My New Workshop

This is my new workshop floor plan.  

I’m so excited! I’m not sure how long it will take to finish? My husband has been really busy at work, he’s been working long hours and hasn’t had much time to work on it, but it has begun…Yay! 

I’ve been making workshop design boards, so my husband can see what’s inside my head. If I show him what I want…he’ll build it. I need lots and lots of shelves.

I haven’t glued this one down yet. This is for my glaze area.

This is my favorite one, so far. I’m planning on painting my workbench blue to match my slab roller, just like the photo I found on Pinterest. But, my workbench will have a canvas top. I love it! It even matches the bowl I use for making slip.

More updates coming soon!

 

Glazing with Duncan Renaissance Glazes – Part One: Antique Celadon

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Hello! Welcome to my new blog series on glazing tips.

I’m starting with Duncan Renaissance Glazes. I love these glazes! I stumbled across them a while ago, I don’t remember when exactly, and I don’t remember how I found them, but I’m so glad I did. They’re user-friendly, they brush on so easy. I like glazes that are easy to use and consistent, and this glaze is one of them.

These glazes vary, depending on the thickness you use, whether it has texture or not, and how much texture it has. The more texture, the better it looks. Where you place it in the kiln, makes a difference also. Pieces placed at or near the bottom of the kiln are greener, darker and react more with the texture. The pieces at or near the top of the kiln are lighter and don’t usually have a rustic look. I also think it depends on the brushes you use as well.

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I use fan brushes for most of my pieces. I use a small brush for the rims, edges and for detail work. For small pieces like ornaments, I use a small fan brush or a small brush, when I run out of clean fan brushes.

As you can see from the photo above, my bird ornament is lighter than my birdie bowl. It has less texture then the birdie bowl, there are several areas on the ornament that have no texture at all, verses the birdie bowl which is completely covered with texture and it was placed at the top of my kiln.

Before I start glazing, I apply wax resist on the bottom of my ornaments, and then I go up the sides just a little, so the glaze doesn’t go all the way to the bottom. I apply three light coats on the top only, and two light coats on the sides. I don’t want any drips or any ornaments sticking to my shelves. When I fire my ornaments. I place them on kiln stilts to raise them up off the shelf.

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I apply wax resist to the bottoms of my birdie bowls. Then brush on three coats of glaze on the top, and bottoms except for a small area where the wax resist is. I have several sizes of fan brushes and usually use one of the smaller ones. Then I use a regular small brush for the edges.

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As you can see from this photo, the green bird ornaments all look-alike for the most part. The butterflies look darker…they have more texture, and they were placed toward the bottom of my kiln.

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This photo shows you the difference between a textured surface verses a non-textured surface and kiln placement. The small bowl at the top of the photo was placed at the bottom or near the bottom  and has no texture. The leaf bowl was placed near the top of my kiln and has a little texture.

This is what the glaze looks like on my non-textured ruffle rim bowls. The bottoms were waxed with wax resist and then three coats were applied to the bottoms, inside and rims. They were placed near the bottom of my kiln.

This heart dish was glazed with three coats of glaze on the bottom and top, using a smaller fan brush, and three coats on the sides/edge with a small brush, after it was waxed, like the birdie bowls. This one looks like it was placed near or at the top of my kiln.

The green leaf magnets were glazed like my bird ornaments, three light coats on the top and two coats on the sides. They were fired toward the top of my kiln, see how light they are. The maple leaves were glazed with three coats and are usually placed in the middle of my kiln.

This is one of my handmade dinnerware collections called Lake House, formally known as Brooklawn Park. This glaze loves texture, it makes Lake House look fabulous!

Each piece is slightly different, and completely covered in texture.

I use a large fan brush on the plates and a medium size one for the bowls. They all have three coats of glaze on the bottom (except where I waxed with wax resist), and the top and I apply three coats on the rims with a small brush.

This is another one of my handmade dinnerware collections called Tropical Breeze. They’re glazed just like Lake House, three coats on all sides. But it looks different. The glaze pools in between the raised lines.

Vintage Cottage is another one of my handmade dinnerware collections. As you can see from the photo, the plates were fired near the bottom of the kiln and the bowl was fired near the top. The plates are more rustic looking. I love this glaze!

I hope this has been helpful.

I think part two will be – Vintage Blue

Thanks for stopping by, see you next time! 

Happy Anniversary

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Happy Anniversary!

Raven Hill Pottery has been on WordPress.com for 3 years. Thanks for reminding me WordPress. So glad I switched!

Pottery Inspiration Boards

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Oh, Wow! I can’t believe I haven’t posted since August.

There’s been so many things going on in my life, one of them was participating in #NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) again this year and I won…Yay!

While I was in the middle of writing for #NaNoWriMo, I had an idea. Since I make Inspiration Boards and Mood Boards for my books, why not make Pottery Inspiration Boards. So, right after I finished NaNo, I started making them. I really needed a break from writing and my story needs to simmer for a while anyway.

It’s been so much fun making these

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This is the first one I made.

I can’t even tell you how much I miss making pottery, but more about that later.

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I can’t wait, until I can feel clay in hands again, feel it squish through my fingers when I throw, I even miss the way it smells.

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I’m not sure If I’ll continue with this Dinnerware Collection? I haven’t decided yet. I do know that since moving to Arizona, my work is heading in a different direction.

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Lake House is one of my designs that I will continue to make.

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Backwater Bay is another design I will continue to make. It’s my favorite.

I have some big news coming soon!

I’ll tell you more about it, the next time I post.

Hopefully, it will work out the way I’m hoping it will.

Thanks for stopping by.

See you soon!

 

From My Sketchbook

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Every once in a while, I sketch some new designs in my sketchbook.

I really should do it more often, because it relaxes me.

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All I seem to sketch lately are bottles, I’m not sure why? 

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Plain bottles, in different colors and textured bottles

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I love these rims

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These are pretty cool!

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I love this design and can’t wait to make it!

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I love this one too!

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I’m not sure about this one, what do you think?

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While I wait for my new workshop to come to life, I’ll just keep sketching new designs.

Thanks for stopping by!

Pottery Photo Tips

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Hello pottery peeps!

Since my workshop is closed for a while, I decided to catch up on some blog posts I’ve been wanting to do and never really had the time for. This is an updated post from my old blog on Blogspot. This is how I use to take my photos. Not sure if this will be how I take photos in the future though, when I have a new workshop.

It all depends on how much natural light I’ll have.

Before I opened my Etsy Shop, six years ago. I purchased these lamps, and a light tent. I think I only used the light tent, once or twice…I hated it! It was a big waste of money. It just takes up room in my garage now.

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Then I purchased a varitone graduated backdrop #09. It was better than the light tent, but I wasn’t happy with the dark background. So, I purchased a gray graduated backdrop #28. I was really hoping that the light gray one, would be better…but it wasn’t!

This is one of my first photos with the  dark varitone backdrop.

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So, after spending all that money, and not being happy with the results,
I came up with my own backdrop, and it didn’t cost very much.
Actually, I don’t think I spent any money, because I already had everything I needed.

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I cut up two (free) priority mail boxes from the Post Office…the large ones.
I taped them together with shipping tape, and made flaps on the ends,
 so it could stand. Then I covered the spaces that light would shine through,
with small pieces of white card stock that I had lying around, and then taped 
the card stock to my new backdrop with shipping tape…on the front and back.

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When my homemade backdrop was finished, I taped a sheet of white poster board to it, to cover up the print. I taped it at the top only. Then, I remembered that I had a piece of foam core board, so I dug it out of my closet, and placed it in front of the backdrop, on top of my workbench. Once that was done, I used another sheet of white poster board and tapped it over the first one…about half way down the sheet, with some scotch tape, and then draped it over the foam core board. This was exactly what I was looking for…a white backdrop.

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Then I set up my lamps, one on top of my workbench, and two on the floor.

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Sorry about the mess, my workshop was very messy when I took these photos.

I don’t have an expensive camera…not yet anyway. Hopefully someday I will. But you can still have great looking photos, even if you don’t have a really good camera. My camera doesn’t have white balance, or anything fancy, so I have to edit my photos. Even though I’m using white poster board and lamps, the photos still come out dark and kind of gray.

Oh, by the way…I don’t use the flash on my camera.
After I take my photos, I go to picmonkey.com and edit them.
It’s free, but you can upgrade for just $4.99 a month…it’s well worth it!

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This is an un-edited photo. See what I mean, not very appealing.

It looks terrible!!!

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This is what my photo looks like after editing and cropping it on picmonkey.com

Now, this is much better. Yay!
 
Here’s what I do…
 
I go to picmonkey.com click on edit a photo, and select the photo I want to edit.
Then I click on exposure, I slide the highlights bar over to where it looks good,
then I slide the shadows bar to where I think it should be and click apply.
Just play with it, you’ll get the hang of it in no time. It’s really easy.
 
Once I do that, I go to the icons on the left…the second one down is the effects icon. Click on it, then scroll down until you see frost, click on it and apply. You can lighten up your photo with frost as many times as it takes, to get it the way you want. Then go back to the icons on the left, and click on the first icon…basic edits. Now depending on what I want to do with my photo, I’ll either click on crop,
and crop my photo, or I’ll click on sharpen and then crop. When I click on sharpen, I slide over the sharpness bar, usually about 20%, and click apply. Then I slide over the clarity bar, usually about 20% and click apply. Just play with it and have fun!
 
Before you know it, you’ll have great looking photos,
and not have to spend a lot of money.
 
It’s easy!

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Before Editing

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After

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After

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Before Editing

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Before Editing

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I do recommend that you invest in some really good lamps.

That was money well spent. I use them all the time.  
Hope this helps you have great looking photos.

Clay Photos ~ Pinterest Size

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Hello, pottery peeps!

If you don’t already know about my workshop situation, I’ll give you a brief update. When I starting packing to move from Florida to Arizona. I thought I was only going to take a little time off to work on my book. But, due to things beyond my control…my workshop is closed until I can either fix my kiln or replace it.

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My beloved Charlotte (my kiln) was damaged during the move, by the movers and they won’t pay for it. They told my husband to sue them. I won’t use them again!

I really hope that we can fix her!

So, since my workshop is closed, no kiln…no pottery!!! I’ll keep my pottery blog going with posts I didn’t get around to doing, posts from my old pottery blog, new designs from my sketchbook and whatever else I can think of. 

A couple of weeks ago I decided to re-size some of my photos…to Pinterest size. Now they look so much better on Pinterest.

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I miss working with clay!

My hands are itching to dig into a bag of clay and make something new.

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This wire is the original wire I purchased for my first pottery class in 1990. I purchased another one, but I still use my old one. These are some of my original tools from 1990 and holding my tools is a cup I made in 1991.

Hopefully, I’ll have the funds to re-open my workshop soon!

In the mean time, I’ll be working on my book…Raven Hill

You can find me here…

https://melindamariealexander.com/

Thanks for stopping by and have a wonderful day!