Lemonade

When given lemons . . .

In this case, a rather large piece of grog made a hole in a small bowl. I didn’t feel comfortable selling this piece due to the grog hole but it is such a cute little piece and I couldn’t just throw it away . . .

. . .make lemonade!

So, I planted a cheery little volunteer impatiens flower in the sweet little bowl. I love it as it sits on my table in my back porch studio. 🙂

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Oh Grog!

This year’s throwing season seems to be going well!  Very minimal mistakes plus,thanks to learning about an alternative way to take large pots off the bat, I have been able to throw larger pieces: plates, serving bowls, platters and pet bowls!  To date, I have thrown over 35 pieces since Memorial Day! 😀

Unfortunately, I’m having trouble with grog ruining my pieces.  Oh Grog!  

What is grog, you ask?

Well, in the pottery world,  it is not an alcoholic beverage although after seeing this grog ruin my  several of my pieces, a stiff drink of grog may help ease my disappointment.  It is also not  a fictional character found in graphic novels, role playing games or computer games. Nope.  The grog that pains me can be a combination of fired clay, silica, sand and feldspar all of which are ground to various sizes and added to clay.   The propose of grog added to clay is to improve “ drying performance, reduce drying shrinkage, improve fired abrasion resistance, reduce thermal expansion, reduce fired shrinkage, reduce density, impart visual character, etc.”

Grog in various particle sizes added to clay to decrease shrinkage among other things. The above image is from digitalfire.com.

In years past, the particle size has been fine enough for me not to notice.  This year, however, this particle size is causing a problem.

A large piece of grog causing a pit in my freshly thrown platter not yet fired.

This piece was bisque fired and glazed all to be ruined by a piece of grog causing a pit.

Large grog found in my clay!

I plan to call my clay supplier to ask if anyone else is having the same issue with this clay – the same clay I have been using for years and never had a problem with grog until now.

In the meantime, I decided to mix my groggy clay with a lighter non-groggy clay in the hopes of adding more plasticity and minimizing the effect of the large particle grog.

Mixing one quarter of the dark groggy clay with three quarters light creamy smooth non-groggy clay. Of course that means more wedging to eliminate the marbling from mixing the two. The marbling sure looks pretty though.

Now, off to enjoy a glass of grog!

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Cheers!

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Try, try, try again

One reoccurring problem I have had was making large pet dishes (7+ inches or larger in diameter). In almost every single instance, I would ruin the pet dish when taking it off the bat.

I hate it when this happens.

I had some extra time over the winter to research alternative ways of taking large pots off of the bat.  I came across a discussion thread on potters.org: “How to get it off the bat?” . In short, the brilliant solution was to use a piece of canvas or heavy denim on the bat.  Throw the pot on top of the canvas then . . .

. . . let it air dry to the appropriate hardness . . .

. . . place a bat on top of the pot and flip it over.

Take the ‘top’ bat off (which used to be the original bat plus canvas) then . . .

. . . peel the canvas off the bottom of the pot!

This works WONDERFULLY! No more wiring through my bottoms!

Success! I can now make larger pet dishes due to this new technique 🙂

‘Tis a lesson you should heed:

Try, try, try again.

If at first you don’t succeed,

Try, try, try again

~ William Edward Hickson

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SNAKE!

Okay, yes.  The title of this post is a little dramatic but are not snakes dramatic when you are not expecting them.

So, I’m blissfully throwing pots on my back porch today when I notice our cat following something through the yard. I didn’t think anything of it after all it is bug and butterfly season both of which she likes to chase. A few seconds later, I saw something YUGE slither in and out of the raised garden bed with our cat right on its tail. It was then I grabbed my camera and snapped! (To be honest, I wanted to take a picture for identification purposes…to make sure it was only a garter snake. And it is…or was…just hope I don’t find it on our back porch welcome mat compliments of our cat – the snake chaser).

Feeling a little

If you look carefully, you can see the garter snakes little red forked tongue! Thank goodness for zoom lens because I would NOT have stood THAT close! LOL

It was about 1.5 feet long but who’s measuring! NOT ME! LOL

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