Lidded jars after separation and trimming.

(And also a second attempt at seeing if Instagram automatically posting to my blog will work…)

View on Instagram

What is this craziness? Super cool technique for throwing lidded jars. Intense process with many steps, but the results are pretty great. More when they return from bisque!

View on Instagram
(PS to future me: when originally posted to Instagram, IFTTT did work, and the image was visible on the blog…)

Art, and pottery vs dance

A potter in a ceramics group on Facebook asked how to handle plagiarizing and giving credit as an artist when even browsing interesting photos can change what you make. It made me realize another similarity/difference between dance and pottery.

First, my response to the question:

“As an artist, especially (I believe) as a potter, anything that is created through your hands bears your mark. It is the sum total of your abilities and your inspirations previous, and its creation makes new marks on your muscles and memory that affect what you create in the future. You’re collecting inspirations – the ones you choose and the ones that affect you most are also marks of you as an artist.

As a potter, you have the rare ability to make a Thing, an expression of your unique experiences, that can last for generations. So go make what you want to make.”

I feel the same way about dancing — when I move, whether by myself or leading a partner in kizomba or salsa, that bears my mark as well. Its also is a result of the experiences I’ve had – the music I’ve listened to, the choreographies I’ve learned, the classes I’ve taken or taught, the dances I’ve had — they’re all in there, reflected in the choices I make and reactions I have to my partner, the music, and the space around us. Even using a move learned from someone else, it’s still different coming from me.

Dance vs pottery is just a question of permanence – dance is fleeting and immediately replaced by the next moment, while a mug once created could hold coffee for generations.

What do you create?

#instagram – #BOOM

It was about time to do this:
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!



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, 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!

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: 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: