Monday, November 23, 2020

A Little Sewing but Mostly Pottery


Hello! Hope all is well in your world. As my blog title indicates, I've been doing lots of making but not so much sewing. I'll run through the sewing part first. 

Except for a few pairs of underwear, this is pretty much it. Notice a theme here? Working from home, there just isn't much point to dressing up or making new clothes.  All I ever wear is sweats anyway, and I've even been known to work in my pjs occasionally. As a result, those are the only clothes that are wearing out. The oven mitts were a thank you gift for a friend who helped me set up my ceramic studio. 

Here's a quick rundown (clockwise from top):

  1. First, we have the perennial favorite Bombazine Mitts. If you've never made these before, I recommend heading straight over to the Bombazine site and downloading this FREE pattern. It's such a great scrapbuster and opportunity to practice quilting. I love giving these as hostess gifts. Remember dinner parties? We're always thrashing our mitts around here, so I'm going to try to squeeze in another pair for myself before the major Thanksgiving cooking this week. 
  2. After six years, I finally made another pair of Hudson Pants by True Bias. I had to dig way back into the Duckndam archives to find my sewing notes. Basically, if you're short like me (5'2"), primarily in the legs, be prepared to wack off some length. I shortened the leg by 4.5 inches. Fabric is a WONDERFUL french terry from Stonemountain Fabrics. 
  3. Yet another pair of Carolyn PJs by Closet Core Patterns. Another SBC favorite. This is my 3rd set, and I always forget how involved this project is. The best tip ever: Someone on instagram said they made the top first to get the labor-intensive part out to the way. Why did I never think of that?  Here are my original sewing notes.  Adjustments are the same. The only difference is that I made my bias tape (not piping) from scraps instead of using store-bought and avoided the buttonholes entirely by sewing the buttons through since the top just slips over my head. Fabric is a swiss dot from Fabric Outlet that was already in my stash. 
  4. An improv quilted pillow top from lots of linen scraps. I really do love improv quilting, mostly because I hate any kind of math. It's just a simple envelope pillow cover. And even after making this pillow and my mitts, I STILL have a few bits of linen left. Crazy.
So that's my sewing for the past few months in a nutshell. Like I said, no place to go and no need for new clothes. Instead, I've spent a lot of time watching pottery videos on Youtube (lots of ceramics teachers on lockdown), learning new skills, and making pots. 

I took a couple of ceramics classes a few years back and always intended to take more, but then I would get busy with work. The timing was never quite right. Honestly, if we hadn't been quarantined, I probably wouldn't have set up a studio and taken the step of purchasing a kiln, although I'm glad I did. I've really needed something to take my mind off the pandemic. Also, the election was hell. So much ugliness and dishonesty. I don't get into politics very much here, but, yeah, I hate Trump. He's horrible. Anyway, working with clay has been very therapeutic in a way that sewing hasn't. Perhaps because of the type of sewer I am--i.e., not challenging myself too much--it's easier to sew on autopilot. With ceramics, there's so much to learn and seemingly limitless possibilities. It reminds me of when I first started sewing and wanted to learn how to do everything. I go to bed at night thinking about all the things I want to try to make with clay. 

Here are some of the things I've been making. I'm only handbuilding right now--not sure yet if I want to buy a wheel.  Lots of first-time efforts, lots of overly-heavy bowls and vases. ;)

Clockwise from top left:
  1. A wonky planter made for Beej and my first go at wax resist. Glaze is Amaco Umber float. I'm currently working on a couple more using this technique and pattern. 
  2. My first glaze fire was to test tiles. I decided to use shapes and turn them into a wall hanging. My idea is that I can easily swap out the shapes and change it up whenever I feel like it. 
  3. This bowl was formed at the base by pinching, followed by coils for height. Inside glaze is beautiful (Amaco Toasted Sage); outside, meh (Iron Luster, I think. quite transparent brown).
  4. These two vases were made by attaching two hump molds (an old Ikea bowl). I love their round, chubby shape. The little one is glazed with Amaco Turquoise Float, but it's a bit flat.  The larger version was underglazed in red, carved and textured with a bath scrubby, and glazed with Amaco Deep Firebrick. I'm actually not all that thrilled with the Amaco glazes, but I had bought a set and have been experimenting. 
Here are my favorites so far. 

 The top is another hump mold with a stem added. Glaze is Amaco Blue Stone, which is my favorite of the Amaco Potter's Choice collection.  Bottom two are pinched dishes with a gorgeous Speckled Coral by Western. They turned out delicate but also surprisingly sturdy. I love pinching. I've actually started to keep a ball of clay next to my computer for when I get stressed with work (or bored in a meeting, lol). I find it really soothing. 

So there you go-- a little sewing but mostly pottery. There will be more ceramics posting. Funny, I haven't discovered an online potter community in the blogosphere quite yet. Lots on Instagram but mostly professionals. I'm looking forward to learning more. Right now, I'm just feeling my way around, trying new techniques like carving (scgraffito), underglazes, etc. I would like to find a direction and just pursue it instead of all the dabbling--my pots all look so different!--but maybe that will come in time. 

Are there any sewists out there who also make pots? I've been following Jasika's pottery journey with great interest. Anyone else out there I should know about? Or any recommended pottery blogs? Have you discovered any new interests during this strange and unique year?

Thanks so much for reading. (I know it was a lot!) I've got more to say about ceramics, but I think I'll hold off for another time. This was a long one. 

Stay healthy and safe, stay home, take care!        

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