plates 6 and 7, lessons, and new ventures

I think I've fired my kilns four times this week already- and given my calendar, it looks like this may be the norm through spring.  Exciting times for me!  This week, the seventh week of our year, I'm all caught up with my plates.  I have two more to show you, both of which I'm treating as practice pieces to learn from, but as Olivia and I talked about earlier this week, really, it's all practice, because we never get to perfect.  And do we really want to?  Not really.

In December I bought a large soft rubber carving block to make a faux bois textured mat. I used it on this porcelain slab and made a plate over a plaster mold.  This is the same shape as last week's bird and faux bois plate.  After the plate dried, I bought a second block so that I could continue the pattern without such a distinctive pattern-interrupting line.  Somehow I contaminated the slab with cobalt, which showed through the glaze (lessons 1 and 2). The glaze is an old satin white that I had made and discontinued using, but still had a few quarts left over.  I added a few tsp of copper oxide to see what it would do.  The color is nice, but this glaze definitely prefers to be dipped, not brushed (lesson 3).

This sweet little salad plate very nearly made me cry.  Last week I took my dyson out to the kiln and vacuumed it thoroughly before I glaze fired.  I bisqued in it, glazed and reloaded in about 24 hours.  Sadly, I did not think to vacuum a second time and half the load is covered in flecks of what I can only imagine is rust from the hinges and kiln handle.  So not only is this plate covered in black chunks, but all of the transparent-glazed and hand-lettered latte cups for a special order were covered in black chunks.  Lesson 4- vacuum that sucker before every glaze firing!  But back to the plate- it was made over the mold I made from the lotus plate from last week.  I painted the bird based on sketches I made of birds on antique china a few weeks before that.  I had a migraine one Friday, which led to several days in the bed, doing not much of anything but drawing birds in my sketchbook.  This little one was my favorite!

Finally, I made a small batch of pieces that I'd hoped to have a valentine's open house with, but only wound up with a dozen small pieces because life just got in the way.  They are all at one of my new retailers, Me and Mrs Jones, at their Germantown location.  I am so excited to partner with Stephanie Jones- she has such style and a similar perfectly imperfect outlook on life and homes that I embrace.  She has a new book that's coming out just around the corner, and I'll be at her signing (also at the Germantown location) on February 28!  We also have a few other things up our sleeves and I'm just tickled to be working with her.

Happy Valentine's, y'all.  Love your people.