Thursday, December 30, 2021

Last Days...

Even though I'm lucky enough to have this weird, between-Christmas-and-New-Year's-weird-time-off, I still keep an eye on my Etsy store to make sure I can get orders out as quickly as I can. It's only right, right? I want to keep my repeat customers happy, and keep the new customers, too!

But this? This is agony. (See above picture.)

Because I really want for folks to use the coupon codes to get the thing they really wanted but didn't get for Christmas before I have to raise my prices for next year.

That's right. I have to raise prices.

Shipping has gone up, as I'm pretty sure everyone knows. Just yesterday I had a sale of a larger item and a cup which, had I sent it Priority mail to its Missouri destination, would have cost me over $100, which would have been roughly equivalent to 3/4 of the combined items cost. I had to send it slower, which I really hate to do.

Supply chain issues are no joke, either. Right now, manufactured glazes, which are my personal go-to, as I don't have space right now for raw materials to formulate glazes, are nearly completely gone. Like, you can't find them in any online shop, anywhere. 

So start making and testing your own glazes, ShellHawk!

Well, that normally would be a good answer. Except that raw minerals and the other magical things which go into a glaze are also gone!  

Frits, which are not optional in making your own glazes, are almost impossible to find. Cobalt, which is mostly mined in the Democratic Republic of Congo, is where, by and large, we potters get our "blues." There are issues in getting it mined ethically and sustainably in the first place, let alone getting it from Africa to the U.S. and getting it off the ships and into the glaze manufacturing plants to make the glazes we love so much in our dishes and cups.

There are more shortages of crucial ingredients. Those shortages won't just affect me and my clay compadres. Those shortages will drive up the cost of clay sewage pipes, sinks, toilets, and any number of little (and big) things made from ceramic clay.

Shortages are going to drive up the cost of raw clay, which, until now, has been a fairly cheap part of making ceramics. (Boy, am I glad to have my reclamation buckets, right now!) So, the natural order of things is for little ol' me to raise my prices to compensate.

I hate to do it, for real. 

I really hope this starts to get under control, and soon!

Meanwhile, grab a mug or a bowl from the shop while you can!

Friday, December 24, 2021

Happy Hogswatch Eve!

Terry Pratchett released his Solstice origin story, Hogfather,  in 1996. Ten years later, the BBC got a delightful cast together and made a two-part mini-series based on the book, and over the years, it's become a Christmas/Solstice classic.

The story follows both Death and his granddaughter, Susan, on the Eve of the Solstice, as they try to find the missing Hogfather. Death, in the meantime, has stepped into the Hogfather's shoes in a hilarious attempt to fulfill the Hogfather's Hogswatch Eve duties.

If the Hogfather cannot be found and rescued from whatever mayhem has kept him away from his duly appointed rounds, the sun will not rise on Hogswatch Day, and there will be Hell to pay!

I've watched this every Christmas Eve for years now and love the tradition. Recently, I brought a couple of boxes of books home from storage and was ecstatic to find I still have the paperback I bought all those years ago.

Click on the big pic of Death in his clever Hogfather disguise to Amazon, where you can stream both episodes.

Happy Hogswatch Eve, everyone!

Sunday, December 19, 2021

Season's Screamings!

Just a few pics from Season's Screamings in Pasadena, which is still going on today, in case you can make it!

Although most people seemed to be a little on the tired side (setup was Friday morning, and the show opened on Friday evening), spirits were high! We were getting to see each other again and share in our favorite hobby/lifestyle: spookiness! 

I got to see some of my favorite vendors and some friends whom I've missed very much over the last couple of years of lockdowns. I've been like most people these days: isolated and loving it! And I know that's the time I need to kick my own butt and get out to see folks.

Sorry the video isn't better, but I loved the Scrooge vibe on this effect! If I had a good place to project this, I probably would!

I'm looking forward to the conventions coming in the New Year! 

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

Roger's Gardens 2021

I may have missed Roger's Gardens Halloween display because I was just really busy, but at least I finally got caught up!

Don't laugh at me! It is before Christmas, after all!

Click on the pic for the annual creepy recording.

Friday, December 10, 2021

Shop Update TONIGHT!

YES! At last, the shop update is ready to rock!

Tonight at 6:00 PM, PST, the last update of 2021 with the latest kiln load will go live, just in time for your Holiday shopping!

Shipping is always free, and you'll be supporting small business. Bonus: your gifts won't be hanging around with dock workers and picking up bad habits...

And as a special offer to my blog readers, if you enter coupon code NEST21 at checkout, you'll get 10% off your purchase of $60 or more. Just to thank you for following me!

See you tonight, darlings!

Friday, December 3, 2021

Progress? Yes!

It's been a busy month, and it's only day 3? Holy goodnight!

Well, to be honest, I'd been working to get a new bunch of Supernatural cups and mugs finished before my annual Thanksgiving trip to Sacramento to get together with friends.

It was getting a little hard to get up and get things done before work. It's cold in the mornings, and it's been either foggy or damp, which adds to my discomfort and to the drying time for the work!

But you know me, if you've followed the blog for any amount of time. I don't let discomfort slow me down a whole lot! (Though I do admit to taking all the glazing inside that I can, so I can be comfy.)

I've been getting ideas for some more Castiel-themed, bee-related cups and mugs. So far, I just have the one, but the response has been so great, I plan on more like it! The first picture is the unfired cup, with the underglaze painted in. The others are after the first firing.

I always love how they look out of that first firing! The colors are so vibrant! But they need to have their clear glaze and a second firing if they're going to be food-safe, so there's another round of work to do for them: glazing!

I've been considering the last glaze failures and think I might have the issue solved with a new clay body. It's a nice, soft white, cone 5 clay. Although it's white like porcelain (without being as white or translucent as porcelain can be), it's a stoneware clay and a bit tougher. I managed to get a layer or two of glaze on some of them before I left for my trip. You can see I take my studio assistant with me everywhere, nowadays!

I saw my ceramics teacher while I was there and got a mini-lecture for some troubleshooting questions which, as always, was super helpful. I really miss the clay gang of folks I had available to me there. Maybe after this Covid-Omicron nonsense settles down, I'll get some classes here in LA.

I decided to do these cups a couple of different ways, to see what ends up working best. Some, I covered in black underglaze with the colored pattern and words and did the bisque firing. When I got them out of the bisque, I covered the words and patterns in wax resist, so that when they're dipped in glaze, the glaze will flow off the wax and keep the pattern and words clean. You can see the process on this video, at around 5:15, if you're interested.

Others, I just covered in a celadon glaze I kept from my old studio and just painted it on in layers. Because a good celadon glaze has a translucent quality to it, the deeper carving will show up in a darker pool of green and the higher points will be lighter in color. I think they're going to turn out really pretty, and the celadon gives it a bit of an Asian feel. The celadon, by the way, looks almost white before it's fired.


Finally, we have those medallion mugs! In playing with the design, I thought having a combination of colors would be fun to have on the cup and partially around the medallion. The picture below shows only one layer of glaze, which is actually going to be blue! You'd think it would be red, but that's not how the chemistry of the glaze works.

After all of that, and cleaning up the bottoms so they don't stick to the kiln shelves and get destroyed, and checking for overflow into the patterns, they were ready to get loaded into the kiln. When I left for work yesterday, the kiln temp had gone from 45°F to 97°F. When it's done, it will have gone up to around 2167°F with a twenty minute hold.

Now I get to spend some time getting all the other work into the shop that I haven't gotten to, yet!

Tuesday, November 16, 2021

Look, I'm Downsizing, BUT...

I really think I need this coin for the Ferryman! And it has that nifty pocket, it looks like!

And I have to wonder how differently things would have gone had I had a blood oath marker when it counted... (I mean, the ones from Ironsmith are sold out, but still.)

And just to let you know, I haven't had dealings with this company as of yet, so please, if you want to purchase from them, please do your research.



Saturday, November 6, 2021

Yes. I got One.

I've got this denim jacket, see. I got it at a second hand store a friend of mine and I went into in Carpenteria. I'd been looking for one, but hadn't found a design I liked, or for the right price. I'd already been collecting patches from various places I'd been, so I could have some mementos of my travels and of my general geekiness.

The Stanley Hotel, where I spent my ten-year anniversary. Hearst Castle. The telescopes on Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. Volcano National Park. Point Reyes, where John Carpenter filmed "The Fog."

I bought a few "geek patches." A Hallowe'en black cat. A Browncoat symbol. A skeletal cat. A zombie mermaid.

Then I got some cool patches gifted to me. Cult of the Great Pumpkin. And my most treasured gift: my Boss Film patch, given to my by my current boss in memory of his famous VFX studio.

The pins came, too. Gifts from Midsummer Scream. A gift from Chris and Jeff Davis. The Shamrock masks. Haunted Mansion. Young Frankenstein. Pacific Whale Foundation. A "Choose Love" pin from Penzeys Spices.

Now I've found another pin that I discovered I couldn't live without.

The Xenomorph from Alien. I preordered it from Art of Maquenda on Etsy. Great reviews. Beautiful work. 

It's going to look awesome on my denim jacket!

Friday, November 5, 2021

Spooky Scary Skeletons. Old School.

As a skeleton, sometimes you just have to get medieval on people...

Click on the pic for a fun version of the Hallowe'en classic. 

Thursday, November 4, 2021

The Wrap-Up

 Lydia Deetz, at your service.

"My whole life is a dark room..."

My costume for Halloween, which I was fortunate enough to spend at The Davis Graveyard! Because I have the best Hallowe'en friends, ever!

It was a wonderful, Pacific Northwest, Fall weekend. The weather was beautiful! Sunny, breezy, with that little chill in the air. Little, adorable, scudding clouds. Red and yellow leaves floating by. Spider webs. Gravestones. Skulls. 

The Gashleycrumb Tinies, too!

*Happy sigh* Perfection!


OK, it wasn't actually Wolverine, but it was still pretty cool to have this shot texted to me...

It was also so comforting to be among my tribe, filled with Red Dwarf and Firefly references, big hugs, and the simple happiness of being together after a very long absence. Such a warm fuzzy to be with Chris and Jeff, too!

Until next year, Davis Graveyard!

Sunday, October 31, 2021

It's HERE!

Happy Hallowe'en to all of you, my darlings! I hope it's filled with treats and fun!

Click on the pic for my Hallowe'en playlist!

Friday, October 29, 2021

Georgie's Halloween

 Anyone remember this gem? Such whimsical illustrations!