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The Lucy Fagella Pottery Blog is where I share the how the pottery is made. Pottery process is a beautiful thing… watching a pot rise up from a lump of clay at the wheel, or seeing a work table filled with freshly thrown pieces. This blog focuses on process shots, pottery videos, the work table at the end of the day, and some finished work fresh from the kiln.

mugs waiting for the firing LucyFagella

 


 

Slow Made Pottery

I choose to make slow made pottery… that is one at a time, by my hands only.

Here is a little video with some Sunday music, (slowed down a bit more than usual, for effect).

This short little video shows me trimming a plate on a foam bat. The plate is pushed into the foam with my fingers. I use a large lid from a jar to evenly distribute the pressure of my fingers, so as not to dent the bottom of the pot. Plates create lots of ribbon like trimmings!

These particular plates that I am trimming are for a custom order of plates and chalices. I will be making ten plates (aka Paten) and ten chalices for a church in Southern California.

 

To purchase Chalices and Plates visit my shop here.

Chalice and Paten LucyFagella.com

 

Instructional Video on Making Spoons and Scoops

 

ceramic scoops LucyFagella.com

 

I am excited to share my first full length Instructional Video on Making Spoons and Scoops! People always ask me how do I make my ceramic spoons, so I thought this would make a great instructional video.

This is a detailed, start to finish pottery lesson on making ceramic spoons and scoops on the potters wheel. In this video I will demonstrate methods of throwing, cutting, altering and joining to create finished spoons and scoops. I will also talk about decorating and firing. Your end product will be useful, functional and decorative spoons and scoops that you will feel confident to sell, or to just give away as gifts. You can watch a promo video, and purchase the full length video at teachable.com.

I have been a potter for over 30 years, and ceramic instructor for nearly 30 years, and have a wealth of knowledge to share with beginner to advanced pottery students. I tend to give a lot of that knowledge away for free on Instagram, Facebook and Youtube… but I want to get into more detail with my videos… little snippets are good, but just not enough for those wanting to really learn more about this difficult craft. Students want more too, and have asked me for longer videos, so I thought why not give it a go!

I love the whole video process, from filming to editing, but have found that it takes a whole lot of time to make even a short video. The editing takes enormous amounts of time… probably 80% longer than the actual filming. It’s another whole job on-top of being a full time potter! Since it takes lots of time to create something of value, these lessons will be sold through teachable.com. When you purchase a video there is no time limit as to how long it is available… it is yours to keep forever through teachable! You don’t have to worry about downloads taking up all the space on your computer, or fussing with dropbox to get access to the video!

There are different names for gaining knowledge online… courses, classes, lessons, lectures, membership sites, and subscription service… (I may be missing a couple). I have chosen to name these videos, ‘Online Pottery Lessons” because it is one lesson at a time.

This first Online Pottery Lesson – “Making Ceramic Spoons on the Potters Wheel” is geared for intermediate to advanced students, but not to worry beginners, more to come in the future for you on basics. I would love it if you contacted me and let me know what you would like to see in a video!

I know that many people want to learn the craft of pottery, but do not have access to pottery classes. This is part of the reason I am creating these videos. Think of these as taking a class with me at my studio! These videos are like a one on one pottery lesson. One of my fondest memories as a teenager was getting ten private pottery lessons from a local potter. It was my high school graduation present from my parents. I learned so much from those one on one lessons! So in memory of first pottery teacher, I thought “Pottery Lessons” would be a fitting name. You can visit my lessons here.

 

Blue and White, Faceted, Footed Urns

The blue and white faceted, footed urns are out of the kiln! (See earlier post, New Urns for 2017 here.)  The blue came out as I had hoped it would… the glaze breaking a crisp white like I had imagined. As a potter you need to have some faith that things are going to work out when you give it over to the kiln firing. There is quite a gap from making the piece to the finished outcome weeks later. Nothing is immediate in pottery. We make our work, then let it dry a couple of weeks before it can go in the kiln for the bisque and glaze firings. Even when we know our glazes well, things can change when put on a new form. It is a happy event when you open up a warm kiln and see a piece just as you hoped it would turn out!

faceted footed urns, blue keepsake LucyFagella.com

The white faceted, footed urns also came out as I had hoped. I will be adding both of these new urns to my line of cremation urns for 2017. These urns will be available soon on my shop page here.

faceted, footed urns, white keepsake LucyFagella.com

 

Biodegradable Clay Urns

New biodegradable clay urns are being made in the pottery studio this past month.

I am very excited about this new series of biodegradable clay urns! I only make these urns about once a year, as it requires a good deal of space and time. I use paints, paper, recycled paper pulp and reclaimed porcelain clay. The studio gets taken over by this process!

I began making biodegradable clay urns in 2009, mainly for environmental reasons. I wanted to make something that did not require the use of fossil fuels. Firing kilns takes lots of electricity, or other fossil fuels such as gas, or wood. I do the best I can in the studio to recycle, and re-use clay, water, and packing materials. I purposely fire a to mid range temperature, and do a very low bisque firing to save electricity. The past couple of years the environmentally forward thinking town of Greenfield, MA where I live built a very large solar farm, which we get most of our electricity from… I am very happy about that!

As I experimented over the the years with nature inspired biodegradable urns, I found myself leaning more and more towards color and pattern in these urns. You can see some of the older urns on my old WordPress blog here.

Many of my older biodegradable urns were a nod to quilt making. Before I had children I fell in love with quilt making. Between the kids and working full time as a potter there was no time for sewing. I tried getting back to it as the kids went off to college, but after working a full day making pots, or glazing pots, my fingers were way too tired to hold a needle. So these quilt like urns are my answer for my need to quilt. I find my inspiration mainly in older quilts and Islamic patterns. These can be found on my Pinterest board here.

The new series of quilt inspired urns are different from the older ones. For the first time in the eight years of making biodegradable urns, I am throwing the urns on the potters wheel. I always just assumed you could not throw clay mixed with lots of paper. I was wrong, you can… it’s not easy though!

Here are a few photos of new the series of biodegradable clay and paper urns that I am working on. They are all in process. They look a little grey in color when they are still wet. After they dry completely the porcelain will turn white, at that point I will rub in beeswax to seal the surface, and give it a slight sheen.

I will be putting these up on my urn shop page in the next week or so. I have some a couple of the older ones listed in my shop here.

biodegradable clay urns LucyFagella.com

biodegradable clay urns Lucy Fagellabiodegradable clay urn Lucy Fagellabiodegradable clay urn LucyFagella.com

Using Shellac Resist on Pottery

Shellac resist on pottery…

Using shellac, or wax resist is a wonderful but time intensive way to create a relief pattern. I start this process using a piece of pottery that is fully dry. The first step is to draw a design on the porcelain, (porcelain works best because there is no sand or grog in it). Planning drawings and patterns involves thinking about both the positive and negative space. For this particular piece of pottery shown in the video below, I have created a grid, then an abstract leaf pattern. This pattern is ancient, and can be found everywhere from the tiles of Islam, to early American quilts. The positive and negative space on this grid leaf pattern creates an optical illusion. Some of my favorite images of this come from quilts.

Once I have penciled in the imagery I paint over it with wax resist. The wax will burn out in the kiln firing. Some potters use shellac, but I am not fond of the smell. After the wax or shellac is totally dry, (an hour or so), I begin to sponge off the clay around the imagery. This slowly takes away as much or as little clay that you want. I have to be careful at this point not to go through the clay where it is thin! When I want to get into the tiny detailed spots I use an old dental tool and carve away the wax, then wipe that area with the sponge. After a day or so I can then put it in the kiln for the first firing.

The next step is the glazing and the glaze firing. The photo below shows a few finished urns glazed in a clear glaze, which allows for the pure white porcelain to shine through. You can find these on LuciaUrns.com.

shellac resist on pottery, white on white petals urn lucyfagella.com