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Member Since 25 Apr 2015
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#124423 Qotw: Pottery Attributes In The Studio

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 28 March 2017 - 10:40 PM

Unless my calculations are wrong (they are not )


Tom, you're awesome.  :D  :D

#124236 Qotw: Do You Have A Question For Us?

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 24 March 2017 - 12:14 AM

I have deeply enjoyed your QOTW threads, Evelyne! 


I would be happy to share any QOTW I have only I unfortunately don't have many ideas. 


Welcome, Pres! :) 

#123648 Need A White Matte Commercial Glaze Suggestion.

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 12 March 2017 - 07:47 PM

Giselle, let me muddy the waters even further.....I was at a Bill Van Gilder workshop last summer and the local studio had a recipe for what they called Porcelain Slip

EPK  50%  3 1/3 cups

Silica 24% 1 cup

Potash Feldspar (custer) 1 1/4 cup


I mixed this up at home and it is super white.  Even whiter than Don Davis Engobe.  So far it has behaved well on Speckled Buff and SB Red. 



Okay so I have never done my own glazes from scratch ... I know this is a slip recipe but I've never used a recipe for my slip. So I may want somebody to hold my hand when I try it. I'm going to talk to my clay supplier about these two recipes. The last time I asked him he not only gave me a kiln wash recipe but brought all the ingredients for me weighed out and ready to mix. :D 

#123454 What's Your Favorite Clay To Work With?

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 09 March 2017 - 12:04 AM

Laguna Speckled Buff Cone 5. It turns a lovely sand color and has tiny flecks of manganese in it that cause tiny speckles of dark brown to appear on the surface of the raw clay and bleed through many glazes. So yummy. I leave it bare to show it off because I like it so much.



#123453 Qotw: How, When Or Why Did You Start With Working In Clay?

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 08 March 2017 - 11:56 PM

I've mentioned before that I use a lathe to turn wood. Many times when I'm in a gallery I would see ceramics and would say to my wife "I did that on a lathe" or "I bet I could do that with wood." Shapes for both turning and throwing are so similar.


Almost a year ago I retired and I kept myself busy in my garden making some changes that I wanted to do for years and had a wonderful crop that I was able to share with friends and family.


It was fall and winter was coming. My wife knows that I like to keep busy and decided to enroll us in a adult pottery class at the local high school. I admit I was reluctant at first thinking this wasn't a direction I wanted to go but I decided it would be nice to take a class together so we went.


5 months later I've fallen into the deep vortex of throwing clay. There is no escape.



I often think this when I see a video of someone wood turning! It's so similar in many ways. It's more limited because of the rigidity of the wood, but of course working with a material that does not dry out overnight and does not shrink or have to be fired must be nice! 

#123206 Wooden Ribs And Rollers

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 04 March 2017 - 12:25 AM

a some of my early tools were rosewood. That seems to be what they were making them out of in the 60s. I still have some of them. I have my first french fingers, two of them and they are 50 years old. I don't use them one everything, just narrow holes on orbs or long necked bottle shapes or the flat end for textured patters.
They feel very elegant to hold.I never oiled them.



What are "french fingers"?

#123205 Wooden Ribs And Rollers

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 04 March 2017 - 12:24 AM

I used to be super sloppy with my tools and let the clay crust up on them, forget them in water. And they got ruined quickly. They dried out and cracked and split. These are the absolute cheapest tools you can get at Michaels'. 


Now I quickly wipe them off after throwing and put them upright in a little organizer. They dry out beautiful and I don't have to do anything to them. These are the same cheap tools. I haven't ruined any tools in a good long while. I'm even starting to let myself get better quality brushes and thinking about some really nice ribs because I know I won't ruin them in a week. 


Re: cutting boards: I have three bamboo cutting boards. I didn't like how dry and flaky they were getting so I melted some olive oil with a tiny bit of beeswax and once a month or so I heat it up and rub it all over them. Fabulous. And nothing harmful in beeswax or olive oil so if we ingest some, no problem. :) 

#123203 Qotw: Are You Afraid Of The White Gold?

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 04 March 2017 - 12:12 AM

I think porcelain is beautiful and glazes look incredible on it, but I'm personally drawn to working with dark, earthy, rustic clay bodies so I don't see myself working with porcelain any time soon. 


The only reason I've ever even tried throwing with it is that my dad decided he wanted to learn to throw (from day one) using only porcelain. It was so hard for him. And so I thought I would throw a few things that he could glaze because he helps me out all the time, he builds things, has helped me set up my studio, lends me equipment. The list of how I could not run my business without my dad is endless. I even fire in his kilns.  

I felt pretty confident that I could throw porcelain. 

I did not wedge it. 


I used tons of water. 


It was horrible. 


Looking back it is hilarious that I approached it so unprepared but I really had no idea that what I was doing was stupid. I had been throwing with stoneware clay that was very tolerant, cutting it off the fresh block and skipping the wedge, slopping on huge handfuls of water, and I was succeeding doing this. To come up against porcelain was a rude awakening. I was sweating and foaming at the mouth after throwing four pieces successfully and scrapping another four. 


Later someone described throwing porcelain with too much water as "throwing with cream cheese" which was hilariously accurate, and they explained that you want to use as little water as possible. They also explained the importance of wedging. 


Still, until something changes about my work to give me a reason to work with porcelain, I don't plan to use it. There's no draw for me. But two years ago I thought I was going to make all my designs in white clay and now 75% of my work is in any color but white, so ... you never know. 

  • Min likes this

#123022 Gallery Commission

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 28 February 2017 - 01:23 PM




Consignment is a whole different thing BUT these days consignment Galleries want 50% too ... so you are basically stocking their shelves at your expense and taking ALL the risks too.



I won't do consignment for more than 25%-30% for this very reason! 

#122512 Looking For Suggestions

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 19 February 2017 - 02:22 PM

I worked with special needs kids for a few years. They had various disabilities, many were also cognitively impaired. I never did any kind of pottery with them but I can say that based on the different needs and limitations each one was very different. My best suggestion is to observe each child and what they CAN do. If there is something that is difficult, think about a way to make it easier. 


I don't know if wheel throwing is the best thing to start with someone who has cognitive impairment. It can be really frustrating when you struggle to center and the kids I worked with were easily frustrated anyway, so something with a low success rate to begin with would have become impossible for them. I'm not saying not to let them try it but perhaps introducing coil work, pinch pots, letting them texture slabs and then cut shapes out with cookie cutters ... those activities are instantly gratifying and immediately possible for even very small children. Often kids with developmental disabilities are at a much lower age level so try to think what you would have a child at their age level do while still recognizing that they are also older, perhaps a teenager, and don't want to be treated like a baby! It's a delicate balance but I can tell you that when you make that connection with a kid, when you figure out which window is open after trying door after locked door ... it's amazing. :) Extremely rewarding. 


I follow this business's Instagram account, they work with autistic children. http://www.dynamixce...amix.org/┬áTheirbusiness was started after years of looking for something for their autistic daughter to do. They do wheel throwing with autistic kids, they post great videos on Instagram. My guess is that they may be willing to talk to you and give suggestions, answer questions etc. I have always found them to be extremely kind and friendly in my small dealings with them. 

#122194 Do You Have Seasonal Lines?

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 12 February 2017 - 09:26 PM

My own ideas pull me in so many directions that if I listened to everybody else's ideas too I would be completely unable to focus. I have learned that the word "no" is a useful tool. Many times in my life and in my business I have said yes when my gut whispered no and I have regretted it every time. 

I am saying no to all custom work right now. (I do not consider glazing an existing design in a different color to be "custom". If I don't like the idea of the color combination I say no.) If someone wants to design their own pottery, they should take a pottery class and make it. I'm not interested in someone coming and telling me to make them a pie plate that is x by y and holds z. I don't need that stress. How am I going to make a picture in their head match the picture in mine? 


I do, however, write down all suggestions even ones I don't plan to make because if I see a trend I will often work something up that fits a demand or be inspired by a suggestion. A friend asked if I would make her a Southwestern planter and suddenly I had this flash and now I have an entire new design line called Southwest Desert because of her offhand suggestion. Same with a friend who asked if I would do a "pineapple" design on a pie plate. Bam, the idea popped into my head so well formed that making it almost didn't feel like work. The reason I think these worked is they were very loose suggestions and they both coincided with something I already had an interest in. 

#122006 Do You Have Seasonal Lines?

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 09 February 2017 - 08:16 PM

I thought about doing seasonal lines in the beginning based on the colors, plants, flowers, etc. of the season but decided against it. 


As Mea mentioned I have no desire to have piles of pottery gathering dust. I have wildflower stuff that just screams spring and summer and I sell it year round. :) 


I make sure that I make items in a range of colors to be suitable for more than one time of year. So I make a pie plate with leaves, I will offer it in spring green and in a spicy pumpkin color to cover my bases.


Certain colors are just generally more popular but I don't notice colors becoming more popular at specific times of the year at all. I don't think people really buy much handmade pottery based on that since it's more of an investment than the average novelty mug. I know I buy kitchen items based on the decor of my kitchen. 

#121640 Qotw: What Inspires You In Your Work, And How Do You Incorporate It?

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 02 February 2017 - 10:56 PM

My biggest inspiration is nature. I am constantly in awe of the dramatic natural beauty of the area where I live. I try to capture the contrasts and colors in my work. I use four or five different clay bodies and I like to leave the "earth" of the piece exposed and put beautiful saturated color next to it, or else use a brown clay body with white stoneware slip. 

This mug is from the "California Wildflowers" collection. The colorful wildflowers are set against clay the exact color of the dry grass and sand of the California hills. 



I also enjoy making repetitive patterns with slip trailing or carved bands of design inspired by Moroccan and Native American work. 






This plate and cup are glazed in the exact colors of the Pacific ocean that I see every day. The hills on the drive to and from the desert are rocky and dramatic with big rainwashed gullies everywhere, no real vegetation, so the land is in sharp relief. The plate is carved with a design that I wanted to look like blue eucalyptus leaves blowing in the wind. 




#121509 Youtube Video Potters

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 31 January 2017 - 03:40 AM

I guess what I'm saying and I feel like we're really all saying this in different forms: 




You want to work with clay, do whatever is necessary to keep your hands in clay. :) 

#121454 Youtube Video Potters

Posted by GiselleNo5 on 29 January 2017 - 11:47 PM

Ya know I started this post as hopefully an archive resourse for maybe a beginner who was cash poor and in need of help but in the process picked up some good names and have found myself warching several videos again after a few years of not warching any, thanks everyone for the contributions.

I do disagree on the critiques of Simon Leach's videos though, I found his videos to be great but I watched dozens of them not just one so I am judging them overall.


Simon Leach is very good about explaining what he's doing and why. I personally feel he has a lot (A LOT) of unnecessary footage in his videos. But when I was starting out I really liked the slower pace of the videos because it allowed me to digest what I was seeing and hearing. It was a nice balance to watch one of his then one of Dan from Ingleton pottery's because Dan sneezes and bam! There's a pot! and I felt very inadequate after watching that. LOL