June Goodwin getting ready for show

June Goodwin is the hardest working member of our guild.  A lot of days you will find her at the gallery, either teaching or doing our books, as she is our treasurer and general “go to” person.  How she has time to do her own work is beyond us all!  Below is some of her work that has been bisqued and is ready to be glazed.  That is where the magic comes!  Every time we open the kiln, we never know what we will get!  You’ll have to come to our sale to find out!

Click on the image to see a larger version.  The work below includes not only June’s pottery, but our member Barb Zmozynski on our “Newbie” table!

Working on our Christmas Wares!

Heathyr Francis and Colin Hoag are the team that make up Place in Nature Studios.  They are working hard at creating some magical toad houses which will delight and enchant you.  Below are Heathyr and Colin working to make some pieces for our upcoming Christmas show.   And below that is a video of a Raku in progress!

As Hearthyr explains about their workspace.

As you can see, we work around the clock in our sun porch and garage. This is getting increasingly difficult at this time of year with less and less daylight and colder temperatures. We are looking to migrate indoors or fix up the sun porch so we can work til December or so in that space. I think January and February might be just too cold much work out there.

Raku – great music!

Studio Stories

We thought that you (and our fellow members) would be interested in seeing where the potters that belong to the guild work at creating their wares.   There must be a reason that studio tours are so popular!

We have a few members that have space in our studio, but because a lot of our members have been potters for years, they have been able to carve out a space in their homes where they can work.  In some cases, our potters are full time artists and this is how they make their living, in others, it is a passion that they do in their “spare” time.

I thought I would start us off today.  We hope that you enjoy the peek into where we work, and will find that it doesn’t matter how fancy the space is.

Mary Sullivan

I’m the website designer for the guild and web designing is also my day job.  So I already have a room in my home that I use as my office.  However, when we moved into our home in 2002, I commandeered a spare bedroom that didn’t have carpet or even proper flooring, it has large wooden panels that are painted.  Little by little I have stuffed that poor room with all sorts of art supplies, be it acrylics, beads, paper making, you name it, I have some of that material in my Art Room.  Then the clay started.  I’ve been making sculptures of various things for years.  I took a course many years ago where we sculpted with clay, but we then made a plaster cast of the piece and it was cast in a cement material.  But in 2004 I bought myself my own kiln, as I wanted to make clay sculptures that were fired.

It’s likely not a very healthy idea to work with clay in a bedroom that is across from the room that you sleep in.  Yet I have been doing that for over 8 years now. (oh well, we’ll all die of something)  But the room was getting more and more cramped and I was not able to move or find a place to put down anything.  Plus, I have my kiln out in the garage, my pugmill and extruder in the basement and I found that when I was in my art room I needed something from the garage, or if I wanted to pug some clay for a piece, I had to lug the clay down two flights of stairs, pug it and then lug it back up again.  And clay ain’t light!

This summer I discussed an idea with my husband as it meant taking up a bit more room.  I decided to make a quarter of the basement my pottery studio.  The guild renovated our glaze area and there was an extra table that they were going to return and I promptly bought it.  A friend and I set up the new space and I have to say it is so much easier to be productive now!  I have my dry ingredients for glazes still outside, as it is safer for me to mix them there (you shouldn’t breathe that stuff in!) and the kiln is in the garage too, but everything else is in my space in the basement.  I have one table to work on, right beside my pugmill, so if I need to soften up some clay from the many bags I have (see picture) it is easy to just move over and then start sculpting.  I have a number of drywall boards cut into a manageable size and I place my work to dry (tiles especially, as they will warp if you let them dry without a bit of weight on top) and then they double as trays to take upstairs to load into the kiln!  I have boards with cloth on them, one for white clay and another for brown, and I work on those and can easily swap them around.  I’m close to the sink (it is my laundry room too) and I can rinse down anything to avoid dust.

On the other side of the room is the glazing area.  I have my underglazes on the shelf under the table, and I can quickly bring out the ones I need, and when I’m not glazing I can use this table as a place for some work to dry.

I’m finding myself a lot more productive now that I have all my tools in one place and eventually I will put some shelves up and boards to show my test tiles for easy reference.  I look forward to seeing everyone at the sale, this is my first year back for at least five years.

Upcoming shows

While we are gearing up for our own Christmas shows, we have some of our guild members showing in other shows that are coming up.

  • November 15, 16 & 17th, you can visit the Northumberland Potters Annual Show and Sale at the Baltimore Community Centre.
  • November 23 & 24th is the Artisan Show and Sale at Mark St. United Church in Peterborough.  This isn’t strictly a pottery show, but has all different types of art and craft available to buy.  It’s at 90 Hunter Street.

Between our show and these upcoming shows, you may have your Christmas gift giving all sewn up!

Visit from Ron Roy

On October 21st, our speaker for the evening was Ron Roy, the guru of cone 6 glazes.   The talk was very interesting and we had been asked to send him any glazes that we were having issues with.  So a few guild members did this and he first went through the components of glazes and how reducing the amount of one element will affect the glaze in a certain way.  For example, one of the issues a potter had, was that her glaze should be shinier, so he did an analysis of the glaze and came up with a new configuration.  Another said that their glaze wouldn’t stay “stirred” long enough to dip her pots, and he recommended mixing a solution 2 tbsp of Epsom Salts in a cup of water and adding 3 drops to the glaze.  Mix it up and leave it half an hour to see how it mixed.  If it was still too dense, try again and leave it.  Continue until the glaze kept it’s mix better.

Ron has a new edition of his book available at his website:  ronroy.net

All in all a wonderful meeting and very informative.  Below are some images from the meeting.

Our New Kiln

We are so excited to announce a new addition to our guild.  We have bought a brand new programmable kiln!  It is shiny and new, and we hope to be more efficient with electricity now by being able to firing over night and come in when it is about to turn off.  This will mean that we are using the cheapest electricity rates and because it is a BIG kiln, we can fit even more student work into it.

This is also a pretty important milestone for the Guild.  When we discussed going ahead last summer with renting a premises and taking our guild to the “next level” there was a lot of dissension among the group as to whether we could do this.  We passed our 1st year in our new home and now we’ve made a major purchase.  We are all happy to see this working.

Thanks once again to our tireless volunteers (members) who spent a couple of days clearing out the kiln/pugging room to make room for our new arrival.  Check out the pictures below!  The fellow in the one picture is Mike from PSH who delivered and set it up.  Today we have electricians in to wire it in, and soon we will have an extractor vent as well, so all the fumes exit the building (just like Elvis).

The BIG Clean

Glaze area
Glaze area

A few members got together over the past week or so to give the guild a bit more organization.  When you have to work with so many different members, and teach classes and have so much work to fire, it can all get a bit chaotic.   We are also introducing a few new instructors over the coming months and we need a teaching space that is easy for everyone to use and feel comfortable with.  So with that in mind, we took the space that we had been saving for rental and re-purposed it as a our new glazing area.  Out is the hodge-podge of containers in a cluttered hallway and in came some semblance of order.

June went out and purchased buckets for dry ingredient, Carolyn dragged her husband with her to buy heavy shelves and bring them to the guild, and Karina brought her lovely husband with her to do some of the building work.  Then the rest of us there helped dismantle, move, sweep, fetch , carry and with satisfaction start to see the back area of bedlam suddenly start to make sense.  It is nowhere near finished yet, but we have a direction and as we are all volunteers, it is so wonderful the time everyone has been putting into this job.  Thank you to everyone who has helped and given their time to this transformation.

Now when classes start in the next few weeks, there is a dedicated area to glaze, clear areas for work that is waiting to be fired, and it will help everyone keep things in the right place.

The ware shelves full of work
The ware shelves full of work

 

Happy Anniversary or Happy Birthday?

KPG Gallery September 2013
KPG Gallery September 2013

Well, we have just reached a milestone at our new location today.  While we have been around for a few years now as a guild, today marks our first year in our new location.  It’s been a busy and productive year and we are so pleased that we took the plunge and moved into our new location.  We are paying our rent, our instructors and selling pottery.  And what is even more satisfying, we are teaching more and more people about the art of ceramics and what goes into the vessels that you drink out of, eat off of and admire your plants and flowers in.

We look forward to everyone visiting us at some point soon, and thank every one of our members for all their hard work in making our dream a reality and we wish ourselves a Happy something in our new home!

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