Last month I was invited to teach at a really cool ceramics event, the Cates Sisters Kansas Mini-Convention (click here to see the post with pictures!). I was in Salina, Kansas for about four days. We had such a blast! Not only did I get to teach a class, but I also was able to take classes – like this stamped clay dish, taught by the talented Bre Kathman from Chesapeake Ceramics. Chesapeake carries and sells Duncan Bisque and Glazes!
Before I go into the tutorial, I have a funny story to share. I was super nervous because this event has been taking place for 13 years. All the attendees are close friends, they all own paint on pottery studios around the country and they get together for this event to bond, experiment with product, and get energized for their business. Basically, I was one of the new kids on the block. On Saturday, Robin Cates joyfully told all of us – “If you want anything liquor-ish to drink during the classes, go buy it tonight before the store closes at 8 p.m.” There happened to be a little neighborhood liquor store down the street.
A couple of the ladies asked me, “Kathy, would you like to go halfers on a bottle of wine?”
Now, I get a little too tipsy when I drink anything other than water, tea or coffee, and I didn’t want to make a bad impression, so I replied, “Oh, no, I’m good! I run on pure coffee! But I’ll go along for the ride!”
So my friend, Lisa and I (Lisa works for Duncan too), hopped in the car and drove to the liquor store. I don’t venture to liquor stores much, I mean, here in Phoenix, they have every kind of drink at the grocery store 24/7. So I walked in and there was the most massive display of MINI LIQUOR BOTTLES! There were so cute, jalapeno-flavored whiskey! Skull-shaped bottles of vodka! It’s not like I planned to drink them, but I absolutely, at that very moment HAD TO BUY ALL THE BOTTLES!
So there I was, an armful of bottles spilling onto the floor – when the ladies came up to the front with their one bottle of wine and saw me trying to hold all da liquor in my chubby hands.
“CRAFTY CHICA! We thought you didn’t want to drink!” they laughed.
I giggled and…posed for this picture! I mean, what else could I do? There was no getting out of the situation!
Here is what I ended up with. I brought them home, Patrick put them in the cookie jar and the next week, our friend Little Rick and his cousin Cheeto came over to help set up our photo studio, and sampled them all, lol! I did save the bottles though. and the ladies from the group, made me feel right at home, they thought it was funny too!
OK, now about that stamped clay plate! Bre Kathman is the Education Specialist/ Studio Potter at Chesapeake and she taught us her method! First, she cut a clay tile for each of us.
Then she showed us how to add embossed designs with rollers. Honestly, I first tried to press coins into the clay,then decided to stick with what Bre taught us. Since I didn’t know what the heck I was doing!
Once I did this, I messed up – again, trying to veer off on my own. But there was a special technique coming up, so I had to leave well enough alone. Here is the technique – it is Bre’s method of “poofing” the tile square into a cool dish with upright edges. She is a genius – watch this!
I stuck with Bre’s lesson plan and everything went back on track from there. After this, I cut out hearts from left over clay and pressed them into the clay. I let it all dry until I got home to Phoenix. I learned that Duncan Cover Coat is actually like colored slip – so you can coat the unfired clay with it, then let it dry and fire it to bisque. Which is what I did!
Then I tried Bre’s antiquing suggestion. I used contrasting colors and wiped away the excess.
I then added Cover Coat to the hearts and then black on everything and wiped it away to get depth. And then I glazed and fired! I love how it turned out, I’ve been using it to hold my business cards at events.
Thank you so much to Robin and Julie Cates for allowing me to be a part of their wonderful event. And to Bre for teaching this lesson! I hope this inspires you guys to visit a local ceramics studio or paint on pottery location. go get creative with clay, you won’t be sorry!