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Top 3 NCECA Inspirations

Posted on April 02, 2019
NCECA
The mecca for ceramicists in North America.
It's an opportunity for Clay Buddies to find each other and awe in the work done by potters of all skill levels.
Plus you can win things and see new releases from our favourite clay companies.
(Hi Brent Wheels - We'll gladly win a free wheel next year thank you)
Although we didn't get to go this year we were watching the posts role in and wanted to highlight some of our favourite works, exhibitions and moments from this year's NCECA we witnessed from the sidelines.
1) AMACO celebrating 100 years
May Glaze be ever in your favour. Holy smokes - 100 Artists creating 100 pieces of work celebrating the 100 years Amaco has been in business. The pieces were magical. We recommend you get lost in looking at them all and then go down the rabbit hole of following all the artists. Inspire Yourself Here: http://www.info.amaco.com/
Travis Winters Amaco 100 Years Celebration Mug
Mug By Travis Winters
 2) Bonspiel - Representing Canada and our fabulous winter weather
Well done to everyone involved! These Canadians took home the gold medal in our hearts. These artists banned together to celebrate Canadiana and our love of winter sports. The pieces were jaw dropping and we were lucky enough to see some in our studio en route to NCECA. Support Canadian Here: 
3) Shot Glass Exchange - Celebrate Community
The potter community is a supportive and loving one and it's amazing what we share with each other. The shot glass exchange is so much fun and we wish more events like this happened! Sharing = Caring. Spread your mud love! If you're looking to be a part of some online clay communities reach out and we'll invite you to our personal favourites! One example: Clay Buddies
@Motherpotter Shot Glasses for NCECA Exchange

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How to Make Pottery in Under a Week!

Posted on November 12, 2018

 So you need to make something in a pinch, eh? Be it ornaments, decorative plates, jewelry, flower vases, you name it, it can be done using the magic of Laguna's Paper Clay and the bold colours of Stroke & Coat by Mayco.


Instructions
Paper clay is a super resilient clay body that fires cone 04-10. It can dry quickly and even be fired damp! 

  1. First, make your piece and allow it to dry over 1-2 days. You can speed up the drying process on Day 2 by putting a fan on it or setting it on a warm kiln.
  2. Add Stroke & Coat directly on the greenware. Paper clay is porous, so it may really suck up the glaze! Be sure to give 3 even heavy coats for an even application. It works even better if you're greenware is bone dry.
  3. Fire it as a single cone 5 glaze firing and voila!

    KEEP IN MIND: Your pieces won't be food safe, but it will be full vitrified, glossy and durable as a decorative piece. If that ain't magic, I don't know what is!

 

If you have any other questions, don't hesitate to pop in or give us a call to know more! 

 

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Our Top 5 Pottery Hacks for Glazing!

Posted on August 09, 2018

Our top 5 hacks when it comes to everything glaze related!

  1. Die your wax resist.
    We use Tucker's Wax Resist, which comes as a translucent wax. Add a couple drops of blue food colouring to see exactly where you’ve waxed. Won’t stain your bisqueware!

  1. Fire small or unbalanced pieces on the Bed of Nails.
    This is a regular kiln stilt on steroids! The Bed of Nails is a platform that features dozens of little nails to make loading wobbly or small pieces a DREAM in the kiln. Interlock them to create a wide base for pieces to rest on without a chance of warping, sticking to the shelf or falling over.

  1. Mix buckets of glaze with a (NEW CLEAN) toilet brush.
    It’ll be the best $1.25 you’ll ever spend on a pottery tool! Trust us, try it.

  1. Put fused glaze pieces in the freezer to release them.
    Did your jar’s lid stick to the rim of the pot after firing? Throw it in the freezer for at least 2 hours, then take it out and tap it with a wooden spoon. If it’s only a little bit of glaze that's fusing it together, it should release (Thanks to Leslie for this hack!)
  1. Pour glaze over big pieces using a watering can.
    Our best hack we’ve ever discovered! If your piece is too big to dip in a bucket of glaze, don’t opt for brushing the glaze on. All you need it a pint of glaze, a banding wheel/lazy susan, a stainless steel bowl, a watering can (or juice jug) and 2 wooden stakes.

    Pour your glaze in the watering can, set up the pieces to be glazed as pictured below, then spin the wheel and pour! It gives a perfect, even coverage. You would think it was dipped!

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Try this 5-step formula for perfect glaze results!

Posted on January 04, 2018

This month we're taking a look at what it takes to glaze a real "show-stopping" piece, and we think we have a fool-proof formula! We use this method in our own production, saving both time and money... plus it gives amazing results! 

Getting a complex, "drippy," result can be accomplished at home without a whole lot of brainpower and heartache. Some of the most successful glaze results can happen with only a couple glazes. That's right - only 2 glazes! 

It's as simple as choosing a base glaze and an accent glaze!

Crazed Copper base + Mottled Blue


STEP 1: Choose a "stable" base glaze.
 
By stable, we mean that it doesn't drip or have a tendency to run. They are often just a single colour that is unchanging, meaning it doesn't "break" or do anything fancy. Choosing a "celadon" is a safe bet.

 

Photo 1: Forest by Laguna
Photo 2: Lavender by Amaco
Photo 3: Sedona Sunset by Coyote


STEP 2: Make your base glaze dip-able! 
Yes, that means manually mixing up a bucket of dry glaze! We have a simple method for mixing dry glaze in our last blog post here, for anyone feeling intimidated.
Mixing up 5lbs dry is a good start. Dipping (instead of brushing) your glaze ensures you get an even base coat without running the risk of putting it on too heavy. It's also far more economical to do it this way because dry glaze is cheap - and you will need more glaze to cover a whole piece! Plus, dipping is just faster. 

 

STEP 3: Choose a rebellious, wild, unpredictable pint of glaze!
AKA: the most fun step. Choose your accent glaze! These are the glazes you see that have a lot of stuff going on. They break into different colours, have a tendency to run, are often metallic or are apart of a glaze family that's a little bit unpredictable. They're like the wild child of the family, or your best friend who's a bad influence. These are the glazes that are going to add life to your piece! These are best purchased in pints, as you won't be needed a whole lot of them. 

Photo 1: Gun Metal Green by Coyote
Photo 2: Ancient Jasper by Amaco
Photo 3: Red Gold by Coyote

STEP 4: Apply to the top 1/3 of your peice. 

Add your accent glaze to the top 1/3 of your piece. Works especially great on a bowl or mug because gravity is going to pull drips of glaze down to the bottom.
Using a glaze bulb, you can swirl glaze on the ridge or in the centre of a bowl, platter, etc. This will achieved concentrated, thick drips.

Using a fan brush, you can brush an entire layer of glaze right over the base glaze. As a general rule of thumb, we only add one coat of the accent glaze (so it doesn't run the risk of dripping off the piece and onto the kiln shelf). This will achieve a more uniform, but complex colour.


This was applied with a glaze bulb around the edge of the mug rim.


STEP 5 (Optional): Try a third accent 

Because, why not? Just follow the same step as above - applying a little less glaze for each layer. We LOVE to use any of Coyote's line of Archie Glazes because they're formulated to run, drip and blend with any glaze they come into contact with. It's a great way to bond everything together. 

Photo 1: Baby Blue Satin base + Ice Blue.
Photo 2: Starry Night base + Smokey Merlot + Fire Opal
Photo 3: Forest base + Gun Metal Green


 The beauty of this method is that once you have a base glaze, all you have to worry about is buying pints of glaze here and there to get countless combinations!

 

Need some inspiration? Come by our studio anytime and we can help you pick out some great combos with lots of examples! Amaco also does an EXCELLENT job of cataloguing all thier glaze combinations.

Happy glazing, folks!
- Sarah

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