Centering – Ceramics

Last week I hit a milestone – 50 lbs of clay have been turned into pots (with some loss during the process) since I started class this quarter. Time has flown buy so quickly since March. This means I’ve used about 75 lbs of clay this year. I just bought another 25 lb bag (Seattle Pottery Supply, Pine Lake Red) and last week a friend gifted me about 7.5 lbs of porcelain to try out.

Yesterday, before dipping into my new bag of clay, I sat down to throw porcelain for the first time. I hear a lot of negative things about porcelain for the beginner. It’s fine, it’s temperamental, even if you do throw it, it may crack. All I can say is that I threw off the hump and ended up with 5 cups and one bowl, with very little left over. It was a dream to work with, and I can only hope they’ll survive the drying to get into the bisque kiln.

The downside of success with throwing is that it leaves a lot of pieces to glaze, and I’m getting rather tired of the shop glazes. I mixed up two glazes from recipe a few weeks ago. One called Woo’s Blue and another called Lipstick Purple. I have them on test tiles, and I look forward to seeing how they turn out.

The other downside is that I’m working in a large studio, with a lot of students. That means that the kiln firings are not always on the schedule I want them to be on. I only vaguely know how to run the old, manual bisque kiln. After this experience, I dream of having my own wheel and kiln – though I would sorely miss the community that I work with at my school. It’s a beautiful blend of young and old, new and experienced.

I need to take pictures of the 20+ pots I’ve created this quarter. To say the least, I’ve been keeping myself busy between running and ceramics, not to mention trying to just work on other individual projects, like learning content management systems and becoming even more technically proficient.

First Round of Glazed Bowls

ceramicsThis is an iPhone picture of the glazed bowls I have done in the first half of the second quarter of ceramics. Granted, these are all stacked up and you can’t quite see them, but I must admit, they make an impression all stacked up like that. Many of the bowls/cups are flawed, and not all of them turned out the way I hoped, however – glazing a pot that was less than perfect makes it often pretty, even if it’s not functional.

My next project is to mix up two glazes from a recipe. Then, I will do a glaze test to see how they end up. That, plus hopefully reaching my goal of a large bowl and a set of 4 bowls/cups coming up!

Opening the Kiln


Yesterday the folks at my community college fired up the raku kiln. I’m in the second quarter of ceramics, and was lucky enough to have a piece fired yesterday. What you see above is right after the kiln is opened up and the pots are still glowing red with heat. They’re moved quickly from the kiln into garbage cans filled with newspaper (which promptly sets alight), and then the can is covered for awhile. I could go into why all this happens, but that’s another post (and I’m still a newbie.)

What comes out is an awesome piece of ceramic, which makes even a lousy looking pot look awesome. I will post a couple raku pieces I’ve done in the near future. It’s pretty awesome stuff.

Ceramic Work So Far


I’ve been taking ceramics classes at a local community college and thought I would take some pictures of some of the work I’ve done this past week. I’ve hit a bit of a breakthrough lately, and have learned to successfully “throw off the hump.” It’s pretty exciting, and I ended up putting more hours in the studio this past week than I have in a long time. I look forward to see how these fire and glaze.