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We were enjoying a pint and relaxing at our favorite local Reynoldsburg restaurant & bar called Prost recently.  We are regulars there since it is so close by and offers such an abundant myriad of craft beer selections.  Their menu is fantastic as well and offers primarily Panini’s, bruschetta, soups, and salads.  This particular night was a busy night for Prost with a Seventh Son Brewery tap takeover in full swing.  With it being as crowded and bustling as it was, there was naturally a line for the loo.  As I waited in line, I glanced down and saw that the free Columbus magazine, Stock & Barrel, was set out on a table.  I have to admit that I normally almost never seem to grab free magazines but for no particular reason, I felt compelled to get one this time.  So I returned to my table, magazine in hand, and began chatting with my husband some more.  I paged through the magazine a little bit but we soon decided it was so crowded that we would just have one pint and depart for home.  The drive home is not long, but during our short travel is when it happened.  Probably only 1/2 mile from home, driving down a busy street, I suddenly screamed and grabbed my poor husband’s shoulder who was driving.  “EEEEEEEEEEEEEE!” I screamed in the shrillest scream imaginable to which he responded, “WHAT IS EVEN HAPPENING? STOP SCREAMING! WHAT IS IT?” I gathered myself and exclaimed “WE ARE IN THE MAGAZINE!  OUR MUG IS IN THE MAGAZINE!” I was told to please refrain from screaming while in the car, but as soon as we got home I showed him the article and he recognized our mug and shared some of my enthusiasm.  I say our mug because I am 90% convinced that I made the body of the mug, one of us trimmed it, and my husband definitely attached the figure eight style handle.  Later, we fired it the first time (bisque fire) and then I glazed it with the colors I picked out.  So it is really made by both of us, which is fun.  Today I wrote a message to Stock & Barrel saying thank you so very much for including our mug.  Not only did they include our mug, but they also mentioned Crafty by Nature by name in the article itself.  Boline Apothecary is where the writer of the article bought the mug, which is also mentioned in the article.  If, by the way, you have never been to Boline Apothecary, it is a really amazing shop if you like natural, healthy goods including plant-based remedies, tinctures, aromatherapy, natural body products, teas, and so many more natural & wholesome items.  Thank you again, Stock & Barrel, for the amazing mention in the article.  This “Drink Local” article has really put a smile on my face and it feels good to feel we are acknowledged as being part of the local mug making community in Columbus.

To go to PROST! – 7354 E Main St, Reynoldsburg, OH

To go to Boline Apothecary – 15 W Dunedin Rd, Columbus, OH

Thank you for reading my small novel, and now here is the actual article:
article

Our mug sits at the bottom of the mug-stack.

If you have trouble reading it, the text of the article is here too:

DRINK LOCAL: mugs that reflect belief in our local economy.

I’ve been accused of many things, most I’d rather not share in a public forum. However, the title of Coffee Cup Queen is one that I don’t mind putting out there. Others might say Coffee Cup Hoarder is more appropriate… so I have a lot of coffee cups? So what? The way people collect whole wardrobes of concert t-shirts, or magnets from everywhere they land, is analogous to my little hoarding dalliance.

I have cups that support my various passions – Dear Sugar’s (Wild’s Cheryl Strayed) “Write Like a Motherfucker” is one of my favorites, so is my PaperSource “Do Something Creative Everyday” mug. Then there are the place memories – coffee delivery systems from places like Cape Cod, Mexico, Medieval Times (those knights are hot), New Orleans, New York, Vermont. I even once went through this weird phase where I had to use my Columbus Museum of Art mug every morning, some caffeine-loaded good luck talisman type fixation. Looking at the range of them stacked on the counter is like binge watching my life in one glance.

Lately, I’ve been picking up cups and mugs that reflect my belief in supporting the local economy. If I pick up locally roasted beans, it makes sense that I extend that I enjoy it via a locally crafted mug.

To start your own collection, which not only supports locally-owned retail, but the artisans themselves, start with stores that focus on independent producers – Clintonville’s Wholly Craft and Easton’s Celebrate Local come to my mind quickest. However, there are off-the-beaten path shops as well. The Cultural Arts Center, one of the hidden gems of downtown, not only hosts exhibits and classes, but also features a small gift shop featuring, among its many locally crafted items, drink ware crafted in its vey own ceramic studio. Bonus: Each item is one of a kind. Boline Apothecary, with all its personalized teas and herbal remedies, has a small selection of pottery by Columbus producers Crafty By Nature.

If you don’t want to change up your routine, Starbucks’ “Made in the USA” collection showcases the pride of ceramic workers in New Waterford, Ohio.

I feel no shame expanding my coffee collection, especially when I am putting my money back into the local economy. • 

             – Written by Kim Leddy & Photograph by Chris Casella – Stock & Barrel magazine


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We are most honored to announce that our plates are now in a sensational restaurant here in the local Columbus, Ohio region called Veritas. Veritas is a newer restaurant, opened up in roughly late 2012, that has already earned quite a reputation as a top notch culinary destination. Crave Magazine recently named Veritas as the number one restaurant in all of Columbus. This is a tremendous honor for Veritas, especially since they are technically located in Delaware, Ohio which is about 20 miles north from Columbus. Despite their location being slightly north, they absolutely deserve the title as number one restaurant of Columbus. We have been to Veritas a number of times and we are always astonished and amazed at their culinary genius. We are beyond excited that Veritas, known for their small plates and highly eclectic cuisine, has chosen us to provide them with their plates. The plates will be used on several occasions including large parties and for serving specific dishes such as their scallops plate. We are convinced that if you go to Veritas and request “Crafty by Nature” plates that they will not disappoint.

We have delivered 26 total plates to Veritas and we encourage you to come to Veritas and explore their inventive, original, and refreshing menu. It is well worth the drive to come to Veritas for the culinary experience. Plus the plates are not too shabby! Visit Veritas at www.veritastavern.com or 15 E Winter St, Delaware, OH 43015. Reservations are always a good idea, so just give them a call at (740) 417-4074. Enjoy the great food and tell them Crafty by Nature sent you!

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We are about to launch a new body butter and could use your help! We’d like to ask you what scent of body butter would you prefer the most? Please take a couple seconds to help us out! Thank you so very much! We are so excited to have a new body butter; a lot of people have asked us for one.


palmfreesoap

I did it. I thought it would be impossible but I made a rich, lathering, moisture-rich, sudsy, bubbly, and lovely soap that contains zero palm oil. Palm oil is a very delicate subject. It is both a soapmaker’s dream and their worst nightmare at the same time. Palm oil is ideal for making a very nice bar of soap. It is semi solid at room temperature and it is renowned for producing big, fluffy, wonderful lather. So what’s the problem? Well, if you are like I was up until recently, you might think people were nuts to not embrace palm oil. That was until I read the articles on NPR, Wikipedia, and countless other sources. To sum it up, palm oil harvesting involves chopping down mass quantities of perfectly healthy trees, never replanting them, destroying the land and displacing or killing endangered species like orangutans and Sumatran white tigers, releasing large quantities of carbon into the air, and furthering global warming. I will have no part in this dirty soapmaking now that I am fully aware of the true light of palm oil. Watch out for palm oil in some of your favorite packaged foods, too, as it is used far more widely in the food industry than it ever was in soap or cosmetics. Now we can all be proud to be clean AND green with palm oil free soaps! So it’s official: I have completely rewritten my soap recipe and I now completely exclude any palm oil from any of my products. Time to celebrate! The first soap I made palm free was my Lavender Orange, which is nearly sold out already. Pure Patchouli soap with ground oatmeal for extra soft skin and Lavender Fields soap also with oatmeal are ready on August 1, 2013. I will have to make more soaps this weekend, and practically every weekend for a good long while. Through using other soapmaker’s soaps that were palm-free, I thought it would never be possible to get a wonderfully fluffy lather without palm. I tried some soap from another soapmaker (no names will be mentioned ever) and it only produced slime when I washed my hands with it. SLIME! Absolutely no lather. My hopes were lost at first. But in the end, I tried my hardest to write a wonderful lathery soap recipe and it is really paying off. Goodbye, palm oil and hello big lather! Who knew? I am so very happy.


We are going to have a great month full of craft shows to peddle our wares. We’ll have all our latest pottery as well as all our latest soaps and lotions on hand for these shows. If you will be in the Columbus, Ohio area this month, you should definitely stop on by! We will be one of many vendors at these events so the great news is there will be lots of diversity of all sorts of art and crafty goodness to select from and browse.

Our show schedule is up on our website here at http://www.craftybynaturestudio.com/upcoming-shows

This Saturday will be the wonderful Columbus Craftacular, held at Whetstone Community Center in Clintonville!

Next Saturday, May 11th will be the Migratory Bird Fest, Plant Sale, and Arts/Crafts Day at the Audubon Center!

The following Saturday, May 18th, Will be Green on the Green in Worthington at 161 & High St!

ALL THREE FESTIVALS are ecologically friendly themed. We are right where we want to be!

See you there! Mention this blog post and get 25% off any item in our little shop. Woo hoo!


I am working on a bunch more pottery projects right now but here are a few of my recent ones that came out of the kiln.

I am currently working on this Neti Pot as a gift to my man. He requested one since our old one fell off the bathroom sink and broke.

neti

Then there is the plate I fell in love with and almost, just almost, could not bring myself to selling. But alas, I will have to make more of these!

riverbirch2

Then I made a special plate for a good friend of mine. I can’t say who because it is a Christmas gift surprise! But here is the plate. I handbuilt it, used a plastic doily to impress the pattern, covered the whole plate with floating blue glaze and wiped it off as to leave it only in the cracks, and clear coated it with a clear glaze.

jill_plate2

And finally, I made a buckeye leaf platter for a good friend who is obsessed with football. For those of you who are not local Ohioans, the buckeye leaf and nut are both symbols for the Ohio State Buckeyes football team stationed here in Columbus, Ohio. You may hear people screaming “Go Bucks!” at random times when you are in Ohio. It happened to me one day when I first moved here from the East Coast that a random stranger guy screamed “GO BUCKS” to me and I just kind of stood there totally confused. Sometimes I still am confused, but alas, here is the Ohio State Buckeye platter, made using a real Buckeye Tree leaf.

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Wishing everyone a wonderful Winter Solstice and beyond… Each day after December 21st promises to have more and more daylight gradually each day up until the Summer Solstice. Let’s enjoy the increased daylight and the wonderful winter season. May it be bright and full of merriment for everyone. I look forward to creating a ton more pottery this winter in preparation for the craft shows next year. We are planning ahead although we don’t know all the craft show dates just yet, and looking forward to an awesome and auspicious 2013!!!

Here’s our plans for shows so far…

http://www.craftybynaturestudio.com/upcoming-shows

Happy Solstice everyone!


I decided to make a cute little bug out of clay and use high fire wire for its legs and fire it in my kiln. I absolutely love this cute little bug! I really need to make more of these. I added a little notch underneath the bug so that he can be attached to a bamboo kabob skewer and used as a decorative stake in a houseplant or the garden.

LOVE IT!

Everyone needs a cute little bug!!

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lilbug3


Step 1: Make some plates out of porcelain clay on the potter’s wheel, trim them, and let them dry halfway, at which time you will place Queen Anne’s Lace flowers on the plates and push them into the clay to make a good impression.

making_laceplate

Here is another picture of the fresh Queen Anne’s Lace pushed into the clay.

making_laceplate2

Step 2: Fire the pottery to bisque (12 hours in my kiln up to 1828° F). Then, despite all your instincts, blob a bunch of black glaze over your entire flower impression.
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Step 3: Wipe away the excess black glaze using a natural sea sponge, as to leave only the impression with black glaze remaining.
making_laceplate4

Step 4: Apply a clear coat of glaze over top to make this food-safe and fire it in the kiln again (this time I fired for 8 hours up to 2167° F)
lace_plate

Queen Anne’s Lace plates:
made of porcelain on the potter’s wheel with a real Queen Anne’s Lace flower impressed into the clay.

I really love this set of dishes and how they came out!!! I am looking very forward to next summer’s Queen Anne’s Lace blossoms so I can make a bunch more!


Today I had the pleasure of speaking at a women’s teacher’s group at one of their meetings.  I had met the president of this group at the Worthington Green on the Green festival last year.  She bought an “I Love You Lotion” and mentioned her group and that she might contact me to see if I’d be interested in speaking about my small woman-owned business to her group.  Well that day finally came and was today.  I went through the history of how my little business got started and how we have progressed.  It was great because I hadn’t realized the dates of some of my milestones that had occured until I looked them up on old blog posts actually.

Some of our milestones for Crafty by Nature have been…

2009:  I developed our first product which started out as a Christmas gift, but ended up as Working Hands Skin Repair.

2010:  I vended at my very first Art & Craft show at the Grove City Art & Craft Show

2011:  I developed the recipe and made my first “true” lotion called “I Love You Lotion.”  I call this a “true” lotion because it is emulsified oils, water, and wax that stays blended.

2012:  I made a great journey to Rapidan, Virginia to learn soap-making from one of the pros, my soap mentor and now friend, Michele Blackwood.  I knew of her through buying her soaps and absolutely falling in love with her soaps.  Now I can make my own soaps that are awesome, using my very own recipe I wrote.

After my talk with the women’s teacher’s group, members of the group bought a bunch of my lotions and soaps.  It was really rewarding and wonderful to be able to spend time with this group and give everyone the opportunity to really learn about my business and my products.  I went over some of my pottery workshops information as well and some were interested in taking a potter’s wheel class sometime.  Overall, this was a really rewarding and exciting day for me to introspect and learn about my own milestones in my little business and share everything I have learned along my journey so far with some wonderful women today.

I am thankful for this opportunity.  It really allowed me to stop and look back at my prior milestones and see how far I have come and gives me hope and inspiration for carrying on into the future!  I feel so motivated now!

Yay!


Autumn is proudly here displaying gorgeous leaf colors on the trees, wonderfully cool temperatures, and naturally we are firing up the kiln in the spirit of the harvest.  Today we loaded the kiln with greenware, which is basically raw or un-fired pottery.  Pottery is very delicate in greenware stage so we are always sure to be extra cautious.  So far no breakage and everything made it safely into the kiln and we really jammed it full of pottery.

The sunny, bright, yet cool and refreshing autumn day is a great day for firing.  The kiln works best when the temperature is over 40° outside, especially since our kiln room is our garage which is not terribly insulated.  Today was a lovely day and a temperature of 65° according to the kiln’s temperature reading when I started it up.  3:30pm is when we began the firing and this being a bisque load should take about 12 hours of firing time.  That takes us to the kiln shutting down at about 3:30am.  That’s when the big wait begins.  The kiln will still be 1828° fahrenheit when it shuts off at 3:30am.

For obvious reasons, we must wait until the kiln and its pottery cools to a much lower temperature of about 130° fahrenheit before unloading.  That is the temperature that I like to say “no longer will burn your hands” when unloading the pottery.  Some people wait less, and some people more, until unloading time.  I just find 130° to be what I prefer.  I know some potters who unload at 150° and still others who prefer to wait all the way until the kiln reaches room temperature.  After the 3:30pm shut off time, we’ll have to wait another 19 hours to unload according to how the cooling went for my last bisque load.  19 hours seems endless when you are so eager to begin glazing so you can final fire your pieces and start using them or give them as gifts or even sell them.  It is possible the long wait may be less hours this time because we are enjoying such a cool wonderful autumn day.

At any rate, I think we will be able to begin unloading and glazing by about 10:00 pm or so tomorrow night.  Of course that will be Sunday night and I’ll have little time at that point to be glazing since I will have to go to bed so I can do my 9 to 5 Monday morning.  Sometimes, I even unload the kiln Monday morning before work at 6am or so.  I get so excited to get all the pieces of pottery out that we have worked so diligently on.  It is very rewarding unloading the kiln.  Every time I unload a kiln, I feel like it is Christmas and my birthday all at once.  I love it!  In this kiln load, I have some special porcelain pieces that I can hardly wait to see.  I made designs on them with black underglaze color on top of the bright white clay.  I had to etch, or sgraffito, areas of each design to make them more sharp, crisp, and detailed.  One bowl I made this way has a gorgeous black and white tree with heart-shaped leaves on it.  Then I made a matching mug companion which also has the gorgeous tree of hearts design.  Finally, I made the last porcelain bowl with my “king bird” design.  I handpainted a bird in black and white and gave him long skinny legs and a crown on his head.  I’ll have pictures in about a week, after our final glaze firing.

We will spend nights after work all this week carefully glazing our work.  Then next weekend, we will fire the glaze firing which is the most exciting of all times to unload.  Unloading a glaze kiln full of glazed, finished pottery, is perhaps like the Fourth of July, Christmas, my birthday, and St Patrick’s Day all happening at once.  It is like a wonderful expression of the harvest.  Someone has gathered the clay, the ingredients for the glazes, and we put our heart and soul into each piece of pottery combing the clay and glazes and all our efforts.  The result is harvesting the pottery that will be used for years to come.  We cherish each piece and appreciate them greatly.  These are the gifts we are given and can also give.