Another Quick Pottery video. This little snippet shows how I use a little ice cream cone shaped paper cutout to easily create a spout.
With all of the citrus juicer exploration, (see last post on citrus juicers- form follows function) you had to guess I would make a “Quick Pottery” video on at least one of them! Of course there is so much more to it than what you see here, but this gives you a little idea of what goes into it.
The Citrus Juicer… a little utilitarian object where form follows function.
I had a little citrus juicer contest in my pottery studio… just me, the porcelain, and the ideas in my head generated from a “Pottery for Foodies” workshop I gave this summer at Snow Farm. Students wanted to know if I could teach them how to make a citrus juicer with a spout. I also had customers asking me if I would do a citrus juicer that had a storage container under the juicer part. So began a month long exploration of citrus juicer forms which took place in-between my daily schedule of making and glazing pots.
All citrus juicers take a bit of time to make, including the standard one in my shop. My partner Terri asks me why I make them if they take so much time. My answer is that I love the challenge of making a complex, beautiful form function properly. The issue that I have with the citrus juicer is not the time it takes, but the price I can get for the time it takes. This is one of those pieces that the customer has no clue as to what goes into making it, and why it should be priced even higher than it is.
My biggest take away from this exploration of new citrus juicer forms was about how form truly does follow function. As a functional potter this is of utmost importance to me. I often see “ceramic art” that is beautiful in color, glaze and form, but then I try to use it and it doesn’t work. A teapot that doesn’t pour, a citrus juicer that doesn’t juice, a glaze that isn’t food safe, a mug that tips to the other side because a handle is placed incorrectly… you get the idea. In making four different kinds of citrus juicers I learned a lot about function and the many ways this little utilitarian object can function improperly!
Below are some photos of the first go around of the citrus juicers that I made, and a little explanation of what works, what doesn’t work, and how I would change it.
The first one pictured is my favorite form, it feels most like a “Lucy pot” as my students say. I like the up-lifted body of the bowl. I like the spout, the handle, the juicer part that is carved with swirly grooves rather than straight grooves. The only problem with this is that it does not function well when it pours. The liquid goes over the rim just a tiny bit. It is something that I can easily fix if I just raised the front part of the wall a bit.
The second one is a great storage jar for the liquid. It juices nicely, pours well, the only problem I am having with this is in the firing. Usually lidded pots are left unglazed around the rim and fired with the lid on. With this pot the top and bottom are fired separately because I want the rim glazed so it can stand alone as a piece. Because the lid is fired separately the two pieces are warping differently which is making the fit not so perfect. I like this one a lot, so I will work out the details… maybe make the rim thicker.
The third one is a more traditional ceramic citrus juicer. I am liking the pattern which is made from some stamps that I carved. It is well balanced, pours well, but I would probably raise the front wall near the spout a bit as the liquid comes close to going over the rim. At this point I am not too excited about the form, it’s a little to squat for my taste. If I am going to be making an open-form citrus juicer, I am more partial to the first one pictured.
The fourth one was in response to the complexity of the former three. This hand held citrus juicer is so simple, and a lot easier to make than the others. The only issue I see with this one is that the seeds cannot be separated from the juice. I am loving the way the glaze pools in the deep grooves. I also see this one as a great conversation piece!
I have to honestly say that my standard citrus juicer which I have been making for years still makes the most sense to me. It sits on top of a two cup pyrex measuring cup and when not in use hangs on a hook in the kitchen and becomes functional wall art and a conversation piece.
I make Apple Bakers this time of year, because I think that every apple loving person should have one!
I live in the heart of apple country in western Massachusetts, and have my choices of farms to pick from. Clarkdale Fruit Farm and Apex Orchards are my two favorites. If you are leaf peeping anytime soon these are the two places to go for the beautiful Fall Foliage, and for bags and bags of apples! I will be buying my large bags of seconds next weekend for canning applesauce. We invite friends over to help with the processing and we all come away with plenty for the year to come!
My two favorite apple varieties for baked apples are Cortland, and Mutsu. Baked apples are one of my favorite ways to have a healthy treat, and today is the perfect rainy day to bake some!
This is my description (from my shop page) of why to use an Apple Baker: The Apple Baker is a wonderful way to make a delicious healthy treat. Baked apples are best when cooked in an apple baker because the baking dish has a hollow stem which the apple sits on to keep it in place, and to allow for heat to be distributed to the center of the apple. This is not only a practical way to cook the apple but a delightfully pleasing way to serve the baked apple! The size, 2.5″h x 6.5″w is perfect for one large apple, with ample room for juices from the apple and the filling. The base of the bowl is flat and wide enough so it stays nice and sturdy for your baking rack in the oven. It is also designed with indents on four sides of the rim which make it easier to take out of the oven with pot holders. This goes from the oven, to table, to dishwasher with ease. You can find these on my shop page here.
The bees have been busy making honey, and I have been busy making honey jars, and videos!
Our hive is thriving this summer! I so enjoy just sitting next to the hive watching them buzz in and out. Below is a photo of the bees on a very hot August day. Bees never cease to amaze me. They each have their jobs to do… here they are busy cooling the hive. The job of this group of bees is to fan the hive on hot days. Other bees are out gathering nectar, and some are capping nectar, while the queen has only one job, to lay eggs to keep the colony going strong.
While these bees have been busy making honey I have been busy making honey jars! Somehow the delicious, golden honey, seems to be influencing my pottery. I have found a glaze color that is a perfect match for golden honey. I have a couple of these available on my shop page here.
I have also been having a little fun making another one of my “Quick Pottery” videos! This short video shows a cross section of a honey jar. I find that cutting a piece in half is a good way to show my students where the wall of a pot needs to be thicker or thinner. For this particular one piece lidded jar, it is important to leave a thicker portion of clay where the lid will be cut.
To see more videos on how I make the honey jar on the potters wheel, visit my YouTube channel here.
Colorful cups with layers and layers of glazing! I wanted to make my old leaf mugs more colorful with drippy glazes and lots of movement. I tend to keep my mugs pretty simple, to keep the price point lower, but the past couple of years I have added more complicated designs to my mugs. It is a lot more work with all the layers of glaze, glaze pencil, and wax resist, but I’m having so much fun! These mugs hold 12 oz of your favorite morning brew. Mine happens to be Chai or Earl Grey Tea. How about you… what would you put in these?
You can find these new cups on my shop page here.
Sometimes it’s good to show a cross section of a citrus juicer. This is one of those pieces that most people ask me how it is made. So I put together this 40 second video to give an idea of how it is made by cutting it in half.
Making a Berry Basket
I really enjoy making these short videos that are a little over a minute long. In this “Quick Pottery” video, making a mini berry basket, I demonstrate how I make the holes in the basket, and how I attach the handle. These videos are intended to be instructional videos for pottery students, and to give customers an overview of how a piece of pottery is created. To see more of these videos go to my youtube channel here, or just click on the video below.
The mini berry basket grew from my need as a gardener picking only a handful of raspberries or blueberries in the early and latter part of the season. Sometimes the regular size berry basket which holds a quart of berries is just too large. This little basket holds a nice size handful of berries. I bring the basket out with me to the garden, then bring it into the kitchen for a rinse.
Here are a couple of photos. The first photo is the work table at the end of the day. You can see a finished basket up front, with a few new baskets drying. The size difference is quite substantial because porcelain shrinks about 13%. The second photo is one of my favorite little berry baskets filled with some freshly picked blueberries.
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.