Monday, February 27, 2012

Lillstreet Spring Open House

Invite your friends, invite your neighbors, invite people you see on the street.  The Lillstreet Spring Open House is scheduled for March 10.  Doesn't matter what the weather is like outside . . . it's always warm, cozy and welcoming at Lillstreet!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


FREE Workshops & Demonstrations for Adults & Children’s Activities
12:00-4:00     Kids' Activities
12:00-1:00     Screenprinting on Paper Workshop
12:00-2:00     Glass Demonstrations
12:30-1:30     Letterpress Printing Workshop
1:00-5:00       Crash Course in Digital Photography (not complimentary, by registration only)
1:30-2:30       Screenprint on Paper Workshop
1:30-2:30       Repouse (Low relief hammering design) Workshop
1:30-2:30       Band Rings Workshop
2:00-4:00       Wheelthrowing Workshop
2:00-4:00       Wheelthrowing BIG Demonstration
2:00-4:00       Bird Ceramic Sculpture Workshop
2:00-4:00       Print Your Own T-Shirt  Workshop (Bring in your own t-shirt, or purchase from our sales locker.)
3:00-4:00       Hammered Bracelets Workshop

Thursday, February 23, 2012

CONE 1 REDUCTION - New firing method

More FUN at Lillstreet Art Center!

Cone 1 (2039 F to 2109 F) Reduction Firing is an alternative method of firing Terra Cotta or other clays such as Stoneware. Because of the reduction firing and unusual ending temperature, unique surfaces develop.

The gas kiln is fired slowly to Bisk temperature and then “reduced” to Cone 1. The work goes into the kiln as greenware, fired slowly with an abundance of oxygen over about 12 hours. At Cone 04 (1915 F to 1971 F), the atmosphere is changed to a reduction firing, when the fuel seeks oxygen on a microscopic level inside the clay body.

The Red Iron Oxide in Terra Cotta is changed to Black Iron Oxide resulting in variations of color from burnt orange to black. Terra Sigilata brushed on greenware, with or without buffing it, enhances the bronze or dark walnut color with sheen.

Stonewares will have gone thru Body Reduction whereby the iron in the claybody is brought to the surface giving a warm tone. The clay is stronger than merely going to the bisk temperature and the reduction makes it harder as well. You may experiment with B Clay or Porcelain too. This could be appropriate for sculptures destined to be left as is or in conjunction with other alternate finishing techniques.

Underglazes may be used for color. The Low Fire Glazes may be used on the inside only and are not tested for food safety. Cone 10 Glazes and Stains will not melt and should not be used.

We will be offering Cone 1 Reduction Firings when we have enough work to fire the kiln, which is located on the second floor. It is about half the size of the Bailey kilns. We will find places to store the greenware here and there. We will teach students to load it. Sculpture students: think about how you will safely get your piece to the kiln without damage before you attempt to make a piece for this firing.

Additionally, please note that after the Cone 1 firing, Terra Cotta pieces will be vitrified, but are not meant to be left outdoors in winter. Stoneware will be harder and more sturdy than bisqued pieces and alternative finishes could be done on Stoneware pieces after the Cone 1 firing.

For more information, please talk to your teacher or Karen. You may also email Karen at

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Soda Program

Soda firing -- also known as atmospheric firing -- is a firing method for clay pieces that has already been bisque fired. In the soda firing process, soda ash (sodium carbonate) is mixed in water with saw dust and other additives to form lumps.  This lumps are introduced into a hot kiln that has been firing for several hours to Cone 10.  When the soda and sawdust lumps hit the hot flames, sodium vapor is created that moves around the pieces in the kiln with the movement of the flame.  Sodium vapor combines with the silica in clay to form sodium-silicate glaze.  Soda fired pieces has a unique orange peel effect on their surface.  The amount of silica in the clay body, where the exterior of the piece is slipped or glaze adds a dimension of uniqueness to the finished product.  The location of the piece and the pieces that surrounds the piece also provide a dimension of uniqueness.  All in all -- Soda firing is a very interesting process and should be added to any potters repertoire of knowledge.

Soda firing works just as well with wheel thrown or hand built pieces and does not discriminate against functional ware or sculptural work.

Students who wishes to learn about Soda firing, how the form and surface embellishment of a piece impacts the outcome and how slips affects the appearance of a piece should consider taking the Simply Soda class.

For those who have taken at least 2 Simply Soda class and wants to move on to more challenging aspects of Soda firing might consider Advanced Topics in Soda Firing.  And, for the first time in the Soda Program's history at Lillstreet, the instructor for this class will be Charles Jahn.

Anyone who is interested in learning more about Soda Firing should read the Soda, Clay and Fire by Gail Nichols.  There should be copies of this book around Lillstreet so if you don't wish to purchase one, you should be able to quite easily borrow one.

Adam August checking the cones in the soda kiln (not apparent in the photo: flames spitting out of the peep hole)

Soda is a very hands-on program.  Students are encouraged to load and unload the soda kilns, participate the firing process and also perform some kiln maintenance.  These tasks provide invaluable insights to the working of a kiln and how the placement of a piece impacts the final outcome.

So, come on . . . take a dip in the Soda Firing pool . . . you may never want to get out.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Visitng Artist -- Julia Galloway

Julia Galloway was at Lillstreet this past weekend -- starting with the artist reception on Friday, 2/17 and then for a two day workshop on 2/18 and 19.  The workshop was sold out and for those who were not able to attend, here are some highlights.

Julia Galloway is a professor and Director of the School of Art at The University of Montana she makes utilitarian pottery and is in the collections of the Long Beach Art Museum, The Art Gallery of Nova Scotia and The Renwick at the Smithsonian. She has taught workshops across the United States and Canada with a special interst in cone 6 glazes and the history of pottery.

Workshop Description:
Julia Galloway will demonstrate her wheel throwing and handbuilding techniques. She will discuss the relationship between surfaces and form, slip inlay and application as well as cone six glazing. In addition she will show six history of ceramic lectures including Chinese ceramics, Iranian, Isnik, Greek, Italian and Russian. We will discuss historical influence on contemporary ceramics as well as idea development and creative process.

Workshop participants paying rapt attention!

Julia demonstrating the "rolled lip" technique on her pots.

Julia in her moment of being candid and offering up a wealth of informatio:  Perhaps Gary Jackson says it best; "Another weekend with Julia Galloway!
I'm taking part in a two-day workshop with an incredible artist, educator & potter. Her work & techniques are pretty spectacular. But it's her eloquence, her energy, her turn-of-phrase and insightfulness that really get me going. More fun tomorrow... plus stories & photos coming soon!

Julia summized that there are four main category of decorations on a pot -- dots, line, floral and pictoral.  And then proceed to show each on one pot!

Julia's signature vases -- she worked on this piece during the workshop.  First throwing, then altering, then joining and attaching a handle, then slipping.  Her works show a distinctive front and back side.

Julia demonstrating her puffy lids on a  jar.

Brag Shelf

We are back into the full swing of bisque firing and glaze firing. The brag shelves are filling up against (although this week, the brag shelf temporarily became the shame shelf). The pieces have been removed and it is agin the brag shelf. Do you see your work here?

Examples of work from the "Printing on Clay" class with Tom Lucas.


Kokeshi Dolls from Robin Power's workshop -- you can make this in two hours!!!!