Archive for March, 2009

Shelf collapse!

GAH!  A shelf in my kiln fell off its post in the firing, so some items I was counting on are ruined.  My hubby is in Greece this week so I am taking the week off as there is SO much more running around to do when you are a single parent!  Because of this, it’s going to be awhile before I can get those things remade.  I hate grinding glaze off of shelves.  Hate it.

My “beach” glaze decided to misbehave, too.  It suddenly got really thick and alligatored and leapt off of everything.  The last time I used it, it was fine- it’s the same batch, too.  I’ll just have to mix up a new batch and reduce the bentonite, I guess.  I also hate mixing glazes.  And I have to grind that off the shelves as well.

Do I hear bunny feet?

Yes, I think Easter is coming.  I recently got the urge to make some Pysanky, or ukranian easter eggs.  It’s quite an involved process, and I’m not very good at it, but I like to try!  Here is what I do.

First, I find some nice, smooth white eggs.  I wipe them down with vinegar to remove any oils that might keep the dye from working well.  Then I draw out a design with pencil.  It helps to make a band of paper you can wrap around your egg with markings on it for 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, etc. to keep your divisions even.

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Next, I draw on all the areas I want to be white, with a kistka.  This is an instrument used to draw lines of melted wax.  It’s basically a cone on a stick that you heat over a candle flame and then draw the melted wax on your egg.  It’s just like a tjanting used in batik.  The one I’m using is electric- they aren’t too expensive.  I’m tempted to try it on my pottery but haven’t yet.  I got all my supplies at www.ukraniangiftshop.com .

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Remember, I’m allowed to have ugly, nasty hands.  I’m a potter.

Next,  I put the egg in yellow pysanky dye for anywhere from 10-40 minutes, depending on how dark I want it.  Yellow doesn’t take too long.

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I get my dyes from Ukranian gift shop, too.  They are about 75 cents each and I’ve had them for a couple of years.  Here are my dye jars:

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So, after the egg is yellow enough, I pat it dry and go to town with the kistka on all the parts I want yellow.  Sometimes you get a big blob, but luckily this one was on a part that I wanted yellow so I didn’t throw the egg across the room.

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After that, the egg goes in the green:

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pat dry, draw wax on all the green areas, then proceed to the orange:

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then blue, red, etc etc etc until you have all the colors you want.  I finish usually with a deep red or black.

Then, you blow out the egg.  I didn’t take a picture of this part, because frankly, we have all had colds here for the past month or so and it just reminds me too much of….well, let’s just leave that alone.

After you blow out your egg, you start heating the wax on a candle flame and wiping it off with a paper towel.

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This is a long, slow process.  You have to make sure you get ALL of the wax off.  Look at the tips of my fingers.  Yup, I’ve been dying eggs for a couple of days!

Once all the wax is removed, I coat the egg with a couple of coats of semigloss polyurethane and stick a little hangy thingie at the top with some hot glue.  You can get the hangy thingies from Ukranian Gift Shop too, but I think they call them something like findings.  I think hangy thingies are much more descriptive.

And here are some of the better ones I did this year!  TA DAAA!

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Not perfect by any stretch, but they sure were fun to make!

Customer Action Shot!

A customer ordered some soup/chili crocks for a chicken pot pie recipe he was developing.  He recently sent a picture:

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Mmmm, thanks for the picture, Fred!  It looks fantastic!  I’m glad they worked out for you!

What is happening at UM?

Stay tuned!

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I’m so proud of my kids!

Yes, I know that this blog is primarily about my pottery business, but I just have to brag on my twins.  John tried out for, and got, the lead role in “Grease!”   His sister, Katie, got a minor role as well.  This production is being put on by their middle school.  I’m so proud of both of them!