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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


This coming kiln load will have some new pottery goodies in it. I have been working on a large 11 inch tall pitcher for a friend at work. It is tall enough that I will need to put it in the kiln with a special half shelf above it, so it can have enough room.

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Next I decided to make a pie plate that is a Pi plate. Pi is the symbol and number that is used in mathematics a lot. It translates into many decimal places but the beginning of Pi is 3.141592653…
This March 14th, 2015 will essentially be Pi Day (3.1415…) and we shall celebrate at 9:26am. Why? Because we are a bunch of nerds at my day job. Here it is so far. It’s numbers and Pi symbol will be much darker (black) once it gets fired in the kiln.

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Next up, I am making a set of mugs as part of a challenge that I must go through in my ceramics class at the Cultural Arts Center. The challenge is to build a bunch of items on the wheel in order to get to the next higher fire clay level. The first part of the challenge is to make a set of six practically identical mugs. My teacher said, “try to make six to eight mugs in one class, then trim all of them in the next class and add all their handles, fire them all together, glaze them all together.” So I set out to make six in one class. I didn’t think I could do it. I prepared, measured, and weighed my clay out ahead of time at home. I got to class and I started to make mugs with the prepared clay. Toward the end of the class, I reached in my clay bag to get another lump of clay but there were none left. I looked up at the mugs I made and there stood TEN glorious mugs! I did it! I even made four bonus mugs! I was so elated! Here they are after I trimmed them all neatly and added all ten of their handles.

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Last up, we have a real winner. This was very challenging for me to make. It is a shaving scuttle. I call it a double decker shaving scuttle because it has a smaller bowl attached inside of a larger bowl. There is a spout or hole between the two. What you do to use a scuttle like this is get your water running nice and hot from the faucet, pour hot water right into the spout to fill the lower chamber, get your shave soap out and make a bunch of lather that you put into the upper chamber or bowl. And voila! You get a nice hot lathering and wonderfully smooth and close shave! Even though these are a little tricky to make, I definitely want to make more of them. This is my very first one. I have made regular shaving mugs before which have just one bowl and I have once made another “double decker” scuttle except its two bowls were separate and just sat inside of one another. I really like this new way of making a fully loaded double decker shaving scuttle!

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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!


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.
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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)
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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!


We loaded up the kiln yesterday afternoon and set the kiln for a bisque firing that takes 12 hours to fire up to 1,828° F.  This is some of the pottery before firing, once loaded into the kiln:

After the 12 hours of firing up to 1,828°F, the kiln must cool for an additional 19 hours.  Now I say 19 hours to cool when we are firing in pretty warm weather here in Columbus, OH.  I think the temperatures have been in the upper 80’s to lower 90’s here during the time of the kiln attempting to cool.  So of course in January, we will see very different cooling times.

Here’s what we have for the bisque.  Notice the light pink coloration of much of the pottery.  This is a temporary color that will change and mature into a tan color upon glaze firing the pieces.

We fired one really large (15 inch) buckeye leaf plate, three large (10 inch) collanders, a wall hanging sconce (oil lamp), a wall hanging buckeye leaf on (white) porcelain, 22 Ohios made of porcelain to be turned into magnets, a “flower petal” bowl, a sponge holder, a self draining soap dish, and two Cocker Spaniel Bowls.  Cocker Spaniel bowls are designed especially for cocker spaniels to keep their long ears out of their food and water.

Next up… Glazing all this pottery!

Just renovated and revamped our website too.  Check it out at www.craftybynaturestudio.com


new moustache protector mug sitting in the snow

It was a snowy day that I pulled my latest moustache protector mug carefully out of the kiln.  Its glaze colors shimmered and shone in the daylight.  Gunmetal Green is the name of this glaze bearing lovely shades of green with an alluring metallic silvery sheen covering some areas like a wonderful surprise.  This particular moustache protector mug was created in mind for an Ohio man whose wife wanted to surprise his moustache face with said mug.  There was a slight glitch in this plan as I posted the mug online and sent them the link and no sooner than I posted it, a moustached man from Texas snatched it up!  No worries, however, for two more wonderful “big and tall” moustache protector mugs are currently on my potter’s wheel ready to be trimmed, adorned with moustache protection, and to have their handles added.  One of these will most certainly be for the Ohio couple who are patiently and kindly waiting upon their very own moustache mug.

As I look back on the moustache mug sitting in the snow that went to the moustache man in Texas, I can’t help but think there will be many more to come.  And perhaps it will even be another snowy day when I pull the next ones out of the kiln, so I can have another picture perfect shot of the moustache mugs set out in the glistening snow.


new colander!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
This is a new colander I just made, plus a new glaze color I never had before!  It came out as being my best colander yet, in my opinion!  Oh that reminds me, I need to make another colander for another new customer!  I better get busy on the potter’s wheel this weekend!  
 
Colanders are fun to make because they are like big bowls you add handles and legs to, and then comes the most fun part of all – punching holes with a clay hole punch!  Making the holes is just so much fun!  I will have to post my next colander for the new customer, after it is all finished.  Maybe I will do a post illustrating the different steps along the way toward making a colander!
 
 
Have a wonderful and creative, crafty day!  – Karen Buoncristiano, Crafty by Nature
 
 
 

My husband gave me a surprise Christmas gift; a pair of magnetic signs for the car doors that say Crafty by Nature!  I got so excited that I washed my entire car inside and out!  I even waxed the whole car.  For those who know me well, I almost never wash my car, so I must have been really excited about the signs!  Here are a couple pictures of them on my Mini Cooper…

Crafty-mobile

Crafty-mobile

Crafty by Nature sign

Crafty by Nature sign


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Cocker Spaniels have long ears that hang down into their food and water while they eat or drink.  UNLESS you provide them with a much-needed “Cocker Spaniel Dog Bowl” as I have just created!

This Cocker Spaniel bowl keeps the longest of long ears out of their food and water.  By doing so, it prevents the dogs from getting infected ears from too much exposure to moisture and/or bacteria.

A pair of dry, clean Cocker Spaniel ears goes a long way! 

Here is my first cocker spaniel bowl, one of many to come.

To place a pottery request or order, you can always contact Karen at craftybynaturestudio@gmail.com

or by calling Karen at 614-557-6369.

Here’s to dog-ear-saving pottery!

Cheers,

Karen
www.craftybynaturestudio.com