Ho Hum Plates

I took a peek at the test plates in the kiln and I was not overwhelmed by the results.   They are alright, but they are not what I hoped for.  This is what I get for working off the colors in a brochure instead of physical test tiles.  This is also the reason to do these tests before committing to a whole dish set.   So I think my next project will be to take all my colors and make small color chips out of them.  I already made a few but there is a whole shelf of colors yet to be made.  It will be a project all by itself.
The next test plate I think I will stick with bright colors instead of trying to tone them down.   The colors that came out bright on the plates are the ones I like the most.   That and the purple came out a bit too close to the color blue.

Loading up the test kiln

loading the kiln with test plates

loading the kiln with test plates

After another week or working late and a weekend full of yard work and chores, I finally got around to glazing the test plates.   I ended up creating 4 plates and loading them into the small test kiln.   Last night I fired it up and I am hoping by the end of the day to be able to open it up and see how the designs came out.   I checked on it before leaving the house early this morning and there was still 900 degrees of cooling left before I can open it up.  Hopefully, one of these designs will end up being the new design for the household plates.

Even after firing up the kiln, I started thinking up new designs that might be cool.  Who knows, I may make another batch of designs before deciding on one!

Unfortunately, I glazed the plates with clear glaze before taking this picture (dries white).  So super boring photo, I know.  But there is a design under that white coating.

Auditioning Plate Designs

Last night, I was using some of the small saucers as testers for a new plate design.   These will be used in my house and I want them to be colorful, but muted.  So I selected a rainbow of underglazes but toned down each color.  Instead of Red, I went with a Ruby.  Instead of Green, I went with a Forest Green…. you get the idea.  Some of these colors I didn’t have a darker shade so I made my best guess and will just hope for the best.   I also rearranged the colors so it wasn’t such an obvious rainbow.  Hopefully, I like the outcome and can move on to the dinner plates and glasses.

The test plates were bisque fired in the kiln last night to set the underglaze.  Tonight, I should be able to glaze them and shove them right back in for the final result.

Stay tuned.

I Hate Varnish

Every time I finish a mini-series of paintings I get the brilliant idea of vanishing them.   And it never fails,  I let completed paintings sit overnight or for a few days then gently brush varnish on one.   And every time it becomes a smeared mess. This time I noticed it right away and stopped, so it’s not as bad as some of the past ones.

I need to try spraying varnish instead but I don’t have a great place to spray things.   And Seattle weather rarely cooperates with taking things outside

Now, I need to repaint this one.   I don’t have any of these mixed colors left over so it’s going to feel like starting over.

Madame Buttercup

I’ve been working late every night and I think I’m coming down with something.  So in the interest of keeping the blog moving along, I thought I’d post some recent projects that were finished just before this blog started.

Looking around my house it’s pretty easy to see I’m a fan of Adult Swim and adult animated sitcoms.  I love the solid colors and black lines.   Recently, I finally got around to finishing another Roger Smith painting, a scene where he is trying on a new dress and Stan Smith names him Madame Buttercup.   I love his over the top costumes.

This one took over a year to finish… mostly because I took a break from painting to work on other projects.  I’m glad I came back to it and finished it up.

 

Using the Cookie Cutters

 

I took my cookie cutters off the 3D Printer and got to work on making some clay slabs to use them on.  Everything did go off without a hitch.

If you’ve never used cookie cutters on clay, here’s a hint to great results:

Yup, that’s all, plastic wrap.  I keep a big Costco roll of it in the workshop and it makes all the edges of my clay perfectly rounded.   You can still muck things up trying to pull the wrap off the clay, but generally, it’s pretty easy if you take your time and go slowly.

I’ll make a whole bunch of these while I’m at it.  I just hate that I have to wait so long for them to dry out and be fired.   I want the project done NOW and that just isn’t going to happen.   Though I may go set these out in the sun today which will dry them out pretty damn quick.

I’ll also play with thickness.  These are only a 1/4″ thick, but they seem a little too thick now that I’m looking at them again.  The look I’m going for is cartoonish, so this may still work out just fine.  I’ll make thinner ones tonight and see which I end up liking more.

If you haven’t figured it out yet, these are going to be coasters for my newly painted tables.   Lumpy Space Princess (the cloud looking cookie cutter) will go on my Finn and Jake table and the Hamburger shaped ones will be Krabby Patties for my SpongeBob table.  I still haven’t figured out my third table, but eventually, I’ll make some for that theme as well.

Cookie Cutters

For an upcoming project I’ll be making use of cookie cutters…so why not make my own?

Does that shape look familiar? I’m making a few different shapes which take about 2 or 3 hours each to print.

Big thanks to cookiecaster.com for making it so easy! I uploaded an image and moments later I was printing.

Yarn Bowls

I couldn’t wait to fill up the large kiln so I threw some items in the small kiln and fired it up.  I had heard Mayco’s yarn bowls were recalled due to cracking.  Yarn bowls are cute and all, but they aren’t very stable.  While I didn’t experience any cracking the top of the bowl did bend inward a bit.  I tried showing that in the picture above.  Also, I fired this because I wanted to try out one of the new glazes, Lime Shower, SW-148, which turned out great.

I also threw in a second bowl to try out this Amaco glaze combination…

 

Pretty, right?  It’s a little disappointing in real life…

Meh, right? Plus, there are spots that didn’t stay covered… I’m strategically not showing them in the photo.  This one will be reglazed and refired.  Hopefully, this will come out better.

Black Glitter

A few weeks ago, Amazon recommended this black glitter to me.  I was intrigued because I didn’t know glitter came in black.  So I had to have it, of course.

When it arrived I grabbed an old pair of dress shoes, some mod podge and got to work.

Working in small sections I covered the areas of the shoe I selected with 2 layers of glitter while it dried a few hours in between layers.  The photo above was taken after the first layer and as you see near the toe one layer wasn’t going to cut it as there are gaps in the glitter.

Once that was done and dried I gave it one additional coat of mod podge as a top coat to seal it all in.  Up until then, it was all quite sparkly and impressive.  Unfortunately the final coat kind of dulled the whole thing and made it look a bit more like some type of rough black rubber that happened to glitter slightly.  But if you want the glitter to stay on the shoe and not slowly knock off and leave a trail of glitter spots everywhere you go, I’m not sure how this can be avoided.

If you decide to do something like this I would caution you from glittering the sides where the shoe naturally bends at the ball of your foot (toe knuckles).  I noticed after wearing them a few times the glitter started to break away in these areas.

 

Fun while it lasted

For the past week or two, I’ve taken over the living room and started repainting all the tables.  They’re 14-year-old Ikea tables and have been dinged around pretty good from moving and general life.  After starting I realized I forgot how slow house paint dries and how horrible it covers anything but walls.   3 or 4 layers of each color on each table with 4 hours drying time between layers while trying to do it all at night after work means I basically get one layer on a night and spend the rest of the night guarding it against animals while it dries…. so many many days of painting each table.

So far I’ve done the coffee table and an end table but with the weather lately, I haven’t even got a coat of lacquer on them.  I still have another end table to start and I am reconsidering doing the dining room table even after all the convincing I had to do to be allowed to do it.   If you know me, you probably have followed my progress on filling my house with artwork and how my house is slowly turning into a giant cartoon gallery.   So having a 30+-year-old dining room table really stands out amidst the paintings, stained glass, pottery, painted tables, etc.

Unfortunately, this weekend a guest is staying, so I had to clean up the living room and make it presentable.  Well, as presentable as possible considering I have covered all the freshly painted tables like a grannies house so no one can screw them up until the final clear coats are on them.

The coffee table above was taken while it was still being painted, there’s now a SpongeBob table and I have yet to decide what the other end table will be.  Nothing around here really matches, there’s no theme, so I’d rather pick characters from other shows to keep the randomness happening.  Any ideas?

I’ll post pictures of them as I get closer to finishing all of them.