Archive for November, 2012

Burnish, Shellac, Repeat…

November 24, 2012

Very busy around here because, you know, it’s that time of year again. I’m thankful, as many are, that yet one more 2012 holiday has passed and only two more and I’m in the clear til Smellentine’s Day. My timing this year is off as I’m a bit behind getting ready for the xmas rush (if there actually is one). I think the week and 1/2 I spent on the roof and the two times I’ve gotten a cold in the last couple weeks didn’t help much. So after the throwing and trimming, the tedium begins. First there’s a coat or sometimes two of terra sig and burnishing. I made a little video of the burnishing…

It’s not the most exciting movie but that’s what gets done before the first coat of shellac. Then there’s cleaning up the feet and shellacking the chop mark…

Then, after the etching…

Chop shot b&w glamor shot…

After first coat of shellac (first of 3)…

Another b&w shot…

So, on to other things. I went out to get a beer a while back with a friend and he pulled out on of these…

At the beer place he had it loaded with india ink and the reason he was showing it to me was that we had talked before then about some of the limitations of brushing shellac, in my case, but anything that gets brushed. The main limitation is that you can only brush a line as long as the brush’s load lasts. This is not a huge problem for me but I was and am very curious as to how the removal of this limitation would affect the decorative stage. So, a couple days after our beer drinking, two of them arrive in the mail and I’ve been waiting for the shellacking to begin to try it out. So here’s the pieces of the brush…

Then I got an eye dropper and loaded the chamber with shellac…

This is where the problems happened. The way it works is that a bit of a squeeze on the chamber holding the liquid forces said liquid to the brush’s tip…

But I had to squeeze like hell and once the flow started I thought I’d be home free but alas the shellac was simply too thick and dries too quickly for me to use effectively. However, if you’re a potter and you do a lot of stain underglaze work, I think this thing would be great and maybe you’d just like to use it with ink. I’m gonna get some different colored india ink so the bug and I can use them for our collaborative drawings. Last but not least, for her birthday (she’s 8! AAhhhhhh!) the bug got some high top sneakers with sequins and purple this and that all over them and I didn’t like them but that’s the way it goes. Fortunately, she did not like the way they felt so they took them back (her and Mom) and came home with some c0nverse allstar5 and it just so happened that I needed a new pair as my old ones are threadbare. Sofia was very excited for me and her to have the same shoes because other than our matching “hell0 k1tty” pajamas, this is the only apparel that we have in common. So I had to get the same color and everything…

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Pot…

November 15, 2012

My last post made me start thinking of those nostalgic herbal days of the past. As a child of the 60s/70s, I grew up in an era that preceded the “war on drugs” with its commensurate “this is your brain on drugs” PSAs which, by the way, have been immensely successful in some ways. I found this out many years after college when Mom and I got together. She’s at least one generation younger and occasionally a conversation with her friend or friends would meander around to drug use or maybe just college shenanigans and I would relay a story from the old school days that inevitably revealed the preponderance of mary jane, say in the dormitories or something, and the friend would suddenly look at me with the look. If you’re in your 50s, then you probably know the look… it’s the “wow, I knew you were old but I didn’t realize you were one of those criminal druggies the frying egg warned us about”. The fact is that I didn’t even know anyone in school who didn’t get stoned at parties and other social events and of course there were some that started when they awoke and kept going til they hit the sack. The dorms were crawling with parties and everyone it seemed had a rolled up towel at the base of their door. We’d play darts, listen to our LPs or sit around and have hilarious conversations that we would forget ever happened the following day.

So here’s my favorite cannabis story. The background for it is that I never tried pot until I was 18 in central NY, which in retrospect probably had more to do with availability than anything else because I lived in a very very small rural town. Sure there were kids that got high but it wasn’t as prevalent as it certainly must have been in larger towns or cities. I mention this only to point out that the couple of times I partook prior to college did not qualify me as experienced in any way. So, at 19 I ventured south not realizing the vast differences that still haunt me today. At Thanksgiving the first year in KY I traveled to Louisville to spend the Thanksgiving break with a friend who had graciously invited me to his home because I couldn’t afford to make the trip north. I also had no car and no driver’s license (another story) so I wasn’t going anywhere. The point is that it was November and I had only arrived in KY two months prior. So I came up here to Louisville and my friend (let’s call him Marvin) lived south of downtown in what seemed like an urban irish neighborhood but who knows really. So we arrive at Marvin’s house and his Mom’s in the kitchen and his Dad’s not home… yet. We say hi and immediately head upstairs to Marvin’s little brother’s room. The door was closed and as we opened it to enter, a dense cloud of smoke wafts out of the room. We entered the room and quickly closed the door. The only light in the room came from a window and it was overcast so the room was relatively dark. “The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys” was blaring from the stereo and Marvin’s brother was sitting cross-legged on the bed with a bread bag full of pot in front of him…

He hands Marvin a spleef and, being as inexperienced as I was, I voiced my reticence about getting stoned while his Mom was just downstairs. Marvin assured me that his mom never came up to their rooms and that I shouldn’t worry about it. Well, I doubted that there would be a problem because, well because clearly Marvin and his brother had no compunction about it. So I thought, what the hell and we got really baked. I remember to this day that wonderful Stevie Winwood song pulsing with the surreal lyrics and suddenly the door opens and this big, very stout red-headed dude walks into the room with a menacing look on his face. He was not sociable or friendly in the least and he kept staring at me in a very disturbing manner. I know what you’re thinking… that I was so stoned that I was just being paranoid. To counter this notion, I’ll take a brief digression as I point out that years later I became friends with another Louisville native who coincidentally knew this same football-player sized redhead. Before I ever relayed this story, he told me a story of how they had gone hiking down in the Red River Gorge together and as they stopped to eat something, the dude took out a shotgun and as he loaded the first bullet said… “one for X” (insert my friend’s name there) and after loading a second said… “one for me”. Fortunately, nothing tragic came of this but it gives you an idea of the sense that I felt in Marvin’s brother’s room. Eventually the big dude left to my great relief and I settled back into a blissful euphoria. As we relaxed in the smoke-filled room, I was wakened from my reverie by the sound of Marvin’s mother yelling up the stairs… “dinner’s ready”. As they say, or should I say, as they text nowadays… OMG! OMG! Really? Dinner’s ready? Of course being the veterans that Marvin and his brother were, they had no problem with this and simply dismissed me as being silly. So down the stairs. At that point Marvin’s father was home and his other brother, a law student at UofL and his sister were all seated at the dinner table and I was about as stoned as I had ever been. Introductions were made and of course that entire interchange was peppered with my thoughts of “did I just say that out loud?” and “was she talking to me?”, etc. We eventually sat down to one of the longest meals I’ve ever eaten. Aside from playful smirks and jibes from the other siblings, what I remember most was Marvin’s father, who I eventually came to be much closer to, holding court in a way as he talked on and on about the local democratic politics of whatever district they resided there in the city. I hadn’t a clue what he was on about nor do I now but what I really wanted was to climb those stairs as soon as possible and get back to that cave of a bedroom and chill chill chill. Thus my real introduction to the demon gateway drug was complete. The next day was a repeat of that day and we went out that night, robbed a liquor store, beat up a homeless person, stole a car, tortured a stray dog and finally jumped off of a 10 story parking garage because we thought we could fly. I guess those PSAs were right and war on drugs is legitimate. And now all these years later, no one realizes that I am addicted to meth and heroin… isn’t it obvious by the pots I make? Lest this post be all about pot and not about pots, here’s the cuppage I’ll be working on for some time…

Get Up, Stand Up, Mon…

November 10, 2012

“Stand up for your rights”. I don’t usually wander into the political arena here on the blog because, well because, people are crazy about all that deceit and disinformation but I have to say that there were some good signs of progress (at least for me) that came out of the election, not the least of which was the votes for legalizing the demon weed. Unfortunately, the conflict between the federal law and the state law have rendered the vote, more than likely, ineffective. But one can hope and as coincidences would have it, last week the bug and I stopped in at our favorite Vietnamese grocery to pick up some necessities and got some rastafarian hair… I mean some long string beans. Sofia immediately took to the rasta look and fired up a spleef in the kitchen…

Oh, they grow up so fast. There’s a striking resemblance don’t you think?…

Anyway, it’s been busy for some time here as Sofia’s birthday and all hallowed e’en are in the same week. She dressed as a hula dancer for halloween…

And she had a blue cake that Mom made for her birthday…

So she’s been having quite a whirlwind. She asked for books for her birthday this year (a dream come true for mom and dad) and hoping it lasts. Also, the bug brought this drawing of Mr. and Mrs. Scars home from school, it cracks me up…

Anyway, if you’ve read this blog at all over the years, you’re probably aware of how much I abhor the holidays so I’m glad to get one out of the way and been wishing the election would be over for more than a year. I have been trying to get another kiln fired before the holidays (the ones I really hate) and unfortunately I was already cutting it close and got sick on Monday and am still not well so I lost a whole week of productivity. I’m about ready for deco though…

In other news, I think this computer is on its last leg and hate the realization that I cannot function as a potter without one. It slowed down the other day to the point where I wanted to throw it out the window. I believe the hard drive is going as there’s an audible whirring sound when I turn it on. Maybe it has something to do the the 15,000 photos on there? So, I leave you with a bit of Bob…