Saturday, January 31, 2015

#432...square plate making

One of my new year's resolutions was to get back to making pottery pieces. Simultaneously, my cousin Marie was actively looking for white handmade square pottery plates, and I thought attempting to make the square plates would be a good way to dip my toe back into pottery making.

I started with a 25lb bag of mid-fire Cone 5 white clay, which I rolled into 1/4" slabs using my slab roller table.
I found this YouTube video that recommended using square Chinet dinner plates as a hump mold to create the square clay plate shape. Unfortunately, I did not take any pics of turning the slabs of clay onto the molds and creating the plates, but here is a finished pic of my dried clay plate. (Looks just like Chinet paper plate doesn't it?)
Once the clay plates completely dried (this took about a week of covered, slow drying), they were ready to go in the kiln for their bisque firing. I bisque fired them to Cone 06, which fires at a temp of about 1900 degrees.

The kiln fires for about 10 hours then shuts off, and takes another 10-12 hours to cool down enough to be opened (about 150 degrees). Below are the plates after they have been bisque fired. They pretty much look the same as they did as dried clay.
The next step will be to glaze the plates and fire them again. I have several glaze color options, but I'm going with white for the plates. Here are my glazes, and a pic of test tiles I made of the glazes once upon a time.

After all of this hard pottery work, I think I'll visit the other side of the cabana for a cocktail. Our cabana got turned into a bar for Tyler's 40th birthday party last fall, and has remained a popular attraction of our backyard.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

#431...rowing room

In the front bedroom of our bungalow we used to have a twin sized guest bed.
Santa brought Tyler this water rower, so we have replaced the bed with his slim new rower. 
The room feels bigger, and I hope my house guests will be happy on the new AeroBed I bought for them. The good news is they can literally roll out of bed and work out!

Friday, January 2, 2015

#430...fabric succulents

I made a couple of fabric succulents to give as gifts this holiday season. One went to my sister Sarah, who has been unsuccessful at keeping live plants in her office. I thought a fabric plant would be a colorful addition for her desk.
I first made a paper leaf pattern and traced it onto various green and yellow fabrics.
Next, placing right sides together of two different patterned pieces, I stitched around the leaf leaving the bottom open for turning.
Turning the leaves right side out was the most tedious part of this project because it is such a tiny piece of fabric to pull through.
To add some structure to the leaves, I wrapped a piece of electrical wire with polar fleece using double sided tape. Each polar fleece wrapped wire was then inserted into each leaf.

For the succulent bases, I used small pottery vessels that I had thrifted or made years ago in a wheel-throwing class. I put floral foam into the pots to hold the leaves in the base, and used some hot glue to secure them. 
I needed something that looked like potting soil to cover the floral foam and found a pair of cut up brown leather pants in my leather bin. I cut pieces of the leather and scattered it onto the top of the floral foam.