21
Nov

Kitchener Mugs – in progress

Babies waiting for some clear coat and then into the kiln. They'll emerge bright teal, dark purple, and blue after the magic happens. MAGIC!Glazing is still the scariest part of this process for me because it is an exercise in experimentation, luck, science, and trust. This batch of mugs, I am relatively secure with how these glazes interact at the temperature that we fire to (1200C/2200F) but we still have regions of the kiln that might be hotter or cooler by 50-100 degrees, which will change the resulting colour. If we apply the glaze slightly thinner or thicker, it affects the end product as well and how the glaze breaks, how it feels, how it picks up underlying texture, and the colour tone. And when we mix new batches, we'd better be sure we have the right specific gravity so that it applies correctly or we may end up with a kiln-load of destroyed pots. This balancing trick is why you might see a ceramic artist hold up an piece of their own pottery and admire the glaze because the magic and luck mixed with glaze-mixing skill is an intriguing art in itself that keeps us chasing perfect results. #glaze #canadianceramics #plainsman #wheelthrown #underglaze #howiamaco #ceramics Posted by Intagrate Lite

17
Oct

kitchener mugs

Last push before Saturday's show! I have only a small selection of kitchener mugs in this load, so get yer butt to the booth quickly on Saturday if you want one. We're in the big second room in the far corner (our "usual spot"). #ceramicsyyc #ceramics #pottery #wheelthrown #Albertamade #canadianceramics #makersmovement #fibreshindig2019 #kitchenermug Posted by Intagrate Lite

16
Oct

teensy tiny sweater ornaments

My teensy tiny sweater lost a teensy tiny button.Red, blue, yellow, green… what colours will these sweater ornaments be? And what colour will their teensy buttons be?#handmadeholidays #ornaments #ceramics #buttons #canadianceramics #pottery #buyhandmade #makersmovement #treeornaments #MakersGottaMake #handbuilt #ceramicsyyc #makersmovement #yyc #glazing Posted by Intagrate Lite

03
Aug

alchemy

Narrowed in towards two interesting glazes yesterday. Lichen-esque on the right with the thickest application and now I’ve learned to love MgCO3. It’s soft to the touch with flat angular crazing = beauty. The right slate blue is matte, translucent, and has rivulets that mimic an ash glaze. With single layer application, it’s another winner. My brain is crammed with fantastic glaze chemistry knowledge now, and I don’t want to stop!

15
Mar

glazing day

IT’S GLAZING DAY! IT’S GLAZING DAY! New leaf buttons are next up.

17
Feb

some months are harder

I’m so behind – February has kicked my butt – but the troops have arrived to help over the next few days. My dad is on photo duty (those are his fingers in the photo), my talented mom will be joining the button-making squad, and Jay’s in the studio making naughty-word mugs for knitters. I’m sorting packages and getting mail done then I’ll jump back into making yarn bowls. Or nap. It’s hard to tell these days. There’s nothing as exciting as a lingering head injury that springs headaches and brightness and sensory overload unexpectedly. No matter what happens, I’d like to clone me so I can be with everyone at once – the energy of the house is wonderful. #creativeinsurgency #ceramics #yyc

18
Dec

The Making of “The Fiddles”

Calgary Fiddlers ornament

Look what we made! Who doesn’t want a tiny fiddle hanging from their tree this season? (click photos to enlarge) The Calgary Fiddlers Association is, well, all about young Calgary fiddlers. Within the association are the Bow Valley Fiddlers groups that range from age 7 to 18, and the Calgary Fiddlers group for 13 to 18 year olds. Each group is a finely choreographed performing troupe, and talented far beyond their age. Their annual winter show, “Fiddle Fantasia”, is set for December 19, 2015 at the University of Calgary Theatre (details here). All the groups will perform in a night of celebration and festivities and I’m honoured to be part of their celebration, bringing sweet fiddles to help raise funds for these amazing kids. Hanging from their lobby tree will be a limited run of 100 ceramic fiddle ornaments, each inscribed with Calgary Fiddlers Association on the back. They can be purchased onsite at the concert. How’d we do it? Every fiddle is one of a kind, using a mixture of textures and glazes, and a process that is 100% hand made from the wedging of clay to the hanging of ribbons from their scrolls. Myself (Cara), Jason, and Jason’s mother Cheryl created and assembled one hundred of these precious fiddles over the course of two months. Each slab of clay is hand rolled, and the violin shape is manually cut from the slab. Texture and embossed decoration is added at this stage, then the fingerboard, tail piece, chin rest, bridge, and scroll are layered on top and secured with slip. Finally, the f-holes are added (or left off, depending on the style of the fiddle). After drying to leather-hard, each is inscribed with Calgary Fiddlers Association on the back. Each fiddle is then handpainted with glaze that will become glossy and bright, and loaded flat onto kiln shelves. They spend 9 hours under heat up to 1200C then cool over the next 10-14 hours. Once removed from the kiln, they are cooled and unloaded from the kiln. They are then assembled with a cut ribbon knotted on each so that they can be hung from your tree.   This was definitely one of the more intriguing projects that we’ve taken on, and the end result makes me so joyful, I can barely express it. I hope that they all find loving homes, and add a sparkle to trees for generations to come.

02
Nov

5 days until the Calgary Fibre Arts Fair!

Dragonfly Yarn bowl

Five days left until the Calgary Fibre Arts Fair. We unloaded a glaze kiln this morning, and I’m so excited to bring these yarn bowls on Saturday. They hold a worsted ball of yarn quite comfortably, and come in two shades of blue, and a luscious brown.  There are only eight yarn bowls in total, so come early if you want one! The show starts at 9am and ends at 4pm.     

05
Oct

Kiln is glowing…

In just under two weeks, we’ll be setting up our wares at The Fibre Shindig in Calgary for their one day sale, and then we gear up for the November 7 Calgary Fibre Arts Fair. Calgary buttons, there shall be! The studio has been a bustle of activity as Jason, Jill, and I turn clay into shiny beauties for our yarny friends. After over a year off for me, the steady activity is welcome. Yesterday morning, Jason fired up a kiln that was stacked to the top with buttons. Last night, the kiln reached temperature, and I popped the plugs to take a peek inside. Doesn’t the kiln look beautiful in the evening light, peep holes glowing red from the molten ware inside?  It’s a sight that brings me so much joy. Glazing is my least favourite part of this process since it means painting each little button with several coats of glaze on top and sides, meticulous and monotonous work. The kiln firing means that glazing is finished, and I’m hours away from seeing the results of my labour. We’ll unload the glazed buttons tonight, but I won’t have much time to admire them before it’s time to reload the kiln with whiskey tumblers, Christmas ornaments, bookmarks, and diz. The kiln is working hard for us this month, and I love her for it. Who’d have thunk that this old girl could keep up? While I wait for glazed beauties to emerge for sorting and packaging, I’m working on booth setup and display so that I can bring MORE to the sales. Jason is spending his time between babysitting the kiln, making perfectly balanced whiskey tumblers, and building pegboard spinner displays for our wares. As we were drawing up schematics for the spinners, our 1″ x 1″ gridded whiteboard sheet that we have for gaming came in super handy for planning the perfect setup. Being gaming nerds aligns nicely with our clay love. Time is ticking down! I’ll post some sneak peeks photos when we unload the kiln tomorrow. Stay tuned!  

05
Oct

ready for loading…

325 buttons are on shelves, waiting for their turn in the kiln. Final count = 460 buttons loaded in the kiln, although, to be honest, I started to lose count after 325 during the marathon glazing sessions on the weekend. I could use a hand massage…

13
Sep

My rainbow on this rainy day.

Glaze day for these little rainbow button sets! They’ll shrink a bit and take on a vivid shine after their turn in the kiln.

27
Jun

I heart you

Glazing #rainbow hearts, day after US moves to #LoveIsLove and day before the anniversary of #Stonewall. #ceramics

20
Jun

mother o pearl

The Mother of Pearl on this vase is hard to capture but there’s a subtle shimmer of pink and blue in the light. Paired with our garden roses that are a day away from dropping petals. #ceramics #lustre #yyc

30
May

Alchemy

Our kiln came with many bits, bobbles, and boxes. This MED-MAR Metals bottle has “25%” penciled onto the label, and claims to be Mother of Pearl. It’s been sitting on the shelf with the kiln furniture for years, and today, I had a few hours to run an experiment. I’m assuming that it’s a lustre and I’ve coated a clear glazed ceramic piece with this fluid, and it’s currently firing to cone 018 (750° Celsius) to see what happens. The best part of pottery is the magic of alchemy. Also, the worst part of pottery is the magic of alchemy. I’m hoping for the best.

15
May

melted glass experiment

First firing with the “fixed” kiln had some problems BUT this little porcelain + melted glass experiment makes up for it. Now I’m on the hunt for kiln elements sold within Canada, and I don’t want to wait 6 weeks for delivery again!