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Saturday, February 27, 2010

Jim's Sculpture for Raku

This is the sculpture that looks both forward and past. Jim made a plaster mold of a face then put two faces together. It's hollow inside and will be raku fired. 

JIm and his extrusions

More Mezuzah Covers

Having a little extra clay, I made another pinch pot. I'm starting to get decent at making pinch pots. These pieces are ^10. Jim has some wonderful glaze recipes that I want to test out. 

These mezuzah covers will fit over a 2.8" scroll. I put two holes on each end, because rather than screwing them to the door post, I want to sew them on a little quilt and hang the little quilt by the door. Definitely and inside door mezuzah cover. I was careful to recess the holes a tiny bit so that if they were screwed down, the screw heads would be flush with the cover. 

Got Dry Clay?

I had a block of B-Mix that was too hard to use. So... I used my favorite method for rehydrating clay. I took an old towel, soaked it with water, and wrapped up the clay. I put it back in the bag, sealed it, and two days later, I had wonderful clay to work with. 

A Little Bit of Scraping Needed

After having problems getting the first tile out, Jim saw that there were some undercuts. So, he did some scraping. 

Tiles Drying on Plasterboard

I was having a problem with tiles sticking, so I tried using corn starch. It wasn't the best idea I've ever had, but it didn't hurt anything. 

Making Tiles

Using all that was left of my '87 Toyota (the jack), Jim made me a cool tile press. Saves lots of pounding. 

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Where Can I Put My Anxiety?

I need a place to put my anxiety so I don't have to carry the anxiety around with me. I thought about this for a while. First, I was going to make a textile sculpture. Then, when I was in the shower this morning, I saw what I needed to make. I'm making a kind of tile with pockets. I decided to honor the anxiety and give it a place to reside where the anxiety could come and go as it pleased. 

These will be raku pieces. After being reminded that whatever I put into the raku kiln needs to be pulled out with tongs, I decided to make a kind of edge on the piece. Next, I made cut out the pockets and put texture on them. After attaching the pockets, I put texture on the background of the tile. 

I made a third tile using slips rather than texture. I'm looking forward to making more of these sculptures. 

Anxiety Pockets

These are from the first two pieces I made. Jim had the camera while I was making the third piece. I decided to use slip on the third one. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Jewelry and Pinch Pots

Jewelry pieces ready to go onto the bisque cart.  

After sanding and coating with terra sig. I use terra sig on the bottoms of my pinch pots to ensure I have a lovely, smooth, non-table marring bottom on my pots. I do this for every clay body I use from ^04 through ^10. 

A couple close ups of the Jewelry pieces. I used a commercial stamp to make the textures. 

Before starting to sand and apply terra sig. The pieces to go into reclaim were not a surprise. I always lose a few pieces when I put a board over them and let them dry. 

What I'm learning from this: I'm starting to be less anal-retentive with shapes. This is good. I'm thinking that these could either be edged with silver wire or with beads. I made some with my own doodling as a design and some with commercial stamps. I think I'm going to have some unusual colors with these pieces. There is always some space left in the kiln for little bits and pieces when glaze firing. I also like to use jewelry pieces and buttons for test tiles. I used a commercial ^6 clay for this - Laguna's Speckled Buff. I like the color of the clay when fired and I like the way the speckles become part of the glaze. 

Experimental Mezuzah Covers

Raku cover. I've incised the shin into the clay. I thought about using luster after the raku firing, but I was afraid even firing to ^019 would destroy the raku effects. 

Another raku piece. 

^6 and I'll put the shin on with gold luster after a glaze firing. 

Raku piece. 

What I learned from this so far: 
I need to use the slab roller rather than a rolling pin in order to get even thickness. Yes, I know you can get even thickness with a rolling pin. However, there's a really nice slab roller in the clay studio and I see no need to reinvent the wheel. 

Using the clay bodies I'm using, I need to keep the slab at least 3/8" thick. If I want a thin cover, I will have to consider using a clay that's either all porcelain or at least 1/2 porcelain. 

Jim did some glaze experiments with ^10 and I love some of the colors he got. I may switch to a ^10 body. I'd prefer not to use B-Mix - my experience has been that B-Mix slumps rather badly. I do have some B-Mix reclaim and I may do one or two test covers to see if I will have the slumping problem. 

I'm also thinking I need to make a depression around the holes in order to accommodate the screw head. I want to see how these work before making any firm decisions. 

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Between Naps

I got a flu shot a few months ago, so I've only a mild version of the flu. No, I am not complaining! Between naps, I've been doing little odds and ends. The last issue of Threads had an article about needle weaving, so I decided to give it a try. This is hardly an inspired piece, but I did have fun playing with the different bits of thread, yarn and ribbon. 

I used a piece of foam that I use for felting. I covered it with a piece of old towel. Next was a piece of fabric and a piece of Misty Fuse. Then the needle weaving. According to the article, when finished, I'm supposed to iron over the weaving to make it stick to the Misty Fuse. Then, I can sew a border of sorts to the weaving and use it as embellishment. 

Having lots of different types of yarn, I can see me making larger pieces of needle weaving. I'm going to have to think about how I want to use this as an embellishment. Perhaps on a tote? Or a purse? 

Sunday, February 14, 2010


^6, 7/8" in diameter. 


Low fire, 2.75" diameter. 

^6, 2.5" in diameter. 

Low fire, 3" diameter. 


Low fire, 1.25" diameter. 

Low fire, 1.75" in diameter. 

^6, 2.5" in diameter. 

^6, 2.25" in diameter. 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Making Mezuzah Covers

It's not as easy as it looks. I've learned that I need to use thicker slabs if I want the piece to remain flat. I also need to make sure I get the wood dowels out before they crack the slab. I've  had to put a few covers back into reclaim. But I'm having fun. Some will be ^6 and some done in raku.