Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Take a Look Inside My Studio - Slip Trailing

This is how I make my Aqua Mist stoneware mugs. I decorate them with slip (liquid clay) the technique is called "slip trailing". 

By the way...Doesn't that latte look heavenly? It comes from my MOST favorite coffee shop - Bello Mundo Cafe in San Luis Obispo. It is the best latte I have ever had! 

Aqua Mist Stoneware Mug

It all starts with a ball of clay...

Then I make the body of the mug on my potters wheel (its called throwing)...

Centering the Clay

Raising the Walls

Shaping the Body
Waiting to be cut off the wheel...
Lots and lots of mugs...

I wait for the mugs to firm up a bit so they can be handled. Then I turn them upside down and trim the bottom.


I add my signature swirl, initials and stamp each one Back Bay Pottery

Now it's time to attach the handle...

Attaching a handle to the mug body. 

I use a handmade stamp to stamp the base of the handle. It makes it pretty and helps it to firmly attach to the body of the mug. 

Using a Flower Stamp

Beautiful Handles 

Time to mix up the slip...

Putting the slip through a mesh sieve to remove all the sand & grog. 

I love this technique because it combines my love of ceramics & drawing. It is a little tricky though because you have to squeeze the bottle just right. I make my own slip from clay & water. I use a hand mixer to get it nice & smooth.

I carefully but quickly draw my design on the mug with the slip. The quicker you draw a line the smoother the line will be. It takes LOTS of practice.

Sliptrailing Design

I am a fly by the seat of your pants type of girl so I don't usually have a precise plan on my designs. I just do it! I absolutely love handmade & one of a kind things so I make each piece a little different. 

Drying Pottery... Little Bird Dish Bowls

The pottery has to dry out for a week or so before going in the kiln for it's first firing called "bisque". If there is moisture trapped in the clay it can cause a small explosion & ruin your hard work.  This is when the clay is turned into a stone. The kiln takes between 12 to 15 hours to reach about 1900 degrees Fahrenheit . It takes about 12 hours to cool. After that it is ready to glaze. 

Freshly glazed pottery waiting to go into the kiln...

Glazed pottery in the kiln ready for the glaze firing. 
After the pottery is glazed it goes in the kiln one last time.  This time the kiln temperature reaches about 2200 degrees Fahrenheit. The glaze turns into a glass like coating and becomes one with the ceramic piece. 

Just opened the kiln! 

Just unloaded from the kiln...

The finished product!

Aqua Mist Stoneware Dinnerware by Back Bay Pottery

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Make a Shabby Chic Chicken Wire Frame

I am getting ready for the San Luis Obispo Art After Dark show (its the first Friday of every month) and I always need more displays for my many buttons & jewelry. I decided to make some shabby chic chicken wire frames. Today I am going to show you how I make them.

First - you need some old frames. Any kind will do, big, small, it doesn't matter. A good place to get them is at a yard sale or thrift store. I always paint them so it doesn't matter what color it is.

Second - paint a base color. I like using contrasting colors so the crackle shows up more. Because I am painting the top layer white, I used a black spray paint. You can use spray paint or house paint. For a quicker drying time use spray paint. You just need a light coat of paint.

Third - Paint a layer of crackle glaze. Because I already had it, I used McCloskey Special Effects Weathered Crackle Glaze that I got at my local hardware store, but you can get the crackle finish with Elmer's Glue instead. It's cheaper & works just as good.

Make sure to paint an even layer of the glaze. The thicker the layer the bigger the cracks.

Fourth - Paint the top coat of paint. Make sure to only do one long stroke because the paint starts to crackle right away. If you go over it a second time, or try to fix some spots, it will cover your crackle effect.

The crackle effect shows up immediately and as the paint dries it crackles more.

Fifth - Measure the inside of the frame for the chicken wire. 

Sixth - Cut the chicken wire to the inside dimensions of the frame. Use heavy duty wire cutters to do the job. 

Seventh - Staple the edges of the chicken wire to the frame using a staple gun. Angle the staples into the thick part of the frame so they don't come out the other side.

For a more worn "Shabby Chic" effect, gently sand the edges of the frame.

"Ta-Da!" My Shabby Chic chicken wire frames, ready for display.