My top nine posts of the year!
What items would you like to see next year?
I’m planning on making a lot of new items in 2020…so stay tuned!
Happy New Year!!
A day I will never forget…not ever! I’m still processing what transpired that day. I still can’t quite believe it. Sometimes I want to pinch myself, to make sure I’m not dreaming.
If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I had to write the most difficult post I’ve ever had to write on December 31, 2017. If you haven’t read it yet, you can find it here. https://ravenhillpottery.com/2017/12/31/didnt-think-id-have-to-post-this/
Sometimes, it seems to take forever for things to happen and other times, things can change very quickly. So quickly, you think you’re dreaming. It can’t be real…can it?
I’m happy to say, that I have the money to purchase a new kiln, a vent hood, and start working on my workshop. I’m not sure how long my workshop will take? The electrician knows what we need, we’re just waiting on a price. I’ve picked out the kiln and the vent hood already. There’s a lot to do, and once my new workshop is finished, I have to unpack a ton of boxes, get organized and buy lots of clay and glazes.
While I wait for my husband and the electrician to work their magic on my workshop.
I’ll be working on my pottery designs and getting organized. Plotting my book series, is helping me plan my pottery designs and how I’m going to glaze them. I’m going to be so ready when my workshop is finished.
Handmade plates…I love these glaze combinations. Aren’t they pretty?
I’m just a girl who likes to play in the mud. I love the way clay feels in my hands…the way it squishes through my fingers when I throw…and I even like the way it smells.
by Melinda Marie Alexander
I’ve been patiently waiting for my workshop for more than 2 years now. I really thought it was all going to work out. I was wrong.
If you’ve been following my blog, or you’re one of my Facebook friends, you know what happened to Charlotte…my kiln. I don’t think I mentioned who did it though, I don’t remember. You can read some of what happened in…”A Lot Can Happen In A Year”
I’m sorry, that I never gave you an update, like I said I would. Sorry, it took so long. I was really upset, and wasn’t ready to talk about it. My Scorpio volcano had erupted and I wanted to sting, but I thought that it might be a good idea to bite my tongue for a while, and wait until the time was right, or when I was ready. I’m ready to tell you now.
U-pack is the largest brand in the family of ABF Moving
A division of ABF Logistics
They lied from the get go. They lied to my husband (more than once, I might add) about the insurance that they assured us we had. I bugged my husband about the insurance, and I heard him ask on at least two different occasions. Half of the truck contained my pottery shop. They told my husband that we were covered for $75,000.00 if there were any damages. Well, guess what…that didn’t happen. The real story…in fine print on the insurance claim form said, that the insurance was $65,000.00 if the truck was in an accident or caught fire…“not for negligence”.
If they had just told us the truth, I would have made sure I purchased insurance from somewhere…anywhere. Then I would be covered for all the damages that we incurred…it wasn’t only my kiln that got damaged, they damaged our furniture too. Everything was dirty, covered in sand (it was like they drove through a dust storm…maybe they did?) and everything smelled like rotten food. It was terrible.
I will never…ever use that company again!!!
Look how dirty our furniture was…it was so gross, and it was covered! Thankfully, we have a slipcover sofa and chair and I was able to wash it.
They broke my desk chair. Thankfully my husband was able to fix it.
Look at the sand and dirt and scratches, these were new end tables.
After cleaning the end tables with some baby wipes, you can really see all the marks and scratches. Good thing they can be painted.
My husband built these solid wood bookcases, they were in perfect condition
I still don’t understand how everything got so dirty and scratched?
The bookcases were repaired and got a new coat of paint. I think they look awesome now. Paint works wonders!
I think they look better now, then they ever did.
I was upset about this!
It’s my grandmother’s table. I was refinishing it…it only had a primer coat on it, and they broke it! One of the points was gone, and a bolt was missing. But my husband came to the rescue again, and fixed it as best as he could. It’s not like it was, but it looks nice.
What do you think about the color?
They were so negligent, driving the truck with all of our belongings. The boxes that my husband put on the top had holes in them, and were smashed. These boxes held my photography lamps, they were at the top of the truck. The truck had to be going really fast over bumps or something to do this. Thankfully my lamps look okay, but I still don’t know if they work.
Most of the boxes looked like this
We have moved across the country 10 times since 1986. My husband packed and drove a moving truck 9 times, and everything was okay. My grandmothers table came with us everywhere we moved, and it was in perfect condition. The first time we decide to have someone else drive, so we could drive together…was an experience I never what to repeat.
My pottery inventory boxes
I still don’t know if everything is okay. I haven’t opened any of my pottery inventory boxes. What’s the point? I don’t have a working workshop yet anyway.
I wasted a lot of time filling out all the insurance claim forms. In the end…they refused to pay for the damages to my kiln, virtually putting me out of business. They told my husband, “Sue us!” I wanted to, I really did! I was really upset, mostly about my kiln, and my grandmother’s table. Everything else can be replaced or fixed. My husband said it would cost too much money to sue them. So we didn’t.
This is what Charlotte looked like right before we moved. It was my last firing
She was in really good condition. It makes me sad when I see these photos
Even after all this time (August 2015), I’m still really upset about this. All they had to do was tell the truth. How hard is that? My pottery shop was not only my passion, my business, it was my physical therapy. Making pottery helped my Fibromyalgia. It kept my muscles strong. I was lifting 25 pound bags of clay, heavy kiln shelves, loading and unloading my kiln. It’s very physical work. It really helped with the pain, I have less pain when I make pottery. Now, since I don’t have my workshop, I’ve fallen down the rabbit hole. My Fibromyalgia gets worst by the day. I have more pain now. Everything I do causes me so much pain and it makes me angry, because I know I would feel so much better if I was making pottery.
When we first got to Arizona, I had money for my workshop, but not to replace my kiln. But then, my husband had a health scare. We had a 7 month rollercoaster ride of hospital stays, doctor visits, and tests. In November of 2016 we finally got some good news. Thankfully we had insurance, but the co-pays and the out-of-pocket fees add up. My pottery shop budget dwindled down to almost nothing. Before I new it…it was the holidays. I was able to save a little more money but, unforeseen things came up and I had to tap into my pottery budget again. My pottery budget is down to $320.00. But I wasn’t worried about it, because my husband was going to get a nice bonus check for Christmas that would cover everything. I was going to get my pottery shop soon.
I started designing my workshop floor plan, and sketching new designs.
I couldn’t wait!
But then, a few weeks ago…we found out he wasn’t getting a large bonus at all. So, that means no pottery workshop, no business, and no feeling better. I’m not sure what I’m going to do? Maybe I should start a GoFundMe page? I didn’t really want to do that, but I might not have a choice.
For now I’ll just keep working on my book series. You can find out more about what I’ve been doing here…on my writing blog.
I really hope that 2018 will be a better year and somehow, someway I get a miracle and get the money I need to have my workshop again, so I can make pottery and feel better.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Raven Hill Pottery has been on WordPress.com for 3 years. Thanks for reminding me WordPress. So glad I switched!
When I was on the treadmill the other day, I had a vision of hand-built bottles with texture. Later that night I grabbed my sketchbook, my colored pencils and starting sketching…
Simple bottle forms with texture peeking through.
Love this one!
I think this one needs a little more fine tuning.
I really like this one, the short neck and the texture. This will work!
Love this one too!
I’m looking forward to getting back in the studio and making these. Not sure when that will be though? In the mean time, I’ll keep sketching new designs.
What do you think? Do you like my new designs?
Today is my second anniversary on WordPress.
I’m celebrating with an Artist Feature on Aftosa.
When Aftosa contacted me in January, they asked for 8 photos and a short bio. It took me a while to narrow down the photos to just 8. I make so many different items and I have tons of photos. So, it wasn’t easy. After emailing back and forth, I found out that they actually, only pick 4 photos. So, I had no idea which photos they would pick.
Here are the 8 photos I sent them
These were my top four
I was hoping they would pick Backwater Bay for the first photo. I love that dinnerware. But they picked my butterfly ring bowl, which actually made me very happy because it features my pottery and my husband’s…grandmother’s Portuguese Lace (Palmeida’s Lace)
It made my husband very happy too.
Here are the four photos they choose
Thank you so much, Aftosa!