Critical Success

So, remember those billions[1] of soap dishes I was doing for the shop? A few of them came out with glaze flaws or what have you, so they got given away as seconds or scattered throughout the CCNL’s bathrooms. Today, one of my co-workers noticed the soap dish in the main floor bathroom was missing.

It hasn’t fallen off the sink.

It didn’t fall into the garbage can.

It was simply there yesterday, and gone today.

Man, you *know* your stuff’s awesome when pieces with crappy glaze jobs and a chip in the corner get stolen. I haven’t stopped grinning since he told me. :-)

[1] Figure may be slightly exaggerated.

“Almost there…” “Stay on target.”

Glazed, wiped and loaded the soap dishes Wednesday night. I was at the studio until 1:00 am, which I did not expect… Glazing takes time, but even after two and a half years making pottery, I can’t seem to wrap my head around that fact. It’s like once a piece has been bisqued, I’m thinking of other projects, the next thing to make. My brain doesn’t want to drag itself back to thinking about those last few steps to complete the object. It’s been off my wheel and out of my hands so long it almost doesn’t feel like mine anymore.

Anyway, the kiln was also loaded with some studio odds and ends, candled overnight Thursday, and fired up Friday. I’ll unload it tomorrow, weather permitting. (We’re supposed to get a storm. I’m half hoping for a day off work, and half hoping it won’t happen at all, because I want this TO BE OVER. Also, someone else has the kiln booked for 4:00, and it would be seriously impolite of me not to unload it before then.)

Last Step

The test soap dish is out. The colour developed *beautifully* where the glaze was thick (and was pretty darn ugly where thin, but that’s okay. The only problem is there was some pinholing–not a major problem in terms of safety, since these aren’t meant to be eaten off of, but it is an aesthetic issue. I’ll be giving up on this glaze and going with the backup, which has less green undertones but no texture problems.

I’ll mix up the batch tonight, and they should be out of the kiln and delivered for payment before the end of the month. Yay!


The last of the greenware soap dishes have been loaded for their bisque. They’ll be fired overnight/tomorrow.

I feel vaguely at loose ends. I have no special project anymore. (Well, there’s still glazing. But I know what I’m putting on them, and if the test dish comes out ugly, I have a backup glaze that needs no tweaking, so it’s just a matter of mixing the glaze, dipping and wiping the dishes, and firing them. That counts as over, as far as I’m concerned.)

Back to regular pottery, I guess. I want to focus on bug mugs and cream & sugar sets, as they’ve both sold well/out. And hey, it means I get to try out my giffin grip!


I was showing my dad around the exhibits today[1], and when we got to my stuff, I noticed a red dot on the sushi set. I’VE HAD A GALLERY SALE!!!!! Hopefully the first of many. Once the soap dishes are out of the way, I guess I should start thinking about the annual members’ exhibit. That’s the next group show I could get into, I think.

In entirely unrelated news, I taught my first solo workshop today. It was a small girl guides troupe. I extruded a few pounds of clay[2], and they made coiled pieces. Most of them did some variation on one of the examples I showed them[3], but a few decided to try larger or more complex shapes. It was a pretty fun hour.

In *more* unrelated news, I still don’t know what that soap dish will look like, because it didn’t make its way into the last glaze firing. I have so far succeeded in keeping my head from exploding, but can make no guarantee of the continued absence of brains all over the studio walls if it doesn’t get fired soon. There is supposed to be another glaze this week. We shall see what happens.

[1]Technically, the gallery is closed, and most of the main show is already packed up for shipping, but hey, I work in the building… there has to be *one* perk, right? Getting people I know into the gallery is mine for the day.

[2] I love showing people the extruder. “And here’s our giant playdough machine!”

[3] Sometimes, working in a community studio is awesomely convenient… No matter what technique you want to show someone, you can probably find examples that somebody made and donated/left behind.


So, the soap dishes are supposed to have a specific glaze on them. Shannon, who ordered them, asked for an aqua sort of colour; I happened to have some test tiles from about a year previously kicking around, brought them in, and we picked out a combo of the colour in one and the texture in the other.

All well and good, except now that I have the first seventy-five dishes out of the bisque kiln and ready to be glazed, and I want to make up a new test just to be sure I’ve nailed the recipe, I discover I am missing an ingredient. The first one, in fact. (Ferro Frit 3195, for all interested parties.) There was some in the studio when I did the test tile, but sometime between then and now it disappeared/got used up/was taken by fairies.

Cue several hours of frantic researching.

I *think* I can do a straightforward substitute using 3134 instead. The glaze will have lower alumina, but that might actually be a plus… In any case, I can get a tile into the next glaze firing, which will be Friday. If things don’t work out, I’ll just have to order myself a small bag of 3195, and hope it gets here in a reasonable timeframe.