Wednesday, March 30, 2011

What's Crackin'?

A Spring Theme Etsy Treasury I Created Featuring Members of the Beads-of-Clay Etsy Team ~ Happy Spring!

Here's a couple fun treasury applications which help you display your treasuries. ~

Monday, March 21, 2011

Cone Six Eggs & Spring Pendants

The Cone Six Glaze Adventure Continues.  As I mentioned in my previous post, I purchased one of the Coyote Glaze 12 Packs, and had a chance to stir them up this weekend and see how they look on my tan speckled clay.  A customer placed a special order for some Easter pins recently, so I thought it would be fun to try out some of these glazes on some of my eggs as well as some of my new spring pendants.

These are the glazed pieces prior to the firing ~~
I purchased the Glaze Sample Pack 3 from  Pansy Purple is not in that sample pack, I purchased it separately.  Oasis Blue and Gun Metal Green are in the Sample Pack, but are not shown here because I purchased them separately and they are in my previous post if you would like to see what they look like.

Here's the pre-fired and post-fired photos of each of the colors in this latest batch.

Yes, I know, Desert, not Dessert.
I used this very cool bead rack that I won from Marla James, and alternated some of the small bead rods I purchased from her with some 14 gauge nichrome wire rods I made for the smaller hole pendants with the wire I purchased from Jacobs Online ebay store.

I love this bead rack because of the way the holes are alternated which gives you lots of choices and flexibility.

I leave you with Pansy Purple.......
Check out the Beads-of-Clay Blog for more great info about cone six glazes and techniques!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Cone Six Adventure Continued

At 3:00 am, I woke up in horror, realizing that I used a rack that I made from cone 06 clay to fire my new happy cone six glazed pieces that were ablaze in the kiln.  Ahhh!!!  I had horrible visions of the rack exploding and wires and glazed pieces all sproinging about and sticking to everything including the kiln, or the rack melting, or, or.....  Ahhhh!!  So I put my coat and boots on over my pajamas and trudged to the end of the driveway over to the shop to check on the kiln.  It was shut off, and I couldn't see any signs of disaster.  I had to look and see how everything was or I knew I wouldn't be able to get back to sleep.  I took a quick peek, and thankfully it looked as though nothing catastrophic occurred, and the rack didn't explode or melt.  Phew....  I shut the lid and went back to bed.
The only thing that happened was the rack cracked, and one pendant stuck to the rack.  It could have been much worse, so I'm Very relieved. I was spared, and that was a lesson well learned.
Thankfully, the rest of the pieces turned out fine, and I'm really excited to see how these Coyote glazes look on the tan speckled clay!
Various Beads and Dangle Earring Pieces
Oasis Bird with Turquoise Matt Wing
Almost Teal Bird with Butterscotch Shino Beak
Last but not least, Gun Metal Green.  This color is Really gorgeous.

I'm off to try out some new colors!

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Lisa's Excellent Cone Six Adventure

Up until now, I've used low fire clay for all of my jewelry and ornaments.  Inspired by our pottery teacher Sally who uses a variety of cone 6 clays, a few years ago some friends and I split a 50 pound chunk of tan speckled clay and some cone 6 glazes with the hope that we would have "craft night" and get together to create some pottery after work.  Since we never did find the time, the clay and glazes have been patiently waiting.
Every year before my husband and I leave for our Florida vacation, I mail myself a good size chunk of clay to make sure I don't go through withdrawals while I'm there. This year I sent myself some of the cone 6 clay instead of my usual low fire white or terra cotta. To avoid extra weight in my suitcase, and the possibility of being strip searched, I send it a week or so ahead of time to our friend (I'll call him Mike) in Florida.  My husband likes to surprise Mike with our arrival by not telling him that we're coming, but alas, the arrival of the clay always gives it away.  Mike called before we left and said "I know you're coming, the clay arrived." Oh well.  By the way, I also recommend this method of transport for wire and clay cleaning tools as I tried to smuggle those to Florida a few years ago and it didn't go over well with airport security. 


This year, a week before I left, I had the bright idea of ordering a small kiln and having it sent there as well, to avoid bisque pieces breaking on the trip home. Frustratingly, getting a kiln quickly was not as easy as I expected.  I tried several companies and nobody seemed to have anything in stock, and only made kilns to order.  I wanted to have the kiln there while I was in Florida so I could set it up and use it.  I finally found a company that worked with me and said they could get the kiln delivered while I was there.  The kiln arrived, much to Mike's delight, and when I unloaded the box I discovered, it was not the ceramic/glass kiln I thought I ordered, but a glass only kiln with a door in the front flapping in the wind, and no cone sitter.  Hum..... what do I do with this?  Believe me, if I could have figured out a way to use it, I would have, but I ended up sending it back, and thankfully they were able to send me a 9 x 9 interior AF3P Jen Ken Cube with a digital controller before I left, that was perfect for what I need.

Although I had intentions of making pottery with this clay, I started with what I know best and proceeded to make some free form pendants, earrings and beads.  The pottery can wait.
These birds were inspired by a piece of gnarled paper towel that was stuck to the concrete deck out in the backyard. I kept walking on/around it for a few days and every time I saw it, I thought, that looks like one of those cute birds I keep seeing on Etsy.  So I took it as a sign that I should make some birds.  I took a little crystal glass dish and pressed the design into the clay.  I tried to save the piece of bird shaped paper towel I scraped off the concrete, but sadly, it shriveled up so I can't show it to you. 

I'm used to a manual kiln with a cone sitter, but since we have a digital kiln at work, I have had some experience with this type as well.  I programed the Jen Ken Cube, and commenced to firing it up. Since I had never done a cone 6 firing before, I found it quite unsettling to see how flaming red hot the kiln became and how long it stayed that way.  It made me a bit uneasy.....  All that red hot fire stuff.  Anyway - I didn't burn anything down so that was a good test fire in my opinion.
I've heard lots of good reviews about Coyote Glazes from some Beads-of-Clay members, so I decided to order a few colors and give them a try.
I'm starting with some Turquoise, Oasis Blue, Almost Teal, Butterscotch Shino, Gun Metal Green and Fire Opal.  The colors and textures are definitely different from the glazes I'm accustomed to.  I'm firing some pieces tonight and can't wait until the kiln cools down tomorrow so I can see how they look!

Next up... I discovered Coyote Glazes are also available in 4 oz. sample packs.... 
So that's the state of my studio on this second Saturday! Check out the the B-O-C blog to see what some of the other members are up to! 
See you when I unload the kiln!