Some new pottery pieces

I have come such a long way in one years time.   I am now finally making some things that I am quite proud of.

Don’t get me wrong, some of the previous stuff is ok: and I have amazing friends who have taken, and use pieces.  But I definitely see the imperfections – ohhhh,  I am hearing John Legend,

“.Love your curves and all your edges
All your perfect imperfections…”

Here are 2 recent pieces that I am really happy with –

This one is from my Mixed Media class; incorporating found items with our pottery work.


This piece is from a series of medium sized rectangle plates I’ve made with a variety of leaf patterns.  We use the plates daily.  When I made this one I left the wide rectangular uneven edge.  I will definitely make more of these!




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I finally did it!

I’ve been threatening myself that I was going to drop FaceBook, and I finally did it!

Sort of!

I kept it for my Foraging resources, and for Local Events.


I did unfriend all my Friends.   Nothing personal,


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A hunting we will go….

It has been so dry this year in Richmond Virginia.  It has been over a month since our last rain fall of anything more than dew.

This has made mushroom hunting, and foraging of any sort rather disappointing.

Today was no exception except for the 2 firsts we  found from this mornings outing to the woods with the dogs.


Ischnoderma resinosum,  which is found as either a solitary, to several together on rotten broadleaf and coniferous trees during late Summer and Fall.

This resinous polypore has demonstrated the ability to effectively decolorize a wide spectrum of chemical and synthetic dyes ; such as Orange G, Amaranth, Remazol Brilliant Blue R, Cu-phthalocyanin and Poly R-478 (Eichlerová et al., 2005 and 2006). These dyes are environmental pollutants, usually carcinogenic or mutagenic, and difficult to remove from the environment.

IMG_3690Lions Mane, aka Hericium erinaceus  is another which is both an edible,  and a medicinal mushroom.  It is native to North America,  and is a member of the tooth fungus group.

Research suggests that Lions mane may offer a range of health benefits, including reduced inflammation and improved cognitive and heart health.

So anyway,  we brought these few mushrooms home with us.  There were a few others, but I didn’t bother to gather them.

When lunch time came rolling around I cleaned them, sliced them, and pan fried them in a bit of garlic infused olive oil, with a bit of fresh thyme, salt, and pepper.

pretty darn tasty!

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My first piece of commission pottery!

a friend sent me a request for a type of vase she at seen at an in-laws house.   It was pretty cool.  Neither of us knew what it really was.

Took me a little bit of research, but turns out it was an ikebana vase!

ikebana vas.jpg

I made no commitment, but thought I’d like to give it a try.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e72.jpgUNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e77.jpgapparently I neglected to take photos while I was making the piece.

These photos are after hours burnishing the outside, then bisque firing.  Here it is with the glaze on, ready for the glaze kiln.

I glazed the interior a light blue.  and I used a stick on stencil, poured the glaze over the exterior in 3 different layers to get a very solid deep saturation.

and here is the piece


I am quite pleased, and my friend is just tickled pink.

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More pottery pictures

I’ve gone through more pottery photos;  feel free to stop here if they are of no interest, buuuut…..


UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e5c.jpgthis was a very fun piece to make, one of my first experimental pieces,  first you make the cylinder (aka vase, jar,…) then you roll out small coils and just smear them down the outside surface.  The tough part is getting the clay all back to the same moisture level, to then start slowly drying it for firing.  If you don’t do all the rehydration and slow drying things will split, crack, peel, and fall off.


UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e5f.jpgthis is the first sort of stylized vase I attempted  – this is it with the glaze on prior to being put through the glaze kiln.

UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4ea6.jpgthis is it at home.  I am fairly happy with it!


UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4e66.jpgthis is a project that went wrong but then turned out.   I started out to make a teapot.  By the time I had the bowl/pot part made it was too big to be useful.  So after a bit of pondering….voila



This set of photos is using the license plate I got in 1976 in Colorado,  it moved from car to car, it was on the car we took to Merida and still on the car when we came back in 2016.



more fun stuff to come – I just started a mixed media pottery class – using other ‘stuff’ incorporated in to your pottery designs.

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So I’ve been taking these pottery classes…

A year ago I took my first pottery class at Visual Arts Center here in Richmond.  I love it!

I am getting ready to start my 4th session.  Would have been 5th session but I broke my wrist last March.UNADJUSTEDNONRAW_thumb_4cdb.jpg

I tell everyone I am making crap, but I making better crap.   I am inspired by so many things; I see patterns and colors and textures everywhere now.

I have been remiss in photographing my stuff but have decided to start doing better, and to try to post pictures here as a record mostly for myself of how I am progressing.

These are the very first 2 pieces I made.  A cup, and a snack tray.


With each class I bought extra clay and made quite a few things at home.  Plus I have lots of Open Studio access time.

And here are a bunch of things I made in either my first or second class.  A lot of these things have been gifted away.


in my first class I made Tom a mug; far left;  way too small.  In the second class I made the one in the middle which he uses all the time – although I blew it with the handle.  So then I made the 3rd, far right, but the handle broke..  guess it’s time to try again.


It’s fun for me to look at a progression of a piece –






my third class was more focused; boxes.

we started with votive/candle boxes;



then planter boxes;







then lidded boxes;






I’ve made a few other things, just on my own, with inspiration from Pinterest among other sources.









ok.  that is enough for now.   As I do more I will post more.

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Paprika; Hungarian Pepper, Pimento Pepper – a rose by any other name…

By how many names, and more important flavors of Paprika are there?


I have always been confused by Paprika. I’ve just never known the difference; and up until recently have only ever used it to sprinkle over deviled eggs.

French  piment
German : Paprika
Italian : paprica
Spanish : paprika, pepper
Hungarian : paprika


All Paprika powders are from certain varieties of sweet red pepper, Capsicum annuum, which can vary in size and shape; additionally they can be varied colors during the growing and ripening process, green, red, yellow, purple, etc. Only red ripened fruit are used. Each of the varieties used is different, and range from, sweet, to smoky, to spicy. Additionally the powder can vary in color from bright red to rusty brown.

But how do you know the difference? I am still struggling with that question.

The varieties of peppers used in Spain are called Ramilette, Tres Cascos, Bola, and Albar.

From Hungary the most popular variety is the Hungarian Magyar pepper. But they also produce paprika powder from the Feher Ozon pepper.

From Romania it is the Târgu Mureş.

So for me the question is at the grocery shelf. What should I look for, what should I buy ….

In my cupboard I have a container p $$ t … ground Paprika; it has to sell by date of April 2020. At least its not expired. However from this research I have finding Paprikas have a short shelf life.

I recently purchased a Smoked Paprika at Trader Joe’s. A very different flavor between the two. Also in my research I am finding that some manufacturers use other pepper powders to create flavors. Adding cayenne for spicy heat, adding chipotle powder for smokiness.

I can report a decided taste difference between the two I have the p $$ t is a barely there flavor, a slight sweetness. The Smoked from Trader Joe’s does indeed have a nice smokiness with a hint of sweetness in the background.

So while I am still not closer to knowing the real difference at least now you know what I know.

oh, and a few other little facts-

While fresh red peppers have more than seven times the vitamin C of oranges, the very high heat of commercial drying destroys much of it. However, even processed, it is still an excellent source of beta carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A.

Additionally, if a food item is colored red, orange or reddish brown and the label lists ‘Natural Coloring’, it is likely from paprika.

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