Crushed Glass…

Last weekend, the bug and I traveled up to Mount St. Francis for the clay center’s outdoor jazz evening. I was thinking that it was gonna be very trying because it was an extremely hot day but when we got there and got down by the lake (where the quartet was), a nice breeze was coming off the lake making it seem much cooler than expected. The band was very good and it’s always hard to beat jazz by a lake outdoors with wine. Here’s a shot that our friend Jennifer took of Sofia and I…

In this particular picture, I’m striking the “you see dear, that’s a UFO over there” pose. I was also alerted to this picture this week from a fellow potter who received one of my favorite beer glasses for an anniversary gift (I think it was anniversary). Thanks John for posting as it’s always nice to get feedback and pics of pots…

The text below the pic describes the subterfuge to keep Mr. John from catching on to what his gift might be. This picture turned up while looking for something else…

I made these lamps quite some time ago (almost 15-20 years), the “shades” are made of copper mesh sheets folded into the shape, I now realize, of a cardinal’s chapeau and grommeted into place. Also there’s cedar driftwood from the Falls of the Ohio and two pieces of foundry white pine shapes that I got from the American Standard (the sink/bathtub company) factory when it shut down decades ago. On the terra sig front, I decided to make a new batch out of grolleg kaolin instead of ball clay because I wanted some white white terra sig. It didn’t settle the way I thought it would or should and was about to consider it a failure. Then I mixed some of the thicker with some of the thinner and started experimenting. Anyway, I got really excited when I started goofing around with it because it buffs up very easily and looks almost exactly like thick white enamel paint. Of course, I have no idea at this point how it will hold up after firing but it looks very cool at this point…

I thought I was done throwing vases but I kinda go where the wheel takes me and it took me making more vases this week…

And here’s the obligatory glamour shot…

So here’s the adventure of the week, a biking adventure so if you’re against reading long posts, stop here. It was very hot all week but on Monday, I decided to go out for a longish ride and see how I held up. I got to 15 miles where I would turn around and come back making 30 in total but I felt great so I decided to go to the 20 mark which would make 40 total. When I got there I still felt great and went to the 25 mark and finally decided to go to the terminus of the bike path which ends at the historic Farnsley-Moremen House. At the parking lot my odometer was at 30.1 and I turned around to return the way I came. Earlier that day, Alicia had told me that she was on call which meant that starting at 7, she was to be available to go in and work which means I would have to be home by then because of Sofia. As I turned around at Farnsley-Moremen, I glanced at the clock on my speedometer and it seemed as though I had plenty of time although 60 miles would take almost 4 hours. As I rode, I thought… did I “spring forward” on that clock or is it an hour off. Then I figured even if it was wrong, I’m 30 miles from home and I can’t go any faster than I already am. So as I was coming back into the downtown, I went around a corner and my rear tire felt like jelly again (this is the fourth time this year) and I look down and my tire is almost deflated to the rim. As impossible as it seemed (all four times), the tire stopped deflating at about halfway flat. I thought that if I sat down on the grass and changed the tube that that would cost me another half hour and I was already late so I decided to see how far I could get without changing the tube. I went another 5 miles or so and thought it felt like the bumpier parts of the road were actually touching the rim and I didn’t want to ruin my rim so I stopped. I figured that if the tube was holding some air, that if I just gave it a blast of CO2 it might get me home. Now, I have one of these…

It’s called a Red Zeppelin and it is quite a handy gizmo. Of course there are other brands I’m sure that are essentially the same thing but seeing as how I played Houses of the Holy so many times when I was 17 that I practically wore through the vinyl of the LP and made it so that, to this day, my brother can’t listen to Led Zeppelin, it seemed inevitable that I would choose this one. Anyway, there’s the CO2 cartridge with a red insulator around it so your pinkies don’t get cold when it releases the gas and there’s a nozzle/valve. What one does is screws the nozzle to the cartridge, breaking the seal, then screws the other end to the air tube’s valve and when everything is ready, one opens the red knob slowly and that releases the CO2 into the tube… easy right. Well, I was in a hurry and had already ridden 55 miles but excuses aside, it’s really because I’m a dumbass but the last time I used the red zeppelin, I left the red knob valve open. This means that when I broke the seal on the cartridge the gas started whooshing out and I desperately started turning knobs trying to stop the flow. As it only takes seconds for all the gas to escape, I was soon standing there with a cold spent cartridge and a flat tire. I looked up and across the road from where I stood was a mercedes mechanic’s garage. I thought, they have forced air and went in and asked it they could inflate my tire. Sure was the answer but their compressor had only a tip for the standard tire valve and not the presta valves that are on most road bike tires nowadays. They spent about 15 minutes looking for a converter tip but couldn’t find one. Meanwhile, time’s a wastin’ and it’s already past 7. Finally, I asked if I could use their phone and called Alicia… no answer. I called my friend Ray who only lived a couple miles down the road… no answer. Now last year I got stranded downtown as elaborated in this post and I ended up walking 6 or so city blocks with my bike shoes on that have the clips on the fronts of the shoes and this set the healing of my plantar fasciitis back years so walking with my shoes on was out of the question. So I took my shoes off and clipped them to the pedals and stuffed my socks in my pocket and hit the road barefoot. The road must have been about 130 degrees and my tenderfeet were burning and I could feel the blisters forming. I walked quite a ways (at least quite a ways for me) and eventually a serious cyclist stopped as he was passing me. I could tell he was serious because his legs were shaved. I haven’t gotten to that point yet because there are so many other things slowing me down that have to be taken care of before I start shaving. Anyway, he had a cartridge too and offered it to me. I gave my tire a blast and it held so I put my shoes and socks back on, thanked the man (Frank) and headed a slightly shorter route home. My ride ended up being only 56 miles instead of 60 and when I got home I lied down on my stomach and let Mom and the bug pierce my blisters with a needle. I really can’t say that I wasn’t prepared but when push came to shove, I made one stupid mistake and that was that. On wednesday, my friend Vern came over to ride the route I take for the first time and I was complaining that I’ve had, I think, 6 flats this year. After about 10 miles, he said that considering how much broken glass was on my route, it was a wonder I’ve only had 6 flats. So I’ve decided to name the ride the “Crushed Glass 60”.

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4 Responses to “Crushed Glass…”

  1. Judy Shreve Says:

    You write such a great story – felt I was reading a short story – not a blog post!
    Those vases are so lovely – can’t wait to see that terra sig piece fired! — and jazz on the water — great way to spend an evening

  2. Eugene Hon Says:

    The vases look great, especially the terra sig surface development. What temperature are you going to fire them to, and will they remain white, or are you considering adding stains etc for more color variations in the future. It looks very promising; one of the shapes look like a bottle (especially the rim), this could really be an interesting new development for you. John is also working with terra sig with soluble salts. He is a very accomplished Ceramic Scientist – so check out is blog shortly, I am sure he will post his latest results very soon. He has already developed “new marks” with surface firing techniques that proved to be very successful

  3. Peter Says:

    I’m still having a little chuckle about the Red Zeppelin, and have visions of the poor stranded cyclist enveloped in a cold cloud of Co2. Mind you … from the temperatures that you seem to be having in your part of the world, a cold cloud of Co2 might be almost welcome! Maybe two of those cylinders should be part of the kit, one for the tyre, and one to cool down with! Really interesting what you are doing with vases. I like the tall necks.

  4. M@ Says:

    Jim,
    I used to ride my bike to work and I had flats constantly. For a while I was really impressed with myself for being able to fix a flat right on the spot. But that feeling of pride soon left me, and I just wanted to ride rather than fix the bike. I finally broke down and bought some tougher tires — and walla — no more flats.

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