Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

One of the things that I have learned about myself over my 68 years is that I come to a place in my life journey where there is a stop sign in front of me with one or two roads I can follow. Most of my “working” life I had a habit of quitting careers just about every three to four years to the point that it became a joke with my family! Yes, I said “Careers” not just jobs.

Please note this post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase.  This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

While I never really climbed any ladders of success that way I always came to a point where I felt that I hit my limit in learning and exploring and it was time to move on. I would get bored!

The same thing is true with my creative path as well. I have tried my hand at everything from pine needle weaving to gourd carving. I have knitted, painted, carved, used saws and everything in between trying!

Pottery has been my passion for the last 16 to 17 years. I have loved it and made thousands of pieces, many of which are being enjoyed by people all across the world.

About a year ago I started to get an itch to try something new, so I took a class on Torch-Fire Enameling on copper and was absolutely blown away by the whole process.  So, I invested in some tools, and some enamels and some copper and played around with it while I was waiting for my pottery kiln to cool.

My enameling firing station.

I love watching the enamel glass melt under the flame.

As the year progressed, I found myself wanting to learn more about enamel and pottery was beginning to get in my way!! Pottery takes 4 to 6 weeks for a hobby potter like me from the start to the finish and that was a long time to wait to see if anything came out!! There were always surprises in the kiln, good and bad. I wanted something that was a little more instant gratification and enameling gave me that plus I still got to play with colors and fire!!

Adding Art to my Copper Enameled earrings

A lot of my pottery tools and skills carry over to enameling. Here I am using Mason Stains, which I use in my pottery glazes, to make an “ink” for my enameled pieces

A few weeks ago, I sat down at my potter’s wheel and drew a blank. I had no idea what to make. I had dried up completely. Instead of guilt tripping myself and forcing myself to make something I did not want to, I decided it was now time to TAKE A BREAK. I fired my last kiln load at the end of September and cleaned my wheel.

Am I done with Pottery?

No, I don’t think so. I will let this play out and see what transpires.  Not only am I playing around with enameling and wire weaving but I am also exploring Abstract Enamel Painting and NeuroArt.

Circles NeuroArt

Lines and Circles were what I was experimenting with on this digital piece. I love having the iPad to sketch and doodle

Intentional Doodling

I drew some intentional Lines in Procreate on my iPad and “saw: a flower.

Time will tell where my artistic path will lead. Maybe right back to my potter’s wheel but for right now I am having a ball learning all kinds of new things.

I hope you stick around!!

 

Follow Me

Dani Montoya - Potter

My name is Dani and I am the potter behind this page! I am retired and having a ball being the artist I always wanted to be. My studio is located in NW Arkansas where I live a quiet life, on a lake with my husband, 3 dogs and two cats.

Have a look around!

Pottery Rasp for cleaning up clay


Phone Arm for Overhead Videos

I bought this so that I could record video while I am making stuff. It works great.  The arm attaches to the table with a thumb screw. The part that holds your phone is spring loaded and almost too strong of a spring. I pinch my fingers a lot but I know the phone won't fall out into my clay water!!
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Nikon D3500

Nikon D3500 W/ AF-P DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6G VR Black
 
A few years back I decided to up my online game by taking better photos. At the time Nikon offered the D3400. I never regretted that purchase. It's a lower-end Nikon but has some great features. One of my favorite features is that the camera connects via Bluetooth to my phone which I have set up to automatically upload to Google Photos so they are easy to download to my PC or adjust on my phone and upload to Etsy.
Check it out on Amazon

 

Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

One of the things that I have learned about myself over my 68 years is that I come to a place in my life journey where there is a stop sign in front of me with one or two roads I can follow. Most of my "working" life I had a habit of quitting...

read more
Glazes vs underglazes

Glazes vs underglazes

When I was first learning about pottery one of the things that confused me the most was "what was the difference between glazes and underglazes". Most teachers focused on teaching you wheel throwing or hand building but very few actually teach you...

read more
Glazes vs underglazes

Glazes vs underglazes

When I was first learning about pottery one of the things that confused me the most was “what was the difference between glazes and underglazes”. Most teachers focused on teaching you wheel throwing or hand building but very few actually teach you about glazing. At least that was my experience. Maybe yours in different…. I hope so… but if not here is a brief introduction to glazes vs underglazes. 

Please note this post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase.  This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

Glazes, overglazes and underglaze are all materials that can be used to decorate your pots, but they serve a different purpose.

What is a glaze

A glaze is a blend of materials that, when applied to a bisque pot and fired to a particular temperature, will melt and create a glass surface. The melting temperature is determined by the blend and ratios of the materials used to create the glaze. Once in the kiln, the materials in the glaze undergo transformations, fuse onto the pot and eventually the glaze becomes glass.

Glazes can create a smooth, matte, glossy and even a textured surface and can be either opaque or transparent.  They also provide a protective layer.

Glazes can be applied over or under each other and how they react to each other determines the final look.

Some glazes are reactive meaning that they may run, change colors and, for the most part, can be rather unpredictable.

Some glazes are very stable and predicable.

Glazed Yarn bowl in multi colors

Three different reactive glazes were used in the final decoration of this yarn bowl. I never know exactly how a piece will turn out so its always a surprise. I used a big floppy brush and applied each of the glazes in blobs overlapping at times. Not only did the glazes react to each other but also to the magnesium in the clay.

I am learning all about the chemistry of glazes   and all the ins and outs of the materials used in making them but that is for another time!

If you buy commercial glazes the jar should tell you what temperature range it should be fired at.

No one will be able to tell you how a glaze will look on your clay body or how it will react to other glazes. Thats all about experimenting and experience that comes with it.

 

What is Underglaze:

Underglazes are what you use to color and decorate your pots when you need more control over the colors.

They can be applied to leather-hard, greenware or bisque pots.
Most of the time a transparent or clear glaze is applied over the underglaze to seal in the color and protect it.

Underglazes usually consist of colored pigments mixed with a binder, such as clay or gum. They are applied to the surface of the unfired pot by painting and you can create some pretty intricate designs.

Although underglazes can be applied to bisqueware, often times the decoration will bleed when the clear is applied so I suggest either painting on greenware and bisque firing the underglaze in and then clear glazing or paint on bisque, and rebisque. This will keep the decoration clean!

I love decorating my pots with underglazes/ There are many manufacturers and you can even make them yourself, but I have found that using commercial ones give the best results and are pretty consistent. My preferred underglaze is Amaco Velvets.

Underglaze Test Tiles

These are a sampling of my underglaze test tiles. The top of each tile has been left unglazed and the bottom has been clear glazed.

I share some of my techniques and favorite colors here.

Greens can be troublesome. I have found blending Intense Yellow (V391) with blues gives me prettier greens!

Underglazed in Red Flowers Cup and dessert pates

This set was painted in the greenware state. I used an airbrush for the green background.

 

Pitcher and Mugs with Sgraffito and Underglaze

This set is a combination of Sgraffito and underglaze. The sgraffito was done on Leather hard clay and the underglaze was painted when the piece was completely dry (greenware). I prefer to paint on greenware. You can paint on leatherhard but I find that the moisture in the clay can dilute and muddy the colors.

 

Underglazed Flower Mug

As you can see you can layer underglazes while you are painting. They blend into each other a bit when fired!

 

Follow Me

Dani Montoya - Potter

My name is Dani and I am the potter behind this page! I am retired and having a ball being the artist I always wanted to be. My studio is located in NW Arkansas where I live a quiet life, on a lake with my husband, 3 dogs and two cats.

Have a look around!

Amaco Velvet Jet Black Underglaze

Amaco 402800 Velvet Underglaze, 1 Pint Capacity Jar, V-361, Jet Black
 
Amaco Velvet Jet Black Underglaze is my base color for Sgraffito Work. I apply 3 coats on a Hard Leather hard piece to give a lovely opaque palette to work with. When Bisque Fired it turns a deep matte dark grey. Applying clear glaze brings out the shine and makes it very black.
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Amaco Velvet Underglazes

AMACO Liquid Underglaze Decorating Colors #712 Class Pack
I have tried several different brands of underglazes but I keep coming back to the Amaco Velvets. They may be a tad more expensive but they are worth it

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Shimpo Banding Wheel

These may be expensive but they are worth every penny!!  They are banding wheels on steroids!  Super heavy duty and spins freely, smoothly, and quickly!!
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Miniature Paint Brush Set

MyArtscape Artist Supplies Miniature Paint Brushes, Set of 12 for Detail & Fine Point Painting - use with Acrylic, Watercolor, Oil, Gouache - for Pinstriping, Warhammer 40k, Models & Lettering White
I use these fine tipped paint brushes for all kinds of things in my studio. They hold their shape very well and with such a large variety I always have what I need at my fingertips.
Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

One of the things that I have learned about myself over my 68 years is that I come to a place in my life journey where there is a stop sign in front of me with one or two roads I can follow. Most of my "working" life I had a habit of quitting...

read more
Glazes vs underglazes

Glazes vs underglazes

When I was first learning about pottery one of the things that confused me the most was "what was the difference between glazes and underglazes". Most teachers focused on teaching you wheel throwing or hand building but very few actually teach you...

read more
Expanding my knowledge on making my own Pottery Glaze

Expanding my knowledge on making my own Pottery Glaze

Making my own Pottery Glazes

These past few months I have really submerged myself in learning all about making my own pottery glazes. I have tried to learn how to make pottery glazes in the past by reading and an online class but  my eyes just glazed over. This time around I really think I am beginning to get it. I guess it was all in life’s timing.
As I mentioned in my first post about this new endeavour I mentioned that I signed up for a class by Sue McCloud called “The Art of Glaze Chemistry”.

Please note this post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase.  This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

What she did, and what I needed, was a push to experiment with making pottery glazes!

On my own I would never do it, but for a class I paid for I was certainly going to do what she suggested. After all, that is basically what I paid for!! That Push to experiment.

I wasn’t disappointed. In fact, I came up with a few nice pottery glazes that I can call my own.

Green and Blue wheel thrown pottery vase

The lovely translucent green glaze on this vase was the results of one of the first experiments I did.

Like this sweet vase. It was thrown on the potters wheel in a dark clay and then I slathered on some white slip and ran my fingers through it. I wanted to be able to glaze it where I could see the contrast between the white slip and the dark clay but I knew nothing on my glaze shelf would do that.




So it sat on my shelf for a bit!

When I saw the glaze test tile come out of the kiln with this lovely translucent green I knew I had found the glaze I needed for this vase.

I wasn’t disappointed!!!! The base glaze is now a keeper recipe and I will be experimenting around with other colors. Here is the recipe if you are interested.

Another experiment we did was test different colorants with different RO Fluxes which can change the color slightly. Below is one of the sets of test tiles. The RO Flux was Wollastonite and the colorants I used were copper Carbonate, cobalt Carbonate, Manganese and Chrome Oxide.

Results of glaze experiment

Here are the results from one of the tests. Here I tried the same base glaze with copper carb, cobalt carb, manganese and Chrome Oxide

I got some really pretty glazes in that batch but look what happened when I used Zinc as the RO Flux

Total Mayhem with Cobalt and Manganese and the CHROME turned PINK!! Now that’s cool!

Color Glaze Experiment using Zinc as a Flux

Well this was unexpected (for me) the Copper and the Manganese did not play well and the chrome turned pink.

It did take me a bit to wrap my head around all the chemistry involved. Although I sure don’t have a 100% understanding I do “get it” more than I did in the past.

Follow Me

Dani Montoya - Potter

My name is Dani and I am the potter behind this page! I am retired and having a ball being the artist I always wanted to be. My studio is located in NW Arkansas where I live a quiet life, on a lake with my husband, 3 dogs and two cats.

Have a look around!

Digital Scale

Etekcity 0.1g Food Kitchen Scale, Digital Ounces and Grams for Cooking, Baking, Meal Prep, Dieting, and Weight Loss, 11 Pounds, Black
 
This is the scale I use for both weighing out glaze material and to weight packages for shipping. I love that the display is angled away from the weighting tray making it easy to read. Metric and Imperial weighing.
View on Amazon

 

Kiln Wash

 

Pottery Rasp for cleaning up clay


100 ml Graduated Cylinder

Brewing America 100ml Plastic Graduated Cylinder Beaker - 100ml Science Measuring Test Tube Flask, 2-Sided Marking - Black and Raised Graduation Lines, Pour Spout
I have found one of these 100 ml graduated cylinders invaluable when making and using glazes. Its makes figuring out the Specific Gravity of a glaze much easier

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Clear Plastic Cups With Flat Lids 12 oz.


I know this looks weird on an article about glaze making but when I am experimenting with different glazes I don’t make more than 200 ML. These cups hold 12 ounces and they have a nice lid to keep the glaze from evapoating while you wait to see what comes out of the kiln!
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Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

One of the things that I have learned about myself over my 68 years is that I come to a place in my life journey where there is a stop sign in front of me with one or two roads I can follow. Most of my "working" life I had a habit of quitting...

read more
Glazes vs underglazes

Glazes vs underglazes

When I was first learning about pottery one of the things that confused me the most was "what was the difference between glazes and underglazes". Most teachers focused on teaching you wheel throwing or hand building but very few actually teach you...

read more

One year in my new Pottery Studio

One year in my new Pottery Studio

A year ago, I made a very hard decision. I decided to sell my big, beautiful pottery studio and build a small studio on our home property. It had been something I had been thinking about for several years and was just too scared to make the decision. Much as I love change, the thought of going thru the selling process and eventually the “pack all the crap up into boxes and move it” process was quite overwhelming.

Please note this post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase.  This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

Selling my pottery studio

It was a hard decision to sell my big pottery studio and condense it down to under 300 sq ft.

Plus, I had my two studio cats, Max and Emily, to worry about. What would I do with them? We have three dogs at home, and I feared that introducing cats into the mix would be an adventure.

At the time we had a home in town, but we had built a small 1-bedroom cabin on a sweet and quiet fishing lake in Arkansas. Since we lived on the border of Oklahoma and Arkansas, our home, our cabin and the studio were only 1/2-hour drive apart so commuting wasn’t an issue but my husband, Ben, and I really wanted to make the full-time commitment to living at the lake and I wanted a home studio where I could retire and just play in clay.

Having a big, wonderful studio was great while I was building my business, but it was now time to retire and enjoy the rest of my life.

So, I woke up one day last May and said, “that’s it…. I am done, it’s time to retire!” I called a realtor who came out with all the comps, we discussed the sale, listed it and by the weekend I had two full price offers!

Whoa…..it was really happening.

It was almost too quick; I wasn’t expecting that, and I certainly wasn’t prepared! Now I had to think about selling off and donating some equipment and getting a new studio!

That weekend we went portable building shopping and found a great 12×24 building with three lofts that looked like a little barn that I thought would be perfect for my new (and much smaller) Studio.  We placed our order, had it insulated, painted green and added extra windows!

My new pottery studio at the factory being built

Here was my first view of my new studio at the factory being built!

I loved it but was pretty scared…. would all my stuff fit.

Once it was delivered and placed on our property the electrician was called. Because we were doing this at a time that everything was super expensive running the electric was a tad more expensive than I hoped and even the electrician apologized for the high cost. With a kiln though, I wanted to make sure it was done right.

The inside of my pottery studio when I first got it

This is what the inside of the portable building looked like when it first showed up

After the electricians finished it was time to bring in some drywallers.

Dry-walling my new pottery studio

The drywall is going up in the new pottery studio…aka Creative Crib!

Once the drywall was up it was time for me to put on an old t-shirt and stained pants and paint the walls. I chose blue on one side and green on the other and tried to blend them together the best I could.

Now the moving began in earnest.

i only had 45 days originally but it took at least 3 weeks for the electric, drywall and painting so I had some bustling to do. By now, I had sold two of my three wheels, my pugmill and my big slab roller table. I KNEW they would not fit!  I had also gathered up some tools, books, and molds and donated them to a local pottery school. I hadn’t made anything new which allowed me to have reduced inventory!! I reduced my glaze buckets, stashed stuff into boxes, and continued to worry if all this would fit.

We made the move one small truck load at a time, and I tell you what…. I was pooped. I was beat. I was exhausted. But I also was thrilled to death that I now had a place to work at home where I could enjoy my home, my husband, and the critters.

I called it my “CREATIVE CRIB” because I could see me doing so much more than pottery in my little she shed.  I could play with torch fired enameling and have a place to chill out and do some wire weaving.

It wasn’t all that easy fitting everything into the new pottery studio.

Me standing in the middle of my studio

This was my original layout. It worked but not perfectly. I have since rearranged to my work style.

But I did it and here I am, a year later, and I have finally got everything in place, just the way I like it.  It took a while; I was forever moving things around.  My biggest hurdle now was water. At the old studio I had a sink in the pottery and a sink in the glaze room. In my new studio I don’t have running water!  What I have found works fine for me is several buckets of water that every few weeks I clean out and refill. I also scrounged up a water dispenser that uses a 5-gallon bottle of water which I also refill. Whenever I need a small amount of clean water, I have it. The nice thing about this too, is that in the winter I can get hot water from the dispenser to use for throwing water!!

I also loved that I have three lofts. Not only did it give me lower ceilings for lighting, I also provided plenty of storage space for show tents, packing materials, empty buckets and anything else I didnt need right away. I keep an 6 foot ladder handy, which is tucked away between two shelving units, to get up there.

One of the biggest benefits of reducing my studio size was that it has actually allowed me to be more creative. Without all the extra bills that were attached to the old studio, insurance, internet, water, electricity, I can concentrate on making more of what I want, experiment more or even take some time off to read a book or go fishing!

Follow Me

Dani Montoya - Potter

My name is Dani and I am the potter behind this page! I am retired and having a ball being the artist I always wanted to be. My studio is located in NW Arkansas where I live a quiet life, on a lake with my husband, 3 dogs and two cats.

Have a look around!

LED Shop Lights


hykolity 4 Pack 4FT LED Shop Light, Linkable Utility Shop Lights, 42W, 5000K Daylight White Shop Light for Garages, Workshops,Hanging or FlushMount, Power Cord with Pull Chain Switch, ETL
Do you need some extra lighting in your studio? I bought these and I couldn't be happier. They are lightweight but really bright. There is basically no installation. You can hang them or screw them into place. You can even plug them into each other so they turn on altogether. Plus they are LED which means they will last a really long time and use little electricity.
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Caliper Plastic Clay Measuring Pottery Tool

Healifty Bent Leg Caliper Plastic Clay Measuring Pottery Tool Clay Sculpture Ceramic Tool for Carving Shaping Clay Sculpture Modeling 6inch Red
 
These are great when you need to have two pieces fit together nicelu....like lidded jars! I have two and they are always in use
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Shimpo Whisper Potters Wheel

Shimpo VL-Whisper Potters Wheel
Shimpo VL-Whisper Potters Wheel
This is the potter's wheel I have, and I absolutely love it. It's a bit pricey so if you can swing it, I do recommend it.  You may be able to find one used, which is how I bought mine.

Vacmaster Pro 8 gallon Certified Hepa Filtration Wet/Dry Vac

Vacmaster Pro 8 gallon Certified Hepa Filtration Wet/Dry Vac,Black
 

Keeping a clean work area is not only good for our creativity but also for our health. You have to be very careful about breathing in clay dust since it's mostly silica. Mopping regularly is highly recommended but what about the nooks and crannies!!!  I bought this Hepa Vacuum for my studio and I love it. It's powerful and is a Certified HEPA System (99. 97% efficient on .3 microns). The High-Efficiency Dust collection Bag holds a ton of debris and dust so you can vacuum for a pretty long time before replacing it.

There is also a smaller one now too.

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Skutt Kiln Vent

Skutt Envirovent Kiln Vent System
 
I have been using this Venting System on my L&L for years. It works great. Just because its a Skutt doesn't mean you can't use it with other kilns!
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Phone Tripod Mount with Remote 360 Rotation

Phone Tripod Mount with Remote 360 Rotation Smartphone Holder Adapter Compatible with iPhone 11 Pro Xs Max XR X 8 7 6 6s Plus Samsung Nexus
 
Phone Tripod mount. I bought this to convert my camera tripod to one that will hold my phone. It even comes with a Bluetooth remote that allows you to take a photo with your phone without touching your phone
View on Amazon

 

Digital Scale

Etekcity 0.1g Food Kitchen Scale, Digital Ounces and Grams for Cooking, Baking, Meal Prep, Dieting, and Weight Loss, 11 Pounds, Black
 
This is the scale I use for both weighing out glaze material and to weight packages for shipping. I love that the display is angled away from the weighting tray making it easy to read. Metric and Imperial weighing.
View on Amazon

 

Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

One of the things that I have learned about myself over my 68 years is that I come to a place in my life journey where there is a stop sign in front of me with one or two roads I can follow. Most of my "working" life I had a habit of quitting...

read more
Glazes vs underglazes

Glazes vs underglazes

When I was first learning about pottery one of the things that confused me the most was "what was the difference between glazes and underglazes". Most teachers focused on teaching you wheel throwing or hand building but very few actually teach you...

read more
First show of the year selling my pottery

First show of the year selling my pottery

Last weekend was my FIRST SHOW for me this year selling my pottery. I have been selling pottery at shows for several years now and it always makes me feel like an artist and proud of my work. 

My First show of 2023 wa “Airing of the Quilts”. It isn’t a show I would normally consider because it is quite small and not vendor oriented like most shows, but it’s an absolute blast and last year I did really well selling my pottery so I am excited to be going back this year!

Please note this post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase.  This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

​The “Airing of the Quilts” show is a show all about Quilts! (Who would have figured)!

Quilting was something I always wanted to try but my sewing machine and I were not the best of friends. Also, when I priced out the material for just a simple quilt I was astounded by the cost. It gave me a better understanding of the value of handmade quilts and why gorgeous quilts cost so much.

My car is packed and ready to go to my first pottery show of the year

My car is packed and ready to go to my first pottery show of the year.

Last year I did well at this show. I did not expect too, but it was close to home and I said to myself “why the heck not”. There weren’t very many vendors at all, just a handful of us, so it wasn’t a show where folks came to buy. The quilts are “for display only” and not for sale. They are for looking at and admiring (but no touching with a glove on!)

But what this show had (and my guess why I did so well) was because the people who came to see the quilts were my TARGET CUSTOMER.

Selling pottery. First show of the year

The First show of 2023 selling my pottery

SO YEAH…I went back this year and I was glad I did!

If you want some idea of how I prepare for a show and my display you can read about it here

It’s always fun chatting with all the creative ladies that come to these shows and admire the quilts. They understand handmade and the amount of time it takes to create something. I can only imagine the amount of time they spend drawing up their quilt design, finding the right material, cutting and piecing, sewing etc! Wow

My sales were great. I walked out of the show on Saturday afternoon with considerably less pottery and some new friend!

Follow Me

Dani Montoya - Potter

My name is Dani and I am the potter behind this page! I am retired and having a ball being the artist I always wanted to be. My studio is located in NW Arkansas where I live a quiet life, on a lake with my husband, 3 dogs and two cats.

Have a look around!

Table Cloth 90 x132-Inch Rectangular Polyester

Surmente Tablecloth 90 x 132-Inch Rectangular Polyester Table Cloth for Weddings, Banquets, or Restaurants (Black) ………
These heavy duty Tablecloths are similar to the ones I use. Be sure to get the correct size for your table. There are other color choices available.

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Directors Chair

YANATTLYS Tall Directors Chair, 41'' Portable Makeup Artist Chair with Side Table, Tall Folding Chair for Camping, Home Patio, Golf Course, Cup Holder and Storage Bag, Weight Capacity 400LBS
 
If you want to sit a little bit higher at your shows so you can communicate better with your customers, I suggest getting a director's chair like this one. It allows you to comfortably sit at eye level and is especially useful if you raise your table up!  Mine came with a carry bag and it's perfect for storing other things like my table clothes!!  Win Win

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Rocket Risers Folding Table Risers

Rocket Risers Folding Table Risers - Make Your Folding Table a Counter Height Table - Set of 4 Table Leg Risers
 
I use these risers to raise my table up to a more comfortable height so that customers can better see my pottery
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Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

One of the things that I have learned about myself over my 68 years is that I come to a place in my life journey where there is a stop sign in front of me with one or two roads I can follow. Most of my "working" life I had a habit of quitting...

read more
Glazes vs underglazes

Glazes vs underglazes

When I was first learning about pottery one of the things that confused me the most was "what was the difference between glazes and underglazes". Most teachers focused on teaching you wheel throwing or hand building but very few actually teach you...

read more

On a quest to learn glaze chemistry

On a quest to learn glaze chemistry

One of the reasons I gravitated towards sgraffito and painting on my pottery was because the whole glazing process just frustrated me. Being someone who is more of a control freak than I care to be, putting a glaze on the pot that was orange in color that comes out blue after firing just itched my brain way too much! It hurt my head!

Please note this post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase.  This is, of course, at no cost to you, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

Pottery glaze is made from all kinds of chemicals and these chemicals all do something different. Add to that the process of layering glazes and some really crazy magic happens in the kiln. For many years I made some very stable glazes and did not get very experimental with my glazing. I knew what my glazes would do and it was pretty conservative. They were nice, functional and pretty but they weren’t “wow” and I wanted “ wow” This year things, and I, have changed. Now that I can do pottery for pottery sake (and not just to pay studio bills) I have more time to really get down and learn more about the chemistry of glaze. And it’s pretty exciting!

Taking a Glaze Chemistry Class or two

I started my journey with a self paced, online class by Matt Katz, an expert in glaze chemistry. Ceramic Materials Workshop. I took two of his workshops, “Glazed and Confused” and “The Middle Glazes”. On a quest to learn glaze chemistryNot being scientifically minded, these glaze classes were pretty hard for me at first but stuff stuck in my head because I was beginning to get a grip on what was happening in the kiln. But I still didn’t quite know what to do with all this information and felt I needed a bit more structure and a class that would have me experimenting and doing more hands on learning. For several years I followed another glaze expert, Sue McCloud who wrote some very helpful blog posts. When she started offering glazing classes I signed up for her, “What do Glaze Materials Do” class because I felt that was a missing piece it the puzzle. I wasn’t disappointed, it gave me exactly the information I felt I was lacking when looking at, and making glazes. It was, and still is, an invaluable class and one I will watch several times, I am sure. Because that class helped me so much I enrolled in her “Art of Glaze Chemistry” class which I am currently doing.
So far we have run two experiments, “Removing a material” where we pick a simple glaze and mix up small batches, eliminating one of the materials. It was pretty neat actually seeing how the chemical actually affected the glaze. Below are my results!
Our second experiment, called Subbing Fluxes, really helped me see how the different fluxes can make a difference. Not only in melt but in color changes!
Here is the results of my Subbing Fluxes experiment
  If you want to see these results more close, check out my bookmark on Glazy.org which is where I keep all my glaze recipes. I actually got to use one of my test glazes on a pot that has been sitting on my shelf waiting to be glazed! It was an experimental pot that used a new clay and a new technique. I just couldn’t figure out how I wanted to glaze it! One of the green glazes I made in the test above really turned out nice. It was subtle and transparent and I thought it would work well on this piece that had contrasting dark clay and white slip. Since we mixed 200g batches of each of the tests, I had a bit left over in the cup. Just enough for this piece. It did not disappoint! I was thrilled with the results. In fact, it was one of my favorite pieces I pulled from the kiln!
Small pottery Vase with zebra design

This is the piece that was all an experiment. New clay, new slip technique and new glaze! A winner in my book!

This week we go further into learning about the UMF and Stull map which will give us a better understanding of what a glaze will do before we even mix it! Exciting times ahead!

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Dani Montoya - Potter

My name is Dani and I am the potter behind this page! I am retired and having a ball being the artist I always wanted to be. My studio is located in NW Arkansas where I live a quiet life, on a lake with my husband, 3 dogs and two cats.

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Digital Scale

Etekcity 0.1g Food Kitchen Scale, Digital Ounces and Grams for Cooking, Baking, Meal Prep, Dieting, and Weight Loss, 11 Pounds, Black
 
This is the scale I use for both weighing out glaze material and to weight packages for shipping. I love that the display is angled away from the weighting tray making it easy to read. Metric and Imperial weighing.
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Kiln Posts

5" Tall x 1" Wide Kiln Post - 4 Pack
 
I have a decent selection of these invaluable posts for use in your kiln to create shelves. It's a good idea to have a few of all the different sizes to accommodate the different size pieces you make.
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Shimpo Banding Wheel

These may be expensive but they are worth every penny!!  They are banding wheels on steroids!  Super heavy duty and spins freely, smoothly, and quickly!!
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Kiln Wash

 

Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

Hanging up my Potter’s Apron (for a while)

One of the things that I have learned about myself over my 68 years is that I come to a place in my life journey where there is a stop sign in front of me with one or two roads I can follow. Most of my "working" life I had a habit of quitting...

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Glazes vs underglazes

Glazes vs underglazes

When I was first learning about pottery one of the things that confused me the most was "what was the difference between glazes and underglazes". Most teachers focused on teaching you wheel throwing or hand building but very few actually teach you...

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