We actually have a few new additions to report in this strange season-
First: We’ve just gotten in a batch of face masks hand made by local lady Dawn Steed. These 2 layer masks are made with a variety of fabric patterns and go for $5.00 a pop.Also New:
Cave Ridge Vineyard’s 2017 Chambourcin, 2014/2015 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2013 Petit Verdot
Georges Duboeuf 2017 “Wildflower” Cabernet Sauvignon
Muse Vineyards’ 2018 Rose- on sale for just $15.99
Back In Stock:
Fuller’s London Pride
Heirloom (Plain) and Ramp-Flavored Salt from JQ Dickinson Saltworks
Oh Yes- and we have plenty of options for Mother’s Day Gifts.
Like this happy little airplant in a hand made flower bud vase by MJ Seal. The pastel lavender and coral hues of its flower go quite well with the verdant green glaze of the vase-
And there are plenty of other hand made and locally sourced goodies to brighten her day like these Wildwood Hearts from Bruce Rosenwasser-
Which reminds me- The Art Sale will continue through Mother’s Day and we still have a few prints of works by Shenandoah Valley Artists left like this one from Helen Jean Smith-
And please follow us on Instagram (@thevirginiafarmhouse) and/or on Facebook (@thevirginiafarmhouse) where you can keep up with all our new additions in real time (well almost real time:) and we are also posting daily (or almost daily) pleasant distractions- images of local scenery to help get your mind off of current events- like this:
We have a few new additions-Including these lovingly hand-knitted tamo-chanters from Jill GochenourWe also now carry an assortment of her other hand made and very functional outerwear like these “shawl-ettes”-And these colorful scarves-
Also new: Shenandoah Vineyards’ Chardonnay and Riesling.The Chardonnay is lightly-oaked and pleasantly buttery with a refreshing acidity on the finish. The Riesling is dry, crisp and citrusy.
The Art Sale will continue until the end of this month. We still have a few Helen Jean Smith prints left (framed and unframed) as well as an assortment of artwork from other Shenandoah Valley artists. “Woodland Scene IV- Sunbeams on a Mossy Forest Floor”- Original painting by MJ Seal. Acrylic on board in hand made frame, 14″ x 11″. C. 2017
*This is my favorite of all the realistic woodland scene paintings I made- from a slight distance it’s like looking through a window into the cool shady depths of one of our verdant local forests on a mid-summer day.
Originally $115 this piece is now just $57! Including the beautiful, hand made frame it’s housed in.Also….
Don’t forget: we will be CLOSED for most of the month of April for our trip to France (fingers crossed)- so stock up now!
We have something for pretty much everyone on your list-
First- Mead from Misty Mountain Meadworks is back in stock- and we have their new brew, “Hazelnut ‘n’ Honey”. This mead is made from clover honey and aged with crushed hazelnuts- which impart a pleasant amaretto-like note. It goes great with -well- everything at the holiday table.
And just in from True- “Twine” Gourmet cheese knife sets, “Cahoots” Owl-shaped waiters corkscrews and “Spot-On” dog shaped wine glass markers. All great gift ideas for the gourmands and wine aficionados in your life- especially if they like dogs.
We also have a new addition to the jewelry table: beaded jewelry hand made by Sue Southee of Gemini Dreams. We now have a selection of her earrings, bracelets and a couple necklaces.
And for those of you looking for some upcycled home decor I transformed this charming old window into a mirror. Some of the panes of glass in it must be truly ancient- the one in the top left looks like ripples on the surface of a pond.
They Survived! And even better the (somewhat experimental) combinations of glazes I used came out beautifully-
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-I 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.During 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.
In 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.This 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-It’s always nice when an experiment turns out even better results than you were expecting!
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.
First I took a plate of clear picture framing glass and rubbed it down with alcohol to thoroughly remove any grime or oils. The glass’ surface must be scrupulously clean- if it is not you’ll have issues with peeling later on.
Then I drew up a little design for some corner ornaments on a post it note. I placed that under each corner and carefully dabbed on a thick coating of contact gilding adhesive. I used Pebeo’s Gedeo Mixtion Relief which comes in an easy-to-use tube with a fine-tip applicator. The adhesive is white when wet but dries clear. Remember you are reverse gilding/silvering- so you will be working in reverse on the inside surface of the soon to be mirror.
After the adhesive dried I cut up a sheet of 23 kt transfer gold leaf. I then carefully pressed the leaf (gold side down) into the adhesive. The parchment backing of the leaf was peeled back leaving the gold thoroughly stuck in place on the ornaments.
After the gilding size has cured for a few days I dusted off the excess gold leaf and sealed up the ornaments with a layer of raw sienna acrylic paint- which gives the overlying layer of gold a richer color and renders the ornaments opaque-
Next I turn the glass into a mirror with some handy-dandy Looking Glass Silver spray paint from Krylon-
The Looking Glass paint is easy to use- just make sure to apply it in multiple thin coats or the mirror with develop a blotchy appearance. Do this outside. Yeah note the weird reflections around the mirror-in-progress above- I did this in the parking lot against my car using a sheet of old plexiglass as a shield- hence the hubcap visible in the upper left.
After the spraypaint has dried (which only takes a few minutes) it needs to be top coated with something to protect it- I find Rust-Oleum’s Matte Clear Enamel works wonderfully. The enamel coating seals up the looking glass coating and it’s matte appearance makes the reflective finish more pronounced and brighter.
After the enamel has cured for a bit the mirror is ready to be framed. I placed this mirror in a cassetta-style frame I made a few years ago. The gilt ornaments beautifully complement this simple but classic molding profile.
A slightly closer view-
The Looking Glass paint gives a softer reflective effect than commercially made mirrors. It also has a slight texture to it (due to the droplets of paint) and with a dark board placed behind it takes on the appearance of an antique mirror.
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.
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.