Friday, April 29, 2011

A holiday, a graduation, and the tools that Troy made...

Hi Everyone,

I hope that you all have had a relaxing and enjoyable holidays. Here in Australia the Easter holiday coincided with ANZAC day which meant that most of us had a five day weekend, which has been blissful. But uni work is again knocking at my door. It is around this time in the semester that everything begins to snowball, and you wish you had kept all those well made intentions not to get behind again this time around. Such is the lot of a largely unorganised art student.

All in all it has been a fantastic week though, my partner graduated on Thursday after three years of hard slog. He looked fantastic in his trencher and robes and I was so proud. He has moved straight on to a Masters degree now and is now almost through the first of the three semesters that it will take to complete. Well done darling, you deserve it!

The the next day I recieved a box in the mail from Troy at Bungart Studios which could mean only one thing - new pottery tools!!!! And let me tell you that box did not disappoint, it was stuffed to the brim full of amazing pottery tools of every size and shape and as an extra surprise, a beautiful wodden spoon! I was blown away. I contacted Troy after I stumbled upon his store whilst trawling through Etsy listings for pottery tools, and decided to put in a request for a custom order for a few quality tools. As always I was working on a shoestring budget so was overjoyed when Troy generously offered to send me out an "artistic care package". I was hoping to get a knife tool (my favourite pottery tool), a rib or two, and if I was lucky, one of the amazing handmade paintbrushes. Here is a picture of what was in the box:

You should have seen my jaw drop. It was like my birthday all over again, I couldn't believe that all of these amazing tools were mine.

Here is what was in the box:

- First there was the paddle which is the item I originally contacted Troy about making. It is made from Japanese Flowering cherry and is flat on one side and textured on the other. It's thick, wide and heavy, just like a good clay paddle should be. Best of all despite it's size it's great to handle and will be extremely easy to use.

- Second two knife tools, one made from Purple Heart, the other from Ebony. As I mentioned before, knife tools are my all time favourite and these two are only going to continue that tradition. They are both large, long and sturdy not to mention beautiful! Purple heart wood is always so stunning and the ebony is so black it's hard to believe that it is just the natural wood colour.

- Third two mini ribs one made from Purple Heart, one from Cocobolo. The little beauties are fully functional despite their diminutive stature. I'm going to wear them as a necklace as well as using them!

- Fourth two hand made paintbrushes. These could quite possibly be my favourite things in the whole package, they are exquisite. They remind me of the wands from Harry Potter only with bristles on the end and they are amazingly soft and smooth. I'm going to use them for slip decorating if I can bear to dirty them.

- Fifth a selection of ribs. There is one Osage (the yellow one), one Cocobolo (dark wood with the attractive grain stripes), one Zebra wood (self explanitory really, looks like zebra print) and one Brazilian Cherry (mid colour wood). There is also a knife rib made from Zebra wood. These ribds look so awesome and they feel even better. I've always struggled with using the ribs that I currently own, I find them hard to get a good grip on so when I do use them they tend to muck up my bowls. These ribs couldn't be more different, it's like they were made for my hand. They feel so natural to hold I can't wait to give them a go.

- Lastly there was a surprise that I really really love, a little wooden spoon. Spoons are Troy's passion and are the majority of what you'll see in his store. This little spoon is truly a work of art and everytime I pick it up I don't want to put it down.

I think that what really makes these tools so magical is how ergonomic they are. Each and everyone of them just feel like an extention of your hand, they feel natural and easy and right. Please visit Troy's store and have a good look at his works. I can't express just how amazing his pieces feel to hold and use, it's an incredible experience. Troy's wood tends to tell a story, his doesn't buy bulk planks from the hardware depot. The wood that goes in to the pieces has a history and tell a story. It is the true joy of experience that makes the handmade so superior and incomparable to the mass-produced. Troy's pieces are extremely reasonably priced and he is a friendly, helpful and easy going person to do business with. Go visit Bungart Studios and buy yourself a fully functional piece of art, believe me they are worth every cent and more.

Thanks so much for reading and I hope you have a great week!

Here are the links for:
Troy's Etsy Store (Bungart Studios)
My Facebook page
My Etsy store

Much love,

Saturday, April 16, 2011

My first pottery pics

Hi all,

So after a long week in a slowly cooling kiln, my sake bowls plus some others have emerged from the reduction firing beautifully. I'm really pleased with the celadon, a really wonderful glaze that a friend of mine mixed up from scratch, hand mixed glazes really are amazing things! I also used some chun (a lovely blue glaze), some matte white (which was off, can you say rotten eggs?) and some black iron oxide, and am pretty happy with the results. The chun is a lovely light, bright blue which I would definitely use again. I've heard some good things about chun being applied after a tenmoku (a dark "oilspot" glaze) coat so I may also give that a go.

Here are some pictures of some of the bowls that came out of the reduction firing:

The small bowl that I used chun on is probably my favourite, although it did warp in the kiln and is no longer circular. I think that it's very lucky that it did so that now I don't have to feel guilty over not trying to sell it! There is most certainly beauty in the imperfections. Speaking of imperfections, I also had some of my very first thrown bowls come out of an oxidation firing this week. The bowls themselves are certainly less than perfect but they served their purpose as a vessel on which I could explore surface. I've given them as a gift to my younger sister who loves both fish and bubbles.

The colours on these bowls have been acheived by underglaze. The bubble bowl's texture was created by painting shellac onto a "green" bowl (green meaning dry but unfired) in the bubble pattern. The shellac was then left to dry overnight. The next day I used a damp sponge to rub back the surface of the clay which caused the water-proof, shellaced areas to remain raised and also exposed the grog (the rough particles) of the clay. The clay that I used to throw this bowl was a recycled stoneware, so it was very groggy. The fish bowl was decorated by simply painting on a good few layers of underglaze and using a white slip to make the bubbles. Both bowls were then given a coat of clear glaze to seal them up.

It's been a hectic week for me, with mid semester reviews but now that they are over and done with I'm hoping to have the time to concentrate on getting some things made up to sell. So look out for more ceramics being listed in Inspiral Crafts over the coming weeks.

Well that's all from me for now, have a great week everyone and as always, don't for get to check out the store and the facebook page.


Monday, March 28, 2011

Super quick post!

Hi All!

Again my apologies for the length between posts, I'm so horribly unused to being organised at anything so all my commitments are really testing my staying power!

Todays post is a super fast one just to show you my latest listing, it's a fabric rosette ring made out of an old vintage formal dress, and I'm plugging it because I love it :)

I have a few new vintage flower pieces in the works at the moment which will hopefully be hitting my virtual shelves at some stage in the near future. I often wonder if my business would flourish more if I could be more focused on production but at the moment I just can't work that way. I have so many little bits and pieces just waiting for the right scrap, or button, or base to finish them off, and they sit until by chance I see the part that will complete them. I know this process isn't the best for making money but that's not why I create, not at this stage any way. Having said that, I have been thinking about the directions I want Inspiral Crafts to head in, and finding my niche market (did any one else read the article linked to the etsy??). I'll be writing about that in more depth next post.

So have a safe week everyone and as always don't forget to check out my:
Etsy store (Inspiral Crafts)
Facebook page

Rach xx

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Latest Listing

Hi All,

It's been a while between listing for me, I usually try and list at least one item every day or if I'm very busy, two days. This last week has been spent waiting on materials to arrive (I truly have the worst post service here) and researching some new ideas for more pieces to make. I have been thinking about listing some art works and maybe some ceramic pieces. Its hard to know at this early stage what will sell and what won't, I guess all you can do is try.

As for an update on the resin rose studs, I'm planning on offering them in an extra 20 colours!! Yep that's right, well around abouts any way :) I'll also be offering gold-plated surgical steel studs as well as the plain surgical steel, both options will of course be nickel free. So keep your eyes peeled for all the extra choices that will soon be listed in my Etsy store.

In the mean time, here is my latest listing. I love this choker so much and I hope it finds a good home soon.

See you all in the land of blog!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Rose Stud Earrings Re-stock!

Hi everyone!

So a very very busy week for me! Back to uni this week (I study Fine Arts with a ceramics major) and also many visitors over the weekend. It's been so great to catch up with loved ones that I haven't seen in a while.

I'm about to restock my large resin rose stud earrings which have been by far my biggest sellers and I'm looking for some input as to what colours you guys would like to see. So far I have featured the colours black, purple, pink, blue, yellow and nude. At $7.50 these earrings are a bargain and have been selling like hotcakes, so drop me a line and order them in your favourite colour today! If we can make it up to 5 suggestions in the comments I'll give everyone a 10% discount coupon!

In other news I have some items that are almost ready to be listed in my store. There are a couple of flower items and also a rosette or two so keep an eye out for those!

As always I am accepting commissions and I have a project or two in the pipeline that I'll hopefully be able to share with you soon. If you have any ideas please don't hesitate to contact me, I'm happy to discuss any ideas with you without you having any obligation to buy.

Well I must be off now to finish a last-minute tidy of the shoe-box before the next set of visitors arrive.

Rachael over and out!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

New items

Here is a sneak peek of some of the new necklaces that I will be listing on Etsy this week.

Don't forget that I'm more then happy to custom make jewellery for you, if you have any ideas or requests please leave a comment and I'll get in touch with you.

Also don't forget to sign up to the facebook page for updates and news.

Check out my store!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

New Blog!


Hi everyone! Welcome to my new blog! YAY! Can you tell i'm a little excited?

Well my Etsy store is officially up and running, so please go visit and favourite. There is also a facebook page which you can like for updates, information, sales and discount coupons. Also don't forget that I'm open for requests and commissions, just drop me a line and I'll get back to you.

Ok well that's it for now.
Rachael over and out!