Branding My Pottery

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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!

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Vintage Cottage

 I love old houses with character, and charm!

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It’s the inspiration behind my handmade dinnerware
called Vintage Cottage. The design reminds me of an old tin ceiling,
in a home with beautiful woodwork, moldings, old wooden floors,
radiators, and a claw foot tub. We actually had a claw foot tub in the first house my husband and I purchased. It was built in 1912, it had original varnished woodwork, huge cast iron radiators and old wooden floors. I miss that house. Too bad we couldn’t take it with us when we moved.
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The dinnerware starts out as a bag of B-Mix clay. A combination of stoneware and porcelain. I love working with this clay, it’s so smooth and really nice to work with. It does have its draw backs though. Sometimes it tends to crack. So, I baby it. As long as I let it dry slow, it’s fine. Do you like my water bucket? I like to recycle.
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I cut chunks of clay with my wire tool, and smash them together on my slab roller. I kind of like this part. I get to punch it! Those marks are from the end of my fist. Oh, here’s a tip! If you want a really nice clean surface, use an old sheet over your canvas. I use them all the time. I have a draw full of old sheets that I cut up to fit my slab roller. I also cover the clay with another sheet as well, so both sides have a nice smooth clean surface.
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After I roll out the clay, I add texture, then cut out what I need, and shape it into plates. I let them dry a little, so they set up and don’t lose they’re shape. Then I clean them, let them dry completely, and then bisque fire them. And this is what my handmade plates look like after they’ve been bisque fired. This is a dinner plate and a lunch/side plate
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Each plate and bowl is made one at a time, so each one is unique, and different. The design will differ slightly from plate to plate, and from bowl to bowl, depending on where I cut out the plate, or bowl from the slab.

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These are side plates
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After they’re washed, I let them dry. Then I wax the bottoms, and let them dry again. Once they’re completely dry, I can start glazing. I usually start glazing the bottoms first, then the top and end with the rim.
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These are glazed in Antique Celadon Green by Duncan
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I like this glaze!
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This bowl was glazed in Vintage Blue by Duncan
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This glaze is Deep Olive Speckle by Potters Choice
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This is Deep Sienna Speckle by Potters Choice
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And this one is Deep Firebrick by Potters Choice
new amaco glazes
I really want to try these new glazes by Amaco.
I think Vintage Cottage would look fabulous in these colors!
Which color do you like?
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I might try these too!
What do you think?
Which color would you like for your kitchen or dinning room?

Mansfield Park

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I’m calling this Dinnerware…Mansfield Park

Because
#1 My father was born in Mansfield, Massachusetts
#2 I love Jane Austen books and movies
#3 Every time I look at it…it’s all I can think of!
I’m not sure why?
This design was floating around in my head for 2-3 years before I even made it. I’m not sure what took me so long? I guess, I just have too many ideas floating around in there, not to mention book ideas. I think there’s 5 or 6 book ideas in there somewhere. My mind creates designs way faster than my body can keep up with them. They even keep me from sleeping sometimes.
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Mansfield Park began when I called the ceramic supply company to order some clay. I had an order to fill, and needed some B-Mix clay. I figured, I might as well get some #50 too, but they didn’t have any. I was told that #60 was similar (it’s the clay with the white leaves on the bag), so I purchased a box. When it arrived, I was like a kid in a candy store. I couldn’t wait to try it, couldn’t wait to touch it, and work with it. I was too impatient to make test tiles first. So, I rolled out a slab, added texture and made some tapas plates. I made six of them, and with the little pieces of clay that was leftover, I made bird ornaments. 
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The clay was nice and soft…But!
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It has a lot of grog, as you can see. Grog is like tiny little rocks, that’s added to clay, it reduces shrinkage and aids in drying. It also prevents defects like cracking and gives it structural strength for hand-building and throwing.  
Which normally I don’t like. That’s why I use B-Mix.
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Because I didn’t make any test tiles, I went ahead and glazed all six plates, without knowing how they were going to react with my glazes. I had no idea what they would look like, or even if my glazes were compatible with this clay (which probably would have been a really bad idea, if they hadn’t come out good!) Not only that, I had to pick a glaze from the huge glaze inventory I have. I could have used six different colors, but I decided on just one color. Thankfully, I picked the right one!
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Duncan…Shino Cream!
I love these glazes! They’re so easy to use. They brush on so nicely, and they always come out great. I love glazes like that! I think I’m getting really spoiled.   
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Wow! Was I lucky or what? They came out great!
I only have five left. I gave one to my Mom, because the most important reason for naming them Mansfield Park, was to honor my Dad. I wish he could have seen them!
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So, what do you think?

 

 

 

Glazing The Moon!

 

How I glaze…The Moon!

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When I first started making this dinnerware, I hadn’t planned on calling it…The Moon. I was actually thinking of a beachy-coastal theme, especially since I use a sea urchin to produce this texture. But when my husband first saw it, he said. “It looks like the moon.” So I went with it. It didn’t take very long to come up with some names like…New Moon, Full Moon, Moon Dust, Harvest Moon, Moon Shadow and Once Upon a Blue Moon. And I didn’t even have to buy new glazes, I already had everything I needed.

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All the underglazes and glazes I need for this firing, are lined up for easy access. My brushes, and everything else I need is at my fingers tips.

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I place old towels on my table to protect my pottery, it gives it a little cushion, and I don’t want to get wax on my table. It’s so much easier to clean up too. I just roll up the towels and throw them in the washing machine when I have a load. Now I’m ready to wash my plates.

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I use distilled water for washing all of my pottery and for glazing. The reason I use distilled water, is because we have well water. There’s a lot of iron and lime in our water, and I don’t want it to affect my glazes.

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The plates are all washed and drying. Once they dry, I’ll apply black underglaze to the bottom of the plates.

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I use a small brush to apply the underglaze, so I can get inside all the cracks and crevices.

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One coat is done, two more to go!

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After all three coats are applied, I let them dry really well.

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This is the part I’m not to crazy about! Washing (scrubbing) the black underglaze off and leaving it only in the cracks and crevices. I can’t even tell you how many times I need to change the water, or how long it takes! Lets just say, it’s a lot of work.

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One more to go…Yay!

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After all that scrubbing, here they are! All cleaned up and ready for waxing!

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Once the wax is applied to the bottom of the plates, and they are completely dry. They’re ready for glaze. I use a fan brush to apply the glaze on the top of the plates, and a round sable brush for the rim.

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And after three coats of glossy black glaze, they’re ready to load in my kiln.

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This is what the bottom of the plates look like after they are fired. I love the way they look and feel!

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And here they are…all finished!

I’ve been thinking about doing these in the beachy-coastal theme I was telling you about before. Creamy off white clay with beachy colors. What do you think?

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Loading My Skutt Kiln

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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!

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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.

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The kiln posts are in place, and I’m ready to start loading the bottom shelf.

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The bottom row is loaded, now the next row.

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The next row of items, ready to load.

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I usually start with the larger items, and then fill in the rest of the space with smaller pieces.

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This row is done, now onto the next row.

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Items ready for the next row.

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Oooops! I dropped a leaf and it broke.

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This row is all done, two more to go!

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Some new ornaments!

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The next row is done, one more to go and then I can turn it on.

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Top row is done…Yay! Now I can rest and let Charlotte do her job!

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And approximately 36 -38 hours later. Everything is bisque fired, unloaded and in my workshop.

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Now it’s time to put all these goodies away.

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But before I do that, I need to decide which pieces are getting glazed first.

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Yay! Everything is put away, now it’s time to start waxing and glazing.

 

 

Cherry Blossom Platters

I’ve been wanting to make cherry blossom platters and trays for a while, but haven’t had a chance yet. So, I’m putting them on my to-do list.

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Coming Soon!

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Backwater Bay

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The inspiration behind Backwater Bay comes from growing up a mile from the ocean, in a Historic Seaport City, my mother called…The Gateway to the Cape!

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East Beach…New Bedford, Massachusetts, my playground!

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I start with a bag of B-mix clay (a combination of porcelain and stoneware.) I love the texture of this clay, it’s so smooth, and really nice to work with. I roll the clay into a slab using my slab roller, and then add the texture. Then once that’s done, I cut out the pieces I need to form each plate.

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I love my slab roller!

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Backwater Bay brings me back to my roots, to New England, my home. It brings back memories of rocky coast lines, the smell of the sea, summers spent at the beach, building sand castles, collecting sea shells, swimming in the ocean, the smell of suntan lotion, and ice cream cones. But most of all, it brings back memories of time spent with my family, and the people who I love.

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The texture, and design reminds me of ocean waves.

I love it, and I hope you do too!

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I love the way this glaze hugs the texture and magically changes in my kiln, from shelf to shelf. Making all the pieces…one of a kind!

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I’m calling this color…Stormy Sea!

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The off white plates are called…Sand Dollar!

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And now, they come in square!

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New rectangular trays, and coming soon…platters!

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I’ll be testing new glazes, so come back and check them out!

Oh, I almost forgot! A big thank you to my husband for coming up with an awesome name…Backwater Bay! Thanks Honey…I love it!!!

Please feel free to leave a comment, I love hearing from people! 

Thanks for stopping by!