Archive for July, 2010

I played hooky.

We took a week to go visit my brother and his family in the town where I grew up- Los Alamos, New Mexico.

After spending some fun and relaxing time with my extended family soaking up the gorgeous mountain scenery and air, and discovering lots of prehistoric pot shards at the Indian ruins, I am ready to hit the studio again!  Yes, we left the pot shards there.  It’s really REALLY bad juju to take artifacts from their resting places- everyone knows that! Not to mention that it’s against the law…

First on the agenda:  Firing.  Those squishy cups I threw last week are nice and bone dry and ready to be cooked.  So, we have…

The Squishy Saga:  Episode 2:  Firing

Loading the kiln- I didn’t grab the camera until I put the third layer of squishies in, but it’s pretty repetitive so you didn’t miss anything:

Those four little triangular or square posts will hold up the next shelf.  They are 4 inches high.  Here is the shelf full:

And on goes one shelf:

And the other:

I’ll skip to the last layer of squishies.  There are no posts in this layer, since this is the 5th and final layer of shelves.

I was able to fit 121 squishies into this firing.  Oh, and two mugs.  See them back there?  Here is the whole kiln:

I write everything down in a log every time I fire the kiln (remind me to take that binder off before I turn the kiln on; otherwise it will be vaporized by the end of the firing!)

And finally, I program the new firing into the kiln and turn it on!

Now, I have to be patient.  A typical bisque firing (the first of two firings that most pottery goes through) goes slowly and takes about 12-13 hours for my kiln.  This is an extra full load so it may take longer.  In a bisque firing, temperatures have to be increased gradually to slowly evaporate any water that may be in the clay or the piece might explode from steam buildup.  Once the bisque temperature has been reached ( around 1950 degrees), the kiln will automatically shut off, but it takes another 18-24 hours to cool before I can open the kiln.

 

Next:  The Squishy Saga:  Episode 3:  Glazing and firing

Squishy Saga!

Wow- the Hyenacart squishy cup coop that Lori of Beneath The Rowan Tree organized for me filled up in 25 minutes flat, with a total of 207 squishy cups ordered!  So now the hard work begins.  For the past 10 days I’ve been throwing, throwing, throwing.

I thought it would be fun to start a little series on how I make squishies… so here goes…

The Squishy Saga:  Episode One:  Throwing

The first step in creating squishy cups is weighing out the clay.  I weigh my clay lumps to make sure my finished products are fairly uniform.

Yeah, my studio’s dirty.  A lot of mud moves through here.

Okay, so once the lumps are weighed, I make them into balls.

Bags o’ balls:

Then comes the fun part.  Throwing:

Looks quick, doesn’t it?  Unfortunately, the part that is the most fun is also the shortest step in the process.  And, there are many, many steps to go through before they are finished.

Once they are thrown, they need to set up a bit- about an hour or two, and then they are squished:

At this point I also smooth the bottoms and put my stamp on the edge of the bottom.  I put it on the edge, because if I put it right smack in the middle, it will cave in the bottom of the cup.

After squishing, they are set up to dry for several days until bone dry:

And there you have it- the first day in the creation of a squishy cup!  Stay tuned for

The Squishy Saga:  Episode 2:  Firing

Want Squishies?

They are coming soon- Taking orders starting July 15th!

Please follow the guidelines here:

Squishy cup preorder

And just because I love this picture so much:

Monsters not included!

Universal Mama is having a big bash for our 6th birthday.  RSE will be participating in quite a few collaborations with Nature Baby Knits, Healing Pixie, Joyful Earth, Laines Magnifiques, Dwell Wool Knits and more!

We will have lots of guest vendors, and the members of UM have been busy creating all sorts of wonderful things for your enjoyment.  I will also have lots of goodies stocked in my own part of the store, including a drawing for a free squishy cup, so stop by soon!