Nearing Final Studio Overhaul

After glazing some orders and firing my kiln, I continued with my studio overhaul.

I had this back area piled with newspapers and containers of dry mixed glazes from my college years (13-15+ years ago). Time to get those put away.

I’m actually going to look at my old notes and see what kind of glazes these are. All base glazes as I remember. I have plenty of ingredients for color variations if I like them for my current work.

This dead storage space is now transformed into a small crafty corner…

I pulled out a lot of my arts and crafts supplies and fully intend in teaching myself and the kids how to use them.

For these kids – never too many cheap brushes to experiment with. Although I think when we get into serious lessons – limiting brushes to get more out if them will be fun. But for now – this works for experimenting!

We LOVE glitter here! And Chloe is going to be the glue and glitter glob master soon…

I was SO excited for her to get home from school to see this new part of the studio…

And once she got down here, she didn’t want to leave!

And of course – little brother wanted to create too. There is plenty if room for two (no fighting please!!!). Ugh – studio mates – lol…

And Dave put my kick wheel together for the third and hopefully last time for a long while (the two other times were in previous houses). Hope I get to use it this time!

Just freaking beautiful! I cannot wait to get lost throwing on it…

And now – instead of seeing piles of crap I need to go through – I see creative potential and joy…

Now to finish purging some piles, then start to mix and pug all of that clay. I really need to also get my website & Etsy shop updated. It is in fact "that time of the year"…

What a wonderful journey this has been getting my studio and head space clear!!!

Studio Reorganization Mid-Point

I had about 2 really good days of purging going on before the weekend (and non-stop kid activity) set in. And I am quite pleased where I arrived before the break.

There were so many projects lingering from my studio life before kids, before economy dump, while pendants were my focus. These unfired glaze test tiles are now out of date. Most of my glazes have changed…

50 pound boxes of clay ordered years ago so I could try out and find my clay body… Still sitting there as a cluttered mess.

Where drywall boards used to lay against the wall & towers of buckets holding dry clay scraps – all wasting space – there is now room.

Table top cleared and movement down the wall, clay storage underneath, plaster mold making supplies there too. Now ready to see action in new work instead of being a catch all storage place.

Looking down the galley part – more space is seen. Better use in mind…

And there is space for my kick wheel as it was originally intended when this space was laid out.

So now to go through these objects and rid this space of even more clutter.

And to begin reconstituting all of this clay sitting in buckets in the garage.

All of this is "work" to me. Work that may be forgotten when I look back, but work that needs to be done.

And then I can create again…

Studio End of a Procrastination Time

Do you ever reach a tipping point?
I did.
I had just made a batch of beads to fill a couple of orders & I was getting low on my good "plastic feel" ceramic clay. I went to pull some clay that had been pugged 5.5 years ago. And it was short. Not plastic at all. Ugh!

When clay is short – it makes for a very bad studio day. Nothing ever comes out right…

I have got to have over 700 lbs of this hard, short clay…

Sometimes it is not too hard to break some down and expose lots of surface area to water & beer.

Yes! I prefer beer. Others use yogurt…

The goal being to promote bacteria growth in the clay so the particles will align and work in a longer, more plastic state.

This gray area is from my last batch of brewed clay from a few months ago.

So while I started to break down this clay, my ADHD kicked into full gear! My studio is not set up to how I work now.

It’s a freaking mess of thrown together spaces piled with crap and unfinished projects.

It’s a great space for bring in a basement. Just not well utilized at all!

So section by section – it is getting purged and then rearranged (clay is a heavy medium to work in, so moving around is not a frequent option).

My drywall boards are better over here – and easily accessible if I choose to do lots of slab work once again.

I can actually use my rolling cart to put work in progress on (instead of finding places to clean off to use).

And lots of room to store the freshly pugged clay once I get started doing that (it is going to take weeks to pug ALL of that clay!!!)

And as I want to spend more time creating – getting all of this cleaned and rearranged will allow me to clear my mind and focus on the work I need to be making.

More to come!

Electric Kiln Repair Hand To Head Lessons

When something is not working with your kiln, you have some troubleshooting to do. A manual or website PDF of a manual is important.

This post is not about what you should do to fix your kiln, but rather a bit of smacking your hand to your head post with crap you should do before pulling out that manual and ordering expensive parts.

I have three different electric kilns in my studio. Two Olympic kilns and one L&L. I fire to Cone 5/6 for glaze and Cone 04 for bisque. I change out elements every few years. Not a big deal when you have all the right tools.

This year seems to be my year to replace electrical parts & I wonder if I really checked a few things ahead of time – would I have needed to actually replace fuses and switch panel electrical thingies… Yes that is my technical term for all those parts all thrown together.

I thought I blew the fuse in my medium kiln. Checked wall circuit board – all looked ok. Ordered fuse – wrong part sent. Ordered fuse with holder (round, not square – paid for shipping again) & it fit.

Did not work though. Changed out switch electrical part. That did not work.

Plugged in shop vac to clean small kiln that was receiving new elements. Vac didn’t work. Tried other outlet – it worked! Hmmm – check fuse box again. Duh – that fuse was blown. Idiot me! Looked too quick! Tried vac in first outlet again – Eureka!

Tried medium kiln in outlet again – but still didn’t work. Dang! Wait… Oh. Right. I need to not only put cone in & turn switch to low… I have to push in the power button switch. Woo-Hoo!!! It worked!!!

So did I replace those parts for nothing??? Maybe! Oh well… I guess I had better save those old parts as back ups for the next time.

And at that point I decided put all if the kiln parts for the three kilns into their own bags in my kiln repair box so I don’t over complicate things next time and have to rely in my memory, because clearly – my kids have taken extra brain cells, and they are not coming back anytime soon…

At least there is a sense if humor and lessons learned at this point!

Always plug something into the outlet that you know works before ordering parts! You may save yourself time and money…

I now have three working kilns again and I’m kicking studio reorganization tush right now!

Faerie Garden Celebration at Gateway Garden Center

Every fall we look forward to the Faerie Garden House Festival that goes on at Gateway Garden Center here in Hockessin.

Every year it is full of wonder and delight!

It is a day for the wild things to appear (but within limits of course…)

To us it is like fall has arrived…

We noticed that these faeries know how to up-cycle so many things, love it cluttered, and enjoy a good time!

And that their castle is just amazing!

Even little visiting monsters can’t resist posing for a picture…

And they have such a great water pond with these floating orbs. Many boys were here & mothers could be heard saying "don’t throw those rocks in there"…

And I loved this find of Star Anise seed pods in amongst the make and take Fairy Garden area.

So upon arrival home, we gathered sticks and began assembling our own twig Faerie house.

Still lots to do – but it’s great fun hanging with the kids and working on a project together that they can then actually play with!



Ceramic Artist. Garden and Nature Enthusiast.

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