Blue Birds

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Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, And sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all.

Emily Dickinson

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I love making birdie bowls and bird ornaments!

I wish I could make some right now, but I can’t! I’ll have to wait until we move. My fingers are itching to dig into a bag of clay and make something cute, or pretty, functional or non-functional…I don’t care, I just want to feel the clay in my hands. I want to touch it, squish it through my fingers, smell it…I like the smell of clay. Everyday I go into my workshop, and force myself not to make something. I look at all the pieces that are ready to be glazed, and then I have to leave. I know I have to start packing, but I’m procrastinating. I’m not sure if I’m ready to say goodbye to my workshop.

But then, another part of me can’t wait to move. I’m looking forward to starting over…in a new place, a new state, a new town, a new house, a new workshop. Everything new and clean and wonderful!

And then I remember I have to leave three of my children behind, and my three little granddaughters. That’s not going to be easy, but I have to. If only we could all go. Maybe someday we’ll all be together again…I hope!

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They are really cute, don’t you think?

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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.

birdie bowls by melinda marie alexander ravenhillpottery.etsy.comjpg

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!

birdie bowls2 by melinda marie alexander ravenhillpottery.etsy.comjpg

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

birdie bowls3 by melinda marie alexander ravenhillpottery.etsy.comjpg

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!

making birdie bowls by melinda marie alexander ravenhillpottery.etsy.com2jpg

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.

A Flock of Birds

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I have a flock of birds…waiting to be glazed.

I love these little birds!

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I made some with a little extra texture.

I can’t wait to see how the glazes react with the texture!

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I made a few in a darker clay body, that has lots of specks.

Hmmm…not sure what glaze to try?

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This little guy is special! He was featured in the…

Arts Business Institute

2nd Annual Great Handmade Holiday Gift Guide – Under $50

http://www.artsbusinessinstitute.org/blog/2nd-annual-great-handmade-holiday-gift-guide-under-50/#utm_source=feed&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=feed

He’s been tweeting about it ever since.

I think the other little birds are a little jealous! lol!

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Here are a few of his friends

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These blue birds were glazed with Duncan…Vintage Blue

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Love these glazes!

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The green birds were glazed with Duncan…Antique Celadon Green

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This one was glazed with Duncan…Shino Cream

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And these were glazed with Potters Choice…Deep Sienna Speckle

Potters Chioce Glaze Deep Sienna Speckle

I guess, I’ll just try a bunch of different colors and see what happens!

Since I have a Coyote Glaze firing next, I’ll try those first!