Big Ceramic Store Blog

Monthly Archives: March 2016

  • With today being Good Friday, most schools are closed, a lot of businesses have shut their doors for a long weekend, and you're almost already at your wits end! Where in the world did these kids find sooooooo much energy?

    You've downed a couple cups of coffee, made breakfast, got the kids dressed, loaded the dishwasher and washing machine... and to think, it's only 7:00am! Now what? What can you do to keep the kids busy for a little while?

    Here's what I plan to do with our grand kids... Decoupage Easter Eggs. They're really easy to make, easy to personalize, look great in a bed of grass, and spruce up the trees that are still a little drab from their winter nap.

    Grab a few supplies and let's get started.

  • For someone who does as many hand-building projects as I do, I sometimes forget how important the joining process is. A few dozen split seams, ruined pieces, and repairs later, joining pieces has become second nature to me.

    I know that's not the case with everyone however; I remember when I first started doing slab work, getting a nice smooth seam that stayed together was often a mythical process to me! Sometimes it was because the clay was too wet, but most of the time, it was a poor fitting joint.

    In today's post, I will show you some basics on cutting bevels, scoring, slipping and joining pieces, so grab your coffee and follow me to the studio.

    • sam keane |

      Hi there. Have you heard of a 'modified' slip for joining leather hard clay??
      cheers Sam Keane

    • Eve | #

      Beginning Potter question: does the slip need to be made from the same clay you are building with?

  • Just a few days ago, I agreed to host Easter at our house this year. I love having family over, and love to cook,  but I always get the same questions and comments...

    • "Why don't you use any of your pottery?"
    • "The glazes are so pretty, and your bowls are so heavy. I love them!"
    • "If I did pottery, my whole house would be filled with it!"

    Do you get the same thing? Well, our guests will be in for a surprise this year. Not only am I using several bowls and platters I've made, I'm also making an egg tray, for the deviled eggs they all love so much. Hopefully, this will satisfy their need!

    Do you have a tray to serve your pickled, deviled, or plain ole hard boiled eggs in, or to take them along to your family dinner? No, you say? Well, if we get busy, you can have this tray done in time for Easter Sunday.

  • I just pulled an Easter basket out of a bisque fire, and dang it... there is a crack where the sides meet the base. UGH!!! Question is, do I try a repair, or toss it in the trash?

    How many times have you come across a crack in your piece, either in the green, or the bisque stage? I know for me, it's happened a few times.

    You spend a lot of time and effort on a piece, set it off to dry, and all of a sudden you find a crack. Or, you open the kiln after a bisque fire, and there is a nice size crack that you didn't see when you put it in there.

    Read along as I offer a few tips/tricks I've learned for repairing cracks. I will warn you though, I personally have only had about a 30-40% success rate at repairing cracks. Regardless, sometimes, I just have to try!

  • Oh boy! St. Patrick's Day is next week, and I haven't made anything green. Are you in the same boat as me? Don't go to the neighborhood Dollar Store and buy those shamrocks that you hang on the windows, or the little pins you wear... Let's get cranking and make them ourselves.

    I'm going to show you an easy way to make, fire, and paint shamrocks... all in three days or less! You can attach a pin, punch holes for a string, or just toss them around the house for decoration.

    Time's a wastin... grab your coffee and let's get to the studio. I can't wait! My granddaughter is going to love helping with this one.

  • Are you looking for a new project? Something simple, yet exciting and creative? Well, I've got an idea that will open doors of creativity beyond your expectation! Are you ready?

    Being the nature lover I am, I've always been fascinated by paper flowers. The vivid colors, delicate petals, and simple beauty of them overload my creative mind! I've been to craft shows and fairs, where someone is enthralling the crowd, by taking a single piece of paper and turning it into a beautiful rose, dahlia, tulip or lotus.

    With spring just ahead, I've shifted the studio to "Flower Making Mode." In other words, I'm adding flowers, birds, bees, etc... to bowls, pitchers, plates, platters and mugs. Not only do my customers love them, it reminds me that my favorite time of year is just about here!

    In todays post, I'm going to show you how to make a couple simple flowers to adorn your wares. So grab your coffee, and let's head to the studio.

    • Linda Izard | #

      Here are addl. aspects of my flowers. Petals can be textured w/ a roller or any tool available for texturing. The layers of petals are bisque fired, unattached to each other. I glaze pieces separately, all sides. Then line up the center holes, and glaze fire with the flowers supported on stilts. The glaze fuses the petal pieces together. Dermal any stilt marks after the firing.
      I use a painted, threaded dowel as the stem. Rubber washers and nuts to hold dowel in place. A hollow center 'seed pod' is also made, and it is hot glued over the top nut.
      I can send photos if there is further interest.

    • Rosemary Johnson | #

      I am a novice potter learning how to make flowers. I have already made many roses and now what to try making them the way you described but have a question. I should probably already know this, but will ask anyway. How do you glaze all sides? Thanks much.

  • Are you looking for a new and interesting way to liven up your pots? Have you tried using sponges for design? Let me tell you, there are some really interesting designs waiting to be had with the sponges in your toolbox!

    I'm always trying new sponges. I have flat ones, round ones, course ones, fine ones, and my favorite... the funky shaped ones! Not only do we use sponges for texture in our studio, we paint with them as well.

    Grab your coffee, put your apron on, and let's head to the studio... Awesomeness is just around the corner!

    • Sharon | #

      Love these.... new ceramics idk. But with guidance wouldnt take long. How long would it take to learn, where i go in sc. I become certified in this too. Ill be teaching it too

  • bhouse
    This is such a great time of year! The weather is warming up, the birds are starting to re-appear, and the grass is getting a hint of green. What better way to announce to our feathered friends, that they are welcome, than to make them a brand new house!

    There are a ton of templates on the web for birdhouses, and so many of them are amazing, but we are going to pick one that we use in our studio a lot. It's a very simple, yet very interesting design that my customers love!

    Heat Advisory: If you live in a very warm climate, you may want to consider vent holes to help regulate the internal heat when using it outdoors. I recommend putting 2-3 holes on each side, just below the leaf. Another tip for heat regulation is to place the birdhouse out of direct sunlight, for instance... hanging it in a leafy tree or under a porch roof.

    Ready to get going? Grab your coffee and let's head to the studio. Ps... you may want to experiment a little... you can change this design up fairly easy. As a matter of fact, you can check out our post from August on Broomstick Feeders, and implement the design here.

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