Plum Blossom Farm Bath, Body and Home Products

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Plum Blossom Farm Products – Photo by John Burgess, The Press Democrat

Today I’m sharing my friend Carole’s business because, for one, she makes amazing products, and two, she was just featured in an article by The Press Democrat (Sonoma County, CA).  I’m so excited for her and want to celebrate this well-deserved recognition.

We started our businesses around the same time and I’ve had the privilege to watch her business change and grow over the last decade.  I first met Carole when she was in college and helped me with my children when my youngest was born.  She was an integral part of our family for several years and she is one of the most gentle and caring people I know.  She has always done the very best for the people and animals in her life and I’m just so proud of what she’s achieved.

As for Carole’s products, we use several of them daily.  I love that the ingredients are all natural, the scents are wonderful, and the felted wool colors are really beautiful.   Me and my grown kids use her bath and body products exclusively now – specifically, the body scrub, body butter, and felted wool soaps (made with wool from her sheep).  I always have one of her lip balms nearby – in my purse and overnight bag, on my bathroom vanity,  by the kitchen sink, and in my car.   It’s the only lip balm I use.  I really can’t say enough about her products, except that they also make wonderful gifts – which makes it easy for me when it’s time to buy a birthday or Christmas gift.

I hope that you check out the article. It gives a great description of her farm and has a lot of really nice pictures of her and her critters.  For some really awesome products, visit her online store – plumbossomfarm.com.

Warmest regards,

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May 2019 Dog Pottery Giveaway

Corgi Sugar Bowl May Giveaway

This month I’m giving away one of my dog breed sugar bowls.  These are one of my most popular items, probably because they are so cute and versatile.  They can hold your sugar for you or dog-training treats, change, cotton balls, and the list goes on.

The winner will be chosen May 31st and will have their choice of over 40 different dog breed designs.

Just click the red button to enter! You will receive information about sharing the giveaway after you enter – the more you share the greater your chances of winning.

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Good luck!

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New! Flat Coated Retriever Design

Flat Coated Retriever Wine Stopper from shepherds-grove.com

I’ve created a new dog breed design for the Flat Coated Retriever.  What a pretty dog this is.  I honestly didn’t know about it, which you might think is strange given that I make pottery for dog lovers.  But there are 193 dog breeds recognized by the American Kennel Club.  The cool thing is that I got to learn about the Flat Coated Retriever.  The standard colors are black or liver colored, and there is a yellow variety.  From my conversation with my customer who owns one, and from what I’ve read, they’re positive, playful and friendly.  And, very good at retrieving waterfowl, as their name implies.

I’ve completed my design but it is not on my website yet, so if you’re interested please email me and let me know – contact@shepherds-grove.com.  The Flat Coated Retriever is available on all of the pottery shapes on my website.

Take care,

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April Dog Pottery Givaway!

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This month I’m giving away something different, something that’s not yet available on my website.  It is a 7″ dog breed plate and has all of the features and benefits of my other pottery – it’s made of durable stoneware and so is dishwasher, microwave, and oven safe.  It has hand-painted blue and golden yellow bands around the rim and my floral dog design in the center, made and decorated with non-toxic, food-safe materials. And all of the work is done by my hands, in my studio, in Eureka, CA.

I will be adding plates to my website over the month and wanted to give you a little sneak peak by way of this giveaway.   I have been selling my plates on the sly for a couple years now.  Someone way back asked for plates so I started making them. Then sales  happened by word of mouth and I just never got around to adding them to my website.

The winner will be chosen at random and will be able to have their plate decorated with one of my available dog breed designs.  Sharing the contest through the means provided after you enter, increases your entries in the contest and thus increases your chances of winning.

Click the red button below to be taken to the entry form.  Good luck!

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March Giveaway Winner

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I didn’t want to post the winner to my March Giveaway yesterday because it was April Fools Day.  I thought some might think my announcement was a trick like, “so and so won….April Fools!”  But now I can announce who did win.

Congratulations to Shirley F. who will soon be the receiving a dog breed wine stopper and dipping dish.  She’ll be able to choose from my available dog breed designs and can even choose a different breed for each item.

I will be posting this month’s giveaway soon – after I get my studio straightened out (more later on that).

Take care,

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Mold Making Class

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The bottle from my new mold 🙂

I recently attended a really fun mold making class at Georgies Ceramics and Clay in Eugene, Oregon.  It was taught by Brett Bindford of Mudshark Studios, Portland, who is an expert in the field of ceramic mold making and slip casting.

It was a small class so we each got a lot of personal help making molds of the items we brought.  And Brett was an awesome teacher both because he made the process easy to understand and because he’s so easy going and kind.

I chose a bottle that I love.  It was a Kava bottle that my son brought home and was going to recycle.  But I thought it would be perfect with a pour spout to use as an olive oil bottle.   Another person made a mold of cauliflower, which turned out super cool.  All of our molds turned out great, actually.  There’s always the chance that your item will get stuck in the mold because you didn’t see an undercut in your item, or because the plaster adheres to the material that your item is made out of.

As with any process, there a lot of steps and we’ll see if I remember them all when I go to make molds in my studio.  I’ve been collecting the supplies I need to start mold making and now have everything, so I’ll report back with my progress.  I’m very excited about experimenting will different shaped items.

I had to wait a while for my mold to dry but finally, I’ve been able to make a cast of my bottle (shown above).  The really exciting part for me is glazing it and seeing the final result…I’m not quite there yet but will post a photo when I get a bottle done.

Off to uncover my studio (more on that later),

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Cocker Spaniel Pottery – Kiln Opening

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A quick video showing me unloading my Cocker Spaniel pottery from the kiln.  I had a couple unwelcome surprises but wanted to share the good and the bad.

Have  great weekend!

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Decorating Cocker Spaniel Pottery Video

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This video is a tad long.  It shows the process of how my dog breed artwork is made into ceramic decals which are applied to my stoneware pottery.

 

I’ll follow up with a video of the finished pottery.  Bye for now!

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English Springer Spaniel Pottery

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Just a quick post to let you know that my new English Springer Spaniel design is now available on my website’s English Springer Spaniel Gifts page.  I’ve put up listings for all of the available pottery shapes in two color variations – black and white and liver.

I’ll be posting soon about next month’s Giveaway so check back!

Have a good weekend,

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New English Springer Spaniel Design

A customer asked if English Springer Spaniels were available on my dog breed pottery.  Well, I didn’t have that design done yet so I remedied the situation and made a couple color versions of this very pretty breed – black and white and liver.  I’m in the final color testing stages – in fact, I just did another color test over the weekend.  The design part of my work is the most time consuming for me because, as with most art, it’s hard to know when to stop.

Given that every breed has a range of body conformations, even within the breed standard, but especially outside of it, it’s hard sometimes to nail down an outline sketch that will work for most people.  Then there are all of the color variations within breeds, not to mention the huge variation color patterns between dogs of any color.  Once I settle on an outline and do the color work, I print my decals and fire them on a white test tile.

I usually fire 2 or 3 versions of the same artwork, applying different manipulations to my artwork, such as a slightly darker version, an even darker version, etc.  The reason for this is that it’s difficult to tell how a printed decal on paper will equate to a decal fired on a finished piece of pottery.  This is partly because my printer prints in ceramic pigments which look very flat when printed on the decal paper.  Their richness, or lack thereof, doesn’t show up until a cover coat of flux (basically glass) is applied and fired onto a ceramic piece.   Its much like how the color of wood color is enriched by applying laquer.  So it sometimes goes that the first test tile comes out revealing that my artwork needs some alteration because it’s either to light or has an “off” tone.

English Springer Spaniel dog art by shepherds-grove.com

Springer Spaniel Test Tile

The tile shown represents two different firings.  I did the top group of 4 English Springer Spaniels (2 black and white, 2 liver) in the first firing.  I liked the liver color of the left dog but thought it and the two black and white dogs were a little flat looking.   They actually would have been ok but I wanted to make them a little better – this goes back to that part about not knowing when art is done.  So I worked on them a little more and refired.  The two dogs at the bottom with red arrows were the second test.  I think the liver might need a little more vibrance however, there are liver colored dogs that are really dark, so maybe not.  What do you think?

Anyhow, I’ve decided that my English Springer Spaniel artwork is done and will add them to my website.  Of course I’m always open to revisit my artwork should a customer advise me to do so.  Such recommendations usually result in a different version that I’ll ad to my website.

I’ll make a quick post once I’ve listed all of the English Springer Spaniel items to my website.

Until next time,

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