Welcome to the Clay & Glass blog of Meagan Chaney Gumpert! We hope you enjoy your time here!
Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Clay and Glass Workshop Opening

Due to a recent cancellation, I have now ONE spot open for a Clay and Glass workshop I'm teaching here at my studio in a few weeks.

Here are the details...

Upcoming Workshop:
July 16, 17, and 23.

Glass and Clay – An Exploration in Combining Materials

This interactive workshop will introduce the fundamentals of glass fusing and clay hand building. Learn how to create simple, slab-built earthenware forms that incorporate fused and slumped glass. Some experience with glass or clay is helpful, but not necessary.

Maximum class size: 3 students

Class hours:

Saturday, July 16 from 10:00-5:00,

Sunday, July 17 from 10:00-3:00,

and Saturday, July 23 from 10:00-5:00

Lunch provided

Tuition: $250 + $60 for materials and firings.

Location: Ocala, FL

If you're interested, let me know ASAP. I like to keep classes small so there's lots of hands-on time.


Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Ben Chaney - Concept Artist

Ben Chaney - Concept Artist

Let me just take a minute here and brag about my little brother - the awesome concept artist. Yep! That's a self-portrait he did of himself as a pirate. He has a sense of humor and amazing talent.
Here's what he has to say...

"I started like so many others in this field did, growing up on three main activities: watching TV, playing video games, and drawing. Fortune blessed me with parents that tolerated the first two, and relentlessly encouraged the last one. They even went so far as to send me to the Savannah College of Art and Design for a degree in Sequential Art.
I graduated Summa Cum Laude in 2006 and then gradually made my way into the game industry, starting in Game Testing. Being a North Carolina resident at the time, I had many amazing companies to strive for nearby. My experiences at Redstorm Entertainment and Epic Games were unforgettable and invaluable, demystifying the seemingly magical process of game development. Gone forever were the illusions of "tightening up the graphics". I currently work as a Game Artist at Schell Games in Pittsburgh, PA, creating anything from concept illustrations of characters to volumes of user interface designs and assets. In such a flexible company, I've had to adapt to new challenges and adopt new skill sets on every project. It has been and continues to be an incredible experience!" -Ben Chaney

Here are a few images from his portfolio. (Yes, I am one very proud Big Sister!)

Environments - Characters -
Textures -
Personal Work -

Holy Smokes! His work blows my mind!

It's true. We were blessed with parents that completely supported our artistic pursuits. And we both know how luck we are because of this. (Thanks Mom and Dad!)

Ben loves his current job, but is looking to move away from the icebox of a place he's been calling home (aka Pittsburgh, PA). He's hoping to settle in with a great company somewhere warm; possibly even in North Carolina and closer to family.

So, if you or someone you know is looking for a creative, dedicated concept artist, look no further. Ben's your man.

You can check out more of Ben's work at
Or shoot him an email:

Meagan (aka Big Sis)
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

New Ceramic and Glass Sculpture - problems with progress

I've been working on a new, experimental sculpture for the upcoming Instructor Exhibition at Arrowmont and I'm pretty excited about it! Sketches for this piece have been in the works for awhile, but it just wasn't sure how to build it. Then I watched the demos at NCECA, and a light bulb went off.

Unfortunately, I'm having problems with the glass slumping through these little windows. The problem is easily corrected by re-firing, but I'm running out of time. (Work is due to Arrowmont next Friday!)

Whoops! See that ugly gap! Time for a re-fire.

Thankfully, my new test kiln is making those firings a lot quicker! Looks like I may be cranking her up everyday so that I can make that deadline. More pictures soon. And keep your fingers crossed that I don't run into any unexpected disasters or delays!

Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Monday, April 11, 2011

New Skutt GlazeTech Kiln - Hooray

Another little addition... My new Skutt GlazeTech Kiln!

While this may seem to come out of the blue, I've actually been saving up for a test kiln for quite some time. Even when we were building the studio back in 2008 we added enough power and an extra electrical outlet for the test kiln I hoped to have one day. Yesterday was That Day!About 18 months ago I got serious about saving up and researching what I would need. First of all, why did I want a test kiln? Well I am obsessed with glazing and glaze testing and a smaller kiln will make this process faster and more efficient. I'm hoping all this testing will help me transition into making a new body of work. And, after talking with other clay mamas, there seems to be a consensus that after children the scale of the works decreases as does the quantity you're able to produce. (at least for a while.) A mini kiln just seemed to have the answers.

My first kiln, Lily, is an L&L kiln and I love her! But for this purchase, I had narrowed it down to a Skutt KM 818-3 or KM 714. I was afraid the 818 was still a little too big for what I needed so I was leaning towards the 714, but wanted to check them out in person at the Skutt booth at NCECA.

My new (still-to-be-named) kiln and Lily my L&L. Funny, they look about the same size in this picture.

Well, I was initially disappointed when I didn't see either the 818 or 714 on display at NCECA. But they were more than happy to show me their new GlazeTech kiln. Honestly, I was initially skeptical and not impressed. I think because this kiln is so much different is size and shape than the others I was considering and has a different style computer.

But the salesman (good salesman that he is) kept talking and I began to turn around. Actually, a square kiln does make more sense to test square tiles - you can fill the space more efficiently. And the similar controller still had all the capabilities of the fancier one, just less buttons, so it made the kiln more affordable.

And Atlantic Pottery Supply was offering a 30% NCECA discount! (Which they are still running through the end of April on kilns, wheels, slab rollers, etc. Check it out! Kathy Goldstein over there was so helpful and patient as she answered all my questions.)

Here she is coming off the truck. Oh Happy Day!

So, I did it! I finally bit the bullet and ordered it. Now we just need to hook up the vent and do an electrical update and she'll be good to go. I already have so many things planned for her. Don't worry, I'll keep you posted and will share any exciting glaze recipes I find.


Want More???
**Click here or check out the Studio Construction tab to read more about how we built the Studio.
**Speaking of glazing - here are some of my favorite cone 04, low-fire glaze recipes
**Check out Atlantic Pottery Supply here.
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Friday, April 08, 2011

Etsy - 25% off for Spring

Well, my Etsy shop is on "vacation mode" no longer. After 6 months of maternity leave, I finally got around to adding 20 tile plaques last week. So, to celebrate Spring and this re-opening, I am offering 25% off your purchase now through April 30. Just use Coupon Code: SPRING2011

Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Back Home

Whew! NCECA was great but we sure are all tuckered out..

Got some great ideas from lectures and panel presentations. Especially the demo with Deborah Schwartzkopf and Brian Kakas and the Emerging Artist talks Saturday morning.
Cant wait to get back into the studio to experiment with some new forms and surfaces!
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Friday, March 25, 2011

NCECA and The Sunshine State

Lately, there are three reasons why I'm glad I live in Florida:

1.) It's been warm, sunny, and gorgeous since mid-February (think blue skies, azaleas, camellias, jasmine, Japanese magnolias, etc)

2.) No state income tax (and April 18 is quickly approaching)

3.) The Sunshine State is hosting its first NCECA Conference (National Council on Education of Ceramic Arts) and I'm going to be one of the 5000+ ceramic people descending on Tampa/St Petersburg next week!

Tampa/St. Pete is just 1.5 hours from us and where my sister-in-law calls home, so we'll be able to stay with family. That's right. I'll have Cooper in tow. (Thank you ergo baby carrier!) My Little Man is just 5 months old, so it would be tough to travel far for a conference. And even tougher to leave him at home for 4 days. (That's a lot of milk to pump!)

I am definitely looking forward to seeing folks and talking clay, cones, and kilns again! That part of my brain feels a bit rusty after of months of conversations that focus on diaper changes and spit up.

As a Florida resident and UF Alum, I do wish I would have been able to take advantage of more of the NCECA exhibition opportunities that came my way. But I had to make my peace with that back when I was pregnant and deciding on maternity leave. I know Cooper isn't built of clay, glass, or steel, but I still believe he's the best thing I've ever made!

So, come on down to The Sunshine State! We hope to see you at NCECA next week.

Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thoughts on Time and Transition

Here we are. The end of March 2011. The past year has been a blur of inspiration, excitement, and change.

I finished a post-baccalaureate ceramics program at The University of Florida, went to my first NCECA conference in Philadelphia, spent a month in Montana as a resident at the Clay Studio of Missoula, taught a workshop at Arrowmont, took a class with Michael Sherrill at Penland, oh, and had a baby!!

(Ceramic Wall Mosaic at Penland School of Crafts)

My head is spinning! I feel like I have hardly had a moment to process some of the ideas that started forming last March. March of 2010.

I still have boxes of work from traveling and teaching I haven’t even unpacked. (And if you know me, that totally goes against my ultra-organized way of life. Those packed boxes are driving me crazy!)

(Test tiles I made while at The Clay Studio of Missoula that are still waiting to be unpacked!)

The bottom line is that my experiences from the past 365+ days have me itching to make some changes in my work.

What changes? I’m not exactly sure yet. Do I switch to cone 6? Try a new clay body – porcelain or white earthenware? What new, exciting glaze recipes can I find? Do I continue to make wall sculpture? Slabs or extruded forms? How can I incorporate more cast glass? Oh, oh, and that mold making, resin-casting technique John Byrd demoed at Penland still has me thinking.

I imagine the changes I make will be gradual. As a new mother, the world I lived in for 30 years is now different. My perspective and experiences are forever altered. Even time has new meaning.

So, as I slowly sort through these ideas, I also wonder what I will be thinking next Spring as I watch the azaleas bloom, Cooper toddling alongside.

(Photo by my wonderful father-in-law during Cooper's first beach trip.)
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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Monday, March 21, 2011

Clay Damp Boxes - My new best friend

Anyone who has worked with clay knows there is a lot of process involved. Certain things need to be done at certain times. But what do you do if your time and the clay’s time aren’t in sync?

Well, I’ve used Damp Boxes and kept clay wet for up to a year in these babies. And I’m finding this method is perfect for the brief intervals of time I’m able to sneak out to the studio. It’s a cheep and easy solution.

In a nutshell, it works because of the way plaster absorbs water. If plaster is dryer than clay, it will draw moisture from the clay. If the plaster has been soaked I water, then it keeps the clay from drying out and maintains a humid atmosphere within the box.

I cut these circles out in early October before Cooper was born. When I finally got around to turning them into Minis, it was the end of January but the clay was still perfect to work with!

Here’s how to make a Damp Box:

  1. Fill bottom of plastic tubs with 1 -1 ½” of mixed plaster. Plaster mixing guidelines here.
  1. Allow plaster to set/dry.
  1. Add water. How much?? Depends on the size of the box. I add water till there is 1/8” of water and then wait till that is absorbed. With a new damp box, it could take several rounds of adding water and letting it absorb. My damp boxes are 7 years old, so I occasionally add more water to “recharge” them. Basically, you want it to be wet without having pools of water on top.
I've also heard of people using styrofoam coolers or old refrigerators to help control the drying process. What about you?
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
kari m commented on 21-Mar-2013 03:55 PM
THANK YOU from art teachers all over PINELLAS COUNTY, FL. Great idea!!!
Louise B commented on 22-May-2015 12:13 PM
What a great idea! I live in AZ so I'm fighting arid conditions constantly. Thanks, Louise
Dennis c commented on 09-Jun-2016 11:52 PM
have you had any problems with spalding or plaster working into your clay body?
Meagan Chaney Gumpert commented on 13-Jun-2016 07:43 AM
Hi Dennis,

Thank you for contacting me! Fortunately, no. I haven't had any problems with plaster getting into my clay body. I did make sure there weren't any thin flakes of plaster along the sides of the boxes. And, recently, I replaced all the plaster. After a few years, the plaster slab was cracked and broken, so I thought it best to pour a new one with less chance of pieces breaking off into my clay. Best of luck to you!

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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Mixed Media Wall Commission - progress report

Moving right along with that large mixed-media wall commission.

Thanks to two 30-minute naps and one long nap (probably brought about by today's visit to the pediatrician for more shots. boo for the shots. yay for the long nap!)

The 23 ceramic forms are complete and hung for a quick layout review. (Well, the ones that would fit on my design wall are hung at least)
Now, I'll be moving on to making the cast glass and steel pieces. That's what's gonna go where those circles are drawn.
I might have started 2 months ago, but I'm making progress none-the-less. And, afterall, slow but steady wins the race!


Hey - Want to see other posts of this project. Check here and here.
Meagan. Chaney Gumpert
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