Functional hand made stoneware pottery with complex metallic glazes available at The Virginia Farmhouse

Fresh Out Of The Kiln- Our Latest Batch of Stoneware Pottery

They Survived! And even better the (somewhat experimental) combinations of glazes I used came out beautifully-Stoneware pottery with metallic glazes available at The Virginia Farmhouse

So for this large batch of pieces I used a dark, red stoneware clay called “Brooklyn Red”. This clay is heavy, groggy and due to the iron oxide content will stain anything it touches (before firing of course). It’s actually the kind of clay used to make red bricks and in is incredibly durable once fired. It is great for hand building pieces as it has minimal shrinkage during drying and and attached parts really hold together.

I also love this clay as it gives you a rich, dark ground to work off of- perfect for the metallic glazes I wanted to use for these pieces-A tuliptree leaf shaped dish and other functional ceramics with metallic glazes hand made by MJ SealI used 2 different combinations of Potter Choice Glazes from Amaco. In group one I applied 2 thick layers of Saturation Gold to the piece. Then I coated that in a blotchy layer of Temmoku (a dark, translucent brown/black glaze) and Saturation Metallic. After those layers dried I applied a little more saturation gold to the edges and rims of each piece for a little pop of gold.A luminary, soap dish and various serving bowls hand made from red stoneware clay by MJ SealDuring firing the glazes melded beautifully. In the areas with a thinner layer of Saturation Gold the glaze developed a dark bronze coloration that flashes iridescent blue when viewed at certain angles. The splotches of Temmoku and Saturation Metallic gave silvery, pewter-like touches and in areas where the Saturation Gold pooled and dripped you can see these patches of rich gold with little coppery flecks.

Soap dish and serving bowls with an ancient bronze like finish available at The Virginia FarmhouseIn the second group (which turned out to be my fav) I applied a couple thin layers of Saturation Metallic glaze over the dried clay body then a splotchy layer of Temmoku with thick blotches of Saturation Gold.Metallic finish on a stoneware leaf made by MJ Seal at The Virginia FarmhouseThis combination of glazes developed a rich and complex black metallic finish with patches of pewter and ancient bronze. On these little dishes I made with torn edges (the clay had started to dry out and had become unmanageable) the finish almost makes them look like shards of a meteorite-Stoneware dish with torn edges and metallic glaze hand made by MJ SealClose up of a meteorite like finish on a ceramic piece hand made by MJ SealIt’s always nice when an experiment turns out even better results than you were expecting!

Ceramics in Progress – September 2019

Finally had a chance to make a few somethings out of a big block of red stoneware clay that we bought last summer (?) and has been sitting around the store ever since-

Some *potential serving bowls and soap dishes

Small and Medium sized planters

Wax tart burners/ luminaries and chafing dishes

These tiny vases would be great for flower buds or air plants. The medium sized vases would be great for succulents or small ferns (and flowers of course).

I made a bunch of serving bowls that could also double as pots for plants that don’t need a lot of soil- like the mosses I’ve been experimenting with.

You’ll notice all of these have little feet which not only make them stand out more but I think will nicely compliment the Raku- like glazes they will be getting once they dry. Keep your fingers crossed they survive the firing process.

 

New Additions- April 2019

We’ve really been cramming the shelves full this month with a plethora of new products-

First- the batch of stoneware pottery I started last year (before we moved) has finally been fired! I made an assortment of leaf-shaped dishes (Oak, Tulip Tree, Maple, etc.) with finishes like Autumn Scarlet (glossy), Dark Cocoa Brown (semi-matte), Autumn Gold (matte), Mushroom Soup (satin) and First Snow (matte). The First Snow and Autumn Scarlet finishes look especially nice on the brown of the clay body.

I also made an assortment of serving bowls, relish dishes and little trinket boxes (they were supposed to be salt cellars) with an oceanic look to them.

New Additions to The Pantry:

  • Organic Buckwheat Flour
  • Organic Coconut Flour from Tropical Green Organics of Sterling, VA- my home town! The coconuts that went into the flour weren’t grown in the state though- they sourced those from Sri Lanka.
  • Organic Spelt Flour
  • Organic Chia Seed
  • Organic Farro (a kind of wheat berry)
  • Organic Scottish Oatmeal

Back in stock:

  • Bulgur Wheat
  • Organic Whole Flaxseed
  • Almond Flour
  • Sorghum Flour
  • Millet Flour

Also new:

  • Organic Chia & Quinoa Restaurant-style Tortilla Chips from Late July
  • Organic Ancient Grain (Spelt Flour) Pretzels from Hanover
  • Organic Sprouted Whole Wheat Pretzel Shells from Unique Pretzels
  • Gluten-Free Multigrain Crackers from Crunchmaster
  • Whole Wheat Fig, Raspberry and Strawberry Bars from Nature’s Bakery
  • Whole Wheat Double Chocolate Brownies also from Nature’s Bakery
  • Dill Pickle Spears, Pickled Baby Beets and Pickled (baby) Green Tomatoes from Jake & Amos

Note: The pretzels are quite a deal at $7.49 for a giant, 28 oz container.

New to the Wine Rack:

  • Bluestone Vineyard’s 2016 Chardonnay and Petit Manseng, 2017 Moscato- Their Cab Franc is very spicy with lots of cardamom and black pepper. The Petit Manseng is complex, fruit-forward (tropical fruit- think starfruit) and luscious. The 2017 Moscato is slightly drier than previous vintages.
  • Castello Di Gabbiano Chianti Classico- rich, full-bodied and spicy with notes of tobacco, earth and violets.
  • Rabble Pinto Gris- light-bodied, mellow with notes of pear, golden delicious apples and a refreshingly tart finish
  • Slow Press Lodi Zinfandel- Spicy and rich with juicy black cherry on the nose and cedar on the palate.

New Additions- December 2018

We’ve been quite busy over the past month and we have big news for the upcoming New Year!

First and foremost: We will be moving during the month of January to our new location–just across the street to the former location of The Woodstock Gallery and Frame Shop. We will begin moving mid-January and will be completely set up in our new location by February 1st. During January we will be open by appointment, so give us a call first.

And from now until December 24th we will be Open every day of the week for your shopping convenience. We will be closed on Christmas Day and the day after (Mike’s Birthday!).

We have a few new additions as well:

  • Wired By ALP Essential Oil Bracelets- These hand beaded bracelets have lava stones that act as a reservoir for essential oils. Simply dab your favorite oil or blend onto the lava stone and it will slowly diffuse into the air around you all day.
  • Sainte Victoire, Cotes de Provence, Rose- A light, crisp rose with lots of melon, a hint of almonds and a balanced acidity
  • Chateau Bonnet, Bourdeaux Blanc- A mellow blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon and Muscadelle with notes of apple, pear, tropical fruits and a very clean finish.
  • Sassafras bark- Cut and sifted- great for making root beer or a spicy tea. Product of the USA. It smells Heavenly.
  • Summer Savory- Dried, whole leaf
  • Gumbo File Powder- A blend of sassafras leaf and thyme that is an essential component of Creole Cooking
  • Culinary Sage- Dried, whole leaf and Locally Grown!
  • Makrut (Kaffir) Lime Leaves- Dried, whole–an essential herb for authentic Thai cuisine–makes an interesting ingredient in gin–goes great with green tea too.
  • Tejpatta- Indian Bay Leaf- Dried, whole leaf- essential in Indian cuisine.
  • Thai Chilies- Whole, dried–great for making red curry paste, in stirfries and giving some kick to really anything you are cooking
  • Szechuan (Sichuan) Peppercorns- An essential ingredient in Authentic Chinese Cuisine especially from Szechuan Province. These are nothing like black peppercorns. Szechuan pepper are the fruit of a tree related to oranges and lemons–they are tart and cause an interesting numbing/buzzing sensation in the mouth.
  • Stevia Herb- Powdered stevia acts as a completely natural sweetener.
  • Vegetarian Gel Capsules- size 0 empty gel capsules are great for making your own supplements.

And we also have a fresh batch of functional ceramics from local potter Barbarah Robertson, including our custom- made Woodstock, VA mugs. These large, heavy-duty (and surprisingly lightweight) coffee mugs have a bright, sky-blue glaze along the upper 2/3 portions and “WOODSTOCK, VA” embossed along the bottom. We have some of Barbarah’s fluted mugs with a honey/caramel glaze, Virginia-shaped ornaments  and several platters in different finishes.

Back in stock:

  • “Betwixt” and “Cider Maker’s Barrel” hard ciders from Old Hill Cidery
  • Bluestone Vineyard’s 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc
  • Big Hawk Premium Sake–A light, crisp Ginjo sake

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.

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

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

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

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.

A very productive weekend

It’s been a very productive weekend and now I have a large batch of spoon rests, soap dishes, platters and bowls on the drying shelf-

fresh-batch-of-porcelain-spoon-rests-and-platters-by-mj-seal
Some very organic, free form porcelain wares.

All of these pieces were made from “reconstituted” porcelain clay that were part of previous sculptures that split during the drying process. I will be drying them very gradually and I’m  keeping my fingers crossed that they will survive.

potential-leafy-platters-made-from-porcelain-by-mj-seal
Two potential leafy platters.
white-oak-leaf-spoon-rests-by-mj-seal
A pair of White Oak leaf spoon rests.
potential-seashell-bowl-by-mj-seal
A seashell bowl