Saturday, March 02, 2024

Fairy Potions and Goblin Poison

I'm obsessed.

Clay and glaze and tiny pottery makings have taken over my studio, the kitchen table and part of the garage.

100% worth it.

Check out these tiny little pots and jugs! I'm so happy with them.

I mean, just look at that sassy little face jug.

I've been watching a lot of 'Time Team'. Have you seen it? It takes a team of archaeologists who then spend three days on a dig, most often somewhere in the UK, often looking for specific archaeological evidence. It's a lot of fun. 

I've always loved archaeology, and history. I very seriously considered studying archaeology when I was younger (thanks Indian Jones!). Museums are some of my favourite places and chocked full of inspiration.

These tiny jugs remind me of little historical artifacts.

They're like vessels made by old fairies for their potions, or goblins to store a drop or two of poison.

I am head over heels with the face jugs especially.

Do you know about face jugs? Vessels depicting silly faces can be found in all sorts of cultures throughout history. There are ancient Greek examples. They were popular in medieval Germany and England. They eventually developed into the modern Toby Jug... but truthfully, I kinda love the old dudes.

There are also African examples which (from my very limited understanding) evolved from Nkondi. Nkondi were sculptural figures that housed spirits, often protective... sometimes not so much. These  evolved into the African-American face jugs created from the mid 1800s, which continue to be created today.

I've made my wee jugs from white Earthenware, terracotta and a super groggy raku clay.

The jugs are hand-built with one of those clays, dried, fired, glazed (or stained) and then fired again.

It's a long but lovely process that I've been savouring.

Want to snag some tiny pots for yourself? I have a bunch of sets listed in the etsy shop HERE

Hope you're well. Behave yourself (but not too much).

Thursday, February 08, 2024

Tibetan Flowers, AI, and Clay Bells

These sweet little clay bells were inspired by a picture floating around social media of 'Tibetan Bell' flowers.

After seeing the image below someone said I should make teacups or bells that looked like them. Because I am an easily influenced person, and because it was an excellent idea, I totally did as was commanded.

But... are these REAL flowers? I suspect this image is actually AI generated. The only examples of this plant that I could find were from questionable seed sellers using this exact same image, and slew of AI sites. I could totally be wrong, but I'm leaning toward these being beautiful, but fake. Booo! The closest real flower is maybe a Fritillaria imperialis? While still beautiful, lacks the blue details. Searching 'orange and blue flowers' yields no relevant results. What do you think?  Whatever the case, we're living in weird, weird, times.

Whether these little bells were inspired by fake flowers, or the real deal, I like them well enough. I bet my fairy folk will be tickled with them too.

Thursday, February 01, 2024

Tiny Clay Cottages

I have been having far too much fin with my little mini microwave kiln. That thing has been put through the ringer over the past month! It's absolutely given me a kick in the creative pants. I'm completely and totally enamored.

My latest completed pieces are a slew of little clay houses.

Here they are freshly made. Once completely dry they're popped into the kiln for their first firing.

Here they are after their first firing and with glaze drying. They look dull and muted, but once they're fired again, the colours come to life and they have a glossy finish.

I mean, how cute are these finished fellas?! It's magic.

Handmade from white earthenware clay, bisque fired, glazed, then fired again for a shiny finish.

I've learned soooo much while making these.

Each of their imperfections is a lesson learned.

How much glaze to apply. How to achieve a flat edge. How to properly affix those little chimneys. How long to fire. How... how... how... So many variables to figure out!

And while the next batch will absolutely be closer to 'perfection' this big batch of cottages are utterly charming with their dents, wobbles and drips.

If you'd like to snag some of these little cuties, I have ten sets available in my etsy shop. Each set includes 5 ooak houses in a variety of sizes and styles. Scoot on over HERE to grab a little fairy-sized town of your own.

Thursday, January 11, 2024

Microwaves, kilns, and learning curves

Mr. Pixie gifted me a microwave kiln for Christmas.

'The heck is a microwave kiln' you ask? Its a little round chamber you pop in the microwave that heats up and allows you to fire pottery, metal clay, and glass fusing.

When you get a microwave kiln that also means you need a microwave, clay, safety gloves, glazes, kiln paper, a million little bits and bobs and a whole whack of patience.

Earthenware buttons bisque fired in microwave kiln

It seems unreal that you can create little clay objects and successfully fire them in a microwave, and to do so in a fraction of the time it would take in a regular kiln. And yet, fire it does.

There's definitely a learning curve and much experimenting, and trying, and practicing, and failing! But there's a joy in that part of the creative process, and so much satisfaction when you manage to pull your experiences together and say "Wow! I learned a new skill!"

Glazed buttons ready for second firing.

I'd read a bunch of posts/comments that said that glaze firing would be impossible in the microwave, that temps required would not be possible... but I've seen loads of projects that prove the contrary, and managed some really cute results myself. Just look at the shiny happy buttons below

Finished glazed handmade buttons.

While you'll be seeing clay projects pop up in my timelines, I probably won't be doing any tutorials for using a microwave kiln. There are just too many variables to consider (clay type, humidity, kiln size, microwave wattage, direction of the wind, alignment of the planets) and that makes tutorials difficult when many people need/want specific direction.

All that said, if you've been considering grabbing one of these hot little gadgets, go for it! I've had soooo much fun with mine over the past couple of weeks. If you're a craft nerd who loves the process of learning, you'll likely find this a rewarding addition to your creative arsenal. 

Be safe & have fun!