Sunday, May 31, 2009

Crackpots-oxide wash

I've been intrigued by crackpots as of late, trying various techniques and clay. Some have been exciting, some not so. These are among the 1st using a buff sandstone clay, nothing fancy just a manganese dioxide wash applied to enhance the fissures.

The next batch waiting out of the bisque fire are low fire red clay, not sure if I like the red yet will see after the oxide wash is applied.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Staged young

One of my many Operculicarya decaryi, but one of the smallest. An example of staging young plants in bonsai containers. Only draw back is growth is slowed to a crawl due to root restriction.

Bison Trimming Tools

In my short pottery carrier I have gone through various trimming tools, all get dull very quickly. With my work schedule I trim when I have time and most the time the pots have gone past leather hard (except the ones I remember to cover in plastic), the heavily grogged clays I like to use eats up these tools quickly. I've tried loops, hooks, angled irons, cheap ones and expensive. After researching I read many positive reviews regarding Bison Trimming Tools, I ordered 2 heavy duty loops, one triangular and one teardrop. They are pricey at $58ea for the heavy duty tools but if they last like everyone says it will be well worth it. Anyway, they shipped today and will have them in time for the weekend trimming session.

They arrived today(06/02/09)!
These tools have a very nice feel in the hand, well balanced and sharp. Can't wait to give them a try!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Crackpots-RIO slip

The following pots were an experiment using a red iron oxide ball clay slip over black mountain clay
3 inch bowl

5 inch dish

8inch bowl stretched into an oval

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Calibanus hookerii

This is my largest Calibanus, it measures 16" in diameter and have grown it for about 10yrs

Love the bark texture on these plants

I wanted to enter it in the C&S show but not in the terracotta pot it was in and did not have time to make one. Was at one of those Asian pottery outlets looking around, the bonsai containers they had were big enough but either the wrong shape or too expensive. As I was walking out I saw this stack of pots in an out of the way corner, as I got closer I thought it would work perfectly. As I looked at the shape and measured it it turned out to be a garden hose holder and had a huge hole in the center about 6in wide. For $25 I couldn't go wrong. Cover the the opening with some hardware wire and the plant looks great in it.

I made the pot last year. Did not really like it when I took it out of the kiln and placed on the shelf, potted up my 10in wide Calibanus in it and the combination works well together.

Pot and plant combinations

Attended the Sacramento Cactus and Succulent show on May 2nd-3rd. The following photos are plants I've raised and the pots I made that were my entries into the event.

These 3 pots were the most talked about at the show, even the pottery vendors were interested in how I made them

Friday, May 8, 2009

Crackpots-sodium silicate

Form pot with thick walls, add design and dry surface thoroughly with a sponge
Brush on sodium silicate to the top 3/4 of the pot, leaving the bottom 1/4 without makes cleaning the bat easier

Torch dry

Continue drying till silicate is no longer shiny

Start stretching!
Keep going....
Sponge at finger tips again
Sponge getting dry, dipped to continue stretching

Almost there...
Cleaning up the rim
and finished!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Crassula (Jade) rootpruning

My biggest variegated Jade in a 18in terra cotta pot last year

Pruned in January, unpotted at the beginning of April
Took a saw and cut off 3/4 of the root mass
With most succulents you would let the cuts dry but with Jades you can pot up right away in moist soil, then let sit for a week or two before watering again.

Staged into a 18in bonsai pot, it had to be anchored to the pot with wire since it so top heavy
I will shorten the branches to the red line in the fall

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A sad sight

Yesterday I was checking on my Adenia plants, all were showing signs of growth except for one. I started poking around the base of the plant to see if I could find the reason, and one poke later I did. My finger went in about 2in. I lift the plant out of it's pot and the entire base was rotted. I cleaned out out all decayed material and placed a fan on the plant to aid in drying the effected area.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Trying escape

Was out this morning in between rain showers looking through my plants. Went to look at my Cyphostemma hardyii x cirrhosum cuttings I took last year. Tried to pick it up and it wouldn't budge.

So I gave it a good yank and found a tuber that had secured in the raised bed.

These were cut last spring and rooted, the photo was taken about 8wks after cutting.

I took the right one to do a root over rock staging since it didn't have any large tubers yet.

Then buried rock and roots in a square pot. A square one was chosen over round because in the latter the roots tend to just circle within the container, in the former the roots hit the sides or corner and deflect in another direction.

This is how it looks today