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Saturday, June 26, 2010

My list

Remember last week when I mentioned wanting to make 180ish pots by Wednesday? Well I am not going to make it, but I am going to come close. I made a few changes in my list, like deciding to cut back on the pitchers and add more giant mugs and make another Goblet of Doom. It's not a Goblet of doom, It's the Oak King's Chalice. Ain't it purty? Ro did all the sprigwork. I'm also very pleased with the giant tankards. I did get all the goblets done, all the butter keepers and all the cereal bowls done. Next on the list is mugs and tankards and xl round mugs. Those are the bulk of the list and I can throw those all in just a few days.

Ro added to the mix by doing a bunch of wee bowls while she demonstrated wheel work at a music festival called "Summer's Best" in downtown State College today She's quite a trooper, doing that all day then coming home to make oak leaves and acorns for the new goblet.

Tomorrow we'll be heading to The Celtic Fling to pack down the pottery so we can take it with us to the next event in Hebron, ME no sense in having it sitting around doing nothing. Next weekend is the Raku BBQ and Birthday Bash, where I'll roast pots, my friends will roast and toast me and I'll do less work than usual while turning 41.

It has been a busy hell of a week. I seem to have an awful lot of living squeezed into not much time at all. Whew.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


There has been so much happening lately that I am having a hard time keeping up. Let's lay it all out as a form of therapy which I am foisting on all of you who read this..and I know you read this. I has lurkers. Not much in the way of comment makers, but I have lurkers So what's going on? Changes my is all different and it is rushing by.

1) We have High School Graduates. 2 of them. Cath got a sublet and said goodbye to our parental authoritarianism, she's living fast and free by her own rules in her own place. Morgan is hanging around here a lot more, now that he's come back from a Burner Event (Wicker Man) kind of, but not really like Burning Man, but in an eastern foresty setting. He starts his nearly full time hours later in the week, so I put him to work this morning in the studio with me. He made glaze day go much faster and right now there are two kilns firing.

2) Art Camps started at The Creative Oasis which means I had to teach a little bit this week and a few days next week. Rowan is teaching all week, she's gone 8-5.

3) We've had an outrageous number of sales online. Which has been great, but we're ruinning into logistical problems. We're down a car right now because the fuel pump went out in Ro's Blazer which means I have been driving her in and picking her up so I have a chance to take the packages to the Post Office and can run the other necessary errands. The sales haven't been great enough to have it repaired yet. Working on it :) AND on Thursday I have to drive to the PA Ren Fairegrounds to set up for The Celtic Fling this weekend.

4) In the middle of all this I find myself in one of the most intense production drives I have ever had. We have BIG events coming up, we're quickly depleting the online stock so I am working hard trying to make 180ish pieces by next Wednesday. While teaching, driving places and packing pots and shipping them out.

I think I just wore myself out writing about it. Just kidding I have boundless energy!

Friday, June 18, 2010

All full of Greenware

The production run has come to a pause while I trim handle and get ready to load another bisc kiln tomorrow night. Today I made 4 serving bowls, 3 butter keepers, 4 goblets, 2 pitchers and 2 xxl swirly bottomed tankards. Yesterday I did 5 rice bowls, 20 Tankards, and 10 regular swirly bottomed tankards. They should all be ready to trim in the morning and hopefully with the help of the dehumidifier it'll all be ready for the kiln tomorrow night. It'll be OK if it has to wait till Sunday morning. That will mean the kiln will fire off overnight, which is much better for heat dissipation. It's hard to want to fire kilns in the summer.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Mugs Display

I was just checking out the Etsy Shop to see how things looked and I was pleasantly surprised. We have 25 mugs available right now. We've been trying for months to build up good levels of stock, but between the sales on and off the site it has been slow going. Right now it's looking pretty good. There's great variety and some of them are even on sale. As a seller I have heard you get a lot more attention after your display gets to have 100 pieces. We're not quite there yet, but it's a worthy goal.

Tanked up

After yesterday's marathon packing and shipping and driving pottery around session, I got up a little later than usual and packed and shipped some more. When I finally got into the studio time I had to get tanked. Tankards. 20 to start with, then some of the new taller ones with the swirly bottoms. (Did I really just say swirly bottoms?) and I did a few rice bowls because I noticed I was out. Not a bad evening. 35 pieces. Tomorrow I plan of covering these and throwing more. Some serving bowls and some pitchers and maybe some more goblets. and butter keepers. Saturday is going to be a day of trimming and handles and by Saturday night we should be ready to load another kiln or two. Celtic Fling at The PA Renaissance Faire is next weekend and I want to be sure I have a full table.

Also I wanted to say thank you to the folks who follow my production and read my blogs. I really appreciate your support. The Etsy shop has been busy and lately it has been busy with people who are following me on one or the other of the sites this blog cross-posts to. It starts on and then goes to Blogger and Livejournal and the Hughes Pottery Fan Page on Facebook.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Glaze Mania FAIL

Just after midnight and I've just come upstairs, feet aching and exhausted from a solid 6 hours of glazing. Ro is still finishing up the stacking and in a few minutes will join me. We're firing two kilns tonight. I expected one, but apparently we had the bisc really packed full. This is good as we have to split up a lot of stock in the next few weeks, FSG in MD, Celtic Fling in PA and some of it will be going off to the Kentucky Renaissance Festival.

Things were going pretty well, I glazed, Ro loaded. When it became apparent we were going to need two kilns, I started the first one and was rewarded with a flashing "FAIL" message. The last thermocouple had melted down. Of course it is the one in the bottom of the kiln. So Ro being the awesome and handy wife she is, unloaded the kiln and did the repair. Thankfully I had had the foresight to order a part in advance so we had a spare. Everything is firing now and we'll see the results early Wednesday morning.

I had a few things sitting around to trim today, but I didn't get to them, so I'm going to be working in the fires of hell tomorrow. UGH. We need to sell enough pots to build that outbuilding studio I fantasize about on a daily basis. The one with heat, AC, screened windows and skylights.

I forgot to mention..We also had another assistant tonight. Can you find her on the seconds shelf?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Friday Night Party!

No, just kidding, just another blog about pottery and life, A good mix of both this time.

Ro's parents arrived today for tomorrow's big Graduation Ceremony. Catherine seems all ready for it. Morgan I am afraid is going to just sleep through until the folks returning from the ceremony wake him up. He's working another late shift at the Pizza shop and will be coming home at 3AM. The kid works hard for what he wants. I'm very proud of him.

While he was making pizza at the shop, I was making pizza here for Ro's folks. I am always afraid they won't like what I make, but they tore into it and had more slices than anyone else. I was impressed. They were very complimentary and suggested if I want to do something to supplement the pottery business that pizza might be a good option.

ROFLMAO! With the pottery it's all or nothing.

After dinner everyone went off to see Catherine's sublet and I headed back to the basement studio. Just a few minutes ago I finished the last of the mugs and soup bowls I have been waiting for all week.

Do you think all this greenware is going to fit into this partially loaded kiln? No? me either.

and of course here is a picture of the still cooling glaze kiln. The green glaze looks like it is back to normal and everything I could see looked like it turned out well.

Tomorrow during the BBQ I plan on sneaking off to start throwing a few other things. despite my gregarious online nature, in person I am kind of shy and anyway I have some special orders I want to work on. A large utensil crock, a giant tankard (They come in quarts?) some plates and a small casserole and I should probably try to get back to a giant oval platter that I have failed to make 4 times now. Damn thing always develops a technical problem, which I have figured out now, but have lacked the space to dedicate to it. It takes up 1-2 shelves through the whole process and I NEED those for other work.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Long Day

It was a grueling day and night in the studio. The pots I have been waiting for all week were finally getting to be dry enough to trim and handle and of course it was finally time to glaze and load too. I tried to do both. I almost succeeded. There are still a few pots left to trim, but with Rowan's help, the glaze kiln is firing. It is loaded with special order pots we have been trying to get finished, or replacement pots for problems we had with earlier orders. Whew. I am confident things will be looking good and I can finally get some of them sent off. Ro and I both pride ourselves on fast turnaround..Our feedback on Etsy is full of "super fast shipping" It really wears on us to be behind, so I will be glad to see these off.

Tomorrow a little last minute cleaning before Ro's parents come for the kid's Graduation. Morgan decided not to walk, but Cath will be. We'll be having a BBQ in their honor Saturday afternoon, All our friends in the area are welcome to come by and congratulate the kids..of course they'll probably want to disappear from sight ASAP and hang with their friends, which will mean the adults that are left can be themselves and party down :)

Once we are sure the house is in order tomorrow I need to head back to the basement and finish trimming and handling the pieces left under the plastic. The bisc kiln Ro started to load will need to be finished and started, then perhaps start on the next round. We'll see. I might have to slack off a bit.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Catching up and Seconds Sale

I'm finally starting to feel like I'm getting caught up on the production. Not ahead by any stretch, but like I am not in danger of being understocked. The weather has been damp and the basement has been extra humid, so everything I make has been taking a long time to finish. Currently I have 48 mugs and 18 Soup mugs waiting for trimming and handles. Looks like tomorrow is going to be a long day pulling handles.

In other news Rowan has been absolutely wonderful in posting new things on Etsy, she just put up a bunch of the seconds from my glaze drip fiasco. I ground off all the drips and they all look amazing except for a few grinder marks on the bottom. You can see the Seconds in our Sale/Clearance section.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Lovely Day

It started out rainy and sad, but got beautiful for a while in the middle of the day and Ro and I took advantage of it to head out to Rothrock State Forest to see the Mountain Laurel in bloom. I took a few pictures, but really hers are the ones that show the camera is so decrepit now that I am lucky to get any images. It still does good sky, but everything else appears to glow with fairy light or have unnatural gloom around the edges...and that's the way it is for now..maybe in a few weeks I can justify a replacement, but right now Ro's camera is the moneymaker since she takes all the product pictures and mine is just for my own pleasure of documenting my life and work to share. I am sure she'll get around to posting some soon..look for them on facebook if you are her friend, in the meantime, here are some of mine. Also included are the pictures of the XL round mugs I put handles on this morning. The empty boxes from all the wedging I have done in the last 2 days and a board full of regular tankard mugs that I just finished up before midnight.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Dry enough!

I got onto the trimming, handles and goblet assembling early today, I just now finished up the last handle, there are still some medallions to add to the big tankards but everything is mostly finished. While I was working on that Ro was sorting through the pottery and picking new pieces for Etsy and taking a lot of pictures. It was quite a day. I think I'll be taking a little break, then starting again this evening with some wedging and throwing of some bigger round mugs and tankards, then tomorrow moving back into the smaller round mugs. We're in the Father's day season and special orders are starting to roll in. Luckily if I get them started in the next couple days it shouldn't be a problem to complete them and have them in Dad's hands by the big day.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Wet Basements

The pots are still too wet. Not all of them, but a majority. I trimmed a little wetter than I wanted to and that seemed to work out OK, but I just can't assemble the goblets or pull handles yet. The rims are still too flexible. I got a few done, turned on a fan, pointed it away from the pieces just so air would flow in the room. I lightly covered the rest of the pieces and in the morning I plan on uncovering everything and turning on the dehumidifier so as I work through the dryer pieces the wetter pieces will start to stiffen become less flexible.

What I really want to do is get started throwing the next round of tankards and mugs, but everything must be done in it's own time.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


Today was so much better than yesterday.

The butter keepers I threw yesterday weren't quite ready so I just covered them to do tomorrow.

The throwing went really well.

I did the goblets.
I did the slightly larger than a round mug mugs.
I did the twelve 24 oz special order tankards with custom medallions.
I did another few of the XL tall tankards people seem to be loving so much.

Now I am tired. It looks like tomorrow will be trimming, handles and medallions..

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Falling Short

Sometimes I start my production runs with goals that seem easily achievable and it turns out that I didn't come anywhere close and I can't really explain why. Some days the pots appear as if by magic under my fingers and other days it's tedious. Today seems to have been a tedious day. I crushed, cut through, collapsed or otherwise ruined at least 1/2 dozen pieces. The ones I did complete didn't come with any sort of grace. This is a picture of my hard won pieces. Note the little bowl you can barely see in the started as lid for a butter keeper. now it's a shallow bowl..cute, but not what I intended. *sigh*
After I finished these I wedged up some pieces for goblets tomorrow. I hope it's one of those magical production days :)