.  I got this mug back last week but I did not like the colors.  A fellow blogger recommended I re-dip the mug and fire it again.  My pottery instructor is not a big fan of re-glazing.  She says they generally come out messed up.  The way I see it,  it couldn’t make me any unhappier than the first time, but there is a chance I might like it the second.  Either way, this vessel will hold coffee and in this sense, it will be perfect!

 

Last week I wasn’t too happy with any of the glazes on my mugs, so this week I made all new mugs.  So far so good.  The mugs are structurally superior to my first attempt. I threw the bottom bases on the pottery wheel and trimmed them today.  Next I created some slabs of clay and stamped them with my Pakistani wooden textile stamps.

#337 - POTTERY SHOW AND TELL (2)#337 - POTTERY SHOW AND TELL (3)I then took the slabs and curved them around jars to create a cylinder.  I left them to dry while I went and created the handles.  From this point I then scratched, slipped and joined the cylinders to the bottom bases creating half thrown – half hand-built pottery vessels.

#337 - POTTERY SHOW AND TELL (5)

I’m very happy with how they turned out.  The only problem is that I will have to have another go at glazing.  This is where I seem to mess everything up and wind up hating them all.  Deep breath… I will try my hardest and I think I will stop experimenting.  Tried and true may be the way to go…if only I could stop myself from over-doing it! …Exhale.

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

Day #330 – TOO BROWN FOR ME

IMG_8181

Would you use these mugs in your home?  Many people I know have kitchens that would tie in with this nice warm earthy color palette. Unfortunately, my house isn’t one of them. I don’t own a lick of brown!

I was kind of bummed when I got my pieces back today because I didn’t apply any brown glazes yet that’s all I got.

I was expecting most of these pieces to have a Chartreuse green crackle glaze and to be bright and cheery.

IMG_8168

This mug was supposed to be a pink-purple color on top with yellow-green crackle throughout.

IMG_8171

This one was supposed to be yellow-green on top.

IMG_8178

All three of these were supposed to be a bright yellow-green and instead, I got brown. The Chartreuse crackle glaze didn’t work.  On all of my pieces it either turned clear or brown.  The glaze is new to the studio and it hadn’t been tested yet. I guess we can call my pieces the testers and guess what, the test failed.

IMG_8170 IMG_8175

These two mugs came out as expected.  They are fun, playful and colorful.

You do realize that when I complain, this would be like a 1 out of 10 on the importance-meter.  Meaning – not at all important. It’s simply a self-critique. They still will hold coffee and I still had a great time making them.  It’s just when you build your expectations up high, you have a vision in your head of one thing and then the reality is way off, you can feel a bit down.

What do you do when you feel beaten? When you feel like a pottery failure??

IMG_8162

You make more pots!

I was so angry, I took that frustration and began the process of making more mugs. I learned a lot from this previous batch. The hand-built upper walls of these past mugs were an idea to fix a mistake.  I like the look so much I am going to try it again and they are going to be straighter and fastened smoother. I have some ideas on using under glazes to gain better control over the color outcome too. I will get this right I tell you!

This will be my third attempt this year to get “the mug” perfected. I think my poor husband has seen at least twelve mugs come in and around twelve mugs move out.  I keep giving them away before my latest attempts come out of the kiln.

I promise hubby I will keep this batch of mugs until the new ones are finished.  But as God is my witness, I vow to continue the mission, the mission to create THE PERFECT MUG!

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

DAY #323 – GOT TO GET GLAZING

#323- got to get glazing (1)

Can you tell glazing is not my favorite part of the pottery process?  Yep.  I’ve put it off for so many weeks now, it’s going to take forever to glaze them all!  For all you non-potters, glazing is the final step where you generally dip your pieces in different colors.  If the glaze colors overlap, then you get chemical reactions and you just never know what the piece is going to look like until it comes out of the kiln.

#323- got to get glazing (3)

These are the jewelry trays I made some time ago.  I made the tray a gloss black and then each bowl has three different bulls-eyes of colored glazes within them.  It took me an hour to just glaze these two trays!  Each glaze has to be stirred and prepped.  Too many colors= too much time, but you know me, I’ll go with the color!  I also added marbles to be fired.  This will leave glass crackles in the bottom of each bowl.  Wish me luck on this one.  I have no idea how it will turn out!

#323- got to get glazing (4)

These three mugs have a color called “oil spot” on the bottom.  It sort of looks like oiled bronze when it fires.  The top portions are mixtures of light & dark greens, hyacinth pink and a bright yellow Chartreuse crackle.  Again, in my head I’m thinking these are going to be awesome, but you just never know….crossing my fingers!

#323- got to get glazing (5)

I then had these two.  The floral mug has the flowers already painted in an array of bright colors.  I just added clear over them.  Then I added greens to the bottom half and a periwinkle blue to the top half.  On the small vase I added 3 different greens.  The top being the yellow-green crackle.  Green is my favorite color, so I went a little heavy on the green glazes today.

#323- got to get glazing (2)

Finally I had this little guy.  I painted on a green tinted white colored glaze.  I’m hoping it will have this sort of creepy white matte look to it, with a pop of orange inside of course!

I still have 8 soap dishes and a few more mugs to glaze next week.  I finally had to kick myself out of the pottery studio.  I was there from 9:30-2pm.  4 1/2 hours to glaze these pieces and that was only half of them!

Now do you see why it’s not my favorite part of the process?

The only good thing about glazing day, is that the next time you go to class, you’re pretty sure to have some completed pottery pieces to take home and that’s the best part!

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

DAY # 316 – NOTCH CUT BOWLS COMPLETE

#316- Notch cut bowls complete (1)

I’m so happy!  I got my bowls back today.

IMG_5202 #274 - SLAB POTTERY NOTCH-CUT BOWLS (8)

Check out Post #274 – SLAB POTTERY NOTCH-CUT BOWLS for the how-to.

In the photos above, you can see the clay starts off gray.  However, when fired, the clay color becomes a warm oatmeal.  I just love it.  They totally suit my style.

These bowls were hand-built using flat slabs of clay.  I also used Pakistani wooden textile stamps to decorate the bowls.

#316- Notch cut bowls complete (5)I’m slowly building up a collection of black and white pottery.  I painted black & white stripes on the backs of these new bowls.  Now they tie in with some of my older pieces.

I also got my little dip bowl back.  This is the bowl I added a glass marble to the bottom of when it got fired.  You can see the glass crackle in it.  It’s a pretty little accent.

#316- Notch cut bowls complete (3)

I spent most of my pottery session working on potential Christmas gifts for teachers and other people who I need to thank.  I decided to make soap dishes that I will fill with local goat’s milk soap from one of our local farms.  I used doilies and stamps to give them texture. Notice how they get draped over the back side of a bowl to give the soap dish its arch.  I’m a little frustrated, my soap is making a mess resting on my sink.  I’d sure like a few of these for myself!

#316- Notch cut bowls complete (4)

The final part of my class was dedicated to under glazing last weeks pieces. This is the under-color. The traditional glazes will get added hopefully next week after these vessels have been bisque fired.

#316- Notch cut bowls complete (2)

I was telling my instructor that pottery day has become my favorite day of the week.  I just love working with my hands and physically manifesting something.   It’s very tactile and invigorates my senses.  Each week I go in with an idea of something I would like to try and then I get to figure out how to go about creating it.

Maybe it’s simply that I love learning.  It feels so good to try something you’ve never tried before and slowly gain the skill.

#22 -WHAT DO YOU THINK OF MY MUG

Do you remember this?  This was Day#22 of my creativity challenge.  This is where I started and now I’m creating beautiful, useable things.

Day # 316 and I’m still enjoying this crazy journey!

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

DAY #309 – SUPER SIZE ME

#309-Super size me (1)

No matter how many times I have tried, I just can’t seem to make a mug big enough!

#309-Super size me (3)

These were my attempts a few weeks ago.  I unwrapped them today and thought how did they get so tiny?  Actually, their size would suit most normal human beings perfectly.  It’s just us freaks that want a mug that can accommodate at least two cups of coffee in one sitting!

#309-Super size me (5)

I began the day with this wreck of a vessel.  The bottom portion had flown off the pottery wheel while I was attempting to trim it.  There were digs in it from hitting another pottery wheel.  I’m lucky I didn’t hurt anybody :)  I should have thrown it away, but I couldn’t.  I am like my grandfather who couldn’t throw anything away.  He always thought of ways to fix things.  So, my thoughts were to create the ugliest mug ever!  I added some coils to the top to make up for the rim that had broken off in the accident.  This sparked an idea.  “Ah ha – I can build up all these vessels to a super size!”

#309-Super size me (2) #309-Super size me (4)

I spent the rest of the class creating textured slabs of clay.  I then scratched and slipped these slabs and added them to all of the tops of the mugs.  At this point, I had created a classic coil, a fish fin pattern, a checker pattern, a fabric doily imprint, and a striped groove pattern.

#309-Super size me (6)

There’s another reason this was such a great idea.  Some of the openings were a little too narrow.  There is nothing worse than trying to get your beak into a cup that is too small.  Us Italians know!  As I built up the tops of all the mugs, I made the openings wider. It’s a win-win.

The face mug was another accident.  I had bumped my hand into this vessel while it was wet and created an indentation. I couldn’t fix it, so I added a second indentation!  I knew I could create eye-sockets and a face later on.  It looks like I’ll have one more skeleton mug!

Did you notice my “ugliest mug ever”?  I added giant 3-D polka dots to the sides to distract from all of the gashes in the vessel.  It is so pitiful, it is actually starting to become cute.  Hey as long as it doesn’t leak, I’ll use it!

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

#302 – GOT TO GET GLAZING

#302- GOT TO GET GLAZING (1)

I started calling these my “Ikea” bowls because they remind me of some of the motifs found on Ikea fabrics.

#302- GOT TO GET GLAZING (4)

OK. I’m on the final step with these.  I built them, under-glazed them, bisque fired them and now they are getting a clear coat of glaze to make the colors bolder and give them a glossy finish.

#302- GOT TO GET GLAZING (3)

I made black and clear stripes on the back sides.  I want them to be super-playful.  I also deliberately speckled the backs with black too.  I love un-perfectness!  Does anyone remember the designer Mackenzie Childs?  She always has black & white checker patterns in her work.  For me, it’s definitely stripes.  I don’t know why, but they keep showing up in my pottery pieces!

#302- GOT TO GET GLAZING (2)#302- GOT TO GET GLAZING (5)

This is a test piece for the bunch of little bowls I have in the works.  It is clear glaze, on white pottery, with a marble fired on it.  The glass marble melts to the lowest point in the pottery piece, the glass then crackles from heating and cooling and the glaze adheres the crackled glass to the pottery.  I have a tiny black and white striped bowl.  I glazed it today and threw a marble in it.

#288- Bowled over (4)

Bad news on the tray front.  One of the trays has cracked.  I am waiting for the other to be fired.  I have to decide if I want to go ahead and put the time in glazing it, in hopes that I can glue it back together, or just scrap it… I’ll make my decision next week.

IMG_6540

I spent the rest of the class trimming & cleaning up  all of my potential mugs.  Next week I need to add the handles and embellish them a bit.

If you know me, you know I can’t just leave well enough alone!  I see pottery vessels as blank canvases. I have some ideas bubbling inside that brain of mine… but those ideas will have to wait until next Tuesday!

http://www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary

DAY #295 – HOW DARE YOU SAY THEY’RE TOO SMALL

IMG_6540

Do you have someone in your life who’s completely honest? No holds barred?

You know, that person who is going to tell you that you have spinach in your teeth, that you may not want to sing outside the shower, or possibly that you may not want to quit your day job just yet….

For me, that’s my husband.  He is the one that shows me what I may not actually want to see.  As much as it stinks not to be perfect, I thank him for it. In a world full of politeness, it is great to get the occasional reality check.

But really, how dare he!

#289- Day of the Dead mug (2)

To criticize my last batch of mugs…how could he…I worked so hard!!!

Yep.  He told me they are still too small. Especially the mug all the way to the far right.  The opening is too small.  One can hardly stick their beak in there.

BUGGER!

He’s right darn it.  I haven’t created the perfect mug and I hate to hear it! Especially from him!

#296b

So today, I went back to the drawing board or should I say pottery wheel, in search of the ultimate mug.

#295a

I made 8 attempts.  6 vessels are potentially good.  One completely collapsed into a fairly awesome bud vase and there is one with an opening that may be too small after it shrinks (hey I always need more vases!).

I accidentally smacked into one of the vessels leaving a dent.  I quickly turned it into an eye indentation.  Another eye-socket  and an indent for the mouth and one would never know it wasn’t done on purpose :)

——————————-

That pain in the butt husband of mine always speaks the truth and I’ll tell you what, because he not only tells me what I want to hear but that which I do not, as well, I believe him.

Because of him, I work harder. I try harder.  I stubbornly try to prove him wrong.

He keeps me on my toes. He pushes me further.

I hope everyone has a great friend like that.  They are the best kind.

www.becreativemary.com

Join me on Facebook:  Be Creative Mary