Fresh out of the kiln 5/03/18

Fresh out of the kiln 5/03/18

My first batch of pottery made with brown stoneware clay have finally been glazed and fired- For this batch I applied an underglaze of Amaco's Satin-Matte White and top coated that with their Satin-Matte Clear Glaze. Upon firing the white and clear glazes melded beautifully creating a creamy, grayish-white hue. The underlying khaki color of the brown stoneware clay really gives a wonderful depth to the finish. My favorites from this batch are these vaguely sea sponge-like luminaries which all miraculously survived. Unfortunately only one of the bivalve-shaped napkin holders survived, and it shrank so much I think it works better as a sponge holder. The pieces I specifically intended to be sponge holders turned out nicely though. All of the soap dishes survived- and I especially like how the clam shell-shaped ones turned out with the creamy white glaze. A couple of serving bowls. The lip of these bowls undulates which gives them built in spoon rests. Some oyster shell shaped spoon rests- the glaze looks perfect on these. A cluster of miniature flower bud vases. Some larger vases- While these may seem purely decorative and very delicate these ceramics are both functional and quite sturdy.

Lots of New Stuff!

Lots of New Stuff!

We've been busy restocking and finding great new products for you to try. *Firehook Flatbread crackers are back- with a new multigrain flax flavor.  Perfect with Greenhaven Farms soft goat cheese. *Nana's Cocina tortilla chips are back and in smaller packages(smaller price too!) *We now have BBQ sauce from S&D's BBQ in Hillsboro--Sweet & Tangy and Sweet Diablo.  Dan, the "D" of S&D, used to be the Cookie Guy and the chocolate guy.  He sold his chocolate equipment to Andrea Howard (Veritas Artizen Chocolates) and we now sell her bean-to-bar chocolate confections, including new 80 and 90% bars. It's a very small world. *We now have sampler sizes of the gourmet oils and vinegars from Flavor Pourfection as well as a few new flavors like "Milanese Gremolata" infused olive oil *In addition to a fresh batch of salted VA peanuts from Plantation Peanuts we now have their redskin peanuts in 22 oz. cans. *For our VA wine lovers, we have new ladies black T-shirts with the state of Virginia on the front and the words "Wine. It puts me in a good state!" Speaking of wine, we got a little carried away at the Kysela warehouse tasting last month.  New on the shelves:

  •      Veuve Du Vernay Sparkling Rose and Brut from France
  •      Prime Brume Soave and Cortenova Pinot Grigio from Italy
  •      Layer Cake Rose from CA
  •      Thorn Clarke Milton Park Shiraz from Australia
  •      San Elias, Siegal Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc from Chile
  •      Reibeek Pinotage from South Africa
  •      Burgo Viejo Rioja Old Vine Garnacha from Spain
*Cave Ridge's Riesling, Red Silk, Mt. Jackson Rouge and Rose are also back, along with the last of their 2013 Syrah! *New beers have also been added--Cael & Crede Irish Ale (barrel aged in Irish Whiskey casks); The Duck-Rabbit Wee Heavy Scotch Ale; Campion Killer Kolsch and Hog Waller Scramble (Breakfast Stout brewed with coffee and chocolate). Beer for breakfast? Yes, please! And stay tuned--BIG news coming soon!  

Pretty No Fuss Easter Eggs

Pretty No Fuss Easter Eggs

Did you know we have colorful eggs from Purple Rooster Organics?  Various shades of brown, green, beige and sometimes blue. Hormone free, free range, $3.99 a dozen.

Finally framed

Finally framed

My first batch of winter landscape studies are finally framed and up on the walls- "Winter Forest Late Afternoon"- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 8" x 10". C. 2018-     For this piece I went with a distressed, dark pine frame I made from raw boards. The texture I gouged into the edges of the moulding compliment the expressive brushstrokes and texture in the paint surface. "Snowbound Forest at Sunset- 1/15/18"- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 13 1/2" x 10 1/4". C. 2018 For this painting I went with a walnut frame that I parcel gilt with composition leaf on the front surface. The bright gilt surface of the frame really makes the golden hues pop in this piece. A clean, elegant walnut frame joined with keys and parcel gilt with composition leaf. "Winter Forest at Morning- 1/15/18"- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 8" x 10". C. 2018   The warm metallic gray of the silver leaf in this frame warms up the highlights in the painting and helps to tone down the blues of the shadow areas.   The rich dark brown of this frame helps to warm up this piece and compliment the purplish gray ground. The texture of the olivewood veneer blends in nicely with painterly tree trunks. This is the only frame in this bunch that I did not make myself. "Winter Forest in a Snowstorm- 1/15/18"- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board. 14" x 10 1/4". C. 2018   "Snowbound Forest- 1/16/18"- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 10" x 14 3/4". C. 2018   For this piece I went with a simple, "bump" profile moulding. The grain of the oak plays off the movement of the snow covered trees and winding grape vines. The rich, golden color of the finish cools down up the warm gray hues in the painting.   "Snowy Winter Forest- 1/19/18"- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 7" x 10". C. 2018 For the last two paintings I went with a very clean museum profile that was painted black and gilt on the top surface with aluminum leaf. The cool silver tones of the aluminum leaf make the cool whites of the painting seem warm by comparison. The depth of the moulding and the contrast between the flat black of the sides of the frame and the gilt front surface really makes these pieces pop off the wall.   "Snowy Winter Forest- 1/16/18"- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board, 10" x 7". C. 2018

Mead is Back!

Mead is Back!

Misty Mountain Meadery was offline for a couple of years, but they are back and we just got some of their rich, mellow and complex libations.  In addition to their traditional  blend (just honey and water) they now offer a lemon honey blend fermented with fresh lemon juice. THE MEADERY Misty Mountain Meadworks is a small Virginia Farm Winery and is the oldest operating meadery in Virginia. The Meadery is owned and operated by the Copeland family and located on a fifteen acre tract in the mountains bordering the Shenandoah Valley near Winchester, VA. Their beehives produce a unique flavor of honey due to the abundance of local orchards, wildflower fields, and forests. Rick, the meadmaker, has been successfully making Mead since 1983 and it is handcrafted from start to finish, from the bees to the bottles. Sweet Mead is an incredible dessert wine which can be served chilled or warmed, depending on the season. Enjoy serving Mead with pears, nuts, cheeses, and even cheesecake.  Mead is, of course, the beverage of choice for all solstice and equinox celebrations where it is served with everything!

Back in the game

Back in the game

So after a couple months hiatus I managed to have a very productive weekend of sculpting- Luminaries, vases and napkin holders made from a light brown stoneware clay In this batch I have made a variety of kitchen implements and vessels with a new stoneware clay that should come out a dark beige color. *If* they survive I'm thinking I'll coat them with a distressed layer of warm white glaze and over top that with a clear layer which should give the appearance of antique ironstone pottery. Two spoon rests and a soap dish. This pieces in this collection, like most of my work, has a very organic look to it. The spoon rests and napkin holders look vaguely like seashells. The napkin holders remind me of ancient brachiopod fossils. My favorites from this batch are the luminaries which resemble primitive sea sponges- A trio of very organic looking luminaries. I really hope the luminaries survive as they were very time consuming to make. Each little hole in them is a potential starting point for cracks. With any luck these pieces will survive the slow drying process over the next couple weeks and then it will be time to glaze them.  

Experimental Forms

Experimental Forms

I had a few scraps of stoneware clay so I decided to try sculpting out some physical forms of the vague shapes that had been floating around in my mind- Macaroni vase A potential macaroni vase[/caption] I had seen a macaroni vase in a recent issue of Better Homes and Gardens and decided I would try to make one using a flat slab of clay instead of a a wheel-since I do not have a throwing wheel. I rolled out some leftover clay, cut an hourglass shape out and rolled it up. Then turned up the openings and molded the lips a little. Two incense holders and a strange cornucopia shaped dish Two incense holders and a strange cornucopia shaped dish[/caption] I really hope the vaguely cornucopia shaped dish survives- it brings to mind some of the fossils I've found of primitive sea life. IMG_5303 A slightly different view-

Just in time for Fall

Just in time for Fall

I have a fresh batch of leaf-shaped spoon rests and soap dishes in all the hues of Autumn- Stoneware Red Oak Leaf Spoon Rest with Autumn Scarlet Finish 01 Alas-only one of the Red Oak leaf shaped dishes survived- but the finish on it is perfect. Stoneware White Oak Leaf Spoon Rest with Autumn Scarlet Finish 01 I love how the Temmoku underglaze interacted with the Satin Matte Red Glaze.The mottled effect is almost a dead ringer for real fallen oak leaves. Stoneware Sugar Maple Leaf Spoon Rest with Autumn Gold Finish 01 Most of the Sugar Maple trees in the woods behind my parent's house turn a pale gold mottled with brown and orange similar to the finish on these dishes. Leaf shaped ceramic spoon rests in all the hues of Autumn from The Farmhouse Atelier 01 Ceramic leaf shaped dishes in shades of Autumn Scarlet, Gold and Celadon Green mottled with brown.

Ceramic Napkin Holders

Ceramic Napkin Holders

Fresh out of the kiln- a batch of very organic-looking napkin holders made from porcelain and stoneware clay: Stoneware Napkin Holder by MJ Seal with Chartreuse Finish 01 The bright acid-green coloration of the Chartreuse Finish is not exaggerated. Stoneware Napkin Holder by MJ Seal with Celadon Green Finish 01 The shapes of these napkin holders reminds me of coralline algae. I love how the Celadon Green glaze on this piece turned out. Napkin Holders by MJ Seal The green and blue coloration of these pieces mesh well with their leafy, coral-like forms.