#instagram – #BOOM

It was about time to do this: https://www.instagram.com/curtinscreations/
I’m going to try posting images of work in progress, mugs full of latteart, bowls full of soup, and more. Because what use is pottery unless its used?

(Now if only I could figure out how to embed the feed as a widget instead of just inside a post…)

Siteground update broke WordPress

So… after some struggle, I figured out why this site was completely broken. Thanks to a “helpful” update by my provider, this little line was removed from wp-config.php.

require_once(ABSPATH . 'wp-settings.php');

As a result, I was getting errors:
Fatal error: Call to undefined function wp() in wp-blog-header.php

Once I added it back at the end of the file, all is well again. The best I can think is that it was an artifact of my provider’s autoupdate, because this was in the file in its place:
# Disables all core updates. Added by SiteGround Autoupdate:
define( 'WP_AUTO_UPDATE_CORE', false );

I’m putting this out online in the hopes that someone else will find it, and it will help them too! (Because it was crazy…) Good luck wordpressers!

Christmas photo shoot!

And that’s a wrap folks! Tons of goodness out of the kiln today, I’m happy to say. And just on time for Christmas presents – phew! Here’s a few making of photos – more once everyone’s gotten their goodies. Happy holidays everyone!

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CyberMonday 25% sale!

Maybe its the season, maybe I’m feeling extra crazy because family Thanksgiving was today… I might not be hungry again for days… but I’m getting in on the Cyber Monday thing. CyberCreatures14 gives 25% off anything on my etsy site, http://CurtinsCreations.etsy.com/. Dec 1 only. Get in there!

Experiments in for bisque…

I’m loving the black slip over this white clay body. Tons of ideas for glaze combinations, but until you see it in action all bets are off. So… there’s some fun stuff going here – looking forward to getting these pieces out of bisque and experimenting!
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Wine Stopper process howto – epoxy or glue?

I was asked after a facebook post “Wondering what type of glue you use? I’m always afraid things won’t adhere to the pottery. And does it work as well ceramic on ceramic?”

It made me realize I’d never discussed my process for attaching ceramic to the metal stoppers. So – here ya go: I hope this will help someone else down the road!

I went through several different epoxies and glues and finally settled on Loctite Hysol E-00CL. (McMaster-Carr has it and the dispenser here: http://www.mcmaster.com/#loctite-e-00cl/=ule32q). I make the ceramic end of my stoppers with a hole up through the bottom that matches a hole in the metal piece. (By the way, this hole also makes glazing easier, and means I can put the stoppers on stilts when firing to keep them from sticking to the shelf or falling over. Win/win/win. :) No glaze on the bottom of the piece, a threaded rod cut to length that’s small enough to slide freely between the two + epoxy = a very strong bond. Its really tricky to get it to all be clean, ventilation is really important, but its worth it – super strong bond, crystal clear. The ceramic will break long before the epoxy does.

Stoppers curing after being epoxied

Stoppers curing after being epoxied

Keeping the join clean… that’s almost another post. I use a mixer nozzle with a fine tip to squeeze epoxy into the hole in the metal end. Just the right amount that when I push the threaded rod in there will be a bit of epoxy squeezed out of the hole. I then do the same on the ceramic end’s hole. The set time for the epoxy is 5 minutes, which gives me just enough time to work on about 4 stoppers in parallel:

  • Hold the metal end upright, add epoxy, insert threaded rod.
  • Add epoxy to a ceramic end, place it hole up.
  • Repeat a few more times, then go back to the first and:
  • Flip ceramic over and slide down onto rod.
  • Immediately clean off any epoxy that’s out of place – I do this with qtips snapped in half and small pieces of index card.
    The desire is to have the epoxy just to the edge of the metal and the ceramic so metal to ceramic is a smooth transition with no seams or edges.
  • Prop up stopper however necessary so there’s no movement while it finally sets. Once the bond is sturdy, it can complete curing over the next 24 hours without any concerns.

I initially tried several glues (including E6000), but found that they didn’t harden inside the piece, or shrank (the epoxy doesn’t shrink at all), or didn’t form a strong enough bond. Epoxy fills voids, dries absolutely solid, and looks just like glass – when done right, if its visible it can actually add something to the piece!

Don’t forget to protect yourself when working with epoxy – there are concerns with both fumes and skin contact. (And obviously you shouldn’t lick the stuff. 😉 I always wear gloves, and work in the bathroom – I can close the door, and have installed an overly-eager fan which sucks air out fast enough that there’s no inhalation issues. (I actually had to enlarge the gap under the door to allow enough airflow. This fan really sucks.)

Have fun! If you have any questions or success, let me know here or on my Facebook Page: Curly Creatures. Enjoy!

Reunited and it feels so good!

It had been far too long. Since the early spring life’s insisted on coming between me and the pottery studio. Well, no more! Finally this week I’m back at it, and happy to find my fingers still remember how to work the clay.

Some photos of the goodies:
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Marketing/Social Media thoughts

Trying a few things to drive traffic, specifically to Etsy (since that’s where actual sales happen.)

Using Happy Sunday (https://www.happysundayonetsy.com) to auto-relist two pieces on a schedule. I’ve got one relisting every two hours from 8am-7pm, and one every day at about 11am. For what its worth, I’ve seen a sharp increase in people favoriting the pieces being relisted, as well as increased viewing of other pieces, but so far not an increase in purchasing. (Welcome to Etsy-as-usual.)

Today I switched over to my (Curly Creatures Facebook Page) and liked a bunch of posts in the Pottery Heads Group. (For some reason, I can’t comment or post to the group as a Page? Is that normal? I couldn’t find a way to join either.) In any case, I’ll watch for a spike in traffic due to this.

Later this week, I’ll try posting some links to my Etsy work in the Pottery Heads group, and see what happens there. I feel like especially with some of the more unusual stuff, this could generate some good interest. I’ll also post a shot of a piece or two that the glaze has crawled on, and ask if people like that effect. To me, I don’t usually love it because I recognise it to be a flaw, but it does give an interesting look, and a lot of people seem to like it quite a bit. (And I’ve had a few pieces that I actually did like it on, so…)

Have online strategies that have worked well for you? Tell me about them!

Chess piece bases

Working on some variations for the chess pieces. I need to do something to widen the bases so they’re less likely to tip over and break. Also, a new idea for a queen…

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New work photoshoot

A ton of new pieces out of the kilns this month! Photos were embargoed until now for reasons of Christmas 😉 so here at some of the better ones:

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