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Cycles

IMG_0558I work in cycles, as most potters do. To me the beginning of my cycle is when I make pots.

I usually focus on custom orders first, then think about what holes I have in my shop inventory and work to fill them.I also look at what sold in Margaretville to fill in that inventory.

During this time of year I start thinking about what I need for the holiday shows…maybe something new to have in stock…and ornaments, lots of ornaments!

I make and make until the electric kiln can be filled. A Lucille load is two bisque firings of the electric kiln, actually that gives me a little overage, but overage is better than not enough! IMG_2707

When the bisque ware is filling up the studio its time to prep for glazing.  I grind down rough spots, clean up the pots with sponge & water and then I put wax on the bottoms and any points where clay will touch clay…for example on the rim of a pot with a lid.

If glaze is on the bottom of a pot or on a rim it will adhere to the kiln shelf and that is so bad, I am not even going to discuss it further!

Prepping for glaze is tedious work, but it build excitement for the actual glazing. After all the pots are waxed I sort them into what colors they will become. This helps the glaze process go faster.

IMG_2731It seems no matter how I try, I almost always goof something up during the glazing process. Probably because I find it a bit mind-numbing and I zone out by the end. Were I a smarter, more organized gal I’d glaze over a few days to keep my head in the game…but I tend to barrel through it in one day.

However, I have learned to let the shino sit on pots for a couple of days. So, that is the one I do first. Shino first…That way it has time to really develop on the pot. With all the humidity of late I had to set this batch of shino pots out in the sun to dry, which helped the process.

After the pots are glazed (and the studio is a hot mess) I can load up Lucille. I like this part. It’s full of possibilities and excitement. Every load in Lucille is like Christmas…there could be a lot of beauties in there, but there is always the risk of some duds.IMG_2733

Of course, the nasty gremlins that live in my head like to play tricks and tell me that the whole load will likely be ruined by some unimaginable problem. Thankfully, it only happened once and it was my fault…not a random act of fate. I learned from my mistake and was able to fix most of it with a re-firing.

While Lucille is firing I go back into the studio and clean it up. First put away glazes, vacuum and mop the floor, throw away any shelving paper that got dirty. Put all the glaze signs way from when I clustered the pots, remember?

I love when the studio is all cleaned up…as much as it gets clean, it is a studio after all…

Firing Lucille has finally become fun for me. We have a relationship now and I trust her, by and large. She does reds beautifully and I think I need to let her do more, so I’ll be working on that.

IMG_2737Then the moment of truth – opening the kiln. First I just look, then slowly start to unload the pots…holding each one, looking at it, turning it around before putting it down for the next one. And on it goes.

When the pots are unloaded and stacked in the studio they get sorted again to groups of orders. Phone calls made, deliveries set up, and a list starts to develop.

I love to look at them all gathered together on the table. But we can’t hang out too long…there is still work to do! IMG_2741

The pots that don’t have destinations have to get ready for their photo shoot.

To sell on etsy, each pot has to have 5 photographs showing different angles, etc. I also have to measure and describe each pot to list it on etsy…it’s a lot of work.

But, it gets done. And finally, finally the day comes when I can take out my 25 pound bag of clay and start measuring out lumps to make new pots.

The cycle begins again~

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