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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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!

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?

Aftosa Monthly Featured Artist

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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

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These were my top four

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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.

http://www.aftosa.com/2016-aftosa-artist-gallery/

Here are the four photos they choose

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Thank you so much, Aftosa! 

A Lot Can Happen in a Year

a lot can happen in a year

This year has been a year of change for us. In January my husband got a new job…Yay! But the job involved a lot of travel, so I had to get use to his new schedule. He’d fly out early Monday morning and fly back home late Friday night. After a while, we thought it might be a good idea to live closer to the airport. So, we had two choices to choose from.

1) Move closer to Tampa

2) Move to the Orlando area

It was a very easy choice for us. We choose #2…mainly because our three oldest children live there and our grandbabies. I was really looking forward to being with my kids and granddaughters more often and finally having all of my family in the same place again. So I started looking for houses right away but, I didn’t really find anything I liked or anything that fit our needs…so I kept looking.

Then in March, we got a phone call…we never wanted to get. My sister-in-law passed away. She never got the miracle that we hoped and prayed for.

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We will miss you forever…Laurie!

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I still can’t believe she’s gone.

In May, my husband found out about a new job opening with the company he works for. He would be able to be home every single night, which is what I was hoping for, but it was in Arizona. I’d been doing some research on the best place to live if you have Fibromyalgia and it all pointed to Arizona or New Mexico. Long story short…he got the job…Yay! But it was bittersweet. It meant I had to leave my three oldest children, my three grandchildren…Faith, Paige and Grace, my mother and my workshop. That was not an easy thing for me to do. But for the first time in my life, I had to put myself first. I need to get well. I really couldn’t live in Florida anymore. The longer I lived there…the worst my allergies got…which meant the worst my Fibromyalgia got and most of all, I wanted to be with my husband.

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Paige and Faith

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Grace

My husband had to start his new job on June 8th and we had 4 weeks to move. OMG…I hadn’t even started packing yet! So, I spent all of my time looking for houses and packing. I started packing my books first, then my pottery shop. HOLY COW…I never want to do that again! I never realized I had that much stuff in my workshop. Packing a 25-year-old pottery shop took me more than a month. The next time I have to pack my workshop…

I’M HIRING SOMEONE ELSE TO DO IT!

The house hunting wasn’t easy. I kept sending my husband houses I found on Zillow, he would go look at them on his days off. I can’t even remember how many houses my husband looked at, they either had pets or rugs, or both…which is not good for me or my husband…who has asthma. Thankfully my husband found a really good realtor who found us a house with no rugs and no pets…in a really nice area. Needless to say, we were not going to make it there in 4 weeks.

So, instead of leaving Florida on July 3rd like my husband was hoping to do, we left on August 4th. It’s a good thing too, because I was not done packing.

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Welcome to our new house!

My plan was to take some time off from making pottery to work on my book. I really want to finish it. But I still wanted to make pottery.

Then this happened…

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The movers destroyed poor Charlotte…my kiln. They also damaged a lot of our furniture…more about that in another post. I really didn’t care about the furniture, we can re-paint and refinish the furniture and my husband fixed my desk chair. But when I saw my kiln…I had tears in my eyes. Charlotte was my work horse, she made everything I made…more beautiful.

I’M SAD TO SAY THAT…

RAVEN HILL POTTERY IS NOW OUT OF BUSINESS…TEMPORARILY!

I never thought I would say or write those words, but there is nothing I can do about it. It’s taken me a while to write this post, because I didn’t want to. So, now I have to say goodbye to pottery for a while. I hope it’s not too long. I miss it already. My hands itch to dig into a bag of clay and make something. I had so many plans, so many ideas…so many things I wanted to make.

a lot can happen in a year3So, my new plan…is to finish my book, get a literary agent and get published.

Then I can buy a new kiln and have a new workshop.

New Life Loading!