Saturday, January 31, 2009


I've been working on these teapots for about a week now. I spray them almost every day and am able to add more clay elements and different slips. I actually added a new spout to teapot #1. I forgot to take pictures though. The new spout is thrown round and fits the whole shape much better now.

Today I put black slip all over teapot #2 and added more clay, in order to make this piece more realistic. I'll apply red slip to the (now grey) clay and will put on tons of iron oxide once it has been bisque fired. I've been thinking about what else I might put on; maybe Obama in slip, if I can figure out how to do that! Maybe something related to him... We'll see!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

New Teapots

I have started 2 new teapots and today I have attached a handle and a spout to both of them. Both have the same body, but handles and spouts are different. I took pictures to see if I still like what I did tomorrow morning. I am planning to fire them in the wood firing I'm attending in April. I'll put some slip deco on one and the other one I will leave bare, so I can see what the firing will do with the different surfaces. That will be interesting to see!


and #2:

Oh, yeah, and more chili bowls - this time with blue slip :) I glazed the insides transparent, so you get the rough slip texture outside and the smooth surface on the inside:

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Lights Off, Spot On!

I wanted to glaze 8 of my chili bowls today and drove to the studio around 5PM .I had just waxed the bottoms and was in the process of taking a template off my first bowl after dipping it in the glaze when the lights went off at 6PM sharp! We had to finish and clean up in the dark...

YAY! I'm going!


Ceramic Interface: From Dawn to Digital
April 8-11, 2009 • Phoenix, AZ
Phoenix Convention Center • 100 North Third Street • Phoenix, AZ 85004

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just work!

Alright, after a week full of thinking and having silent conversations with myself, I figured that nothing is going to happen until I actually DO something. And just DOING seems to do the trick. I'm not good at planning things out, making drawings, even templates, etc. I rather sit down and do what comes to mind. I am going with the flow and that is how it's supposed to be.

I made 2 bowls and am now seeing what I can do with them. I am playing with the porcelain, different textures, different techniques adding clay, taking clay away , and so on. I am pretty satisfied, so far and am hoping that both will survive the firing - without stuff falling off! I 'm going to leave the pieces covered in plastic and let them dry slowly, simply because I have porcelain at different stages of dryness. So keep your fingers crossed :)

I forgot my camera again and couldn't take pictures, but I'll go in again today and hopefully I will remember to get some images up here.


I've been thinking of getting a small kiln for low firing. At the College we mostly do high firing, but I would like to apply some low-firing glazes after wards as well to my pieces. Unfortunately I have no clue about firing... If somebody knows a good reference, please let me know. I think I have a book here, but with our house being under construction for the past year, I have no idea where it might be...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


In October 2008 I purchased some ceramic pieces from Ayumie Horie's Obama Ware eBay Sale: Diana Fayt, Democratic donkey and Hope bowl and Janice Jakielski, Obama and Donkey cup. I finally took some pictures yesterday; celebrating the inauguration with green tea and crisps :)

Monday, January 19, 2009

Sense of Direction

Slowly but surely I have to make a decision on what I want to be doing. For me it's pretty clear that I want to do modern things, with loads of porcelain, clean lines, and minimal but tasteful decoration. And of course, it will be super chic as well! I can get a lot of inspiration from the blog writing artists to your right and the things they do, but the general American pottery studio makes totally different stuff. I'm getting a kick out of Western European and Japanese artists and am grateful for every American that thinks outside the box. Nevertheless do I also get ideas from the traditional pottery pieces; and I'm not saying this in order to step on nobody's feet, but I believe there is a place for everybody in this! Unfortunately I often feel like my criteria mentioned above does not hold what I want it to be. My work is often heavy and rustic. And when I then glaze it with our studio glazes, it looks way too traditional for my taste.

I really like Peppa Studio and I absolutely LOVE Diana Fayt's pieces. Actually I have one of her bowls (Obamaware) here at home and I use it all the time. It is cute, yet modern and fun and simple. I would love to see how she works! Since I have no talent drawing whatsoever I doubt that I can ever decorate my pieces with birds and flowers and donkeys... oh, and OBAMA! Unless, maybe, I use a stamp or a stencil. Hah! That might be an idea worth trying!

I've been trying to get my better half to take some pictures of some really nice pieces I've done last semester. Two are inspired by Jason Briggs' "ground". A teapot I did was my humble way of immitating Steven Hansen. I'll try to put some pictures up soon!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Getting sick of Chili Bowls...

Even though I said, after trimming the last Chili Bowls, that I wouldn't throw any anymore, I did again today. What got me thinking was a conversation I had with another ceramic artist; we were complaining about all the time we spent making the bowls and then trimming them and then people would probably be cheap and pay a dollar or two for the bowl + chili. I guess we were making the bowls with something else in mind: getting a pretty bowl out there and people appreciating it for what it is. Looking back at the crazy designs and slip and all, I would expect people to pay much more than they probably will. So, I went into the (empty, YAY!) studio this morning, I prepared 8 2lbs balls of clay and gave myself exactly 2 hours to finish 8 bowls. I focused on giving 3 or 4 pulls and then shaping it with another 1 or 2 and then have it FINISHED, without any further attention to detail or shape. I spent about 5-10 minutes MAX on the bowls and VOILA! it actually worked better than I had expected. I had 8 perfectly shaped bowls in about 1 1/2 hours. Compare that to all morning throwing sessions for the same amount!

By bowl 8 I was actually throwing some really nice ones, so I prepared 7 more balls of 2lbs clay and threw another 6 bowls - one collapsed, because the second batch of clay was very wet and therefore not as sturdy. I had those done within an hour and I had pretty similar shapes and sizes - something I always tried to achieve, but that never happened; call me a snowflake, no two pieces alike :)

I glazed the 7 bowls I made in the beginning of this Chili Bowl Ordeal with a transparent glaze. I used a black underglaze to bring out the detail of the stamps and designs I made and am hoping that they will really pop out! These bowls will be fired at cone 9. They are on the shelf to go into the kiln, but unfortunately I have no control over when they will be fired - they usually take their time and won't fire before the first project is almost due, which can take another week or two...

I counted and now I have 33 Chili Bowls, believe it or not! Maybe I really will make more than 50, who knows... Here is our sign-up sheet. I changed my amount of Chili Bowls from 10+ to 20+ and this morning I changed it to 30+!!!

But with those done and in a timely manner, I won't be sorry, if they go for a buck or two, as long as they are being sold and we can get a lot of small donations.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Move from "Liebe Statt Luxus"

Since this blog is still so young and fresh I thought I'd move it to "Clay Lab" while I don't have that many posts to move. Unfortunately all the comments will stay on "Liebe Statt Luxus"... ahhh!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

More Chili Bowls

While the first Chili Bowls I produced for the Charity Chili Bowl Event are in the bisque firing, I made some new ones. I forget how many exactly... But I think my total is now over 20! After today though, I doubt that I will make more. I am definitely NOT a production potter, but rather enjoy throwing stuff randomly and putting it together in some weird way. I also like to engrave my pieces, so I took this oportunity and decorated some of the chili bowls:

I engraved one of my favorite quotes on a set of 3 bowls:
(since the quote is very long, it took that many :)

“Our worst fear is not that we are inadequate, our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God; your playing small doesn’t serve the world.

There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone, and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

By Nelson Mandela


I put together a new "Ceramics" playlist for my iPod. I can now listen to that while throwing. Weirdly there is a lot of Glen Hansard and Cat Stevens in there... Must be something soothing and calming about those two :) Last night I sat in front of my wheel and messed up some of my pots, because I couldn't concentrate on my work. System Of A Down was yelling "WAKE UP!!" in my ear and I got so nervous that I pushed the pedal too far...

Wake up,
Grab a brush and put a little (makeup),
Grab a brush and put a little,
Hide the scars to fade away the (shakeup)
Hide the scars to fade away the,
Why'd you leave the keys upon the table?
Here you go create another fable

You wanted to,
Grab a brush and put a little makeup,
You wanted to,
Hide the scars to fade away the shakeup,
You wanted to,
Why'd you leave the keys upon the table,
You wanted to,

I don't think you trust, In, my, self righteous suicide,
I, cry, when angels deserve to die, Die,

Wake up,
Grab a brush and put a little (makeup),
Grab a brush and put a little,
Hide the scars to fade away the (shakeup)
Hide the scars to fade away the,
Why'd you leave the keys upon the table?
Here you go create another fable

You wanted to,
Grab a brush and put a little makeup,
You wanted to,
Hide the scars to fade away the shakeup,
You wanted to,
Why'd you leave the keys upon the table,
You wanted to,

I don't think you trust, In, my, self righteous suicide,
I, cry, when angels deserve to die
In my, self righteous suicide,
I, cry, when angels deserve to die

Father, Father, Father, Father,
Father/ Into your hands/I/commend my spirit,
Father, into your hands,

Why have you forsaken me, In your eyes forsaken me,
In your thoughts forsaken me, In your heart forsaken, me oh,

Trust in my self righteous suicide, I, cry, when angels deserve to die,
In my self righteous suicide, I, cry, when angels deserve to die.

Lyrics by: Tankian, Malakian
Music by: Malakian

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Chili Bowl Marathon

Fine Mess Pottery inspired me to take an extra step (after all, I made *DrumrollPlease!* another 14 Chili Bowls today!! That puts me in the category of people who are making 20 +!

Sunday, January 11, 2009


This weekend in Chicago I ate from very precious porcelain dishes, made by Hering-Berlin from Germany. Very simple, yet elegant and fine!

Laurent Gras
60614 Chicago

Friday, January 9, 2009

Snow, snow, go away...

Today I wanted to throw some more chili bowls, BUT it is snowing... oh no!! And the bowls I made yesterday are probably going to be too dry to trim by Tuesday. I didn't wrap them tightly and I doubt I'll make it to the College today (we have a rental car with summer tires, so, no way Jose!).

Sometimes having your own studio (preferably in your basement or garage!) is a nice thing indeed... forget about the post I wrote last night *giggle*!! Who needs inspiration from other people anyway?!

Thursday, January 8, 2009


It's funny sometimes! You look through all the bisque fired pieces on all of the shelfs and cannot find your own stuff... My teacher found a vase I made a couple of months ago; actually it's a vase I must have thrown in the beginning of the Fall semester (the criteria for this piece was taller than 8"). I didn't like it, but I glazed it anyway... I'll post pictures as soon as it has been fired (which can take a couple of weeks, since the semester doesn't start until the 20th and I doubt that anything will be fired before the first projects are ready). I dipped the whole thing in Copper Red and dipped the bottom half and the top rim in Shino. I hope the Copper Red will actually be Red; sometimes when the glaze sits too long and gets contaminated with all the other glazes, it comes out transparent.

That's what you get working in a big studio with so many people working around you. But I was just talking to somebody about this the other day and we agreed that we get so much inspiration watching other people work. I love their comments and commenting on their work, it would be sad to sit in a studio all by myself. Although I love the peace and quiete in the mornings, I also like the interaction that's going on!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Chili Bowls for Charity

Yesterday I started making Chili Bowls for our Ceramics Club's Charity event. I signed up for 10+ bowls - which seems like a small amount in comparison to others, who will make 100 or more! But it took me all of yesterday morning (9am - 1pm) to make 6 bowls. I tried to make them bold and bulky, but yet pretty enough to eat out of. I figured you need a "heavy" and rustic bowl for your [Vegetarian] Chili. Delicate porcelain bowls call more for Vegetable Soup, no?!

This morning I trimmed them, put slip on them (inside green, outside white) and decorated them. I will glaze them with transparent glaze all over.

My sexy green Chili Bowls:
(I love green! Even my bucket is green!)

Some decoration on the white slip:
(I only did one and stopped, because it didn't look sexy anymore!)

My favorite sexy green Chili Bowl:
(I might as well keep that one for my own vegetarian chili!)

White slip on the outside, and a nicely trimmed foot:

I used a metal pendant with a tree to "stamp" the bowls on all four sides:
(I will try to fill the tree with black slip or underglaze after bisque firing, for more detail)

My little Buddha face :)

Sunday, January 4, 2009


My first anniversary is coming up: 1 year of making ceramics!!! And I have always wondered, why we (as in my teachers, my fellow students, and I) call it "ceramics" and not "pottery"? I haven't dared to ask my teachers... yet!

To me, it just sounds more "handy" - and maybe that is even the wrong word. Maybe making "ceramics" is just different than doing "pottery". The word "pottery" reminds me of old world works, or even other crafts, such as knitting, crocheting, beading, etc. whereas "ceramics" is more like woodworking, glass blowing, etc. And I don't mean neither one in a bad or low way. I think it all has its place in the world and people like to do different things. Correct me if I'm wrong, please!

Looking both words up on Wikipedia, it seems to me though, that "pottery" is actually a better term for "making ceramics" ;) whereas the term "ceramics" includes much more than just making "pottery" out of clay. Ceramics seems to be more "artsy" maybe, whereas pottery seems to be more functional?

I'm still confused...