Monday, December 31, 2012

Happy New Year!

A few more hours to go and 2012 will be behind us.  2012 is another good year for me in term of pottery making (and other things too).  I learned some new pottery tips from my friends at the Ottawa Guild of Potters and some from online resources.  I did my annual show at the beautiful Shenkman Art Centre.  With the advice from Paul Portelli (, I changed the look of my display.  It looked quite nice IMO.  All in all I think it was a great year!

My display at the Ottawa Guild of Potters' Holiday Sale 2012

The other side of my display

The first big pottery thing I will do in 2013 is to attend Cynthia Bringle's workshop in January.  I am looking forward to it.

Happy New Year everyone!  

Monday, October 8, 2012

Last long weekend before the show

It seems like I only spend time in the studio during a long weekend....well I do spend in the studio sometime during and weekend. However, I also like to golf, so at least one day of the weekend during the summer I am at the golf course. Now that the show is coming up just a little bit over a month, I really should spend some more time in the studio. Today is the day! The temperature was only high of 9 degrees...a perfect time to stay indoor! I am a slow potter, someone can use up a bag of clay in a 3-hour studio time. I really can't do that, instead I did in 4-5 hours with a few breaks in between. :p

the bowls that I made today = a bag of clay (exclude the brown ones)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Glaze load September 22

It's getting much closer to show day which means it's time to "work" harder.  It didn't help that I was away for 3 weeks in August, but I had a great time during my vacation.

I have enough bisque pieces for another glaze load, so here is the result:

13 pieces all together...which includes my teapot set as well. This is my first sort of working teapot.  However, there are still more improvements needed.
Another attempt of yarn bowls

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

And yes they like the blue one!

I was right.  My parents took the blue chopstick pillows and started to use them right the way.  It's a great feeling when you know someone appreciate your work!  Thanks mom and dad!

Mom and dad have been great supporters of my work.  When I visited them, I noticed that they only use the mugs I made.  This is quite a motivation for me.  And now that the Fall show (which has been just renamed to Holiday show) is only a couple of months away.  I should start working again.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Last glaze load of July

I don't normally do more than one glaze load in a month unless when it is close to the show time.  However, there's always exception.  I have to get my chopstick pillows ready for my parents, so there you go....

I haven't been all that lucky these days.  I had a cracked plate during drying early this month, then now another cracked plate, this time during glaze fire.  :(  My guess is that the plate was made too thin and it was trapped between 2 plate sitters (probably not enough air flow)...I am really making this up, don't really know why.  However, I know for sure I don't want this happen again!

On the bright side, the chopstick pillows turned out great!  I hope my parents like them.  I wonder which one they will choose.  I have a feeling they like the bluish one more than the red one.  I will post the result when I find out. :p

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Glaze load July 2

I always have mixed feelings between the time when the kiln has started up and the time to open up the kiln once it's cool down.  One side of me was really looking forward to see the finished products and on the other hand, I was really worried about all the different things it could happen when firing a glaze load.  Especially this time around I'd tested some new combinations.  It's good that all pieces survived the heat...YAY!

BTW, I sent in my Fall Guild Show application last Friday, which means that I have to work harder.  The good news is that I already have quite a number of glazed pieces...much better than the same time last year.  :)

The top shelf (only a half shelf)

3rd shelf (Love how the mysterious blue turned out)

Half of the 2nd shelf

Bottom shelf (I love how burgundy turned out this time - after I dipped it for 6 seconds)

Result for the whole load :)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Happy Summer!

Alright alright, the first of Summer was last week.  But still, the Summer has been great so far (except for the Monday just passed, it was only high of 14 degrees :( )

Just checked my last post, it was posted in April?!  Where did May and June go?  I guess that's just the power of Summer.  

The bisque load in June, mostly mugs and plates (not shown in the picture)

A relatively big bowl
Another casserole attempt

I made some chopsticks pillows for my mom last year and she requested more this year

What have I been doing?  Well, some golfing on the weekend, vacation, work and POTTERY.  Yes, I made some pieces.  

My friends Colin and Nancy had tried out their new butter dish.  It was a great idea from Colin.  I didn't make it big enough to hold one whole butter, but I guess it's usable.  Here are pictures of the butter dish "in action" (OK Colin, you can make fun of me saying that again :p)

Great design by Colin

Monday, April 30, 2012

New glazes and new work

I've always wanted to get different glazes for my work. Finally, I got some commercial glazes from Capital Pottery Supplies the other day.  With the blush glazes I got a month ago, now I have 4 new glazes.  :)  Of course, with all these nice additions to the studio, I'd like to try them out.  Here are the pictures of my recent work.   

The butter dish in Nickelodeon

~12" wide plate with Nickelodeon and Coppernican Sky
Yarn bowl in Burgundy and gloss white

Fruit bowl in Coppernican Sky
Dessert bowl with Burgundy and Gloss White

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bisque load April 2012

I got enough pieces to start the kiln again on Saturday.  There were definitely some new work with this load.    

Here we are...all 14 pieces out from the kiln

A few weeks ago, I'd decided to make a fruit bowl and I think it turned out ok.  Now I just have to figure out what glaze to use on it.  Any suggestions? 

My new yarn holder

The butter dish

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

New glazes and new glaze load

I am quite pleased with the two new brush on glazes from Pottery Supplies House and here are the pictures.

The rest of the load are mostly mugs:

Sunday, April 1, 2012

April's fool day

Well there is no fool!  I am not here to fool around ;)

April's fool day falls on the weekend this year, which mean I can spend some time working in the studio.  My friends Colin and Nancy have requested a more functional butter dish, one that doesn't let butter all over the lid/cover when melted.  So, I took the challenge and gave it a try.  I always claim that I do hand building, however, I really shouldn't be saying that until I started working on this butter dish.  It was a bit of measuring and assembly involved.  Precision was also very important.  

There are 3 parts in this butter dish.  Unlike the traditional ceramic butter dish, a plate and a lid/cover.  This one I made has the plate, the lid/cover and also the raised border which block melted butter from messing up the lid/cover. 

One thing about this butter dish is that I was originally wanted it to hold the whole butter, however, I didn't take into account the thickness of the slab, therefore the butter dish will not hold a whole piece of butter....nonetheless it's a start.

I'd also started my glaze load with 2 samples of my new brush on glazes from Pottery Supplies House.  Let's see how they turn out.

Monday, March 19, 2012

A wine goblet or a dessert bowl?

At our potters' guild in Ottawa, we are always encourage to make wine goblet for our holiday exchange in December.  It's always seem hard to make one, I made 2 two years ago and they got stuck together during glaze firing because the stems were to thin.  Beginning of the year, one of the guild members forwarded on this youtube clip by Cynthia Bringle - which Cynthia demonstrated how to make goblet in one piece.  So, I took that idea and made my 2nd "goblet"....however I used way too much clay, it actually looks more like a dessert bowl. :p

Monday, February 27, 2012

Another disappointment :(

I was firing up my bowls for Ottawa Guild of Potters' annual event: The Great Bowls of Fire last night.  I made 7 soup bowls, was thinking to use them to try out different glazing techniques with Ron Roy's Black and Mysterious Blue.  

When I was potting at the Nepean Visual Art Centre (NVAC), I had this lovely combination of NVAC's black with Mysterious Blue (as seen on the right).  

However, I've been having trouble with the NVAC's black recipe, so I went with Ron Roy's Black.  It looks pretty smooth and all.  However, it just doesn't have the same effect as the NVAC's black and mysterious blue.  It's quite disappointing.  Also, I might have made too thick of a layer for the black, it cracked a little too.  

 notice the chip - this one is with the same technique as shown above)

this one is done by pouring in mysterious blue on black

Unfortunately, since the chipping is in the inside of the bowl, I can't take it to the Great Bowls of Fire. :(

However, something did turn out OK with this glaze fire.  My friend gave me an idea to try throwing a bigger plate for fruit and here is the result.  This one is just under 11" in diameter.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Pottery workshop at Debbie Gilmer's studio

I took a pottery workshop at Debbie Gilmer's studio in South Mountain, Ontario.  I've learned a lot from Debbie on how to make the pot sings.  Not only that, we had a great group discussion about studio setup, tools, glazing etc.  I truly believe that these workshops/group discussions will benefit all potters!.  Thanks Debbie!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Toothbrush holder's new owner

We delivered the toothbrush holder to own friends, Matt and Kana to "match" up with the soap dispenser they bought from me from the show last November.  They seems to like it.  :)

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Productive Monday

It's nice to be not as busy at work...because then I can spend some time in my studio.  :)  This happened on the Monday just past.  I unloaded my glaze load from Sunday and also made more mugs.  All these took about an hour and a half...I thought that was pretty good (for my standard anyway, I am sure others work a lot faster than I am)

Sunday, February 5, 2012

My least favourite job in the studio

I love having my own studio at home, it's so convenient and I have more control over my pieces.  However, there is one thing I really don't like doing....which was what I spent my whole Sunday afternoon on...making glaze!  Making glaze always seems to be very difficult, I don't mind measure the raw materials, but it always gets very messy, not sure if it's the equipment I have or the space.  It just always takes a long time to do.  Luckily I should only have to do it a few times a year.  Hopefully, it will be a bit more pleasant the next time when I have to make glaze.  :P

Sunday, January 29, 2012

First bisque load of 2012

It's January 29, 2012 and my first bisque load is out.  That's not a bad start for 2012.  There are a total of 16 pieces and yes some stacking was done.  It's good that everything survived.  The smaller bowls were made for the Great Bowls of Fire 2012.  So, I am half way done the pieces for Great Bowls.... :)  I am trying to make a new glaze for them.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Where did 2011 go?!

Wow, my last post was around March last year right after the Great Bowls of Fire.  I was at the guild meeting the Monday just past, they are already talking about this year's event.  Where did 2011 go?!  I didn't update my blog for about 10 months.  Guess I am not a very good blogger to follow....:P

2011 was a busy year for me, after the great event of Great Bowls of Fire.  I was really busy with work (yes, pottery is only my hobby).  I worked through many long hours days, weekends etc.  That didn't die down until September.  Then I was finally getting ready for the Fall show.  Although I was busy with work, I still managed to make pots from time to time, but most of them weren't glazed until the month or so before the show.  

So, I started in production mode again in September.  However, it wasn't all productive since we also went on a 10-day cruise in the Mediterranean (Greece, Turkey, Italy).  We brought back with us some beautiful pottery from Greece.  Pictures to follow.
Once we came back from vacation, I started pottery again.  I managed to show up at the show with 79 pieces, although a few of them were from the last show.  The show was at the new venue (The Shenkman Art Centre), a beautiful place, I personally find this new location very suitable for the guild show.  I had a good show and thanks to everyone who came.  It is a motivation for me to work on new pieces.  Click here for my 2011 work.

I should get started on the soup bowls for the Great Bowls of Fire 2012!