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
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!
I’m participating in the…Blogging From A to Z April (2015) Challenge
For at least a week, maybe more…I had absolutely no idea what to blog about, that started with the letter X. I don’t have any items that start with an X, I don’t even know of any pottery terms that start with an X. Maybe there is, and I just can’t think of it right now…I don’t know? Planning a blog post about the letter X…was difficult for me. But, then one day I had an idea!
“I’ll just sketch something!” It started out as a joke really. Sketch a bottle, and put an X on it and call it…X marks the spot. Then I’d have my X blog post.
But, then something happened when I opened my sketchbook, and started to sketch. My hand, and my pencil had a mind of its own, and these bottles are the result! I have to say…that I like these so much, I want to make them!
What do you think?
Those bottles inspired me so much, a few days later I sketched these.
I love these…I’m making these too!
And then last night, I sketched some mugs.
I think I’ll make a whole line of dinnerware with this design. What do you think?
Thanks…Blogging From A to Z, without you…these designs would not exist!
Now…What should I call them?
When I first made these plates, I had no idea what to call them!
I even had a…name this dinnerware giveaway. The winning name was Plantation Breeze. I kept the name for a while, but it just wasn’t right! Then one day I received this email…
“I am a food photographer in Atlanta. I am needing the exact look that you create for a client of mine: Tropical Smoothie Cafes.
We are creating beauty food shots that will be in all of their restaurant decor.
We are doing a shoot this week and I am wondering if I gave you our FedEx number, if you could overnight some pieces for us.
Their ideal shapes are typically:
– plates: flat as possible and a 6.5-7″
– bowl 1.5-2″ rise and 7″ in diameter.
Let me know asap
I know you make things very close to these sizes, and beautifully.”
Before I even saw the email, she went ahead and purchased 4 plates…two of these and two Vintage Cottage plates. Needless to say, I was excited! I called her right after I read the email, got all the information I needed, packed up the plates and my husband shipped them the next morning.
And that is how they became…
I really like the name now!
I can’t wait to glaze them in different colors.
Do you think I should just glaze them in tropical colors?
Hmmm…I need to think about this.
And now they come in square plates and trays.
I took this photo right after I made these side plates and tray. The rims still need to be cleaned, and the bottoms need to be signed. I’m also planning on making platters with and without handles, bowls, cups and mugs.
I think I’m going to make a set for myself.
Several months ago, I decided to create a new line of handmade dinnerware called “The Lake House Collection.” So far, there are 5 different designs, each with their own name.
Mirror Lake…which actually use to be called Brooklawn Park, is now part of The Lake House Collection. I think the swirling leaf design (reminiscent of reflected leaves in the swirling water) fits better in this collection.
Echo Lake…will be dinnerware with no texture, in the same colors as Mirror Lake. I’m thinking about putting the swirling leaf design on the bottom of the plates, but I’m not sure yet. We’ll see how it goes.
Mystic Lake…will be all about the glaze. I’ll be experimenting with glaze combinations and hopefully I’ll be able to make some magic!
Shadow Lake…will have some kind of leaf design, not sure yet though. It might be a little more moody and darker in color? I still have to figure this one out.
Sunset Lake…will be autumn colors, with and without texture.
The names I choose for the collection, are names of real lakes in Massachusetts, where I’m from. I thought it would be really nice to name them after real lakes.
I’m really looking forward to making this collection.
Check out…The Lake House on Pinterest!
What do you think of my new collection?
We are who we are, because they were who they were!
I’ve been wanting to start production on this handmade dinnerware for quite some time now, but haven’t been able to test the glazes yet, and now that we’re moving…I guess it will have to wait a little bit longer.
I am the granddaughter of Portuguese Immigrants!
I’ve been fascinated by my ancestors ever since I was very little. Every time I was at my grandparents house, I’d ask my grandmother. “Can I go see the pictures?” I knew she would let me, but I would ask every single time. As soon as she said “Yes,” I’d go into the guest bedroom, open the cedar hope chest, and gently pick up some of the old photos. Then I’d sit on the bed and stare at the people I never met before, and wonder who they were, and wished I could have met them.
After a while, I’d run into the living room with a picture or two…so my grandmother could tell me the stories again. I loved to hear them, it didn’t matter how many times I heard them. The time I spent with my grandmother was very special to me. I was a very lucky girl to have such wonderful grandparents!
I decided to call this handmade dinnerware “Ancestry” because the design reminds me of Portuguese embroidery. It’s my way of honoring my heritage, my ancestors, my wonderful grandparents.
I am bound to them, though I cannot look into their eyes or hear their voices. I honor their history. I cherish their lives. I will tell their story. I will remember them.
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!
This is Charlotte Skutt…my kiln. I’m not exactly sure why I named my kiln, but I did and I think it’s cute!
I think this is the first time in almost 24 years, that I’ve actually taken photos while loading my kiln. These items are going on the bottom shelf of my kiln. I’m doing a bisque firing, so I can get a whole lot more stuff in this load, then if it was a glaze firing. I can actually stack pottery on top of each other, unlike a glaze firing…they would fuse together.
The kiln posts are in place, and I’m ready to start loading the bottom shelf.
The bottom row is loaded, now the next row.
The next row of items, ready to load.
I usually start with the larger items, and then fill in the rest of the space with smaller pieces.
This row is done, now onto the next row.
Items ready for the next row.
Oooops! I dropped a leaf and it broke.
This row is all done, two more to go!
Some new ornaments!
The next row is done, one more to go and then I can turn it on.
Top row is done…Yay! Now I can rest and let Charlotte do her job!
And approximately 36 -38 hours later. Everything is bisque fired, unloaded and in my workshop.
Now it’s time to put all these goodies away.
But before I do that, I need to decide which pieces are getting glazed first.
Yay! Everything is put away, now it’s time to start waxing and glazing.