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      Micro-Mark Discount code for IGMA   01/29/2017

      Great News for miniature artists!!!! In support of IGMA and the world of fine miniatures,  Micro-Mark the small tool specialists, have offered IGMA a 10% discount on all their purchases.  Buyer gets 10% off all purchases and in support of the Guild Micro-Mark will donate 5% of your purchased price to IGMA Be sure to enter Promo code IGMASAVE16 www.micromark.com Can be used on sale merchandise, but cannot be combined with another offer.  For example if an item is in the close-out section on the Micromark website, the discount will apply. If they discount some items in an email (a special promotion) the 10% will not be able to be combined with that offer.  Time to go shopping!!!      

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Carolyn N. Curran

CNC NEEDS YOUR IDEAS AND PREFERENCES IN MINI POTTERY!  After many years  of artistic play and  a hiatus  from  much  scale  miniature pottery production,  I have applied for the 2018 Guild show  and also  hope  to get back to my old ETSY shop.   The hair is white and   the body not as limber,  but  I've been  storing up lots of new ideas and techniques in the past years for just such a return to the mini  world.   Years  ago  my  primary  focus was  in   creating  authentic replicas  of traditional pottery of many eras -  everything from Egyptian canopic jars,  Proto-Geometric Greek amphoras  and  Egyptian paste  bowls  to  19th c. decorated stoneware  coolers,  redware  turk's head molds, tiny inkwells and tea ceremony tea bowls.   Right now my intention for the coming year  is  to make both historic minis  as well as  raku, pit  and saggar fired vases and sculpture of my own design and to fire them  in more authentic ways.    I have  a wealth of  research material  collected over almost 50  years  of miniature making,  but  what  do  today's  miniaturists  really  need or want for  their  current and  future projects?  I'd be  grateful  for your feedback,  since  I have been  away from the mini community these  past years. (I'm not soliciting orders,  just ideas.)    It will  also  be wonderful to re-establish  contact with all my old pals from the miniatuiare world once again!    My website  (cncpottery.com) is a bit out of  date right now,  but it will tell you what this  aging  potter  is up to.  

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WeekendMiniaturist

Carolyn, it is good to have you back to the mini world. I do have some pottery... and enjoy those pieces.  I always look for that perfect shape; the perfect color.  However, my ability to verbalize what is the perfect shape and perfect color is very subjective.  I purchased a lot of roses at the KC Masterworks event from Carol Wagner, and was surprised when I got home, that I couldn't get a nice qty of her roses into the necks of the pots I purchased.    Having finally tried to use my pottery recently to take a picture of the flowers, I was frustrated with the size of the necks... not critiscm of anyone's work, and the pieces are probably in scale, but those roses are on "very fine long stem" wires.

I have never sold miniatures; but my gut tells me I should make items that I enjoy making, and I trust that the joy of the creation of the miniature items transfers to the end result, and then we just have to find that cosmic connection to the buyer.... this would be my plan, if I ever find myself on the other side of the table.

 

 

 

 

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Carolyn N. Curran

Always  glad  to have input on things like this!   Actually,   for years I  have been making  mini vases (non scale, more like 2" scale  or bigger...good  for giving to shut ins and people (non miniaturists) who  like small but not "itty bitty" sizes.   Sometimes these--and  the 1" scale minis--are just meant to stand alone without flowers, etc.,  like the bottle forms which I love to make but which have too  narrow an opening for flowers.  But I know   as a flower arranger myself  how frustrating it is not to be able to make an arrangement  when  the opening is too  narrow, so I also  try to make some  miniature (and mini) vases  which have the bigger opening!   Sometimes  the shapes are not as elegant,  and that may be why  we mini potters  tend to make vases purely for decoration  that may  not  be very practical.  I  will keep your comment in mind next  time I make some vases.   Thanks for  your thoughts.  

PS....Right  now  I'm starting to concentrate on making  mini replicas  of ancient   or primitive pottery  which  I will be firing in my own  clay kiln, using the old methods of firing.  It's very exciting.  I'll be starting with the simplest shapes...not  Greek amphoras with  fragile handles,  but simple everyday wares of red clay  which will be  good for the first experiments in my  mini kilns.  (I've  done a couple  of sculptural kilns  (Firebird 1 and 2)   which  I fired using  charcoal.  Inside one I  put a dozen  burnished clay eggs,  and  they all  turned a lovely lustrous  black because of the firiing process...just like the old Greek  pots.    The other  one  had  1" scale minis inside the firing chamber,  and  those  turned out well, too.    Excuse my wordy ranting on...just getting back  into mini production after a long period of experimenting is  such fun,  and I tend to get carried away with my enthusiasm.   

 

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WeekendMiniaturist

I look forward to seeing some of your pottery.  I did see a lovely basket of pottery you made for fund raising on your website.  These small pottery items are a wonderful gift to your community. 

 I purchased a mini pottery wheel from a miniaturist that I know.   Earlier this year, I discovered we have a firearts community that I can join, or I can just take classes.  As an experienced potter, do you like the idea of a miniaturist turning up at a life-size community and wanting to turn 1/12th scale mini pottery?  I have so many full size collectibles, that we purchased antique and estate sales / auctions, that I have no real need for life size items, but I do adore miniatures... do you think there is any risk, except for falling in love with something new?  My husband is the pottery collector, I have a few items that I have purchased in life size, but he is the person that loved McCoy and Roseville pottery, and molded pottery,  from my perception just doesn't seem as much fun.  I love working on a metal or wood lathe, I know I will enjoy working on a pottery wheel!

Does anyone else in the FMF community have any experience showing up at local pottery communities and only wanting to make 1/12th miniatures?

Any suggestions of how I present to the instructor that I want to make 1/12 scale pottery and how I overcome the roadblocks is appreciated.

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Carolyn N. Curran

Go for it!  Join the class, learn to center on the wheel (first  big hurdle) and THEN  tell them you want to throw "off the hump".   The instructor can certainly help you with that,  and  then  you can  develop your own techniques for working in miniature little by little.  You can  throw off the hump eventually on  the  mini as well as big wheel.    (When the time  comes, I  will be glad to  coach you  by email with some of the  techniques  I developed  over the years.)  I belong to a coop  studio here in New Bern,  and I'm the only  one working in miniature (except for another gal who creates wonderful whimsical  hand built  clay  minis of historical houses in town).   The coop members  are ALWAYS fascinated by my tiny pots and the details on the clay houses...there is just something about  minis  that  is super fascinating.  

You can  use   either the full sized  wheel or the mini wheel.  (I used  a mini wheel when I taught at Castine  but use the big wheel almost exclusively in the studio.   I recently  used two mini wheels  for a demo at a pottery show,  one for white clay, the other for red.)     And when your pottery  instructor demonstrates wheel techniques,  think  small:  think   about replacing  the hand with the finger  and the potter's rib  with  a  wooden  sculptural tool  when you go about  trying the minis.  And if the  instructor  shakes her  head at your interest in  making minis,  just  show her  some  photos of what other miniaturist potters are doing!   

I heartily  applaud your  desire to make minis instead of collecting more  full scale antiques.  There comes a time when  there just isn't any more  space  in a home  for  accumulating big things!   (Many years ago I miniaturized an entire collection  of decorated stoneware  for an elderly man  who had to move to a small apartment,  and lots of decorated stoneware  collectors over the years  have  requested minis of their favorite pieces...in case they ended up selling the originals.)   

I wish you well with your new interest and hope you will keep in touch.   Miniaturist potters like me  are aging,  and we will need fresh blood to  take our places one day.   Besides,  it's such a heckuva lot of fun!!!

mini 1.jpg

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WeekendMiniaturist

http://www.fireartsinc.com/workshops.html

Carolyn, your pottery on the wheel looks like a lot of fun.  Here is my link to our local firearts classes, and I'm contemplating classes beginning in March, so I think Functional & Raku Fired Ceramics is the class I should sign up for, as it indicates beginners are welcomed...  Does the kind of clay matter for miniatures?  

I have a couple of books on pottery, but if you have a recommendation for beginners, as the must have reference, I don't mind doing a little study before showing up for class; unless the instructor prefers a 'green' student.  

Oh, I have some pieces of pottery to bring with me to class; to explain what I want to make!   I collected Jason Feldman's miniature pottery as he was always at the alternate Chicago show that Thelma hosted, and I have a couple of pieces of Graber, and 1 piece of pottery from Jon Almeda.... Now thinking about it... I want to work on a possible Georgian / Edwardian structure, so what kind of pottery is appropriate in this time?  Previously I wrote about my dream stair case build on the fmf... someday I will make a cantilever stair case; it is on my must do this list, and the idea is to build the stair case and then design the house around the stair case; so it is likely to be Georgian or Colonial structure.    I can picture porcelain in this time period, but cannot picture pottery.  I do have a real need for some miniature chinese mudmen; as I need to finish my Guild Study Overmantle from Alison Ashby's class, and I want to include this Overmantle project in my dream structure.  

I have been participating in the miniature community for more then 20 years, but I didn't attend Guild School for the first time, until 2006...  I don't attend every year... it depends on if my husband wants to travel, as I would always travel with him first before I trot off to indulge my mini obsessions at Guild School.   When did you teach in Castine?  

When we traveled to Taiwan, I visited a pottery museum / education center, and if I remember correctly, it was a wood fired kiln... It was very interesting, but I did not anticipate that I would ever become a potter, so I did not store that in my brain for specific recall.  I did buy a tea set, so I may be able to piece it together.   This was my only experience with pottery.  

Thank you for the conversation; and I did not intend to hijack your thread.  Your kindness and enthusiasm is most appreciated! 

Tamra aka Weekend Miniaturist

 

 

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Carolyn N. Curran

Hi Tamra,  I love this  interaction  with IGMA pals...and Email is so easy for me!    Let's  see, I last  taught at Castine  in 2oo4  if I remember correctly, or was it before my bypass operation in '03?  The years melt together so easily.  

I am VERY impressed by  the  classes offered  by Firearts...the quality of the pieces shown  looks  quite sophisticated.  The instructors must be  good...and what a variety of courses, too.  Functional and  Raku sounds like the choice to make.    The immediacy and  drama of raku is such  fun (esp. in a group to ooh and ahh together)  and  the function part sounds like  a good foundation.   I think you  can  absorb a lot of  knowledge about  glazes  with the raku...esp   if you  have  a head start with a couple of  book and starting points.    (Glaze  = glass former  like  silica, plus a  flux  to bring down the melting point  of the glass former,  and alumina to stiffen the glaze and keep it on the pot,   plus  optional things like colorants  and opacifiers, etc. )  Since I was a self taught potter, books were my teachers,  and there are a lot more pottery books now than in 1968 when I threw my first  pot.   I'd  try Glenn  Nelson's  Ceramics: A Potter's Handbook.  It's on its 5th edition, but  most of the earlier editions are  fine as well.  I LOVE  buying the used  books  on Amazon Prime or Amazon.  Such great  bargains.  I  need them like a hole in the head, but  thinking ahead to what I'll be planning  for the IGMA show,  I just  ordered  a  book on ancient Anatolian art  and a German edition  of a book about a   Berlln museum (A lot of ancient  pottery  and  sculpture  which might be  fun to replicate in miniature).   (I figure I can  decipher  the  numerical dimensions  in the German text, which is what I  really  want along with the images,  and my 1/2 year of German in college will just have to suffice. )   I would  go with Nelson  for your basic book, although you can find plenty of pottery books in a  good bookstore,  AND  since you really  sound serious,  a subscription to Ceramics Monthly.  (CM's sister publication  is  Pottery Making Illustrated and always has  good how to projects,  but  you get the feel of the craft and what people are  going in ceramics  with CM.  Maybe  get a copy of each and see what you think.   

More random fun thoughts...I am not really into the more decorative chinas like you'd have on your overmantel,  since I've  always liked the gutsy more primitive pottery eras...so I can't give much advice on that.    Some of the monochromatic glazed Chinese pots   like a mei ping  vase  would look  fine on a Georgian mantel,   but I don't  think  those  things were  in vogue then.    I was always on the lookout for  a simple prototype  of a mantel garniture trio without a lot  of  complicated  decoration  but never  found one I really liked.   The authentic replicas  I made were mostly for kitchen use,  although  I could always be  turned on by  the Tang  Dynasty forms  and the Chinese monochromatic glazes.   I would almost  DIE, however,   for a successful mini  sang de boeuf  glaze high fired in a reduction fire.  The glaze has to be thick to work, and  then  it's  too thick for an elegant mini porcelain form.  (Sang de boeuf glazes  would be  the equivalent of your dream staircase. ) 

I'd better stop now before you have eye strain.   I look forward to further  conversations!    I'm sure I'll hear from you before  you start  that  class.  And when you do, remember to bug the instructor about learning how to throw off the hump.   CNC

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WeekendMiniaturist

This is wonderful... I had finalized my mini adventures for 2018, and am thrilled to have this encouragement to go to the Firearts community.  I will definitely ask to learn to throw off the hump.  I have a neighbor, that may also go with me, too, so it will be even more fun to go and play in the evenings.  

My very kind and dear mother in law (she is a really classy lady) one day sent home some mudmen that she collected.  I was like 'wwwhhhhhaaaatttt' am I supposed to do with Chinese Mudmen?  Does this go with my 'traditional home' decor?  Oh good grief, but she sent them, so I kept them. One of the cardinal rules of my life is to take care of our Mom(s) and never do anything to mess with gifts from our Mom(s).  I apply this cardinal rule, in hopes that I teach our sons those same commitments, and so far, so good!

Then Alison's class was offered at the Guild Study Program, and I remembered those mudmen, so the goal is to make mini mudmen - do you think this is an option at my pottery class?  I have always wanted my own Thorne Room... and Alison's class allowed me to connect those dots...  The Staircase and the English Bedroom are quite complimentary.  Wouldn't my mudmen be similar to your friend who is making miniature structures?  They look like they are made from the same kind of material as pottery... initially I was going to try and make them from polymer... but if I am taking a class - it seems worth the attempt to try... ?

http://www.artic.edu/aic/collections/artwork/43708?search_no=7&index=64

If you look at the mantle, in the book, (and I saved it an printed it much larger in the office where I can print at 11x17) no fancy garnitures on this overmantle, and some very simple pieces on the mantle... those are the pieces I need to make.

I will buy the pottery book, (I will check what I have in my library), first of course... and I have a library of books and magazines, so with minis came a collection of reference material.  Thank you for this recommendation.  I look forward to learning about Sang de bouef glazes.   In the words of Peter Pan, in the Movie "Hook", to live is an adventure!

Thank you!

 

 

 

 

 

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