May Newsletter

Greetings –

My most recent firing took place a couple of weeks ago. I had a small sale where I used to work with proceeds benefitting the Kids’ Christmas Party. It was a fun day and, as usual, I was the last to get packed and loaded. In my next life my hobby is going to be something light and easily transported. Tubs of pots don’t meet those criteria!

This firing had some chip and dip servers. I make mine as two piece sets for two reasons: I think they are easier stored when not in use, and; separate pieces can be used for other purposes, making the piece more versatile.

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There were three small casseroles, which is a nice size for either side dishes or for empty nesters. I like making different knobs rather than the same kind all the time. Each of these is different but I was going for a sphere on the pointed one but the clay told me otherwise.

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One large batter bowl was in this firing. I dodged a bullet in that because, if you look on the handle, there’s two glaze drips that stopped. Had they gone farther, they would have landed on the kiln shelf, requiring me to remove them – often with a grinder. At first I didn’t like the drips but they almost form a grip for easier pouring.

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One snack tray remains. The rest that I took sold but each buyer had a different use for them and, although I can’t recall what they were, they had nothing to do with snacks! It reminds me of the mini baguette holders that I made to hold car keys and phones. They have morphed into so many different uses from “something to hold my husband’s change” to spoon rests. When a customer asks what a piece can be used for, I give my version but often learn other purposes.

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One French Butter Keeper remained. I had more in the firing but just before glazing a lady ordered two so I was able to glaze them in her colors and.

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In my last newsletter I mentioned that I was adding a new glaze, Amber Celadon. This pasta bowl is an example of what it looks like. It’s a bit translucent and highlights carving or finger marks, which I like. I also made some test pieces to see how it looks with my other glazes and it compliments Arctic Blue nicely.

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Last week I made a trip to Syracuse for supplies and brought home a red glaze. Reds are difficult to get in a nice glaze so I will mix it and test it with my clay and, with luck, unveil it in the next firing or two. The black clay that I was so looking forward to using is still not playing nicely in the kiln so I’ll be putting a piece in each firing till I get it right. I’m really disappointed how touchy it is, which I learned after buying 200 pounds! Striking results when it works. The exterior of the bowl was great but the clay blistered inside.

These pieces will appear on the website in a about a week.  I just sent the pictures to my webmaster.  If you are interested in any piece, you can email me at earthandwaterpottery@gmail.com

Since this newsletter should reach everyone before the weekend, I want to wish all the mothers a Happy Mother’s Day. With any luck, it will be a sunny day for you, although the local forecast doesn’t predict that.

Lauren

March 2016 Newsletter

Greetings and welcome to the new readers who recently joined this group.

The March firing was disappointing in that it fired a bit hotter than it should have and the marbleized pieces came out badly. The hotter temperature resulted in some unusual glaze results, particularly with the pieces that had Coastal or Arctic Blue. Other colors turned out fine.

I made a set of four bowls for myself, using the new black clay mixed with white. I hoped to get a marbleized effect. I learned that the black clay doesn’t play nice. It formed a lot of bumps, ruining the set. Some of the pieces that don’t turn out well enough to sell end up in my cupboard but these were awful. I belong to a clay group on Facebook that is a great resource for questions and tips. I learned that the black clay is very temperamental and it will take some practice to get it right. There are two bowls that were made with the clay ready to go in the next firing.  We’ll see how they turn out. I had a platter drying but put it in the reclaim bucket.  Better to stick to smaller pieces till I have it figured out.  I was so looking forward to seeing the black and white pieces and they are what I saw when I opened the kiln.  I think I’ve mentioned that opening the kiln is like Christmas morning every glaze firing.  Well, this was definitely a “lump of coal in the stocking” Christmas morning.  It seems that no matter how long one is at this, there’s always new things to learn.

This firing was another re-stocking effort. Bundt pans and Brie Bakers were the main focus. I also made a bunch of spoon rests, baguette holders, key rests, phone holders, etc. I’ve never had a piece that people use for so many purposes. Drying for the next firing are small casseroles, large batter bowls and the two black clay pieces. I have to sit at the wheel and throw more. I’ve been working in the studio but not producing any pieces.  Glaze mixing, cleaning, rearranging tools and equipment, as well as taking pictures and getting them in the newsletter, are all part of the work.

Here’s the pictures of the Bundt Pans.  They are about 9″ wide and 3″ deep.

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There was some work going on in the studio that didn’t produce any pieces but will make it operate better.  My nephew built a sturdy table for my pug mill.  It has a shelf, which will make holding the clay to be pugged a lot neater.  He also covered an old wood worktable that I keep by my wheel.  It will help with cleanup, something that I’m constantly doing to keep dust down.  Clay and glaze dust isn’t good to breathe.  After I got things put where they belong, I gave the floor a good mopping.  So, I’ll be ready to go after Easter.

Two Brie Bakers were in this firing.  The plate is about 6″ wide.  They can also be used to roast garlic or as butter dishes.  These pieces, like the bundt pans, can be used in the oven or microwave at any temperature.  However, it’s not good to take pottery from the refrigerator and place in a hot oven.  The thermal shock could cause the piece to crack.

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One small casserole made it in to this firing and there are three more lined up for the next.  They are about 7″ wide and 3″ deep and hold just shy of two quarts.

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I had one snack tray in this firing.  It measures about 7″ x 5″ and has Good Fortune in Chinese lettering, along with the English.

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I also had some small test pieces to see how the sample glazes worked on the black clay. They, too, need more testing.  I did fire a couple of pieces with the new Amber Celadon glaze that I’m adding as I’m fazing out the brown that I’ve been using.  Celadons look nice when there’s carving or texture.  The glaze pools and makes a nice effect.  It’s transparent on the flat spots.  For the first try, I think these came out fairly well, though the carving should be deeper.

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This firing had several spoon rests or baguette holders, etc. I’m not going to post all of them but here’s a few.  Most are about 6″, though there are some shorter and a couple longer.

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As I’m writing this, it’s gorgeous out.  My dogs were basking in the warm sun.  It could be that spring really is around the corner.  Let’s hope.  It’s a lot more pleasant to work in the cellar with the screen door open than with a space heater running.  March is nearly over so it won’t be long.

A big thank you to MaryAnn Vogel who posted a picture on FaceBook of her grandson and the bacon she was cooking in her new bacon cooker.  As a result of that posting, I got a couple of orders!  As you can imagine, my advertising budget is small, so postings like that are appreciated.  Forwarding my newsletter to your pottery-loving friends would be appreciated, as would postings on Facebook showing the piece being used.  Word of mouth is the best advertisement for a cottage industry like mine.

Thanks for your time and happy spring to those of you who have that kind of weather already,  We in Upstate NY are getting a taste today and tomorrow with the high temperature of 64 but, to make us humble, it’s going to be a high of 32 on Saturday or Sunday.  It will be a good day to sit at the wheel, even if the space heater is needed!

Lauren

January 2016 Newsletter

Happy New Year! I hope everyone has a happy, healthy year ahead. Having my open house in November followed closely by Christmas shopping, depleted my inventory considerably. I want to thank those of you who decided to shop locally and included my work in your shopping plans. I also had a couple of people who did online searches for local small businesses and found my website! I also found a plumber as a result, which made me very happy. That, my friends, was a win/win!

I’m afraid the next few newsletters will be kind of mundane, though I am experimenting with my black clay a little. I made test pieces to try the glazes out and discovered that the sample glazes I got need brushing on with three coats. I’m used to dipping once and dipped those as well but the results told me I need to paint them. So, back to the drawing board with them. The agate wear (marbleized pieces) came out well enough that I can keep trying to make a few pieces. I think I’ve got the hang of it.  This is the tedious aspect of pottery.  There’s a lot of trial and error, as well as frustrations.  It’s all part of the learning curve when trying new clays, glazes or techniques.  Trying all three at the same time can result in a good deal of false starts.  I’m trying to fit it in between making what I need to make.

Starting at the beginning of the inventory alphabetically brought me to berry and batter bowls. I’m making small things for a little while to rest my elbow and shoulder because they’ve told me that I overused them – and they aren’t being subtle about it.

The berry bowls are about 7″ wide and 3″ high.

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The small batter bowls are the same size as the berry bowls and hold 4 cups of liquid.

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I have been experimenting with individual snack trays. I’ll be making more. I bought a few stamps with Chinese words along with the translation and am staining the stamped word and using clear glaze on that while glazing the rest with my regular glazes. This one is the symbol for Wind.  It doesn’t show well in the thumbnail photo.  I love the look of the symbols and like incorporating them in my work.

Individual Snack Tray

There were some Brie bakers in this firing. The plates are a bit over 5″ on the baking surface.  These can also used for roasting garlic.

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Currently, I have bundt cake pans and small baguette holders drying.  I bought a new glaze and as soon as I have it mixed I’ll test it so that I’m comfortable with how it works before I use it for “important” pieces.  It’s an amber celedon that will be a transparent golden brown.  I am planning to retire Albany Gold for a while.  I also have my eye on a couple more to change out as the year progresses.

Stay warm and, for those who were impacted by the blizzard in the Northeast, I hope you didn’t sustain any damage and are back to normal.  Spring is only two firings away!  Doesn’t it make it sound like it’s just around the corner?

Lauren

December 2015 Newsletter

First, I would like to thank everyone who helped make my Open House such a success and extend a warm welcome to my new customers. A “cottage industry” like mine depends on word of mouth and I appreciate the referrals that friends have made on my behalf.

The last firing of the year took place this week. As a departure from my usual newsletters, I’m going to add prices in case anyone has last minute gifts to buy since there’s a bit of lag time between the newsletter and the pieces appearing on my website. If you see a piece that you want either email at earthandwaterpottery@gmail.com or call me at 607-722-4815.

There were two new pieces in this firing. Both sold out at my Open House last month so I believe they will be very popular. If you want one of these, don’t hesitate because I only had a couple of each in this firing.

The first new item is a bacon cooker. One drapes the slices over the rim, cover with a paper towel and microwave for approximately a minute a slice. Remember, that microwaves vary so be sure to watch it the first time. The grease drains to the bottom of both sides of the cylinder and you can pour it out for easy cleaning, as there’s a drain hole in the cylinder and a spout in the pan. The smaller one (blue) is about 3” high and 5” wide and is $36 and the larger one (turquoise) is about 4” high and 6” wide $42. Based on the activity at the Open House, it doesn’t appear that the recent findings on eating processed meats has stopped many from eating bacon! There were also orders taken for more. I guess like anything else, moderation is the key.

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The other new item is a bundt cake pan. They are $38.

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This firing contained a few garlic keepers. They are $30 each.  Only the one on the left remains.

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There were three of the ever-popular French Butter Keepers. They are also $30. The blue one in the center is spoken for.

IMG_0895One honey pot remains at $30 and comes with a wooden spreader.

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Remember, first come, first served on any orders from this selection and there’s not enough time for making new pieces and getting them to you by Christmas.  In looking at these pictures, I think the next piece of equipment I buy has to be a photography lamp to assure a true color rendition.  There’s too much yellow, even after editing.

I want to thank everyone for their support, especially this year when I was sidelined getting another new knee. I’m gradually becoming bionic now with three store bought joints! I can’t tell you how great it was to get back to “normal” and being able to sit at the wheel, which is my favorite part of the process. I’m looking forward to trying my black clay and envision some marbleized pieces using both black and white clays and clear glazes. I have some other things I want to try and, of course, am open to any ideas you may have. Some of my pieces came about by suggestions from you. I never heard of a kitchen compost keeper till one was requested! I’ve sold a few as a result of that suggestion.  Your ideas are another way for Earth and Water Pottery to grow.  Keep ’em coming and thanks for the ones already shared.

In closing I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah and a joyous season if you celebrate another holiday this time of the year. Let’s hope the New Year brings us health, happiness, peace . . . and lots of pots!!!

All the best,
Lauren

September 2015 Newsletter

Greetings –

I have been away from the wheel for ages. First, I was getting ready for my knee replacement by doing serious cleaning and other house projects and then recuperating. The surgery was the day after Memorial Day and I ventured to the cellar, beginning gradually, last month. The humidity wasn’t conducive to drying the pots but I finally had enough to load the kiln!

Being pretty low on just about everything, I started by filling outstanding orders and then replenishing my supply of pieces. I have no shows scheduled due to the fact that applications were due no later than July and I was unable to gauge how well I’d do setting up my booth and display and then standing for two days. I’ll  have the annual open house on November 8 and the fundraiser at NYSEG where I used to work.

Although I haven’t used any new glazes, I am trying some different glaze combinations.  One of the batter bowls is black on the outside and the interior has a glaze added that looks like splashes of gold.  The large batter bowl has black on the outside and turquoise on the inside.  Both combinations look good and I’ll be using them.  I’m also using a new white clay that I really like.  My glazes work well with it.  I have a small supply of black clay but have yet to try it.  I’m looking forward to trying a marbleized look but don’t want to experiment before Christmas.

This firing had two different sized batter bowls. I have a large one that I always use when I bake bread. It holds enough dough for a two-loaf recipe to rise.  The larger of these bowls holds 8 cups while the smaller ones hold just over 4.

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Large Batter Bowl

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Even though berry season is over I included some berry bowls in the firing. They are always popular. I make mine without the drip plate. I leave it in the sink till the dripping is done. To me, that’s easier than having a two-piece set to store when not in use.

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Piggy Banks

 

 

The ever popular piggy banks will likely be in most firings for a while.

 

 

French Butter Keepers are available. These are popular and a way to keep butter spreadable and fresh. For those of you who don’t know, you fill be base with water till it will touch the butter. The stick of butter goes in the lid and you change the water every couple of days. The butter can stay on the counter without spoiling as long as the water is changed often.  A customer had one that one of her kids broke and she called to order another because she said it’s a “Mom saver” at mealtime since her kids can butter their own bread.

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Although it’s been sold, there was a kitchen compost keeper in this firing.  It’s more attractive than the used milk container that I used use! Toss scraps inside and dump in the compost bin when full. There are holes in the lid that allow the included charcoal filter to keep smells at bay.

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Soap Dishes

 

Soap dishes were included to fill blank spaces on the kiln shelves. Paired with a scented handmade soap, they make nice hostess gifts or stocking stuffers.

 

I’m throwing pretty regularly now and currently have garlic keepers, square plates, brie bakers and baguette holders awaiting the next firing.  There are also pie plates drying. Berry season may be over but the holidays are just around the corner and there will be pies for dessert in many households.  I’m experimenting with a toothbrush holder and may be able to unveil that next newsletter, along with bacon cookers for the microwave.

If anyone wants something specific for holiday gift giving, be sure to let me know as soon as possible so that it will be fired in time.  You can reach me either through the website or by emailing earthandwaterpottery@gmail.com directly.  I am planning an open house on November 8 so that will be another chance for getting holiday shopping done.  I hope you can stop in.

It’s great to be back!

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Christmas Season 2014

Greetings –

As Christmas fast approaches, we at Earth and Water Pottery pause to wish all of our friends a Merry Christmas and Happy Hanukkah. We hope the new year brings you health, happiness and prosperity.

We look forward to bringing you new pieces, new techniques and old favorites as well. It’s been our pleasure to serve you through the years and hope we can continue to meet your needs, whether for gifts or home use.

Thank you for your support!

Sincerely,

The Staff at Earth and Water Pottery

Lauren

Lauren

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Rafer, VP Security

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Nola, VP Public Relations

 

October 2014 Newsletter

Greeetings –

Happy Fall to everyone!  We’ve been especially lucky here in Upstate New York this season. We’ve had lovely warm, dry days and crisp nights. This allowed the colors to hang around longer. After my October firing, I got a virus on my laptop and it was in ICU getting everything removed and replaced. It’s like having a new computer again.  So, once again, the newsletter is a bit late getting out.

The firing seems so long ago as I’m almost ready for another! If I’m lucky, I can squeeze it in between now and my November 9 Open House.

The last firing had a new piece – earring holders. I decided to put a post in the center so rings can be held as well. I made one larger as a test, thinking that perhaps a couple bracelets could be tossed in as well. If you have younger women or teens on your shopping list, these would be useful gifts.  The smaller one is 6″ across and the larger is 8″.  Both have the same profile.  There are more drying on the shelf that will be in the next firing.

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I am still experimenting with various glaze combinations on the square plates that I like so much. A couple were in the kiln this time and I was pleased with the results. They are quite similar, even though different glazes were used with the cream glaze I’ve been keeping as a constant.  Once I determine the best combination – or the post popular – I am considering making place settings.  I need to get a small mold to make the salad plate.

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Included is a glaze combination on a small serving tray that I liked, although I can’t sell it because I caught the corner and broke it before it was fired. I get to keep that. Handles were added, thinking that it could be more functional with them.  You can see the blemish in the lower right corner.  I sprayed black from thick to thin and covered it with a clear glaze.

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Of course there were a couple of piggy banks. These I left natural, except for the pink ears and tail. I have some that are drying and the clay I’m using now will produce speckles so we’ll see how they look next month. I plan to leave one of them with a clear glaze and just do the ears but the rest will be glazed and maybe I’ll put polka dots on one or two.  Once I get those out of the kiln, I’ll be in touch with all of you who have been patiently waiting for me to get the “bugs” out of the creation of piggy banks.  That sure was a challenge every step of the way!  

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This firing also had three sets of oil and vinegar cruets, another popular gift item. They vary in size and will be priced accordingly.  The tall ones are 12″ and the other two are 9″ tall, including the spout.

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If you haven’t noticed, I enjoy trying different handles all the time. I used a new design on the covered casserole. I like the way the glaze pooled in the depressions made by the two coils and finger marks along the wall.  Some glazes do that better than others. The center picture is the interior and the one on the right is the underside of the lid.

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Two soap dishes were also in the firing, along with a blue chip and dip set. I make the bowl detached for easier storage.  It’s about 10″ wide.

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Earlier in the month I participated in NYSEG’s Market Days. It was good to see old friends and co-workers and meet new people as well. Welcome to those of you who are new recipients of this newsletter.

After the Open House early next month, I’ll be heading off to Sauquoit for their annual Arts and Crafts Show on November 22 & 23. There’s going to be over 100 vendors there and it is one of the most successful sales in Central New York. I hope to see some of you there. For those who might be interested, here’s the link: http://www.svcraftshow.com/

After the Sauquoit sale, there’s a mad dash to get Thanksgiving shopping and baking done as well as working in the studio to fill any outstanding orders that are needed by Christmas.

A funny thing happened at the Oneida sale.  I included a pair of egg separators of the half dozen I made.  I didn’t think any seasoned cook would buy them but thought someone just learning might.  To my surprise, a woman a bit younger than I and two young women appeared in the booth and the older woman picked one up.  I asked if she knew what it was and she did and said she couldn’t live without one!  She asked both younger women if they had one and bought one for each of them.  So, you just never know who will find pieces appealing.  Just like the piggy banks.  Although I thought grandparents would buy them for their grandchildren; they are buying them, for the most part, for themselves!

Have a great Thanksgiving and I hope to see some of you at the Open House on November 9 1:00 to 4:00 at 2 Midwood Drive, Binghamton or at my booth in Saquoit. Till then, enjoy these great fall days because we know what’s going to be following soon.

Lauren

September 2014 Newsletter

After returning from a relaxing two weeks on Oneida Lake and my 50th (!) high school reunion last month, it was time to load the kiln and fire.  I discovered that piggy banks don’t load well, having broken off legs, a tail and one ear, a terrible record for an animal lover.  Apparently, my definition of gentle and theirs differs somewhat.  I’m going to try to add the legs and tail and re-fire.  I think I have a solution to avoid so much carnage with the next batch.  Since it’s the first time I made them, it’s all a learning experience.  Lots of trial and error. Three of the eight made it out of the glaze firing.  One had glaze problems and another needs a cork smaller than the ones I have on hand but this little piggy is all set to go.  I’ve already made more for the next firing – and will be making them each month to both fill the requests I’ve had and be able to have them for the sales going into the holiday season.  This item gives an example of why some potters, when asked how long it took to make a piece, often reply, “Twenty-five years.”  Each new concept involves some trial and error before you truly make it your own.

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In addition to the piggy banks I have some new pieces, olive boats, leaves and baguette dishes.  When a friend saw the latter she said they’d make great individual corn on the cob holders so I’ll make some for that as well.  As I was working with them I thought shorter sizes could be used for other purposes besides holding a long loaf of bread.  They could be a spoon rest, key, change or jewelry holder on a dresser– and most likely other uses I haven’t thought of yet.  I’ve made them from about 4” to 14”, although my glaze experiment on the 4” resulted in that one being tossed in the garbage.  I made a multi-colored one just to see how that would work out.  I’m not satisfied with it but will try that again, maybe with fewer color blocks.  It’s too busy for my taste.  The leaf could be used for a brick of cheese or purely decorative.

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My favorite piece of the firing was a square plate.  Since I had it on the top shelf in the kiln and it was the first thing I saw when I opened it. It was a good first peek!  I wanted to make it two colors and spray a third along the border where the two colors met.  Overall, I liked the results.  I’ll definitely try it again with other glaze combinations.  I also experimented with one of the middle sized baguette holders by dipping one color and spraying another.  I liked the effect of using turquoise with black sprayed on.  That sold in Oneida so I’ll make another soon.

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Also in this firing were some of my more popular items:

 

Soup and cracker bowls

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Wine bottle holders

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Double utensil holders

 

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I have a new piece of equipment, a pug mill.  This allows me to more easily recycle and mix my clay and gives me the freedom to experiment more than I have in the past.  Before, I had to drive the clay to another studio to be pugged and that, though very much appreciated, was a pain.  I can now easily try larger pieces because if the piece collapses, I can just save it in a bag to run through the pug mill.  I have been thinking of trying a tall set of lamps one of these days.   I’ve made a few small lamps in the past.  Another thing I’m going to try, with the guidance of my neighbor or brother, is to build a shorter table for the pugger.  I’ve not learned much about carpentry work through the years so this should be an interesting project during the winter.

Potters, no matter how long they’ve been at it, usually wait with anticipation for their kilns to cool so they can see how the firing went, often wondering if the Kiln Gods were good to us.  We say that opening the kiln is like Christmas morning – filled with anticipation and sometimes a little dread.  This firing was a bit of both for me because of making new pieces, especially the banks, and trying new glazing techniques.  Overall, the Kiln Gods were smiling.  That being said, I lost mine.  (Yes, many have one they sit on the kiln while it’s firing, some quite elaborate.)  Mine was made by a potter who was an assistant at Roberson’s Clayworks.  It resembles a cartoon animal’s head.  I went to my shelf one time and there it was, along with my fired pieces.  Sadly, Charlie died way before his time.  He could make anything.  I’ve had that little trinket for years and couldn’t imagine where it went.  I’m pleased to say that I looked on the floor behind some shelves and found my little guy.  One eye was missing so I made another and he’ll go in the kiln, instead of sitting nearby, next firing.

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I’d like to end by welcoming all the new followers that I met at the Craft Fair in Oneida last weekend.  Though setup was in high heat and humidity on Friday, the weekend gave way to more pleasant weather, even with Saturday’s drizzle.  It was a great event and fun to chat with people who stopped by.  I’d like to return but may be getting a new knee in the spring so I can’t say for sure that I’ll be able to be there next fall.

Enjoy the rest of September and, with luck, I’ll be in touch by the end of October.  Have a great fall!

 

Lauren

 

 

 

 

Lauren

 

 

 

 

July 2014 Newsletter

 

 

Greetings ~

First I’d like to start off by welcoming the new readers who were at the Forge Festival of Arts on July 4.  It was a pleasure chatting with all of you and “the ventriloquists” were a great way to start the day and provided laughs for my brother and me long after you left.  You know who you are!

Since some new pieces sold and some are still in Utica, I will only be including a few pictures this time.  I made a bunch of flower pots and they range in size from small to large.

I also decided to reprieve one of the glazes that gave me bad outcomes when I first started doing my own firing.  Since then I’ve altered my firing programs and thought it may work better.  I was pleased with the results.  I didn’t ruin any kiln shelves this time!  I’ll use it sparingly but I really like the colors and thought I’d try a piece or two each firing.  The color is Redwood and it has crystals that melt nicely if cooled slowly.  They didn’t all melt but here’s close ups of two of the pieces, one a large bowl and the other a planter.

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A potter never knows what’s going to be popular and what’s not.  I’ve found that berry bowls and batter bowls are big sellers.  Dog bowls and treat jars are also quite popular.  That being said, I’ve never seen a reaction such as the one I got when I posted pictures on Facebook of 8 piggy banks that were just assembled and drying.  Every one of them has a home – and they haven’t even been fired the first time!  I see lots of them in my future.  I want to tweak them a bit, maybe making them a bit larger and keeping the snouts at a uniform size.  I made some with polka dots and some without.  My plan is to make a few each firing because if they had such a reaction so far from completion, they likely will sell well at sales.  Even more surprising is the fact that most of them were going to be kept by the buyer, not given to a grandchild.  One seasoned potter posted on a “Tips for Sales” column that one always needs pet and grandchildren items.  I was lacking kids’ pieces so that’s how the pigs came to be.   In the first picture, the pig on the left has his head tilted a bit if you notice where the eyes are.  The picture on the right shows rear and side views.

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I’ve applied for two more juried sales, Madison County’s – which I learned is the first art and craft sale in New York State – and the one in Sauquoit just before Thanksgiving.  Actually, I’ve been accepted at the Madison County sale.  The chairperson this year was a neighbor at Old Forge.  He handed out applications and approved mine in advance.  He said that he and I would be the only potters there.  I’ll know about the Sauquoit sale sometime in August.

The next newsletter will return to showing what came out of the kiln.  I didn’t have time to take pictures before I packed to go to Old Forge.  I hope you all enjoy the rest of the summer.  I so hope that the extreme storms that have plagued Central New York are over.  I was caught in the aftermath of one trying to get to Utica so I could leave the next morning for Old Forge.  The normal two hour drive took me six with all the downed trees and power lines causing me to be rerouted from detour to detour – most for road obstructions and the last for a fire.  I saw more of Madison and Chenango Counties than I’ve ever seen.  When I went through the last hold up, a DWI Roadblock in Norwich, the policeman asked if I’d been drinking I said, “No but I could use one!”  I told him when I left Binghamton and that I’d been touring the countryside, he assured me that the road was now open to Utica.  That general area has had 6 or 7 tornadoes this month.  That’s unheard of.  It’s sad to see so much devastation and to learn of lives lost.

As always, thanks for your interest in my work.

Lauren

 

May 2014 Newsletter

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It’s been a while since I have had any pieces to share.  This winter was very cold and my newer, energy efficient furnace doesn’t “leak” heat into the cellar like the old one did, making it too cold to sit in short sleeves with a pail of water trying to throw – especially during the Polar Vortex.  I think I’ll have a vent added before next winter. Winter was a challenge but we in the Northeast and Mid-West proved, once again, that we are made of strong stock – not that we had much choice!  Toward season’s end, the Middle Atlantic wasn’t spared either.  I think just about everybody is glad to see spring, including people in Florida who likely had a bumper crop of visitors this year.

 

I decided to be positive and think of warmer weather yet to come and made some berry bowls.  These are very popular and, though many potters make a two piece version by adding a drip plate, I prefer to just keep mine in the sink till all the drips are gone and refrigerate.  Seems simpler to me.

 

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With the gardeners out there chomping at the bit to plant and get things in order, I made some compost keepers.  They allow us to toss scraps in and keep it handy near the sink.  Holes in the charcoal-lined lid keep odors away till the scraps are tossed in the compost bin.  There are two sizes available, medium or large.  My neighbor has one and says that it’s working well and does not give off any odor, which concerned me.

 

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Another popular piece is the batter bowl.  I had a couple in this firing and one already sold from the picture on Facebook of all the pieces after the kiln was empty.

 

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Mugs are always a favorite and I made a bunch.  They aren’t my favorite piece to make but it was a good form to make as I re-entered the world of clay after a season’s absence.

 

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I had success with the baking/roasting pans so I thought I’d expand the selection available by making a 9 x 13 pan.  This would work equally well whether making a larger cake or a batch of lasagna.   An oval roaster was also in this firing.  Unfortunately, these can’t be sold because the glaze separated but I thought I’d include the pictures so if anyone was interested I can make one to order.  I will likely make a couple for the next firing so if anyone wants one, please let me know and I’ll glaze it however you want. The cream colored areas are where the glazes “crawled” (or separated).

 

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Expanding my offerings, I decided to make some new (to me) pieces.  There are now citrus juicers, apple bakers and egg separators available.

 

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I didn’t like the diffuser bottles I had left so I made taller and narrower ones than what I’ve had in the past.  I think these will look better with the reeds in them.  I bought some Lily of the Valley oil and sit the diffuser on the kitchen window sill.  The breeze smells so nice.  I think I’ve had the window open once so far this spring.

 

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My “Iris” vases were a big hit so I had to make a few to have some available.  I envisioned them as bud vases but one customer thought they’d make nice candle holders.  It goes to show you that pieces can be versatile and the same piece can have several uses.   I’ve taken a bit of license and glazed some of them in colors I’ve never seen on an iris.  Only two survived because I knocked some over before they were fired and broke the leaves off.

 

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I threw a bowl-shaped casserole that didn’t make it to the firing.  I thought I’d carry my flower theme to other pieces.  For sure it will be in the next firing and I’m anxious to see how it looks glazed and ready to grace a dinner table.  It is an companion piece to my Rose Bowl that I made a while ago.  Also, I’m waiting for the wild dogwoods to bloom in my yard so I can get some pictures and see if I can replicate them in clay to embellish some pieces.  Such decoration is a bit removed from my typical contemporary, often Asian- inspired, work.  I shall call it “The Flower Series”.

 

Lastly, I would like to welcome the new readers who either signed up at the NYSEG Market Days or through Facebook.  Feel free to pass the newsletter on to friends.  I would like to expand the readership and any help is much appreciated.

 

Those readers who live in the Utica area, I’ll be participating in the Forge Festival of Arts and Crafts on July 4 in Old Forge.  If you’re in the area, stop in and say hi.

 

Enjoy what’s left of spring.  I plan to have another firing in June.

 

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