Sunday, June 29, 2014

Our Pit Fire and Clay

                    Pitfiring dates back 25,000 BCE . Unfired pots are nestled together in a pit in the ground or on top and are covered with combustible materials such as wood shavings, leaves, paper etc.

But we really enjoy every opportunity we have to pitfire, as its the perfect excuse to lounge outdoors around a fire amongst friends and enjoy the evening while firing pottery as well. Most tend to have already bisque fired their clay pieces prior to a pitfire due to the uneven firing temps and unexpected drafts which can be quite risky to greenware.

We however like to walk on the wild side just a bit when taking chances, I mean I can always make more..its just what I do as an artist every day just about, I create some type of art with my hands.  but here lately really enjoying the clay again, and the pitfiring as well.
I usually let my pieces dry completely, with not even a hint of moisture left before attempting a pitfire then we build our fire segment by segment and easily get the wares used to the heat and flames a little at a time, until after a few hours the piece is completely within the flames. Then we continue adding more wood to the fire until a very nice large fire is roaring. we then feed the fire for about two hours keeping it very hot. we then let it die down, and leave it for the night. That is our first firing for my greenware.

When we do the second firing and trust me you really want more than one as it strengthens your pieces to fire more than once or longer firings in regards to pitfire.  It is vital to achieve deeper color, and more prominent markings. I've learned to not be scared to really fire your pieces, or too antsy in removing them. You see a lot of the colors and patterns achieved is not actually from the fire itself although the hotter and longer fire is essential, the cool down is where most of the magic takes place. I have seen pieces removed to quickly from a pitfire only to have them crack from a sudden change in temperature or subjected to wind drafts. Also sometimes removing while hot in a lot of cases end up with very light in color and effects. When the ashes literally cool against the pots or pieces  the carbon gets trapped in the clay causing some very striking contrasts.

 I tell you it's like Christmas the next morning digging thru the ash to see that wonderful piece of cooled clay with striking splashes of Natures brush strokes just encased forever within the clay. We have had many failures as well as surprising success with our firings which can be a gamble at times, but for the most part things usually run pretty smooth with proper planning, and most important..patience.

                                               Some pieces from previous successful firings..

   This one was actually pretty much covered with alot of sawdust and paper so we got a really deep
                  black and a few hints of gray here and there, but I still lloe the outcome.

 I was so very excited in pulling this one out, check out all the lighter markings, these were often referred to       as "Clouds" that meant good fortune. I just love how this one turned out. Quite striking contrast.

These pieces from the same firing that night, they all look similar yet slightly unique in markings and colorings.

This one I notice got alot more burgandy and greens ,probably from the copper carb we used that night.
You can often rub your pieces down after cleaning with a bees wax that not only protects the markings but also provides a nice light shine as well.

                     I would have to say this one really amazed me while cleaning it out of the ashes.

                               Love this coiled vessel I made and how it survived the firing,
                                                     I'm not quite sure but so thrilled.

Some deep Earthen Red pieces fired, I just love the look of these. 

                             This one was packed down with sawdust on the inside that I
                             unknowingly caused a deep black, but hey I love it that way.

                              Always love the jewelry beads and pendants I've made from the firings,
                                              always makes for some very creative works.

                         And a very cautious firing produced this fragile abstract clay sculpture I did.

Some pieces awaiting the next pit fire

and the big one to be pit fired...oh my..certainly proceeding with caution with this large handcrafted white clay vessel I made..yes I'm gonna be nervous that night.

                                           In short between the clay, and nature's elements..
                        just intrigue me so much, a real passion that lies quiet within, yet so fascinated.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

"I've Got This.." Remember.. ;)

  I've been so gently nudged by a dear friend to share an experience that is  unique and beautiful to me.  My son and I are exactly twenty years apart and God blessed me with him in so many ways. But of these blessings came one of my most life changing, and that is my son led me to God. I was like so many, ignorant and I say that truthfully and not in a critical nature. We tend to roam thru our daily lives searching for something to complete us if only for a few seconds or at life in general. Often times totally ignorant of just how real God is, and most importantly just how much He love us. We tend to get so caught up in things of this world that either personify or cripple us. Our very existence in this world is amazingly just looked over everyday as simple and not really that astounding. Simply put "Life" is such a gift, and even thru all of it's difficulties can be so very beautiful if we learn to see with His eyes and most important "Trust in Him."

  My son, thru a few extensive maxo facial  procedures which derived from an abscess, learned of an aggressive tumor that is consuming the jawbone. He was informed by Physicians that X-Rays seem that although it is large it's probably benign.  However in our minds, there still lies the possibility of bone cancer, simply from the term "aggressive tumor" He will be having surgery soon to remove  it, so he is worried, and wow was I as well. In fact I became so worried that I became depressed and not really myself. Not feeling sociable enough to  talk with friends, only a choice couple did I actually confide in.  I just started getting so sad and down in the dumps. I remember actually praying and saying God I don't feel like being nice today, certainly not nice enough to talk to anyone about this..but I really wish I had someone to talk to, because it may turn out to be nothing but I'm really scared, and need some strength to think positive.

  My husband had a couple who were here looking over an old truck he had listed in the classifieds.
They had decided to buy it. I stepped out on the front porch and greeted them, she turned to me kind of antsy to ask to use the restroom. Of course, come on in..I said. As she made her way in I did as most wives do "Please excuse the house...yada yada.. I just told her " I've been a lil down and not felt like tidying up lately." She turned to me with these unexplainable consoling eyes, and says "What?..What's wrong?"  I said "Oh just a lil news about my boy, you know the big sweet guy out there that was chatting with you guys.. just kind of worried is all." She stopped and says to me and I quote.." Let me tell you a little bit about God.." and with that she removed her sporty ball cap and long haired straight wig revealing her head with no hair. She looked up at me and to my surprise had the most beautiful smile. She says "Stage four, Breast Cancer.." She said "I went thru 3 rounds of Chemo and was supposed to go thru a fourth when the doc couldn't find the tumor, no sign of it at all. She said "No it wasn't the chemo, it was God that got me thru all of that. She said I'm cured with no sign of it.  She says "You know God places people in our paths for a reason, and I was supposed to meet you, this is no accident. 

 This woman was absolutely electric with love for God and such a real zest for life that was simply contagious. Her laughter and smiling was pure happiness so much so that here I was in my Living Room hugging this complete stranger and laughing like we were cousins at a big family reunion. We talked and realized we had so much in common with our lives. We exchanged cell numbers and thus a beautiful friendship began. She told me how in her struggle thru cancer there were times where she was losing faith in God and such and how she was reminded "To trust in Him" and she reestablished that notion to me "Just simply trust Him."  We were hugging goodbye when our significant others came in and was scratching their head like "What?!"

 We watched as they drove away in their recent purchase. I just stood on the porch waving and smiling with the same happiness that thru God was left from her now in me.This giddy happiness that lasted all night.. I felt it, that chain of love that is so contagious..that absolute love for life and a peace within that is only capable thru our loving and so there for us Father. No matter what we face in life..He is there..We just need to remember that although we get weak and fall away at times. We're human.. but Trust in what He says..
                                          "I will never leave you nor forsake you."

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Daily Made..My Arts and Crafts Journal..

 Just a little place to post my arts and crafts addictions..=))P I'm usually making or working on something each day from all sorts of crafts to sculpture, pottery,baskets..oh the list goes on of so many crafty challenges I have enjoyed very much over the years.

So I wanted to start keeping sort of my own Arts And Craft Journal so to speak. Not really a how to but more just a day to day log of the things I get into.  Most of my work I have done over the years can be found at  and  it's just a part of who I am, and enjoy in life.

I wanted to try a type of rope basket. I have been seeing these before and always wanted to try it.

So..=)  I used cotton clothesline rope, with burgundy and ivory yarn. I can't exactly give instructions as this was my first one and really was experimenting along the way. I just counted six wraps, and after sections I'd change colors. I also counted my sections in threes, to be repeated to make a pattern. But, as I said..just learning myself..but you can find lots of instructionals on these on the net.

  I just kept going..

Then I made a top.

 All in all I was very pleased with it, only next time I think I will use a thicker rope. The smaller the rope the more time consuming. But I love how it turned out..

Started another Rag Rug. I really do enjoy making these so much. I normally use old clothes scraps and fabrics I find or are given to me. A lot of times I give them away..just makes me smile to see someone enjoying something I made for them.  Some of my previous Rag Rugs can be seen in my other Blog Post..  but for now I'm starting another one from old scraps of fabrics and such..


10-7-13 still going...

10-8-13  so today I'm working on two projects at a time.. still working on this Rag Rug..not sure how large I'm gonna make it at this point. It's starting to reach the edge of the table now. I have made a few 5ft and larger. I tend to favor the bigger rugs most of the time. I'm thinking this may be a gift for someone for Christmas when I'm done. I feel pretty sure they will love it. =)

Another project I'm working on today is a Christmas present for my Father in Law. A nice simple quilt. I know he will just love he's been wanting one but not wanting to buy one so..I'm getting started on putting these fabric pieces together to get the idea for how I want it to look. I'm pretty happy with this design.. now to start sewing..

got the center done so far..
still going...
and still, steady as she goes...
starting to come off the table now..still working..
Just for something a lil zany, but a challenge. Wanting to see if I can make a pair of slippers out of plastic bags..=))P really just for entertaining my own sense of humor , but at any rate..worth a try.. I find the idea of recycling so interesting at times..
so I've got one of the soles done so far..
I've shifted back into my clay. It's been so long I forgot how wonderful it is to me.
Here are some white earthenware clay beads and pot I pitfired wow their flame markings and contrasts turned out so well. I'm really hoping to get similar colorings for the chimes.
Made some clay pieces to be pitfired out back then I will assemble them into some wind chimes..hope all goes well..
and then yesterday, I was just playing around with clay sculpting again, oh man I forgot how much I enjoy it. Just made a miniature vase..then teensy little hats..just having a blast!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Summer Farewells..


Guess it's getting that time of year again. The time when the last late Summer blooms are trying so hard to stay vibrant in sensing cooler days ahead.  I'm such a Summer nut..just love all of it. So hate this part of saying good bye from cookouts with family..

Boating and Fishing..

             The Beach..Oh Yea!!    Hunting Island was amazing... Thank you Elizabeth.. ;))

Watching our Donkies and Cattle play and graze..

The Summer Visitors..


Love  veggie gardening..


 Summer fruits and Canning....

and let's of course not forget those gorgeous blooms.. bidding farewell to their annual fragrant and so very beautiful show..




and so as the last late Summer blooms lead on into Autumn days..we bid farewell in exchange for comfy thoughts of Mulled Cider, Pumpkins..haybales, and those warm made with love..Grandma quilts.. maybe the scent of Apple pie to complete our happy lil exchange of seasonal bliss..=))