Handbuilding a Fall-Inspired Bowl

Posted on November 15, 2016

We're always on the hunt for a great handbuilding project, and our teacher Yuko Body shared with us a stunner of a project (perfect for collecting the falling leaves this time of year)!

How you ask? Slump molds all the way!

Tools you’ll need:

  •  A ceramic slump mold (hand-thrown bisqueware or a homemade mold using Plaster of Paris)
  • A scratch tool 
  • “Magic Water” (aka slip with a little extra *magical* chemicals)
  • Sponge 
  • Found leaves (oak and maple are our top picks)

Roll out a slab of your favourite hand building clay (maybe try 436 for a white clay or 613 for a red clay). You want the slab to be about 1 cm in thickness. Let the slab stiffen up a little bit beforehand. 

Trace some found leaves on the slab and cut them out. For a nice clean cut, we suggest this style of knife. As you cut them out place them in the slump mold. Decide where you want the next leave to go, score and slip both leaves with Magic Water and stick them together. You can soften the seams with a whip-out tool. Continue doing this until the whole bowl is full of leaves.

Detail the leaves if you so desire, and you may want to finish it with our faithful white Mudsponge to get it nice and smooth and press it down into the mold further. Let it dry slowly, and you should be able to pop it right out of the mold as it shrinks.

Ta-dah! That’s it.

Let us know how you did, we love seeing customer and student work! Tag your masterpieces on Instagram @amaranthstoneware to show 'em off.


This piece is glazed with Pistachio Shino.

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Meet The Locals: Jackie Jamieson

Posted on October 14, 2016

I sat down with none other than Jackie Jamieson earlier this week for our Meet The Locals Series to talk pottery, life and what it’s really like being a creative entrepreneur.

Born and raised in Kingston, Jackie headed to Vancouver after studying at St. Lawrence College to work with addicts living on the streets. She found an outlet for this draining work in pottery and soon joined the Vancouver Potters Guild. Inspired by a local artist creating small figurines, she began a life long love affair with the arts.

Back in Kingston, Jackie focused her efforts on design. Most Kingstonians may remember her stores All That Jazz - where she handmade clothing for retail but also outfitted Kingston's very own The Tragically Hip and her bead store Carriageway Beadery - a Kingston first.

All photos curtesy of Jackie Jamieson

 

Jackie returned to pottery in 1994 and hasn’t looked back. Immersing herself in pottery books, conferences and classes, Jackie happily admits she is a self-taught potter and her undeniable talent and diversity is apparent in everything she touches. You could easily call her famous. Having sold pieces around the world, many of her clients have become collectors, some owning up to 30 pieces.

The characters she creates are not only beautiful, but they are creations that come from her soul. She is inspired by nature and creates pieces that are inspirational and provoke mindful imagery.

 

All photos curtesy of Jackie Jamieson

 

Her style is unique but so is her process. As a self-taught potter, Jackie bucks the norm and has raised a few eyebrows along the way but is never bothered by the chatter. She loves to teach beginners and she herself learns and grows  through their work. She teaches some of her throwing class with her eyes closed to reinforce the importance of feeling the clay noting that everyone throws differently. She describes teaching as "a bowl of granola, you reach in and never know what you're going to get."

When I asked her about the difference between pottery and the characters she creates, Jackie said that the pottery was like rehearsing lines for a play, but the characters were like being on stage; a true artistic release. Art is definitely in her soul and she can't help but create. Not having a day spent creating would probably induce a massive amount of anxiety.

 

All photos curtesy of Jackie Jamieson

 

Although Jackie has her own home studio, she loves to refer people to Amaranth Stoneware to fire their pieces if they don't have access to a kiln. She loves the relaxed attitude and believes Amaranth is a place where potters can let it go and focus on creating their pieces.

 

All photos curtesy of Jackie Jamieson

 

What's next for Jackie? She’ll be throwing at Fort Henry starting June 2017 for her not to be missed solo show.

I could have listened to Jackie talk for hours! I left our meeting inspired to create and hoping our paths would cross again.

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Summer's out, oven's on!

Posted on September 30, 2016

I can't be the only one having a kitchen dance party over the end of summer, can I?

There has been no love for the oven this summer but I've been on a cooking and baking spree all week thanks to the cooler weather!

First up? Apple crisp, of course! 

I brought home some Amaranth pottery to try out over the weekend and thought the Firebrick Baker would be perfect to tackle the crisp.

Handmade from durable stoneware and lead-free glaze this Baker tackled the crisp like a boss. It fit 2 large Gala apples perfectly (could have added more but we enjoy a greater topping to apple ratio) and was exactly what I needed to go from oven to table.   

 

I envision using the Firebrick Baker for things like zucchini and corn bread in the future and with Fall finally here, nothing can stand in my way! 

These sweet Bakers are $10 off for the month of October and would make a great Christmas gift for the baker in your life. 

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Fruit Flies

Posted on September 23, 2016

I pick up the bunch of bananas I swear I just bought and an army of fruit flies scatters into the kitchen. What’s the deal with fruit flies, I say in my best Jerry Seinfeld voice as my 4 year old stares at me blankly. 



 
Did you know these little suckers can travel to your home on the produce you buy? They lay eggs on the skin of very ripe fruit meaning those bananas I took home were potentially harbouring the newest generation of fruit flies. GROSS.



Lucky for me, Amaranth Stoneware just so happens to offer the EXACT thing I needed to exterminate my new roommates. Behold, the Fruit Fly Trap (aka: The Shroom of Doom).  


 


Simply fill the base with your choice of bait (sweet wine, fruit juice or apple cider vinegar) and add 1 to 2 drops of dish soap. Add the mushroom cap and leave undisturbed in the kitchen. 


     

 

Proceed with extermination dance party.


via GIPHY


 
 

 

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Meet The Locals: Meraqi Art Annex

Posted on September 16, 2016

 

As a shop local enthusiast and collective supporter, I was surprised to hear about Kingston gem Meraqi Art Annex for the first time a few weeks ago! Exploring their beautiful space on Brock St., I thought they would be the perfect shop to introduce you to our new monthly feature: Meet The Locals.

Meet the Locals: Meraqi Art Annex 

Owned by one of the nicest people I've ever met, Grace started this collective 2 years ago to offer a wide and eclectic collection created by artists from Kingston and the surrounding areas. The combination of 2 words, Meraqi sums up the local artist collective meaning "inspired to create with soul, creativity and love."

 

 

Julie: What made you want to start a collective for local artists?
Grace: Well, as an artist myself, it's hard to sell your art on your own because space is very cost prohibitive - especially downtown - so sharing as a cooperative and sharing to support each other was one of the reasons. Also staffing and trying to do all of the things around marketing is complicated and time consuming as an artist.

J: The artists that are part of the collective, they also work here?
G: Yeah! They're here on different days. For example Aurora is usually here on Fridays and Amanda on Sundays. Different days, different artists. It also helps when people love a piece of art we can suggest they come in on a day when that artist is working.  People love that because they can connect and chat with the artist that created the pieces they love.

J: Does the collective remain the same or does it change annually or seasonally?
G: There is room to join the collective. People need to get in touch with us with a portfolio and some information about themselves and we put it in the queue. There is a fee to be a collective artist but we share the space and promote the work.

J: People can find the physical location, but do you have an online presence?
G: Yes. We have the website and I started an online store this week so people can shop during the wintertime when they don't want to venture downtown when the streets are pretty heavy with snow. We're also on all the social media channels.

J: Along with the collective, you also have some consignment artists as well?
G: We have about 20 consignment artists that bring their products in. We try to shake it up and things sell quickly but usually every 3 months we switch it up. Right now we are getting pieces for fall and winter and obviously different things for Christmas.

J: You make jewelry but you are also a potter?
G: I do pottery as well. I do metal work - everything from silver and copper, bronze, brass and some gold as well. I do a lot of sculpture pottery and I have more coming in with metal accents. I have them in different stages of completion but they'll be in soon. The bird houses in the windows and the terrariums are complete with copper accents but newer things are coming.

J: There really is something for everyone here!
G: Absolutely. And something at every price point. That is a big one for us because it's art for everyone in here. It's not exclusive it really is art for everyone. From a $25 necklace to a painting for a few thousand dollars, we really want this to be for everyone and we try to keep it that way. I love when people come in to tour around. We get comments about how the space is like a museum and people can just stay for a long time and just look and come in another a few weeks later and find things they didn't notice the first time around. We have artist biographies on the wall and lots to see. 

J: Would you say that the majority of the pottery that's in here has been fired at Amaranth?
G: I love Amaranth, it's my studio away from home. A good portion of the work here has been done there. A lot of Amanda's Raku and a lot of her pottery is fired at Amaranth. We both purchase the majority of our supplies at there as well. They are our 1 stop shop for sure. I'm so grateful that they're in the community because it makes it easy for everyone, especially new beginners to get their foot in the door and try it out. I can easily send people there because of how convenient the location is and their hours of operation are great. I tell people to go up there to take lessons all the time.

J: What's next for Meraqi Art Annex?
G: I've started blogging and will focus on that a little more during the quieter months. We also want to do some fundraisers and classes. We'll probably look into having things in the store in either January or February.

 

 

 

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