Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Clay in May at Windy Ridge Pottery

Hi Everyone,

Don't be fooled into thinking our absence from blogging has meant we haven't been in the studio. We just finished our spring firing, and have lots of great new pots for Clay in May this weekend.  We are still having trouble uploading photos to blogger, but you can see them on our Facebook page.

Hope to see lots of you out and about this weekend during Clay in May!


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Earthenware Tests and Handmade Masonry Stove Sneak Peek

We have snow at Windy Ridge. Lots of it, actually! Joe and I have been going out after sunset on our cross-country skis and breaking trails or following deer tracks in the the brilliant moonlight. If you look closely, you can see a deer behind the kiln shed in this photo. They creep closer and closer to the house during the winter, pawing through the snow to reach the alfalfa below. Just before the snow fell, they discovered the winter kale in our garden. We'll need a fence next year.

I have been doing lots of earthenware glaze tests the past few weeks. One of the drawbacks to having a large wood kiln is that it's hard to run series of tests when developing new glazes and clay bodies, so a few weeks ago we bought an electric  kiln from a retiring potter. Joe convinced me that the only way that I could possibly have a chamber's worth of earthenware ready to fire in the wood kiln this spring was to start working on it this winter, and it looks like he is right. The kiln is small, old, and kind of squarely-encased-in-steel cute. Like it could scamper away and go sledding down our rolling hills. It feels unnatural and shockingly easy to put test tiles in a kiln and waltz away, coming back only to turn up the temperature or watch the cones fall towards the end. Shouldn't I be more involved in firing my work? Wood-firing has calibrated my sense of what kind of effort should be poured out to get the pots from green to the table.

My goal right now is to find a satiny base glaze, and to learn how my available materials (some local, some regional, some commercially processed) work at earthenware temperatures. I tried using a few published glazes, but wasn't getting what I wanted, so I went back to how we formulate and experiment with our high-fire glazes: simple line blends. Since I am impatient, I limited myself to two or three ingredients and measured them by volume instead of weight.  I took a class with Joe Pintz at Arrowmont a few years ago, and learned the volume-measuring method as it relates to testing colorants in terra sigillata. This decision to use volume instead of weight with my test glazes may come back to haunt me in some way I haven't seen yet, but so far my results have been both educational and exciting. I can always reverse-engineer volume to weight, right?

 I love these touchable satin whites, love how they break around the corners.

While I've been diddling abound with glaze  tests, Joe has been working on the new handmade masonry stove for the studio. It looks like a big improvement from last year's model. I have a few pictures of the building process to share, but I'll let him post about the details when  he is done. Which will be soon, I hope. It is winter in Wisconsin. 

Joe and Todd getting started.  

Joe and Prairie making progress. Keep it up, fellas!

Focus, Little Grasshopper...

Getting close to providing heat...

Merry (Belated) Christmas from your Windy Ridge Cross-Country Ski Team!


Friday, November 30, 2012

Holiday Pottery Show

See all of you this weekend at Windy Ridge for our 
Holiday show of gift-able and get-able pots. 
And of course, lots of cookies, cider, and mulled wine!

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Happy Thanksgiving, WRP Friends and Family. 

We are grateful that all of you have chosen to surround yourselves with handmade pots, 
and we hope you fill your bowls and cups this week with fantastic holiday food and drink.

In honor of giving thanks, we are having a Thanks-Give-A-Way! 
(I'm pretty proud of that clever phrase, so if someone else made it up first, don't tell me! )

To enter a drawing to win this pair of wood-fired mugs (which would work quite well 
for enjoying spiced cider or wine over the next few weeks!) just leave a comment on 
this post or "like" us on Facebook between now and Friday, November 23rd. 
If you want to be entered in the drawing twice, do both!

Christy and Joe

**UPDATE! Our Thanks-Give-A-Way Winner is Deidre Kruser!**

Congrats, Deidre, and send us your address so we can send you your mugs!

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Fall Art Tour 2012

We have a fantastic load of new pots for the Fall Art Tour.
We'll be offering tours of our three-chambered wood-fired kiln, 
wood turning demonstrations by our guest artist, 
and plenty of Christy's famous cookies all weekend long. 

And, of course, free juice cups for the early birds every day! 

Looking forward to a weekend of seeing old and new friends. 

christy and joe

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New pots...

Blogger continues to thwart our best efforts to post photos... so we've posted photos from our latest firing on our Facebook page.  Check them out here:  Fall 2012 firing photos.