Sunday, December 26, 2010

Pouring Complete!

The biggest step in building a wedging table happened this afternoon. I poured the plaster.

Actually, the wedging table has taken somewhat longer to build than I thought it would. I'd like to blame that on the holidays and winter in general, but in truth, it's just been a slow process. I underestimated the amount of plaster I would need for one thing. That and the fact that I'm no carpenter. But somehow it came together.

Here are a couple of pictures taken this afternoon as I did the pour. Plaster has to be mixed very carefully and in the correct proportions in order to get the best strength and absorbent properties out of it. And each kind of plaster (there are many different kinds) has its own mixing ratio. Thankfully, potters are a verbose lot and willingly share their knowledge on things like this so the information was not hard to find. This particular table required 9 gallons of water and about 95.5 pounds of plaster. But it's what I wanted and will be in use as soon as the plaster has cured and I have covered it with heavy canvas.

This shows the table with half the plaster poured:

And here is the table later in the day with the pouring completed. I doubt I will be moving the table again. At least not without help.

Once this is finished, the work can begin!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

New Link

I have put something new up on the web site. A number of people have contacted me looking for information on available products. Since my phone number is a cell phone and I'm not always (read not usually) at the workshop, it's not always easy to get that information to people when they want it.

So, by way of a workable solution, I decided to put up an inventory page so that people can see what is available right away.

Right now I am hard at work on a replacement for the rather basic HTML web site that I currently have up. The new site, which will have the exact same web address as the current one, will also have a complete online shop with a shopping cart. Orders can be placed through the site if customers wish to do that.

I like talking to my customers, and with so many products and options I can't see that relationship changing. Pottery is a very personal thing and getting it just right is always the goal.

Please do check out the Lowell Hill Pottery Inventory Page.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Taking Shape

Well, it's officially winter. There is snow on the ground...sort of...and it's cold. The house is finally banked, the plastic is up on the windows, the house is still rather cool though not uncomfortably so, and the cat is now insisting on sleeping under the covers. We both love flannel sheets and she is far more efficient than a hot water bottle.

Of course, the water is now drained out at the pottery. With no heat in the building there is nothing going on. I am now working on the studio space in my house.

It's a small house, but here is what is happening.

I decided that the corner of the kitchen that was intended for eating just wasn't going to get used for that purpose. It never has been. I prefer to eat in the living room and that is where I serve guests as well. So the kitchen table and the area it occupies has been collecting junk for a long time. If I have no place to put something - or more likely, if I just can't bring myself to toss out something I am not using - it gets piled somewhere until I can't stand it anymore.

Well, I decided I couldn't stand the pile int he kitchen any longer, so a lot got carried to the dump. What remained found new quarters elsewhere in the house. That left a nice area for a small clay studio. There was the issue of the wall-to-wall carpeting. I saw no sense in keeping carpet where I would be using clay and water, so I tore it up and removed it.

Have you ever taken up wall-to-wall carpet that has been in place for over 20 years in a high traffic part of a house? I'll spare you the gory details, but it was one entire day's labor to get the mess cleaned up.

Anyway, that left me with a nice (?) bare floor where the studio would go. Building the work benches would come next. I have built one work bench and will soon be able to start putting out small items like napkin rings and jam jar lids. Items like that are small enough to do in this space and can be carried to the pottery to be fired. Here is a picture of the studio space so far:

Yes, that's crappy plywood flooring. Not everyone can find beautiful hardwood floors under the carpet (like so many people I have known did). The first work bench I built is on the left in this picture. Right now, it holds all the tools currently being used, but most notably it has the extruder mounted at the right hand end. This is used to make napkin rings and handles for most pots that require them. To the right in this picture is the wedging table I am now building. Here is a close shot of that:

The well in the top of this table will be filled with plaster soon and the whole thing will be covered with canvas. Before I can do that, though, I will need a few more tools and another 50 pounds of plaster to add to the 50 I already have.

Yeah, it's going to be heavy. But that's the point.

After these benches are finished, I will build one more for making tiles and then I will be in business again. Pictures will be forthcoming.

Google-licious: I tried Googling "Lowell Hill Pottery" today. I seem to have done something right!! The entire first page consisted of hits on my web site! Try it out for yourself. Then have a look around. I am currently building a new site complete with an Internet store and shopping cart. My hope is to launch that in the early spring if not before.

I'll keep you posted.