Moo mini cards and indecision…

Ok – bunch of stoppers made, stands on their way… next step – business cards!  I like the mini cards that Moo.com prints, and they let me pull images directly from smugmug.  (And yes, they are pretty mini – each is about 1″ x 2.75″.)  In a 100 card pack you get a mixture of the images you select on the fronts, and then you choose some basic text (or upload your own design) to go on the backs of all the cards.  I wasn’t happy with what I could set up just using Moo’s backs, so I’ve designed my own.  Of course, I came up with two options… and I’m having trouble deciding whether there should be an image on the back or not.  Using an image does take away from the size of the text I can show, and there’s already an image on the front.  On the other hand, it leaves a better impression, and there are a few cards with just a glaze closeup on the front, so this would show what was going on.

Thoughts?  Keep the image?  Just the text?  Say more with the text?  Leave a comment!

Stands – prototypes made, design sent to Ponoko for cutting

Hello hello!  I finished up my stand designs and sent them off to Ponoko to be made in black acrylic, white oak, and cork.  I printed out the design, pasted it down to some foamcore, and then cut it out by hand to make sure it all worked.  Whadaya think?

Aha – a stand idea

Sorry, no photos yet, but today I had an aha moment.  Business cards, single and multiple stopper displays for customers, and single and multiple displays with Moo mini-business-card holders for point-of-sale.  Boo-yah.  Ponoko’s half-off sale ends tomorrow, so I’ve got some vector art to make tonight!

New glaze colors, epoxy success

Hello!  Life’s been busy the last few weeks, and I’ve made some good progress with the wine stoppers.  I ordered up some new epoxy from an industrial supply catalog, some extra nozzles, and a gun to make applying it easier.  After some trial and error, I’ve actually got a process that works well – all of these were glued up after about 30min of prep and 15min of choreographed gluing.

Just epoxied stoppers

You’ll notice a few new color combinations in there too – I’m loving the speckled blue and the pink/purple combinations!

I’ve got a good number of these guys done now – next up: a display stand and some business cards.  (And some good photos of each!)

Website and email access is back!

After some time of not being able to access the website (or my email) from my home network, I was finally able to get everything updated to work again today. Whew! (And as an added benefit, if it happens again, now I know why…)

So – there’s been some progress lately – I’ll get some info up and posted soon.

Long time no post!

Hey world – sorry it’s been so long!  One of my other hats is Race Director for a non-profit adventure racing company I founded, and one of our two yearly races “The Bitter Pill” was this past weekend. Great day, fun race, and a huge relief to have it over!  The logistics of designing ordering and tracking down shirts, getting the website set up, busses, moving bikes and canoes…  It’s pretty crazy, but worth it to put on a good show!

I’m also having website troubles.  For some reason, this domain is the only one (that I’ve found so far anyway) that my home router won’t let me get to.  That’s ironic and inconvenient…  Hopefully be able to fix that this week, but in the meantime it makes posting updates tricky.

Ok – back to pottery.  Lately I’ve been concentrating on geometric random forms and trying new glaze samples.  Heavy coats of fake celadon are a favorite right now – beautiful blue where the glaze pools and nice crackling.  I’ll try to get some macros up soon.

Here are some of what’s waiting for the kilns:

BisqueGlaze experiments

Some Serious Stopper Status

Some big things in stopper world lately.  Two are in for glazing (still – one of the drawbacks of a coop studio), three waiting for bisque, and four new ones last night:

Swimmer, long one, abstract, rook stoppers

I also came up with a very cool laser-cut stand design – the first prototype has been submitted to Ponoko, a service I’ve known about for years but am now finally using for the first time. I’m really looking forward to seeing the results! Pictures and info on the process in a later post. Enjoy the weekend!

Wine Stopper Mob Unleashed!

Stopper Mob

Stopper Mob, wave 1

The mob has arrived! Aaannnddd… they look great!  (If, you know, I do say so myself.)  More pictures to come, but at least this way you can see them all. Getting the bodies connected to the stainless steel bases from Torne-Lignum.com has been quite a long road. Here’s the story:

First, I tried something called E6000, which was recommended in a few places. (A lot of places refer to E6000 as an epoxy, but it turns out it isn’t – its a craft glue. This is an important distinction!) The first try was a stopper with a solid flat bottom. After setting for about 24 hours, the body pulled away from the base when I applied force to it. Whups. The glue easily peeled away from both ceramic stopper body and steel stopper base. Essentially, it looked and acted almost like rubber cement. (It wasn’t hard, like I expected.) I decided to try again, thinking maybe it just needed to cure longer. I glued up the original stopper again, as well as two that I had hollowed out the bodies of. For the ones with the voids, I first glued a short metal rod into the steel stopper, then filled the void in the ceramic body with E6000 and dropped the metal stopper and post down into the glue. Clean up the glue that squeezed out between metal stopper and clay body, rubber-band down to apply pressure, and wait a full week.

Unfortunately, even after a full week, just a small amount of pressure sideways to the piece, and it peeled away. The E6000 inside the body hadn’t dried even a little bit – it was still completely fresh. Not what I expected at all, and clearly not going to work. The piece with the flat bottom seems to have worked well, but all of my stoppers have holes in the base now, so that isn’t really helpful.

I finally went and picked up some Loctite instant-mix two-part epoxy. Sets in 5 minutes, has two nozzles with fine tips that allow me to easily inject the right amount of epoxy into the pieces, and dries rock-hard inside of 24 hours.

Here’s the comparison as I see it:
E6000 (glue)

    Pros:

  • strong, flexible bond – would probably work very well with fabrics, etc
  • dries clear
    Cons:

  • Takes forever to cure
  • Doesn’t fill voids well – after a week it was still completely uncured inside stopper bodies

Loctite (two-part epoxy)

    Pros:

  • rock-solid once dry
  • movable in 20 minutes, fully cured in 24 hours, even inside a sealed volume (so the pieces with the large voids still are solid)
  • self-mixing inside its included nozzles – this made getting the epoxy inside the 3/16″ holes in the stoppers and the ceramic bodies easy and very clean
    Cons:

  • more expensive – approx $4 for a 14ml tube, which was enough for six stoppers, two of which had very large voids to fill
  • The self-mixing nozzles have curing epoxy in them, so once you start applying you have about 5 minutes before they lock up solid unless you keep the epoxy moving. The case comes with two nozzles, so you can have two sessions, but you need to work fast. I got better at this as I worked, but it meant filling the holes, matching up the halves, and cleaning up any extra had to happen in a minute or less per piece. No room for errors!
  • the package said it dried translucent yellow, but it looks perfectly clear to me. Maybe over time?

So, epoxy for the win! More photos and maybe an etsy post or two soon.

New stoppers, gluing process, and E6000 frustration

Last night's Curly Creatures - Side-curl, Daalek, chubby Flyer wine stoppers

The three new little guys above were last night’s inspirations. I’m still having a lot of fun coming up with new ideas! I also glazed two in thick Fake Celadon – I’m hoping they crackle well so I can ink ’em. (As a side note, it just occurred to me that stoppers could be terrific candidates for some raku lovin’.)

More frustration on the gluing front, I’m afraid. I had three Creatures in bondage for about a week:

Sanded and ready to glue

Sanded and ready to glue

Glue applied!

Glue applied!

Applying pressure

Applying pressure

Curly Creatures in bondage!

Curly Creatures in bondage!

Last night they finally came out of bondage… and the two that had center posts through them (the green ones) both separated with just a little pressure. E6000 doesn’t apparently dry at *all* when its inside a sealed cavity. (I suppose that makes some sense.) So, I’d already picked up some 5-minute epoxy – I’ll give that a try today and see how it goes.

Stoppers and stilts!

Some fun news yesterday!  The stoppers and the kiln stilts I ordered showed up.  :)

First stop was the studio to use the stilts:

Curly Creature wine stoppers on stilts, waiting for the glaze kiln

Curly Creature wine stoppers on stilts, waiting for the glaze kiln

Then I swung by Conant Metal & Light.  Light technician Christy who showed me all around the workshop.  We talked about my options for lamps, and she tracked down bits and pieces I’d need — a ceramic candelabra socket, cut a piece of brass tubing that fit around it, a gold-colored wire with inline switch, and some other bits.  $10 for everything – not bad!  The place is a treasure chest of found electrical stuff next door to a very well-equipped metal shop, all staffed with folks who know how to help you get stuff done.  If you’re in the Burlington area and have a project, I highly recommend paying them a visit!

Last stop was the hardware store to pick up some E6000 epoxy for attaching the stoppers to their Curly Creatures…  The first two are almost cured (24 hours to go – I’m so impatient) and they look great!!  I’m really excited about the little buggers.

The first two wine stoppers
Wine stoppers with Curly Creature tops
Wine stopper with Curly Creature swimmer top

The first two stoppers!