Mulitplying Bottle Cap Birds and Ceramic Bowls



Bottle Cap Birds, Oct 2014, Acrylic on bottle caps, Cindy Schnackel

Finished all the bottle cap birds that I had caps prepared for. (There’s one that’s NOT a bird. Can you find it?) These are meant to be hung, but of course I DID think they would be a good size for refrigerator magnets, I just didn’t want them to be thought of as that rather than art to hang. Plus, magnets would be a cost, and my intent was to make them out of recycled materials, and keep the price really low. They are all hand painted, no two are alike.  The caps are prepared by abrading off the printing and roughing up the metal enough to hold an acrylic primer that seals them off. I can then paint on them with gesso and paint the same as any prepared surface. They seem very durable. I attach the hanging rings with Gorilla Glue. It holds well. I am thinking of a way to neaten up the back, even though it does not show, but would would rather leave it be than add non recycled material to it.

Going to take a break from Bottle Cap Birds for a bit now. Partly because I need to accumulate the pop top rings or other recycled hardware that I attach as hangers. Those seem to accumulate much more slowly, maybe because we drink way more bottled beer than canned anything!

Another reason is I have other projects going that need attention now! As I was saying to another artist who’s not revealing much of what he has in progress either, it is a feat of self discipline to NOT share what you’re working on, or new pieces as they are done. But I am doing just that, because I want my show next year to be the first time most if not all the pieces in it are seen publicly.

I’m still doing some pieces that aren’t for the 2015 show, and will be adding them as I get them photographed, to my Inventory List.  You will find the Bottle Cap Birds listed there, too.




Bottom of one of my favorites so far. Oct 2014

Ceramics is going well. We have a growing collection of usable and unique little bowls. This one above is my favorite so far, of mine. The shape came out nice, it’s not too tiny, and the glaze came out really well, with interesting streaks and spots. Glazing is always a bit of a surprise, and I like that. It’ll take practice to get predictable results, but from what I gather from past ceramics experience, and from this wheel throwing class, there is always a chance of surprise. I think that adds to the allure.  Sometimes I jot down notes about what glazes I used, but then usually lose them. One of the techs confirmed, this is not uncommon even for experienced ceramic artists! The experienced people there always seem to recognize the glazes though, having seen them come out just about every which way they can I guess.


My husband Brian’s and my finished bowls, so far, Oct 2014.

This is our finished collection, so far. There will be more coming. Most of the red and light blue ones are Brian’s. I used a glaze called “White Crawl,” because I like crackley things, on the rims of some of mine. It fired fairly smooth but definitely has the look of crackle, so kind of the best of both worlds, at least if we’re going to eat out of them. All the glazes we’re using are food safe.


Glaze Ooops, Oct 2014

Among these are a few that had glaze oops’es, that will make it too hard to sand the bottoms smooth. We will probably give the goof ups to some mosaic artist friends! This bowl had the glaze applied too thickly. On some of my first ones, I didn’t get it thick enough for the colors to come out “right,” but they were still really nice. So on the next ones I overcompensated I guess, and got it too thick. You can see the White Crawl effect on this, and I believe the base is Oasis, a blue glaze.


Brian’s Blue Bowl, one of my favorites of his glazes, and a nice bowl, too! Oct 2014

Another blue glaze is Stoneware Blue, and it came out lighter with a second coat of one of the whites. Brian got it right on this one, thick enough, but not glopped all over to where it ran all the way down to the bottom! I really liked this blue and white together.


Wet greenware state. Will be a small flower pot with a creature breaking out of the side. Oct 2014



Inside of one of my favorites. Bowl came out nice, glaze is nicely streaked and spotted. Oct 2014

This is the inside of one of mine that came out with some really cool effects. One of the advanced students said iron in the clay body is probably how I got these colors. I really like it. The clay would’ve been either Soldate 60, or Rod’s Bod, as those are the only two we’d used at this point. Both seem to be “light” colored clays, but are speckle-y and almost granite like when fired at cone 10. We now have broken into a bag of LB Blend which is darker, and I’m curious to see what it’s like when fired.  There are so many variables in how the clay or glaze looks when finally done.

One of my ceramic bowls waiting for glaze firing, Oct 2014

One of my bowls with glaze applied, waiting to be fired. Oct 2014

I liked Brian’s light blue bowl so much I wanted to try an experiment with those two glazes. This is one of mine, dipped half or so in a plain white glaze, and half or so in stoneware blue, overlapping about an inch where they meet.  I made sure, (I think), to wipe or scrape off glaze near the bottom foot, so it won’t run and ruin it. I hope. It’s an easy step to forget. Though we put wax resist on the bottom and just up past the foot, we have to let them set up a bit to handle them, and finish wiping off the bottoms with a wet sponge. We are multitasking all the time, to get as much done as possible. Last week, just as we were leaving class, we saw Brian’s bowls on the shelf of to-be-glaze-fired ware, and had to run back, get sponges, and wipe their bottoms quick.

I wonder sometimes how nice it’d be to have one’s own ceramic studio and kiln, and be able to focus and not have to hurry.  But that’d be really expensive and due to the silica dust, would not be safe to have as part of your house.  A dream, for sure. In the meantime I will take classes.  I still love the fired clay, especially high fired. Air dry clays just don’t have the same allure, perhaps partly because they do lack the element of surprise that ‘real’ ceramics have.


4 thoughts on “Mulitplying Bottle Cap Birds and Ceramic Bowls

  1. Hi, Great pots, galzes and info.
    I have also dreamed of having my own studio / kiln, but it isn’t realistic cause of my day job. But I’m very fortunate to have a great local ceramics shop where I get all my clay, glazes and firing done. Can also attend informal classes to. It’s a great compromise. Also get to meet other interesting people to. I love it. Looks like you do to!

  2. OOOOOOOO!!!!! LOVE this post!! All of your ceramics are gorgeous, “oooopses” included. They look like they’ve been carved from semiprecious stones. And the bottle caps! Amazing! How do you do that? So tiny! And so adorable. Do I see a cat in there, on the left? Sorry for not visiting, Cindy. I’ve been [mostly] offline for months and months. Can’t wait to see all that you’ve been up to!! ::waves::

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