Archive for December, 2011

Uke Ant Bee Serious…

December 30, 2011

T minus two days and counting… and all the hullabaloo will cease for a lovely forty two day stretch ending with another consumer-run-amok holiday where we will all be reminded that we really don’t know how to express our love for others and desperately need the help of a greeting card company, some blood diamonds and maybe some unfair trade chocolate. Wow, did that come out as stridently as it seems? See what this month and a half of nonsense does. On to more important matters, 2 be or not 2 be?…

The bug made a doll and I finally got it fired. Here she is in her Hamlet soliloquy pose…

She made another doll and I fired it but the arm broke off before we even bisqued it. She gave it to her grandfather for xmas and while he was unwrapping it, she warned him repeatedly to be careful because the gift was fragile. After he opened it, he joked with her and asked… where’s its arm? She immediately fired back… I told you it was fragile.

It seems that now that I’m 53 and am slowly (the key word being slowly) shedding some of the vanity associated with my appearance, I opted at the end of the summer to cut my hair off. I’m fine with it if I don’t see my reflection in a window or mirror accidentally and I have to admit that I’m loving the, not only low maintenance, but complete lack of maintenance involved in… well, maintaining it. Anyway, Mom loves it, Sofia loves to touch it (although she’s adamant about not liking the look of it) and I’ve gotten compliments about it but if I do look in the mirror, I see a grayer version of the little crewcut boy I was up until the 3rd grade… the one that desperately wanted long hair like one of the Beatles or any number of longhairs of the era. And just for the sake of context…

You may be wondering why I mention this. Well, after 45 years of having my hair in various stages of “long” and now having it very short I came upon this. It seems now that maybe I owe my past survival (and who knows?, maybe my catlike reflexes too) to my uncut locks and facial hair. So now all you Movember moustache growers have some scientific backup to nurturing that autumn chevron. So, a dilemma emerges… should I grow the mop back or should I flaunt the buzz cut and flirt with the disaster of going camping and being caught unawares while I sleep by a prowling bobcat, puma, or hell, what about a ninja? It seems extremely irresponsible to expose myself and family (if they’re camping with me) to this level of vulnerability. Next up, months back I got an email from a Mr. Sidney Swidler, who I confess, I hadn’t heard of at that time. If you are unfamiliar, Mr. Swidler collected POTS from the 80’s til the present and over the past years has spent much time arranging to bequeath his collection to a museum. The museum he chose is the Crocker Museum in Sacramento, CA. Apparently Mr. Swidler had collected over 1200 pieces and the Crocker got over 800 of them for the Swidler collection at their museum. Anyway, Mr. Swidler expressed interest in one of my bowls and I am now in Mr. Swidler’s personal collection. I was very happy to have been approached by Sidney and spend some good amount of time listening to his pottery collecting stories on the phone and am also very happy to be part of his collection. Here’s some pictures of the collection at the Crocker…

Also, if you’re on FB and a “friend” of J. Shiloh Gastello, he has many more picture from a trip he made to the Crocker here. If you’re really interested and not Mr. Gastello’s “friend”, maybe he’ll accept a friendship request from you. OK, xmas. The bug made me this box that I will hang in my studio. She was so excited to give it too me and spent about a week or so hiding it from me…

And no young girl should be without a pink ukulele…

And in the rock tradition of smashing instruments, here’s the bug feigning destruction…

It’s been awhile so here’s some bug drawings. A nice winter scene that hasn’t happened yet (it was 58 degrees today)…

And lest we think that the poop fascination stage is over, it’s more like it’s entered the hyper-poop phase…

I have to admit I love the expressions on their faces. Last but not least, I’ve been doing my excruciating physical therapy exercises and have increased my mobility although still have much pain during the exercises. That being said, I’ve been throwing lots of small things…

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Embrace The Pain…

December 17, 2011

How’s that for holiday sentiment? Regular readers of this blog may think that I’m referring to the pain of enduring the holidays themselves (and there’s some truth to that anyway) but this time I’m referring to real physical pain. I finally couldn’t tolerate my shoulder problems and went to a “shoulder specialist”. I’m surprised that there are shoulder specialists and am hoping that in the future I don’t develop a need to see a “last joint of the pinkie specialist” or a “profuse earwax specialist” or maybe even a “graying moustache specialist”… oh hell, I already need the last one. Anyway the official diagnosis confirmed my suspicions elaborated in the previous post… frozen shoulder! Wow, to think I never even heard of frozen shoulder until months ago and now I’m lucky enough to experience it first hand. As in all things “medical”, the highbrow terminology for this is adhesive capsulitis and according to the May0 Clin1c’s website, it usually occurs because of a lack of mobility brought on in the aftermath of a stroke or mastectomy. I’m pretty sure that neither of these things happened to me recently but nevertheless, frozen shoulder it is. The bad news is that the treatment in my case is physical therapy which is highbrow terminology for twisting and stretching my shoulder till I almost pass out from the pain to increase mobility. Apparently I am “allowed” to stretch into the painful zone “as much as I can stand”… this is something that I have really been looking forward to 3 times a day. Considering the fact that I stopped cycling because I figured the pain was coming from a tear of some sort and that the cycling might be exacerbating this tear, the good news is that I was wrong and I will be able to cycle again when the weather warms in the spring. Hopefully my mobility will approach normalcy by then. Obviously, the really good news is that I don’t think my fledgling career in ceramics is threatened by this. Moving on, I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel. That light being January 2nd… I’m using the shark method. Just keep swimming and eating. The benefit of all this hoopla that I wasn’t considering until today is that the bug is off school for weeks and it will be so nice to have her energy around the house all day. By the way, her energy is off the charts these days as she wakes up bouncing off the walls as though someone injected her with amphetamines first thing. We had the Xmas sale at the Mount last weekend and I’m pleased to report that it was better overall compared to the previous year and we think that it will continue to grow. Here’s a shot of the room…

And there’s activity similar to the xmas sale activity on Etsy as sales are better than last year but not nearly as good as I see on other potter’s blogs. So the trend is in the right direction. Here’s some new pots from the last firing (clicking first image goes to etsy, the others enlarge)…

I finally had a bit of success with that temperamental crawly glaze on these ewer forms…

He Makes Bad Decisions…

December 8, 2011

Well, as I mentioned before, I’ve got a bum shoulder. Maybe a “frozen” shoulder, although I never even heard of a frozen shoulder until recently. A couple months ago it hurt but not when I was throwing pots and I was thankful for that. I decided to start throwing again this week and apparently that “not hurting while throwing” thing is a thing of the past as it hurts like hell even while throwing. I’m trying not to become depressed about the potential for this to end my ceramics “career”. I’m heading to a “shoulder specialist” next tuesday although I’m not optimistic. The reason I’m not is because I’m never optimistic about any interaction with the health care “industry”. So anyway, the other day Sofia came in while we were waking up and asked me to throw her on the bed. She loves to get thrown. I was aware of my injury but agreed to do it anyway thinking that I would be careful. I picked her up (no problem) and gingerly threw her backward onto the bed. Mom was standing there and when I threw Sofia, she saw me wince just a bit and she started in on me… “why are you doing that?!!!”. I said rather sheepishly, I was being careful. Sofia turned to Mom very seriously and said, “he makes bad decisions”. It’s true I guess. Last week I fell down the last 4 steps on the stairs and without thinking (instinctively) I broke my fall with my bad shoulder. The pain was indescribable as I lie in the foyer writhing with fluid running out of my eyes, nose and mouth. Anyway, I’m sure the doctor will fix everything (much like I’m sure Newt Gingrich will fix our country’s problems). So, lets see, this weekend is the xmas sale at the mount, please come out if you get a hankerin’. There will be food and wine and lots of pots…

I also went to visit my good friend Jeff’s the other day and got to check out what he’s been working on. Here’s a dude that’s strung out on caffeine…

Here’s a woman in a chair sitting on a big hand…

Here’s an older piece (but finished) of a mutual friend of ours…

In other news we put up the tree last night… well at least Sofia enjoyed it…

I spent a lot of time last week taking photos, processing photos and uploading photos and at one point I had over 100 pieces in my etsy shop… that was a first. Here’s some new pieces (clicking the first one will go to etsy, the rest will enlarge)…