Wednesday, April 29

More Experimenting

Haven't gotten the clay mess out yet today, because I was playing around with a new experiment first. I need to make the flamingo sculpture stronger somehow, but don't think I can skip the wire armature. Late one night, I thought of using the tiny floral wire instead of the armature wire that is meant for firing (in the right of the picture is the kind of wire made for kiln firing), because it would give me more room for clay, and is also 100 times easier to form into shapes.

The other part of the idea was to use a large metal bead cap for the base of the flower frog. Of course, I couldn't find one in my junk that was the right size, but did find these filigree beads :) Using pliers, tweezers, pin tool, and lots of squishing around of the metal, I finally got one in half ♥

So my plan now is, to build the clay around them, (oh...there is a third little flamingo made onto a regular clay base that's already been fired. this part of the experiment is just to see what happens with the green floral wire), I will build a box around these pieces in the kiln so that if anything weird happens by using non-firing metal armatures, nothing else in the kiln that day will know about it :)

Sorry the picture is not that good, did not take the time to set up all the photo stuff. Going to get out the clay and move this project along now...

Tuesday, April 28

Such a thrill to see...

It is such a thrill to see yourself talked about, or see a picture of what happens to your work in the new home. Today I'm going to talk about two very special women who have done this for me. I am signed up for google alerts, and that means when my name (Mostly Art) shows up some where, google sends me a link to go see what it is.

The first time it happened was a picture from Stephanie, PetitPlat, with this picture she had all set up with holiday flair...

Stephanie makes incredible food and decor items herself, as you can see in this picture. You can learn more about her on her fabulous website her shop on Etsy her gallery on CDHM and various other sites you can find in the profiles of these sites.

All of the work in this photograph was done by Stephanie except for the tiny black and white vase that she bought from me. If you go nowhere else, in these links, at least be sure to see her website, because it is really nice, and has a very good representation of her work.

The second special person I would like to talk about today is Hanna, who has the absolute best blog I have ever been absorbed into! I started reading a few days ago, and it has kept me wanting to read more and more backward, like a really good book you can't put down, but must if you want to get anything done that day.

Her blog has gotten many awards, they are all over the place! And each and every award she gets for this blog is truly earned! I will put the link in here now, but hope you don't go and get lost in it until after reading the rest of my post today :::smiling::: Will put it in again at the end too... Hanna's blog (it is also on the side of this blog in the list of blogs I collected to keep up with)

Here are the first two pictures that google told me about, after this, I have seen them on my own before google told me.

It was so exciting to see my little vases in room settings, just like a life-size house! Aren't her rooms and furnishings fabulous? It looks so cozy, like I would just love living in these rooms.

She puts so much thought into every little detail, and much of this work is her own. When you read her blog, you will see her projects as they go a long. If you haven't caught the miniature bug yet, Hanna will draw you in! ♥

The second two pictures are fairly recent, like in the past few days or week. It is still the same big, exciting thrill to see my work in settings though! Thank you so much Hanna, for doing these pictures, and writing your blog. I love all of this ♥

Hanna's blog link again is: make sure you don't have to be anywhere anytime soon, you will not want to stop reading once you start!

Now I must go and get some work done today too...

Sunday, April 26

Personal Favorites this week

Last week was one of those weeks where I felt like I didn't get much accomplished, but it may be because I was playing around with experiments rather than normal things. I am very pleased with 3 of the pieces I did complete this week though, and they are all items that didn't need flowers. The flower making mood never did show up the last couple of weeks, so the pieces that needed a little something, got straw flowers, or flowers I made some time in the distant past.

Both the lady vase and mermaid vase got new glaze. I was very pleased with how the glaze turned out, and the girls themselves. Both have sweet faces, and that's always a gamble working small. I never know where the glaze will land for sure (how it pools), and sometimes it changes the faces to not be so pretty. I do like these a lot though ♥

The lantern is my favorite, favorite for a long time. I liked it when I was first making it, but now I really do. I thought I wanted the glaze to turn out more of a matte dark green, but the combination of glaze I used made the top a little glossy. I like the way the color worked out much better this way though, so it was a happy accident.

The further porcelain experimenting happened yesterday, when I found out you can do one fire treating the porcelain like earthenware. It didn't shrink, and it seems to be like a regular low-fire clay body firing just once. The sample pieces I used did not have any carving in them though, so the verdict on "one fire porcelain" is not really complete. I'll make a few new pieces with some detail to go in with my next regular earthenware glaze to see what happens.

Wednesday, April 22

Experiment in Porcelain

Well, I guess I have a list of pros and cons for porcelain. I was, and still am, excited about it as a medium, but don't think I will be using it much for miniatures. At least not the kind I am sculpting designs into, because I found that it melts! The design does. I only made one carved bowl for the glaze testing, and am glad it was just the one, because you can barely even see the leaf design I had carved, and the skinny top rim disappeared completely!
The "pros" of porcelain to me only took a little over an hour more to fire than usual, it is very easy to work with, and the glazes do more things (fancier), than the low fire glazes. The "cons" are what I already said, the detail disappears on miniatures.

I could also see that my glazing technique would need "tweeking" if I were to use porcelain. Some of the samples had tiny pinpoint marks, and that could have been from cooling too fast, or putting it on too thick. Any new glaze needs to be figured out though, (at least for me), and takes a little adjusting to get the result I'm looking for.

I also got to see where the shrinkage happened with the glaze fire. When I had only done the bisque, it didn't look all that much smaller to me than before it was fired, but after the is quite a bit smaller.

So here's what I think.....porcelain (for me) will be wonderful for making ornaments and jewelry, maybe full size pottery if I get around to do some, but for miniatures...only if it's a plain piece that I would just like the fancy glaze on.

Back to earthenware for sculpting :)

Sunday, April 19

Porcelain in the kiln!

I played around with the porcelain yesterday, and far into the night. So far, it wasn't showing a noticible amount of shrinkage compared to earthenware, and it is such a dream to work with!

The porcelain carves really easily without chipping, if I make a slight mistake, like a crooked line, (happens ALL the time with me), it is so easily erased! The porcelain turns back into clay instantly, with just a drop of water on my paint brush. I can see myself being able to produce twice as much work if porcelain works out in all other ways ♥

I made a whole bunch of pendant type pieces with stamps to use for glaze testing too. Everything is in the kiln tonight doing a bisque fire, and I'll see what porcelain does all the way to the end this coming week...

So fun trying new things!

Friday, April 17

What a difference a day makes!

Once I got back to work last night, things just started flowing :) It seemed every piece I picked up, the design just came so easily! The lady vase and mermaid bowl might be the best ones I've done so far, except I have decided taking these "work in progress" pictures are also a really great thing. Now I can see things that still need work, the camera is great for this! May be a regular thing to take these types of pictures...(will not always post about it though).

I also got a small block of porcelain clay in the mail from a fellow Mud Team member today :) Am anxious to try it too! Here's hoping tonight's work has the same magic going ♥

Thursday, April 16

Work in progress this week

I was accused of being just a "hobbiest" on a thread the other day, and this week, that's exactly how I feel too. Things are going really slow, not much to show for the week as far as getting new pieces completed, but I thought if I had it all together in a picture, it might look like I have more done than I thought?
The Jeannie bottle pictures in the background are for inspiration. I worked on the tiny Jeannie bottle one whole night so far, but it isn't going to be exactly like the "real" Jeannie's bottle. I couldn't get all the elements into it and still be in scale, so it will be my own version. I may put it aside for an upcoming challenge on the Mud Team, and finish other things this week instead.

This piece is my favorite of what I've been doing. I think I have about 4 hours in it so far. It will be glazed in dark green, probably matte glazes. I really like it, and this is my first time doing piercing on a miniature piece. It wasn't as hard as I expected, and nothing broke and had to be repaired :)

Wednesday, April 8

Best Article Ever!

I had to bookmark this article after first reading it over on an Etsy forum, because it is worth looking back on any time I get discouraged.

The title "It's not the economy." could have been featuring ME! I mean, she could have been talking about me as the star of this article, the shop owner who didn't "get it".......too late for that particular shop, but I'm so impressed with this article/view point.

Here's how it starts out, just to grab you...

Havi Brooks February 23rd, 2009

It’s not the economy.

So the other day I saw an enormous “going out of business” sign on the window of a neighborhood store. Oh. Sad face.

“Due to the current state of the economy, we are unable to continue ….”

I didn’t even need to read the rest.

But you know what?
Let’s talk about this.
Okay. I’ve walked past this very storefront at least twice a day — every single day — for the past year. And never noticed it.
Seriously. I could not, for the life of me, have told you anything about it. Nothing. What it is, what it sells, or even what it’s called.
Hmmm. And now they’re going out of business.
It must be the economy.
So I spent about ten minutes in the store. Talked to the owner. Poked around. And realized that I loved this place. I couldn’t believe I hadn’t known about it, because it was my kind of thing. I even bought something.

And I still don’t know what they’re called.
That’s how bad the economy is.

A name that’s not memorable — or located anywhere you could read it. A store that’s invisible. But it’s the economy.

I asked what the rent was, because I’m Israeli and don’t have problems doing things like that. Turns out that it’s just over $1200 a month.
On a street with an insane amount of foot traffic. A street that supports yarn stores and hipster cafés.

In fact, the café I sat in — on the same block — was packed. As were most of them.
You know, because the economy is so crappy.
Yes, the economy is crappy. You know what’s really crappy though?

That otherwise smart, goodhearted, well-meaning people start a business out of a labor of love, and no one tells them about the part where you have to learn how to run a business.
Which includes stuff like being visible. Telling me what’s special about you. Being as you as you can be — out loud — so that your Right People (hello, I’m one of them!) can tell people about you.

The fact that these wonderful people who start businesses don’t know how to do that is understandable. I mean, argh, it’s not as though someone sits down and explains it to you when you start your business.

Monday, April 6

Totally Missed This!

I was on the front page of Etsy with my Love Letter Vase on March 16, but didn't even know about it until today. Thank you craftcult!