Friday, August 29, 2014

Potimarron and Yokohama Squash

Look what I got at the farmer's market last week. Two heirloom's, potimarron and yokohama squash. Potimarron, as it's called in France, or red kuri squash has a sweet chestnut like flavor.  Yokohama squash apparently has a wonderful complex flavor and the shape is a delight to gaze upon. I might even be inspired to make a squash like this in clay.

The two squash couldn't be more different. I've been reading about how to store winter squash. Apparently squash with the stem on is better. Let the squash cure for about a week till it develops a dry thickened skin and then store for up to six months in a cool dry location.

I love discovering and trying new foods. Now how to cook them. Any ideas? Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Next Firing, Very Good, Except

Yesterday I unloaded the second glaze firing. Look at this experimental glazing I did. Wow, I love it. I wouldn't mind making a whole set of dinner plates for myself with this glaze which I love looking at.

I glazed this serving bowl with one glaze and let it dry. Then I experimented by dabbing dots all over the interior with another glaze.

Except, why is there always an exception, can you see the tiny stress crack on the rim. Well at least I know how to re-create this glaze pattern, I hope.

Here's a dark green serving platter. I've used this river pattern across my platters before. This one came out a little darker than I expected but it's still nice. The green is kind of a dark Christmas green color. I really need to set up my photo cube but I have some deadlines to make so I'll get to that later.

Here's a large (about nine by nine inches) layered pot with a clear satin glaze overlapping the engobe colors I used. I think I like the lighter engobe colors on these type of pots. The shape is pleasing though.

Before firing I vacuumed the whole kiln including the lid and all the shelves and the grit in the glaze didn't return. So all the rest of the clear glazed pieces did fine in this firing. When I unloaded the pots were hot so I set them on wood boards so they wouldn't be sitting on a cold table.

Yesterday we had the last fish from Florida, catfish with steamed yellow swiss chard and sweet potato, the latter two from the farmer's market. I coat the catfish with egg and then dredge it in rough cornmeal and fry it in olive oil.

This morning I am having sweet tea again. I sweetened the tea with stevia which is 300 times sweeter than sugar. One little squirt of liquid stevia in my glass of cold tea is plenty. I had always wanted to try stevia and this morning I did. By using stevia I can have sweet tea without all the sugar or corn syrup. I have another glaze load cooling down today. It's all clear glazed so hope all goes well with it. I am just about caught up now. Thanks for reading and for all your comments.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Not All Kilns or Firings Are Alike

Bluebird Flower Pot

Here's the inside of the Bluebird Flower Pot even the base is layered. Notice how blue the glaze is, not what I expected.

 Textured Pot

The glaze on these first two pots didn't fire like I wanted them to. I used my slow cool and same firing schedule but I guess not all kilns or firings are alike. Perhaps the kiln needs to be broke in? 

This is the way the glaze should have turned out. More shiny with green and gold. The top two pots were on the top shelf, maybe I'll see how that glaze does on a different shelf. 

Here are the cones from the glaze firing, cones 5 and 6. I'll have to go back and check my blog posts from my previous kiln and see if the cones were the same. Could have fired a little hotter perhaps.

The bear and owl bowls came out great but the rest had debris in the clear glaze. I think the lid of the kiln had residue that dropped into the glaze.

The green (sage green) of the luna moth platter (in the background) is too dark but I'll make another one and use a different green. I do like how the orange flowers on that platter turned out with the vine connecting them. Lori was right about that advice as that tied the design together. The front bowl has grit in the glaze.

Here's the grit in the glaze, can you see it? It looks like sand. I didn't use any sand in my firing either. Woe is me, that's three bowls and one platter for the smashing pile. Ugh. I can only fit two bowls or one platter on a half shelf. I didn't have any small items made to fill in the odd spaces. I'll have to correct that. 

I may need to get two more shelves to make my firings more efficient. What is the tallest post you have used with kiln shelves? I have another glaze firing cooling down, we shall see how those turn out. Up next details about my recent bisque firings. Thanks for reading and for all your comments and suggestions.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Sea Baskets

 Sea Basket 001
12 x 8 x 6 inches

The handles for these sea baskets were collected by me on the West coast, mostly Baja Mexico, California, and Oregon, over many many years. After hauling them from state to state, I'm finally putting them to some use. I particularly like the driftwood handle of this one. The pot has a definite lean to it like it was tossed around in the waves before it came ashore. Follow the link for driftwood there's lots of folklore and interesting tidbits about wood from the oceans and seas.

Sea Basket 002
7 x 11 x 6 inches

Measurements include the handles for both of these. Can't wait to make more sea baskets. I feel a sea creature or monster lurking in the back of my mind hoping to become visible. We all know about the legend of the Loch Ness Monster. We shall see if a monster shows himself. 

This last one is a second because one upright warped inward, but I wanted to practice putting on the copper wire. Wiring the handles to the baskets isn't as easy as it looks. For this one the gauge is too thin. I'll try again with a larger gauge. Copper wire isn't inexpensive either. I had wired the top two with copper but I picked up the color coated steel wire and I think that wire looks better on the top two.

If you can't live at the beach it's nice to have a reminder of the ocean or sea, I think. 

A little something to dream about. I hope my sea baskets can bring that feeling to those who come to have them. Stay tuned for more finished work coming up as soon as I take the photos. Thanks for reading and for all your comments and encouragement.