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Carving porcelain – cardinals

Hi Everybody! I have been carving my first batch of porcelain cups; using RED colored slip. To honor Kentucky’s state bird, the cardinal. This video shows how the process works.

Stay tuned to see how they look after going through the kiln. Thanks for everyone for watching, your encouragement and support! I’m so happy to be back in the clay studio!

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Porcelain Test Tiles

I spent much of the summer throwing pots, and learning how to work in porcelain-a beautiful, translucent clay, that requires a little bit of extra care and a lot of patience.

triple beam scale for weighing ceramic material

I had to take a break for a few months, so that I could do some glaze testing…and here are the results!!!:

finished test tiles for ceramic porcelain glaze

I FINALLY think I have a recipe for BLUE!!!  The blues I was used to with stoneware were too fluid on porcelain…the colors had a tendency to slide around. 

mason jars with colorful ceramic glaze

I also have a decent RED, ORANGE and PURPLE!

The YELLOW I was hoping for was a little less vibrant that what I wanted, but it’s a nice toned color that will pair nice with some others. I’m still working on a GREEN…I have learned that a glaze recipe that doesn’t include zinc helps it stay a little bit brighter.

raw materials for ceramic glaze

I’ve put these tiles through a stress test: freezing them, then dropping them into boiling water ( a few times)

unfired test tiles for porcelain glaze

The glazes all fit, so I’M BACK IN THE CLAY STUDIO!!! Hope to have new pots soon!

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Throwing pots on a Rainy Day

An exciting thing about live video is that you never know what will happen, and there’s no way to edit out the warts and bloopers that are part of real life.

I haven’t been in my pottery studio for a while, and thought it would be fun to broadcast live while throwing pots and listening to cincinnati’s classical music station, WGUC. After listening to a beautiful piece by composer, Robert Schumann, DJ Elaine Diehl talked about how the composer struggled with mental health, and how music was an important part of his life. Reminding US that during this pandemic, we can think about Schuman and his struggles and music, when we have OUR mood swings and challenges.

After a few minutes, while still broadcasting, facebook sent me an alert, threatening to stop my broadcast because I was playing copyrighted music. Almost as if on cue, my mood went from happy to rage, and I almost said a few cuss words, while ranting about facebook’s lack of a social conscious.

I took the video down, because that vibe is not the kind of thing I want to spread among my friends (or to anyone), but I think the story is worth sharing, because, like everyone, I am dealing with maintaining mental health during the uncertainty of the pandemic….lately, art (and listening to WGUC public radio) have been a saving grace, just like music was for Robert Schuman. I hope you are finding and embracing the thing that keeps you healthy and happy right now.

Another moral to the story, you never know what you are going to get when you watch those live videos, lol! My apologies to anyone who saw me acting like that.

And here’s a sped up and muted version of what you missed…the pots actually came out pretty good!

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kiln opening – 7/28/2020

I recently had a kiln opening, with new porcelain! you can see a photo gallery with all of them by clicking the link here: http://www.kenswinson.com/art/index.php?/category/22 or click the photo below

photos of porcelain sgraffito pottery

I believe that pots need to be seen in person, so I don’t sell them online. They are on my front porch, if you live nearby, or want to take a scenic drive in the country, come visit my house in historic Old Washington, where you can pick them up and hold them.

Here’s another idea, maybe it’s too crazy, or too much work, but i’ll just put it out there:

I’m serious about the safety of myself, my community, and my friends and neighbors during the pandemic. I have not been showing in big groups or indoors. I AM comfortable with showing artwork outside (like on my front porch), to small groups, on a porch, driveway, park or garden, with a mask, hand sanitizer, etc. I am thinking about taking my pots on the road. if there is enough interest, you live relatively closeby, and can commit to buying a few pots, I will come to you (kind of like the old fashioned door to door salesmen).

What do you think? Is that crazy? maybe it’s easier to just visit old washington and come to my front porch? Anyway, hope you like the new pots! I

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Squirrel Butter dish – 26 July 2020

I don’t always show work in progress, because I don’t want to get people excited, only to be disappointed if it doesn’t make it through the kiln firing.

porcelain butter dish with squirrel oak leaf and acorn design

But this squirrel themed butter dish is too stinking cute to keep to myself!

Keep your fingers crossed that this makes it through the firing. I’m excited about it because i don’t do a lot of handbuilding. Most of my functional pots are thrown on a wheel. This dish was made by a different technique. More like sculpting than throwing. Stay tuned to see how it comes out!

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Check in video – 21 July 2020

I haven’t been on Facebook or Instagram for the month of July, as part of the #stopHateForProfit boycott. I thought I’d check in and let everyone know that I’m doing ok. i miss my ‘friends’ but life is actually nicer in some ways without facebook. I’m getting a lot more done: staying productive, learning to work with porcelain..and today, i carved a mug with a horse!

Feel free to comment and let me know how you are doing…i do miss hearing from you all!

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kiln opening 7/18/2020

collection of porcelain pottery displayed on a porch

My first kiln load using only porcelain. Porcelain is a beautiful clay, with a rich history. It does take some extra care, and there is a learning curve. Still—over half this load are beautiful. Some are going to need some touch ups, and a few are going to end up in the garden. They are on my front porch, if you want to see them in person.

Click any of the photos below (or right here) to see the gallery with photos of all the pots from the firing

snapshot of porcelain pottery gallery