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.
It’s time for summer bounty in a ceramic berry basket!
The summer bounty from our garden has made it’s way into my ceramic berry basket. I have found many uses for this berry basket. I love using it especially at harvest time, it’s just the right size for a quart of berries, and perfect for vegetables, plus it looks so good on the table. These are available in my shop so take a look.
Gardening is such a big part of our lives. This time of year our kitchen gets a little crazy with vegetables and fruit all over the counters, and in the sink. The fridge is packed to the gills, and the freezer is needing defrosting to make way for all the new goodies to freeze for the year. The garlic is drying in the barn, and then the onions. The dehydrator is currently being used for oregano and basil, and when the cherry tomatoes come in they too will be dried to add to pasta dishes in the winter.
I am so grateful for the abundance of gifts from the good earth!
Glazing Pottery, the Before and After
What?… how can that color in the glaze bucket be blue, it looks red! Glazing pottery is always an enigma for my pottery students.
I figure this photo is a good way to explain what happens in the firing. The photo on the left is just after the urns are dipped in glaze. The photo on the right is just after the urns came out of the kiln. Glaze colors are always confusing to non potters. Glaze is not like a paint set, it is not, “what you see is what you get”. A whole chemical change occurs in the firing which reaches 2232 degrees F. So the reddish glaze you see in the first photo is because of the red iron oxide in the glaze. When the kiln reaches higher temps that red burns away and the cobalt carbonate that seems hidden in the unfired glaze struts its stuff in the end!
The lighter blue vine pattern is created by dipping the urn first in a light blue glaze, then painting the pattern with wax resist. I then dip it into the darker blue glaze and the wax blocks out that second glaze, allowing for the pattern to appear.
These are some new urns that will be available on my shop page by late August.
A keepsake urn/treasure jar to hold the memory of a loved one.
This keepsake urn was made recently for a customer. It was a special order for a loved one who died in their family. I usually do this urn in a creamy white with a brown under the cut out area of the three footed bottom. customer wanted it in my seaglass/turquoise color. Many times when a customer asks me to do a certain color I am hesitant. There are sometimes though I feel like the request will work out really well. This was one of those times. I liked it so much that I will add it to my line of urns. These will be available soon on my shop page!
I am currently working on a new shop page which should be up in the next week or so. Currently I have two shop pages, For the Kitchen and Lucia Urns which bring you to a secure Square shop. The problem with it is that it takes you off my website… and doesn’t seem to bring you back too easy. Customers have been having some trouble with it, and I have been looking for something that works more seamlessly on my end too. The new shop that is coming soon is a WooCommerce shop which is made for WordPress websites. It will keep you on my website yet provide you with a secure site to use your credit card through Paypal or to just use Paypal. There will be a shop for urns, and a shop for the kitchen.
Here is a photo of the original footed keepsake urn which is currently available in my shop.
Glaze Dip, a “Quick Pottery” video.
This is one of my “Quick Pottery” videos to demonstrate how wax resist is used to create a pattern when brushed over a base glaze then dipped in a second glaze. The first glaze that I use is a nice medium blue matt glaze. I then paint on a wax resist pattern of leaves and vines, I let the wax resist dry, and dip it into a dark blue glaze. Take a look at the video on my You tube channel!
The urn that is pictured in the video was sold shortly after it came out of the kiln. Last week I did make a couple more like it, and just glazed them up today. See the photo below. They will go in the firing next week… just hoping they come out as good as the first one! If all comes out as planned look for them on my shop page at LucyFagella.com
It’s a long story I will make short… my website was hacked. There was some confusion when I changed my domain hosting service, so I lost my domain name last night. Within hours someone from England purchased it. If you go to my LuciaPottery domain name you are redirected to a Russian porn site. I was able to contact the new owner of my domain name and asked if I could please buy it back. He emailed me back and said yes for $6700. I said no thank you. This is just so sad, there are so many evil, money hungry people in this world that think nothing of a persons livelihood.
My new website name is www.lucyfagella.com. Lucky for me I owned my own name! I wanted to get lucyfagellapottery.com but it was owned by someone else. I could have purchased it if I wanted to for a very high price.
My apologies for anyone who has my business card or any old links with my old website name.
They get me every year, those spring colors.
The pale greens, and and the translucency of a brand new baby leaf just opened. Then there is the blue sky as the backdrop to these new leaves. Ah, spring colors, accentuated after the monochrome browns of winter.
This spring I am happy to introduce my new line of color. All of the new work will be available this coming weekend April 30th and May 1st on the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail, and May 13-15 at the Worcester Pottery Invitational.
The Pottery Trail is almost here! If you are anywhere near Massachusetts you really should come to this great event.
The Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail is a self guided tour of 9 potter’s studios in western Massachusetts. Check our website apotterytrail.com for all the details and a downloadable map.
This event is both educational, and fun for all involved. Our many studio stops along the trail include, music, food, pottery for purchase, and demonstrations. You can try your hand at the wheel at my studio!
Aside from meeting all 9 potters, their 13 guest potters, and seeing their beautiful functional pottery, you will also have a lovely driving tour through quaint New England towns, fields, hills and farms. Please check our website for scrumptious food at the many sponsor restaurants along the way! You can even stay the weekend at one of our sponsor B&Bs!
Here are a few photos of some colorful pots for Spring!
This year I am very excited to have Robbie Lobell from Washington State, as my guest potter. Robbie owns Cook on Clay. As quoted from Robbie’s website, “Cook on Clay flameware cooking pots are made with ”flameproof” clay designed to withstand extreme temperatures. Our pots can go directly from the refrigerator to a hot oven and back again without cracking! They are perfect for the grill, and some of our pots are designed specifically for use on the stovetop. All of our pots are built for durability and performance and intended for everyday use.”
I just have to tell you why the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail is my favorite event of the year. This event for me is kinda like waiting for Christmas as a child. I get really excited about this tour for so many reasons… the top two reasons are education, and community building. This group of professional potters have come together now for 12 years. We begin our preparations for the pottery trail six months before the actual date, getting our brochure and website ready. We pool our resources and talents together to make it all happen. We build a strong pottery community around this tour as we work together to create an exciting event! We are all so happy to open up our studios to you, and share what we have been creating for you for the past few months!
Making ceramic sugar jars, with a lid, in one piece, requires some practice… make that, lots of practice. You start by making a closed form that looks like the finished piece, but taller, with a groove for where the lid will sit in the pot. When the piece becomes leather hard, you cut into the form to separate the lid from the rest of the pot. Here are a few photos of what the form looks like at the end of both steps, and the finished sugar jar complete with a spoon.
The lids are cut from the form and trimmed to sit snug in the lid gallery. I will let them dry slowly under plastic for a few days, then soften any high sharper spots before they go into the bisque kiln. The glazes will be semi-transparent and will pool into the grooves that I have created. I will use a few different color glazes for these sugar jars, some springtime colors… pale greens and blues, along with some golden amber which reminds me of honey… I guess these would make good honey jars too! Much of my work is standard ware, (meaning they all have similar features and size, making them easily repeatable for online ordering and wholesale accounts). I wanted this batch of sugar jars to be one of a kind for the up-coming shows. I have two shows coming right up in April and May, the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail, and the Worcester Pottery Invitational!
Here is a customer favorite, a red dot sugar jar and spoon, working in my kitchen on a hot summer day.
Making oval pitchers (or any oval form) is one of the easier projects on the potters wheel. Basically every beginner student has mistakenly gone through the bottom of a pot. When you make an oval form on the potters wheel you just go through the bottom on purpose! Well, there is a little more to it than that, so here are two very quick videos to see how it is done. The first video is only 20 seconds, showing how I make a spout for the oval pitcher. The second video is a little over a minute showing how to join the oval to a cutout slab of clay for the bottom. You can see how I join a handle to this pitcher in an earlier post here.
If you would like to see all of my videos in one place visit my Youtube Channel here, where you can subscribe to keep up with the latest videos!
The finished pitcher fresh from the kiln.
I am making salt boxes! It’s been a couple of years since the last time I made them. I had so much fun meeting the challenge the last go around that I have wanted to make more since. When I say challenge, I do mean challenge. Pictured below are a couple of leftovers from the last time I made them, with some newer ones in back of them. They are all mistakes in one way or another. The first ones I made a couple of years ago have some cracking on the back, and warping with the lids (as they are made in porcelain). The new ones are also made in porcelain, but the lids this time will be made from up-cycled mahogany wood from our old Greenfield high school bleachers.
I have been making table salt cellars for quite a few years now, they are a main stay in my foodie ceramics line. A couple of years ago became intrigued with the wall salt boxes after seeing a vintage french salt box at an antique shop in Provincetown Massachusetts. The salt box I saw was made of metal (enamel). After seeing that I just starting looking at as many salt boxes as I could online. Only a few were made in ceramic, and now I know why… the degree of difficulty with all the variables that can happen in the drying process and in the kiln can be overwhelming. Still for some reason I want to do these. I love challenges in my pottery making… I love making form and function truly work together. I also like salt… all the different kinds of salt like Himalayan pink salt, black Hawaiian salt, and flavored salts such as mushroom infused (the best ever). I once had a customer purchase six different color salt cellars for all the different flavors of salt they used!
The deeper meanings of salt have always intrigued me too. As a child learning biblical stories, such as Matthew 5:13-16, the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and learning about Gandhi, and the Salt March… the power of peaceful non-violent protest.
Salt is an intrinsic part of our lives, not only for flavoring food, but salt for healing, and salt for preservation of food. You can see my collection of all things salt on my Pinterest board, “Salt of the Earth”.
I will continue to work on these salt boxes for the next couple of months, they should be done for the Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail in April. More pictures to come when they are completed!