Ratties, drippy cups and slow going.

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We’re down to just five ratties here as of today. My last girl went to live with my daughter and her rats a couple of weeks ago, leaving me with just six boys. Then last night we noticed that Hashtag, one of the boys, was very off colour, so we took him into the vets this morning where he was diagnosed with bladder stones and a very full bladder indeed. The vets gave him some painkillers and then tried unsuccessfullyΒ  to dislodge the blockage with a catheter, then tried their ultrasound to see if that would help. When his bladder was still completely blocked we decided it was best to let him go whilst still under the anaesthetic. It’s always such a blow when they go downhill so quickly. Upsetting. This is why I need a break from ratties. 😦

On the clay side of things, I was hoping to do a bisque firing today, but most of my greenware is still not dry enough. Things seem to be taking weeks to dry at the moment. Three of the mugs I was going to fire had the handles cracking off too, so I bunged them back in the clay recycle bucket. I’ve got some vases and yarn bowls that I’m itching to get glazed but they just don’t want to dry out. I did get a few mugs through earlier in the week, trying a speckled clay and a drippy glaze effect. Very cliche, but fun. The sienna glaze I tried didn’t work too well as it pulled away from the rim of the mugs leaving a rough surface to drink from, but the blue glazes have done a really nice job. I used Amaco Textured Turquoise over Amaco Blue Midnight. There are five more to glaze, so I’ll use the same combo for those I think. The bare clay at the bottom looks well vitrified and I think has picked up a slight sheen from the glaze above

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I’ve also bought a big stack of plastic boxes to transport pots to shows in, as we realised last weekend that cardboard boxes aren’t a great idea when the ground is damp, and it takes a long time to unpack and re-pack when there are several layers of pots in each box. This weekend I need to move my pots into the new boxes. 18 litre Really Useful Boxes – I think I can fit 12 mugs in a box and they stack nicely.

I picked up a nice little mirror on a wooden stand from a charity shop this morning to use when throwing, so I can see my pots from the side. Just Β£3.99, which isn’t bad at all. You might get to see it in action, because I want to make a process video to play on my stall next time we do a show. A bit of telly always brings people over.

OK, I’ll stop talking now.

Take care,

Annette πŸ™‚

 

 

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I broke my blog!

Oops.

Shortly after posting my previous missive I changed the address of the blog, thereby breaking the link to all my old posts. Silly bean. Anyway, I’m still here, just being a parsnip instead of a ratty now. πŸ˜›

Cheers,

Annette πŸ™‚

Craft Fayre in the snow

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So the weather could have been better. We were hit by what the media are calling the ‘mini beast from the east’ – the temperature dropped to around freezing just for the two days of the craft fayre, with a wind chill of six degrees and snow over ice on the roads, so no-one with any sense would decide to go out to a shopping village off un-gritted roads to spend their pennies.

Thankfully some hardy souls did come along, and we managed to recoup about half of the stand fee over the two days. Some of our fellow stallholders didn’t make a single sale all weekend, and we eventually all packed up at 3pm on Sunday rather than waiting until 5. My feet have never been so cold, even with double sockness.

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My husband completed my new super dooper mug stand late the night before the show, and it looked amazing so I need to show it off. Here you are.

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I’m definitely going to try again, maybe at a warmer time of year, but this was a good trial run.

Thanks for reading,

Annette πŸ™‚

An exciting weekend

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Here it comes, the Easter Fayre at Hatton Shopping village, the one that I booked in a fit of enthusiasm when I first decided that Parsnip Pottery was going to be a real thing. It’s this coming Saturday and Sunday, two weeks before Easter and on the days when the temperature is expected to drop a few degrees after a relatively warm week. Better wrap up warm! Thank goodness it’s in a marquee.

Seven boxes of pottery packed, including a LOT of mugs because I’ve been trying to achieve perfect mugness over the past couple of months. With luck and reasonable weather we may make enough money and shelf space to let me carry on making and learning for another few months.

My amazing other half is busy making me some floor standing mug trees, just hoping he manages to get them finished in time for Saturday.

Wish me luck!

Annette πŸ™‚

Fun stuff

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I’m telling you, I had such a good holiday period. So much playing with clay, I made a load of mugs that are just now going through the kiln, a couple of teapots that are drying very very slowly because I’m so nervous that they will crack. Right now I’ve got 11 goblets in the bisque kiln. I’ve tried to make goblets before and they weren’t ideal, but I’ve got the hang of it now.

The first of the latest mugs are now on Folksy, so we’ll see if anything sells.

Parsnip Pottery at the MRC

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Today was the day of the Midlands Rat Club Christmas Show, with my first venture out for Parsnip Pottery. We had a reasonable day’s sales, although visitor numbers were depleted by the threat of more snow this weekend. Even Santa couldn’t make it as he was snowed in at home – you would think he’d be used to it!

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My display needs a little work, I’m sure it could look better than that, but the pots themselves were well received. The best sellers were not surprisingly the rat mugs and the rat ornaments. Thank you to all my new customers.

The next few days will be taken up by the updating of my website so I can sell online. Then I can work out how to post the pots without breakages. Onwards we go.

Take care,

Thanks for reading,

Annette πŸ™‚

It’s a real thing

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Parsnip Pottery is turning into a real thing. My stall is booked at the MRC Christmas Show and I’m in the process of organising a craft fair booking for Easter as well. This hobby is here to stay if I can make it self-supporting. I’m making pots that my friends, at least, are asking to be able to buy, and I’m running out of box-space to keep the production to date, so the obvious thing is to begin selling. The website and facebook page are set up, and I’m planning to open a Folksy shop once the MRC show is over.

 

These cups are my favourites to date, and they were so much fun to decorate I can see myself making many more. Pots ahoy!

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Kiln opening

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So we’ve got a bit of catching up to do, haven’t we? On the Saturday of last weekend I went on a three hour pottery throwing course at The Ceramics Studio in Ettington, which was so, so useful. I learnt such a lot in those three hours that on Sunday I went back to their website and booked another session for next month. I wanted to try out throwing on a sit down foot controlled wheel rather than my hand controlled desktop jobbie. The same yet different is the conclusion. The new term of college pottery lessons has also started, so I’m using the wheel there. No instruction there though, as the tutor is taking the class through making coil pots, but we can use the wheels if we know how.

I’ve also been making some more of the slab built ratty ornaments to take to the Midlands Rat Club Christmas show in December. I had some requests on Facebook to turn them into tea light holders, but it just doesn’t really work. I like them as original, just as ornaments. There aren’t going to be hundreds of these though – the wheel thrown stuff is more fun right now.

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The yarn bowl I showed in progress came out of the glaze kiln today. I just love it so much, it’s my favourite pot so far. I made a video of the opening if you would like to see how it came out.

That’s it for now.

Cheers,

Annette πŸ™‚

 

Yarn bowls

We’re now post glaze firing 5, so I’m a hexpert! Maybe not quite. I’m getting a better idea of what the glazes will do. The current thing to make is carved yarn bowls. They keep me occupied for a few hours each. This is the first one.

yarnbowl

Websiteness will be happening soon. I’ve got a whole pile of photos to show off, but need to get around to processing them.

See you soon,

Annette πŸ™‚

First glaze firing

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Well nothing terrible happened. Some of the glazes didn’t do exactly what I expected and one pot stuck itself to the clay biscuit I had set it on, but there were no major disasters. I now have a set of test tiles for my glazes, even though the effect on the tile doesn’t always resemble what I got on the pots. Some pots went straight into the bin.

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This is my favourite pot – a tea bowl that was one of the first things I made on my wheel.

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The textured pots were disappointing, with most of the pattern being wiped out by the glazes. I need to carve deeper next time.

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And finally I have a spoon rest to replace the teapot shaped one I broke at work.

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Have fun folks,

Annette πŸ™‚