Pageviews last month

Welcome to my blog

you for visiting my blog.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Creating A Large Bowl

I find it hard to turn large pieces on the wheel,  but I wanted to make a large bowl. 

First I made a mold for the bowl.  I lined a large cardboard box with plastic and put a hard plastic bowl upside down in it.  The bowl came from the dollar store.  I lightly coated the bowl and box with Murphy's oil soap which made it easier to come off the plaster.

The mixed plaster needs to be poured slowing into the box mold to limit air bubbles.  The plaster was bought at a pottery supply place.  Follow the directions on the plaster bag.

I put enough plaster to cover the bowl then put a coat hanger shaped in a circle over the plaster. The wire reinforces the plaster.  A second batch of plaster was made which was poured over the first plaster in the mold.  Plaster sets up fast so only make small batches.  I was too slow with the first batch and it set up in the bucket.

Let the plaster cure for a day before taking it out of the mold.

My mold is quite heavy so I leave it on a shelf to make the bowls.

Making The Bowl

I first turn a bottomless cylinder.  This becomes the base.

I roll out a large piece of clay that has been wedged, with no air pockets.  It is laid in the plaster mold. With a soft rib I smooth the clay into the plaster mold.  By this time it is dry enough to flute the edges, if desired.

The plaster dries the clay quickly.  When the clay is leather hard I take it out of the mold, turn it upside down on foam, for protection.

When the base is leather hard cut the top of the base at an angle and place it on the bowl.  This gives it more surface to attach it to and fit the bottom of the bowl.  You might want to place a bubble level on it to make sure it will sit level.  Mark where the base will fit.  Slip and score the bowl and base. Attach the base to the bowl.

You can put a coil on the inside of the turned base to secure to the bowl.   Flip it over and dry it under plastic.  

Decorate it any way you want to. 

Family and Christmas Visits

Christmas and just being busy, mostly selling my pottery has kept me away from my giving thanks. 

Lets see how this year goes with it.

I am thankful for all the sales of my pottery at local Christmas craft shows, local people and my Etsy account.

I am thankful that we were able to visit our daughter, son in law and grandchildren during Christmas and my father, his wife, siblings and Dave's step mother after Christmas.

Now I am thankful for peace and quiet to re-corporate for all the visiting and eating.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Bethlehem Trek

Written below is my experience of our Bethlehem Trek in the small town of Bala Ontario, Canada.      Animals listed were real ones, including the dead fish for sale at the market.

Saturday Dec 6 we were summoned by Cesar Augustus to return to the land of our fathers , King David, to be counted in a census and pay our taxes.  

At 6 p.m. we arrived to join the line where it all began.  The stars twinkled above on this clear night and the moon shone to light our way as  we inched toward the door of the great hall (community center).  In the distanced we could see the doors of the great hall  open and  group of travelers were ushered into a place of warmth before the door closed again.

Although we waited  for 1 ½ hours it did not seem long.   The night was mild and we passed the time conversing with the other travelers.  Some lived nearby, others had already traveled a great distance. Children  bundled up slid down the local snow banks.   Carolers from the Mennonite church and the local  Bethlehem choir sang.

Occasionally a servants would walk down the road and  call out “Camel coming, make room”. Sometimes there was even a caravan of  3 or 4 camels, (cars).   Finally we stood on the steps of the great hall.  We would be next.  The doors opened and Dave and I were let in with the rest of our family,  4 or 5 teen girls,  a mother, father and their 2 children.  

The gate keeper gave us our Census paper,  and said, “You are from the family of David. Most importantly , do not loose your  Census paper. The Roman soldiers could demand it at any time. 
 If you  loose it you will not be let in and not counted, and risk jail time. 
 You are family number two.  Go in take seat, enjoy the carolers.  When you see the servant holding up Roman numeral II,  join your family at the back door.  It should take about ½ an hour.”

We enjoyed  the Mennonite choir and sang carols with the Bethlehem choir. The majesty told us of the baby that was born that night to come save us all.    The servant held up plaque number XIV,  then XV and so on.  How high did the numbers go, I wondered.  The time pasted quickly.  Dave said, “Number one, we’re next”.
 Our small, but poor family gathered at the back where we met our sister Naomi.   Naomi greeted us and we greeted each other before we set out on our long journey to Bethlehem  Naomi made sure we had our tax papers, she had the money for the tax collectors.  

No sooner had  began then we were met by a friendly guard. “Who goes there and where do you travel.”

“I am Naomi and this is my family.  We are on our way to Bethlehem.  Do you know how long it will take?”   

“Many days, five or six. You best be on you way”  answered the guard. We bid him goodbye and continued.

We met many people and saw wondrous things on our trek.

A young couple, Abigail and Zachariah invited us into their humble home for bite to eat.  Their donkey  waited outside to carry Abigail to Bethlehem for she was with child.  Naomi politely declined their offer for we needed to hurry on.

A servant came out to greet us on the road lit with lanterns.  “My Maters are following a start to Bethlehem, to worship a baby the new king. They would like to speak to you.” 

"We are also going to Bethlehem,  but we have not seen a star," Naomi said to the servant.
On the table in front of the 3  kings were gifts.  One king spoke, "We have come from the east and are following the star, spoke about many years ago.  We have come to worship the new born king and bring him these gifts.” They showed us the gifts  gold for a king, myrrh and Frankincense for his burial.  Strange they would bring perfumes to prepare a body for burial to a new born baby.  We warmed ourselves by their fire, bowed goodbye and continued.

Suddenly, in the heavens, a bright light shown and host of angels sang 'Glory to God on The High'.  Beautiful, wonderful no words can describe it. 

 Along the road Roman shoulders, beat their swords upon their shields, "Halt! Show us your paper’s,” one stabbed his sword at the children and coarsely asked, “Is that your name on your paper.”  Once they saw that are papers were in good order they allowed  us to continue.

We came upon a Sheppard tending his flock.   

The Sheppard greeted us. “I raise sheep for the Jewish sacrifice to our God.  They must be perfect for God, no disease, sore or blemishes. “  The  three in his pen looked plump and healthy with their thick winter wool coats, perfect for sacrifice.  

With great excitement and joy the Sheppard said,   “While tending our flocks a brilliant host of angels appear in the sky singing “glory to God on high.”  They told us 'fear not for we bring you good news.  A baby was born in a manger who is the Messiah'. For generations we have passed on the story of the Messiah who will come to rescue us.”    He looked  puzzled. “We thought our Messiah would come as a man and rescue us from the tyranny of the Roman empire.  He came as a infant baby.”

We bid him good-by and continued on our journey anxious to see the baby so many spoke of. 

Finally we arrived at Bethlehem.  The gate to the city was guarded by Roman soldiers. 
“Who goes there.”  they demanded.

Naomi , who had fallen behind the young girls stepped forward and said,  “I am the head of the family and we are a few from the house of David.”

“If you are the leader,  why are these people in front of you? You are not a very good leader.”  The guard jabbed his sword at our teenage girls.

“Their legs are much younger than mine and walk faster than I do, sir,” quickly replied Naomi.

“Line up in single file, “ commanded the soldier.  “Quickly!”  We were tired and did not move quickly. 

“Over there.”  he pointed to a building with two officials.  “They will stamp your papers and collect the taxes.” We  filed through the gate.

Naomi stepped to the table.  “How many have you,” asked the tax man. 


“That will be 32 denaro.”    

Naomi  stammered, “ Sir I was told it would cost one dinaro, per person.  I only have 16 dinaros.  We are but a poor family.”

The tax collector was probably tired too, for many people had come that day.  “Step forward.  Show me your papers so I may stamp them."

One by one we  laid our paper on the table.  I jumped when the guard’s sword came swiftly upon my sisters paper.  “Upside down,” he shouted.  She turned it the right way, got it stamped and  entered the market.

Merchants sold their wares in booths, along the road. Dressed chickens hung  up and live ones in their cages at the poultry  man’s stall.  A lady was trying to sell three goats to a fellow  traveler . I only saw two goats.   Perhaps one was in the barn, or she was not being truthful, gouging the cost of goats due to the multitude of people.  

“Fresh fish, get your fresh fish here,”  called another vendor.  

“These fish look frozen not fresh,”  I said.  

“The cold night air froze them.”  The main selection looked to be large mouth bass.

A young maiden across the lane sold grains, fresh fruit and vegetables.  “I’m and hungry after this long journey, but I have no money. “ I told her.  

She was sympathetic with me. “The Romans do take our money for their taxes.”

I moved on to the merchant with his copper pans and oil lamps. Compared to our clay pots back home these were well crafted and beautiful.  Oh for a souvenir to bring back home, I wished.  I kept moving and saw two ponies tied to a fence.  Were they for sale or perhaps as travelers transportation?

Naomi gathered us together.  At last we found the Inn, a warm place to sleep and food in our bellies.  She knocked.  The Inn keeper stuck his head out the door. He scanned us weary travelers. “I am so sorry, but there is no room in the inn.  The Roman soldiers and their horses have taken up every square inch I have.”  We thanked him for being kind, hung our heads and traveled on.  

Up above was the glow of a warm fire pit. A prophet  greeted us.  We warmed by the fire as he spoke.  “I have great news to tell you.  Follow the star,”  he pointed to it. “and you shall find a baby in a manger.  He is the messiah which was told in the book of Isaiah.”
The long journey and the many things we had heard along our travels, were true.  Up ahead was the baby.  Mary and Joseph quietly sat watching the baby Jesus asleep in the manger.  We could not help but sing Away in a Manger.  The lowly cow bedded down eating his grain on one side of the stable. A sheep looked on from the other side. 
Our journey was almost at the end. Naomi told us the wonders of why Jesus came to this earth.  That could find His peace if we worshiped Him like the Wise Men did.

At last we found rest in our hearts and in a inn, (the arena).  It was crowded, but we were able to get a refreshment of hot chocolate and a cookie.  The tables were full.  A bench along the wall was comfort enough.  A few of our neighbors were resting too.  Talking to familiar people was a refreshment in itself after this long but joyous journey.

I pray you will find the peace that Jesus brings. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Follow God - Enjoy Life

 I opened my Etsy store April 2009.  In September 2009 we moved to a brand new community, 2 1/2 hours drive from where we had lived for 33 years.

During the next 3 years I promoted my Etsy shop the best I could.  Learning how Etsy works, finding my way around this new town and working on our new home was a challenge.  God directed us to a new church and I became involved in the art community. New people, missing my old friends, new everything, my time was stretched.

Our new to us home was not landscaped.  Good thing I enjoy gardening and landscaping.  Our basement was an uninsulated apartment, which we gutted to converted into my pottery studio and a family room.  The workshop for my motorcycle mechanic husband was only a shell, no concrete floor, insulation or drywall. Now it is a heated insulated workshop, with a flour, drywall and paint. We built a garage to keep our cars out of the winter elements.  Clearing snow and scraping ice off the windshield is not my favorite activity. These were only a few of the renovations we did to make this house our home.

Five years have come and gone.  There are more projects we want to tackle, but now we can slow down and breathe.  Last year, 2013 I finally  had time to promote my Etsy shop and get more involved in the teams I had joined.

I've been making pottery since 2003.  It takes less time to make my pottery and the quality has much improved. Very little of it goes back in the bucket.

This fall I took stock of where I want to go with my pottery.

Now that I can make my bowls, mug and toothbrush holders quicker I have more time to be creative with my pieces.

When I began to make pottery I made a whimsical pig.  A friend told me this is what God wants me to make, but I was too busy learning how to make good pottery to get creative with it.   

That time is now at hand to take God's direction.  My mind has been designing decorative whimsical pottery.  Excitement is building.  It must come out my head, through my hands into the clay.  The more decorative pottery I make the more my imagination creates and the more fun I have. The joy of the Lord is my strength.

God created us to enjoy life and when we are following Him our life is enjoyable.

Next year will be a new beginning with new pottery for my Etsy site and to sell locally.  Next week I'll fire in the kiln my first load of fun pottery. I can't wait to see where this new direction will take me.

A sneak preview. These are two plates waiting to be bisque fired.
But they are not completed.