I've been a pottery wild woman - that is if I can be a wild woman which most would not consider me ever to be. My sweet little pottery shed has been seeing lots of making. And I have been keeping up on my 100 Day Challenge on Instagram that I call 100 Days of Vases. You can follow it here.
I only have one month until the Garlic and Arts Festival on September 28 + 29th in Orange, Massachusetts. I want to have a nice amount of work to sell. I have lots of things made but now for the time consuming part - decorating the wares and then firing them and then glazing them again.
I fired my first bisque kiln in a long time and it failed. I was so bummed. The kiln turned off before hitting the correct temperature. Not sure why? My electrician came yesterday and he checked everything out and couldn't find anything wrong. Maybe a power surge or maybe there is a problem lurking down in the bottom of the kiln. It is firing again and I am hoping it will work. Literally - time will tell.
I have been recycling the odd bits of clay that are leftover from handbuilding, handling mugs and pitchers, and throwing. I will mix it in with the regular bagged clay at about 1/3 recycled to 2/3 fresh new clay.
To recycle the clay, I let it dry completely to bone dry. Then I use a hammer and knock it into little bits and store it in a large lidded 5 gallon pail.
When I have time, I fill a small gallon plastic bucket with the odd bits, cover it with water and let it soak for a couple weeks. I cover this slurry so that bugs don't get in. Every once in a while I stir it up and check the consistency.
After it has soaked, I spread it out on a large piece of MDF and let it dry for a couple days. After some of the water has evaporated, I flip it over and let it dry for a couple more days. I check the consistency a few times a day.
and when it is right, I knead it into a solid hunk, bag it and use it for throwing.
I will say this isn't my favorite part of the process but I am frugal and don't want to just throw out the clay that can be used. I find it more difficult to throw pieces that have part recycled clay in them versus the clay that comes out of the bag from the clay processor.
Here are a few sunflower vases in progress. Since the sunflowers just started to bloom, I am celebrating that event by decorating lots of vases with sunflowers.
My 100 Days of Vases is continuing over on Instagram - #100daysofvases. It's fun to watch the process - even for me! Now that the kiln is cooling, I look forward to gloss glazing the vases and filling them with flowers and photographing them for my feed as well as continuing to decorate more of my hand-thrown vases.