Monday, April 29, 2013

Tea Time for Miss Elena

Many years ago (oh, let's say 20) a ceramic shop in Billings was going out of business and I bought quite a bit of the greenware.  I boxed it up and put it away for a time when my children were grown and had families and homes of their own.  Then, about 5 years ago, many changes happened in my life and I had to go through my stash and purge.  I was able to keep a few of the pieces of greenware and put them away hoping for a chance to put them to use still.  Finally, one of my chances arrived.  My granddaughter, Elena, is all girl and loves to have tea parties with her dolls.  She is turning 4 this year and so I decided it was time to give her something special - a handmade tea set.  So, I dug out the greenware and started in on it.

First step was to clean it, smoothing out all the raw edges and mold marks.  Then, off to Trinity Ceramic Supply, a local shop that makes their own glazes.  With underglazes in tow, I set to work putting the color directly onto the greenware.

This was a new technique to me but I loved working with the product and was excited to see my project come to life.   I loved how they turned out -- next step was off to the kiln for the first firing.  At this point, my daughter let me know that the party was an "Alice in Wonderland Tea Party" and I could not believe my luck.  I have the perfect gift.

Yay!  First firing went well!  No cracks and the glaze worked just as I had hoped.  Now to clear glaze for the final firing.  Again, I was nervous as I had been an abundant glazer in the past and did not want a repeat of past experiences.  No runs please!  Back to the kiln and wait the 4 days to pick it up.  I was so scared -- please let it all have worked.  When I walked into BPERS to collect my project, it was all sitting out on display.  It was perfect!  The owner said she searched for problems and couldn't find a single one.  Oh my -- I was doing the happy dance.

Now I had the dilemma of how to get it to Montana for the party and at the same time provide a storage place for the tea set so that it didn't have as great a chance as breaking once Miss Elena owns it.  It just so happens that there is a Tuesday Morning within walking distance from the house.  A quick trip down and I had found the perfect box.  Another YAY!  During a recent cleaning of the studio, I had come across 4 foam seat cushions that were almost a perfect fit for the box and now it was Mister's turn on the project.

He had to make the foam fit just right by slicing off one end of the square on all four cushions.  Next, cut out all the shapes so that the pieces locked in place and yet were protected.
After 4 hours, he had a finished project.  Hopefully the next time we tackle something like this, it will go a little quicker since we have a small idea of how to go about it.

Here is our finished product -- all boxed and ready to be hand carried by me onto the plane.  Isn't it oh so cool?

And just so you can see the box -- isn't it pretty?  I love how the colors went so well -- it was a lucky shopping day.

OH - in case you didn't notice --- the studio cleaning took place during this project.  LOL -- that is why the room looks different.  Upper picture is also pre spilt glaze -- in the lower picture you can see where it stained the rug.  Yep, not everything went perfectly.

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