Episode 4 – Kiln Opening Tests – Success in Failures

This was a wonderful growth week! I spent this week in both brainstorming and testing!

First, this Weeks Video:
2016 Hobby Potter Weekly – Season 2 – Episode #3 (8-6-16):
( I ramble a little in the journal section so you may just want to read the blog LOL !)

– Kiln Testing: I always love the element of testing that happens in ceramics and combine with that the element of the unknown that comes with every kiln run! It’s exciting yet disappointing when things don’t work out. Thankfully there was nothing I was making “on purpose” in the kiln and just accept the failed tests as just that… growth for future successes!

Challenge #1: Glaze Application: The incense burners did not turn out as I was anticipating.  I believe the challenge occurred with the layers and application thicknesses. Under the wash under the flowers was too thin and the colored glaze applied to the top was too thick.

Challenge #2; White turned out beige: Wrong Clay! I also wanted to test what my clear glaze looked like on the earthenware clay. Since I was after pure white results for the future wedding cake and bridal shower favors. I call this a successful test, even though my clay did not turn out white! It would have been a disaster if I created 180 wedding favors and they turned out a yellowish beige!

-Planning The Ceramic Wedding Favor Cake : Since my daughter and soon to be son-in-law wanted something other than a traditional wedding cake, we thought it would be fun to combine the wedding favor as part of the cake! So I’m constructing 180 ceramic pieces to hold a “dessert” that will be displayed in the shape of a wedding cake that guests will be able to take home with them! This week was the beginning stages.

The challenge was determining how much space and what size I would need for the cake form to work out. A rough “guess-timate” I came up with was approximately 120 pieces sitting on a the round table and 60 pieces on the second tier and the third tier will be their personal sized wedding cake to cut (for traditions sake). In the coming weeks we’ll see how this all pans out in actual fact LOL!!!


-New Clay! : After the clay party and seeing my above test results, I was able to talk to Sandra Veneman (Ceramic artist & Co-Owner of The Chartreuse Muse Art Gallery), about a finding a pure white clay. She recommend the clay and clear glaze they use. Amaco’s Versa Clay & Duncan’s Pure Brilliance. It is an earthenware clay, but can be fired up to Cone 5. I just now read the description and it says it’s made for children in the classroom…so their must be something very forgiving about it. Went out, bought the clay and started to throw with it to make the Bridal Shower favor cups….LOVE IT!!! Let’s see if it really comes out white!


-Just for fun! : I took some time off camera and made a few pieces just for the fun of it! After all …I’m a “hobby potter” and as a hobbyist we are all free to do what we want with our hobby! A small sculpture pitcher and a sushi tray!


And with this I’ll close! Hope you enjoyed the video and will see you next time!

Enjoy your clay play!!!

~ Tammy Jo

3 thoughts on “Episode 4 – Kiln Opening Tests – Success in Failures

  1. I’m so inspired by your posts. Thank you for your videos and your chit chat. Can’t wait to see the post Sept 10 photos.

  2. If you have anymore of those signed books, i would love one. If you dont i will still by a copy. Also will you do a second book with all your ideas in it? I love your blackboard, your charts, your shelving system,your ideas. Your vlogs are interesting and fun. Your passion for rhe clay, watching your growth as a potter, which is paralelled in the growth of your hair… you say you are not a professional and not a teacher, but you are the type of teacher I would have loved wayyy back in high school. I appreciate the links to other potters and how you credit your teachers. I hope to someday have a fulltime studio, an gallery show, a shop, etc, and you inspire me that i can. 5 years and i will be done homeschooling my kids, and then it is time for pottery on a fulltime basis. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Angeline! I so encourage you to go after your dreams, we are quite alike in some ways! I home schooled all four of my children up through Jr. High and from their they went to a public charter…(except my youngest who has Autism and is graduating high school this year through online independent study.). Unfortunately I don’t have any books in stock but it is available on Amazon ( https://www.amazon.com/365-Days-Clay-Cups-Excellent/dp/0692563067/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1486050236&sr=8-1&keywords=365+days+of+clay+cups ) when you look inside the book, you the SURPRISE ME option ..it will actually show you more of the interior of the book and some cups! Thanks again for the encouragement Angeline! I’ll think about creating more books / eBooks as you suggested once I get my current projects underway!

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