Two wines from Shenandoah Vineyards that are available at The Virginia Farmhouse

New Additions- March 2020

We have a few new additions-3 hand kitted caps made by Jill GochenourIncluding these lovingly hand-knitted tamo-chanters from Jill Gochenourcolorful hand knitted tamochantersWe also now carry an assortment of her other  hand made and very functional outerwear like these “shawl-ettes”-2 miniature shawlsAnd these colorful scarves-

a large purple and pink scarf and a green and black infinity scarf

Also new: Shenandoah Vineyards’ Chardonnay and Riesling.Chardonnay and Riesling from Shenandoah Vineyards are now available at The Virginia FarmhouseThe Chardonnay is lightly-oaked and pleasantly buttery with a refreshing acidity on the finish. The Riesling is dry, crisp and citrusy.

And…..

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. A painting of a shady forest floor peirced by sunbeams painted by MJ Seal“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.A painting of a forest in a black and gold Dutch-style reverse frame both made by MJ SealAlso….

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!

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.

 

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-

coral glaze on porcelain jewelry by mj seal

Experimenting with glazes for porcelain- Part 2

So I made a huge batch of porcelain necklace pendants and after bisque firing them  I tried out each different glaze on the shelf . I also experimented with an array of different layering combinations and blends. Most importantly I wrote down (in tedious detail) what I did on each of them-

experimental glazes in porcelain necklace pendants by mj seal
The pendants before firing- they will look nothing like this after the cooking process.
porcelain necklace pendants by mj seal after firing
The pendants after firing- the one in the center was glazed with “Seaweed” and then layers of “Indigo Float” were applied along the edges.
porcelain necklace pendants by mj seal
The Turquoise and Indigo Float combination turned out especially nice.
coral glaze on porcelain jewelry by mj seal
And I’m very happy with the (expensive) Coral glaze I found- which is good because I have alot of cardinal ornaments in the works.

Parcel Gilt Mirror

A finished experiment in parcel gilding a mirror- I took a piece of plain antique glass and painted little Fleur de Lis designs in the corners on the back of the glass with aqua size. Then when the size set up I gilded them with 24 kt gold leaf. After sealing up the gold with yellow acrylic paint I silvered the back of the glass with mirror finish spray paint.

A parcel gilt hand made mirror by MJ seal
A hand silvered mirror with parcel gilt ornaments by MJ Seal.
Gold fleur de lis in a hand silvered mirror
Close up view of a gold fleur de lis corner ornament.
Porcelain sea forms by MJ seal

They Survived!

My first batch of porcelain “sea forms” survived their first trip through the kiln. These are all completely free form pieces- I wasn’t quite sure what the final object would be and they all have a very organic ( and oceanic) look to them. Next step – glazing.

Porcelain sea forms by MJ seal
A variety of forms that could be bowls, vases, shot glasses and platters.
A porcelain bowl by MJ seal
This shell- like form would make an excellent bowl
Porcelain luminary by MJ seal
I was really wondering if this luminary would make it through the first firing.

 

porcelain leaf shaped christmas tree ornaments

Head Start on the Holidays

I got the first batch of porcelain  holiday ornaments cut out- hopefully they will survive the drying process- with the leaves you never know.

porcelain leaf shaped christmas tree ornaments
This first batch of leaf shaped ornaments will be hanging by the stems- hopefully they will be strong enough when fired to hold together.
porcelain holiday ornaments from the farmhouse atelier
Some retro/modern shapes in this batch of porcelain ornaments
porcelain jewelry pendants from the farmhouse atelier
I went ahead and cut out another batch of jewelry pendants- I have several more glazes I want to experiment with and smaller pieces are good candidates for finishes when you have no idea what the final result will be.

Porcelain Necklace Pendants

So the first batch of experimental necklace pendants is out of the kiln. Most of them turned out different shades of brown- I thought they would come out different colors but whats on the label isn’t necessarily what will come out of the oven. They definitely have a nice earthy look to them- especially with the hemp cord.

porcelain jewelry by MJ Seal
I tried out a number of different glazes on this batch of necklace pendants.

I probably should have written down which glazes were on each pendant. My two favorites were the Salt Buff on White and the Ironstone on White (at least I think that’s what they are)

Set of 3 porcelain tree stump candlesticks with an ironstone finish by MJ Seal

Functional Tree Stumps

So I have a few more glazing experiments to show off- some good some meh-

Set of 3 porcelain tree stump candlesticks with an ironstone finish by MJ Seal
The Ironstone glaze came out beautifully on this set of porcelain candlesticks.
porcelain tree stump relish or change bowl by mj seal
This porcelain stump was originally going to be a shot glass but became a wee bit to large- it would make a good change bowl or relish dish.
porcelain candle stick and shot glass with a salt buff finish by mj seal
The Salt Buff glaze on this candlestick and shot glass isn’t doing much for me- although it could make an interesting finish for jewelry pendants