Re-thinking Previous Ideas!

Most days before I start making in the studio I like to spend a good chunk of my time sitting in my thinking chair, drinking coffee, (eating) and looking around at my shelves. It gets me warmed up, and gives me a chance to reflect on my studio practice. Over the past few months I have been staring at one of my berry bowls that I made at the start of my blog. It's fun, quirky, and everything I wanted it to be at the time. Now however, it seems clumsy. So to give it a bit of a refresher I added a few handles, gave it a bigger foot, and a few extra holes. A simple improvement, but an improvement nonetheless. 

That's all that really matters.  If I have gotten just a little bit better than where I was a year ago, than I am on the right track! Which is awesome because July has not been kind to my baking endeavors as you can see by most recent post about making a Strawberry Roulade.

Being able to take few extra minutes to reflect, and look back on what I have created. Is helping me chill out and think about what direction I want to go in the studio. 

Here is a fun little clip of me making my re-designed berry bowls. Since I ended up spending most of July in the kitchen struggling to make a cake, I only had time to make a few of these. So I will put them in my shop as made to order pieces for the whole month of August! 








Getting a Handle! (on motivation)

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The studio has a been distant thought in my mind this past month. It somehow felt out of my reach, even though it’s literally five feet from my living room. This was a bit of a dilemma since I have created a blog that keeps me entirely consumed with never ending tasks to finish. The problem is that some days I don’t feel like getting up before work, or staying up late to finish what needs to be done. My muse wasn’t calling me. The couch on the other hand had a sweet enticing melodic voice, and I listened to it’s alluring calls. I sat down and proceeded to binge watch “Girl Boss.”

I was utterly consumed.

A strong female lead with a passion for fashion goes through a basic rags to riches story, with a twist. Basically she didn’t take S&%T from anyone, she just got it done. She dealt with whatever came her way, and adapted as she needed to to become a very wealthy business woman.  A lot of people didn’t relate to the character or her selfish tendencies, I thought it was a breath of fresh air. This could be because i’m secretly a monster, or because I firmly believe in the importance of being selfish. Especially when it comes to dreams.

Anyway, after I watched the first episode I instantly followed Sophie Amorusa on Instagram, and then didn’t leave my couch until the season was over. I couldn’t look away. Gluttony became my new friend, I snacked on chips, and ordered out Pizza Compania’s Penne Picante Pasta at least twice during that two week period. You can judge me. I don’t even care. It was too good of a time to feel guilty about it.

Once the season was finished I jumped up from my spot on the couch, and went right into the studio with a new “Girl Boss” mentality. I embraced the hustle, and got to work. It was the end of the month so due to lack of time I opted for a simple wheel-thrown form with quirky cut out handles.

Finding motivation in the studio is important. It comes and goes, but if you're like me you should probably just eat some pasta and binge watch Netflix to get it going. 




Soup Crocks

"The pen is blue, the god damn pen is blue!"

However in this case it's a soup crock. A batch of bowls that were supposed to be green, and due to a glaze mishap came out of the kiln like this. Now I do realize that this is a wonderful shade of blue. Mainly because it took me quite a lot of research and time to create it. It was just that this piece was meant to be green, but I somehow mislabeled two types of glaze.... uggghhhh!

Lesson learned. I will pay closer attention to labeling my buckets. After a few face palms and a freshly deflated ego, I can laugh at myself and get back to work.

Now let's talk about handles!

First I should admit that they are not my favorite. Handles are just so time consuming, and personally I don't think I am very good at making them. Which in all honesty means I should be making a lot more of them. Making a large quantity of a certain object seems to help the quality, ya know, after the first hundred or so. 

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So for these past few weeks I have been adamantly pushing through handle boredom. Even if I haven't quite hit the hundred mark, I still have made more soup crocks (i'm assuming) than the average person. That has to be a plus right? I"m hoping that 'better' is around the corner, but I would be fine settling for being just 'okay' at making handles. Nobody really likes people who are good at everything anyway. 

(I feel like my go-getter attitude vanished somewhere in that last paragraph).

Honestly as long as these last two batches turn out the lovely shade of green they were intended to be, I will be beyond happy.

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Plaster, molds, and clay, oh my!

Making cookie stamps is kind of like a going out on a Friday evening. You have great plans for the night, a few friends a few drinks. As the night goes on somehow things get blurry, suddenly you're dancing in front of strangers, and have ingested far too much alcohol. Then you wake up the next morning hungry, grumpy, and muttering a solemn vow before gulping down tequila flavored water "I am never doing this again."    

It sounds strange to compare a work of art to a drunken night out, but this is how I feel every time I make a batch of stamps. The end product is just so wonderful. What could be better than a beautiful, detailed, stamp that you press into cookies right?...NO! stop. This is a very slippery slope. This how you end up thinking that it wouldn't be so bad to make some more. It's only until you have already spent two hours pressing plaster molds into clay, that you realize you still have to pull handles for each one. I of course will keep making them, not only because they have turned into one of my favorite creations, but I may also be slightly masochistic.  For some strange reason it brings me joy to make beautiful things even if it physically takes it toll on me. 

How does one start one of the most time consuming projects of all time? well for all you masochists out there, it begin with carving some clay!

This is followed with creating a plaster mold of that first detailed carving, this is the white blocks on the left in the image below. From there you press clay into the plaster mold, and you are left with what is in the middle after they have been bisque fired. From there I pressed them into some more clay, the clay on the right hand side is what the final product looks like. I made a final plaster mould so I could have it on hand, but you can always use the bisque mold in the center to create your imprints.

Once there is an imprint on the clay, all that's left is cutting out individual circles and pulling handles. Which is the part I find the most tedious, and most likely due to the fact that I don't have enough experience with handles.  I seem to get frustrated quickly, and for some reason always feel rushed to pull the handles quickly so nothing dries out.