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
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
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
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!
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
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.
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.
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!
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.