Michael Harbridge Retreat

May 18, 2022

I spent the weekend in Iola, Wisconsin population 1,195 this week with Michael Harbridge from Learn Fired Arts. The workshop was absolutely fantastic. I knew from his videos that Michael was super knowledgeable and a really nice guy, but he also has amazing project management skills to work us through a whole lot of techniques in a most efficient way. As someone who considers themselves pretty damn good at project management – that’s high praise from me. The workshop was Friday, Saturday, Sunday with full days (8-6) on the first two days and a half day (8-12) on Sunday. Unfortunately Delta moved my flights on Sunday so I ended up missing the last hour and a half on Sunday, but only ended up missing finishing the last two projects. I’m super bummed about missing the horse hair and naked raku, but I’m positive my pieces came out amazing. One of the amazing things is that we finished a piece on day 1. We started the day working on a bisque piece that at the end of the day we raku’d. I am incredibly happy with how this vase came out.

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We used a stencil and glaze that had been mixed with silk screen medium on the piece. Here it is before it was fired.

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I am absolutely in love with the jade gloss glaze that Michael sells.

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We also did a low fire technique on some bisque pumpkins with the Mayco Cobblestone. It looks a bit of a mess before.

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But then BAM! Gorgeous Pumpkin!

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We also did a non fire technique on these vases with a new product that Michael doesn't have for sale quite yet. It was basically like finger painting and I had a lot of fun.

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On Saturday we started playing with clay. I have the wide cone puzzling mold and the poinsettia leaves at home, but I hadn't had a chance to make the tree yet. This was the perfect opportunity! There are nearly 100 leaves on that tree. I can't wait for Michael to bisque and send it to me so that I can glaze.

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On the left is the gravity defying leaf bowl that I made in a sphere puzzling mold. On the right is the witches hat that I went off script on. We were supposed to make a snowflake tree, but I already have one at home. Michael had been talking about witch hats and so I ended up making one :) I can't wait to glaze the leaf bowl. I think it's going to look awesome. I need this mold :)

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There are a few more projects that I didn't take pictures of that I have to patiently wait for Michael to mail to me. Overall it was an amazing weekend and I definitely plan to go back in future years. Shoutout to Michael's wife Jeanine for catering the whole event with amazing meals.

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