My New Adventure: Plates. The Update is Now Available: The Finished Products

For my first plates I used 2lbs of clay.  It was very difficult flattening out the clay and keeping the whole piece centered.  The tendonitis in my right thumb always acts up, making plate throwing a challenging prospect in the future.  I have only made three plates upto date.  Two are in for their second firing and one remains to show itself on the bisque cart.  It may be coming out of a bisque firing any day now.

The Trimming of My First Plate
The Trimming of My First Plate

trinket n fish cups 023

I would like to have several pieces of ceramics that are purple and Chrome Tin Red under Nan’s Albany Blue seemed to be the way to go.  I started out by coating a plate, two mugs and an itty bitty cup Chrome Tin Red.  I had ran out of class time to give them their second coat of glaze so I left them until I could come in open studio hours.  Well, all but the plate ended up getting fired with just Chrome Tin Red on them.  My teacher, Carol Seymour, said it would be almost as good to put the pieces on a hot kiln and then give them their second coat of glaze.  Heating up a piece before a second coat of glaze is important as it opens up the clay’s pores and therefore the glaze won’t run right off the piece.  Well, I chickened out and just put a second coat on the itty bitty cup.  It turned out great actually.  sort of bluey/purpley/reddish color as seen below:

Double Glazed Cup
Double Glazed Cup

This is what Nan’s Albany Blue looks like before firing.  This coming week we will see what a normal double glazing looks like using this combination.

Check out my other pieces at my etsy shop

Glazed Chrome Tin Red under Nan's Albany Blue
Glazed Chrome Tin Red under Nan’s Albany Blue
A different kiln time a different  color
A different kiln time a different color

All the plates where glazed the same but you can see comparing the above plates with those below that they didn’t end up the same.  It is hard to tell but the above plates are a little less purple and a little more blue than the ones below.  My teacher explained it to me that it could have been that they were in the kiln in two different loads.  It also could be several other things:  They may have been in a hotter or colder part of the kiln.  Also the bisque firing may have been in a hotter or colder effecting how much glaze they absorbed.

These are the deep purple plates below

Less blue in these plates
Less blue in these plates

These plates will be on sale at the Annual Penn State Brandywine Campus Craft and Art Fair in Lima, Pennsylvania on Palm Sunday March 29th 2015  from 9am-4pm

Other items of mine can be found at my Etsy shop:

The Finished Product: 4 Handleless Fish Cups

An order of 2 cups turned into an order for 4
An order of 2 cups turned into an order for 4

I prepared these cups to my customer’s specifications (3.5″ H x 2.5″ W) and I produced a couple more that were 3″ W or greater.  I emailed her pics and she said she wanted all of them.  She emailed me a couple days ago and said that she loved them and will keep me in mind for her future ceramics needs.

Ready To Ship
Ready To Ship
Ready To Take Home
Ready To Take Home

Look for future orders here on my blog and see other finished pieces at

The Making of Cobalt Blue Fish Cups

A customer from Etsy ordered a ceramic cup (or possibly more ) from me that was like another cup she had seen listed in my shop but had sold.  She wanted the inside to be no less than 2.5″ wide but no more than 2.75″.  The height was to be 3.5″.  I had never made a cup with particular inside dimensions so it was a challenge for me.

I use number 112 speckled ceramic stoneware clay.  My pottery pieces are all made at the Wallingford Community Arts Center

I have just begun to center clay on the wheel with little or no problems but the end result was usually 3″-4″ wide lump.  I had to relearn how to center as I needed to start out with 5″ or more wide.  I didn’t think I was going to make it.  I started the trial and error process during Monday evening class which seemed noisier than usual.  I was actually wondering if I should call it a night and go home not even half-way through class I was so upset.  I managed to make two cups which weren’t anywhere near the right size which I figured I would make into mugs.

Wednesday, I went to the studio for the afternoon and pushed out three of the right size cups.  In order to get 2.5″ inside I must start out a half inch larger to take into consideration the shrinkage from water loss.

I let them dry for a couple days in the damp box, then trimmed the bottoms and sides.

Tracings of fish
Tracings of fish

I put on a couple coats of cobalt blue engobe then traced the fish.  cobalt blue fish

A little flourish to fill in extra space
A little flourish to fill in extra space

The fish didn’t take up the whole space on the cup so I filled in the extra with a curli-Q.  I have used these many times as I enjoy the way they look.

Starting the carving process.
Starting the carving process.

I put the plastic in the cup, as directed by my teacher, Carol Seymour, to let the bottom dry slowly as I had trimmed too much off the foot.  The pink cloth seen in this pic is my hoodie.  I use it to carve against so that my pieces don’t end up all dented by pushing  against the table.

All bisqued showing the start of the blue color.
All bisqued showing the start of the blue color.

It will transform to a deep blue in a few days after a coat of Opalescent glaze shown below.  It is the cream color coating.

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These pieces will be food, dishwasher and microwave safe.  Lead free and non-toxic.

Check out my other handmade items at my Etsy shop:

Gas Glaze Workshop at the Wallingford Community Art Center

The ceramic glaze class was great.  Why you ask? Because Nadia W. Bond imparted her tricks and tips after years of experience with the medium….  How long to wait till it is safe to put on a second coat of glaze; how to wax a pottery jar that has a lid; how close to the bottom do you put on the second coat of glaze;

She came with worksheets and years of experience.
She came with worksheets and years of experience

I didn’t have any bisqued pieces that could be put in the gas kiln.  I am working with number 112 clay which has grains of manganese in it so it can’t be used in a gas kiln.  The manganese will explode out of the clay.  Destroying everything around it  Nadia gave me two small pots with lids pre-waxed.  Of course she did a great job waxing them.  I’ve never made a jar with a lid before so I was rather clueless.

The first glaze I chose, Jade Green, is toxic if used by itself.  But I used a second glaze on top of it so it wasn’t toxic anymore.  The two glazes interact negating the toxicity.  On top of the Jade Green I put Rudy’s Opalescent.  This like the other double glaze combination on the other lidded jar will turn purple.  Another one of her tricks she imparted was to, as I said earlier, was to wait a day between coats of glaze so they don’t bubble.  However, when you don’t have time, you can put the piece in the microwave to dry.

When applying the Rudy’s Opalescent on the lid she got a slip application bottle.  The glaze needs to be thick when using an application bottle. So she took the bottle, covered the top with her thumb and stuck her hand down to the bottom of the unstirred bucket of Rudy’s Opalescent.  Then as predicted when applying the glaze it didn’t run at all.  I made a squiggly design around the top.

The second lidded pot was first coated with Leach White then Emily’s Purple.  When applying Emily’s Purple to the lid she suggested just dipping the top just slightly in order to prevent a runny situation. Before applying Emily’s Purple to the bottom, she suggested applying an additional inch of wax on top the Leach White along the bottom of the jar.

Well now we wait until the magic of the gas kiln takes place.

Black Engobe on Two Small Mugs. Electric Potter’s Wheel and Kiln

Gas kiln class with Nadia 002 Gas kiln class with Nadia 003

These will soon be found at my Etsy shop:

Tried two different patterns on the two small coffee/tea cups.  My teacher, Carol Seymour, seemed to think my handles are too big as always.

Damp Boxthis is what I started with.  They dried over night in the damp box till they were leather hard.  Then I trimmed them (taking some clay off the bottom and sides.  Then I carved a foot on the bottom). I put the black engobe on them with a large brush.  The black will turn a deep blue with our house opalescent glaze except where I carved the engobe away.

Two Mugs To Be Just Thrown. Will Trim Tomorrow

Mugs to be. Just starting out
Mugs to be. Just starting out

Damp Box

Had a not so productive day at the studio.  I wanted these to match the 6 cup set I had thrown the other day but they had other plans.  The first one was too small in the foot but was okay with the width.  I am aiming for a 4″ mouth which is supposed to shrink down to 3.5″.  If that doesn’t happen bigger is better than too small.  The future owners won’t like to have even smaller cups that had been picked out by them.

The second one I trimmed too much and it became lopsided.  I took too much from the foot weakening the cup walls.  When it came time to get the bat off the wheel head, one of the screws became stuck in the bat.  I banged on the bat to loosen the screw when it became lopsided collapsing.  My teacher was there to guide me through the process of saving the cup.  It was a three step process which was nerve-wracking but I was successful.  The wall ended up a lot thinner so I wasn’t able to get a 4″ flared mouth.

It will soon be at my etsy shop:

Tomorrow will discuss trimming and my class making Beer Steins.  Sunday I have a gas fired pottery class which I will post about Sunday evening.  Melissa Dawn Wickham  mdwpottery

A blue 11oz Handleless Coffee or Tea Cup With Concentric Circles. Wheel Thrown. Food Safe and Lead Free

Can be found at my etsy shop:

3.75" H x 3.5" W
3.75″ H x 3.5″ W

11 oz handleless coffee cup or handless tea cup. Blue cup with concentric circles. Hand thrown and wheel thrown. Food safe and lead free. Dishwasher and microwave safe.

Speckled ceramic stoneware clay was used. Speckles are from grains of manganese.

3.75″ H x 3.5″ W

I take custom orders for extra pieces or different colors.

If you ever have any questions please feel free to contact me.

I ship Priority USPS mail.