Archive for April, 2009

Sculpture At The River…

April 30, 2009

The Falls of the Ohio was the only unnavigable section of the Ohio River in early times and because the drop in elevation made the river unnavigable coupled with the shallowness of the water that allowed natives to cross easily, Louisville was formed. There’s a dam there now and when the river is lower in the summer the flow is closed off which raises the water level that’s left so barges and the like can go up and down. As it turns out, the river bed which is visible after the dam has been closed, reveals an enormous and geologically important marine fossil bed from 375 million years ago. Because of the damn dam, the flotsam and jetsam too from all points north on the river swirl and eddy and eventually get stranded when the flow of the river goes down. My good friend Al spends a lot of time at the falls and makes sculptures from the debris. He only uses what’s washed up on shore. He has a blog about his adventures called Artist At Exit 0. Check it out if you’re inclined.


Back at home, pots are being thrown, the irises are bloomin’ and the little girls are dancing…



Knock Down, Drag Out…

April 29, 2009

just as billed… the game started at 6:30 and ended at midnight. Of course the first 1 1/2 hours went slowly because of a small, energetic and very loud human running around laughing and dancing. At game’s end we were both amazed and impressed that the winner was only a winner by 1 point with a score of 767-768… ay caramba! how is that possible? Here’s the final board… if you notice words that you think may not be, it may be because it was not prudent to challenge them and risk losing a turn and so they were let be… such is Scrabble.


I may have put it off for about as long as possible but I hardly ever use bats when I’m throwing. I understand how much easier they would make my life but I’ve been resisting. As shown below, I think I’ve about reached my no-bat limit… this one is 14+ inches in diameter. Unfortunately, figuring in a 12-13% shrinkage rate to the post glaze fire, it will end up around 12.5 inches in diameter. So somewhere in here I’m gonna have to go get some plywood? maybe, make a circle jig and bother one of my friends that has a bandsaw to let me cut some circles.

wet bowl

Here’s a scary monster that attacked me while at the computer.


For The Love Of Honey…

April 28, 2009

“Some people… got to have it. Some people… really need it.” I strained some honey yesterday and Sofia decided to make some labels for me. She really wanted to draw on the jars with a magic marker but it wasn’t working very well… so when all else fails, she gets out the glue. I think they are better than anything I could have come up with.


It’s going to rain “holy cats” (as Gary says) and dogs for the next couple days and hopefully I’m gonna throw some big bowls for the next couple days. Sofia is walking around the house saying “boooo” ’cause she’s a ghost right now. My good friend Terry is supposed to come over tonight for our monthly super scrabble game. When you are obsessed with scrabble it is a rare occurrence to find out a friend is equally obsessed and we will be having another knock down drag out game I’m sure with hippy popcorn and good beers. Super scrabble is played on a larger board and takes 3 hours minimum. We play with my dad’s 1934 Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary and a 1960 something Funk & Wagnall’s Unabridged Dictionary as the final word on challenges and if it’s not in one of those then it’s not a word… this makes it simpler and there are no arguments. There are subtle strategies to throw the other player off his game and much has to do with home court advantage… for instance when I go to Terry’s home to play (we alternate venues), he has his dog lay at my feet under my chair and pass gas all night. This plays hell with my concentration and doesn’t bother him at all because he has a problem with his septum and cannot smell hardly at all. I don’t have any weapons nearly as effective but Sofia helps a bit by distracting him but she goes to bed at 8 so it doesn’t last long. Actually, she’s a double-edged sword because sometimes she’ll stand behind me and say something like “Dad, you got 2 S’s and an R”. Anyway, it will be fun no doubt. Here’s another pot…


Busy As A Bee…

April 27, 2009

It was 88 degrees already when it was in the low 50’s just a couple days ago. Anyway, went to Kelley Bee Company to get my bees and it’s a huge place… a veritable nirvana for beekeepers with all assorted paraphernalia that any apiarist could want. There was a demonstration and as a dutiful blogger, I took pictures of the pros starting a hive but… as I removed the camera from my pants pocket the dial rolled from the “outdoor” setting to a preset lighting profile that I was using to take pictures of pots. It was sunny and I couldn’t see the LCD screen anyway so every one of those pictures turned out to be just a white screen. I have to say that the demonstration was a great refresher on exactly how to set up your hive and it was informative and entertaining to boot. I thought to myself, I’m glad I stayed and watched it (and photographed it) because I’m getting ready to do the same thing when I arrive at home. Here’s a pic (before I switched the camera’s settings) of our arrival though… yippee!


After arriving home and getting ready to put the bees in the hive, I was searching around in the grass for my trusty beekeeping prybar tool (which I never found) and Sofia stuck her finger into the little bee carrying container (shown below) and was stung. All hell broke lose after that and it was about an hour and a half of fretting on my part and crying and screaming on her part before things returned to “normal”.


So onward and upward, I go and put the queen in the hive and dump the swarm in after that. When most of them were resting on the hive, I took these shots…


The best thing about the trip was I got to describe the demise of last year’s bees to the old timers there at Kelley Bees and decide from their solidarity on certain answers to my questions what is mostly likely what happened and maybe steps I can take to avoid it this year. The consensus was starvation and I at least have a plan that I can execute this fall to attempt to prevent it from happening again. In a couple days I will open the hive, see if the queen has been released from her little cell and is present and then stack the remaining hive and super on top of the one the bees already occupy.

To Bee Or Not To Bee…

April 25, 2009

No… definitely going to the bees… on our way in a bit. A nice drive in the country will be a welcome change even it’s for a short time. Sofia was happy to get into the studio yesterday as she hasn’t been able to during the glazing and photography cycles. Here’s the busy little bug working on her tiles…


Twyla Says…

April 24, 2009

Spring makes you dance… ok, maybe she didn’t say that. It was 68 degrees at 7:30 this morning and coffee on the porch inevitably leads to interpretive dancing on the sidewalk. The new purple flipflops were the catalyst and as we all know purple things bring as much luck as touching a chimney sweep so this should be a very lucky summer.


Yesterday was a busy day and while dad was busy throwing bowls, the cousins dropped by for hours of running, jumping and squealing. I had already turned up the jams to drown out the neighbor’s dog that barks continually for the 8 hours that she’s at work… so barking + loud music + a bunch of squealing = pandemonium, which is perfect for throwing.


Here’s some of the bowls drying… maybe get them trimmed today and throw some more but tomorrow’s the big day… taking a field trip down to Kelley Bee Company with my good friend Vern to pick up my swarm and dump them into their new home. Here’s some greenware…


Splish Splash…

April 23, 2009

Hey I found this link on someone’s blog and although I would normally credit them, I cannot for the life of me remember where it was that I saw it. Anyway, not that everyone needs another way of frittering the hours away on the internet but it is fun, especially if you have the drawing yen. The link is HERE and it lets you easily make Jackson Pollock(y) scribbles like the one below. Actually the one below is a progressive look and obviously you could go on all day if you get caught up in it. Just click “enter” and move the mouse… if you click the color will change.


I finally got the honey out of the studio and cleared away my glazing and photo equipment, then started throwing yesterday. On the first day back to throwing, I always start out great and slowly get worse and worse by the end of the day. At least I know this and it doesn’t get me frustrated any more. The kinks will be gone in a few days and all will be fine.

Blustery Day In Kain Tuck Kay…

April 22, 2009

Sofia and I were out taking Butchie for a walk and it was a beautiful, gusty, 50 degree, sunshiny morning. I’ve been able to fly for years in my dreams but that was in my dreams and all of a sudden, the little munchkin took flight. Fortunately, I had my trusty camera switched to the “athletic” setting so as to stop fast action like track runners, race cars, cyclists, speeding bullets, UFO’s and flying 4 year olds. I love the hair in these…


April Showers…

April 21, 2009

Make the dogwood bloom. I know they are quite common but for a week or so every spring I’m glad I planted this dogwood. I thought about moving the limousine that’s behind it before taking the picture but left it to enhance the contrast between the natural world and the very un – natural world.


I used to have lilacs out back and the smell alone was enough to transport me to my backyard growing up in central NY and make me remember my grandmother. They were all twisty and broken but every year I just left them for that smell and then last year I dug them all out to extend the studio that I added to the house. Last year I got this little bottlebrush buckeye chestnut… it has a ways to go but it should be great when a couple years get behind it. The columbine next to hasn’t a snowball’s chance in hell.


Here’s Sofia trying to not stand in front of the contorted filbert that’s been there for 18 years while dad takes a pic. I love this plant in the winter and the summer… branches are squiggly like marks on my bowls in winter and the leaves are like rich green crepe paper in the summer.


And last but certainly not least here’s my little bug with her favorite toy. She calls it “teletubbily” probably because she’s never seen the tv show. Teletubbily looks a little worse for wear but I’m kinda digging the patina. It’s because Sofia has completely colored it’s face several times with different magic markers.


Good News Or Bad?…

April 20, 2009

So Sofia and I were at a local nursery this weekend to get a butterfly bush for Mom’s birthday. Over the last few years I’ve heard over and over (not only from potters) that the cheap imported pots, big pots and little ones too, that nurseries and places like Garden Ridge sell are so inexpensive that US potters couldn’t possibly compete. I believed this implicitly and still do believe it but I honestly never really went around looking at the prices. So we were at the nursery (I wish I had my camera with me) and amongst the peonies which were on low tables the top of a large jar poked it’s head out… it was probably 40 – 45 inches tall, relatively narrow, had 4 very crudely formed loops around the rim, and was glazed with a glossy bluish glaze. I reached down to see what they were charging with my prejudgment about cheap imports in the back of my head, thinking 150 – 200 dollars maybe… but what do I know?, like I said I usually don’t pay attention and it was 1000.00… actually 999.99. I thought this was wrong and asked a woman that worked at the nursery and she said “yes, that’s right, it’s Vietnamese”. I said I was surprised and she said “oh, I’ve heard the clay they use is glorious”. I thought wow, glorious? So, good news or bad? This was not a corporate run nursery, it was a local one and they had similar pots scattered throughout the place. Are there really that many people paying a grand for a mediocre pot to put in their garden? I’ve got nothing but questions. Anyway, we came home and planted the butterfly bush and some Korean avocado squash (I hear their squash is glorious) in the front yard… hopefully the squirrels will leave them alone, wishful thinking I know. Here’s another drawing and another bowl…

yellow bowl

Ignoring Thunder…

April 18, 2009

Here in Louisville, every year the opening of KY Derby festivities is heralded by “Thunder Over Louisville” which is one of the largest fireworks displays in the nation. It usually lasts an hour at night with fireworks being shot off of the bridge that spans the Ohio River and 3 or more barges anchored in the middle of the river. There is an all day air show (and I can hear the planes now… sounds like we’re in London during the blitzkrieg) and the hoopla is beginning and will last until the Derby race has run. We, on the other hand, usually ignore these festivities as they have grown and grown and the crowds are difficult to navigate and it isn’t all that much fun… read curmudgeon. Anyway, it is definitely spring… 76 degrees this afternoon and we are off to play outdoors.


Here’s a pair from a couple years ago when I loved doing that blue and white thing…


Made It Back, Bearly…

April 17, 2009

I knew when I embarked on my trip that I’d be going to the wild Appalachians in W.Virginia and Virginia but was not really expecting to encounter a bear, but there’s the proof. It was worth the pic to show Sofia. The trip was very enjoyable and fruitful. The gallery is named Warm Springs Gallery and is located in Warm Springs, Virgina. Warm Springs has minerals springs and they are not quite as hot as Hot Springs which is about 5 miles up the road. The owner, Barbara, was extremely nice and we talked for quite some time about all sorts of ceramic and art related things. I’m looking forward to, hopefully, a long and prosperous partnership with Barbara and any excuse I could come up with to visit the beautiful country and the quiet little village. I was also pleased to find out that my work might be displayed next to Diana Fayt’s pots which I had never gotten to see in person before and they are really dreamy. I stayed overnight in a little cottage behind the gallery and woke with tea and scone, sunny, 50 degrees, birds singing and hardly another sound which is substantially different than where I live. I thought it the perfect morning other than my daughter was not there. Here’s what it looked like while I sipped my tea from a handmade cup…


Driving through the mountains of KY, WV and VA offered some stark contrasts as one gets used to the breathtaking scenery and suddenly out of nowhere, you come upon something like this…

and this…


And I finally got to see that bridge to nowhere which I thought was in Alaska but maybe there’s more than one…


Anyway, it was a great trip and I left feeling inspired and antsy to get back in the studio and throw.

Gwine To Virginia…

April 15, 2009

Driving to Virginia to deliver a bunch of pots to a new gallery that’s decided to add me to their lineup. Many of the bowls that I’ve been posting are going. I’m excited to have a new venue and very much looking forward to meeting the owner and looking around. I will post about it later, hopefully when the bowls have been added to the gallery’s site. Ta ta… here’s one that’s going…


It’s been busy around here with the kin visiting and amidst it all, we got some pots in the mail from my pal Gary. Sofia has already eaten out of the hippo bowl 5 times and even wanted toast in it.



Arrogant Bastard…

April 14, 2009

Ale is one of my favorite beers and I dig the demonic label design too. I’ve found that I fall into a category that brewers call “hop heads”… bitter beer drinkers. Surprisingly, my brother also falls into this category(genetic?) and this called for us splitting the Arrogant Bastard that Sofia and Mom gave me on my birthday. Ruination IPA and Stone IPA, along with Arrogant Bastard are all good hoppy beers made by Stone Brewing.


Sofia also had fun to have two bigger cousins visiting that she could play with. She hadn’t seen them in a while and took a bit to warm up but then they were in full swing.


Somehow we ended up taking acrobatic pictures and I thought this one was hilarious because Sofia is definitely not amused. It was difficult to watch them do this several times because, as someone plagued with plantar fasciitis, whenever you see people jumping it makes you pine for younger days.


Kreativ Blog…

April 14, 2009

Hey, I got an award. Barbara over at Clay Garden sent me this. I’m flattered that she thought of me for this. Thank you Barbara!

Kith And Kin…

April 13, 2009

In an attempt to escape the lingering winter weather of central New York, my brother and two nieces will be arriving soon here in Kentucky. Although it’s not freezing, the weather here is anything but hospitable and I think it will be a stormin’ during their whole visit. They are actually here to check out the university and won’t be staying long but the little munchkin is excited to have some almost grownup cousins to play with whether they like it or not. I’m hoping by the end of the week to have my beehives ready for occupancy and then I can get back to the cycle and throw. Here’s another recent pic…

yeller bowl

If I Had A Hammer…

April 12, 2009

I’d ask Dad a hundred times what I could hammer. Can I hammer the porch, can I hammer the sidewalk, can I hammer the floor, can I hammer the books, can I hammer the couch, can I hammer the stairs?… you get the idea. We settled on the stump and the sidewalk. In the background is a bit of what happens when a ’93 Taurus peeks it’s nose out in front of a late model Chevy Suburban whose driver is on the phone. Here’s a pic that says…”don’t get between me and Thor’s trusty ballpeen.”


We went to visit some lifelong friends who happen to have some antiques at their home and what do you think they had? One of these…


This is a box for transporting bees with a small compartment on the top to segregate the queen bee from the swarm/part of swarm. The only thing I’ve seen nowadays that’s similar is if you get bees in the mail, the container is wire mesh stapled on a wooden frame with a little open wooden compartment for the queen… not nearly so nicely made. On the way home, we got held up by a train. We never mind this because Sofia and I have been admiring the nice drawings on the side of the train since she was very young… of course you get what you get, sometimes not much but every now and then a real winner. This day was different because I had a camera with me. But alas, it was a mediocre train graffiti-wise. Not to make something out of nothing but even the tags that aren’t particularly beautiful (I understand I may be in a minority here) mostly display a quality of certainty of mark making that sometimes makes me envious. This also coincides with a concept put forth in a book called “Outliers” by Malcolm Gladwell which I read about on Scott Cooper’s blog that talks about The 10,000 Hour Rule. Apparently suggesting that 10,000 hours is a threshold which distinguishes elite musicians from very good ones. I doubt that these graffiti persons have necessarily logged 10,000 hours but they sure have made the same image many many times and the result, aside from the image itself, displays this confident certainty that I mentioned. Anyway… maybe I just dig graffiti on trains…


Munchkin Day…

April 11, 2009

It’s a beautiful spring day and it’s Dad and the munchkin solo. Mid 60’s and sunny, have to take advantage before it’s sweltering which won’t be long. Here’s another digital artwork from my good friend Vern… hope you like:

vern pic

The Humours Of Whiskey…

April 10, 2009

Over on my friend Gary’s blog, a post made me start thinking about irish whiskey and irish music and decided to post the lyrics of one of me fave irish tunes called “The Humours Of Whiskey” sung by Andy Stewart. Note to non-irish: whiskey is referred to as “poteen” or “poitin”, you know like potion in english.
The Humours Of Whiskey
Let your quacks and newspapers be cutting their capers
About curing the vapors the scratch and the gout
With their medical potions, their serums and their lotions
Upholding their notions, they’re mighty put out.

Who can tell the true physic to all that’s pathetic
And pitch to the divil, cramp, colic and spleen
You’ll know it I think if you take a big drink
With your mouth to the brink of a jug of poteen

So stick to the cratur’ the best thing in nature
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys
Oh what botheration, no dose in the nation
Can give consolation like poteen me boys.

No liquid cosmetic to lovers athletic
Or bodies pathetic can give such a bloom
As the sweet by the powers in the garden of flowers
Ever gave their own bowers such a darling perfume
And this liquid so rare if you willingly share
To be taking your hair when it’s frizzled and dead
Oh the sod has the merit to yield the true spirit
So strong it will shake all the hairs from your head

Then stick to the cratur’ the best thing in nature
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys
Oh since its perfection, no doctor’s direction
Can cleanse the complexion like poteen me boys

While a child in me cradle, me nurse with her ladle
Was filling my mouth with a notion of pap
When a drop from her bottle fell into my throttle
I stumbled and capered clean out of her lap

On the floor I lay crawlin’ and screaming and bawling
‘Til me mother and father were called to the fore
All sobbing and sighing they feared I was dying
But soon found I only was crying for more.

So stick to the cratur’ the best thing in nature
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys
Oh lord how they’d chuckle if babes in their truckle
They only could suckle on poteen me boys

Through my youthful aggression, through times of depression
My childhood’s impression still clung to my mind
And at school or at college the basis of knowledge
I never could gulp ’til with whiskey combined

And as older I’m growing times ever bestowin’
On Erin’s potation, a flavor so fine
And how ere they may lecture on jove and his nectar
Itself is the only true liquid divine

So stick to the cratur’ the best thing in nature
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys
Oh lord, ’tis the right thing for courting and fighting
There’s nowt so exciting as poteen me boys.

Come guess me this riddle, what beats pipes and fiddle
What’s hotter than mustard and milder than cream
What best wets your whistle, what’s clearer than crystal
What’s sweeter than honey and stronger than steam

What’ll make the lame walk, what will make the dumb talk,
The elixir of life and philospher’s stone
And what helped Mr. Brunnell to build the Thames Tunnel
Wasn’t it poteen from ould Inisowen

So stick to the cratur’ the best thing in nature
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys
Oh lord, it’s no wonder, if lightning and thunder
Weren’t made from the plunder of poteen me boys.

You maidens pathetic, with lovers athletic
For liquid cosmetic, you can’t beat the drop
With a glow to your cheek, it will make your heart leap
It’ll quiet a stallion or cure an old cob
At the mouth you would drool, be reduced to a fool
You’d kick up your heels and you’d peel to the buff
Then ’tis he’d be pathetic while you’d be athletic
If only you’d take a few drops of the stuff

So stick to the cratur’ the best thing in nature
For sinking your sorrows and raising your joys
For there’s nothing like whiskey to make maidens frisky
It soon separates all the men from the boys.

I love the verses that are bold. Here’s a pic for today:

bluegreen bowl

The Taxman Cometh…

April 9, 2009

Well, just can’t put it off any longer. Actually I could, but since I’m such a responsible sort, I’m gonna try an get it done a whole 5 days early… of course I haven’t downloaded the forms or anything yet. Talk about the shark method… just hunker down, swim and eat, swim and eat. It shouldn’t be all that bad though ’cause I spent a fortune putting an addition on my studio last summer. Anyway, slowly processing photographs and spending way to much time in photoshop. Here’s another bowl…

yellow bowl