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!

Last night’s progress

Some more good progress last night!

Two new stoppers: one abstract, with swirled ridges and scales, one more “normal” – ridgeback and four stubby little feet.

Two new stoppers & buttons
I made the scales differently this time – rather than pressing in a circle, I used a wire tool to cut into the surface, so they pop out quite a bit. With the right glaze, this should be pretty cool!

I also got some glazing done – one nice abstract pigtail of a wine stopper in Rose Red with Lucero over it, a sake bottle with RIO wax base, frog pond over, lucero inside, and a couple little signet buttons.

Glazing - saki, pigtail stopper, buttons

Wine Stopper progress!

Really loving the progress I’ve been making on the wine stoppers lately! I’ve got three samples already through glazing (very cool little things), two more working toward leather-hard for some shaping, one waiting for glaze, and two waiting for the glaze kiln.

On top of that, I finally found stopper blanks that I like. 🙂 It was a tough process – most of the stoppers seem to be created for wood turners, so they have a threaded bolt coming off the top. Most of them are also made cheaply – plated with chrome – and come with warnings that they can’t be left on a bottle for too long because they’ll start to flake and pit. Um… yeah – sorry, not going to put a warning like that on things I make. (“Please don’t like me enough to use me for more than a day or two at a time. I might self-destruct.”) So, I’m going with stoppers from Torne-Lignum. I spoke with the woman for a while on the phone – she was similarly frustrated with the options available, took one of the cheap ones to a local metal shop and said “make me these out of stainless?” I’ll be going with the #303 stoppers:
#303 flat-topped stainless-steel stopper
Best part – called last night, and they should be here tomorrow! Can’t wait.

I’ve also been looking for a better way to glaze these. They’re very small, very ornate, and very breakable. I’ve been feeling bad about having such finicky little breakable things for the studio assistants. They’ve done a great job so far – all of them have survived – but if I want to make a lot of these, I need to come up with a better way. Enter, E-series kiln stilts:
E-series kiln stilts
I ordered the stilts through Vermont Ceramics Supply down in Rutland – I don’t think they normally do much shipping to individuals (don’t take credit cards). I’d prefer working with a local shop though, and the studio I work with uses VCS, so I talked ’em into it. They might not exactly match the picture, but they should do the trick.

I’ll make a hole up into the base of the stopper, and when going into the kilns, I’ll sit them each on top of their own stilt. That should make them easier to move around, and allow me to wrap the glaze around onto the bottom (which I’ve been avoiding to keep them from sticking to the kiln shelves.)

Psyched! Once I’ve finally got a few completely finished, I’ll make up a nice stand, some business cards from, and swing by a certain local wine shop whose owners I know to see what they think.

Personally, I know I’ll be keeping a few for myself…

Stopper 1 glazed

This one’s old yellow with frog pond green accents.  (Same colors as the little Curly Creature  Should be very cool!
Wine topper 1

Latest idea – wine stoppers!

I had a fun idea last week – wine stoppers!  Here on the right are my first attempts, plus a table-lamp-to-be on the left:

One lamp, four wine stoppers

I think these will be really unique and popular once they’re released to the world…

First Post!

Thought I’d start off this blog with a picture of a few pieces on the shelf waiting for the glaze kiln.  These should be out early this week – I’ll post again when they arrive!

Creatures waiting for the glaze kiln