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!

Branding My Pottery

which dinnerware design with text

I’m working on branding my pottery. I don’t feel like I’ve done that yet!

I’m a designer.

I love to design and I’m always thinking of new ideas, new designs and new items. I don’t like making the same thing over and over again. I like to make different things, all the time…which is not good for branding. At least that’s what I’ve been led to believe.

I’m going to try, and focus on one or two designs. Fingers crossed…because I’m not sure how long that will last!

So, which design do you think I should focus on?

#1 Backwater Bay

#2 Brooklawn Park

#3 Tropical Breeze

#4 Vintage Cottage.

I think I’ll do a blog series about branding. Hopefully, I’ll figure it out and make it easier for people to understand. Because it’s been giving me a headache!

Thanks so much!

Raven Hill Pottery is re-opening!

Midnight…October 22

Raven Hill Pottery (2)

Don’t mind the mess, I’ll be busy re-listing expired items and updating my shop!

Come on by and have a look around.

http://www.ravenhillpottery.etsy.com

See you there!

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! 

 

Going Back To Texas

Raven Hill Pottery

I’m so excited to say…that Raven Hill Pottery is going back to Texas.

Where it all started.

We’re heading back to the Austin area, I can’t wait!

http://www.facebook.com/ravenhillpottery

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!