Archive for September, 2011

What?, Can’t Hear Ya There…

September 26, 2011

Finally got the kiln fired and have a couple pressing tasks to attend to before getting the photography done, not the least of which is to see if I can locate a backdrop similar to the one that Michael Coffee talks about in his photo setup on this post. Here’s a glimpse with a couple non-professional pics…

I had a bit of a rough patch with an ear infection last week. I thought initially that an ear infection was an easy thing to attend to and went to an immediate care place to try and save the money of an appointment with my doctor (this is the same doctor that suggested I work in a hazmat suit). To make a long story short, I got a prescription and after 2 days, I was losing the hearing in my left ear and the whole left side of my head was in pain. No doubt the hazmat suit probably would have prevented the whole thing. In desperation, I ended up at an ENT and he put this thing in my ear, said lean your head back on the headrest and this is going to be uncomfortable. Now as someone who lives in a constant state of discomfort, I’m here to tell you that what ensued was in no way something akin to discomfort. This device was sucking out my ear and the pain was the worst in recent memory… it may have been the worst since I fell off my bike and landed on my hip or when I walked full speed into the coffee table causing a hematoma. It’s much better now but his little technique brought me to my knees in pain. As I was leaving the ENT dude said, water is the enemy so you need to plug your ear when you take a shower. That was news to me… water is the enemy? I thought picking in my ears with dog poop on my fingers was the enemy. He suggested I get a cotton ball (not a cotton boll) and put vaseline on it to keep the water out but I had neither lying around and decided to improvise…

It’s not as glamorous as the cotton boll setup but it has been working ok. There was a big workshop at the mount this last weekend at the Mary Anderson Center. There were three potters, all of whom teach at universities, and they refer to themselves as “the firm” (there’s actually a fourth guy but he wasn’t there). The origin of this name has to do with a passage in a 1950s boy scout manual and is too long of a story to elaborate here. Their idea is that exhibiting and doing workshops together is more likely to be successful than flying solo on everything. Here’s a couple shots of them working and their names from left to right are Steve Heywood, Mike Schmidt and Brian Jensen…

They made quite a bit of work and it was interesting to watch them all working side by side and cutting up together since they’ve known each other since college. Here’s a pic of Steve followed by some work he made and finished pieces that were in the gallery…

Here’s Michael followed by some of the pots he made and some finished ones in the gallery…

I don’t have a shot of Brian standing by his pots because he wasn’t around when I had my camera out but here’s some of his workshop pieces (Sofia’s favorites) and some finished amorphous pieces in the gallery…

The bug showed up on the second day and was pretty mesmerized by watching them make stuff…

She’s been busy lately playing and making stuff…

Here’s one her latest drawings…

Eeww, Gross!…

September 15, 2011

Hmmm, where to start? Here’s some more greenware…

I ran a bisque last night and it’s still cooling. When I turned on my enviro-vent which is the fan attached to the steel stand that my kiln sits on, it made a loud clanging sound similar to the sound of the radiator fan in a car smashing against the radiator while it’s turning. Not sure about replacement, it’s 150$ and I have to disassemble the kiln to get at it. I’m sure I’ll warm up to the idea after some time has passed. Here’s the newest addition to the household, meet “king”/”polychrome”/”angelfish”…

I really liked polychrome as a name but the bug changed it to angelfish at the last minute and I thought she might move on to another but now it seems that she’s settled on that. This is a betta fish and I found out after we got it that they are so aggressive that if you hold a mirror up to the edge of the fishbowl, the fish will think it’s another of its kind and attack it. I’m wondering how many generations of fish that have had the result of the mirror being held up to them and, after attacking, hit their nose up against glass will it take before they evolve to a species that simply expects to hit glass when they see another of their kind. We were out walking the dog the other day and the bug picked up a squarish rock about the size of a baseball and was carrying it around with her. At one point she put it under her shirt and called to me… hey dad, I’m pregnant. Although hearing this is not always something a dad doesn’t want to hear, when your daughter is 6, it seems like a premonition. Anyway, she kept up with the pregnant stuff until she “gave birth” and the stone came out from under her shirt. This was short lived as it immediately went down her pants and as I turned around, she was walking with both hands holding the stone through her pants saying her baby was in her pants. Eventually, she let go and the rock slid slowly down the inside of her pants (she had tights on) and eked its way out at her ankle. This wasn’t all that unusual in the shenanigans that kids are always doing but coincidentally, it is a perfect segue into another somewhat related story. I would like to preface this by stating that if you are easily offended or unduly reverent of celebrities, you should probably stop here. A good friend of mine and his wife met at the K3ntucky Fr1ed Ch1ck3n technical center 20 something years ago. Back then they were in their 20s and there were people at the tech center that were much older than they were. On more than one occasion, an older worker related a story to them about the famous c0l0nel (you know the one I’m talking about). By the way, if you examine the company’s signage, the ol’ c0l0nel gets younger every year. But anyway, the story goes that the c0l0nel back then would occasionally attend company events and everyone seemed to be reverent of the famous… not sure what to call him. Anyway, at a reception of some sort the c0l0nel, standing up, starts to wriggle his hips in an unusual way and the people near him became curious about the movement when suddenly he shook a… hmmm, how should I say this?, oh hell, a turd out his pantleg and onto the floor. Now, it’s entirely possible that this is fabricated but knowing what I know, I think not. This begs the question… what does this have to do with ceramics? All I can say is that from my experience, potters are truth seekers and I feel it’s my duty (my duty not the c0l0nel’s dootie) to relay a hidden truth whenever possible. That now will segue into even more grossness. So, my friend Steven and I were having java yesterday morning on the outdoor patio of a coffee shop near our homes when a bus pulled up suddenly. The bus had a front door and another door toward the back. The back door swung open and a woman with a coke and a purse stood on the bottom step (still on the bus) and threw up 3 times onto her purse and the road. We tried not to look… really, but it was like watching a train wreck. OK, you’ve had enough. Here’s some greenware, all in the kiln which I will unload tomorrow…

Summer Daze…

September 4, 2011

Here’s an update from squiggly headquarters…

Let’s see, where to start? You might remember a post I did a while back about a backfired practical joke using glasses with no lenses here. Well, the chip off the ol’ block had similar ideas and got a pair of my broken reading glasses and paraded around the house with them for a day or so, stopping frequently in front of mirrors…

On Tuesday of this past week a very good friend and I went to his parents’ lake cabin on Cumberland Lake, which is on the border of KY and TN. We just stayed one night and it was extremely relaxing and just what I needed. Apparently, his parents got a tract of land years back and started building the cabin. Lake Cumberland is really a reservoir created by damming the Cumberland River in the 50s. The dam has had chronic leakage problems and apparently right after my friend’s parents got started on their cabin, the lake was drained and the water receded from the tributary that lies directly in front of their cabin’s view. Here’s the view from the deck overlooking the ravine that was once lake…

So originally they were told that the water would be restored to original dammed up depth within 3 or 4 years and I guess it’s been more like 7 and still the leak and therefore possible dam breach have not been fixed. Here’s a shot looking off to the left from the deck which you can see the lake in the distance…

Although the lack of water has damaged tourism and has dampened the desire to use this cabin, my friend and I made our way down to the previous lake bottom and hiked the tributary down to where the lake is now. It was a wonderful walk and I was amazed to see how nature is taking back the holler within the short time span. There are tons of trees that look like bushes from the deck but are in fact a good 10 to 15 feet tall already. There were egrets, geese, ducks and heron. Insects abound and in the pools from the almost dry creek there were lots of little fish and snakes. I was particularly interested in the stratified rock formations that lined the walls of the ravine and were once submerged…

All a subsistence potter would need would be a good pulverizer and some way to haul a couple ton rock out of the valley to have some mighty interesting glaze tests. There was also tons of chert on the lake floor so it would have been a veritable wonderland to the flint knappers. On to cycling and my shoulder injury. As depressing as it was for me, I took over two weeks off from cycling because I thought my shoulder injury might be related to riding. I took some friends advice and lowered the front tire pressure and bit the bullet yesterday and went for a ride while Sofia was at the movies with her friend. The word’s still out on the shoulder as it feels no worse for wear but the hiatus from cycling did not make it better and the riding did not make it worse. More interesting to me is that I managed to do what I always do which is to overdo it. It was very hot yesterday and there was a heat advisory and an air quality alert. I figured I’d go out 15 miles, turn around and be done with a 30 mile ride. At 15 miles, I felt great and thought I’ll go 20 and turn around. Then at 20 I thought, I’ll go 25 and turn around. The problem was that my bike speedometer’s thermometer was pegged at a whopping 111 degrees fahrenheit for more than an hour straight and the average temp was about 104. I ended up going 50+ miles and after about 35, I hit a wall and wasn’t sure I was going to make it home. Apparently the temperature is higher wherever the blacktop is because the black is absorbing the sunlight and the heat is simply radiating from the paved roads and bike paths. Speaking of blacktop, I heard an interesting etymological story on the radio about the origins of the word tarmac. So there was a man named McAdam who invented a procedure for paving roads in the 1800s that consisted of laying down strata of stone aggregates starting with course and ending with fine and coating with a binder. Since his name was McAdam, this kind of road surface became know as macadam (which I always thought was pronounced with the accent on the first syllable but it’s the second). Later tar was introduced as the binder and combining tar with macadam yielded the word tarmac. So there you have it… who knew? Finally, more greenware. I posted the first pic at the beginning of this post because FB apparently will no longer give me a choice of which picture within a post to display as a thumbnail. Anyway, lots of shellacking going on…

Oh, I almost forgot. I’ve been working on a little sculpture and came up with this piece. I think it looks kinda greek and was contemplating calling it Venus or something similar. I decided to leave the arms off because I really need practice modelling all those little fingers…