Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Slice and dice

As you can see, this is my huge clay wedging and slicing area. I do however have a creative way of slicing bricks of clay into same size slabs that I then quarter or sometimes cut only in half. I make sets of mugs, etc. and I get them to come out close without weighing them out any more by choosing a set of sticks that has been ripped down to a certain thickness.

In this picture, you can see I'm using 1 3/4" thick pieces on each side. I then push/slide my taut cut off wire across the top of them leaving me with a slab of clay 1 3/4" x 6" x 6". I then quarter that by eye on the wire mounted to the wall and bat to the right and each quartered piece gets packed into a ball that will be 1 lb. That will give me a nice sized mug or a small bowl... I could also turn these two sticks on their side and have 2 1/2" slices for a 1 3/4 lb. ball. I have several thicknesss' and even stack them for thicker slices. Works for me!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

Beads, beads, beads...

I wanted to show you the latest. I, (with lots of encouragement from Mary Ann), made lots of beads to wood fire next load. I like throwing on the wheel and I find the beads are small to hold in my fingers and I find it challenging. After dropping many them, I, (being the good sport I am), did finish them and they made it into the bisque load. I did like using some of my techniques that I use on my pottery like paddling with wood texture and pressing with clay stamps I've made. My least favorite is the smoothing/sanding part. I have this great desire now to throw a couple of 28"-30" tall vases. (I am entering a "Carved Vase" competion and have a couple of ideas that I want to enter. Both will include large pieces thrown in sections.) I will fire most of the beads with the turquoise oribe like the last ones. They were very popular, and did sell them right a way to one of her big customers and I like making them upstairs while watching a TV show like CSI or Burn Notice. I set up on the coffee table and shape away, a nice change from the studio.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

My modular system for small studios...

This is an overview of my compact studio. I started my module system, world wide patent pending ;-], based on the bread rack I bought from the scrap yard years ago. I have plywood shelves cut to fit the bread rack, and because space is tight, but I'm not complaining because I HAVE a studio...with WINDOWS... and a VIEW, I built the storage areas all around the same shelves. So I can take my freshly thrown pieces (on bats) and put them on the bread rack parked next to me. They can then be moved to a different more inconveinient height on the rack if needed. I get a nice rythym going this way. Later, when it's time to trim/turn pieces, again I can move pieces from shelf to shelf. When dry, I take the rack over to the door of the kiln room, on the left, and load, and later unload, the kiln. The pieces can be stored at various stages on the rack or on the different shelf areas. One on top of the table where I hand build and the other next to the wheel. You can see the ends of the shelves behind the rack in the picture. The bisqued pieces can be glazed and returned to the same areas.

Here is another idea that might help someone. I have 13"x26" shelves for the kiln. I have drawn with a magic marker the shelves and where the bricks go on the table so I can plan inside the studio where I want to put what out in the kiln. This is handy if it is cold, rainy or windy out and I want to stay inside as long as possible. And then I can switch and move around the pieces from where they are all stored inside. I usually like to pack the shelves with slightly taller ones in back and more openly spaced and shorter items in the front, giving everything more exposure to ash.