Saturday, 7 January 2012

Handmade Buttons and Jewelry - A Peak in the Kiln

Here is a peak inside my kiln.  I got a great shipment of new glazes yesterday and I'm trying some of them out.  You can see some of the speckles on some of the pieces.  When I took the picture the kiln was still sort of hot (about 450 degrees Fahrenheit) so the colours aren't showing the true finished colours that they will become when the kiln is cooled.  These are an assortment of hearts and flowers and thre is one little pig pendant in the bottom right hand corner.  I normally make buttons for but decided this time around I'd make a few pendants and cabochons which I'll glue to some ring bases.  These will likely go on  I'm also thinking about maybe starting up yet another Etsy shop for my ceramic buttons and pendants but I'm not sure I want to do that.  I can't wait to see how these turn out.  I'm teaching myself how to work with ceramics and have never had a lesson so anything I do is all self taught.  That means that my glazes don't always work.  Working with ceramics also teaches you patience since you can't do anything quickly.  There is so much time waiting for things to dry.  One of the good things about being self taught is that you get to break the rules.  For example normally you are supposed to make the ceramic shapes, let them dry and then fire them in the kiln to the bisque stage.  Then you are supposed to glaze them and fire them again.  I found that by the time I did this I had lost interest in the original shapes I had created.  What I have been doing is making the shapes and letting them dry but then glazing them before firing the first time.  This way I can get away with firing them only once.  That cuts out a whole lot of work and speeds up the process.  I'm sure there is a "rule" against this and those ceramic artists that have formal training will probably cringe.  Oh well.  I'm finding the experimentation fun.  Of course you always have to be careful working with a kiln since you are dealing with extreme head so my experimentation won't go too far but it's interesting to see how these things turn out.  Now if I can just wait for that kiln to cool down.  I've done a bunch of resin buttons today as well and those are now drying.  Those just take a few days to make so are much quicker than the ceramic buttons.  I have so many button and pendant ideas.  I can't wait to see how they turn out!  I'll try to post pictures of these pieces when they are completely cool so you can see how the colours turn out.

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