News

ShprixieLand on TV! April 18, 2012 15:21

Check out the little televised plug we got today by clicking here. You can also check out the Make It page to see the rest of the fabulous designers. See you this weekend Vancouver! If you take a picture of this with your phone you can show it at the door to get 2 for 1 admission!

Boats, Bowls, Blog and More. April 16, 2012 21:22 5 Comments

It seems we've been living on perogies and easter chocolate for the last couple of weeks but now as our last kiln load of pottery fires and we find ourselves surrounded with new work we feel like it's all been worth it. We're so excited to get to roll out our new designs for the Vancouver Make It show this weekend. We've had so many ideas brewing all winter and some of them we've seen to fruition while others are still being developed (hopefully we'll have those ready for the Calgary Lilac Fest at the end of May). One of our new favourites is our sushi boats! They come as a set with chopsticks and a fish shaped dipping dish that swims along side. We must have been fantasizing about being in Vancouver all winter because we've made lots of sushi sets. We've even started introducing our ever popular owl decals into them.   We spent a lot of time drawing this winter and at last those drawings have made it onto our pots. The shelves are filled with rice bowls, noodle bowls and soup bowls (which come with their own clay spoon) as well as mugs and tumblers. All of this we're presently packing up and getting ready to take with us to Vancouver for the Make It market which happens this weekend from Friday, April 20th to Sunday at the Croation Cultural Centre, 3250 Commercial Drive.   Oh Yeah. Did I mention Wee Little Dishes? Yeah we made a pile of those too.

Shprixie News and New Pots March 29, 2012 22:05

It has been ages since we  last posted!! We've had quite the busy winter this year. Much of our time has been spent working on house renovations. Early in the New Year we discovered that the kitchen sink had been leaking, most likely for a few years, and that the water had been seeping under the kitchen cabinets and flooring. We had to gut the entire kitchen and replace a bunch of the flooring to get rid of the black mould that had infested the place.

This seemed like an awful thing at the time, but as Heath was working on it we had the idea that if we moved the kitchen across the room, we would be able to double the size of it (5ft. of counter space is awfully small for someone who loves to cook). This also would give us the added bonus of being able to look out of the window at the mountains and the lake whilst washing the dishes, instead of staring at the ugly wall behind the sink. It would also mean that the sofa would be moved so that when you sat on it you would also be looking out the windows at the mountains, rather than the old view of the ugly kitchen.  A win win situation really! The only real drawback was that we lost some of the precious winter. We happen to love the snowy blowy season around here because it is the time that we get to play and experiment the most with clay. There is nothing better than being in the studio with the little wood stove chugging away, drinking hot tea, and listening to some captivating audio book, while outside there is a blizzard blowing about.  But there will be another winter next year! Now that spring is upon us we have had to put the renovations on the back burner for now, and concentrate on making work for all of our  upcoming shows. The first big one that we have is one of our favourites. We'll be heading to Vancouver in April for the Make It Show. If you've never been to one of these and you are in the Vancouver area we seriously suggest checking it out. There are over 100 artisans, designers, and crafters selling so many unique and fun items. There is live music and a fully licensed bar! It feels more like a party than a craft fair!! If you take a picture of this with your phone you can show it at the door to get 2 for 1 admission!

We've  been working hard these last few weeks making all kinds of pots with new images on them. Here's a little sampling of what we'll be bringing with us.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Matte Fired Stampy Bowls. December 02, 2011 22:19

Last year, after Christmas but before New Years, we spent a few days sitting at the table in our pyjamas watching movies and making clay stamps. We rolled out sausages of clay, cut them into short sections and then impressed the ends with everything from the heads of screws, the toothed edges of gears and the butt ends of pens to clay sculpture tools, pieces of fabric, string and even other stamps. We ended up with a couple hundred different patterns to use on our future projects. Besides the obvious choice to use them on our ever popular christmas ornaments Pixie really wanted to use them to decorate bowls. Stamps provide an easy and beautiful 3D treatment for clay and the combined use of many different stamps produces unanticipated design surprises. The rolled rim of these pots provides added strength to the most vulnerable part of the bowl as well as creating an aesthetically luscious lip. This feature combined with the stamps makes for a perfect surface for bringing out the full range of detail in the glazes. One of our most popular glazes, our floating blue, is a gloss fired glaze that breaks really nicely on the stamped detail showing a rich brown through the mottled depths of the blue. For most of our stamped pottery we prefer to use matte glazes though. Currently a spearmint green, a creamy yellow and a warm grey that breaks to brown are the colours that we're working with while several others have our interest for future work. These matte glazes require a cone 6 glaze firing that includes a controlled cooling segment to the firing. Once we've reached our peak temperature of approximately 2100°F we let the temperature drop to 1850°F before beginning a slow controlled cool down to 1450°F. This slow cooling creates tiny crystals in the glaze which fogs the glassiness of it and gives it a satin finish. Not only does it create depth to the glaze and create striking colour variations where it flows across stamped detail, it also creates a wonderfully tactile surface that is a delight to caress. Probably the most important features of our matte fired pottery is that they are absolutely food safe and very durable. One would think that this should be self evident but unfortunately many matte glazes being made are the result of glazes not being completely melted during firing. The consequence of this is that the chemicals in the glaze haven't fully undergone their chemical reactions and can be leeched into food. Furthermore the surface can be marred by cutlery, stained by food or discoloured by acidic liquids all of which are unacceptable in what is being sold as food safe pottery. On the table our large bowls make stunning serving dishes for anything from side dishes, salads and pasta to desserts or even party snacks like potato chips or fruit. Our smaller bowls add a bit of fantasy to any place setting whether you're using them for soup, salad, dessert or just cereal. Like all of our functional ware they're totally dishwasher and microwave safe. You can even use them in the oven but be careful not to take them quickly from hot to cold or to heat them unevenly. Remember, it's not the heat that will break a bowl but a sudden change of heat or a difference in temperature of one part of a bowl to the next.