Monday, January 30, 2012

Cups and mugs

I made several mugs and cups beyond the sake cup from yesterday, but I only kept a few. I gave most of them away.

The mug you see here was an early attempt; it's very heavy, both in weight and in glaze.
This tea cup is purposefully handle free, and had its rim dipped in a glaze called "waterfall". I rather like the effect. I use this mug almost daily. It was a precursor to the porcelain, done in Danish Plain. I made another one that looks much like it in porcelain that I gave away.
The inside of the tea cup.

Top of my best "form". The glaze on this mug was an utter failure. But as my last thrown mug, it's shape was far better than the others. It's not too heavy and the walls are fairly consistent in thickness.
Here you can see the horrible glazing. I went from being too heavy-handed with my glazing to being far too light. It would have been a great mug otherwise.
Here you see the bottom. Notice the nice shaping at the bottom of the handle?
Another handle free tea cup.It's much heavier than the one above.Still very usable, as you can see.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Some Ceramics

I took a beginner's wheel ceramics class last year. I always wanted to learn ceramics, but the last time I handled clay was in 1995 when I took a sculpture class. I was fairly good at it, but transporting my projects without a car was sheer hell. I didn't have a car again and an inclination to pursue a class until lately.

I'm not used to things being very difficult. Motivation is difficult for me, not execution, I find. Therefore I was practically traumatized the first half of my first class by how hard wheel ceramics was turning out to be. (No pun intended. :P) Also, it's messy. Me and messy aren't really friends, I don't care if you've seen my closet. I don't like my hands gooey. So I was having a near OCD experience, as well. I had to get over that... for the most part.

By the second day I had it well enough for my blood pressure to drop back to it's normal low. (Maybe that's why get-up-and-go is a problem for me... my blood pressure usually causes nurses to say, "How do you feel? Are you tired? Do you mind if we try this again?")

I started with Danish Sand, which has a neighbor called Danish Plain, who is sand-free. I went this route instead of more earthy clay because I made it clear to the instructor from the get-go that my aim was porcelain. I love Asian pottery. I would be thrilled to make a perfect celadon bowl. If I started with Danish Sand and then moved on to Danish Plain he thought I would be fairly well prepared for the feel of porcelain.
Three small pieces: brown bowl, white bowl, and sake cup

Bowl of Danish Plain clay, about 3" wide
My best piece is the porcelain sake cup I made near the end. I am both frugal and stubborn, and I have small hands, so I was not daunted at all by trying small pieces. It's about 1 1/2" in diameter.
Inside view of sake cup. This is fairly true to color - it's greenish.

Bottom of sake cup. The footing on this is about 1/8" wide. The outer graze is blue-gray.
After I used up the Danish clay, I got some coarser clay to try to knock out some quick pieces. This bowl was one result. I was unhappy with how it trimmed up, so I did some carving on it to cover it up. The glaze dripped a bit, but at least it dripped consistently. :P
Earthenware bowl, about 4" wide

Bottom of earthenware bowl
There are more pieces as well, but I don't want to inundate the blog with photos all in one sitting. More on the other pieces later.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Second layer

Progress on the paper mache so far:

Not a lot of visible progress, but it's a somewhat slow process because I need the layer to dry adequately.

On the knitting front
I've started making an alpaca/merino wool cream colored hat in a somewhat cloche style. I'll probably have to knit it once, try it on, then knit it right. :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Art from Crap

Er... I mean, from rubbish.

Since I don't have a pottery wheel or an art studio or anything glamorous like that, if I feel like sculpting I have to go very unspecialized. As in paper mache. It's hard to get less specialized than paper, flour, and water.
You may be wondering what Aldous Huxley's Brave New World has to do with paper mache. Alas, very little! I was thinning my herd of books and it is the one to go down for the benefit of the rest. It would have gone to a thrift store except it's basically falling apart, it's so old. And value in old books really only exists if they are signed or first editions or some such - not a cheap 1960's paperback. However, I am going to go ahead and try to play it off like I meant to use A Brave New World - that somehow makes it more artistic: pretense. :P
I am molding it around a plastic Christmas ornament that I got for 25 cents at the local Goodwill Outlet store. Did I mention this craft is also cheap?
And I'm making a finch. I just like finches. They are cute little noisemakers.
It'll all come to together in the end. I hope.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Vintage Baby Jacket Sans Playsuit

It's been a while, but hello! I'm back. :)

You really don't want to know what I've been eating today. It's one of those days. Onward to knitting!

Vintage Baby Jacket
This knit is from the Rock-a-Bye Baby Book by Columbia Minerva, which you see below. The green outfit that little boy is wearing is what I made, with some qualifiers:
  • I did NOT use Columbia-Minerva Quick Knit Baby Yarn, as the pattern suggests, because much like you good folk are no doubt also suspecting, a book with a cover price of 60 cents may not be massively current. I'm pretty sure that yarn is discontinued, but I'm more than willing to be corrected on that point. I used some Berroco Comfort DK in a cream color that was left over from old baby projects, since a gauge of 6sts = 1" was needed on Size 6 needles.
  • This pattern is a jacket and playsuit set. I did not make the playsuit. 
Aside from that, it's all pretty much as the pattern calls for. (Which, by the way, is incredibly simple!) 
I'm quite happy with the result, here:

I found the buttons by accident at a clearance fabric store. I bought them in two sizes because I didn't have the jacket with me to size the buttons. I didn't regret it. I was delayed for quite some time in finishing this project for lack of good buttons, and now I have them, and some to spare.

This isn't the only Columbia Minerva pattern I've done up. You may recall that I made a lacy baby jacket in black Caron Simply soft, and a mock cable baby cardigan out of some leftover burgundy Encore worsted. And I doubt this will be the last pattern. I highly recommend this book to anyone who can get their greedy little hands on it. Although you may not be as lucky as to spend only 60 cents on it anymore.