Tag Archives: garden markers

A Touch of Spring: Ceramic Garden Markers

This post was written in the middle of winter when I was dreaming of this time of year. Spring and warmer weather have finally arrived and I am reposting it, as it has continued to be one of Jane Street Clayworks‘ most popular posts. I’ve updated links and changed prices. We finished the greenhouse and you can click here to see a photo of it. Enjoy!

It is winter and that makes me think of garden planning. About this time last year, my neighbor and I sat down, paged through a seed catalog and came up with a joint order. This year, my husband and I will be setting up a greenhouse, thanks to the generosity of my mother at Christmas. She wants to be able to pick a lemon off a lemon tree the next time she comes up to Canada! This is the greenhouse we’ll be putting up…the 4′ x6′ EasyStart, which is called a season extender. We can always add to it later if we want. It’s made by a German firm called Hoklartherm and is sold in N. America through Exaco. I actually am still considering a Danish Juliana, but if the shipping isn’t too onerous, I’ll go with Exaco. (If any of you have any experience with either, I’d love to hear about it!) It’s snowing now and this is all advanced planning. Gardening will be more complex this year, though, because I have to learn how to use a greenhouse, not just have one. In addition, I have to plan my raised bed vegetable garden and other plots. So, I do want to start working on garden markers now, so they will be ready when the time comes. Ceramic garden markers. Let’s peruse a couple of sites that sell markers and decide what we’d like to do, make or buy.

These Earthmarks Herb Garden Markers are nice and they sell for $3.50 each. The artisans who make them say they achieved what they wanted only “after several months of testing various clay bodies, underglazes, patinas, materials for the stakes.” In addition, their markers are “made of high-fired stoneware in an attractive terra cotta color, the names were impressed into the clay and after an initial firing in a kiln, the lettering was underglazed and a soft verdigris patina was applied, then they were fired again.” So, as you can see, it’s not as easy as it looks and there are a number of considerations if you’re going to make your own. Artisan Hands on etsy.com makes these Veggie Garden Stakes, which are great: they won’t mildew or stain. I rather like the type on these, too. They’re cheerful and have nice, unobtrusive colors. The artisan says they are “cut from slabs of stoneware, stamped, glazed and fired to cone 6 in oxidation.”  I’m rather partial to these garden markers below because the minimalist design appeals to me. Made by JustWork, they come in a set of six for $20 U.S. They ship from Canada, so you’ll have to factor in shipping over the border. The site says these are made by Pottery with a Purpose, “handmade by potters who will both benefit financially and creatively from your purchase, and who face barriers to work such as physical disabilities, mental illness, addiction and homelessness. JustPotters operates out of a basement studio off Commercial Drive.” I like the idea of getting something this nice while I’m helping support  people in need, which is something that is unusual in this market and a refreshing example of social action. The last ones I’m showing can be reused, which is a good thing. Made by Charlotte Hupfield, of the UK, she also has a number of other styles for sale. You could use an old-fashioned grease-marker on them, but other things would work just as well. With the pre-stamped styles, however, you’d have to buy enough markers to cover each type of vegetable you grow, which could become pricey, and might be another reason to think about making your own.

If you’ve decided to make a marker similar to the one shown by Earthmarks, at the top of the page, here’s a tip: if you place plastic wrap over the rolled out clay, then use a cookie cutter over the plastic, you’ll have a nice rounded edge on your disk after you’ve lifted the plastic up. A woman named Cathy who used to teach at the art centre gave me that tip and it’s a good one. As you may have surmised, there are quite a few variables to consider if you choose to make your own, as the Earthmarks site makes clear. You may simply want to buy instead of make. In any event, the tips of my heather show new growth, snowdrops, narcissus, and tulips are next and soon we’ll be able to use our new garden stakes!

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The greenhouse is done!

I overdid it a bit yesterday, so stay tuned for “Gold and silver leaf on ceramics, Part 2” am working on it and soon soon… In the meantime, I want to show you our finished greenhouse! (We still have a bit of work to do with the floor and outer perimeter, to seal it, but it’s up and ready to go!) After I finish my mushroom projects, morels, chanterelles, and fairy ring, it’s on to garden markers! Big thank you to Mom and Mark!! It creates a lovely new space, inside and in front of it.  I am not ready to do any full-on gardening yet, so we will shop for the right kind of tomato plants and place them inside first. I hadn’t known that greenhouses require different plants than those grown outdoors , so am on a learning curve, thanks to our library. It makes sense for tomatoes…after all, they can reach 10′ tall! So mine will likely be the bush variety…indeterminate, for lots of fruiting. So we’re off and running. This is the coldest spring here for 50 years, so the greenhouse is also very timely. Will start seedlings for outdoors in it and hope to begin that quite soon….

Exaco EasyStart Season Extender greenhouse, louvered window open, 4'4"x6'4"x6'

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Open Studio Report, 3-29

STUDIO: It felt so good to be back in the studio again after a week’s down time because of a sore throat. I missed my projects and the conviviality of my studio mates. At this point, I am officially behind on my bird house and may miss spring nesting this year. If that happens, it’s okay, as it will still look nice hanging from our wide-leaf maple tree, but I’d rather it be done and up. Also, after I started undoing the wrappings on my project, I remembered I hadn’t looked up the dimensions for the hole in the bird house. Skipped that step and made the ball-shaped knobs that will go on the bottom and top and repaired a crack with homemade paper clay, slip and tissue bits. Think I’ll bring the project home and work on it over the week, as time is of the essence. On Tuesday, I also started experimented with draping and folding some terra-cotta. Rigged a temporary mold of odds and ends and worked with  a 1/8″ thick terra-cotta sheet, but even that was too thick. Now, I must investigate techniques for increasing malleability and rolling out very, very thin….

Bisquing: I finally placed my wheat tile and oil lamps on the Cone 6 firing shelves, so next week I can make a mold of the tile and start drying it. Maybe, just maybe I’ll make the mold this week. Ge a jump on it…

Plans: I liked the effect of white underglaze with Shino over it, so think that is what I’ll do when I glaze the original wheat tile next week…will look golden and beautiful with the wheat motif. Also, I’m going to start making smaller, thinner tiles, ones that will dry faster and cost less to mail. Beforehand, I will start developing some more Arts & Crafts motifs. Time, time, I am going to start dividing my time differently: working at home more. The focus of Open Studio time will change, be devoted more to things I cannot do at home: using the slab roller, glazing and firing. I want to pick up the pace a bit and I love working at home, so I look forward to these changes.

HOME: Today, I made three ‘trees’ tiles and a slew of brown sugar medallions. At least one of the tiles will become a “Snowfall,” but I’m not sure about the others. It’s spring after all! For the medallions, I used Cathy Camley’s suggestion for forming a nice rounded edge: place plastic over the clay, then push a cutter down over the plastic and the rolled clay. Works very well!

Plans: I also booted up etsy.com and will sign up for it after I finish this post. I am considering either joining a team or forming one. More on that later, but first I’ll join on my own. This week, I engaged WordPress‘ Happiness Engineers for a guided transfer from .com to .org. I had so wanted to go with Laughing Squid for a hosted service because it’s an indie that supports the arts. However, I am not a techie, it’s not a WP option for a transfer, so must forego it. Instead, I am going with Blue Host, which has an A rating with the Better Business Bureau. I am also ordering my greenhouse kit today, so am very excited about that. That got me thinking about clay garden markers, but one thing at a time….

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A Touch of Spring: Ceramic Garden Markers

It is winter and that makes me think of garden planning. About this time last year, my neighbor and I sat down, paged through a seed catalog and came up with a joint order. This year, my husband and I will be setting up a greenhouse, thanks to the generosity of my mother at Christmas. She wants to be able to pick a lemon off a lemon tree the next time she comes up to Canada! This is the greenhouse we’ll be putting up…the 4′ x6′ EasyStart, which is called a season extender. We can always add to it later if we want. It’s made by a German firm called Hoklartherm and is sold in N. America through Exaco. I actually am still considering a Danish Juliana, but if the shipping isn’t too onerous, I’ll go with Exaco. (If any of you have any experience with either, I’d love to hear about it!) It’s snowing now and this is all advanced planning. Gardening will be more complex this year, though, because I have to learn how to use a greenhouse, not just have one. In addition, I have to plan my raised bed vegetable garden and other plots. So, I do want to start working on garden markers now, so they will be ready when the time comes. Ceramic garden markers. Let’s peruse a couple of sites that sell markers and decide what we’d like to do, make or buy.

These Earthmarks Herb Garden Markers are nice and they sell for $3.50 each. The artisans who make them say they achieved what they wanted only “after several months of testing various clay bodies, underglazes, patinas, materials for the stakes.” In addition, their markers are “made of high-fired stoneware in an attractive terra cotta color, the names were impressed into the clay and after an initial firing in a kiln, the lettering was underglazed and a soft verdigris patina was applied, then they were fired again.” So, as you can see, it’s not as easy as it looks and there are a number of considerations if you’re going to make your own. Artisan Hands on etsy.com makes these Veggie Garden Stakes, which are great: they won’t mildew or stain. I rather like the type on these, too. They’re cheerful and have nice, unobtrusive colors. The artisan says they are “cut from slabs of stoneware, stamped, glazed and fired to cone 6 in oxidation.”  I’m rather partial to these garden markers below because the minimalist design appeals to me. Made by JustWork, they come in a set of six for $18 U.S. They ship from Canada, so you’ll have to factor in shipping over the border. The site says these are made by Pottery with a Purpose, “handmade by potters who will both benefit financially and creatively from your purchase, and who face barriers to work such as physical disabilities, mental illness, addiction and homelessness. JustPotters operates out of a basement studio off Commercial Drive.” I like the idea of getting something this nice while I’m helping support  people in need, which is something that is unusual in this market and a refreshing example of social action. The last ones I’m showing can be reused, which is a good thing. You could use an old-fashioned grease-marker on them, but other things would work just as well. With the pre-stamped styles, however, you’d have to buy enough markers to cover each type of vegetable you grow, which could become pricey, and might be another reason to think about making your own.

If you’ve decided to make a marker similar to the one shown by Earthmarks, at the top of the page, here’s a tip: if you place plastic wrap over the rolled out clay, then use a cookie cutter over the plastic, you’ll have a nice rounded edge on your disk after you’ve lifted the plastic up. A woman named Cathy who used to teach at the art centre gave me that tip and it’s a good one. As you may have surmised, there are quite a few variables to consider if you choose to make your own, as the Earthmarks site makes clear. You may simply want to buy instead of make. In any event, the tips of my heather show new growth, snowdrops, narcissus, and tulips are next and soon we’ll be able to use our new garden stakes!

(Note: If you haven’t taken my Reader Interest Poll, please do…it’ll be up until Feb. 1 and you can find it by using the search box at the upper right. Thank you!)

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Filed under Articles and Interviews, Featured Artists, Home and Garden