Archive for December, 2009

From A Whisper To A Shout…

December 31, 2009

Well, maybe not a shout as much as a loud whirring like a large metal wheel rolling on a metal track. This picture cannot be anything but bad news…

My wheel is a Shimpo VL-Whisper and was one of the things I splurged on when I gave the wheel I was borrowing back to the friend that loaned it to me. It is called the Whisper because of how remarkably quiet it is when you’re working on it and it has lived up to that name… until yesterday. I slapped a hunk of clay down and when I pushed the pedal, this awful noise that was quite loud and a feeling of slight vibration as though there was Grit In The Gears… but how would grit get in the gears? If the 4 bolts here are removed, there is a large rubber ring that seals it to the white top and the gears are underneath anyway.

I have a call into Shimpo and Bob there urged me not to take the bolts out and that I might have to go at it from the bottom. He also said that he wasn’t sure what could be wrong because the wheel still turns and has full torque and speed. He also said that the guy that designed it was at lunch and would call me back but he hasn’t so I will be calling him after I’m done with this. I guess worst case is I’d have to buy a new wheel and I have to say that I’ve become quite accustomed to this particular wheel. The feature that I thought was useless when I first got it but now find indispensable is that when the user lets off the pedal, the wheelhead spins freely like a banding wheel. I’ve become so accustomed to this that if I had a wheel without it, I’d be tugging at the wheelhead constantly to no avail. Mom and I decided to do new year’s eve a night early last night as I hate the crowds and pandemonium associated with special days. Terry from last post’s scrabble playing and Kathy, my lifelong friend whose poetry is on this post drove their daughter, Quinnie, over to babysit Sofia while Mom and I went to a movie and dinner. We’ve only been out a couple times since Sofia was born and haven’t been to a movie and dinner on the same night since before she was born. I guess Kathy and Terry decided to use bringing Quinn over as an excuse to see a movie and maybe get something to eat also. So they dropped her off in front of the house and drove away and after we got Quinn and Sofia settled for a minute or two, we were off. Quinnie brought Sofia an xmas gift and she was so excited she jumped up on the kitchen table to open it…

Well, we walk into the theater to sit down and there’s Kathy and Terry at the same movie (Up In The Air) so we sat next to them and afterward we told them where we were going and they joined us which was great. The funny thing is that if we had called them and said how about we all go to a movie and get some dinner, the scheduling of it would have taken months and required an act of congress to get everyone’s calendars cleared. We went to a new restaurant named Caffe Classico, which up until a couple weeks ago used to only be a little cafe with really great coffee (I think it’s called Meinl coffee) and the owner has been working to expand into the adjacent building for years. We had vino and the food and conversation were great.

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Scrabble Rabble Rousin’…

December 30, 2009

My very good friend, Terry, came over last night for a game of super scrabble in our hopefully never-ending series of knock down drag out contests. This time we were done in a record short time as I think it came in just under 4 hours. We had a couple of my cousin’s home brews and some hippie popcorn too. Here’s a rather studious shot of Terry…

I managed to play out (use all my letters in one turn) three times during the evening. This doesn’t happen often for me and lately I feel that it would be simply impossible to beat Terry without doing so. Here’s the board in question…

As far as yesterday’s post, I have to say that it wasn’t my intention to cast aspersions on the applique sweater but I admit in my younger days to holding snobbish positions against certain kinds of homemade clothing and some manufactured clothing too. When I met Sofia’s mom, she was 23 and when I found out she owned one of those polyester sweatsuits that were so popular in the 80’s/90’s (you know the ones that had elaborate stitching on either side of the zipper and older folks wore for every occasion imaginable), I gave her a playful hard time about it for months claiming that she was wearing old people clothes. She tried to defend herself but one day there was an article in the local newspaper about a couple that had been married forever and had both reached 100 years old. There was a picture of the couple with the man wearing a 3 piece suit and his centenarian spouse sitting next to him in a white polyester sweatsuit with an elaborately stitched design on the top. Of course I cut the picture out of the paper and showed Mom, who gave up her defense of the infamous sweatsuit. When I was a teen, my mother knitted me a coat that was quite heavy, had a lining and a zipper and knitted into the coat on the back was an Indian (native American) with a large headdress of feathers and on the left breast was a brave doing a rain dance. At the time there were these green parkas with fur (or fake fur) lined hoods that were all the rage and almost everyone had them but I had the knitted Indian jacket. Maybe this was the genesis of my aversion to applique sweaters. This leads me to a question for the knitters and I know there are some potters that knit… a lot. Judi Tavill is one and she makes some beautiful pots too. My question is why not some expensive silk or hemp yarn used to make some tight-fitting men’s trousers with no pockets and bell bottoms? Is this taboo?

The Perfect Gift…

December 29, 2009

I was reading Becky Jo’s blog yesterday and she was talking about how her Mom had gotten her a jar of these old fashioned buttons as a gift and how this gift was an indication that her Mom knew just the kind of person she was. It reminded me immediately of an event several years ago where my Mom had sent me a gift in the mail and I was talking to her on the phone before the gift had arrived. She was very happy to have found the ideal gift for me, I guess, because maybe I’m not an easy person to get things for. Anyway on the phone she was clear that she was out one day and saw this item and it just called out to her… this is the perfect thing for Jimmy. At the time I remember my curiosity peaked because normally my Mom doesn’t really say anything about gifts except maybe that they are on their way and to expect them in the mail. (Mom, if you’re reading this, the oranges arrived yesterday and Sofia ate 4 as soon as we got them.) I was really beside myself with anticipation much like when you’re single and someone says they’re gonna set you up on a blind date with someone because they met this girl and… she’s perfect for you, the whole time I was talking to her I thought… this is the perfect girl for Jimmy. And no matter how many times they were wrong, I never could help the idea that maybe this time they were right. On one such blind date with a perfect match that had a “crazy” sense of humor and a bit of a “wild” personality at the matchmaker’s home for dinner when I was in my early 30’s, I showed up to meet a girl with applique pumpkins on the chest of her sweater. After an excruciating dinner, sitting on the couch, she relayed a work story to prove how “crazy” she was. Essentially she had purchased a motion activated Santa doll that would go “ho ho ho, merry xmas” when someone got close enough to set off the motion detector and at work, she set it in the doorway to her office and as people walked by in the hall it would do what it was supposed to do. She could barely get through the story because she was laughing too much and kept interjecting statements such as… “I’m always doing crazy things at work!” Not being too socially graceful, I’m sure she didn’t believe me when I acted appropriately impressed by her “wild” story. In retrospect, I realize that the problem was more with my expectations and how the descriptions had allowed me to build up in my mind someone who was probably an impossibility. But I digress, after the big buildup about my Mom’s gift I received one of these…

Actually this one is made of hardwood and I couldn’t find a good picture of one like I got which was made of unfinished poplar. If you haven’t seen one of these before, it has a chamber in the back and you put candy in it and when you lift the moose’s head up, it poops out the candy. I admit that it is funny… a bit… but, this is an item that called out to my mother as the quintessential object made for me?? I decided that my Mom must just think I’m funny and the moose tickled her funnybone and the bond was fused. All this being said, I kept the moose in the kitchen for years and many people found it funny so it turns out my Mom was right. I always imagined having guests over and having them hold their hand under the moose’s ass as I asked politely… “care for some candy?” Anyway, here’s some greenware pics…

Come On January…

December 28, 2009

Blizzard #3 and me without milk again, something tells me that this whole weather thing may not let up in the new year either. Look at my beautiful automobile buried in snow, I guess if I want to try and go anywhere today, I’ll have to spend the morning digging her out and even if I do get her dug out, look at the road surface that’s waiting for me…

Xmas came and went and after this week we’re back to our happy non-holiday existence. I’ll just throw this out there because it sounds so pathetic but we went to an annual party with Mom’s family on xmas eve and when we got home I knew I’d be sick by the morning and I’m still there. I don’t know where it came from because Sofia and Mom aren’t sick but I can’t tell you how pissed off I was when I realized it was inevitable. But xmas morning was fun, especially for Sofia. She got lots of booty and even some more colored pencils… pretty soon she’ll be able to open her own store. I got a homemade card from her and Mom which was as much as I could have wanted. The night before xmas eve, after coming home from having a couple beers with my friend Vern, I took the dog out when we arrived home. Now we have these back porch steps that go down around 6 or 7 feet to the back yard and since Sunglasses is all muscle (actually I’m amazed at how lean she is… not an ounce of fat anywhere), we’ve started to take precautions when descending the steps with her on the leash because she’s been known to bolt after a rodent and run out of leash rope, pulling us toward the stairs.

So now we press the little button on the leash before she starts to run and it seems to work ok but on this night (and I’m sure the beer didn’t have anything to do with it), she went a couple steps down, I pressed the button to halt her halfway down the steps and she stopped… and then unbeknownst to me, she espied a possum lurking frozen in the dark. By this time I had released the leash rope and was starting down the steps. She exploded after the possum like a shot from a cannon and when she reached the leash’s terminus, she yanked me forward and I was able to get both my left and right plantar fasciitis feet to each hit a step before landing on my knees in the mud at the bottom of the steps and continuing forward rolling over on my back. At this point I’m cussing at the dog (who’s ignoring me) and I’m lying prostrate in the mud with my leash hand extended out and the dog is pulling and would’ve actually been pulling me across the ground like in a cartoon if I wasn’t 200 lbs. Even though it was dark and nobody could see, there is something inherently humiliating about lying in the mud after a fall. So, all in all, it was a fun holiday and although I’m sure I wasn’t the one who had the most fun, I’m not sure who actually did. It would have to be a tossup betwixt the bug and the demon. We arrived home on one occasion and here’s how the demon dog celebrated the holidays with her dog bed…

I also changed the blog a little. I got rid of the categories section on the sidebar because I had 100s of posts that were “ceramics” and “miscellaneous” and if I knew when I set them up how useful they could be if done correctly and and how useless they would be if not, I might have come up with something better. Anyway, I thought that a good thing to have, especially for people who are new to the blog and don’t have the time or inclination to wander through older posts looking for something to give them an idea of what goes on, is to have a “Frequently Viewed Posts” section that contains popular posts from the past. I initially based this on the posts that have received the most views and essentially that’s how it remains but I had less traffic in the beginning so there’s a couple older ones that I stuck on there just for the fun of it.

Xmas Comes A Bit Early…

December 22, 2009

I don’t get a lot a gifts for xmas and that’s the way I like it… don’t really need anything… except maybe a new sewer system connected to the house or a nice soda kiln in the backyard or if someone could magically make the demon dog stop trying to kill me. She’s a sweetheart really but only sometimes and I’d like to go on record that if I die in the next 3 or 4 years, it’s most definitely her fault. Anyway, I thought that even though I don’t make enough money on pots to actually buy others’ pots that I would treat myself to one gift and just chalk it conveniently up to xmas. Well, the package I’ve been waiting for arrived yesterday and here’s what was inside…

These two beauties I got from Joel over at Fetishghost. I love his work and I love this glaze so much that I unsuccessfully sacrificed several cups trying to get something similar and the verdict was that my firing down profile must help to heal the natural crawly tendency. It was fun experimenting though. Anyway, Joel has it down and every time I look up close at those crawlies it reminds me of how our brains look… not that I’ve seen mine but I’d imagine it’s not that much different from the pictures I’ve seen. So head on over and check out Joel’s pots if you get a hankerin’.

In Like A Lion/Blizzard In Louisville! #2…

December 21, 2009

Well, we woke up to the first day of winter and apparently another blizzard last night, it’s gonna be a long season…

It’s a good thing we don’t need any milk because I’m not sure I could handle driving on those roads today. Not gonna get much work done this week, I can see that coming a mile away and might as well resign myself to it. Here’s the contented bug doing one of her favorite things. Talk about an embarrassment of riches, check out the arsenal of colored pencils…

Back in the day, when I was trying to keep in touch with some kind of creative life whilst still denying myself the life of a potter, I decided to do some big drawings and got myself all geared up with supplies. I put these in the closet and recently decided that Sofia was old enough to use them without constant supervision (sharpening pencils mostly). There’s a big set of Conte a Paris and a complete unused set of Derwent colored pencils… oh my. Needless to say, she’s very happy with her arsenal and happy as a pig in shite.

Conversation With A 5-Year-Old…

December 20, 2009

I love conversations with 5 year olds, especially my 5 year old… maybe because mentally I never got very far past that myself. I wish I could remember them verbatim because some are really funny but I’m not the type to exert too much effort in that direction. When Sofia was 3 and 4 these conversations were funny in a completely different way and I’m sure when she’s 6 and 7, it will continue to change. I realize that I’m not telling parents anything they don’t already know. So we’re at the Red Pooper yesterday and Sofia’s favorite thing is to get hot and sour soup and dip those fried wonton strip thingies into the soup. I’m pretty sure she likes the fried thingies more that the soup but she eats them both, here’s the thingies I’m talking about (she calls them crispies)…

Yesterday while we eating she was fidgeting and wouldn’t stay seated and it’s not so much that I want her to remain seated, perfectly erect, facing forward as much as I realize that if I don’t nip it in the beginning, she’ll be running around the restaurant singing and screaming. So here’s our conversation:
Me: Sugar, sit in your chair.
Her: I am.
Me: No, you’re not.
Her: I am with half my butt.
Me: Well, put your whole butt on the chair.
Her: I am.
Me: No, you’re not.
Her: You can’t even see.
Me: If you don’t sit in your chair and eat, we will stop coming here.
Her: (she sits in the chair perfectly) Oh no, where will I get crispies?
Me: We won’t get any.
Her: We could go to the store and get them.
Me: What store?
Her: I don’t know, what store do they get them? (gesturing to the kitchen)
Me: I don’t know.
Her: Maybe they brought them back from China.
Me: Maybe, but how?
Her: Maybe they put them in their suitcase.
Me: Maybe, but that’s a long way for just a suitcase of crispies.
Her: (stares off for a few seconds) We can go to China and get some.
Me: You know, China is on the other side of the Earth.
Her: We’ll have to drive.
Me: We’re gonna drive to China?
Her: Yes, and we’ll buy some there.
Me: How will we be able to ask for them?
Her: (no response… confused)
Me: We speak English and they speak Chinese so if we ask in English they won’t know what we’re saying.
Her: We’ll just have to look around for them then.
Me: So we just need to take a look around China?
Her: Yup. (very satisfied)
Of course the funniest thing to me is that it seems never to have occurred to her that if she just did what I told her and sat in her chair, then the problem of where to get them wouldn’t exist. This happens with most threats where she immediately wants to explore the worst case scenario instead of simply complying. That’s all for today… wrapping Mom’s presents.

Only 2 Bug Days Left Before…

December 19, 2009

Before xmas or in my case before freedom. It’s a bit bleak today, cold and rainy but not bad considering some of the storms I’ve heard about… and it’s above freezing. So we should have a lovely day fighting traffic with our errands and having lunch at the Red Pooper. You know when you go into the studio to throw and you don’t want to throw anything that you need to throw? So you go ahead and throw some cups even though you don’t want to and then you throw some bowls even though you don’t want to and everything comes out kinda not very good. Then you just say the hell with it and throw some of these things…

So now you have some “vases” you don’t know what to do with and such is trying to get things done around xmas. I think next December I’m gonna just declare it admin month and mail out orders and pursue all the online and computer related things that I never seem to have time for… yeah right, like I’ll have a choice in the matter. Anyway, we’re off for Dad and Sofia day.

Au Revoir Chamois…

December 18, 2009

For those non potters that may be reading this, many of us potters use a chamois (pronounced sh amee but I like to pronounce it sham wah mostly because it sounds more French and it rhymes with au revoir) cloth to address the rims of our vessels while they are being thrown. It is a very soft and supple leather that makes the rim look smooth and finished. Well, first off… this is a real chamois,

Chamois cloth that one buys at the automotive store can be made from sheep, goats or deer and is used more often by grown men who are in love with their vehicles and want to polish them and their windows. If you’ve seen my car you are certain that this is not what I use them for…

So anyway, I have a piece of chamois and I cut a little square off and use it until it disintegrates, then cut another… no big deal. Yesterday I was throwing and I reached in my wee bucket of water for the chamois and voila (<-french), it wasn't in there. I have to preface this by saying that looking for things that have always been in a certain place but now are not has become a big part of my life recently. It was bad enough with just Mom but now Sofia has joined in. I turned the entire house upside down for at least a half hour looking for my car keys the other day. I started thinking that I may have left them in the front door lock, went to bed and then some nefarious individual came and took them and was now plotting a heist (as if there were anything fence-able in my house) but found out that Sofia was playing with them and put them in one of my empty plastic glaze containers. In the last week alone, I’ve looked for keys, my neckwarmer, my glasses on several occasions, a CD that’s been in the car for 5 years, a metal ruler, the little paper CD sleeves, sesame oil that I just bought and I even looked for a tavern that I’ve been to several times. Except for the tavern, none of these things were where they usually are and when I ask if anyone’s seen them, no one has. So I'm fishing in the bucket, looking on the floor next to my wheel and thinking I never take the chamois away from the wheel, where could it have possibly gone? Then I see her

So I figure she pulled it off the rim of my water bucket when I left the room and she must have taken it somewhere and chewed it up. I look in every room for shredded chamois and porcelain stains and can’t find any… I guessed I’d find it when I least expected. So, I cut a new piece, throw some more, leave the room again for a bit, go back, throw some more, reach for the new chamois… it’s gone. I end up looking around some more and finally come to the conclusion that she didn’t tear them up, she ate them. It made more sense to me later when I realized that the leather is just like some of the chew toys that dogs eat. Went to a great Chinese restaurant with pals, Jeff Campana and Sebastion Moh. We’re all potters and it was good conversation about all things ceramic and the food was not the normal American-Chinese fare. Yum… my. Speaking of things Chinese, here’s a piece of my friend Ig’s Blanc de Chine…

Pheedback and Fotos…

December 17, 2009

This is my first year selling pots online and sometimes you send a piece off into the wild blue and never hear anything else. You assume that it arrived intact and that the person who got it liked it and sometimes you get some feedback about the purchase. Well, I got an email from a customer the other day and it turns out that she has her own blog too and I followed the link to this post. I wanted to thank Amanda for her nice write up and she even re-photographed the piece for the post so… thank you very much Amanda. There’s not much going on at the hacienda today. The bug stayed with the grandparents last night and the house seemed empty. Mom and I went to dinner with some of my best friends. We ate putanesca (and we all know what that translates to), drank wine and had rambunctious conversations. Tonight I’m gonna meet up with potter friends, have some Chinese food and probably talk clay. Sofia’s started to want to take pictures with my camera and although I’m not thrilled about the possibility of her dropping it, I allowed her to take some and she wanted me to “put ’em on the ‘puter” so here a couple of her shots. She’s not particularly concerned with focus and went around the xmas tree and shot pictures of all the ornaments… really close up (macro), so close that she actually had the lens pressed against the ornaments. Here’s the least blurry one and a couple more of dad and the demon dog…

Are Those Terro* Mittens?…

December 16, 2009

For the purposes of this post, I will be using names that are not the real names of things and they will be inside brackets to allow the reader to know that this is so. For instance, I may refer to a someone who [glows] themselves up in a [pubic] place as a [terro-risk] or shortened to terro + * or [terro*]. Why, you may ask? Well first let me state that I like etymology and love finding out why words are what they are and how they became that way, like how datura became known as Jamestown weed and because of mispronunciations of the years became jimsonweed as I mentioned in this post. Well, I’ve been excited to report that I have discovered the origin of one such name and I believe that I’m the first to figure this out save maybe the people who are referring to themselves by the name and I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of them are probably doing so by rote and have no idea the origin. The problem with my first etymological discovery is that it is the name of an organization that is notorious and discussing this will no doubt send up red flags by google word trackers and such. So in an attempt to evade detection by [Headband ThePurity] or the [Ventral Irrelevance Flagrancy], I’m using this method. The name that I’ve found the etymological origins of is the most notorious [terro*] organization known today and I’ve often wondered about the name. But first I must start with this picture in which the model displays the genesis of my journey…

Hopefully, you are now asking yourself… what’s with the mittens. Well, I have to go back a bit. When my dad died young, only a few years older than I am now, I took several mementos of him including his 1959 K-22 Smith and Wesson pistol that I’ve only fired on 2 occasions in 20 years and both times were in my house (maybe that’s another post sometime) and these wonderfully warm mittens that he used when sawing and cutting up wood for their fireplace in central NY state. By the way and not to confuse anyone but the mittens have a tag on the side that says “gopher” which may have led the uninitiated toward Minnesota in their search but I was not diverted (plus it’s such a small tag that I really never saw it). Here’s another look at the mittens in question…

OK, as in many areas of research, I have to go back a bit more to my grandfathers time. When the Italian and in my grandfather’s case, Sicilian, immigrants came to this country, many did not speak any English or not much English. My grandfather spoke English by the time I was born but his accent was thick much like many of his friends. There was a tendency even when saying the correct English word to put an “a” or “o” on the end of the word because in their native language this indicated the gender of the noun. Over the years this has become part of the stereotyping of how Italians speak/spoke English, for instance, “he’s a nice(a) boy(a)”, etc. Well the one that was particularly intriguing to me was the word for outhouse. In the early 20th century, the homes didn’t have indoor plumbing and there was an outhouse. My grandfather supposedly called this the back house which eventually was shortened and the “a” added to the end to become bakhousa. I wore this out in college and my cousin (my dad’s sister’s child) still refers to the bathroom as the bakhousa and the hilarity that we found when we were younger has all but disappeared. This little passage is only to serve as the basis for my thinking when one day, after appreciating how great these mittens actually worked, I took the tag from the inside to see what they were made of and to my shock and awe (hmm… should I have put that in brackets?), this is what it said…

Eureka! Genuine Elkskin. Are you with me still? These mittens are Elk hide or as an Italian immigrant from the early 20th century might say… Elkhide(a) or Elkida. Now I have yet to manage the exact connection between the Italians and these mountain cave dwellers (the geographic proximity is not that substantial) but I think that it makes sense to at least assume that when hiding in caves, a good pair of Elkida mittens would be indispensable. And to think that when I first heard the name, I figured it meant something along the lines of [debt to the zinfandels] or [weird gonna git ewe sucka]. I never would have guessed it was something as innocuous as a type of garment. So there you have it… my first etymological discovery, should I alert the Institute For Etymological Research and Education?

Beer Is Food…

December 15, 2009

This is the slogan of one of our local brewpubs and I believe it to be true. All the talk on the radio about climate change gets one to imagine some kind of catastrophe that would shut down society and leave every person to themselves to find sustenance. These are not pleasant thoughts and some people take preparation for these events more serious than others. Well I got to thinking about my cousin that brews beer and that he, like everyone else if this situation were to come about, would need food and water. Then I thought… he’s got around 7000 bottles of beer in his basement and it had me wondering how long he could live on that supply of beer. I bet it would do in a pinch and although it might be a version of a liquid diet, I bet he’d hold out for quite some time. Now that you get a peek at how a demented mind functions, I guess the advice for those preparing for such a situation… start brewing. My cousin, Rand, gave me some beer to take home and last night I had one of the wonderfully yummy porters and I’m not exaggerating when I say that light cannot pass through this beer. There are some very bright lights mounted in the exhaust fan above our stove and I held the beer directly in front of the light to take this picture…

We met a couple nights ago for Club 52. I arrived late because I had the bug and had to wait for Mom to get off work. After scurrying down to Sergio’s, I joined a work in progress. Here’s an attempt at capturing a toast but even holding the camera as far back as I could and still getting my glass in the shot, it was not wide enough to get anyone except the birthday boy, Ray, in the shot…

Here’s part of the roundup for the evening. This busboy dude came and took some of the bottles (the nerve!) before I could get a shot so this is all that represents our choices from the over 1000 beers at Sergio’s…

And finally here’s a picture of my friend, Al. In addition to his blog that I’ve mentioned in previous posts, Al works running an art program for mentally handicapped adults and he had just fired a kiln for them and brought this cool little fire hydrant. I think the thing hanging from it is supposed to be a blasting cap and there was also a little pipe wrench that wasn’t in the pic…

Here’s the latest bowl that I posted to Etsy (first click to Etsy, others enlarge)…

I’ve Been Musing About Mud (ded)…

December 14, 2009

When I started blogging in February of this year, one of the first blogs are started visiting was Carole Epp’s Musing About Mud. I’m sure most of the ceramics community is aware of Carole’s blog because it is an invaluable repository for all opportunities clay. There are notices for calls for entry, gallery exhibitions, employment opportunities, residencies and almost anything else that might interest a ceramic artist and it’s international to boot. Well, twice Carole has decided to have a month of Artist Of The Day posts and yesterday she posted Sofia’s Dad

Thank you very much Carole, I’m very happy to be included amongst the artists that have been featured. Carole is quite accomplished in clay and maybe she will feature her own work as the last post of her Artists Of The Day posts. She actually does two distinctly different and compelling veins of work. On the one hand she makes beautiful functional ceramics like this beauty…

and in addition she has been making provocative conceptual clay sculptures for several years. Here’s one called “Never Trust Anyone Over The Age Of Thirty” (at least I think that’s the title) and some detail shots…

There are many more sculptures on her other website, caroleepp.com. I start to wonder how she gets it all done and like yours truly, she has a little one to watch over too. So, if you’ve got a hankerin’, visit Musing About Mud and you will see a new artist featured everyday for some time to come. Thanks again Carole!

Just Buggin’…

December 12, 2009

Not much going on today, just buggin’ with the bug. We’ll be heading over to the Red Pooper after we walk the dog. We have to make Mom an Xmas card or two or twenty depending on Sofia’s concentration but other than that we’re free for the rest of the day. She’s sitting here beside me eating fruit, first an apple and now she’s on her 3rd orange and she just said… I’m an orangehound. Here’s the bug doing her ballet although to me it looks like it might be a bit of the yoga, either way better balance than dad…

I may have mentioned this before but there are 4 of us Murray State University alums (there’s more than that I’m sure) that were all there the same years. Last year we were all 51 and we go out on each person’s birthday, last year to celebrate Club 51 but tonight is the first meeting of Club 52 as the years just keep rolling by. Two of us are sculptors and two work in clay. They will be going to Sergio’s (the world of over 1000 beers) and I will be meeting up with them after Mom gets home. I better start thinking of what kind of beer I should have. Sofia just started her 4th orange… what an orangehound! Here’s the bowl I posted to Etsy yesterday…

Concrete Expressionism…

December 11, 2009

I was just cold yesterday, I didn’t mean to suggest that our coldness was comparable to other regions’ coldness and since I enjoy some of the older idioms that I thought were funny when I was younger, I may have wasted it’s use on a day that wasn’t nearly as cold as it’s going to get (the title of yesterday’s post). Colder than a well-diggers ass was one of my dad’s favorites and someone suggested the infamous “colder than a witches teat” but my favorite was one from my college friend, Mattie, who always said, “it’s colder than a brass toilet seat on the shady side of an iceberg.” I figured it might have been native to that state that many wish was successful in it’s attempt to secede from the Union but maybe that’s because he was always lampooning said Texans and usurping their accent. When I was young my dad reserved the term “horse’s ass” for the people who really behaved poorly and as a teen I always felt that it lacked teeth. No hard “k” sounds in there and I went through a couple of decades perfecting what I thought was a more vitriolic and effective string of expletives to hurl at the insanity of the world. As is apropos of the cyclical nature of life, I have now come to believe that “horse’s ass” is a much better phrase especially if one visualizes the ass of a horse and considers that the power of most vulgar expletives has been sapped by their expropriated use in popular movies, music lyrics and fiction. Last week at the doctor’s office, I overheard a man while waiting to check out say… “like a hair in a biscuit”. I learnt this in western Kentucky in college and since I moved to Louisville have never heard another person use it even though I say it frequently. I was floored and wanted to strike up a conversation with him about it but I was a bit preoccupied with whether or not I had a blood clot. Anyway, I’m always open for new ones although I’m certainly not interested enough to comb through google looking for them. Recently, I was made aware of an older phrase that I liked and had never heard before… “never trust a man whose ass is wider than his shoulders.” You can’t swing a dead cat without hitting a good reason to use that expression. Here’s a bowl that I posted yesterday (first click to Etsy, others enlarge)…

It’s Colder Than A Well Digger’s Ass…

December 10, 2009

That was one of my dad’s favorite idioms and when we were young if we laughed when he said it, he would proceed to tell us why the well digger’s ass was cold… because apparently the well wasn’t all the big of a hole diameter-wise and in order to be in the hole and keep digging with a shovel, the digger’s ass would be pressed against the opposite wall of the cold, wet earthen hole. Actually it’s 21 degrees out and it going to get colder still but last night the wind was whipping with gusts of 40+ mph which made the 21 degrees feel much colder. I braved the weather last night to meet up with fellow potter, Jeff Campana, and have a few beers (they’ve got Bell’s Two Hearted Ale on tap) at a great local tavern named the Nachbar. It’s always fun to get together with Jeff because I don’t really get to hang out with many potters and just talk pots, which we did for most of the time we were there. We talked about making pots, selling pots, shows, galleries, online marketing and on and on and it was good fun. I had forgotten that on Wednesday, local jazz musicians play there at the Nachbar and for the last hour that we were there, there was live jazz. We were both equally surprised at the end of the evening to find out that each other was a fan of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. Here’s one of Jeff vases…

On a blog related note… I moved my old “recent bowls” out off the Recent Bowls page to the Bowls page and put my actual recent bowls on the Recent Bowls page… upper right corner of this blog under “Pages”. Most of them have been displayed in posts over time but if you have a hankerin’ to see them all together go ahead and check it out. Here’s one…

Can You Say Angry?…

December 9, 2009

Or maybe… mad, affronted, annoyed, antagonized, bitter, chafed, choleric, convulsed, cross, displeased, enraged, exacerbated, exasperated, ferocious, fierce, fiery, fuming, furious, galled, hateful, heated, hot, huffy, ill-tempered, impassioned, incensed, indignant, inflamed, infuriated, irascible, irate, ireful, irritable, irritated, nettled, offended, outraged, piqued, provoked, raging, resentful, riled, sore, splenetic, storming, sulky, sullen, turbulent, uptight, vexed, wrathful. Or how about hot under the collar, up in arms, in high dudgeon, foaming at the mouth, doing a slow burn, steamed up, in a lather, fit to be tied, seeing red, bent out of shape, ticked off. Just pick whichever seems to express the most anger and that’s what I was. I won’t even go into a description now and just post this picture again…

Mom and Sofia were upstairs taking a shower and a bath respectively and I was trimming some more of these shallow bowls…

when I got up to get a drink of water and walked out of the studio to see that the downstairs commode had overflowed and my snake adventure was about to begin again. If you recall I just did this on November 12th and it hasn’t even been a month. The main difference this time is that it was 38 degrees out and pouring rain. At this rate I will have to do it 5 more times before it’s warm enough to dig it all up and fix it for good and I’m already on a first name basis with the rental guy at Home Depot. I was foaming at the mouth and spitting tacks… pissed.

Blizzard In Louisville!…

December 7, 2009

One of the privileges of growing up north of the Mason-Dixon line and living south of it is making fun of how southerners perceive the white stuff that falls from the sky. We went to bed last night with nary a flake in the air and woke up to this…

No doubt schools will be closed today, there will be many automobile accidents, throngs of people will be at the supermarkets (braving the weather) to stock up on milk, weather people will be taking over the local tv networks, sanders and salters will be parked idling under every overpass in town and of course the National Guard will be called in if it keeps up. To the native northerner is never seems like less than pandemonium and of course it happens every year… but really, what is it about getting milk? Is milk really what you need if you’re trapped in your home for a week? Is it merely because people want to bake cakes? Every winter storm has a commensurate “news” story about the milk being sold out at the grocery stores. And since turnabout is fair play, to all the northerners who after being told that it snowed last night always reply, “it snows in Kentucky?”… the laws of physics are not suspended in the south. Anyway, since we’ll be holed up here maybe I can get some work done today… stay warm.

Scat Nostalgia…

December 6, 2009

Yesterday was Dad and Sofia day and we had a fine day. Early on the bug put on her latest accessory and wore them all day… even to the Red Pooper. They must have been a hit because I noticed many envious stares, of course Sofia was oblivious to them and I think she forgot that she had put them on…

It got me thinking about when I was in the ceramics program at Murray State University studying under one of my favorite people, Fred Shepard. Anyway, there was a student… a young girl from Ecuador whose dad was a famous painter in Quito and he had managed to trade painting(s) for her tuition into the art program. She was beautiful and I was smitten and to make a long story short I started going out with her. In addition to being beautiful she was extremely superstitious in a manner that I have become more aware of over the years but at the time I chalked it up to a combination of me thinking that she was putting me on and the language barrier… plus did I mention that she was beautiful? So I went to central NY state for xmas vacation and she wouldn’t come although I pleaded with her to make the trip. At home I found a pair of glasses that had no lenses (because my dad was blind in one eye and used to collect sunglasses from people, including my mother, that had the lens for his blind eye popped out – his version of recycling I suppose) and we were taking pictures and we took one of me with my Mom and Dad and me wearing these women’s sunglasses with no lenses. I wrote my Ecuadorian girlfriend a letter because the break was quite long and I thought she needed cheering up and told her that while I was home I had my eyes checked and found that I needed glasses and that I had picked out some frames and hoped she liked them… and enclosed the picture. To skip to the end, she didn’t get the joke and took the picture to a mutual friend and told him that she couldn’t be seen with me anymore because the glasses looked bad and no matter how much he tried to convince her that it was a joke, she wouldn’t have any of it. When I got back, we were broken up and it was not up for discussion. While thinking about Murray and at the risk of making certain my age, I remembered at the time (1980 or so) the big thing was “boom boxes” (portable cassette tape players) and although I had hundreds of LP’s, the idea of being able to carry my stereo around (and more specifically, to the clay studio) was too much so I took part of my student loan money and got a portable cassette player. The problem was that I had no money and I also had no music on cassettes. I managed to get someone in the dormitories to record two tapes for me and I’m not exaggerating when I say that I played these two 90 minute tapes constantly for years, hundreds of times. At the time I had become entranced with scatting and because of this my 2 double LP albums that I chose to record were “Ella and Duke Live at the Cote d’ Azur” and “Look To The Rainbow” by Al Jarreau. Sofia and I went on YouTube to see if I could find her some scatting and found this…

I forgot how much I love this album as I don’t have it on CD. In retrospect, I believe that my eventual love affair with jazz was probably largely due to my poverty at the time and having “only” Duke, Ella and Al to listen to while I was working. Here’s another bowl that’s on the AKAR site

Work @ AKAR Is Live…

December 5, 2009

The work that I took to Iowa on my way to visit my friend Ig is on the AKAR website now along with some new work from other potters. Check it out if you have a hankerin’, here’s a few shots that Cliff, AKAR’s photographer, shot (click to enlarge)…

It’s a buggity bug bug day today and tomorrow and it went below freezing last night so looks like a chilly weekend.