Archive for June, 2009

More Bisque, Not Tomato…

June 30, 2009

Still trying to decide whether to interrupt my decorative phase and go ahead and fire a glaze load or not. I hate to shift gears in the middle on the one hand but on the other, I have a small order that needs to get finished and maybe the results would affect how I go at the remaining undecorated. My brother is supposed to be in from central NY either today or tomorrow or today and tomorrow so that will keep me from getting too much done but it will be worth it because I rarely get to see him. Here’s some more bisque-y pictures…

bisque

bisque

I don’t want to jinx it but as of this morning, the demon dog has gone 5 consecutive days without poopage or peeage in the house. I was starting to think it would never end… now she just seems like a sweetheart that chews things. I have little patches of cayenne pepper sprinkled throughout the house… a little on the corner of the carpeted stairs, a little on the hole in the love seat. For all I know, she loves cayenne and I’ll have to move up to habanero.

cayenne

Testing, Testing…

June 29, 2009

I was being a twit a week or so again and Matt and Dave’s Clays was on there and they have a new porcelain that they’re selling. Anyway, they sent me a sample and I told them that I’d give it a try and let them know what I thought. Well, although it’s difficult to really tell just from throwing two little bowls what the clay would be like if it was all I used, I will describe as best I can the differences from what I do use. First, it is much finer (mesh-wise) than what I use… in fact it feels much like I expected porcelain would feel when I decided to move from stoneware to porcelain. I would guess that the coarsest mesh ingredient is significantly finer than the coarsest mesh ingredient in my clay. Is this good or bad? I couldn’t say. Also, it seemed to not absorb water as much while throwing so it was unnecessary to continually add water. This could be a good thing, I suppose, but after I get to a certain point, the ribs come out and all surface water is “ribbed” off at that point. It seemed to be very responsive to the throwing actions (centering, opening, pulling up, and finishing and in my case, even chattering). I will probably go ahead and see how the hydro-abrasion works and fire the little bowls too. Here they are…

mattdaves

mattdaves

I realize that that is nowhere near as comprehensive as Jeff Campana’s testing will be once it’s complete but I think that Jeff has much more experience throwing different clay bodies than I do. So in conclusion, I could definitely see myself using this clay if I was considering a change but I don’t have a problem with the clay body I currently use. Maybe I’ll get 100 lbs. sometime and then at least I will have thrown enough to be sure one way or the other how much I like it. But from a throwing point of view, I would recommend it. Also, I would like to mention that on their blog, Slipcast-The Ceramics Blog, Matt has compiled a list of 304 ceramics blogs. If you have a ceramics blog and are not on the list or know of a ceramic blog that’s not on the list, let him know and I’m sure he will add it as I think he’s trying to make it comprehensive. I was looking for a picture of something and stumbled on this odd vase…

oldvase

Hydro-Abrasion Test Bisque Results…

June 28, 2009

Michael Kline has informed me that at Penland they referred to the process I’m using as “hydro-abrasion”. Makes sense to me and makes it seem really scientific too. I tried a couple of variations on the splattery bowls and bisqued them before I committed to doing too many of them in a fashion that I didn’t like the looks of. Of course, I don’t really know what they look like until they’re glazed but I feel a lot closer to guessing after the bisque because all the resist has burned away. I also answered one burning question… if slip was left on a previously shellacked surface (in other words, if the slip had resist between it and the clay body), would the slip adhere to the clay body once the resist burned away or would I be able to simply brush it away as debris? Answer: yes, it adheres just as if I had painted the slip on the raw clay. So I was trying to decide between the first two pictures’ approaches, the first where the negative space is black slip or the second that has a black slip stripe around the previously etched area. I think I like the first one better so I’ll probably do the remaining one’s like that unless something else comes to mind while finishing them up. Here’s the first two…

bisque

bisque

By the way, my finger is still numb where the ants bit me… is that possible? I was just kidding about the necrosis, now maybe not so much.

The Ants Are Here, The Ants Are Here…

June 27, 2009

We ordered an Uncle Milton’s Ant Farm several weeks back and the ant farm came in the mail soon after. The ants, however, do not arrive with the farm… there is a coupon that comes with the farm and you mail it in and wait up to 7 weeks. It didn’t take 7 but it took quite a while. So there they were in the mail yesterday, live ants in a little plastic tube. Someone was very happy because the empty ant farm has been sitting on the sill in her room for weeks with no magic sand in it or anything.

antfarm

First you turn it over and pour in the magic white “sand”, put the bottom back on, turn it over, add water and then push a little piece of cotton through which is holding the sand from trickling through into what will be the sky in the idyllic farm scene once the farm is turned over. Here’s the ant farmer pushing the cotton plug through.

antfarm

Now I’m a certain type when putting things together and this is a common type. First I look at the pieces and then I put it together. If I run into any problems, I’ll get out the directions but they can be so tedious and nowadays although they were probably originally written in English, they were most likely translated to Chinese and then back to English (there are books and websites devoted to this like engrish.com). In 1987, a friend and I purchased a clock for our office in our new company and the little piece of paper that came with the clock (directions) with indecipherable descriptions of how to put a AA battery in the back ended with the quaint sentiment… “thank you for habitual use of our product”. This was my first exposure to this and we were rolling for days over it… it has now become commonplace but I still remember that and we still say it on occasion. But I digress… I read on the little ant tube a warning stated very clearly: “These ants will bite and it hurts”. I thought, well I’ve got a beehive out back and although I haven’t been stung yet, it’s inevitable and damn it’s only an ant. So I was supposed to put the ants in the refrigerator for 1/2 hour prior because it calms them down supposedly and I did put them in but in retrospect doubt it was 1/2 hour. Anyway I opened the little door in the sky and proceeded to dump the little buggers into the farm and they just started running in all directions… none of them into the ant farm. I hurriedly capped the container and started picking up ants one by one while Sofia dove for the bunkbed. Herding cats came to mind as I tried to stuff them into the little hole. I managed to get the loose ones into the hole but killed one and tore one’s leg off and not before several of them bit me and it did hurt. That was 5 hours ago as I type this with a still numb middle finger on my right hand… I’m thinking a necrosis will set in as I sleep tonight. Finally, I came up with a system (after I read the directions and there was no mention of how to get them in there – read: vindication) and got the rest of the ants to populate their farm. I know it sounds wimpy complaining about getting bit by itsy bitsy ants but these weren’t itsy bitsy… and I have proof. Look at this picture I took a bit later. The one ant is almost half as big as that tree and the tree is taller than the house next to it… this is to scale! I figure that ant is 8 feet tall and the numbness in my finger is a testament to it’s ferocity…

antfarm

Ran a bisque and this was the temp this morning, it’s like the monkey’s tail in the lawn mower… won’t be long now.

kilntemp

Green Pee? or Put Your Glasses On Dumbass…

June 26, 2009

One of the benefits of having a 4 year old is listening to 4 year old conversations. Last night we were eating dinner and Sofia wanted to eat out in the back yard so we let her go out and put Sunglasses, the dog, out there with her. She was having some pasta and a cup of green tea. Her little friend 3 houses down was in her backyard too and they were yelling as loud as they could back and forth. Here’ how it went… her friend’s name is Gwyneth:

Gwyneth: What are you drinking?
Sofia: Tea
Gwyneth: Pee?
Sofia: No… Tea
Gwyneth: Pee?
Sofia: No… Tea
Gwyneth: What’s tea?
Sofia: It’s a drink.
Gwyneth: A drink?
Sofia: It’s green tea.
Gwyneth: Green pee?
Sofia: No, green tea.
Gwyneth: Oh… (pause)
Sofia: You know, green tea, black tea, chamomile.
Gwyneth: OK bye
Sofia: Bye
Then there’s a 20 second pause and…
Sofia: Gwyneth
Gwyneth: What?
Sofia: Sunglasses peed.
Gwyneth: What?
Sofia: Sunglasses just peed.
Gwyneth: Pee?
Sofia: Yeah, peed
Gwyneth: Green pee?
Sofia: No she just peed.
Gwyneth: Oh
Sofia: She pooped too.
Gwyneth: What?
Sofia: Sunglasses just pooped too.
Gwyneth: Oh
Sofia: It was green
Gwyneth: What was?

I could go on but you get the idea and I was starting to have trouble hearing them out the window because I was laughing and trying to get Mom to come to the window and hear for herself. Here’s some recent “accidents” that have happened in the studio that all potters can relate to. One night after drinking 2 beers, I decided to trim the last nice little bowl I needed to trim. After trimming, I grabbed it by the foot (which I never do) and picked it up to right it, bobbled it in my hands and finally caught it. How lucky was that?

brokenpot

Days later, I was arranging greenware to create more room to work and my glasses were on the other table which was way over 8 feet away and what do I need them damn things for anyway? After gingerly setting down the pot in my hands, I moved quickly and not seeing this bowl, bumped it off the edge of the table and finally caught it. How lucky was that?

brokenpot

Ding! Round Two Over…

June 25, 2009

Managed to finished the second coats of resist on all the splattery pots. There’s a couple different slip treatments in there that I’m hopeful about but only time will tell as I won’t be able to see the true contrast until after the bisque and then of course, the wrong glaze and it will be back to the drawing board. I might have enough to bisque this weekend but not looking forward to running the kiln with it being 95 degrees outside. Anyway, here’s the shot of the second coated bowls…

greenware

Here’s another experiment… a first attempt, not sure how many more I will commit to this idea before firing.

greenware

Received an alert via email today that said… The ants are in the mail. I can’t wait.

Taking An About Face (Book)…

June 24, 2009

After resisting quite some time, the plunge into Facebook happened a week or so ago. My intention was to set up a “business” page so the “fans” could follow it and be alerted when there was something going on at the blog or on etsy… but after setting things up on the blog, etsy and even TWIT-er, I found Facebook to be much more counter-intuitive. Anyway, I managed to muck it all up and ended up with two pages and hardly any fans. That’s my story and I’m sticking with it, it’s Facebook’s fault. Anyway, although it seems redundant, the purpose of this post is to request fans on Sofia’s Dad’s Pots Facebook Page. At first I thought, well someone reading this is already here but then it occurred to me that someone without a blog or who just likes FB more might rather become a fan and be alerted to new content that way. It’s a tangled web we weave. After I post this, I can go to Sofia’s Dad’s page on FB and link to a blog post here requesting that one visits FB and see the post there about the post here. Is all this really necessary? One thing I hear over and over is… (I’m paraphrasing) “after I update my blog, Facebook, Twitter and check Etsy, I don’t have any time to make pots.” That being said go on over to FB and become a fan if the spirit moves you. When signing up on FB, I thought… well it’s FACE book and maybe I should have a picture of my FACE as the little icon associated with all my actions there. I’m not particularly photogenic and thought maybe I should use this picture…

facebook

I decided against it as it is not a current picture and I didn’t want to mislead anyone. I settled on a little yunomi picture that is still big enough to make out what it is… here’s what the page looks like now, maybe I’ll see you there.

facebook

That Kitty Is Such A Brownnoser…

June 23, 2009

I’ve fallen behind a couple days on the father’s day thing because Mom had to work on Sunday so we celebrated on Thursday. Sunday just seemed like another day. Anyway, Sofia picked out this card and was very excited about my reaction. I don’t think she chose it because of the sycophantic kitty but because she thought the dog, second row, center, looks a bit like Sunglasses. I got a real kick out of it either way…

fathersdaycard

On the clay front, Jeff Campana is dropping by to pick up a sample of the clay I use for his “Cone 6 Throwdown” where he puts a number of clay bodies through a rigorous test to see what commercial clay he is going to use in the future. This will end up being quite a compendium because they are written well and Jeff is rather exhaustive in his evaluation. I’m looking forward to the finished series and believe it will be valuable for students (or anyone) starting out and trying to decide on a clay body. I took the following series of pictures not so much to reveal a process as to show one of my favorite parts of the process. When I used to draw in school, we taped our paper to a drawing board about 3/4 of an inch all the way around and when we deemed the drawing done, the tape would be removed, leaving a nice white frame free from smudges and that was the final act of the drawing. Consequently, my good friend and I referred to this very satisfying activity as “pulling off the tape” and it came to mean any procedure where you finally got to see what something was really gonna look like. Unloading a kiln is like this. Anyway after painting the resist on and etching the exposed areas, black slip is applied and when it’s dry, the “pulling off the tape” part of the procedure is sponging the excess slip that finally reveals a good idea of what the pattern will look like…

greenware

greenware_35

greenware

greenware

greenware

Teapot Gift…

June 22, 2009

Went to dinner at my good friends, Jeff and Susie’s house. We were meeting because another friend named Jeff was visiting from Costa Rica, where he recently went native. He has no regrets but I guess he misses sushi. I think I could make that trade without a problem. Anyway, the first Jeff taught ceramics in Tempe, Arizona for years before moving back to Louisville about 4 years ago. So as we were leaving, they gave me this teapot that he had made in Arizona which I am very happy to own now. I recognized the dog but the pieces that I’m familiar with that Jeff makes are wall reliefs mostly with animals and carnival type imagery (he also used to do a lot of drawings with melted crayons and digging through the layers). Unfortunately, Jeff doesn’t have a website and I can’t get any digital imagery.

jeffteapot

Things are cookin’ in the garden too… here’s a shot of one of my faves, Monarda Didyma or bergamot. Everyone calls it bee balm and the bees do love it, in fact there were bees on it while I took this photo but the damn things wouldn’t alight and pose for a photo so all the pictures just had a blurry thing hovering around the flower. I’ve been told that this is used to make Earl Grey tea and I wasn’t sure but wikipedia says that Earl Grey is flavored with oil from the bergamot orange, a mediterranean citrus fruit… a completely different plant. I’m sure Linda Starr knows everything there is to know about this plant. Here’s a pic…

beebalm

Finally, here’s a pic of the Asian avocado squash blossom. This is doing wonderfully so far and figuring on TSD (total squirrel destruction), this may be the last thriving shot of the plant I get.

squashblossom

Another Banner Day…

June 21, 2009

It’s my 105th post! Just kidding, although I often wonder about our propensity for round base 10 numbers. Is it because we have ten finger and ten toes (some of us)? Anyway, spent the day with the munchkin and the muncher yesterday. Much time in the backyard all told… I’m trying to read “Gorky Park” but it’s difficult with one eye always on the dogs. Sofia was a dog for a couple hours walking on hands and feet and not answering me unless I preceded or followed my statement or question with “woof woof”. She picked up things with her mouth and got sand everywhere. Sunglasses thought it was great to have another dog around to play with and dig holes in the sand. Here’s a pic in character…

sofia

The bees were happy too…

bees

Here’s a little video of the bees, I think the white balance setting was saved from a previously shot video which is why the color is different from the still picture…

It’s A Long Way To Tipperary…

June 20, 2009

It’s been a pretty good week of painting resist and I managed to get the first coat on the dozen medium sized bowls (and 2 coats on a couple). I’m with Sofia for the weekend, so no more work til Monday. We went out walking Sunglasses this morning and found a garbage man’s cell phone in the alley. Didn’t have my “reading” glasses with me so I figured I’d wait til we were home and try to call one of the friend’s #’s on the phone and figure out whose phone it was. Not far into our walk, I received a call and arranged a rendezvous with three sanitation workers. They thanked me and seemed surprised that it was all so easy. Speaking of the devil, Sunglasses is going on 50+ hours with no eliminations in the house (of course, as I type this she might be ending the string). We’ve chew proofed much of the house and if I could only train Sofia how to play with her, we’d be almost there. Anyway, here’s a shot of the greenware after a coat of resist…

greenware

Here’s a couple closeups of an experiment I’m working on. Like most experiments, I won’t know until after bisqueing if it has a chance of delivering the desired effect.

greenware

greenware

I’ve received comments asking about this process and I will try to elucidate it concisely and clearly. This is for the two pots shown as my new experiment. After the pot is trimmed, I have slathered on a layer of slip that is of the same clay body. Then black slip is flung or splattered in a kind of pollacky way into the white slip. Some of this black slip actually embeds itself and makes dents like throwing stones in soft mud when you were a child. After this has dried, a coat of resist (shellac) is applied over the black and past the edge of the black slip by about 1/8″ all the way around. This repels water. After this has dried, the exposed areas are carefully sponged with water dissolving the clay and creating a step down into the clay (a relief). After this has dried, more black slip is carefully painted into the depressed or etched areas. After this has dried, more resist is applied over what it was applied over before plus another 1/8″ or so over the newly painted black slip. After this has dried, the exposed areas (much smaller than before) are carefully sponged again creating yet another step down into the clay. Theoretically, what should result is black spattery marks with a white “halo” going all the way around them, with a black stepped down “halo” go around them, with a stepped down white are filling the remaining space. Hope this makes sense. No way I’m gonna get paid enough for these.

“He Was A Wise Man Who Invented Beer” – Plato…

June 19, 2009

Another trip to Sergio’s last night. My good friend Andy and I decided we’d better make a trip to Sergio’s World of Beer at least one more time because his lease is up in 11 days or so and Sergio’s is in Shelbyville, KY which is a good 40 minute drive for us. Who’d know passing by that this inauspicious exterior housed well over 800 different kinds of beer… a veritable beer drinker’s path to nirvana. Here’s a shot of my buddy, Andy, actually on the way out becauase we forgot to take a pic on the way in (probably, the anticipation was too intense). Notice the big smile on his face…

sergios

Upon entering, we were greeted by a sign that said, “ask about story”… a little cryptic but we bit. Much to our delight, Sergio’s is moving to Louisville and Story Avenue is the new location. The Story Ave. location is a mere 5 minute bicycle ride from my house so we may never be far from many, many beers again. The move to Louisville had been speculated during the last visit but we had never dared hope it would be so close. So… onward to a true picture of a happy man…

sergios

And of course the requisite glamour shots…

sergios

In case your interested, I started with a draft… a Clipper City Loose Cannon Hop 3. Describing beer is very difficult and takes an educated palette which I do not possess… let’s just say that this beer was presbyterian with a wooden knock <– old joke but I couldn't resist. Next, I had one of my faves, Rogue's Brutal Bitter… yum. Andy loves those Belgian beers, particularly the trappist ales and had a Balthazar and an Achel. He seemed very happy with these choices. So for my third beer I couldn't resist getting a Monty Python Holy Grail Ale. Imagine how thrilled I was when Sergio showed up to pour my beer in a ceramic goblet! Here’s Sergio (sorry a bit blurry… and maybe bleary too)…

sergios

The goblet was a trip and I have to point out (click for larger picture) that below the name of the beer on the bottle it says… “Tempered Over Burning Witches”. How great is that?

sergios

And a good time was had by all. Can’t wait to welcome Sergio to his new location right here in my neighborhood… hurray!

Not So Rare Studio Visit…

June 18, 2009

I was decorating away yesterday when I got a visit from a fellow potterer who was lookin’ to do a little decorating herself. A little brush, a little iron oxide wash, a little water with a toothbrush and she was set to go. Back during my throwing phase, Sofia had made about 70 little tiles of different shape so she had a plethora of choices to put wash on… of course she had to dip some in water first (hey, it’s her gig, who knows… I’ll probably end up stealing some technique from her). I’ve been assured over and over that stars and triangles are girls and squares and circles are boys. I know what you’re thinking and I was thinking that very thing too… triangles are most certainly boys and circles are girls but I let it go. After all she’s only 4 1/2 years old and she’ll find out soon enough. I understand that to let her go on this way for too long could result in the mental trauma of suddenly being told, on the playground perhaps, that triangles are boys. Hopefully, she could fire back something about Santa or the Easter Rabbit (or in France, the Easter Bell…<– how lame is that?), but she's such a sweet girl, she might not go tit for tat and let the little buggers have their delusions a bit longer. Anyway, here's some pics…

sofia

sofia

sofia

Homemade Studio Tools, Part 1…

June 17, 2009

I’ve only been blogging for 4+ months and one of my favorite things to find on other peoples’ blogs is homemade tools, inventive solutions to common studio problems that usually don’t have a commercial solution or if there is one, it’s too expensive. Ceramics Monthly has a section called “suggestions” that has these types of things and each month they choose a “Tip Of The Month” and award that person a free issue. These usually appeal to a subset of the ceramics community because everyone doesn’t necessarily have the same impediments while working. For instance the winner this month in the issue with Diana Fayt’s cool pieces on the cover was someone who had suggested using a shop vac to hold small vessels from the base and dip them in glaze thereby negating the need for tongs or fingerprints, etc. This is clever but doesn’t appeal to those who have large pieces or potters who spray their glaze. Consequently, the broader the appeal the more useful the tool to most people. So here’s mine; each summer (and this has become worse with a frugivorous fruit bat child in the house), my studio (and house in general) has a mild infestation of fruit flies. The don’t bite but when you’re trying to concentrate they can be distracting and once there is a certain amount it can difficult and annoying to deal with… so, the fruit fly trap. It is very inexpensive and easy to construct although there are some subtleties I will let you in on. First, get an empty jar (short squat jars will not work) and put just enough vinegar to cover the bottom ( 1-2 tablespoons for you cooks). Then get a piece of scrap paper and twist it into a funnel shape with the small end of the funnel having a small opening (big enough for a fruitfly to go through comfortably), then tape the cone shape in place with masking tape or scotch tape. Next, set the cone in the jar so that the opening is suspended above the liquid (it is very important not to have the tip of the funnel in the vinegar). Make sure the part of the funnel resting on the rim of the jar has no gaps (you can tape here if you like), then just sit back and you will notice many fruit flies getting into the jar but not being able to get out. This is based on the infamous minnow trap which is essentially a wire mesh funnel that allows minnows in but not out. Voila, you have your trap.

fruitflytrap

Now here’s some inside info that could only be learned from trial and error… tear the edge of the paper before taping the funnel and write something like “FRUIT THIS WAY” on the outside of the funnel. DO NOT print words on the side with a printer, the flies will become suspicious and be reluctant to enter… same with the straight cut edge to the top of the funnel. Remember fruit flies have a short life span and are unlikely to waste this short time on earth if they think something’s amiss. That’s it! Considering the broad appeal as I know almost everyone has these problems in the studio, I might have to submit this idea to Ceramics Monthly. Do you think it’s worth a free issue? Here’s some more bowl decorating…

greenware

greenware

It’s A Banner Day…

June 16, 2009

This is my 100th post. I started on February 2nd intending to post maybe once a week and figured it would take almost 2 years to get to 100 posts but things change. I realize that many others have exceeded this number greatly (particularly Gary… wow!) but it’s a milestone for me. To mark this milestone I’m posting the original picture that is used in the banner/header of the blog.

sofia

Well the decoration has begun and it’s gonna take quite some time but at least I can sit down while I’m doing most of it and give the dogs a break. Speaking of dogs… well, no not today. Here goes…

greenware

I Think My Daughter Is Part Fruit Bat…

June 15, 2009

Not just because she likes fruit, doesn’t everyone and although we are pretty much herbivorous here at home, I believe she might be frugivorous or nectarivorous. Sofia already eats more fruit than Mom and me put together. The list includes strawberries, cherries, apples, pears, oranges, peaches, plums, blueberries, bananas, mangoes, avocados, watermelon, cantaloupe, blackberries and more. We’re very happy about this because we think it’s a good thing but what makes me wonder about possible pteropodine roots is that when we are out walking or in the park she adds to this list by also eating those little strawberries you find in the field that are about the size of a pea, and crab apples, ornamental pears, wild cherries, persimmons, mulberries, paw paws and the list goes on. I’ve eaten many of these things but they are on the outer edges of taste… some very bitter and some mealy and bland but we have to stop at the mulberry bush/tree on all our walks with the dog to see if any more are ripe. It’s a good thing the “devil’s apple” looks the way it does or she’d want to eat that too. Here’s a couple pics of the fruit bat after a particularly juicy plum…

sofia

sofia

So we spent much time this weekend in the yard in the sandbox with the demonic dog Sunglasses and I’m starting to think she might be part truffle rooting pig. Sorry no pics but every time I took out the camera and got closer, she stopped. Anyway she dug about 15 or so holes in the sandbox and thrust her snout into them and pushed. Not sure what’s going on there but maybe some long useless instinct. Here’s the pup, the calm before the storm…

sunglasses

Turtles Can’t Climb Ladders…

June 13, 2009

Here’s another beautiful digital art print that my good friend Vern made. I particularly like this one because it seems primarily a black and white frame opening curtains onto a slightly more colorful and fantastic seascape…

Print

This also happens to be Sofia’s favorite too, mostly because turtles can’t climb ladders or… can they? I mean it’s right there for all to see. So here’s her reaction when I was putting it up here today…

sofia

Moved on to the bigger bowls yesterday and put a couple shots together. I’m sure it gets a little monotonous to keep seeing more pics of upside down bowls but that’s all I have going on in the studio. Next week, I’ll get to the more detailed decoration.

greenware

Ass Pain, Virtually Gone…

June 12, 2009

This is not to say that the pain in my ass doggie, Sunglasses, is gone but more on that in a bit. After deluding myself that my feet would heal (it’s been since Feb. 1) in time and that I would be able to resume some sort of physical exercise, I have accepted the chronic nature of the injury and resigned myself to not being able to afford the treatments necessary. This is mostly because my catastrophic insurance policy has a deductible so high that I will need to suffer a heart attack or aneurism to take advantage of the coverage but let’s not dwell on that… there’s plenty of people in the same boat and I’ve read quite a bit just on the potters’ blogs about this very issue. Anyway, common sense says that about the only physical exercise that doesn’t put any weight on your heels is riding a bike. I have a road bike from years ago but it has those fancy pedals that require fancy shoes that clip into the pedals and those shoes I had stored in the back of a closet in my old tiny studio. Last year, when I moved everything to the dim dank basement to extend my studio space, I put the shoes down there and I guess some little mice made there home in my fancy shoes. My good friend Vern must have had a combination of pity about my condition and frustration at hearing me complain so he loaned me indefinitely this bike…

bicycle

As you can see the seat on this bike is one of those fancy European bicycle seats that’s shaped like a tropical bird’s beak. If you sit on it and weigh more than 78 pounds you will more likely associate it with the end of a flagpole. The other day Vern asked me if I had taken the bike out and how I liked it and I mentioned that my ass hurt more than anything else. Being the veteran cyclist, he informed me that the pain would subside if I stuck with it a week or so and voila, today the ass pain was virtually nonexistent. I love it when things work out. Now on to the pain in the ass that is here to stay…

sunglasses

Now I know that puppies poop on the floor (usually white or formerly white carpeting) and chew on shoes and furniture but sometimes I can’t come to terms with the demon dog’s insatiable hunger for wood. Here’s the bottom part of the door at the landing of our stairs… the missing pieces are all but little splinters (dust in the wind). I realize that the door is long overdue to be replaced and thought maybe the dog was commenting on my “handyman” initiative.

door

So we’re lying in bed the other night about 12:30 and we hear this noise in the room with us. It sounds like someone grinding their teeth, only magnified many times over. I caper over the edge of the bed to see what Sunglasses is chewing on to make such a weird sound and I don’t see anything. After pushing her aside, we realize that she’s chewing on the floor and all I could think was… how did she get a grip on the floor. She had her face just smashed against the floor. So as I said before… ass pain, virtually gone… pain in the ass, here to stay. Here’s a shot of the painted wooden floor.

floor

Bowls And Stragglers…

June 11, 2009

Moved on to bowls yesterday and the size of my work table kinda determines how many pieces I can attack in one rotation. It’s not that big of a limitation but does prevent me from doing one step to everything, then another step to everything. Kinda liked to see a whole table of splattery bowls turned upside down though…

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Here’s some stragglers too that still didn’t have handles. I’d like to say I intended to make a little creamer type thingie here but really this is what happens when one gets a bit too aggressive with the ribs while throwing. One second you’re pushing that clay to the limit of what you can get away with and the next that stuck rib is going around and around and around, and of course when you pry it lose, there’s no getting it back to being round. So lemonade from lemons?

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And Pretty Maids All In A Row…

June 10, 2009

I’m almost ready to immerse myself in the decoration phase which I’m always excited to begin and, after a while, excited to end. Some of the cups and bowls will just be bisqued sans elaborate brushwork if I can manage to fill a whole kilnload. Of course, the little chop on the bottom of each piece has to be done first. Here’s a shot of the cups waiting, then after the resist has been applied…

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I took some shots of all of them after the etching was finished but the relief is not deep enough to show up unless there is a closeup so here’s a “macro” before and after shot…

greenware