Thursday, October 30, 2008

Well, now that's a box.

So, I really love my new Griffin Grip, but it really did make quite a mess of my studio. I decided to make a bigger splash pan that would catch all of the trimmings and keep them off of the floor. Basically, it is just a plywood box with slots cut out for the wheel. I made the box and cut out the slot for the base of the wheel head in the bottom of the pan first. I went to put it on the wheel and found that, yes, the wheelhead exists as well, so I had to cut slots into the side wall as well. That would be why my little flap wall has two gaps in it. I made the flap before I discovered my critical flaw :) I also ran out of plywood at the same time, so little gaps get to stay. Just call me Lazy!

I would love to one day make a better one, but this will work for now. I want to have the flap incorporate both the side and base in it so that there are no more gaps.

I just wish I had some stuff to trim.

On that note, I get to take a half day at work tomorrow so to the studio I go, during the day and everything!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Happy Birthday to Me!

( Before)

Yay! My parents got me a shiny new Griffin Grip for my birthday (not really til Nov. 2) and I got to try it out tonight. It is really quite sweet and really makes trimming easy. There is only one problem that I have found. It makes a total mess! Because it sits higher than my wheelhead, it slings trimmings all over the place. I'm going to make a box to go around the wheel and collect all of the flying clay.


Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Whatcha think?

Here is a new vase form I've been playing around with. I may have gone overboard on the decoration, I don't know. I feel like I'm being influenced by all of you bloggers out there, and I think this pot has a lot of qualities of some other's pots. I always have this fear that I will make a pot just like something that I saw online and not even know it. (I haven't yet, have I?)

What do you think of it?

The glaze load that I did last weekend was half good, half bad. Mostly because I only had two glazes in there, and I knew I liked one and it turned out the other sucked. It was a clear with copper added for a green, but it has about zero interest. A couple of pots came out nice where the glaze was really thick and the slow cool got some nice crystals, but overall, it sucked. Ah well, whats a couple dozen pots? It wasn't too bad on some smaller pots. I still think I might use it for a liner, but it just isn't interesting enough to carry a whole pot. I'm going to let it thicken up some too and see if that helps.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Holy Organization Batman!

I brought home a leftover shelf from work today and put most of my glaze materials on it. It won't fit my 50 lb containers, but everything else fits. See the empty box of silica? Yeah, that sucks. I have 50 lbs. on its way along with some much needed F-4 Feldspar. I really did a crappy job of estimating what I would need when I started mixing up glazes. Live and learn I guess.

I also made my first trimming tool yesterday! It was fun, and if it works, I'm going to make a few more with different shaped cutters. This is a fancy version. I haven't been in the wet clay except to throw the one cup to try out my cutoff tool. Maybe tomorrow. Anyways, fun today spent organizing the shelf and separating all of my bisque work to be glazed. I got maybe about 1/5 of it glazed tonight and found out that for some reason, I can no longer glaze bowls. I dropped two in the bucket and two more dripped all down the sides. Nothing the hose can't fix. Maybe I'll give those another go tomorrow. Once I get all of the work set aside for the two glazes I have mixed up done, I'm kinda at a stopping point until my silica and feldspar come in.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

How wavy is your bottom?

Here is a cup I threw quickly last night to try out my new cutoff tool. I think it turned out pretty nicely! Sorry the picture is a little blurry.

I also fired a really small glaze load--mainly to test out some new glazes. I had 7 tests in there, and I'm going to mix up three, maybe four. I also threw in a couple dozen pots glazed in Randy's Red, the only glaze I have mixed up in any quantity. Man! This glaze is awesome! I really, really like it, and I have a crap ton of it, so all the better! It really accents carving and has tons of variation. It is also really stable and fits my clay body very well. I'm going to do a test and change the colorant and see if anything works.

I've got to set up my real picture taking set up to get some better pics, but right now my studio is completely trashed. I really need more space. I have completely outgrown my tiny one car studio. One day...

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New cutoff tools

I have always really liked cups and such that were cut off the wheel with spiraled wire. I have always had access at work to the little springs that are used to do said cutting, but I just got around to making a couple tools. I wish that I made more of my tools, and I really want to make some trimming tools next--you know--those simple angled things that basically look like a flat piece of metal bent at the end. (really technical, huh?) Any suggestions on the metal to use?

Monday, October 13, 2008

General Loathing.

Fair warning: This post is going to be basically a bitch fest over our current political situation.

I find that this whole election is going into the crapper. I consider myself an independent that leans a little to the right. I hold many conservative values, but I would never define myself with the republican party. I am very religious, believe in family, a small government, and a free market economy. Sounds like a republican, huh? Well here is my problem--the current republican running for president just plain sucks. What can I say? He supported the bailout and wants to spend another $300 million bailing out people who made bad decisions and got screwed by the housing market and credit crunch. Don't get me wrong, I all for helping out the needy, but seriously, what the hell happened to personal responsibility.

I also see health care going to crap if it is run by the government. McCain makes a good point when he asks why you would put the government in control of health care when it has screwed so much other stuff up. And, is NO ONE concerned about the national debt any more??? How is the fed going to pay for this stuff without raising taxes. Oh yeah, tax the wealthy, they've got the money! People seem to forget that the politicians that make these laws are the wealthy and they tend to look out for their own wallets.

I think my biggest issue with this election is that I see it as the lesser of two evils. I don't want to vote for either candidate, and I just can't decide who I want to vote against. I think my solution is to not vote at all because, well lets face it, I live in SC, also known as the reddest state in the country.

Anyway, another issue I have this election season is the ridiculous partisanship--people are genuinely mad at others for being a republican or democrat. Why is it that we feel it is our place to tell people what to think, or how to vote. It's all so disgusting. There's nothing wrong with civilized debate and discussion, but it is just so personal this election. It feels like people are being plain hurtful to each other for no reason at all.

I just hope that after this election things calm down, and our government can actually be productive and get things done that will really help people. I feel better now. If you made it this far kudos! I hope that's my only political post and I can get back to something that makes me happy--pottery!! Ahhhhh....pottery.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Well, it's been an interesting week. I had a dealer meeting to go to on Wednesday in Welcome, NC (that's outside of Lexington somewhere), and I had to pick up a trailer at my uncle's in Winston Salem Tuesday night. I figured that while I was in NC, I would make the trip to Highwater Clays to pick up a bunch of glaze chemicals. (By the way, Asheville is in no way on the way to Winston Salem from Charleston, and I spent much of the past few days driving.)

I had a great time in Asheville. I hit Highwater around 10:30 and left about an hour later loaded down. I did manage to forget the 50 lb bag of silica that I needed. But anyways, after Highwater, I walked around downtown and went to a few galleries. I particularly enjoyed Blue Spiral, and seeing Kenneth Baskin's work was great. Ken was one of my favorite teachers in college and really got me making decent functional work in college. I think he had more influence on me than anybody else. Tom Turner's porcelain was absolutely beautiful, and another of my favorite Southeast potters, Jim Connell had some nice work on display.

I had lunch at a great pizza place--I can't remember the name now, but I sat at the bar and had some great dark beer and talked politics with a salesman in town for business. It was really funny, because he makes furniture on the side and had some really great retro inspired work that he showed me on his phone. Isn't technology great! I need to move some pictures to my phone :) It is really interesting how many people have the need for a creative outlet, and meeting this guy was a real treat--tailored suit, clean shaven, and much the opposite of me :) But, we both shared the need to create, and surprisingly, very similar political views.

So tonight I finally got to get back to mixing glazes. I finished the red that I was short of Gertsley Borate, and it made a lot more than I thought it should. It was just over 11,000 grams after colorants and bentonite, and made probably 8 gallons. I do mix my glazes fairly thin, but seriously, is it supposed to make that much? I know some chemicals need more water than others, but I haven't really mixed enough glazes to figure all of that out. I have The Ceramic Glaze Handbook that I am going to pull out tonight to see if I can figure anything out. If you've got any suggestions or comments, let me know.

I was going to talk a little politics, but I'm too tired tonight. Let's just say that politics suck and so do both presidential candidates. The end!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Penis pot?

So...I made this pot today and in my brain it looked great. When it was done, I looked at it and thought, boy doesn't that spout look like a penis! So, I took it inside, and Lindsay confirmed my analysis. I wanted the spout to mimic the neck, so I added the little ridge.

What do you think? Is it an everyday, run of the mill, normal spout? Or does it turn an otherwise cute little ewer into a penis pot? My problem is that I have a few more to put spouts on and I don't want to make a line of penis pots! They make nice little bud vases, but I really wanted to make some ewers. I covered them tightly in plastic with some spouts, so I can wait a couple days for a consensus on the subject.

I think that I am finally getting the knack for pulling handles off of the pot. Here are a couple of pitchers that I think turned out pretty nice. They still aren't exactly what I want, but they are getting closer. I find that I end up making a much more substantial handle when I pull them off of the pot. I guess it's just like everything else, practice makes more perfecter....or something like that!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

A few new pots and wheel setup!

I haven't been blogging as much lately as I would like, and I haven't had time to comment on everyone's blogs, but I have been reading them. Anyway, these are some new creamer and sugar sets--I think they turned out pretty well. I also built a table for my wheel so that I can stand up and throw again. I did this in college and I really missed it, especially my lower back! I am heading to Sam's this weekend to get some of those cushy mats to stand on to help my legs.

I started mixing up a 10,000 gram batch of a new glaze and found out that I was 865 grams short of Gertsley Borate! How frustrating. I really wish that I lived closer to a supply that carried raw materials. It is nice living close to Coastal Ceramic Supply, but they order materials as needed which means about two weeks of wait. I have decided that it is not economical to order them online because shipping is almost as much as the materials. I'll be making another order on Monday, and I'm getting full bags this time instead of small amounts. I just thought I could complain some, so there you go :)

Hope everyone is having a great weekend! The weather here is fantastic! Sunny, low 80s! Talk to you later!