Archive for October, 2012

Man, Did We Ever Get Plastered…

October 29, 2012

First off, the good news…

Maybe I should say that it’s better than good, it’s done as I have serious misgivings about the actual watertight-ness of my job. It’s interesting how easily I was able to subjugate my perfectionism on this job. Of course, if it does leak, I guess I’ll be back up there next year doing it all over again. Hopefully, if it does leak, it will be like the last leak insofar as it was gradual enough for it to take several years to make its way to the interior of the house. Anyway, I’m not fooling with it for some time either way. Sofia and I decided to tackle a long overdue project yesterday… making wet boxes. I knew that she would enjoy mixing plaster because it’s messy but also there’s the hidden chemistry lesson as she was able to feel the plaster going through its reaction and getting very warm. Here’s the process in steps…

In other news, all hallowed e’en is approaching quickly and although I abhor holidays, I can at least stomach the dressing up as one’s secret alter ego and parading around the neighborhood. The candy and commercialism… not so much. Strangely, the school has decided to try to extend the whole silliness by having a week of nonsense which included “silly hat day”, “weird socks day”, “dress up like a word day” and the infamous “crazy tie day”. Much to the bug’s dismay and much to my delight, I realized that I no longer own a tie of any sort. I consider it a form of success that my wardrobe no longer includes a tie or a suit jacket… I’ve finally arrived I guess. I hope no one dies for a while, not the least me. Consequently, I had to make a tie for the bug to wear that day and she was fine with that… no picture however. I did get this one of her considering a hat for the hat day…

That pic is somewhat reminiscent of Mr. McDowell in “A Clockwork Orange”. Also, for days now, Sofia has taken to wearing a pair of my reading glasses that broke and had no lenses. She’s worn them out to lunch and today she had them on when she left for school…

Sorry, a bit blurry. Anyway, making cups this week as I did last week. When I visited my good friend Ig in Des Moines, he had hundreds of pictures of his last visit to Singapore. I have been fascinated by an enormous project taken on there that includes these giant man-made trees that are and will be plastered with plants. I first read about this “Garden By The Bay” in Smithsonian magazine a while back and when I tried to find pics online, there were few. So I got some of Ig’s pics when I visited because his pics were really nice and from several vantage points. As it turns out, in the time since I first looked online for pictures, there’s been many more added so this isn’t quite the public service I intended. Apparently, this entire area was a swamp the last time my friend traveled there. Anyway, here’s a couple teaser shots and a link to an album of many more pictures on FB if you get a hankerin’…

Click here for more pics.

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Roof, Roof! Woof, Woof! Gok, Gok! I’ve Got Shingles…

October 14, 2012

When I was visiting my friend Ig in Des Moines, we had a familiar conversation that David Sedar1s covered in his book once. He said that every time he talks with someone that knows another language he likes to ask what is written as the sound a rooster makes in the morning. The hilarity is that people of other languages don’t think that a rooster sounds even remotely like “cockadoodledoo” and their rooster sound seems equally absurd to us. Anyway, Ig and I were talking about dog barks in other languages and I found a chart online to give other languages’ version of our “roof, roof” or “woof, woof” or even “arf, arf”. The slightly disappointing thing about the chart was that the difference between dog barks and cat mews wasn’t all that different but Ig grew up in Indonesia and when I asked him what the Indonesians would write for “woof woof”, bingo… “gok, gok”. Cracks me up, I wish all the dogs in my kennel of a neighborhood were making gok gok noises instead of the incredibly irritating American bark noises. Gok, gok just seems so much more subdued. Before moving on, here’s a pic of the dinner party we had at Ig’s the night before I left. Great food, great people and great conversation. Of course this is what happens when the photographer takes just a second too long to click the “shutter”…

Lots going on here at home not the least of which is that the bug finally got her own wheel…

So serious. Here’s a couple more shots…

A family that throws together… glazes together.

I thought I was a perfectionist, trying to teach Sofia how to throw revealed how much she’s got that particular personality trait…

So, moving on… what does the potter do after coming to the end of a long deadline. Roof, roof! We’ve been having problems with leaking in the ceiling of our living room for quite some time and like all roof leaks, they get progressively worse as time passes. “When it’s a’rainin’ it’s too wet to fix it and when it’s dry it’s just as good as any man’s roof”. As much as I love this quote and think that they are words to live by, there comes a time when things just have to be addressed. So fixing the roof and being a full time potter present one of the true dilemmas of my life. I don’t generate enough income to have someone fix the roof and expending that kind of money on the house is a good way to make me have to quit ceramics and get a job that pays minimum wage or greater. Of course, fixing the house by myself which is much more economical takes an inordinate amount of time which is time away from making pots. Catch 22 if you ask me. But I checked the weather radar and figured I had a week of temperate weather without rain and decided to go ahead. I have regrets already but maybe after it’s done they will dissipate. So I was very curious to see what was under all those shingle causing us so much grief. I figured a hole maybe a foot square or some small section of rotting wood. Here’s what I found…

What say we get a closer look at my small section of rotting wood…

This small hole of rotten wood was 9 feet by 4 feet with one of the rafters completely rotted so that I could crumble it with a squeeze of my bare hand. The hole presented a major problem in my race against the imminent rain that is on its way as I type this. I got 3 tarps up there last night and the wind picked up about midnight last night when I heard this crashing noise. This morning I found this on the sidewalk by the street in front of my house…

I guess it wasn’t as heavy as I thought. If I can get through today’s storm without inundating the entire house I’ll be home free. The whole thing begs a much larger question though… what kind of dumb ass decides to re-roof his house at age 54? There was 3 layers of shingles that need to be removed and a tin roof underneath them. I am not exaggerating when I say that I have never been this sore in this many places all at once in my entire life. I’m tired, sore, scraped, cut, hammered and feel like my ankles were tied together and I was dragged behind a pickup truck for miles. The human body is an amazing thing. OK, on to other things. The Louisville Clay 10 Anniversary show is having its reception this week…

And here’s a couple new pieces on Etsy…

Speaking of Etsy, I was very disappointed this week to find that they removed the “Ceramics and Pottery” category from the home page’s search. One can still find the category but it was difficult to find and I believe this will inhibit traffic to potter’s stores significantly.

It Must Be Something In The Acorns…

October 3, 2012

I’m writing this post from Des Moines today because this last weekend was my Michigan show’s closing reception and my first workshop. Before I get into that I would just like to mention that I’m a bit put out by a recent discovery that occurred while there. Not only was this my first workshop but it was also my first visit to Michigan (and it’s much closer to Louisville than I thought). It’s these black squirrels which I believe are really gray squirrels except that they’re black… see what I mean, that sounds ridiculous. I’m 54 years old and I’ve never heard of the the black gray squirrel. I couldn’t get my own picture because the ones around the art building at Olivet College seemed much more skittish than our very own Louisville gray gray squirrels. Someone at the show told me that there were spotted ones too that were black with white spots but I’m not sure if they were pulling my leg or not. Anyway here’s a pic I found online…

I just didn’t want to find out this way… someone could’ve told me. Anyway, onto the workshop. There was this little girl that was really interested in learning to throw…

Oh, sorry that’s something else… I’ll come back to that later. I have to say that my being nervous about this whole workshop demonstration thing is a bit of an understatement as I’ve never throw with anyone watching me before except Sofia. So before anyone even arrived we were setting up the wheel and it’s a Brent. And I have a Sh1mpo Wh1sper. One of the main features of the Whisper is that when you push the pedal to the “off” position the wheelhead stops instantly and then it moves freely in either direction just like a banding wheel. I’ve grown accustomed to this feature and I don’t consciously think about its use. The Brent, however, is different… when you push the pedal to the “off” position, the wheel head seems to coast to a stop but the deceiving thing about it is that it is still engaged with the motor. So the first thing I do is push on the pedal to see if it’s on and I back off the pedal and grab the wheel head with my right hand (just like I always instinctively do with the Whisper). Of course the wheel head doesn’t stop and the underside of it tears the skin off of my right pinkie finger<– redundant, I know. An inauspicious beginning I know. The next thing I know I'm wedging clay and bleeding on the canvas wedging board. But for all my internal anxiety, things went relatively smoothly from then on and the mission was eventually accomplished. Here's some pics that a young woman named Stephanie took with my camera…

I didn’t realize it when this shot was taken but everyone seems rapt with attention except the infant. Apparently he was much more interested in the woman on the far right’s hand bag. I mean jeeez! Here’s some more pics…

Another awful revelation is that the back of my head looks like a skunk’s ass or as they say in the south, a polecat’s hiney. In addition to the throwing I took a few sets of green beer glasses that somewhat illustrate the steps of the decorative process.

Later that night was the closing reception and a couple I know from undergraduate school showed up. I hadn’t seen either of them since 1985. Regular readers may recognize him from this picture…

That’s my friend Randy on the left. His wife Liz was at the reception also and it should be noted that in the above picture both Randy and me are wearing Liz’s dresses. Anyway here’s a picture of us at the event…

It’s clear from the picture that the years gone by have definitely made us both a little blurry. So, the work was very well received and sales were brisk. My hosts, Thia and Gary were extremely generous with their time and effort and we had a great time socializing both evenings that I was there. Earlier when I realized that the show was relatively close to Schaller Gallery, a gallery that I’ve been wanting to be a part of, I invited Anthony (Mr. Schaller) to come to the reception and maybe take some pots back with him. He and Michelle did attend and on Sunday they did load up some pots to take back to St. Joe. It was very nice meeting them also and hanging out for a bit. If you get a hankerin’, check out the Schaller Gallery website, it is a beautiful and very clean site. Here’s my page…

Last but not least, here’s what I missed by coming on the trip (and am still missing) and the expression on her face pretty much sums up her feelings about me leaving for a week…