Tuesday, December 23, 2008

December 2008 Snow in Seattle

We seem to have some other city's snow. This is not Seattle snow. I'd like to borrow it for just a little bit longer.

This is a night shot, camera on tripod, slow exposure.

Next morning.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

My pottery on Etsy.com

My Online Catalog of Pottery:

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

New postcards and business cards!

UPS delivered my new postcards and biz cards today.
Plaid Tractor Design created them.
Aren't they gorgeous?!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

8 Jones Street - Vintage, Handmade, and Remade: Whimsical Pots by Barb Bunshee

Another fantastic blogger!

8 Jones Street - Vintage, Handmade, and Remade: Whimsical Pots by Barb Bunshee

H. Palleiko Designs: Friday Night Feature: Ceramacist Barbara Dunshee

H. Palleiko gave me a nice write up on her blog.

H. Palleiko Designs: Friday Night Feature: Ceramacist Barbara Dunshee

Bon Voyage my little updraft kiln.

My updraft kiln has been snagged. Happily it went to a wonderful home and to someone who has plenty of firing know-how, plus the support of potters who fire similar kilns. My last firing in it was a breeze of course, but I won't forget the not-so-breezy firings. The buyer was also able to take the Pacific GT400 I had been storing. They will perhaps have to put in another motherboard. I had already spent too much on the wheel so was mad at it and refused to put in another penny. Emotional, yes, but there you have it. i hope they can get it working without much investment. I'd love to put a link to this potters work, but hesitate to do so without permission, but he's got some great salt fired work.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Purging is on HOLD, I'm Accumulating!

So, I've fallen off the purge wagon for the moment. I seem to be taking ON things, mostly in the form of boxes, bubblewrap, foam and packing peanuts. I use these for boxing up and sending out my pottery so they will eventually head out but they fill an entire room here!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Purging, catch up

Though I've not recently wrote about it, I have continued to purge.
Recently got rid of:
-Large sheet of rusty metal. Recycled
-chimney pipe for kiln and all associated scrap metal, landfill as recycle wouldn't take it as it had "been associated with heat".
-Serveral canvas bags of cone 10 recycled clay. Landfill unfortunately. It got too dry and reconstituting it would be a huge waste of time.
-Wood scraps of many varying sizes and compositions
-Folding metal chairs. Been with me for a long time. I like the way they look, a little retro, maybe even kitchy, but they were a hazard. Bolts missing. metal recycle.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Purge gorgeous bowls

I purged some really lovely bowls, not my own, but those of another artist with whom I'd traded, about 5 years ago. "Purge" doesn't seem appropriate here. More like "Pried". Truly gorgeous crystalline glazed bowls. 4 medium, 1 large. I would not have done it had goodwill, landfill or craigslist been my only options. Happily I donated them to a cause I believe in, but they were very hard to let go. I'm already jealous of whoever wins them at auction.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Pinch Pot Purge

I make many wee pinch pots and use them all the time, but even I have a limit as to how many I can keep. Decided to donate a small slew of them to a low dollar auction fundraiser. We'll put little bags of sea salt in them so everybody there can afford something.

Day Hike at Middle Fork Snoqualmie River

We got a late start on Sunday for a hike so went to a favorite standby. The Middle Fork Snoqualmie River. It's basically a flat walk that follows the river. Green, lush, easy and you can get out and smell some good air. Four of us and 2 dogs in a landcruiser made our way to the trailhead along the potholed road. The trail is enclosed by trees and massive rocks to either side we could feel the fall crisp and see some changing of leaves, but more moss green than the typical orange hues. The creek we had had to wade back in August was a dry bed. The dogs really loved it and got along well together. We're all fairly new dog owners so still eager to see how the they'll do in new ventures. 7 miles, 3 hours and a nice little antipesto picnic by the river and we were headed home. Stopped to eat again at Rogue Brewery in Issaquah.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


Purged a dreadful little white plastic coated wire rack, probably named a "vanity towel holder" or some such. (Yes, some of these purge items do warrant a photo but that would just slow me down, so I can't justify it. I apologize).

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

And my mugs are still on sale till this Friday, October 10th, 2008!

All my mugs that are on sale at my Etsy online shop are LARGE (2 cups or more) and are designed to be elegant in the hand and pleasing to the eye. Just the right weight, light, but enough insulation to keep your hot coffee or tea hot!

Purge, day xi

Broken bracelet, almost full bottle of shampoo and full bottle of conditioner of brands that I finally admit I'm not going back to. All went to landfill. Nobody wants somebody else's open bottle of shampoo or conditioner. Still seems wasteful.

I see now that as purging days continue it will only get harder to find things I'm ready to throw away. And eventually it will become embarrassing that I STILL have these things.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Purge, day x

I've so lost track of the days that I've been purging things around here but I'm still on track. Threw out old pottery bits that I'm never going to rework. Another hot plate that I stopped trusting so stopped using. Landfill for that one as I can't have someone else using an untrustworthy electric thing. A pint glass with a logo on it. hated it. Broken retractable dog leash. Tried fixing it twice. Landfill, argh.

Friday, October 3, 2008

MUG SALE at my Esty.com store

All my mugs that are on sale at my Etsy online shop are LARGE (2 cups or more) and are designed to be elegant in the hand and pleasing to the eye. Just the right weight, light, but enough insulation to keep your hot coffee or tea hot!

Friday, September 26, 2008

New glazing area

Still need to tidy it up, but the hardest part is done. I installed (okay, Bob helped) a low shelf for glaze buckets. The same shelf is high enough so that an industrial mop bucket with a glaze bucket inside can slide underneath. Then a shallow shelf, about eye level is there for putting your pottery pieces. I tried it out today. I like it! The real test will be when students are here and doing the dance in the small space.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Updraft Gas Kiln for Sale-SOLD


I'm switching to electric firing and so am selling my gas kiln and all that comes with it for $400 USD.

It's a 10 cubic foot updraft Crucible brand (Seattle Pottery Supply) Model 286G, 28" wide x 27" deep.
It's got the extra 4-1/2" blank ring (when installed kiln is 31.5" deep).
It's currently set up for propane, but burner nozzles can be changed out for natural gas.
Comes with burner/stand assembly, 4 burner Pilot Ring with Baso Pilot Safety System. Will also include 15 gal refillable propane tank, though it's happiest when you run it off something bigger.
I've been leasing a 120 gal tank through CHS and they come out to fill it. It was just here for the kiln. That gets removed this week.
Also comes with 9 half shelves, in good condition.

Includes hood vent if you need it and it works in your situation. I have wrapped the kiln with extra blanket and metal skin for slower cooling for copper reds.

3/4 full boxes of Orton cones 9, 10 and 11.

Kiln disassembles for easy transport.

Purge, day x:

My purge today was a pair of flip flops. They are half way worn thru. If not for this purge accountability I would have worn them all the way through, then wondered what else I could use them for.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Purge, day....not sure which day it is.

Yesterday I purged a little wood desk I'd been using in the studio. This wee desk has been with me since childhood. I think I, and maybe one of my brothers had carved stuff into it. I'd even started to dismantle it once last year, but nailed it back together, rationalizing that it fit well in a particular corner. It's now a casualty of my war on clutter. But really, it's in a happier place now. It's an organ donor.

Today I purged 8 art pedestals that I've used to show my pottery in my studio. They are SO in the way! Even though I only have quarterly shows they are always there. So, I installed a line of shelves, close to the ceiling and I've put all my lively lidded vessels way up there.

The pedestals are now listed on craigslist. If they are not claimed soon they will be hacked to pieces and burned. Stuff is FLYING outta here!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Pictorial tribute to my gas kiln, as I prepare to say goodbye

My updraft kiln is currently listed on Craigslist
Some early pics of me and the kiln when we first starting working together.
First pic, with the 3 section visible, before I added the 4.5" ring and before I added the insulating blanket. And, before adding a vent hood to it. And before I knew what the hell I was doing. And before my landlord knew what the hell I was doing.

This one is after I'd moved (me and the kiln) and added the ring, the insulating blanket, the kiln hood. This is the first firing in the new space.

I'm saying goodbye to my propane gas kiln

I've switched to electric firing so must part with my updraft gas kiln.

I got this kiln to do cone 10 reduction firings. Its small size worked for me. It's about 12 cubic feet with it's extra ring. Me and this kiln learned how to make copper reds together. We made some beautiful shinos (carbon trap, fantastic oranges), floating blues, green blues and pale butter yellows. But, I'm making the switch to electric, finding some wonderful glazes in that realm and saying goodbye to some beautiful reduction glazes. With that, I've posted it to Craigslist

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Daily Purge and Studio re-org progress

Purge: A small glass disc that seems to have some from an old clock face. Thought it might be useful in the studio, but something had to go today. I casserole with no lid also left me.

Studio progress. The glazing shelf that should have taken a day to go in took a week, but now it's in. It's a little over knee high, the glaze buckets sit on top, in a nice long 8 foot row. Underneath are more glaze or rinse water buckets, and they sit inside industrial mop buckets so they can freely wheel in and out from under the shelf. Next shelf to go up will be 8 feet long, but only 8 inches deep, about eye level. One can put the bisque pieces they're about to glaze and set a glazed piece there till it's ready to move over by the kiln. Peg board will give easy access to glazing tools. Working out some of those details tomorrow.

Bob's birthday is tomorrow. Waffles for breakfast. We have very little else planned.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Weather inspired backpacking at Surprise Lake

Inspired by stellar mid-September weather reports for Monday-Wednesday, Bob and I worked through the weekend and left Monday morning for a two night stay backpacking in the North Cascades at Surprise Lake. We were rewarded with beautiful skies and the place to ourselves.

In the wee hours of Tuesday morning we woke in our tent to an unusual amount of light. The moon was big, in a cloudless sky and the grand white rocks in our campsite we're well illuminated. It was relatively warm and we were able to wander around as if in daylight. Bob took some fantastic moonlight pictures.

Tuesday we day hiked up to Glacier Lake, for lunch and a swim. It was cold, icy cold. Back at Surprise Lake we had another swim. It may have been a few degrees warmer but they were both invigorating. The dog loved it all. He's such a water baby.

Wednesday morning we pack up and head out. On the way down we resolve to pack lighter, next time.

Purge, days 14, 15, 16: Purged some stress cause we were out camping!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Purge, day 12 & 13

day 12: a little plastic elephant that I picked up on a walk. In front of what appeared to be an artist's house was a little box that said "treasures, take one". Being me, I did. The cute little elephant is now in the zone. He'll go to Goodwill.

day 13: Something called a "Moonjar". A nifty biz up on Capitol Hill's 19th Ave, Moonjar makes little colorfully illustrated boxes that teach children how to "Save, Spend and Share". Love the concept and have given these to friends with kids. This is my last one, goes to either goodwill or another parent.

NOTE: Everyday I'm throwing out more than my one-a-day, but I believe it is in large part because I start the day with looking for my one-a-day.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Purge, day 11

Purge for the day: Food processor from the '80s, maybe earlier. Hamilton Beach brand. Got it from a friend's mother. Repaired the gears early on. Pretty flawless operation. A roommate cracked the container part. Still worked fine. I became a potter, it migrated to studio to grind my dry clay. What a workhorse. I stopped grinding the clay, just recycled big dry chunks instead. Food processor did more than it's fair share for one lifetime. Retired. Put it out to Food Processor Pasture. Really don't like our present food processor. It complains.


Kiln has some new elements. They glow. Will try trial firing tomorrow. Then hopefully I can get down to business! If this electric kiln works then I offer my updraft gas kiln on Craigslist. It's still hooked up to the tank so I'll be able to show how it works. Having to say goodbye to some lovely glazes with that kiln, but I'm loving many of the new glazes.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Day in Tacoma

"Let your fingers do the walking" was the Yellow Pages' tagline. But it's so apropos to Google now. Anyway, that's what I did when I was desperately trying to find parts for my kiln. First I had to figure out what to call these tiny parts, then go searching for them. "kiln element connectors with screw, no crimp" was my starting place. Finally located a possible source, Clay Art Center, in Tacoma, WA. Happy me, I could figure out another reason to go to Tacoma. Jennevieve and I needed to visit the space we are planning to exhibit our art in this coming December. She also needed to get more mold making materials, from Clay Art Center. So, with Jennevieve there as my casting guide, I bought my first non-clay sculpting materials. Stuff that doesn't dry while you're sculpting it. Am excited for the unknown materials, and not having to keep it under plastic, sneaking in under it to make changes. AND, the exhibition space is great. Very nice feel to it, perfect size.

Purge, day 12. A paddle handle. I stir my glazes with a kid's paddle and this extra handle has been kicking around. Landfill for this one.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Kiln saga, purge day 10

Kiln elements ARE hard to replace. I feel like I'm damaging my kiln walls with every more I make. Driving to Tacoma tomorrow, to Clay Art Center to get some barrel connectors so we don't have to crimp the wires and elements. I think I'm soooo smart going this route. We'll see.

Purge, day 10: A dreadful little clip with a magnet. Both clip and magnet are completely anemic. What the hell possessed me to keep it? It's now in "the zone". It should go straight to landfill so some other fool doesn't keep it thinking it's worth anything. See, now I feel sorry for it. THAT'S why I keep those things!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Kiln element replacement and Purge, day 9

On my new-to-me kiln I pulled out one old element, recreated some bricks that are grooved to hold the elements (using some extra bricks and sculpted it with a sureform blade), and laid in one new element. The element wire is really hard to cut. I thought I had strong hands from pottery, but I just couldn't cut it. Bob has to do it.

Purge, day 9: Besides adding more thing to "the purge zone"
I found an old numbering stamp to get rid of. It's not old enough to be cool and I don't need it.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Studio re-org

The studio is looking so promising in terms of ergonomic, accessibility layout. It LOOKS bad, but not worried about the aesthetics just yet.

Purging is going very well, many thing are getting caught up in the current. I may not have anything left in a few months. FINE!

Purge, day 8: Bike fenders. I don't need three I'm quite sure. I rarely, if ever ride in the rain, anymore. Did that only when I commuted and I don't do that anymore! Nice to remember THAT!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Kiln Work and Purge, day 7

I've got a new-to-me-12-year-old kiln that I just tried to run. It wouldn't reach temperature. I ordered new elements as that's what electric kiln users do when they can't reach temps. (I've been running mostly a propane kiln for my 8 year clay career so new to the routine). After ordering the elements I open the computer panel on the kiln and see that one of the terminal connectors has fried itself. So maybe it's not the elements. I'm learning much about electric kilns, rapidly. Still going to replace the elements as the old ones look old and tired. And I've already paid for the new ones. I was going somewhere with this story.....

Purge, day 7:
An old hot plate, goes to Goodwill. Actually, I throw out, recycle, reuse many thing in a day, but the purge entails scouting about for something I have to think twice about getting rid of. It's got to hurt just a little. That's a new rule, as I started out with no rules. I reserve the right to change that rule too.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Swimming again

Any day now could be the last day to swim in Lake Washington for the season. I expect it will soon be too cold. Sunny today, had the urge, so took the dog and hoped for the best. I did wear spandex leggings, in lieu of a wetsuit, for added warmth. I can feel it's a little cooler, but was able to warm up rather quickly. I think the leggings helped! Most times I'm there now, someone with a wetsuit shows up. I'm pleased to see how many people are swimming in the lake, instead of a pool at a club. Wetsuit people I talk to seem to think one can swim until November (if you've got a wetsuit). They talk of "brain freeze" if you don't have the little hoody.

PURGE, day 6: I'm trying to decide between two pairs of hiking boots to give up. Can't remember which one is the more comfortable. I often wear Tevas to hike in, or pull on boots so haven't worn either on a serious hike for awhile. eek it's almost midnight!

Just found this www.43folders.com
doing a googling search for "clutter purge"
For now I'm continuing my one-a-day purge, but it got me a little excited reading it. I hope I'm not breaking any rules linking to this person's blog. Please let me know if I am. Hopefully just a note and not a subpoena.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Purge, day 5

Today's purge was a box of ceramic glaze tests. Working in ceramics I've tested a number of glazes, so have accumulated a bucket full of test tiles. I usually save them because I may wish to revisit those glazes (never have and I've had those test tiles for yeeeeears). Recently I changed the way I fire so none of those glazes are good to me anymore. I just threw them in the garbage. Then of course I read about some fellow potters who give or sell them to mosaic artists. Bad Barbara, adding to the landfill. It was good to be rid of them.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Purge day 4

Day 4: 2 years ago, bought a sandblasting "kit" thinking I was going to spray my kiln with ITC, a protective refractory coating. Didn't realize it required an expensive air compressor. Offering it up on Craigslist for $4. I think I'm doing rather well so far!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Purge, days 1, 2, 3

Three days ago I decided that every morning I'm going to scout around for something to get rid of. 365 days from then I should have gotten rid of 365 items. I'm not putting any restrictions on the item. None, though that may change. They can be recycled, trashed, donated, sold. Could be a scrap of paper. Looking to establish a habit here.

Day one, I agreed to sell the dog crate we first got for our dog, who we got in November. The crate turned out to be small so we got a larger one. Don't know why I held onto this smaller one. Dog's not going to shrink.

Day two: We have two boot cleaners at the back door. One is falling apart. I dismantled it, some parts can be burnt as kindling, the other parts had to be trashed.

Day three: That's today. I have some kangoo jumps that didn't feel right on my feet. Am offering them to a neighbor who's knees have been bothering her, but still wishes to run. If she doesn't want them they're off to Goodwill or Craigslist.

All caught up now. Will try to keep abreast of the great purge!

Monday, September 1, 2008

first day of September

Oh! Look how much time has passed since my last post!
My new-to-me kiln and kiln vent are running, right now. Jerrod Smith and Eric did the rewiring for me, did a fantastic job, passed the inspection easily. The kiln looks like it was born in its new spot. Surrounded safely by concrete walls and floor, nice little corner, shelves settle in around it nicely, I can access everything. Even easier to load than my propane kiln. I will post pics of kiln and will see if I can post Jerrod's info. Highly recommend that electrician team!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Rainy Day in Seattle

It rained most of the morning and afternoon. One of my favorite times to work at my pottery wheel is when it's both rainy AND warm. I push the wheel (it's ON wheels) out to the entrance of the garage, where I can watch the rain but not be in it. As I watched today I thought how good it would be to swim in the lake while it was raining. When I was ready for a throwing break I walked the dog the mile and a quarter to the lake, in the rain, and went swimming, in the rain. Fantastic. The eye level perspective of the drops on the water is stunning. And you have the whole beach to yourself. I hope it rains tomorrow so I can do it again.

Seattle Pottery Classes

Open registration started this Monday for my Sept-Dec 2008 pottery classes.
New things for the new session: New kiln, new glazes and my usual rearranging! This session we'll try out a couple image transfer techniques that I learned from Paul Wandless' workshop.
If you want to see pics of student work from my last session, find some of my earlier posts from June & July!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

And now, a picture of our dog.

We adopted this dog Nov 2007 from the Seattle Humane Society. About 2 years old, looks like a small chocolate lab and maybe some English Springer Spaniel, maybe some other things. We think he's just the right amount of smart. We've seen him go through lots of changes, all of them good. He got us out swimming in Lake Washington recently, something we probably wouldn't have done without him. There's a tiny blurry photo of him in my etsy shop. See if you can find it. Hint: Little white bud vase. His name is Russell Opaque Beauregarde.
Anyway, seems that so many of our friends are getting dogs. That or kids. Usually not both.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Taste of Etsy

I've been away a few days and happy to get back to work. below is a little taste of my Etsy shop. This is where I sell my work when I'm not selling it at my studio in Seattle!

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Paul Andrew Wandless Workshop in Portland, OR

I took the train to Portland for this two day workshop. Paul Andrew Wandless is fantastic as a teacher and he doesn't spoon feed the information. It was a crash course in some image transfer techniques, some of which he covers in his book "Image Transfers on Clay". I liked the speedy, multi-tasking pace of the two days. Will practice and revisit many of techniques now that I'm back in the studio, though some will have to wait as I've got some sculptures to work on, some Lively Vessels to "manifest" and some functional pieces, like French butter dishes to finish up.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Must. keep. posting.

Am turning the studio upside down again. I like to shift things about, rethink the ergonomics. Am always surprised when I didn't figure this stuff the last time I inverted the studio.

Am making many French Butter Dishes, god they're cute, posting them to Etsy http://www.barbdunshee.etsy.com and trying to get the rest of my works up there too, including my Lively Vessels (formerly just called Lidded Vessels). My sculptural work now has its own Etsy "gallery",
I decided "barbdunshee" versus "barbaradunshee" would have to do to distinguish between my whimsical versus my fine art stuff. Works in a pinch. Can't change them now. Well, could but I'd have to start over with building up the shoppes (some people don't like that word, shoppes.)

Have decided I can't part with one of the faces. She's called "Marshmallow Princess". Actually she's the huge image at the beginning of this posting. Didn't mean to put her up there that big, but then I liked seeing her there. When I started using this face as an "Avatar" or icon for my Etsy site I started using some magnified detail images of her eyes. That and her surface texture really sucked me in.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Two more student pieces

I'm having fun taking glam shots of my students' works in between my pics of my own work for etsy. Insert shameless self promo web link HERE! -->>

1. Sabina N -thrown porcelain
2. Jenny K -thrown porcelain

Thursday, July 3, 2008

~my etsy banner ~

I put this banner together to represent my three types of ceramic work, functional, Lidded Vessels and my sculpture. http://www.barbdunshee.etsy.com

I'm not alone in my Etsy obsession. There are others like me. I'm not proud of it, but nor am I ashamed, yet. I've been posting my work there and I've definitely been shopping. I don't know what to compare it to in earth (non-web) terms. What has art, craft, art supplies, craft supplies, jewelry, fasion, vintage bits and more more more, yet feels very personal? Perhaps a fair, under white EZ-up tents, without the wind, without the big booth fees & commissions. I've done those as an artist. When I go now I'm a shopper and so very grateful I'm not there as an artist.

I'm having more fun as an artist on Etsy. I'm not very efficient yet, it's been a couple weeks and I'm getting better. Packing up for shipping is the most time consuming part of my process. Pottery has got to be packaged well, and trying to keep the boxes small and the shipping affordable is a challenge. I've been shipping at lot of my french butter dishes

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Okay, a few MORE student pieces!

Have been firing both kilns fast & furious. Classes ended last week and I just finished the last firing yesterday, unloaded today. More good stuff, a few sample pics.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

MORE of student's work

I'll be posting more of my own work here, soon. In the meantime you can see some of it at these various sites.

For now however, a few more student pieces!

Friday, June 27, 2008

More student work

A few more pieces from my students. They're doing great things with the new glazes. Loving the forms they're producing too. Creative, wonderful lot.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Barbara Dunshee's Pottery Classes

These images are a small sampling of student work that I unloaded just yesterday. Will share more photos later.

I teach in my Seattle studio and the world of pottery students is fascinating. I recall vividly being one myself and that informs and influences the way I teach. I attribute my DE-burnout to my students. I was feeling the loneliness and insulation of being alone in my studio, after only a few years of supporting myself through clay work. I started to take on students for company, conversation and energy. After a few months of teaching it struck me that I was no longer experiencing that dreaded burnout. It went away without me noticing. I often discover new techniques and inspirations for my own work as I search to add interest for students. They keep the flow going.

My studio and kiln are small, there's no running water, just a few of many parameters that we deal with here. The studio evolves everyday, there always seems to be a better way to do something, to store something, improve the ergonomics. I fall asleep and wake up thinking of all things clay. My life and my work are a very homogeneous mix.

My students just went through with me a complete change of clay and glazes, going from cone 10 reduction glazes and clays to cone 6 oxidation glazes and clay. They were patient, funny and wonderfully experimental. They make the glazes come alive.