Time to clean up!

Since National Novel Writing Month #NaNoWriMo is over and the Christmas rush is slowing down…it’s time to clean up my workshop!

I’ve been using every flat surface in my workshop as a table. My slab roller was covered with unfinished items, tools that needed cleaning, there’s even a bowl of slip that I forgot to finish working on, and put away in a plastic container, it dried up! My potter’s wheel is covered with sketch books that I didn’t put away, napkins for photo taking and other stuff I don’t even know or remember.

Sorry, I didn’t take any photos of the mess. I’m a little OCD about messes. I think it’s because my mother is a Virgo, or maybe it’s just me…because my bedroom was always neat and clean growing up. Everything was in its place and my mother never had to tell me to put anything away. I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve learned to deal with messes…especially raising 5 children (four boys…need I say more) who wasn’t as clean as I was, that’s for sure. I’ve had to bite my tongue a lot and just leave the room. But, I can only take it for so long…then it needs to be cleaned.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA   Ahh…my worktable is clean!

And ready to start working. I have water, my spray bottle, paper towels, buckets, sponges, tools, brushes, clay…I’m all set!

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My canvas-covered workbench is clean!

I’m sure it won’t look like this for long…once I start working on something. Then I’ll just have to clean it again. It’s a never-ending process for me. Make a mess and clean it up! I could really use a cleaning lady but, I’m not sure I would let her in my workshop? Yeah, I don’t think I could let her clean my workshop, she can clean the house and I’ll clean my workshop, that sounds good!

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Oh…Yay! My slab roller is clean!

I love my slab roller! Now I can get to work. I was planning on making some mugs first, but then yesterday I remembered something I’ve been wanting to make and didn’t have a chance to yet. You’ll have to wait and see what it is. I’ll post photos once I make them. Then I’ll make some mugs, or maybe I’ll just make both…we’ll see.

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I can’t wait to roll out a slab and make something new!

I haven’t finished the slip yet, I just added water and stirred. I’ll get to it later. And I haven’t even attempted to clean my potter’s wheel. But, that’s okay! I can hand build and clean my wheel later. I’m anxious to start working with clay again. I can’t wait to get my hands dirty. I can’t wait to feel the clay squish through my fingers again.

I’m going to try some new glaze combinations too, so I’m excited!

Do you have any ideas about what I should make? I’d love to hear from you!

Shades Of Blue

I’ve added some new photos to my Etsy Shop!

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Blue Rain

I must admit, I’m not fond of rain anymore…not since I moved to Florida. It rains way too much here! I use to love playing in it when I was a kid. I still love the smell of wet earth and wet sidewalks though. When it just starts to rain, and the sidewalks and the ground gets wet…I love that smell. My glazes smell like that…wet earth.

This photo is so beautiful, it makes me want to jump inside it and play in the rain!

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Haunted Hollow   

I love this one! It’s so hauntingly eerie and spooky looking.

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Moonlight

I love how this typography print came out! I love the color combinations of black, gray, several shades of blue and white…with glittery little stars here and there. I love how the darkness is around the outside edges and the light is shining in the middle.

I think I’ll list one without the typography also.

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Star Dust

I absolutely love this one! The different shades of blue, go from dark and vibrant to soft and subtle…with twinkling little stars shining all over the place. Love it!

Potters Choice – Deep Sienna Speckle

 

Potters Chioce Glaze Deep Sienna 2

This is the perfect time of year to do a blog post about another one of my favorite Potters Choice glazes…

Deep Sienna Speckle

I’m not very patient when it comes to trying out a new glaze. I don’t like waiting to try it out on some test tiles, so I use small items like these leaf pendants. Test tiles are not only a waste of my time, they also take up much-needed space in my workshop, and then I can’t do anything with them. When I use something small to test a glaze and it comes out great, I can sell it! If not…no big deal!

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Then I try it out on something a little bit larger, like my super cute bird ornaments. I love these birds!

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And these really cute mittens! This glaze is always consistent. I’ve never had a problem with it. I love glazes like this!

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Then I try it out on something a little larger with a bowl like shape to it, so I can see how the glaze works on something that’s not flat. Like my little heart dishes. It came out great! And because it’s a transparent glaze, it’s great with texture.  

Oh, before I forget…everything so far has been glazed on B-Mix 5 clay.

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These heart dishes are so cute!

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Now I’m ready to try it out on some of my maple leaves.

This glaze looks great on my leaves. I love it!

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They were made with B-Mix 5 clay also.

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Now it’s time for some bowls.

These moon bowls were made with #50 stoneware clay. The color is a little darker, but it still looks great! I love the rough rustic look of these bowls.

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These bowls were made with B-Mix 5, and no texture. It looks great with texture and without. It’s easy to brush on, which I really like. And it’s reliable and consistent…what more could you ask for! 

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This bowl came out nice.

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I love the way this flower bowl came out! Doesn’t it look great?

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I used #50 stoneware clay for this bowl. It’s a buff colored clay after firing with speckles in it. The glaze usually comes out a little darker than if it had been glazed on B-Mix.

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Now it’s time to try it out on some plates with no texture.

I love it, I need to make more of these.

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I love how this glaze shows every little detail of this texture. It looks amazing!

*Please note: When firing this glaze, fire it with speckle glazes only, like Deep Firebrick or Deep Olive Speckle. The specks fly around in the kiln atmosphere and will go on your other glazes. I always fire these glazes separate from my other glazes.

Hmmm…what should I try it on next?

Maybe some mugs! 

 

Making Birdie Bowls

While I’m taking some time off, to heal my shoulder and get over a stubborn sinus infection, I thought I’d catch up on some blog posts.

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My birdie bowls started from a sketch I drew a long time ago. I thought it would make a really cute bowl. So, I cut out the original bird and transferred it onto some graph paper, so I could enlarged it. But I ended up taking it to Office Max and had them make it for me. I decided to make three different sizes, one for a birdie bowl, one for a bird ornament, and one for a smaller birdie bowl. Once I had the sizes I needed, I cut them out, and traced them onto a piece of poster board. I made a bunch of them and cut them out so I could have a template…good thing I was good at cutting out paper dolls. And here they are! The only thing is, they don’t last very long. After I use it a few times, it gets messed up, so I have to make more templates. I need to find a better way to do this, so I don’t have to keep cutting out paper birds! In the meantime though, it works great!

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I’ve only used B-mix 5 for my birdie bowls, but I have tried a stoneware clay called #60 on some of my bird ornaments, but I haven’t glazed them yet, so I don’t know how they will come out! If they come out great, I’ll try it on my birdie bowls too.

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After I slice off large chunks of clay with my wire tool, I put them on my slab roller.

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I absolutely love my North Star Slab Roller, it was the best investment I’ve ever made. She is my work horse…I call her Willow Northstar!

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Okay, all the clay I need is on my slab roller. I always, always use an old sheet over the canvas…for two reasons. One, it keeps my canvas nice and clean and two, I have a nice smooth surface. I always overlap the clay and then punch it with my fist. I kind of like punching it, it’s a nice way to get out your frustrations. After I punch it, I cover the clay with another sheet and cover the sheet with my canvas.

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It’s already to roll!

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And here it is…my slab!

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I place the bird template on my slab and trace around the edge with my pin tool.

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After I trace it, I carefully remove the template…hopefully without getting any finger prints or marks on my bird. Then I remove the excess clay around the bird before picking it up.

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Like this! Now I can lift it gently off my slab roller and shape it into a bowl.

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This is what they look like after I shape them into bowls. I let them stiffen up a little before cleaning them, so they hold they’re shape.

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This is what they look like after they’ve been all cleaned up and are completely dry and ready to be bisque fired.

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These are the smaller birdie bowls, they’re really cute too!

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I made some with a pointy tail. What do you think? Should I make more of these?

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And here it is…all finished! I think these were the first birdie bowls that I glazed.

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These are some of the textures and colors I’ve used…Orange, Scarlet Red and Chartreuse. Not sure if I’ll continue to use these glazes? I love the colors but, this glaze is a pain in the butt! It’s never consistent and gives me problems with pinholes…I don’t like that!

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Coyote Light Blue Shino on plain birdie bowls and Scarlet Red on texture.

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And one of my favorite glazes…Indigo Float by Potters Choice. Now this glaze is amazing, not only is it beautiful, it always, always comes out great! Now that’s the kind of glaze I like! Always consistent and perfect!

I’m definitely going to try more Potters Choice glazes, maybe even do some glaze combinations and see how they come out.

making birdie bowls by melinda marie alexander ravenhillpottery.etsy.com

And I’d like to try more Coyote glazes too, especially with some texture. These will definitely be more rustic, I think they’ll look fantastic!

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These will look great too!

Hopefully my shoulder will heal soon and my sinus headaches will go away, so I can start making some pottery. I think this is the fourth week…with a constant sinus headache…I honestly can’t remember now, it’s been so long! It’s day eleven on antibiotics. In the meantime, I’m just hoping I can start concentrating on my writing, so I can work on my book.

No Pottery for a While!

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I injured my shoulder last month.
I rested it for a few days, but as soon as I made something, it flared up again. This happened over and over again. So, I decided to put my Etsy Shop on vacation, but I had to wait until my orders were processed. These are the last two sales I had, before putting my shop on vacation. My shoulder was actually feeling a little better, so I thought …Hmmm, maybe I can still keep it open. But then I packed these orders and it flared up again. I have to rest my shoulder, no pottery, and no packing! Thankfully it’s my left shoulder and not my right.
I’ll still be blogging when I get a chance. Maybe I’ll be able to catch up on all the blog posts I’ve been wanting to do, and hadn’t had the time!
So, now I can work on my book!
If you’d like to see what I’m doing, check out my other blog, Facebook Page and follow me on Twitter. Thanks!
See you soon!

 

Vintage Cottage

 I love old houses with character, and charm!

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It’s the inspiration behind my handmade dinnerware
called Vintage Cottage. The design reminds me of an old tin ceiling,
in a home with beautiful woodwork, moldings, old wooden floors,
radiators, and a claw foot tub. We actually had a claw foot tub in the first house my husband and I purchased. It was built in 1912, it had original varnished woodwork, huge cast iron radiators and old wooden floors. I miss that house. Too bad we couldn’t take it with us when we moved.
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The dinnerware starts out as a bag of B-Mix clay. A combination of stoneware and porcelain. I love working with this clay, it’s so smooth and really nice to work with. It does have its draw backs though. Sometimes it tends to crack. So, I baby it. As long as I let it dry slow, it’s fine. Do you like my water bucket? I like to recycle.
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I cut chunks of clay with my wire tool, and smash them together on my slab roller. I kind of like this part. I get to punch it! Those marks are from the end of my fist. Oh, here’s a tip! If you want a really nice clean surface, use an old sheet over your canvas. I use them all the time. I have a draw full of old sheets that I cut up to fit my slab roller. I also cover the clay with another sheet as well, so both sides have a nice smooth clean surface.
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After I roll out the clay, I add texture, then cut out what I need, and shape it into plates. I let them dry a little, so they set up and don’t lose they’re shape. Then I clean them, let them dry completely, and then bisque fire them. And this is what my handmade plates look like after they’ve been bisque fired. This is a dinner plate and a lunch/side plate
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Each plate and bowl is made one at a time, so each one is unique, and different. The design will differ slightly from plate to plate, and from bowl to bowl, depending on where I cut out the plate, or bowl from the slab.

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These are side plates
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After they’re washed, I let them dry. Then I wax the bottoms, and let them dry again. Once they’re completely dry, I can start glazing. I usually start glazing the bottoms first, then the top and end with the rim.
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These are glazed in Antique Celadon Green by Duncan
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I like this glaze!
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This bowl was glazed in Vintage Blue by Duncan
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This glaze is Deep Olive Speckle by Potters Choice
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This is Deep Sienna Speckle by Potters Choice
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And this one is Deep Firebrick by Potters Choice
new amaco glazes
I really want to try these new glazes by Amaco.
I think Vintage Cottage would look fabulous in these colors!
Which color do you like?
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I might try these too!
What do you think?
Which color would you like for your kitchen or dinning room?

Potters Choice – Indigo Float

 

Potters Choice Glaze Indigo Float

I think it’s about time I do a blog post about one of my favorite glazes…

Indigo Float

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I’m usually too impatient to make test tiles. It seems like a waste of time to me. It’s not like you can do anything with them, and they take up space in my workshop. So, I usually test a glaze on something small, like ornaments. If it doesn’t come out good, no big deal, if it does, then I have something to sell. 

These leaves were made from a stoneware clay called #50.

The color is a little darker.

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After I test the glaze out on an ornament. I try it on something a little bigger, like these leaves. They were made with B-Mix 5

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Then I like to try something with some texture, like these birds.

Which was made with B-Mix 5

This glaze works well with texture, it’s not completely transparent, but at least it doesn’t cover up the texture like some glazes.

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It definitely works well on this texture!

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Then I tried it out on some small bowls. These came out cute!

I love this glaze! It’s so easy to work with, so nice to brush on, and it’s so reliable and consistent. Everything always comes out great, and the color is beautiful too. What more could you ask for?

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This bowl looks so yummy with these mouth watering strawberries!

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Then I combined Indigo Float with Blue Midnight

I applied one coat of Blue Midnight and two coats of Indigo Float on top. It came out great! As a matter of fact, this bowl was on Etsy’s Front Page!

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This bowl was also glazed with one coat of Blue Midnight and two coats of Indigo Float. I did some photo editing on this photo, so the color is slightly off. It looks like the bowl above. After it sold, I turned it into a food photography photo for my Etsy Shop, but I totally forgot about it, until I did this blog post. I need to list this! Even if no one buys it, it makes a great photo for treasuries.

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I made these plain heart dishes not that long ago, they came out cute! 

I just realized that I haven’t tried this glaze on any of my dinnerware. I think it’s time I do that. Hmmm, now I have to decide on which one. Should I use it on some plain plates or plates with texture? Let me know what you think!