Friday, October 30, 2009

Happy Halloween

These are pictures of pumpkins we carved a few years ago, depicting our dogs Mato and Callie.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Brass Monkey... And Friends

Maybe it's just the circles I run in, but am I the only one who has noticed a brass animal trend? They're fun shelf-sitters or paper weights. My brother and I have a monkey thing... I used to try to find the tackiest monkey items to give him for holidays. One year I found a brass monkey lamp. Its perfection cannot be overstated. I finally stopped giving him monkeys out of kindness to my sister-in-law. They have provided me a niece, however, and she will probably receive monkeys from me until she marries and I take pity on her husband... But back to the matter at hand. This charming brass monkey is from EclecticAvenuVintage. This cute little brass pig is from old2newmemories. I would nestle it somewhere almost hidden on a shelf so that it would be a happy little treat to notice. A brass turtle you can put things in!? Love it. From WeThinkWeCan. Do a search on vintage brass owls on Etsy, and you'll get 5 pages of hooting good fun. I loved this stylized owl from toffie, but sadly it sold today. Highstreetmarket has these fantastic owl bookends. These guys can watch over my books any day. VintageIsForLovers offers us this ribbiting brass frog. He looks like he has enough heft to be trusted to sit on your important papers on a day you want the windows open. ImSoVintage has this lovely large brass shore bird. Don't you love its lines? I want my house to be a place where my niece and the other children in my life can visit and find delightful surprises in my home. I have a little end table with a drawer barely big enough for a deck of cards. Don't you think this little brass whale from TheMuseumCupboard would be a perfect drawer dweller for that purpose? OliveVintage has a little brass mouse that would be another happy little surprise... maybe in the pantry? I love this little pair of vintage brass dogs. They crack me up. You know you want to give belly rubs to the one on his back. Found at WeThinkWeCan. Start your own circus act with these vintage brass seals from everyeskimo (above) and bouquet (below). (Or are they sea lions? Aren't sea lions the ones with more versatile front flippers?)
Need help harvesting and storing for winter? This brass squirrel from gogoabigail looks up to the task.
A more exotic choice would be this brass scarab beetle from sevenbc. I bet some of the dust bunnies would stay away from his shelf...
If you're partial to bunnies (just not the dusty variety), how about this brass rabbit from ImSoVintage?
PhoenixDoveVintage has this great little brass quail. You can't tell me that you wouldn't be happier with her nesting on your bookshelf.
I have a set of brass deer candleholders nearly identical to these from FullCircleRetro. I found them in a box of Christmas decorations my uncle packed up from my grandfather. Somehow the box wound up in my possession, and I do love the little deer. I also have a brass lion that my mom was going to donate to charity, and I recently bought a set of brass quail from an antique shop in Fredericksburg. Has anyone else noticed this resurgence of brass creatures?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Raku Deux

On Saturday I did raku for the second time (see images from the first time here). Fran of Tin Barn Pottery and Manassas Clay is kind enough to host us at her little piece of heaven for the raku firing.
I took pictures of four of my pieces after they were glazed but before they went into the kiln. One was already in the kiln. And if I do say so myself, it's better than any of the five pieces I fired last time:
And speaking of rainbows...
The bottle above was fired in Dan's Blue glaze, and the two below were fired in Luster Duster. The bottle below came out a teal green, and the vase came out a metallic green with other colors mixed in.
The two pots in the foreground below are mine - on the left is another bottle glazed in Dan's Blue. I left the neck of the bottle unglazed, and it turned black due to the smoking process. The larger vase on the right is glazed in clear crackle, and right after I pulled it out of the kiln, I sprayed it with ferric chloride (which gives it a metallic sheen and golden orange color) and applied horse hair from my violin bow that needs to be re-haired.
The black lines that appear between the crackle comes from the smoking process. The smoke particles get into the cracks and adhere to the porous clay underneath the glaze.
You can see all of the smokey carbon inside the rim of the pot. Note also the smaller crackle lines inside the pot, and the white color without the ferric chloride.
After cleaning up the pots a bit, I took some pictures at home.
Detail of the Dan's Blue glaze.
You can see the reddish copper color at the bottom of this bottle. This is closer to the color that Luster Duster typically comes out.
The bubbles on this side indicate that the piece probably needs to be re-fired, and the glaze will probably react the way it should have.
Detail of the coppery section.
I think it was a good day. Despite the torrential rain and despite my relative inexperience, somehow I coaxed a grin from the raku gods.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Filling The Bowls

I bought three bowls at this year's Empty Bowls event. It can be hard to choose, but you don't feel too bad about buying a few, since the cause is so worthy. I liked the layering of the glazes on the bowl below. I also liked these two bowls below. They're glazed similarly - but they certainly aren't exactly the same. I think they're even different clays, and the foot is trimmed differently on each. But they clearly belonged together, and I couldn't separate them. I wanted to show you how we signed the bottom of each bowl. This one is a good example - we would sign them "Empty Bowls," or "EB," and some would add "Manassas Clay." When they come out of the bisque firing, we're able to differentiate them from all the student and studio potter pieces. And as a purchaser, the signature will remind you of all the literal and figurative empty bowls that you helped to fill.