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.

trinket n fish cups 027

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

Check out my other handmade items at my Etsy shop: http://MDWPottery.etsy.com

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.

http://Etsy.com/shop/MDWPottery

Small Abstract Art Blue and White Bowl. Food Safe and Lead Free and Nontoxic

Can be found at my Etsy shop:  http://Etsy.com/shop/MelissaDawnWickham

Small blue and white bowl with abstract art design. Hand and wheel thrown. Speckled ceramic stoneware bowl. Food safe, nontoxic & lead free

Dishwasher safe. Microwave safe.

2.5″ H x 5.25″ W. Can hold 12 ounces.

This piece doesn’t have an artist mark on the bottom. I forgot to put one on.

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

REPEAT CUSTOMERS GET 20% OFF ALL ITEMS.

If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me. I am always interested in customers comments and requests. I do small custom work so that if you want it in a different color or you want more than one I can do that.

All my pieces are sent USPS mail unless otherwise requested. 

Small Blue and Brown Bowl with Abstract Art Design. Wheel and Hand Thrown. Food Safe and Lead free.

Absract Art Design

Can be found at my Etsy shop:  http://Etsy.com/shop/MelissaDawnWickham

Small blue and brown bowl with abract design. Hand & wheel thrown pottery. Food safe, nontoxic & lead free. Handmade ceramic stoneware bowl

Dishwasher safe. Microwave safe.

3.75″ H x 5″ W holds 17 ounces

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

When I made this I forgot to sign my name on the bottom so there isn’t any artist mark.

REPEAT CUSTOMERS GET 20% OFF ALL ITEMS.

If you ever have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask me. I am always interested in customers comments and requests. I do small custom work so that if you want it in a different color or you want more than one I can do that.

All my pieces are sent USPS mail unless otherwise requested.