Getting Pots Made for the Pottery Trail

The Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail is coming up in six short weeks!  Our date this year is April 25th-26th.  In between getting pots made for that, I am spending time getting all of my information and photos to my web designer for my new website!  Hopefully it will be all up and running before the Trail.  My current website was made in 2010, even though it’s nice, it is antiquated.  It’s time for me to have a responsive website since a good percentage people use mobile devices to search sites.  Maybe I will share some sneak peeks of the website soon, but for now I will give you a peek of the mugs that will be ready for the Pottery Trail.

Last week I was working on mugs and cups, I was getting tired of trimming the same old foot. I was also dreaming of warm weather and flowers… zinnias to be exact, in the studio garden to be more exact.  So before I knew it these happy feet started to appear!  I always like to have texture on the bottom of my mugs (usually made with a wiggle type wire).  I think it’s fun to hold a mug and have something different to feel on different parts of the piece, and you can’t leave out the bottom!  We will see if this foot design becomes part of my repertoire or if it’s just something to get me through till the zinnia’s are in bloom.

Mugs DryingDetail of flower footHappy Feet

Patterns and Optical Illusions

Patterns, just love what they can do.  Repetition, movement, optical illusions.

I have been making these little treasure boxes with different patterns and glazes… here are some of the blue ones.  I have included the images of the process… how I draw the pattern using a square grid, then apply wax resist to the pattern.  I love the way they look glazed but not fired.  But what I really want you to look at is the optical illusion that occurs on the finished blue piece.  Do you see a leaf/petal or a diamond shape?  I see one first, then the other after awhile.

These will be available soon on my new updated website, and in my etsy shops… I need to have a long photo session, and get all the new stuff up!

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Taking Time Today for Photography

It seems that the past year or so I have been photographing my work mainly for etsy and my facebook page which tends to be in an informal setting.  I like to photo my work in this way for two reasons… one, because I love working with natural light in my photography… two, because it allows the viewer to see it in a way that is real to them, rather than a pot sitting on a white/grey/black background.  There comes a time though when you need some new work formally photographed for shows, so this morning was that time.

lucyfagellacup2lucyfagellacupdetail

Berry Baskets and Berry Bowls

The Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail is two weeks away!  One of the items (a customer favorite) that I have been making are berry bowls and baskets.  Here are some drying on my work table, and a couple of finished ones. 

Berry Season is almost upon us!

Berry baskets and plates dryingdetail handle drying

cranberrybasketdetail

two split rim berry bowls

In Yankee Magazine

If you live in the Northeast you probably have heard of  Yankee Magazine.  It has been a mainstay in New England since 1935!

I am honored to be in the current issue, March/April 2013.

yankeemagNew England’s Finest.  The Made-in-New England Kitchen, tools and serving pieces from local artisans.

Teaching my Apprentice about Kiln Repair

Today my apprentice Gemma Farrell got her first look inside of the control panel of my L&L Kiln. I really feel it’s important that my apprentices know every aspect of the pottery business, plus walk away from the two years with great pots.  Gemma already has the great pots, (which I will show off in the next post.)  She just needs the biz end of it… the part they don’t teach you in art school.

Repairing an electric kiln

 

Gemma learning how to fix a kiln

It was definitely time to change the element wires and the thermocouples.  How did I know this you might ask…  well the first sign is that the element wires are starting to grey and flatten in areas… but still work.  The most notable reason to change them now, is that the kiln is taking longer and longer to fire… a sure sign it’s going to break down soon.  The other reason to really, really change them now is that I do not have a big show coming up this month. It seems that kilns tend to break down in the middle of a firing, right before an important show or the holiday season!   My next big show is the pottery trail at the end of April… and I better have the kiln heathly for all the firings coming up!

Whew, take a look at that old thermocouple compared to what it looks like new… won’t be long before that’s a goner.  It’s been over a hundred firings… when that time comes along I know it’s time to take a look at them!

therrmocouple new and old

Big Pots, Shellac Resist, and the Flu

Why did I make big pots the first day of the flu?  Well I knew I was only going to get sicker, so while I could, I made ten little pitchers, five large urns for resist work, and three other large urns.  The second day of the flu I made lids, and slept. The third day I trimmed all the pots, and slept.  The fourth day I slept, trimmed lids, joined knobs, and carved urns.  The remaining ten days I’ve slept, carved urns, took photo’s and slept…  and vowed to get a flu shot next year!

Here are some nice shots of the urns in process.  It’s a very long process, between the throwing, trimming, and carving the feet and rim.  Once the pot dries completely liquid wax resist is brushed on to create the floral pattern.  (This process is known as shellac resist or hydro abrasion).  Then comes the long process of rubbing away the clay with a sponge, (which I thought would be a nice sitting down job while not having much energy).  Where there is no resist the clay slowly gets etched away.

willow watching tall urns freshly thrown

Just finished carving_lucy fagella Tall Urns Drying_Lucy Fagella

The carving process_lucy fagella details_lucy fagella Large Urns Drying_lucy fagella

Here is a finished mini version of the large urn… a little keepsake in my son Andrew’s hands. To see more of these and other urns visit my website and or LuciaUrns on etsy.

White on White Petite Keepsake_Lucy Fagella 

If you want to see a nice little video on this method, check out Ron Philbeck  , “Hydro Abrasion”  He explains it very well!  http://youtu.be/d_HHrNdPGIk