Big Ceramic Store Blog

Monthly Archives: June 2016

  • If you're anything like me, I want to know what sells, and what colors are making an impact in today's market. I mean, what better way to boost my sales, than by using the "hot" colors and designs currently topping the charts.

    Here at BCS, we have such a great selection of glazes, I wasn't sure where to begin. I wanted to load up my cart with at least twenty new colors and give them a try... instead, I talked to my youngest daughter for some ideas.

    Not only does  she have an art degree, teach Middle School art, run an art camp during the summer, and sell hand-crafted signs and décor... she's my "go-to" girl for up-to-date ideas!

  • If you hurry, you still have time to make some pretty awesome pieces to put on your picnic tables for Independence Day (July 4th,) and impress your friends and family with your skill! "What can I do in ten days?" you ask.

    Well, I can think of about twenty or so projects that will set you apart from you "non-artsy" guests! Something as simple as a set of coasters, a napkin holder, a few jars painted up for the plastic ware, a nice floral centerpiece... that list goes on!

    So... turn on your creative brain, grab a cup of coffee, and follow me to the studio!

  • I know when I first started working with stoneware clay, one of the questions I had was, "What color should I use?" It comes in so many colors... white, buff, red, brown, speckled.... the list goes on.

    I started with white, but soon learned, that I didn't like the white ring around the bottom of my pots, against the dark glazes. I used stains and such to cover up the white ring, but that became a nuisance, so I started to pick up additional colors.

    What color do you use? Not quite sure which one is best for you? Well, today we're going to talk about how, and why, I use the different colors.

  • How many times have you been pulled away from a clay project for a phone call, visitor, or family "crisis," and didn't think to cover up that slab, or ball of clay, that you were using? Next thing you know, it's hours later, and that clay got too firm to work with.

    Ok, so you wrap it in a wet towel and plastic, and set it off to the side while you grab a new piece. Well, there are other ways to work with that clay, and here is one of my favorites... shredding it for design and texture.

    Let's head out to the studio and I'll show you what I mean.

    • patricia plishka | #

      I often use a garlic press for finer shreds.

  • A few weeks ago, my granddaughter brought home a hermit crab. A friend of hers, gave her a few pieces to put in the tank with it, however; the "cave" just wasn't big enough for Bert and his shell.

    Her first question was, "Nana, do you think you can make a bigger one for him?" I don't know about you, but it's very hard for me to say no to a pretty little face smiling up at me... so of course, the answer was yes.

    Let's head to the studio and make my granddaughter happy.

    • Lawrence Johns | #

      I have Trinity white modeling clay firing at 04 with Mayco glazes fired at 06. Will this be safe for a fish tank? I can't find any information that is understandable. Should I just get a ph tester? Thanks

  • If you saw our post on Wednesday, you already know I was on vacation and got some inspiration and found a couple new techniques I couldn't wait to share. Today is another one of those techniques, how to use shaving cream and underglaze to decorate your clay.

    Not only is it super easy, interesting, and fun, no two are ever alike! Some of the designs will be subtle while others will be strikingly bold, and together, they are simply amazing!

    Grab your cup of coffee and follow me to the studio for a fun time!

  • Every once in a while I get away from the studio for a vacation. Most of the time, I take along a little air dry clay to play with on the trip, but last week, I went to North Carolina clay free!

    Relax isn't really in my vocabulary, so on the only rain day we had, I was reading articles and watching videos to get my "clay fix". I came across a couple techniques I can't wait to try, and thought you might enjoy them as well.

    Soap bubbles and clay... who would've thought they were meant to go together? I don't know who came up with this idea, but they are a genius, and I'm super glad it crossed my path!

    • jan | #

      Can't wait to try it and finish with luster!

    • Christine Moore | #

      I'm looking forward to trying this technique. Question - what is your experience with putting the bubbles over a layer of glaze, or putting a layer of glaze over the bubbles? I'm thinking either a clear or a celadon. Thoughts?

    • Debbie | #

      I have done this with a kids class & my grandchildren using round ornaments. The kids love it & no 2 ornaments are alike.

    • jeanne | #

      This looks like fun. I’d like to try it.

      I,ve been trying to find information on a product I used years ago when I was painting bisque fired tiles. It was called pipping & was a mixture of clay & a SECRET

      ingredient. It was produced in Canada by someone
      who called herself THE PIPING LADY. She is no longer in business, but I keep hoping someone knows
      about it.It was expressed as you won frosting to decorate a cake.

      If you or anyone you know has any idea what this was
      I would really like to have the information.

  • Not only beginners, but experienced artists as well, find air dry clay to be a useful medium for many things. Today, we will go over some ways to make it an invaluable tool  in your studio, and some project ideas.

    Air dry clay comes in multiple forms, many different colors, can be colored with acrylic paints, is inexpensive and is readily available. It's also a great way to introduce beginners to sculpting, and seasoned artists to exploring their creative side.

    Are you ready for some interesting tips to use it yourself, or do you have a kids project in mind, but really want to be able to let them take it home instead of waiting for the glazing and firing process? Air dry clay may be just what you're looking for! Oh, and did I mention that you can throw it on the wheel?

  • BCS customer Lisa Harnish shares her amazing techniques and recipes for "Sgraffito in Terra Sigillata-Part 2" in today's post! Visit Lisa's website for more!

    Lisa Harnish first began working with clay in January 2002. Her initial education in ceramics began at Chandler Gilbert Community College, and continues to this day. Lisa’s sgraffito designs take their inspiration from nature, such as grass, leaves, seaweed and vines that wind their way around and across the vessel. 

    Did you get a chance to read Parts 1 & 2 of our series with Lisa? If not, you may want to read them as well, as they cover making the sig, painting it on, and decorating. Today we will go over to burnish or not to burnish, and glazing if you want, finishing up the series.

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