Archive for the ‘studio’ Category

Cleanliness Is Next To, er, Something…

November 17, 2009

Whatever, my studio is usually bedlam probably because I never finished the construction all the way before I moved my clay stuff back in and started working… nah, it’s because I’m sloppy and maybe secretly because I cherish the idea that something beautiful might emerge from the chaos. Anyway Sofia and I decided to get some cleaning done and in a classic amateur blogger sort of way, I didn’t take a before picture. First I moved everything that was on the one half of the studio to the other half

and had to leave room for the real reason that I am doing this now… to move the loveseat that our neighbor gave us into the studio from the foyer. I accepted the loveseat because I thought it would be great to do my decorating on something with cushions as opposed to the lawn chair that I use now that cuts the circulation off in my legs. But the wee couch is not something I could just move in and while I’ve been “a’gittin around to it”, Sunglasses has not only claimed it as hers, she’s gone ahead and eaten about half of it. Next we swabbed the deck and got up all the glaze that’s been spilled, Sofia is at this wonderful age where she actually wants to help do everything and she was very helpful throughout the afternoon.

After that dried, we spread the thick plastic that was left over from winterizing the windows upstairs over the newly claimed and cleaned floorspace. This will make future cleanups so much easier…

Right about then, Sofia decided that the floor was a perfect dance floor and I had to let her dance around for a couple of songs on the CD player before we could resume…

Here’s the love seat in place with an old blanket covering the lacerations. I couldn’t get Sofia to not have her tongue sticking out so here’s the pic, she loved it so much when we got it in place that we both had a cup of chamomile tea on it where she insisted on clinking our cups together before every sip and saying “slainte”. I think she was so excited about having a new look to the room that she would have slept there if we had let her…

Hopefully I can get the other half of the room to a workable state today but, as always, I have to find a place for a bunch of stuff that’s in the way and there simply isn’t any place to put it. When I take the dog out, I stand under our sweet gum tree while she finds the perfect square centimeter to pee on. In the fall most of the tree turns a beautiful gold and yellow but some of the leaves go to an almost black…

Crash, Bang, Crash, Bang, Boom…

September 4, 2009

Something’s going on in Nora’s room. That’s a line from one of Sofia’s favorite books. Every once in a while I like to take a hammer and break my pots because I want to see if the wall thickness is a smooth taper from foot to rim.

shards

Nah, not really… my slightly enlarged studio space has allowed me to do about 4 kilnloads of work before firing whereas before I could only do about 1 1/2 and then ran out of places to set greenware. Now that I’m done photographing there’s finished pots everywhere and there’s no room again. So… shelving. The reason there aren’t shelves already is because the space was originally intended to be my studio and when Mom saw the big windows we decided to make it the new living room and put my studio where the current living room is. But now we’ve decided to go back to the original plan. Anyway, I had almost everything up off the floor save a few and decided to set them on the back of a makeshift table that is really the top of an old drawing table set across one of those collapsible ladders. I had set my drill on the front edge of the surface and put all the pots to the back edge so as to leave as much room as possible to use for other pots. When I had all the pots there, I picked up the drill (a fairly heavy 3/4″ drill) to put it away and came to the awful realization that said drill was serving as a counterbalance to all the pots along the back edge. Drill in one hand, the drawing table top teetered back tossing a bunch of pots off the back and even some went crashing into the 11 foot window I put in last summer. I may not have mentioned this before but although my vision is failing, my feet suffer a severe case of plantar fasciitis, and a long list of other forms of decrepitude, I do have catlike reflexes. These lightning reflexes allowed me to right the tabletop before all the pots slid off.

shards

Luckily a bowl that crashed against the window didn’t damage the glass. So here’s the shelves, one set in each corner and they don’t hold that many pieces really…

shelves

The shelf brackets are rated at 150 lbs. per pair but there is something very unnerving about putting a bunch of finished work up there. Then this ice cream guy shows up again…

shelves

Here’s a bowl I posted to Etsy yesterday (Click 1st pic to go to Etsy, the other enlarges)…

bowl

bowl

Down In The Dungeon…

August 7, 2009

I got a comment from Andrew Widdis all the way over in Melbourne, Australia asking to see shots of the kiln. The kiln’s not much to see as it sits so quietly amid the visual pandemonium that surrounds it. Before last summer I had everything clay in a little room in the back of my house, kiln included. That’s when I decided to add on to the room which is shown a bit in this post. To make a long story short, I put the kiln in the basement which is where I used to do woodworking although I sold much of my woodworking stuff to create room to put my clay stuff so that I could add on to the studio. When I moved my clay stuff back upstairs into the bigger studio, I left the kiln in the basement and decided I’d have to decide between the tedium of carrying each piece down and up and down and up the stairs to bisque/glaze/glazefire/photograph… and the kiln being in the studio and taking up precious working space. So for now it’s in the basement… but so is everything else.

basement

basement

The wet floor adds to the squalid nature of the basement and is a relatively new problem. The wettest year since I’ve lived in KY (23 years), a new leak that I’m guessing is because the addition’s roof is about 1 foot short of the house’s roof proper and I didn’t think that 1 foot needed it’s own gutter, and of course my recent battle with the clogged plumbing have all combined into a less than hospitable environment to work but I’ve had the doors open for about a week and it’s starting to dry out a bit (crossing my fingers that no critters take up residence). I plan on dealing with these things after these next firings are done but I’ve always lived my life according to the wisdom given to the Arkansas Traveler… (paraphrasing) AT – “Why don’t you fix that leaky roof?” Old Man – “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.” So we’ll see, add it to the neverending list. So here’s the kiln… no big shakes, although it’s cooling with last night’s bisque in it… finally.

basement

While I was down there taking pics and loading I took some pictures of the kiln while loading…

basement

basement
In the last pic you can see Sofia’s little smiley faced tile peeking out from under the bowl.

Inclement Saturday…

May 16, 2009

So what’s new? Still fiddling with this new camera… I decided to shoot a video of throwing a pot yesterday. I’ve seen some here and there on blogs and thought I’d try. I had no idea how slow I throw. The video was 20 minutes long… the “hangle” wasn’t right neither, music I had on was too loud and when I was downloading it to the computer, it was taking so long that I forgot and absent-mindedly unplugged it while it was still downloading. Oh well, who wants to watch a 20 minute video anyway? Here’s a pic of my backyard from my new addition’s big window…

backyard

Some splattery bowls…

greenware

Last but not least, the little bug’s magna doodle this morning. She calls it a manga doodle though… check out those hats.

magnadoodle

So it’s a big day later as we have the first ballet recital, not sure if they allow cameras. When I took her to ballet class 2 weeks ago, there was a sign that said not to take pictures so we’ll see.

Rainy Days And Mondays…

May 6, 2009

And Tuesdays and Wednesdays… we had a busy day and Sofia’s going through clay like shite through a goose. I now have no room for more bowls and she has no room for more tiles but it’s so much fun to have her in the studio busily working away while I’m at the wheel and we’re jamming to some good music. Occasionally she comments that she likes a particular song and I kid myself that her having my taste in music will last. Enjoy it while it lasts is all I can do. More importantly, I’m hoping that what sinks in is that making things is a normal way to make a living. Here’s the tilemaker posing with her little tile…

sofia

We also had ballet class yesterday. I had never taken her before and it was funny to watch the little girls jumping around and mimicking the teacher… kind of a cute overload and Sofia had been asking me to take her so I could watch. All this dancing is creeping into her drawings lately… talk about cuttin’ the rug…

drawing

More greenware…

greenware

Hear No Evil…

May 5, 2009

sofia

It was a very productive day in the studio… well at least for Sofia. I was way off myself but she was like a tile-making machine. At this rate we’re gonna have to re-tile the kitchen counter or the shower stall and they both need it really bad. She’s definitely leaning towards minimalism in her decorative technique. Here’s the latest batch…

tiles

tiles

The bowls are piling up and I need more shelves…

greenware

To Bee Or Not To Bee…

April 25, 2009

No… definitely going to the bees… on our way in a bit. A nice drive in the country will be a welcome change even it’s for a short time. Sofia was happy to get into the studio yesterday as she hasn’t been able to during the glazing and photography cycles. Here’s the busy little bug working on her tiles…

sofia

The Week Ends The Week Begins

February 16, 2009

Haven’t decided whether to plunge into some teapots this week or continue with the vases and bowls. Sometimes there are so many experiments going on simultaneously that I would like to finish the pieces completely so I can disregard failed ideas. I guess I’ll decide when I’m sitting at the wheel. My makeshift studio is getting more full and I won’t have a choice soon… of course there’s always room for more cups.greenware Sofia and I worked together this weekend and I made the mistake of letting her throw after she made things with lumps of clay… now she doesn’t want to do anything but use the wheel because it’s so much fun. Can’t argue with that. I asked her not to eat the clay and of course she said she hadn’t and then I changed that to don’t put the clay in your mouth and she assured me that she hadn’t done that either.Since she likes to draw we spent some time Sunday doing that… she likes to draw ballerinas mostly and I usually scribble some pots but I need to do some ballerinas to keep her from thinking we’re not in this together. Eventually, after several ballerina drawings, she decided to draw some pots too and this one has a ballerina on the pot. So even her pot drawings are better than mine. sofiadrawingdrawingI put some handles on that vase, not sure what I think about that yet…vase

Cold Day in Kentucky

February 3, 2009

OK… It’s colder than hell outside today – 15 degrees in Kentucky. It snowed this morning and my temporary studio is so cold that I decided to get this blog thing started. I left my previous job four years ago to do ceramics and although I got an undergraduate degree in ceramics in 1982, I had put off doing this until then. I worked in the back room of my house for the first 3 years. That room/studio was small and it became smaller as time went on. I had my kiln in there and did all aspects of my work in there too. I really couldn’t turn around without knocking things over. Consequently, last June I decided that since the room was the only un-remodeled room in the house (another way of saying it was a hovel) and tiny to boot that I would fix it. The old room’s floor slanted severely towards the backyard, the ceiling was only 7 feet tall, the walls were really the walls of an old porch that had been enclosed with shutters and odd bits of wood. During the demolition I found bees’ nests, birds’ nests and a nest of mice… all abandoned.Start of Demolitiondemo1After demolition, concrete pylons were poured and the floor built out to cantilever past the pylons. Much like a virus, when tying the new roof into the middle of the old it became clear that the roof of the house had to be replaced and when taking old shingles off, it became clear that the upstairs siding would have to come off to get the 3 previous layers of shingles off… so residing the upstairs and reroofing the house were unforeseen detours.Interior During ConstructionExterior During ConstructionOne Coat of PrimerAfter months of hiatus from clay, the realization that it wouldn’t be complete before winter became obvious and I settled on making sure it was done on the exterior, insulated and electricity run before moving clay stuff back in. Not sure if another burst of activity will finish it this summer or whether it will be postponed till the following summer.