Friday, September 19, 2014

New Product! Cthulhu mugs...

 Dark green Cthulhu mugs using Amaco Seaweed glaze
 Light green kawaii Cthulhu mugs using Western Autumn Green Art glaze

So, I am a super nerd/geek. I love Sci-fi and Fantasy (amongst other things like comics, Roman History, Art Deco...). By far though aliens, dragons, demons and faerie folk are some of the best sources of inspiration for me.

And so, I decided to make some Cthulhu mugs. If you don't know who that is, just google Cthulhu or H.P. Lovecraft. Now, I have to admit, I had a hard time reading H.P. Lovecraft's stories. However, since I started making these mugs and they are selling so well, I am going to have to get through them so I can understand the appeal of this Elder God who waits in the dark.

Now, you know that I have a hard time updating this blog. And I'm afraid that it won't get much better. At the end of September, I shall be taking part in an intense software engineering fellowship. I won't be able to make many pots or mugs during this 10 week program. Therefore, I am not producing anything for Christmas nor am I taking orders.

I do have one project that is for an art show in December. I'll try to keep that updated.

At any rate, I hope you will check back here around the New Year when I start producing again.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Painted Fish Plate

For a few weeks, I was obsessed with making big platters. Well, big for me. I was throwing platters made from half a bag of clay, ~12 lbs. Some were 15 lbs, most were around 12.

I did have a hard time controlling the sides and making sure things were even. In fact, I believe most of the platters were uneven. I shall have to revisit them one day.

At any rate, part of what I was doing was making canvases to underglaze. I wanted to make another fish plate, but I ran out of time to actually sculpt (it was summer and hot and things were drying too quickly). And so, I painted instead.

I used mostly Western underglazes and you can see some of it burned out. The white areas in the finish product (see below) were supposed to be a dark red. Ah well, I'm still quite happy with the finished result. When I pulled it out of the kiln and showed everyone, I got an incredible reaction. On facebook, one friend called it one of the best pieces I have ever produced.

Needless to say, I shall be pricing this plate quite high at the sale. It's worth it.

A return to Naked Raku!

As the September sale at Blossom Hill Crafts approaches, I have been scrambling to finish up my naked raku pots that have been sitting about. Up first is my Phoenix/Fish pot. Above you see the pot right after it has come out of the burn barrel. The naked raku slip and glaze are still on the pot.

Here is the pot after it has been cleaned off a bit (that's why it's still shiny. It's wet.)

And here is the pot after I added some water color marker to it. Windsor and Newton have come out with a watercolor marker that allows you to put pigment where you like and then spread it out with water. The colors are very saturated and I had a hard time getting it to spread. I think part of the reason why it was so hard is because I'm working on a pot and not on paper. Bisqued pots are quite porous still and suck up water and pigment very fast.

Here is the back side of the Phoenix pot... A fish

And with the color added. I think I might add some light blue to the background of this pot. It will add a bit more to it.
Here's my wave pot. This was the second pot I rakued in this series. The first one had roses on it and I wasn't too pleased with the results. I ended up refiring that one. I'll post photos of that one later.

At any rate, this wave pot is more in the style of what I'd like to do in future. The problem is that it's hard to come up with designs that will cover the whole pot, not take forever to carve out and won't lose too much detail in the firing. I did lose some of the line work where the slip and glaze were too thick.
Another view.

Water color added. One friend didn't like the intensity of the color because it hid the line work and gave suggestions on how she would like to see it done. Maybe I'll do something like that in future. However, I am very pleased with this pot and how it turned out. Personally, I like the saturation of color. It's a pleasing contrast.

Finally, a dragonfly pot. I will be adding some light green and blue to the background of this.

Well, I have 2 days before the studio sale. I think I can get it all done.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Finished Skull Bottles

So, it's been quite some time that I've blogged. I find it amazing how fast time can pass one by. And I forget to post here because I am usually posting on my facebook page. In looking over my blog, I realize that I show a ton of in progress work, but hardly ever show the finished pieces. Here is my attempt to rectify that situation a bit.

To start out, here are the finished skull bottles.

 I am particularly pleased with this little bottle. It's cute and delicate and very feminine.

 Here's the more manly black and white bottle. As much as I don't like soul patches, this one works well. I should have tried to make a goatee. Next time!

And here's the full on painted bottle. In looking at it now, I think I should have added lipstick to this one. At any rate, I'm happy with it and the colors and patterning turned out quite well.

Finally, here's the vampire skull bottle. I was experimenting with manganese in the eye and nostril sockets. I also used copper in the teeth area. If copper gets enough carbon during the firing process, it can turn red. Oh, and I used a celadon glaze on the whole bottle. Since the firing didn't seem to have as much carbon, the celadon turned more yellow and the copper stayed green.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Vampire Skull bottle


 Last night, I finished up the last skull bottle (for now!) I decided that I 'needed' a Vampire skull bottle in my group of skellies. And so, I started. Now, I fully intended to take photos of the sculpture in progress, but got distracted talking to everyone and ended up only with the beginning and the end.

And here you go. Now, I'm not too keen on the eye sockets and cheek bones. Now that I look at it, I think I need to thicken up the cheekbone on top rather than on the bottom. At any rate, I'm happy with this. And, I think I need to make more. A lot more!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Skull bottles

The other day, I went to a friends house and saw some sugar skull bottles of alcohol. (I don't know what alcohol is in them and I don't want to assume it is tequila). But, it made me think... Why haven't I made some skull bottles? Duh!

So, after throwing 7 mug bodies, I decided to throw bottles. I was going to make three bottles out of 1.125 lbs of clay, but the first one turned out too large (same size as the leftmost skull vase). I wanted smaller ones. Bud vases! And so, I wedged up the remaining bits of clay and threw 3 bottles of the mound. And then got bored... there are only so many things I can throw off the mound before I'm just done. I threw a bigger bottle out of the last bit of clay.

Now, one of the tiny bottles died while I was trying to sculpt a skull. So, I ended up with 2 small ones instead of three. I still have to finish the last bigger bottle, but I didn't have time to finish it. That will happen later. And I'll post photos of that one too.

I plan to underglaze these skulls with the sugar skull patterns. However, they do look more like aliens than skull. I think I need to work on the design a bit.

Monday, June 23, 2014

More frogs

Yes, more frogs have been made. These are all pre-ordered too. Gotta love commission work when people are not too picky.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Fox mug glazed

Yes, I am very happy with this mug. Although some of the colors burned out, it still quite lovely. There's a bit of glaze missing on the handle which sort of bugged me and there's a slight imperfection inside at the bottom. End result: not sending this to my favorite comic artist. It's mine.

Nope, I'm not attached. Not at all... Besides, I can always make another one for her teehee

See! More mugs made. 7 more have been thrown and just need to be trimmed and handles added. Oh, I'm working on a commission of 12 right now. So, I'll have two extra when I'm done.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Fox mug

I think foxes are pretty darn adorable. From Fennec foxes to Arctic foxes, these creatures are just so much fun to draw and paint, not to mention look at, admire and just squee out loud over their cuteness.

At any rate, one of my favorite comic book artists loves foxes. She has a stuffie named Mycroft that she shows off on her Facebook page. And me, being the generous soul that I am, well, I've been wanting to send her a piece of pottery. Colleen Doran ( is an amazing artist who has inspired me since I was around 12 years old if not younger. At first, I was going to send her one of my wall hanging vases. I mean, who am I to send her something drawn? But, I never got around to it. And then I decided that a wall hanger would mean nothing to her as most of my wall hanging customers do ikebana. I don't think Ms. Doran does ikebana.

Next, I decided to make her a fox bead. Carved it, painted it, glazed it. Unfortunately, the glaze was too thick and I lost too much detail for my liking.

And so, it finally came to me to do a mug and to paint a fox. Because, gosh darn it, I can paint and draw too!

Plus, she might get a kick out of it and be able to use it.

Still, if this fox mug turns out, I might have a hard time letting it go. Oh dear, this does not bode well.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Dragon Vase - finished

Earlier this month, I posted some photos of a dragon vase. And now, I can show you the completed version. I am very, very happy with how he turned out!


Now, in my last posting, you could see how I had a lot more detail and some color from the underglaze. However, one of the risks you take in wood/salt firing is that the colors will burn out (very hot temperatures here) and the salt would degrade any textures you put on it. One friend preferred the back side because you could still see the texture. I, however, am just fine with how it turned out. I got an ash drip on his chin (green glassy beard!) and some drips on his back scales.

And, even though his tail separated from the pot during the drying process, the tail flattened and relaxed against the vase. I'll have to take better photos of the vase soon. He'll be posted on Etsy soon enough.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

More wood fire results from the May 2014 firing

Here is what the kiln looked like after I helped break down the door. Oooh, so much shiny! I was a very happy potter. And you can see my dragon vase up in the corner. Perfect spot for him! I'll post about him later.

Here's my baby dragon. He was sitting by some lovely cups and just looks so sweet. He's going to be a part of my personal collection.

A better picture of the baby dragon.

Here's my fish. You might recall (or not) that I broke his fin off. Well, the magic of E6000 glue helped me reattach the fin. I think I'll add some gold leaf in the broken area. He'll also be a gift to a girl who gave me one of her pieces. Not sure how to display this guy. His hole for a stand got covered up too.

And a frog. I really like how both the fish and the frog look like they just came out of the water.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Wood fire results part 1

So, while I was in DC, there was a wood/salt firing. Fortunately, I have good friends who took my pieces and loaded them into the kiln. I owe them a big favor as my pieces turned out great. Above is a dragon sculpt that was originally going to hold glass beads. But, the hole got closed over in the firing. Also, I wasn't too happy with the eyes... too bulging. And so, I decided to give it away.

 Still, he got some lovely ash coloring (the green glassy parts)

And even an ash drip/tear on one of his wings.

And here is the happy owner. I gave the dragon to Miss A. because she will be helping me out when I'm ready to post more of my pieces on Etsy. Just need to make more. Always happy to see happy owners of my work.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Some inspiration and a memory

Today, I went to the Smithsonian Zoo (or the National Zoo) in Washington DC. Amongst all the gorgeous animals I saw today, I also saw this plate in a gift shop.

And it reminded me of this plate I painted back in 2012

Now, all the work I have been painting has been fairly cartoony. This doesn't mean I can't draw realistically. In fact, I remember painting sea turtle platters that were fairly designed/cartoony before discovering that a more realistic turtle was more interesting and more popular.

And now, I think you all know where I'm going with this. Expect to see some fairly realistic paintings of animals coming up on plates. Can't wait to get back to clay when I get home!

I also have to make a couple of bowl for some ladies I met as a thank you for them a)hosting a lovely dinner party and b) bringing me my camera when I had forgotten it in a taxi on the way to the party and the driver returned my camera to the house.

So, lots to do when I get home.

And here's a tiger picture that will be my reference...

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Fish Plate 2 and the Art of Letting Go

 A few months ago, a fellow potter who is much more experienced than I am and also much bigger in size, showed me how to throw large platters. He demonstrated with one whole bag of clay, 25 lbs. As for me, I decided to go with half a bag. I threw two platters and took about 3-4 days to recover physically haha. The platter above is about 11lbs of clay. Now, I did try to wire off the platter, but the wire rose up as I was trying to slide it along the bottom and I managed to slice up a bit of the bottom. I cursed aloud, slipped the wire along and then did my best to smooth out the damage. I thought I was successful... we shall see.

 I decided to sculpt a fish on it. A few weeks earlier, I sculpted a fish and used underglaze on it. It was successful and turned out quite nicely. So, I was eager to replicate the success and do another fish. This time, I decided to make the fins out of Pier porcelain (the platter is made of Smooth Sculpture clay). I know that Pier porcelain and Smooth Sculpture have different  shrink rates, but I figured,  "What the heck? Let's see what happens."

 Here's the completed sculpt. Body and face made of Smooth Sculpture.

 Detail... I loved how this turned out.

And then, I took the plate upstairs into my condo to let it dry there. I thought that it had dried enough that it wouldn't matter what I set it upon to dry... Since my cats like to walk on my dining room/work table, I decided to put it on my kitchen countertop. Wrong move... My countertop is made of Corian. I don't think it allows for 'movement'... So, the below happened.

A small crack that went right through the fish and the platter.

Which then became a large crack that went all the way through.

To the end result... cracked in half.

Now, I posted these photos on Facebook, and a number of well meaning friends gave me suggestions on how to fix it or how to finish it. And I did consider it for a while, but did not want to spend the time to finish it. I just wanted to toss it. I talked to the friend who originally taught me how to throw the platter and another potter friend what they thought I should do. Both agreed with my idea to just toss it and yes, they did tell me what I wanted to hear. Honestly, as a potter of many years, sometimes, it's just easier and faster to let go of your mistakes and start again. And that is what I did.

After a few days of mourning, I eventually tossed the plate into my recycled clay bucket. Bashed it to pieces and felt much much better.

Sometimes, it's just better to let it go.

No, I will not sing the song from the movie to anyone. Although, I might consider singing it in Japanese.

Monday, May 12, 2014

Dragon Vase

So, I have a commission to do a 37 cm tall vase (a little over 14 inches tall) and I decided that I should do some practice stacker pots to make sure that I can still throw tall (I've been throwing so many mugs lately!). And the vase you see is the result.

Also, there is a wood salt firing coming up next weekend. I wasn't sure I would complete much of anything in time, but I sure was going to try. A friend had given me 3 bags of Danish White with sand clay, and since that clay takes color very well in wood firings, I knew what clay to use. Just needed to make something.

Made the vase. I really liked how it turned out. The main body is made up of two cylinders that were merged and blended and shaped together. The neck and top part of the vase is a separate cylinder that I attached after trimming. I was very pleased with it. Now, my original idea was to sculpt a dragon on the vase.  But, since I liked the shape of the vase so much, I posted a photo and asked my friends whether or not I should add a dragon. Although a few people said "no", a great majority said "DRAGON!"

And so... here you go... a dragon vase:


Now, the dragon is made of the same clay as the vase. I decided to add some underglaze to the dragon so that it will look different from the rest of the vase when it is fired. Remember, wood fired pieces usually get color from the type of wood you use in the firing. And although you may not get uniform colors, the results can be unexpected. By underglazing the dragon, I will add a bit of control on the end result. I will definitely post photos when it is completed.

And finally, here is a photo of me underglazing my dragon. Photo taken by a friend.