Sunday, January 1, 2017

Year in review: 2016

Happy 2017 everyone!  I can't believe time flew by so quickly, my last post was a year ago?!  I guess it's time to review the past year....

Year 2016 was a tough and yet interesting year for me outside of pottery making.  Earlier in the year I lost my beloved grandma, but she lived a good life, it was just unfortunate that I weren't able to spend more time with her.  :(

For work, it was an interesting year as I was given many different challenges but at the same time my workload has greatly increased.   

Unfortunately with an eventful year, some stuff got to give and pottery was the one.  Although I didn't spend too much time making new pieces, I was still able to participate my first ever Ottawa Guild of Potters' Spring sale.  I didn't have my own booth, just shared a table with 5 very talented potters.  It's a great idea the Ottawa Guild of Potters' sale committee introduced, it allows someone like myself who can't replenish my inventory quick enough between the Christmas Sale to Spring Sale and yet would like to join the fun.  It was an excellent experience for me and I made some sale as well which was a great bonus.
Display for Spring Sale 2016

Since I missed the Christmas Sale in 2015 (as we were travelling), even though I didn't make too many new pieces, I quickly signed up for the Christmas Sale for 2016 as soon as registration opens.  I treated it as motivation for me to make new work.  However, I didn't really start preparing for the sale until September and of course it was such a rush again, but I did it.
Display for Christmas Sale 2016
Display for Christmas Sale 2016

Every year I would like to try making some new or different from the year before, however, I didn't get to do that in year 2016.  I did however improved on some techniques I'd done in the past. 

For example, I brought back the swirl with a little improvement.

Swirl 2016

Improved version of mug
Bigger espresso cup - closer to a cappuccino cup
For 2017, I have a couple of goals.  I would like to have 10 soup bowls for Great Bowls of Fire (I better start on it soon as first week of March is really just around the corner).  And I would also like to take part of the Canada 150 project - Populace (  Populace is a great project organized by 3 lovely members of the Ottawa Guild of Potters.  The project involves making thousands of ceramic roses, lilies and feathers which will be installed in a park adjacent to the Canadian Museum of Nature in June 2017.  

As for making some different every year, I would like to try making beer mugs.  This is an inspiration from my recent trip to a German town in Brazil called Blumenau (  It would be quite cool to drink beer out of a mug made by myself.  :)

Beer mugs display at the Beer Museum in Blumenau, Brazil
Last but not least, of course I would like to be part of the Guild Sale.  I probably won't join the Spring one this year, but would definitely participate for the Christmas one.

Alright that's for now.  Hopefully I will be able to update the blog a bit more often this year.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy 2016!

Year 2015 came to an end and here we are the first day of 2016.  A perfect time to review last year.

2015 was an adventure for me on all fronts. 

On the work front, I had 3 different managers and many of my co-workers who I'd worked very closely for the past 9 and a half year left.  But I did celebrate my 10 years working of the same company this past October.  Guess that's a great accomplishment.

On the volunteering front, I worked on 2 different websites (actually one is still in the work and should go live soon).  One of them is for the Miata club, which the club organized a big invitation event back in August and I did the website for the registration.  The other one is for the pottery club, where the club is in the process to migrate the existing website to a new server and at the same time the website was redesigned using WordPress.  The migration is almost done and I am hoping to get it all up and running in the next 48 hours or so.

We went away twice last year too.  We had a winter escape for a week in April and then we had a fall escape to South Africa for 3 weeks back in November/December.

On the pottery front, I missed my first ever Christmas sale since I joined the Guild.  The sale happened while I was in South Africa.  Luckily I was able to show my work at a couple of stores in Ottawa.  I might not have updated my blog much this year, but I managed to produce around 70 pieces.  I tried new style for mugs with new glaze.
New mug design (with brown clay) with Tucker's Falls creek Shino glaze
  And my brother finally got his espresso cup which he'd been asking for over a year.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Kiln Opening - July 27, 2015

It was a warm summer day here in Ottawa, the temperature was around 35 degrees Celsius with humidity and with risk of thunderstorm.  And I decided that it was a good time to start the kiln.  :)  It was really hard to say NO when there is a full kiln load of pieces. 

So this afternoon, the kiln had cool down to 119F.......kiln opening time!

Top shelf

3rd shelf
2nd shelf with 2 plates
Bottom shelf

I am quite happy with the result, although the top shelf was still a bit too hot to turn Mysterious Blue a bit green.

Saturday, June 6, 2015

Glaze fire - kiln opening

It's June 6, almost half way through 2015.  It's about low 20C during the day and around 10C at night.  It's perfect time to start the kiln.  :)

This is the 2nd glaze firing of the year.  I didn't take any pictures from the last glaze fire.  However, I did notice the temperature might a a couple of degrees too high for mysterious blue.  So this time around, I set the temperature 2F lower and also put mysterious blue pieces on the lowest shelf.  It seems to have worked out better.

After all these years of training, I am still anxious every time when I do a glaze firing.  What I meant is that during glaze firing, there is still a lot of uncertainty; like would the piece stuck on the shelf (glaze runs off the piece), would the piece develop crack while  firing, or would the colour of the glaze turn out to what I'd expected etc.  This time around, I was quite lucky.  There was only one casualty (one with S crack at the bottom) and the colour of a couple of mugs didn't turn out to what I imagined.  I would consider this a SUCCESS.  :)

Top shelf
Middle shelf 1
Middle shelf 1
Lowest shelf

Saturday, January 31, 2015

It has been a busy first month of 2015...

It has been quite a busy month for me.  I've been doing some overtime at work but also managed to make new pieces (mostly mugs). 

Also to fulfil my list last year, I made 2 teapots during the last few days of December and assembled them in January. I think they need to have a couple of teacups to accompany them. :)

I will need to make a new lid for this teapot as the gallery is quite small for this teapot and the lid can easily slide into the pot.
I will be making bowls this weekend, hopefully I will have enough to fill the kiln soon.

Monday, December 22, 2014

It's a wonderful year!

There are only 9 days left for 2014.  I would like to conclude my year in pottery a bit early....

It's a very successful pottery year for me.  

I was one of the potters who donated 25 bowls for the Great Bowls of Fire this year.  

I made something new....espresso cups.

I also made a small casserole.

I brought over 100 pieces to the Guild's sale in November.  I didn't make 100 pieces this year, but there were enough pieces to reach this milestone.  Unfortunately, I didn't do as well this time.

Even though I didn't do so well at the Guild Sale, but I was luckily enough to have my pieces at a local gallery.  I am so excited about the opportunity.  This allows me to show my work outside of the Guild.  I am thrilled!

There is still one thing left on my to-do list from the beginning of the year...a teapot.  With 9 days left for this year, I will try to make this happen (at least, I should have a teapot built, I will not have enough time to fire, but it will be a start)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Another Holiday Sale under my belt

The Ottawa Guild of Potters ( had their holiday sale last weekend.  It's my honour to be part of group with many talented artists.  This year, the sale was at the newly renovated Horticulture Building (Lansdowne Park - downtown Ottawa).  The space is lovely and all of us started the setup at around 8am on Friday and the door was open at 4pm (after our Mayor, Jim Watson had cut the ribbon - yes it was also the grand opening day for the Horticulture Building).  

We had many customers came by for the 3 days and many left with their bags for goodies.  And by the time we close on Sunday at 5pm, we had many happy artists as well.  All in all I think it was very successful.

Here are pictures of my booth (#42):

Now that another holiday sale under my belt, I have to start planning what to make for next year.  

I have plan for December already, I would like to make some more espresso cups, at least one soap dispenser, perhaps a teapot and maybe a casserole as well.  Hmmm, how many weekends do we have left for December?!  Maybe this is a bit much, but will see.