Author: Tammy Jo

Going Hunting! – Yard Sales – Your Junk is My Workshop Treasure!

Yard Sale Textures in Use

Someone else’s junk is about to become my treasure and quite possibly will be immortalized in clay! Anything can be a “find”…textures and shapes are all around us, it just takes looking more closely. 

If you’ve been watching the 365 Day Clay Cup project videos, you’ve seen me use yard sale finds in the workshop. My slip trailer is a $.10 mayo container (well, I got a set of 6 condiment squeezers for ten cents ;), The bisque texturing stamps were all made from yard sale booty…earrings, bolts, wallpaper, linens, general hardware, kids toys and even the texturing tool I’ve used on the pots. I’ve even found buckets, paint brushes and ceramic glazes. It’s not that I don’t have enough, it’s more so  the quest to find out what other textures are out there and figuring out how I can make them useful again. 
Of course when I come back I’ll continue to glaze (I still have more room in my kiln), but you never know if I’ll find just the right thing to help me finish one of those cups that has me stumped!  The possibilities are endless…so…. off I go!  
Happy Easter to all and May God Bless You! 
~ Tammy Jo

Glazing ~ Too Many Choices Makes for Hard Work

The dilemma at hand…”How Should I Glaze Them?

Since all the cups must look different, glazing seems to be one of the most time intensive parts of this project. It’s not the actual glazing that takes so much time…it’s the decision making that goes into each cup. What makes this more difficult is the almost limitless amount of glaze choices and techniques I could use. It’s quite mind numbing, well at least my mind feels “numbed”!

I’m not going to tell you how long it took me to glaze these few cups last night…no, we won’t talk about it. Just know the cups are slowly and steadily being glazed! Tonight I’ll hit it again with the anticipation of starting my kiln sometime tomorrow night! 
~ Happy Glazing!  ~ Tammy Jo~

100th CUP! Amazing Ceramic Adventures & Feeling the Love!

Feeling the flow! There is so much to share on what has been happening in my workshop, but don’t want to overload this blog. I’ll do my best to make it quick, then try to update more often.

WEIGHTS & MEASURES – How Many Cups & How Much Clay
January:     31 Cups  – 31 lbs. 4 oz (14.17 kg)
February:   28 Cups   – 23 lbs. 12oz (10.77 kg)
March:       31 Cups   – 25 lbs.  9 oz (11.59 kg)
Totals       90 Cups  – 80 lbs.  5oz.  (36.53 kg)

100th CUP!
I DID IT…100 Days, 100 Cups (and that was also the day I made it to 100 Facebook Subscribers !)
Here’s the Cup & the Clip
100TH CUP! 


As some of you know I don’t get out much..(LOL). If you aren’t attending the college, there isn’t much happening in town when it comes to pottery and ceramics. So when the opportunity comes along for me to “get social” with clay people I jump at the chance. This past month I attended two wonderful events.

Open Studio & Art Tour

 The 1st event was a tour of local artist studios…mostly painters, but I was able to find two ceramic artists in the nearby town of Turlock.
Don Hall ,who has been featured in and written articles for Pottery Making Illustrated & Ceramics Monthly and also is in the book “500 Raku” was gracious enough to allow me to video tape him and his workshop. Plus meeting Titia Barnett who does amazingly large sculptures and teaches students ceramics in her yurt.
More than a Fun Day!

San Joaquin Potter’s Guild Annual Box Social

Pot / Box Chosen at Social
Made by Joel (FetishGhost) 

This was a fun event where members got together and ate some food, drank some wine and brought a ceramic box (or any loose interpretation of a box 😉 to share in an exchange. There were fun awards, but best of all was actually meeting other people who love clay. It just so happens the box I chose was from someone I’d never met before, but also shares his pottery making adventures online through blog & video. FetishGhosts  & if you want your own piece from Joel he also has an etsy shop! (Fun fact… unbeknown to each other, he also chose my boxes!)
 Enjoyed meeting everyone, great event!


The internet is an amazing thing! It’s allowed me to create friendships that would otherwise have been impossible. When I started this journey, I had communicated with  probably 2 people who worked with clay, now I feel connected to literally hundreds of people who share the same interest and have so much experience with ceramics & pottery…it’s just incredible.

This beautiful cup came to me last week from ThatLynnGirl who has been sharing her experience and advice through commenting on the youtube videos. It’s a gorgeous cup in the photo, but just know it really doesn’t do it justice…the colors are simply EDIBLE. Thank you so much Lynn for this new cherished piece for my collection!!!

Then, I went to my PO box and there was another surprise gift waiting for me…it felt like Christmas!!!  Another Youtube viewer that’s been guiding me along sent a wonderful book in honor of my 100th Cup called “500 Cups”! It is an invaluable book for getting inspiration on forms & glazing…Just so you know, it’s sitting right next to my glazing table for quick reference Stu, then it will be with me in the workshop when I need help with new shapes! Thank you so very much, such a thoughtful thing to do 🙂

Well, that’s it for today as I need to get myself outside and throw some more cups! Thanks for stopping by and check out the 365 Day of Clay Cups Project…as of today I have 260 more cups to go!!!

God Bless ~ Tammy Jo

Hobby Potter Website   ~   Photo Gallery of 365 Days of Clay Cups

ER Visit & Kiln Openings, What do they have in common? ….ME!

This pottery journey has had so many ups, it’s only fair that it has a down or two!

When I say down I mean…down & out. As some of you know who watch the daily videos on youtube, I had a little ER visit & some down time. If you’d like to know exactly what happened, here’s a link to the video (no sense rehashing it all in print form when you can just hear it from the horses mouth..wait..did I just call myself a horse 😉

So….what about 365 DAYS OF CLAY CUPS

That little incident set me back in cups, which caused me to re-structure my little 365 day project.

The original plan was to make a cup a day for 365 Days, this unfortunately hit a wall when I did 🙂 Now, reaching that “specific” goal is no longer an option, yet I am still going to be making 365 Days worth of Clay Cups! In fact, I’m right back on the horse, catching up with my cups and approaching the project from a slightly different angle!

Making Time More Effective
I’ve rescheduled throwing, handles & glazing into a flow that works for both time & creativity..(creativity…something I felt I didn’t have adequate time for before).  You won’t notice much of a change with the vlog except slightly different intro’s and throwing clips…but I am making my shop time more productive and this has been a big plus!

Kiln Openings – The Good ~ The Bad ~ And the Stuck!
Note to self…kiln wash is like deodorant, you gotta use it for it to work!
For the most part it was a successful kiln opening. I was able to get a good test on some glazes that I’d had in buckets and couldn’t recall what they looked like…it was almost like a grab bag! It was real pleasing to see the colors that came from these buckets, the down side was I didn’t realize how much they would run. I waxed the bottoms of the cups, but it just wasn’t enough to hold back the flow. Live & Learn!

Here’s the Kiln Opening Video

Photo Gallery Updated with Before & After Pics.

That’s it for today! If you have any suggestions for me I’d sure appreciated hearing from you….Thanks so much!!

What’s Happening in My Pottery Studio! UPDATE

Hi Everyone! It’s been a long time since posting to the blog…where was I in February? Instead of going back and retracing my steps, I’m just going to start fresh with random thoughts and future plans. Of course this blog is also going to be my place to post reminders to myself 🙂 

Cup #49 “Into The Woods”

1st thought…What am I going to do with all these cups? !
For some reason when I started the project I didn’t fully imagine how much space 365 Cups would need. Now that I”m only about 1/5 of my way through the year, space and storage is becoming more of a visible necessity and reality. I’m also wondering what I want to do with the cups when the project is over..hmm. Before the project began, a friend of mine brought up the idea of using the completed cups as an exhibit in her gallery for 2012. Sounds exciting…we’ll have to see 🙂

How Much Clay Have I Used
I’m so thankful I’ve been logging how much clay was used for each cup! I didn’t calculate the crash and burns, just the weight of the clay before I threw each cup.
Here are the current stats:
 – January 2011 –   31 lbs.  4 oz. ( Days/Cups 1-31)
 – February 2011-  23 lbs.  4 oz. ( Days/Cups 32-59)
  Total to Date:   54 lbs.  8 oz 

How Should I Keep Funding My Little Project? 
I’ve been tossing the idea back and forth about selling some of the other cups I make that don’t get into the 365 Day project. To be quite honest, I DIDN’T want to make pottery into a production type business because the whole reason I started working with clay was for relaxation…you know, a hobby… (like I need another business right now…just sayin’ ;)!

At the same time I can’t ignore the fact that my hobby DOES cost my family money…yes, this is for my own personal entertainment. (Okay, can you tell I’m feeling a little guilty about it?)
So….I’ve just been pondering the idea of funding this “little project” by selling a small amount of the overflow cups/bowls/whatever on If I do this, it could help buy my next bag of clay or maybe even some high fire glaze ingredients (that’s right folks…I want to become a chemist and mix my own glazes…she rubs her hands together with an evil scientist laugh!).

I’m thinking to earn some money from what I make could ease the guilty conscience a little…then again, I’ll be making myself another time intensive project (taking pictures, listing online,  packing, shipping )….then again it could ease my guilty conscience … What to do, what to do? Like I said, I’m just pondering this idea and am still undecided.

Pit Firing
Time to get things ready for a pit firing! 

Well, that’s all I have time to jot down for now! Here are some updates you may or may not be aware of:

Cups to Date Photo Gallery (unglazed):
(haven’t figured out how to organize the glazed pictures yet…see those on Facebook)

YouTube Hobby Potter Channel of Daily Vlog/Videos:

Friend Me on Facebook to see Daily Updates:
Today’s YouTube Video – Day #61

What a Month!!!

Today, I’m pondering where I started in this journey and how far I’ve come in just this one month’s time.

Even though today is January 29th…my throw date is February 1st…the beginning of a brand new month! 
Thank you YouTube viewers, Facebook Friends & Peeps..your encouragement has meant the world to me!

In the month of January, I’ve tried and tested new throwing techniques while being given an incredible amount of input that would make your head spin! But you need to understand….this is all perfect for me! 

After a month of throwing cups (good or bad for all the world to see) through a video log, I’ve been allowed the rare experience of having professionals and amateurs give me their suggestions on how to improve on my skills. This has been more than I ever anticipated! 
The 365 Day’s of Clay Cups Project began as a personal quest, challenge, journey..whatever you want to call finally make an educated effort to improve and grow as a potter. It didn’t matter if I was just talking to myself on the videos, the fact I was keeping a vlog about the journey would keep me consistent . Now, I look forward to hearing the insights of others and getting to know them and watching what they are doing with clay…it’s just been a wonderful experience!!!
Here is my new game plan/goals  for February :

1. Start being consistent in throwing. – I need to focus & practice consistently 
Steve Booten and Alex Shimwell..two very experienced professional potters located in the UK…  have been giving me email instruction, video responses and tips that I’ve decided are to become my basic pottery throwing guidelines for throwing…the ones I will continually work on to practice and improve. 
I’m also going to blend into the mix tips posted by others on youtube such as Janice & Cindy & Lynn & Sharon & zhpottery this should also help give me a complete package of skills to improve on. 

2. Follow cup inspiration – Find Inspiration for the cup BEFORE I sit down to throw it! 
After recruiting some friends to give me their favorite songs, it occured to me that my inspiration is generally stoked by songs, feelings and themes. I found that the cups I threw along with listening to a song and thinking about the qualities of the person, gave me incredible insight on what I think a perfect cup for that person would look like. It becomes like a story and I’ve found my inspiration flows to match it. 
Put the inspiration together with technique and there are no limits to what can be created! Looking forward to growth in February, thank you everyone for your continued help and guidance! 
Warm Regards
~ Tammy Jo

Check out what’s new in the video log:

Or Join me on Facebook

Pete & Repeat sat on a fence…Pete fell off..who was left…..REPEAT!

As I look around youtube at all the ceramic and pottery videos or on Etsy with so many varieties of ceramic works, I’ve realized there is a never ending supply of talented potters and ceramists out there!  They inspire me…. I’m an inspired hobbyist!

HOBBYIST: “Is an interest pursued outside one’s regular occupation and is engaged in primarily for pleasure.”  

“Primarily for Pleasure” Being a hobbyist of pottery and ceramics, I find great pleasure in creating something new every time I get on the wheel, but if I’m honest with myself the thought of repetitive activities…be it work or play…just sends a wave of nausea through my body 🙂 
I recently shared  a picture on my personal facebook page of a cup I made for the series (finished cup will be on Day #19). Everyone loved it and started asking me if I could make more of them or if I’d ever consider making and selling them. I thought about it..and then the nausea came! No, I probably won’t be duplicating the cup over and over again. That’s the beauty of a hobby…it’s not your livelihood and you’re not required to do anything other than find joy in what you are doing. I own another type of business and my reason for potting was to NOT make it into a business (well…at least for now). 
I’ve loved making these videos, especially when I read that there are others out there who can relate to the journey in someway. I’ve also loved making the cups..although at 1st I knew it would be repetitive, I also knew that it had to be done to learn and grow. There was satisfaction in knowing the handles could be unique to each cup, so this realization caused the “repetitive” waves to subside. 
Will I ever be a production potter…no. Although my favorite motto is “Do what needs to be done, When it ought to be done, Whether you like it or not”. For this hobby, there will be a time of learning & a time of creativity and together there will be harmony.  ~.1 cup a day!
~ Tammy Jo
Watch it Be Thrown
SNEAK PEEK Day #18 Cup
To Come…List of Glazes 🙂