Saturday, December 31, 2011

December 31 - Another Year

Another year has come and gone.

It seems like they are spinning out faster and faster, like an out-of-control carousel.  Forget about grabbing at the brass ring, I’m just holding on tight as it wobbles and lurches off it’s axis.  When I look around, the operator is nowhere to be found.

I seem to spend a lot of time chasing my life instead of living in it.  It feels like I’m always paddling down the wave and never quite reaching the curl.

I don’t want to this to be a “woe is me” post.  I just had to get that out there, but there have been many great things in my life this year.

I have work, and being self-employed, that’s a good thing.  In possibly the worst recession we’ve experienced I have been busy throughout.  Karen has a good job and likes what she does.  Who can ask for more than that?  Wait, there’s more...

Stephanie just finished her first semester in college and got all B’s (and a B+ in biology!).  She has to work hard for each grade and in her words, “was chained to her desk”, in the dorm room while her friends bugged her to go out.  It’s good to know she’s got her priorities figured out.

Meredith is in her junior year of high school and got all A’s and B’s for the first half.  She doesn’t have to work as hard as Stephanie, but since she’s in honors classes she has had to work a bit harder than usual.

Need I say how proud we are of them?  I think not --but I am anyway.  :8^)

Both Karen’s and my families are doing well and are healthy.  As everyone ages health becomes more and more of a concern and luckily everyone is going strong.

We have lots of wonderful friends with whom we enjoy spending time.  If you’re reading this, you know who you are and we’ll be seeing you soon in 2012.

I’m more pleased than ever with my pottery.  I think it’s going in new places and getting a bit of it’s own life.  Onward and upward.

I am thankful for everything in 2011 and am looking forward to 2012.

I think this Scottish toast sums it up nicely:

May the best ye hae ivver seen be the warst ye'll ivver see.
May the moose ne'er lea' yer girnal wi a tear-drap in its ee.
May ye aye keep hail an hertie till ye'r auld eneuch tae dee.
May ye aye juist be sae happie as A wuss ye aye tae be.

The above, in translation, reads:

May the best you have ever seen be the worst you will ever see.
May the mouse never leave your grain store with a tear drop in its eye.
May you always stay hale and hearty until you are old enough to die.
May you still be as happy as I always wish you to be.


December 17 - Goneaway Pottery Holiday Sale

Saturday was the annual Goneaway Pottery Holiday Sale and was the best one yet.  Becky and Nic joined me for the day with their beautiful work.  We had customers right from the opening and there was quite a bit of traffic in our garage throughout the day.  As usual a lot of friends stopped by and spent some time visiting which is something I always look forward to.

The sale is held in our garage and as I always warn people, it's a 'working garage', so there are the usual garage-y items throughout.  I keep thinking about getting some inexpensive fabric and draping the walls, but I always forget about it.  Maybe next year...

I sold a lot of pots and lots of my seconds found new homes as well.  There was good company, good music, warm weather, coffee and doughnut holes, and pizza for lunch.  How can you not be joyous with all that going on?

Thanks to all who came out to purchase, browse, and visit.  We enjoyed seeing you.

If you'd like to be notified of future sales, be sure to click the huge, orange 'Join My Mailing List' button on the right.

My work.

Becky and Jaime standing by Becky's birds on the left.
Nic's work is in the background.

Coffee and doughnut holes
(with a beautiful creamer from Hannah McAndrew).

The seconds shelves.


Saturday, December 24, 2011

December 15 - Raku Firing

On Thursday I assisted Greg with a raku firing at Central Cabarrus High School.  I'm always amazed at the enthusiasm of the students.  They are focused, intent, and involved in their art.

We were there early (yes, I was there early!) and spent the whole day firing the kiln.  It was a windy day and the sun quickly retreated as the clouds banked in on us.  There were several points during the day that we were glad to have the kiln to huddle around.  Suddenly the sun would pop out and for a while all was well.

The students had some amazing results and their teacher, Ms. Dauphinais was understandably proud.  Unfortunately I didn't get photos of most of the finished work because I was slack and it got packed up as soon as it was cool.  I would have loved to share some of those pieces here.

If you ever need a boost in your creativity, or even your general attitude, go do a raku firing at a high school.  You can't help but be energized by the experience.



Brick pad to place hot pots.

Simple kiln with weed burner.

First load out.

Inside the kiln.


Dramatic results.

Sidewalk chalk during firing.

Next load waiting.

Waiting for the cans.

A sunny break in the clouds.

Greg talking to a student.

Smokin' cans.

Packing the pots.


December 14 - New Cups

Wednesday I tried to throw a large, spherical pot and it got wonky.  After trying unsuccessfully for twenty minutes to cure its wonkiness, I crashed it and decided to make yunomi.  I had recently read what Phil Rogers wrote about yunomi and they were on my mind.  I re-wedged the clay and pulled out seven cups, each a different form and decoration.  Time to start experimenting again.


Friday, December 23, 2011

December 12 - Tree Trimming

No, not Christmas tree --outside tree trimming.

It was time once again to get our trees trimmed and we called Cascade Tree Service, a company Karen found on Angie's List.  I cannot recommend them highly enough.  They used a bucket truck and no spikes, even when climbing was necessary.  They even put down plywood where the truck was used and when they left there were no marks on the lawn.  They spent the whole day and charged very reasonable rates.

I also got a huge mulch pile out of the deal.  Can't beat that.

Strange sight out the front window.

Note the plywood to protect the lawn.

That's a long ladder.

That's a 55-foot boom.

Trimming some of the maples out back.

View of the front yard trimming from the back yard.


December 9 - Friday Cell Phone Repair

Stephanie's cell phone stopped working because her college ID card got pushed between the sliding halves of her phone and cut the tiny ribbon cable that connected the top and bottom.  Apparently purses can be treacherous places.

I was lucky to find a replacement cable online and ordered it.  It arrived and when I got around to installing it, it worked beautifully.

We won't talk about the 27 tiny screws in four different sizes and the two pairs of reading glasses I wore working directly under a desk lamp to get it done.  Who knew there were so many layers in a phone?


December 7 - Wednesday

Wednesday I was working on two pots I made during my demos at the Clayworks Holiday Sale and making reed diffusers.  I decided that these pots needed handles and one needed some metal ladder rungs.  These pots were very influenced by Greg's work but I want to make them my own in the finishing.


Thursday, December 15, 2011

December 6 - Glazing with Greg

Tuesday night I went to Clayworks to meet Greg.  He had some glazing to do before he finished loading the gas kiln so I went to hang out with him and help him load his pieces.  I always like to watch Greg glaze because I learn new things every time.  We always listen to some good music and have lots of good conversation along the way.

Oh, and we always stay WAY too late.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

December 4 - Glazing and bisquing

Sunday I rushed to get my glazing done since the gas kiln was going to be loaded on Tuesday.  I had some crackled pots, a bumpy one, and I decided to test some new glaze combinations on my VSVs (Very Small Vessels).  I know I've said this before, but I am always amazed at how long it takes to get glazing done and I'm not even doing anything extravagant.  Part of the reason is that I am not 'in production' using the same two or three glazes on everything so there is a lot of mixing, applying, and cleaning up between each step.

Another thing that takes some time is the fact that I have to wait for the outside to dry after I glaze the inside.  The water from the glaze on the inside soaks the clay which would restrict the amount of glaze that would adhere to the outside if applied while the pot is wet.  This is a fairly new development for me as I am throwing thinner pots these days.  The crackled pots are especially thin since I stretch them to (and sometimes past) their limits from the inside after applying the slip.

As my friend and teacher Greg says, "If you're not crashing some pots you're not pushing your limits."

Amen, brother.

I also moved some dry bowls to the greenware shelf to be bisqued.


November 24 - Thanksgiving Day Parade

Thanksgiving Day we went to see the parade.  It was a good show with lots of fun acts, marching bands, and characters --all you'd expect of a great parade.  If you've never been, I highly recommend it.

Karen, Meredith, and Stephanie.


Some people are unknowing participants in the show...

This is one creepy clown.

I told you.

Our friend Jim who works at the Raptor Center.

There's always room for a stilt-walker.

This next set of pictures is dedicated to the woman that decided to stand right in front of us for the last third of the parade.  Thank you, unknown person.