Friday, March 12, 2010


Sooo I figured if I waited until after St. Patrick’s Day, it would be exactly 3 whole months since I’ve updated my blog. My, how time flies when you’re busy. It doesn’t mean that I haven’t been reading the many interesting pottery blogs in wonderment and slight guilt that I’ve neglected my writing. A few standout blogs come to mind: ‘The Traveling Potter’ Linda Starr’s musings about life and clay on the road in her RV, Heather Knight’s move to a co-op studio packing her lovely botanical and seashell inspired porcelain pieces, Kitty Shepherd’s stories of life in Spain and England while cranking out museum quality ceramic art, Whitney Smith’s lessons on the business of Art, and so many more potters writing about life as an artist and making really beautiful work. How do they balance their art making and blogging I wonder. On a personal level, so much has happened that I needed time to go offline, retrench, shift gears and prepare for some changes ahead; many of which I’ve been dragging my heels along the way as time marches on. There have been ups and there have been downs. But it has triggered a fast and furious creative spell pushing me forward in my clay making venture. Biding time as I prepare to move residence this summer, I decided to make the most of the situation, clean up my basement and convert it into a studio. Then I purchased about 300 lbs of Helios porcelain from Highwater Clays in North Carolina (which in itself is a story), then my very supportive beau, Joe, bought me a used portable AIM test kiln for experimenting with glazes.

Tired of bartering for the use of a kiln, I set out to purchase a larger used kiln but couldn’t find anything within a 100 mile radius through Craigslist and turned my efforts into researching the perfect digital kiln. I got a real sweet brand new 4.4 cubic feet L&L E28S-3 Easy fire kiln 22-3/8" Diameter by 18" high in January. Nervous about the expense, a potter friend told me, “you have to spend money to make money’. As luck would have it, an IT consulting gig covered the cost while Bailey’s Ceramics had special pricing on the kiln with free delivery. Meaning that FED EX dropped it off the bottom of my driveway the eve of a rainstorm and my kind electrician, Tony saved the day by towing all 500 lbs of it up a few hundred feet into my garage where he ultimately wired and installed it just right. Through trial and error and adjusting the thermocouples, it’s been working great as I’ve finally overcome the fear of firing my own kiln. I’m busy working on a few lines of functional ceramic art pottery and plan to set up an Etsy shop by the end of this month – if all goes well that is. As all potters know, there are disappointments and successes in the whole firing process and the pictures I’m posting are some of my favorites. With less than 100 lbs. of the creamy Helios left, I am itching to try out a 30 lb sample of 'The Coup' Cone 6 porcelain I ordered from Matt & Dave Clays which promises to be gentler and less temperamental than most. Told ya I've been busy. More pictures in the next post.


  1. wow, thank you so much for your supportive comment, it is so encouraging especially that I am at the beginning of an adventure which is so new from many aspects.
    Although the sgraffito work is such a time consuming, the work has a very relaxing side. The spiral way of working makes me calm, and intuitive. But I also like so much the actual painting, and right now, I am working on new plates. On which I am going to freely paint. I love the process of mixing new glazes and paint with them as if they were watercolors.
    Many wishes for a good luck with your new studio's equipment, especially the kiln. It is a great joy to have one of your own. For me it is a must since I need to always have my own things, and to work my own way…
    Your last new glazes are so so beautiful; the colors look like pond's water.
    I am eager to read more!

    for your

  2. Hi Sue, I was wondering what happened to you so glad you posted. Your blue nesting bowls are spectacular, love the rippley surface and the variations in the color so much. and the first vase reminds me of a hornet's nest, but in a good way, something about the shape.

    congrats on your new kilns. do you find the test kiln fires similar to your L&L I have wondered about getting a test kiln once I get settled and then wonder if it would be worth it. Have fun testing all that clay. I use lots of different clays myself and each one has it's benefits. Look forward to hearing about the porcelain too.

  3. Hi Varda and Linda, Thank you both for the positive feedback on my nesting bowls and glazing. It's the direction I'm heading on creating a line of work and validates the input I've received so far from friends and fellow potters. Linda, you right about the vase looking like a hornet's nest as I was trying to replicate a large nest hanging on a birch tree in my backyard but due to it's fragility a high wind blew it apart last Fall before I could take it down. My decision to get a test kiln was based on visiting a few ceramic artist friend's studios and listening to their praises on the energy/time benefits of having a small 110 voltage kiln 110 capable of Cone 10 firing. Color wise, the test glaze results are not significantly different between the kilns except that the larger L&L produces an indescribable subtle luminosity to the final product. The portability of the test kiln enables me to fire it in my basement studio without a vent has helped me learn more about the use of cones.


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