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New Bronze and Brown Canister Set

24 Dec

Here’s a great canister set I recently finished for a new friend!


Chopstick Bowls!

11 Oct


I learned a lot at the Farmers’ Market this year. Mostly from my customers. I got requests for all sorts of interesting things, and rice bowls were on the wish list. I had never heard of such a thing, but now I’m in love with rice/chopstick/noodle bowls. Here are a few samples of what I came up with. I even ordered a whole boatload of chopsticks to go with them! You can find my rice bowls at my Etsy shop (the link at the right; over there . . . —>    No, no . . . down a bit . . . yeah, you found it. 😉

Or if you’re in Rapid City, drop me an e-mail and I can save you some money on shipping and packing. I will be at the Creative Hands Autumn Bazaar on Oct. 19 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and Oct. 20th from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. That’s next (coming) weekend, Friday and Saturday — in the Fine Arts Building at the Central States Fairgrounds.

In addition, I’ll be displaying at the Pinedale Elementary PTA Bazaar on Saturday Nov. 5th from 8:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The Pinedale PTA has been putting on the biggest art show in town for 30 years now, so I’m excited to have been accepted. Bring your Christmas list and your appetite. They’re cooking up some great treats, I hear, and more than 45 high-quality vendors will showcase their artworks and fine crafts, just in time to help you get the perfect gifts for all your loved ones. Especially if they’re rice eaters!

I didn’t know what a rice bowl looked like, so of course I searched it on-line. I never print off pictures or try to memorize the images I see when I do this. My goal is to get an idea of, well in this case, “rice bowlness” so to speak. After a half-hour or so or looking, I went to bed and when I woke up, this was what I had in my mind. Unless someone asks me to, I don’t think I’ll try to make them in any other way.

I’ve looked at rice bowls since and not seen any quite like these, and I have an affinity for the shape and the way the chopsticks lie in these bowls. They’re not tiny little things meant only for rice, either. They’ll hold a nice-sized serving of anything you’d like to eat with chopsticks. I’m pleased with them. 😀

Finished Square Canister Set

16 Jul

Here are a couple of shots of the completed canisters. If you’d like some, I can set you up. 😉

The Completed Set


This is the medium-sized canister — I think. Hard to tell from the photos. They all look the same size after they’re cropped!

And here is the large one.

Square Canister Set

9 Jun

Squared off, and ready to be carved

The images have been added.

Now it’s waiting time — time to let them dry thoroughly before firing.

Marauding Mammoth

26 May

Isn’t he cute?

My wee marauding mammoth started life as a bottle. Yes, the little guy is a piece of wheel-thrown pottery. Who’d of guessed it? 😉 The bottle’s neck is right in the middle of his little noggin. Of course, this piece is technically thrown and altered. I made his hair with an extruder, which is a kind of grown-up Play-doh machine (with a grown up price tag to match). As for the rest of him? These fingers and a sharpened pencil. 😆

He may be little, but watch out for the tusks!

I know what you’re thinking; why is he standing up on those goofy balls? There is a reason — really. I made him to display on a beaver pelt, and if he doesn’t have a bit of a lift, the beaver fur tickles his little tummy. He got tired of sitting around at my house, though, and he’d like to go adventuring. I won’t be at the Farmers’ Market on Main Street Square this Saturday because the weather is supposed to be miserable. But I’ve promised him he can come with next Saturday. If you want an introduction, come and visit the Jenny Gulch Pottery booth. You can’t miss it — it’ll be the only pottery booth with a mammoth in attendance. See you there!

Merry Horse Cup

24 May

I love my cup. It’s the merry horse, leaping like he has wings on his heart. I’m not sure I could ever make another horse as merry as this one. 😀

The Merry Horse Cup

It’s lovely and thin — I can feel the volume it encloses and the thinness as I hold it. The hand carved background is a great place for my happy little pony to live. The glaze is called Twilight, and it’s a little different every time I make it (which I actually like). The carved portion isn’t glazed on the outside. It’s colored with an iron oxide wash. It doesn’t wash off and it gives the clay a variable warm color. I discovered this technique by accident, but it turns out I’m not the first to have used it. Reinventing the wheel . . . again.  😆 Every time I think I’ve made a great discovery, I soon find someone’s been there before me.

I have other cups like this one, but this one isn’t for sale. There aren’t any at my etsy site at the moment, but if you’re interested, let me know. I can send you a picture of some that I do have, or make one especially for you.

A Square Canister from the Potter’s Wheel

19 May

Well, not completely square, it’s true, but square enough to give it some style and to allow it to sit up nice and cozy with its brother and sister canisters. It doesn’t hold quite as much as it could have, if left round, but there are definite advantages to being a square.

At an angle, taken from above.

I order to make the square sides, I paddled the canister with, well, a paddle. You have to do this at just the right stage. If you try too soon, the pot is all wet and sticky and flabby. It doesn’t work well if you wait too long, either, because the clay cracks when you start to form it. Then you have to spend time sticking things back together. I know these things from having done them wrong so many times!

Side one . . . three to go.

It’s hard for me to resist doodling on my pottery, as you can see. I don’t think I like the little dots down on the bottom right, but changing it at this point is not an option :lol:. I get carried away sometimes. This piece was an experiment, so I don’t mind so much that it didn’t turn out perfectly. I’ll most likely keep it for myself, and I can turn this side to the wall!

A bit of a swirl here . . .

Now this side I like. I think I’d like it better if I’d continued the little lines inside the wider swirl the rest of the way around, but it’s not bad if I do say so. That’s the thing about doodling with a pen; you can always add more. Not so much with clay — not after you put it in the kiln, anyway.

Side number three . . .

Now this one is really nice. Well balanced and interesting. It has a focal point and it’s not too busy. I’ll have to remember to keep this in mind for next time. 🙂

This one looks a bit like a bird’s head to me.

The surface here looks a little more matte. In real life, it’s just like the other sides, though. Maybe the sunlight has changed. At any rate, it seems to me to go well with the swirly design next to it. These two sides are my favorites, for sure.

Here are the bottoms.

I like to cut off my pottery from the bat (the surface on top of the potter’s wheel platform) with a ballpoint pen spring stretched between two handles. It gives it a cool pattern, as you see.

And here are the tops.

And finally, the inside of the canister and the top of the lid. Now you know this pot almost as well as I do myself! Maybe I’ll do another one and post some photos of the process in making it.

Blessings, Cindy

Main Street Square Farmers Market, Rapid City

13 May

The more serious side of the booth

My daughter Cheri (above) helped me sell an amazing quantity of pottery for a first day of market, early spring, distressingly chilly day. We arrived a few minutes after 7 am, found our parking space, and began hauling out boxes. Selling pottery isn’t like selling jewelry. Everything must be carefully packed for the journey down from the mountain, and the unsold pieces have to be rewrapped, reboxed, and repacked when it’s all over. Only the kettle corn guy remained with us as we loaded the last few boxes, carefully placing them so they couldn’t slide around in the truck bed.

And here are some of the wackier pieces. I call them ‘whimsical.”

People wandered about, laughing and talking, coming together into groups and then scattering like birds. Musicians strummed and sang and mothers commanded, “Don’t touch, now!” Alas, Cheri and I were shivering under our nice shady awning, but one can’t have everything. Sales kept us busy, and  that more than made up for the seasonal chill. The Main Street Square staff did a great job getting the word out, and the people of Rapid City responded not only in numbers but also in shoppers looking to buy. That it was the Saturday before Mothers’ Day no doubt helped a great deal, but I now have high hopes for the rest of the season.

Keeping Track of Trimmings

12 May

Don’t you just hate the way those little clay shreds fly everywhere when you trim the bottoms of your pots? My system doesn’t prevent ANY trimmings from going flying, but it does confine them to the space in front of the wheel, which as you probably know, is a lot easier to clean up.

My Trimmings Tub

After going through cardboard screens, cardboard boxes and a few other unsuccessful ideas, I finally found this large tub. I’ve had it for a long time (as you can see), and I don’t remember where I bought it — Walmart, Shop-Ko, Runnings — somewhere like that. If you try this, you need to make sure that the diameter of your tub at wheel-head height is large enough to clear the wheel-head and anything you might put on the wheel head — trimming bats, Giffon Grip, etc. My splash pan is removable. If yours isn’t, this idea probably won’t work for you. I cut the tub with a utility knife, and it slides under the wheel head and just sits there, kind of wobbly – like. 😉

The Tub in Place on the Wheel Head

The hole in front is just large enough for me to get my hands in there. Sometimes it’s a little bit confining, but I manage. It’s soooo much better than having trimmings flying out everywhere. If you only work on fairly small pots, you could also cut the tub to make it shorter, but as I often make larger pieces, I’ve left it tall.

Trimmings in the Tub

You can see how the trimmings collect around the perimeter of the tub. If you have many pots to trim, you’ll need to scoot the trimmings toward the back and tamp them down a bit. Otherwise, they’ll tend to fly out the front more than is necessary. And be sure to remove the tub carefully and regularly to empty the trimmings into your reclaim bucket. If you let the tub get too full, not only does it stop working so well, but it becomes nearly impossible to get it off without major spillage! The above picture demonstrates the tub nearly at capacity. After I snapped the photo, I emptied it.

Pottery Mini-Gallery

17 Apr

It’s been a while since I posted any pottery stuff here. I’ve been doing pottery–I’ve just been kinda lazy about photographing it. Here are some pieces I currently have up on Etsy, with a few notes about how I made them.
Stanley Bison started out life as a wheel-thrown bottle. His curly hump is made with extruded clay. A clay extruder is kind of like a cookie press, or the Play Dough machine you may be familiar with–you put in the dough, press down the handle, and out come star-shaped noodles (or whatever shape). So he’s wheel thrown and hand altered.

This wee dragon was a lot of fun to make. He’s entirely hand sculpted and clothed in an iron oxide wash. I like dragons.

This is Gramps the Magic Dragon. I made his body by wrapping a slab of textured clay around some wadded up newspaper. From there, I added on all the hand-built features. He was a lot of work, and I was really pleased with how he turned out.

On a more practical vein . . . this flowerpot was thrown in one piece on the wheel. I then poked in a drainage hole with a wooden tool (and my finger) and added on the pinecones from a mold I made–with a pinecone. Innovative, huh?

This bowl is wheel thrown and hand carved. The brown part is unglazed, washed with iron oxide. The iron oxide becomes permanent when the piece is fired and I love the nice warm color it gives the clay.

Well, that’s all for now. Any questions you have about how to make these things are welcome.

Blessings, Cindy