I finally finished the bird feeders I made and fired over a month ago.
The main cylinder was a rolled out slab that I wrapped around a cardboard tube. To hold the cylinder together I stamped three small balls of clay on the seam.
I threw the bottom saucer and the top lid on the wheel. The bottom saucer was slipped and scored to the cylinder. Quarter-inch nylon rope was run through the center of the feeder holding it all together and I used a metal rope thimble and wrapped the loose end with yellow thread. To fill the feeder you just slide the lid up and fill with seed.
Decorated with underglazes and Duncan Ultra clear glaze. Fired to cone 04.
I've seen feathers burned onto pots just like horse hair and thought I'd give it a try myself. This was just a test so I grabbed a small pot of the bisque shelf and gave it a try.
I used pigeon feathers because that is what I had. While taking a smoke break at work I noticed a bunch of feathers in the parking lot so I snatched them up and took them home to burn.
This is a white raku clay body that was not burnished. I'd say my test was successful so I guess I'll start collecting feathers.
A simple but elegant terra cotta wine chiller. This is not a cooler that you put a bottle in and pack with ice. This type of chiller is soaked in water for 10-15 minutes, drained, and placed in the refrigerator for one hour prior to use.
Just a simple pattern that I impressed using the pointy end of a can opener. The patterned part of the chiller was highlighted with a red iron wash which I applied with a brush and then wiped off with a damp sponge.
I made a saucer for the chiller and glazed the inside with a clear glaze just to protect polished table surfaces from condensation just in case the pot ever does sweat.
This is my latest horse hair pot. I think it is an awesome burn. This vase was hand burnished with a metal spoon when it was leather hard. Burnishing with the spoon produces a great pot but it is very time consuming. I bet I have two hours into this 10-inch tall vase.
Been firing up my little kiln quite frequently lately. Each time I fire it I always create a little kiln god to watch over the firing. Here are a few of my latest.
I'm really not sure of the history of kiln gods but from my understanding theyoriginated in ancient times when pottery first came about.
Kiln gods that I have made in the past usually were left to dry on top of the kiln while it was firing and then tossed into the reclaim bucket when the firing was complete. But lately I have been saving them, bisque firing them in my next firing, and painting them with underglazes and glazes them to give them more life.
I don't think kiln gods are based on
religious beliefs. Mine are not. They are just a fun little project to make and kind of like a good luck charm, something like a rabbit's foot or a four leaf clover.
This is another pot that I fired last weekend. I'm real happy with the horse hair markings.
I applied terra sigalatta to this pot when it was leather hard and then buffed it to a high sheen. I bisque-fired this to cone 04, which was too hot, but I was filling my kiln with 04 bisque pieces and this one filled up the kiln.
The result of the higher heat was the loss of some of the sheen of the burnishing but I'm still happy with the results.
I had a good weekend. This is one of my favorite horse hair pots that I fired this past weekend.
This pot was pulled from the raku kiln while glowing hot, set on an insulated fire brick, and then strands of horse hair were brushed and placed on the hot pot to burn.
Once the pot was cool to the touch I gently scrubbed the pot clean of and residue from the burnt horse hair. After that I applied a thin layer of polishing wax and buffed it to a high glossy sheen.
One of my favorite pieces I pulled out of the kiln this weekend. The platter itself is made of low-fire white earthenware clay. Once the platter was thrown and trimmed I used a can opener tip to impress the triangular points into the rim. Old timers call the can opener a "church key." The straight lines on the outer edge of the platter was made using a flat head screwdriver. Very time consuming but the end result is a beautiful design and pattern. Once the platter was bisque fired I had no idea how I was going to glaze it. Somehow for some unknown reason, Mishima popped into my head. Mishima is actually a Japanese island that produces a type of pottery surface design /drawing by inlaying a slip of contrasting color into lines incised in leather-hard clay. In the case of my platter I applied three coats of Amaco Teal Blue Velvet underglaze to the entire platter, front and back. Once that had dried I used sand paper to remove the underglaze from the rim of the platter. The sanding removed the underglaze on the high parts of the rim and left the underglaze untouched the the recessed indentations made by the can opener and flat head screwdriver. When the sanding was completed I applied three coats of Duncan Super Clear over that and fired the platter to cone 04.
What can I say? Somebody asked me to make them a couple camouflage pattern ashtrays. Give the people what they want.
This ashtray is made out of low-fire white earthenware clay. Hand painted with Amaco Velvet Underglazes with 3 coats of Duncan Clear Glaze over that and fired to cone 04.
I finally got my new electric kiln wired in my studio. These were some of the first pieces out. Made them quite a while ago but I'm real happy with the abstracted carvings. Two carvings on each tumbler.
Perfect tumblers for Beer or Bloody Marys.
White earthenware clay. Amaco Black Velvet Underglaze with Duncan clear over that.
I don't know why I started burnishing this pot instead of applying terra sigalatta to it. Maybe I was bored. It has been a while since I hand-burnished. I forgot how time consuming it is. This vessel is about 12 inches tall and 6 inches wide. I have 2 hours into it and still have the rim to finish.
The vase was leather-hard, bone dry, and I applied small amounts of olive oil to facilitate the burnishing process. I have a nice polished turquoise colored agate that I normally use to burnish pots but couldn't find it. Must be at my other studio, so I used a metal soup spoon.
I really thought I could finish this in an hour using the spoon, but I was wrong. This pot will eventually get "raku" fired and get the horse hair treatment.
This pot is smooth, smooth, smooth, and glossy as polished marble.
Took my first clay classes at Bemidji State University in 1989. In 2002, after a long break, I started more pottery classes at Viterbo University in La Crosse, WI.
I do not have one area of interest, but that isn't to say I am unfocused. I enjoy making everything from coffee mugs to trompe l' oeil. I work with highfire stoneware, and low fire earthenware. I'm just clay crazy.