Reneged on My Pottery Goal

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This September I set a goal to only wheel throw pots as opposed to hand/slab-building them.

I lasted about 4 months. However, I am giving myself permission to ditch this crazy committment!

My thought was, if I only wheel-threw pots, my skills would get stronger on the wheel (which is true ;) But here’s the catch, I might get stronger on the wheel but I simply do not like the finished product.

I LOVE texture and color.

Wheel thrown pots, to me, are just missing that – what’s the word –spunk.  Don’t get me wrong, I tried.  I invested in sgraffito (carving tools), I tried wax resist to get some cool glaze techniques. I swear I tried to go the traditional route.

I’m kind of excited that I felt so strongly about this.  It means I actually know what I want.  I tend to float like a snowflake in and out of everything. Not liking something is great.  It gets me just a little bit closer to being a bit more focused.   Maybe by the time I’m 80 years old I’ll lock into mastering one thing… HA! right ;) 

With my new permission to renege on my goal, I did exactly what I wanted to do which felt great.  This brought passion and excitement back into creating.  I think that’s my intuition saying I’m on the right track. Now don’t get me wrong, I AM NOT A QUITTER.  I am the crazy that created a work of art every single day for 365 days.  I didn’t quit on that and there were so many days I wanted to.  That goal felt extremely right.  This one – not so much.  I can tell the difference.

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So, back to the best of both worlds.  Which is very much like me.  Why choose wheel-throwing over hand-building?  Why not do – BOTH?  That makes perfect sense – FOR ME.  Here, I threw the bottom part of the vessel on the wheel and then rolled a slab to attach to the top.  The texture came from my hand-crafted stamps which really makes the vessel feel unique and personal.

That’s it.  Unique and personal.  Maybe add in some happy and fun.  This is what I am committing to and I’m finally feeling like I’m back on the right track :)

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Getting More Sparkly


Oh man, I just love these pendants I am making.  I am very much into vintage everything, so these get me very excited.  It’s like a little antique you can wear every day!  Because they are vintage glass, they are translucent and sparkle which I just can’t capture via camera.  Either way, I’m plugging away at my collection and I hope there are people out there that find them as special as I do!


This week I’ve also been working on some cell phone holders.  The idea stems from at least 4 devices on my counter at all times.  Does any other household have this problem?  I am creating little 8×10″ pockets to attach by the outlets and hopefully get my counters back! I’m making some to sell at the holiday shows too… Again, we’ll see if my choices resonate with holiday shoppers this winter…


On a final note, I dragged my loving mother 3 hours away to Bennington, Vermont to see the Milton Avery exhibit.  The Bennington Art Museum has an exhibition of his work until November.  I am obsessed with Milton Avery.  I adore his loose impressionistic arrangements and his killer use of color.  In fact, I believe the museum called it his “dissociative” use of color.  Meaning he makes trees that are blue even though humans associate green with trees.  To me, creating these amazing color compositions, takes what could sometimes be considered a very boring landscape and transforms them into something magical.  Mark my words, you will see an intense inspiration of Milton Avery in my painting this upcoming January.  I have been quietly studying what direction I want to go with my painting and this genre feels just right.

OK. off to make mosaic jewelry…I haven’t shown you pictures of that yet…but I am creating up a storm.  Feels Great!





I am participating in this summer’s Narragansett art Festival. It takes place the weekend of June 27-28.

These are ceramic wall hangings I am creating for all of our beachy houses here. Well, I guess they could be trays too for a coffee table.

I am headed in now to underglaze them, but it’s tough, I sort of like them natural…

We shall see what I decide….

I hope I don’t sell them all because I want one!


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I was holding my breath the entire way into pottery class.  Would I be disappointed? Frustrated? Discouraged? or would the mugs I spent hours on have turned out OK?

drum roll…..

…I… I… I love them!!!

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The long-winded story was that my first set of mugs were too dark and brown for my personal taste.  So I painstakingly designed new mugs and fretted over brighter& lighter glaze choices.

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I’m thrilled with the results. I totally think it was worth it! The mugs are a lot more stream-lined and lightweight. That’s what happens when you try again, you learn from your past experience and everything improves.

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Now, Do you like my hats?

Actually, I took this picture to try to explain my process.  I am making bowls very similar to my mugs.  I begin with the bottom of the bowl being thrown on the pottery wheel and the top of the bowl being hand-built with flat slabs of clay.

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I gave these wide lips for holding on to.  It’s my favorite shape for soup bowls.  I plan on making three more bowls next session for a set of six bowls and I want each bowl to be different and unique.

I finally feel like I’m getting somewhere!

Well, now that I think of it, it has been a full year since I started pottery classes.  I started a couple of weeks before this creativity challenge.  I have come a long way in a year.  If you asked me if I thought I’d be where I am now at a year I would have told you no way!  Pottery is too hard! When I started, I couldn’t even center the clay on the wheel for the first few months. I also couldn’t choose what I wanted to make, I had to settle for creating whatever was left on the wheel after I mangled multiple lumps of clay.  A full year later I can center clay, I can hand-build, I can come to class with an idea and accomplish it and now hopefully I can have a little success with glazes as well (we’ll see, it could have just been a fluke!).

I look forward to looking back after this challenge at all of my old pottery posts and observing my progress.  I’ve never been one to journal so this year will be a great gift to myself.  A little time capsule of all my thoughts and angst!

I’m glad I found pottery as an outlet for creativity. I can’t tell you how many years I had excuses for never even trying.

OK. Off to cook dinner. Thank you all for joining me on my journey!

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Day #288 – BOWLED OVER

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Hmm. Bowled Over.  Have I already used this horrible pun?  Man, the bad puns are all beginning to blend together at this point…

So as usual, Tuesday is pottery day!

I began by finishing up the under glazing on my notch-cut bowls.

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There will be five bowls for a set of four.  Rhea my pottery instructor at Plum Pottery East recommended I make an extra just in case the bowls didn’t make it through the drying process.  They’ve made it through thus far, so looks like I’ll have an extra bowl!

My idea with painting them the bold colors took inspiration from Hungarian embroidery, but who am I kidding, everything I make winds up brightly colored even when I try to show restraint!

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Last week I threw nine little bowls on the pottery wheel.

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My idea for this project was to create jewelry trays.  Today I textured some flat slabs of clay to create the trays.  The studio has all sorts of plastic bowls and trays to use as templates.  These squares seemed perfectly manageable.  I then scratched, added slip and connected the little bowls to the slabs. I hope to be able to tame my jumble of junk jewelry which is always lying around on my dresser!

I have some fun pieces coming out this pottery session.  It took me a while to figure out what I needed.  Now that I know what I want, I can make quirky everyday items to suit my over-the-top style. Thank goodness.  It’s pretty hard to find obnoxiously colored household items in my everyday shopping environment!

Pottery Day is like my favorite day of the week.  It’s always like Christmas!

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Pottery Day at Plum Pottery East Studio.

Last semester my pottery instructor, Rhea, had an entire table of these awesome looking bowls.  They were surrounded with newspaper and I wondered how they were made.  She worked on teaching me how to make the bowls today.  This is what I learned:


First I had to create flat slabs of clay with the slab roller machine.


Next I had to decide what size bowl I wanted, the height of the walls and the center area of the bowl.  I made a paper template, cut slits in 4 places and created an inner circle to know where to stop the slits.


When you slide the slits in on one another you get a simulation of a bowl.  The four slits overlap on one another and create triangles in the 4 regions.


I put my template aside and focused on stamping.  The main reason I was attracted to this project in the first place was because flat slab pottery is very conducive to pattern making.  A flat surface is easier to embellish than a round one.  At this point I also took a round wooden pottery bat and traced an outer circumference with a needle tool. This gives me my outer circumference.


These are my favorite stamps.  They are hand-carved wooden textile stamps from Pakistan.  I found them at Brimfield Antique Show.


OK.  Now above you saw my white paper.  I cut slits and overlapped the four sides until the desired bowl shape emerged.  In the photo above here, the white triangle is a template of the overlap from my paper. At this point you scratch & score the inside of the clay triangular areas.


Very slowly you merge the triangles together with wet slip, you are raising the walls and at the same time smoothing the seams.  You can see the 4 seams faintly in this photo, but it shouldn’t show after the bowls are fired and glazed. As the clay is firming up, bottom support is needed.  Today we used sponges but plastic bags or newspaper would work too. You just want to keep their shape uniform while they are setting up.


What I love about this technique is that the bowls look handmade.  I love handmade.  It says no one else’s bowl is quite like mine!

At this point we will slow dry them for a week.  They get covered in plastic.  Next week I can work with them fixing the seams, smoothing out the rims, and fixing the patterns where they need it.

Then they get bisque fired, glazed after that and back in the kiln for a final firing.

The process takes time, but I’ll start something new next week and keep my pottery assembly line moving.

Gosh darn it!  I just love playing with clay. You can make the coolest usable things!

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