Abundant Clayworks

Handcrafted Ceramics by Swan Whigham

Sunday, September 19, 2010

From the Wood Kiln

These are my latest pieces. They were fired to around cone 10 in Rob Sutherland's wood kiln. This is the first time I have fired anything in a wood kiln. Many thanks to Rob and Good Dirt in Athens, Ga for their help, generosity in letting me fire these pieces in their kiln and encouragement!!

So remember that mother/calf whale piece from so long ago?....

Back view..
Front view...
Waking the Barnacle II...For my Dad.

My latest plates...

I so look forward to the next wood firing! You can find all but the Waking the Barnacle II for sale at Good Dirt in Athens, Ga. www.gooddirt.net.

On a side note, let me just say how much I love pottery.
I find so much joy from making these earthy, delicious, textural celebratory-of-all-God's-creature's pieces! I hope you enjoy them too. :)

Friday, January 8, 2010

Last night I built 2 plates and two bowls. The extremely dry air made it possible (and necessary) for me to complete these from start to finish. The plates are going into the wood kiln and the bowls are going into a cone 6 electric firing. And man was it cold in my studio!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Humpback Whale

Although there is no "cyber" evidence, I have been busy making pottery the last few months. Of course I took off lots of time to celebrate the holidays with family- which was wonderful! Merry late Christmas, Happy New Year!
I've been working on some bowls, plates and covered vessels. I am really looking forward to putting some work in a wood firing early this year. Here is one piece I finished building yesterday.
This piece was a joy to build.
I could feel the salty air brushing my face, hear the whales singing and smell the seaweed and brine mingling in the air while creating this homage to the Northwest. I find my home-land very inspiring and memories of the place I was born and spent my early child-hood provide constant fodder for my work.
This piece was hand built using thrown slabs of cone 10 Zella Stone clay. I hand sculpted a momma humpback whale with two nursing calves. You could say it represents me with my two boys. :)
I'm looking forward to popping this into the wood kiln and leaving the rest up to chance. The wood-ash and flames will hopefully complete this piece to make it one of a kind.
I just pray it doesn't crack or get unsightly singe spots...
That's part of the fun of letting the kiln finish the job, though!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

2264 Fahrenheit

Say a little prayer because my art is being burned at 2264 degrees Fahrenheit! That is temperature of cone 6. I'm looking forward to being reunited with my little treasures. I'm also a little nervous because I tried some new glazing techniques and once they are fired, it's permanant! Hopefully I'll have them by this weekend.
On a side note, I forgot to mention what time my workshops are. The Mommy and Me workshop is Wednesday, November 4th, from 10-11:30 at my home. The fee is $15 per child, and accompanying adults are free. Children 1 and under when accompanying another child and adult are free (of course). The adult workshop is Saturday, November 7th from 9-12pm. The fee is $20 per person and includes all supplies. Please email me for Mommy and Me workshop before November 3rd and for the adult workshop, before November 6th. swanwhigham@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Glazing and workshops

Tonight I am going back to Wild Child to finish glazing some ware. Two more starfish pots should be bisque fired by now too. It's very time consuming to glaze but it's important. Although glazing is my least favorite part of the creating process, it has become more interesting of late. I used to just glaze the inside of the pots with a water green or blue, then accent the outside of the pots with iron oxide then put them in the salt kiln. Now that I don't have access to a salt kiln, I've had to experiment with cone 6 oxidation glazes. Cone 6 glazes have really come a long way, even since I was in college.
I haven't built anything in a while, but this week I will get a few things built. Next week I am having two ceramic workshops at my home. On November 4th, I will be directing a Mommy and Me workshop. We will be making Christmas ornaments. I am really looking forward to creating with the kids and other moms. I have in mind to make some 3D animal ornaments and some slab ornaments with painted on animals. Fun! The next workshop will be November 7th for adults. We will be making boat vases and cups/mugs from slabs. I am really looking forward to that too! On a side note, something else I am excited about is Nov. 10th I am going to a friend's house to make some scrumptious soap. We have a great trade set up- she is teaching me to make soap and I am teaching her children how to make pottery. Great things are happening!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Snail's pace

Last night I went to Wild Child Arts to glaze 6 tumblers and 4 covered jars. I worked for 2 hours and still did not finish glazing! I did glaze the insides of each piece in a lovely "crazed copper" glaze- I'm really excited to see how it turns out. "Crazed" means the glaze has a nice crackled effect throughout. It is still food safe, though. The outside of the pieces I accented with black under-glaze to bring out the drawings and sculpted surfaces. I also have two starfish covered jars to glaze over at Sparkle Plenty studio.
Life definitely revolves around my family, so pottery is moving along at a snail's pace. I am actually fine with that, and will kick it up a notch from time to time if I need to. I'm just happy it is going and that I have my foot in the door. And yes, I have made a sale on Etsy! Woohoo! Sure, it was from my mother-in-law who is giving it as a wedding gift, but I am still thrilled! Thanks for your support, Faye!
I've also been thinking a lot about what it takes to be really successful in pottery. I've following some blogs of other potters and I am learning a little about how much time and effort is really needed to make a living off pottery. It's not easy. I came to realization that I may never be that successful- as long as my kids are at home. I also came to realize that if I have to sacrifice this lovely family lifestyle when circumstances don't drag me to work full-time, I don't want it. I am striving for balance, and I feel good about how things are going right now. I have a great supportive husband, two of most beautiful children in the world (ahem), a cute house (yes, cute...even though the ceiling is caving in in some places...new roof, new roof, new roof), friends and family, service through church, and a fun little Etsy shop. And I've managed to work out here and there and bake some fun food! I feel alright working in pottery at a snail's pace. Slow and steady wins the race! Anyway, it's working for me right now.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Shop Announcements

Today until 12pm, my items will be showcased on Etsy. I have also made a new shop policy and welcome. The prices on my items are also reduced so check them out! I also have some green-ware that is going into the kiln on Tuesday (four covered vessels and six barnacle tumblers). I am currently accepting custom orders. If you would like to make one, go to my Etsy site to make one or email me at swanwhigham@gmail.com. These ceramic pieces make wonderful presents for the holidays!