Archive for March, 2013

Feema Koola Ya Ya, How Arcane…

March 30, 2013

Sometimes as a parent, one looks at their child and may think… she looks like her Mom but I don’t see any resemblance to me. Could it be that she’s not mine? Then she’ll do something or say something or make a face and you think to yourself, oh yeah, she’s mine. The bug has a tendency to endlessly repeat original nonsense words to the point of distraction. And so it goes… feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya, feema koola ya ya. This is reminiscent to me of kermikaw kermikaw kermickaw which she used to repeat while jumping on the couch. But that was when she was two and maybe at two she thought that kermikaw was a word but feema koola ya ya she knows are not words that have meanings but repeat she does. I have done this same thing most of my life and so I know that she’s mine. Maybe the phrase is an secret chant that reveals a mysterious truth… or arcanum, which leads me to this book…


At the Alabama Clay Conference both Gerit Grimm and Kurt Weiser highly recommended this book (see, I was paying attention) and I usually do not base my reading choices on recommendations from people that I hardly know but I was captivated by the idea of a true story or subterfuge and espionage that revolves around porcelain. I won’t ruin the story (as if someone might actually go read this) but the pith of it is that when explorers brought porcelain back to Europe from Asia, the monarchies went apeshite and the white clay became literally as valuable as gold. To stop the flow of money to Asia, one monarch decided to use his alchemist to find the arcanum for porcelain so they could make their own. Arcanum also refers to the secret formula for turning base metals to gold and, as a bonus, the fountain of youth or immortality. Of course the alchemists never did turn anything into gold and I’m sure they welcomed working on the mystery of the formula for porcelain because it was actually possible. What follows is many years of conspiracy, espionage, back-stabbing, trial and error, war, etc. I’ll leave it at that and only add that the behavior of the monarchies and powerful of the time only confirms that the wealthy and powerful from any time period (and especially our time period) are and were bereft of any sort of consideration of the plight of the masses upon whose backs they accumulated their fortunes. And so another clumsy segue… I’ve been seeking my own arcanum of late attempting to add these feldspars, frits and other crushed up stones and shells to yield a glaze or two to my liking…


My last big glaze test was a complete bust so I’m hoping for a bit of success this time.


I’m also working out some different terra sig colors…


So here’s some of the test tiles and I’ll be firing them in a couple days…


Last but not least, even though I’ve been sick I took Sofia to our friend’s home last night to participate in their annual pysanky-fest. I don’t associate pysanky with the Ishtar worshipping holiday that we now refer to as Easter (Ishtar/Easter), to me it’s just an excuse to make cool decorations on eggs. Here’s the bug hard at work…





I wish I was feeling a bit better and had more time to commit to some intricate eggage but it was not to be. Also, the UofL basketball game was on at the same time and you know how crazy everyone is about hoops. Sayanora.

(B)eer (G)lasses, (B)uddy (G)uy and (B)isque (G)oing…

March 7, 2013

Where to start… Mom and I had a rare night out the other night and went to see the one and only Buddy Guy. Jonny Lang opened for him so it was night full of greasy screaming blues guitar work. Buddy, at age 76, was fantastic. I’ve always liked his guitar playing and I have an acoustic album titled “Blues Singer” that is really my favorite and it shows off his singing prowess which is pretty great too. I never got to see him before and found him to be wildly entertaining in between songs also. Here’s a video my friend Jennifer took with her phone (there’s some cussing at the end so beware the kids)…

There was quite a bit more cussing as the concert progressed (which I enjoy) and Buddy seemed to credit hip hop for making it so he could be himself on stage and talk the way he does normally. Got a bisque going as I type this and hopefully can do a glaze firing next week. I went over to my friend Jeff’s the other day and he’s finally gotten some of his pieces fired. Here’s a bunch of pictures of the work…















I have to say that one of the dudes strapped to each other in the chair looks like Henry Kissinger. So I was very happy a week or so ago to come home and find that Sofia had dug out the chess set. I taught her how to play and she seemed to catch on to it pretty good. Here’s the bug playing with Mom…


Of course I think she thought it would be like Sorry or Monopoly and that she might win right off the bat. I haven’t let her win yet and you know what that makes me?… a meanie. Anyway, when she came home from school the other day she was busy writing down some important notes and I found out later that she had some better ideas about how chess should be played. Here’s her rules…


My favorite rule is that bishops actually accompany the king or queen when they move. Let’s see Bobby Fischer win playing the Queen’s gambit with those rules! The bug has also started doing these silhouette drawings…


Last but not least, I’ve finally finished burnishing, shellacking, etching, shellacking, etching, shellacking, etching, painting terra sig thrice on a bunch of beer glasses (my aching back)…


Here’s some psychedelia for any of you shroom eaters…