Sunday, December 27, 2009

More ceramics...expect to see more of these posts in the future because...

I switched my major to ceramics! Yay! I know..."what were you thinking, Gracie? What on earth will you do with a degree in ceramics?" I'll make ceramic stuff! And if all else fails and I become a starving artist, well, I'll finally be skinny for once in my life! Okay, all kidding aside, I am so excited to have switched my major. From the first class I remember thinking, "I wish I could major in this...but I won't." Gradually as the semester continued and I spent more and more time in the studio I decided to minor in art and emphasize in ceramics. However, the more time I spent there the more I realized that if I were to minor in ceramics I would spend way more time working on my minor than I would on my major. So I decided to switch my major. It makes me a little anxious because it's not something that will guarantee a job for me when I graduate (which may never happen at this rate...I'll be in college till I'm old and decrepid, lol), but for the first time in 4 years (yes I've been taking college classes for that long) I feel so incredibly blessed to be able to go to school to study something I love. Before school seemed like a chore. Now it seems like an opportunity for which I am so grateful!

Anyway, enough of my gushing. Here are some of the last things I made this semester! There are a few jars with lids that I made that I will post about later. These are specifically the things I made before the semester ended.
A cup (without a handle) with dots specifically requested by a friend of mine. A cup that I went a little crazy on with the glazing, but actually ended up liking!
I was trying to get a burn-out pattern by using wax under the second layer of glaze. But I dipped it 3 times and I think it was too much to actually let the waxed part show through.
I used wax to paint little flowers inside the cup and then I dipped it in celadon which kind of burnt out enough to see flower (some people say they look like stars) shapes inside. I like this. It's the same as having a fun lined jacket or something. No one really sees the pretty fabric on the inside (or in this case flower design) except you and it's fun because you know it's there even though no one else does.
I made a pitcher. It didn't come out very well, but it was only my first one. I can't wait to try to make some more!
And my pride and joy...
my teapot! It's functional too! The biggest problem with it is that the glaze smoothed over the spout to the point that it dribbles a little bit while pouring. My teacher told me to try to make the inside of the spout a little bit sharper so that the liquid will cut off more easily when you want to stop pouring instead of it dribbling. I did make it sharper, but I think I should have made it a little sharper than I did because the glaze did kind of take the edge off it. And my glazing job on the lid was a little sloppy as you can see. My lines aren't very even. :( But for my first teapot I was very pleased!

I am SO sad that this class is over. Seriously, every time I thought about it ending I nearly started to cry. I know that sounds silly, but I truly did feel that way. The only thing that kept me from crying was knowing that I get to take more classes next semester since I'm now a ceramics major! I am so excited about next semester and the chance to learn more! I have been sketching ideas that I want to try and my brother-in-law drew my name for Christmas this year and bought me a book with loads of ideas and tips and techniques for ceramics (best book ever!) and now I have so many ideas for things that I want to try. I am actually excited about going back! I fully intend to work as hard as I can to be the very best I can possibly be, but the great thing is that no matter how hard I've worked in there it always feels like I'm playing. And time goes by so quickly! I once spent 11 hours in the studio one day and didn't realize how late it was. I spent a total of 16 hours in the studio that weekend and would have been there longer except I realized I was running a fever and felt awful so I left. I imagine though that I will be spending many more hours in the studio from here on out (which is pretty much my favorite place on campus!) and will be trying out lots of new things so I will probably be showing the things I've been working on here. :) I think this is going to be lots of fun!

Finished project from November

I actually knitted this hat during Thanksgiving break. It only took me a couple of days. It's the first thing I've knitted in quite awhile. It was very nice to finish something. Once I got back to school I decided it needed a little embellishment. :)
I crocheted the flower and made a chain stitch for the stem and sewed it on while I was supposed to be doing homework. :)
Modeled by my lovely, obliging, patient sister. Thanks, Holly!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Finished projects

I realize these photos are pretty bad, but here is a general idea of what my work looks like now that it's been glazed and fired. I got to help load and brick a kiln last Tuesday and then I got to help unbrick and partially unload it on Friday. It's really like Christmas! It's so exciting to be taking down the brick and seeing all the stuff inside. And if things turned out kinda cool then it's SO exciting! Very fun. :) Unfortunately, I was really tired while helping unload the last kiln and a little bit grumpy so I'm sure that if I was not recovering from a flu and running on 5 hours of sleep while facing a 3 hour drive home (not that I'm complaining here or anything...wink...) then it would have been even more awesome. Because even being that tired and grumpy un-bricking/unloading a kiln is really fun and exciting.

Just thought anyone who reads this may want to know that. :) Anyway, this is my casserole dish. It's been glazed in tenmoku. I love tenmoku.
This jar had leaves painted on it in slip and then was glazed in celadon.

This ugly thing was glazed in rich blue matte and celadon. Definitely not my favorite.

I liked this one a little better. The bottom was glazed in tenmoku while the top was glazed in celadon and then the entire thing was dipped in shino which caused the bubbly look. I had no idea what I was doing and thought I had ruined it, but after it came out I decided I kind of liked it.

I'm really not sure what these were glazed with. The tops are eustace, but I can't tell if the bottoms are shaner red or tenmoku and I think the middle may just be where the two glazes overlapped. I'm really not sure what it is. But I like them.
This is a bowl from my table service. The flowers are painted with slip and then the entire thing was glazed in celadon. The same goes for the stem glass below.
I made plates but I haven't glazed them yet. Time just got away from me and it didn't get done. I have several other mugs that are really ugly and I didn't want to photograph and I also have quite a few jars that haven't come out of the kiln yet since the kiln was still kind of warm on Friday and we only got the front unloaded while I was there. I'm looking forward to seeing them when I get back to school. I have a few more things I want to make before this semester is over. I have to finish my final project but I'm hoping to make a few little extra things too if I have time to.
I can't say it enough, if you have an opportunity to take ceramics, do so. It's really great. :)

Fun with friends

My friend Beth turned 19 earlier this year and I recently just turned 21. Since we missed each other's birthdays we had joked about buying a cupcake and 40 candles and celebrating together.

Since we are both on break we met up and decided that we actually wanted to do it. So candles and a lighter were purchased and we went to a coffee shop and bought a muffin and went outside to light it up.

I'm glad we decided to do this outside...I think we would have either A) set a fire in the building, or B) at least set off a fire alarm in the building. I didn't want to do either. Especially since I used to work at this particular coffee shop. We only got about 28 of the candles lit but the flame was big enough that we decided to stop and just sing before our whole muffin was covered in wax.
As you can see it was still a little waxy when we finished. Don't those candles look a little like french fries?
Ahh...I love my friends. And that muffin was awesome! Once we scraped the wax off it. :)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Today I went out with Becca for an afternoon of fun. We went to a couple of indie shops that were so very inspiring...they made me want to start knitting and sewing and crafting. NOW! They were two very fun stores and I am more than happy to be able to support both of them today. I bought some covered-button bobby pins (so cute...when the light is better I'll take a picture of them) and some yarn. Because lately I've really wanted to knit and these gorgeous (affordable!) yarns are going to be so fun to work with!

Here are some pics of the places. The yarn shop is called Never Enough Yarn. Click on the link to go to their website. The owner, Pam, is very friendly and there is such a welcoming feel to the place. She not only asked for our names and remembered them the whole time we were there, but she told us to go on in and get water from the fridge and chocolate from the candy bowl. I think I may ask her to adopt me! You can tell she has a great rapport with her customers and I can see why. I would gladly come back and take classes or purchase yarn from her any time.

(check out that dress form! Awesome!)

This lovely shop is called The Purple Fern. She not only has a website, but an Etsy shop too! So if you're not local you can still share in the fun! I wanted to move into her store. She makes a lot of her own stuff but also does consignment. Very awesome! I loved practically everything in her store (which is amazing because I'm pretty picky!) and adored her decorating/displaying techniques. Look at this button mural on her want to do that!

And look at how these necklaces are framed and displayed...I love it!

I want to make some of these button brooches!

And I love these reversible wrap skirts.

Look! Ceramic stuff! Well...there are some wooden things too. But ceramic stuff also!
I would LOVE to own a little shop full of lovely handmade goodies. would be so nice. :)

Photography moment

Home for Thanksgiving break! sweet it is. :) So far I've spent a lot of time sleeping, visiting with friends; I enjoyed an early Thanksgiving dinner with my Bible study, went to church, went out separately with both my sisters and even got a little Christmas shopping done for the sibling whose name I drew out of the hat this year! On the agenda today: visit my sister again before they leave for Massachussetts for Thanksgiving this year, stop by the office to visit my boss and co-workers, and then off for an afternoon of fun and catching-up with my dear friend Becca. It's going to be a great day!

These photos were taken at Harpers Ferry on Sunday. I drove Holly out there for some hang-out time and it was so nice. The weather was great, it was sunny and not too cold. We walked around, I took lots of pictures of her and then we stopped in at a pottery shop (because I'm obsessed) before we went home. I think I've established that I love Harper's Ferry, and I hope I've also established how much I love my younger sister (and how much I enjoy taking her pictures! Thanks for being a good sport, Holly!).

Monday, November 16, 2009

Catching up

Well, I haven't written in awhile. I've been sick...I caught the flu. Not sure if it was H1N1, but it was enough to get me very behind on my homework. I was sick for a week and I'm only beginning to feel better since yesterday. I don't realize how much I take my health for granted until I get sick...then I can't wait to feel back to normal. Luckily this past weekend was warm and sunny...I always feel better when the sun is out.

So I had my second critique last Monday. I was feeling pretty ill but I went anyway. We had to design a table service of three cups, three plates and three bowls (along with any other pieces like pitchers, casseroles, etc, that we might want to add) and they all had to have a common theme. I made a set designed around a pie plate. All the edges are wavy. Unfortunately I never made the pie plate because I was sick and didn't get to go in and work very much. When I was already in the middle of the project I got a card in the mail from my sister with an article about dinnerware that was designed with portion control in mind. It's called Thinnerware and I fell in love with it. I decided I was going to change my whole theme two days before the project was due and make my own set of thinnerware (Hey, I was a nutrition major...I needed a set of these for myself) dishes. So I finished my first pie-themed set and started throwing new plates, bowls and cups for my thinnerware set. I got all of the plates made and trimmed and that's when I started running a fever and decided to go home and come back later to finish the bowls and mugs. Well, I never went back later so I ended up turning in my original set (so glad I decided to finish it!) along with the extra plates and article from Thinnerware.
I made an A. :) Hurray! But because I was sick and am already a week behind on our next/final project (can't believe this class is almost over! I think it's absolutely tragic!) I'm going to just keep the plates and not worry about finishing the others. I have too much to do in too little time to try and complete everything. Perhaps someday I'll have a chance to finish my thinnerware service. I eat in a dining hall anyway. I can't bring my own plates in. :(

I glazed all my jars and serviceware and my matroyshkas and they're going in the kiln tomorrow. Hopefully I'll have something to show for all the work I've done. I got my mugs out of the kiln and boy are they ugly! I was very disappointed in them. But I think I learned some things and hopefully my next set of things to come out of the kiln will be better. One lesson I learned: Don't try to make striped things...especially if you're in a hurry. Mine came out really wonky and ugly. :)

I'll try to get some pictures of the better ones up here soon. But for now, I think I'm going to fold my laundry and take a little nap before class this evening. This flu still has me a little wiped out.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

21 years old today.

I got to go home for my 21st birthday. It was great to see my family and eat indian food and chocolate cake...sure beats all the fried food at the dorm! :) My sister gave me this necklace that she bought from a jewelry maker that she met at a craft fair in Ohio. It's made on a domino. I love it! I was never able to find stuff with my name on it when I was younger. You know, like pencils and pens and note pads...stuff like that. My siblings all had school gear with their names on it...I never did. So even as a twenty-something I still get a kick out of getting stuff with my name on it. Especially when it's creative like this. :) Thanks, Jacqueline!
Visits home are always too short. I'm looking forward to my next one at Thanksgiving!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Russian nesting dolls

I made these this weekend. Each are thrown and then hand-painted with slip. They sort of fall into the category of pots with lids because each one comes apart. Now that I think about it though...even though they're all narrow enough to fit into each other, I'm not 100% certain that they are all going to fit while wearing their lids...I'll have to check on that tomorrow! Our new project is a table service. We each have to make 3 plates, 3 bowls and 3 cups. They all have to have a theme that ties them together. I have no idea what I'm going to do with mine. I'm still sketching and trying to figure that out. I've made one bowl that came out somewhat decent. I'm hoping to make much better ones though before our next critique. I want to get another A! Oh, I want another A so badly!
Anyway, I went ahead and made these this weekend because I know that I'm going to get crazy busy with my table service and I wanted to make these before I had no more time to work on them. I got the idea during our last critique. They were fun to make. Very different from anything else I've made so far...I loved carving their features and then painting them. If you EVER have a chance to take ceramics...DO SO! It's absolutely amazing!Update: Just wanted to add that they all fit inside each other! I tested them tonight. Yay!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

I made an A! I am so incredibly happy!

So I was really nervous about this second critique. I spend hours in the CAC this past week between glazing and throwing and back has been hurting from all the hunching I've been doing this week. And my hands are drying out and cracking a little bit from working with the clay and the glaze so much. But I don't mind. I made an A!

These first two pots I don't particularly care for. I like the other ones a little better.

This one has a lid now, but it wasn't dry enough to trim last night which was when I took these pictures. It looks better now.

This was inspired by Diana Fayt's work. She has a blog. Google her and see what you come up with. Her work is beautiful. This is a shoddy imitation of her work.

I decided not to put a knob on this one. I kind of liked how it looked without one. Plus, I was running really late for BCM (Baptist Campus Ministries) and decided not to mess with making a knob at 10 past 8 at night when Bible study started at 8:37 (yes, exactly at 8:37 pm) and I still needed to go home and change and I was also picking up a friend too.
I was seriously very nervous before the critique tonight. I was the 3rd to the last person to go and by the time I went I was feeling a bit sick. I was sure he was going to give me a B or lower. But he looked at them for a few minutes and then said, "wow, these are good. You can tell you've put a lot of work into them." And then after class I went to find out what my grade was and he said I got an A. If I knew how to do a backflip I would have. But I don't. So I didn't. But I was VERY happy! I was not expecting that good of a grade.
Actually, this whole week was a good week for my classes. I made As on all my tests and quizzes. :) But this one made me happiest by far!


My teacher threw a bunch of plates and let us paint them! Even though I can't draw or paint at all it was still a really fun class.
My second critique is tonight! And I'm nervous. Although that could have less to do with my critique and more to do with the fact that I have a new job orientation this afternoon and I'm trying to finish my last-minute portfolio so I can switch majors. But I'll talk more about that later. :)
For now, I have to run. My next class starts soon and I have so much to do! I'll be back with pictures of the things I had critiqued!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Night time

It's been raining ALL week! I'm normally not a fan of the rain, but I think I've been holding up well this week despite how cold, wet and dreary it is here. As I was leaving the CAC the other night after finishing glazing my mugs (I got them all done! Yay! Can't wait to see how they turn out once they're fired!) I was just struck by how beautiful it was outside. Sure it was cold. Sure it was dark (after being a very gray day). Sure it was raining. But still, there was something about the light and the water and the colors that just seemed so lovely to me. So here is my attempt at capturing it.

I've never been able to figure out how to take photos at night. Someday I should really take a photography class. It's going on my To-Do list!

My newest jar. :)

This is the largest thing I've made so far. Trying to center 5 lbs. of clay is tough when you don't know how to do it. My arms and hands took quite a beating while I was trying to figure out how to do this. I threw the lid upside down on a plaster bat and then I threw the knob separately and used slip to attach it. Since then it's been trimmed and is now waiting to be fired...hoping it will help bring up my grade since all my other jars look rather terrible. I have two more large-ish jars to trim this week. Hopefully I can do that tomorrow and be able to throw a couple more as well to have finished on Monday. Wish me luck as my next critique is this Wednesday!