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!

Watercolor Porcelain Seed Pod Beads

I have always wanted to paint. I had never felt the confidence within myself to pick up traditional painting materials…

Then a random email back in the spring for an online class from Carla Sonheim called "Flower Crazy" (or maybe it was crazy flowers – either way – it was a perfect fit for me!) and I took it…

I have always been taken in by the teeny things in the natural world. Colors and textures and perfect little details – even with imperfections, still perfect will keep me inspired. And when these new pod and organic flower forms started to take shape, they needed COLOR! I wanted to take them beyond where I am with my glazes.

So I figured I would take what encouragement, skill, and inspiration I built up while taking Carla’s class and I would use it to jump into making these in the way I see them in my head… (Thank You Carla!!!)

So I work in batches. Making, firing to 2233 F in my kiln, then adding a base coat of gauche, then layers and layers of color, then sealing with acrylic. Then starting over again. I want these to be wearable little sculptural pieces…

And even though I keep an open mind and watchful eye for signs. This one I know speaks of a simple wire connection and not of my efforts in clay and the use of Watercolor paints instead of traditional pottery glazes.

Now to finish fiddling around with life curveballs and get focused!

BeadFest Philadelphia is just a few days away & these can be found in the D7 Studio booth #366.

Then I’ll sit and take the time to figure out how to get these effects with underglazes…

Busy, busy… How is anyone ever bored & without something to do?!

Handmade Wire Closure for Friendship Bracelets

Simple. Fast. High Quality.
All words that I – as a bead maker, sometimes jewelry maker – would use to describe what I need in a handmade jewelry closure component…

Love My Art Jewelry Blog and the Boot Camps for 2013 are helping me focus and come up with a few "go to" components – this round, being closures (clasps).

This simple infinity loop and accompanying simple wire wrapped hook fit all of my requirements, and can be added to for a fancier look.

For the friendship bracelets, I make a bunch if these infinity loops ahead if time. Keeping in mind the diameter of the finished bracelet to keep things in proportion. Then I can tie the strings to the one loop, and secure the other loop so I can braid or tie knots.

The hook is made and attached by knot once the bracelet has reached the length I want it. I hammer the loop and hook at the curves to add a bit of stability.

This triple wrap bracelet is a bit more substantial and I wired more beads to a thin gauge wire and secured it to the infinity loop closure.

marshanealstudio

marshanealstudio

Ceramic Artist. Garden and Nature Enthusiast.

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