Didn’t think I’d have to post this…

I didn’t think I’d have to post this

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”

https://ravenhillpottery.com/2015/11/07/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 company that destroyed my kiln

And put me out of business

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”.

They lied!!! 

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.

https://melindamariealexander.com/2017/12/19/its-all-a-blur/

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.

 

 

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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?

I must create withtext

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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Before Editing

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After

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Before Editing

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After

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Before Editing

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Before Editing

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Before Editing

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After

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.

New Designs – From My Sketchbook

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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…

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Simple bottle forms with texture peeking through.

Love this one!

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I think this one needs a little more fine tuning.

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I really like this one, the short neck and the texture. This will work!

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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?