Sunday, February 27, 2011

Saturday - Our fence

 is in serious need of replacement and we are talking to a couple of companies about doing just that.

The fence had some years on it when we moved here almost twelve years ago and surprisingly, it never got any better on it's own.  Go figure...

This privacy fence isn't very private.

This would be great for a haunted house at Halloween...

The neighbors said this split rail fence was old
twenty four years ago when they moved in.

Our lenten roses are in bloom.

The daffodils are in full swing.


Saturday, February 26, 2011

Busy Saturday, part 2

To follow up on the last post, today I:
  • Helped out with tours at the new Clayworks building
  • Went back to the studio and didn't have time to make anything
  • Went for a walk with my wife and youngest daughter
  • Made tacos for dinner
  • Watched "Gamer" with my oldest daughter
Not my most productive day, but there were definitely some bright spots.  I got to spend some time with good friends, and more importantly I got to spend some time with my family.  We actually had TWO meals together today, breakfast and supper.  It was a good day.

BTW, "Gamer" is one to miss.

Busy Saturday... why am I sitting here reading blogs?  Dunno.

I am going to help out with tours of the new Clayworks building from 1-3 pm and then off to the studio for some making before coming back home to make supper.  It's going to be taco night!  Yee-ha!

I am also antsy about the gas reduction kiln that was fired (thanks Shelley!) yesterday.  I have a lot of work in there and much of it experimental (isn't it all experimental at this level?) so I'm anxious to see the results.  Time will tell that tale.

I'm outta' here.

Happy Saturday!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Tours of the New Building!

On Sunday a bunch of us went for tours of the new Clayworks building.  It is amazing!  We will have so much more room to grow!

Thanks to Max McLeod for the picture of the buildings.  The front building is going to be offices and gallery, then there is a courtyard, then the studio building behind that.  In the back we have real loading docks so we can unload clay without schlepping it up steps!  Can't wait for June...

I grabbed some shots of large interesting tree out front.  Two details and a full view.

The new building(s)!


Saturday, February 19, 2011

Glazed pots

Saturday afternoon I went to Clayworks and glazed some more pots.

I caught Margot and Kim doing some work and socializing.  There were very few other people there for a Saturday, but I guess the weather was just too nice for people to stay indoors.  It was in the 70s and sunny (in February!).

I glazed my pots which took three to four hours which is a lot longer than I had planned.  If you have been reading this blog for a while you will know the trend.  Even if you plan exactly what you want to put on the pieces, it will take you longer than you thought it would.  I'm starting to think there are hallucinogens in the glazes that make time seem to move slower than reality.  I need to research that --maybe tomorrow...

Margot and Kim.

Glazed pots.

The other side.


Saturday Scramble

Saturday morning I made something my Mom frequently made when I was growing up (well, allegedly growing up...).  Scrambled eggs with mushrooms and baby peas.  Some salt, pepper, and occasionally a little Texas Pete and you've got a full-fledged breakfast happening.

I don't know how she came up with that combination so I'll have to ask her some time.  It's good and it holds those childhood memories that make it taste even better.  As everybody knows, "Nobody can cook like Mom."


Friday, February 18, 2011

Empty Bowls 2011!

Friday was the annual Second Harvest Food Bank Empty Bowls event and it was very well attended.  If you are unfamiliar with the event, you pay $25 and you pick a bowl from a very crowded table.  You take it to the counter where they wrap it for you and put it in a bag.  Next, you go through the silent auction tables and bid on some wonderful items, then it's on to the buffet line and you eat lunch.  During lunch several speakers share the milestones Second Harvest Food Bank has achieved in the previous year and thank all the sponsors and donors.  And, if all that wasn't enough, there are drawings for door prizes.

Thanks to all the sponsors and donors for a wonderful time and thanks to all the potters for making and donating the great bowls. 

Most of all, thanks to Second Harvest Food Bank for all the amazing things they do to feed the hungry in our community.

Bowls into the distance...

Shelley staffing the Clayworks table.

Decisions, decisions...

The crowds start to arrive.

Canned food art.

Shelley, me, Kim.

Andrew Linton of Pottery Central was demoing.


Thursday, February 17, 2011

Bumpy Pot

Wednesday I made a couple of pots from craggy crunch and then glazed a bunch of yunomi for the upcoming gas firing.

I really like the proportions and lines on this pot.  At first glance it appears simple, but it has several complexities.  After discussing it with Greg, I could make it part of a series and really capture some movement.  He has once again made me see something totally different while looking at the same piece.

Greg is like the energizer bunny of creativity.  He constantly inspires, dares, and sometimes pushes you to be more creative than you ever thought you could.  He is a great influence and we all treasure and respect his insights.


Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day

Monday was Valentine's Day and I got a nice surprise from my wife when I opened the microwave (thank goodness we don't preheat microwaves!).

Happy Valentine's Day!

BTW, we've had that microwave for twenty four years this year.  It was a wedding present from my wife's parents and it still works great.


The long and the short of it

Saturday I worked on that phoenix pot with the slightly dry neck.  I had wrapped the top lip with a wet paper towel and covered it with plastic from Thursday night until Saturday.  The wrapped part got nice and soft and I was able to flare out the lip but when I sliced it top to bottom, the neck pieces started separating.  Apparently it really was too dry when I assembled it.  I don't have any more pictures of it here, but I had to suture the neck to the body as well as the long cuts.  We'll see if the patient survives.

 Pot with the paper towel triage.

I sliced the pot I made before the dry one and when I made the first slice the piece was still rather wet so I wrapped it with a plastic tie and let it rest a while.  When I got back to it later it was actually more dry than I wanted to be, but I sliced.  It's hard to judge the moisture in Winter with the heat running.

Sliced and diced.

Close-up of the sutures near the bottom.

I also made 21 orangestone baby pots.


Sunday, February 13, 2011

More Tall Pots

I started another tall pot that I plan on slicing top to bottom and suturing.  Unfortunately this one was a bit wet when I finished the pieces and I let it dry for a while to firm up while I threw some other pots.  The neck dried a bit more than I had planned so I attached it, but couldn't flare the top lip out since it was so dry.

I wrapped the top of the neck with a wet paper towel and covered the whole thing in plastic to work on it later.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Another Tall Pot

In October 2010 I made a tall pot using phoenix and sliced it into quarters (top to bottom).  I then pieced it back together and put some nickel-chromium sutures in it.  I sprayed it with some oxides and rutile, then sprayed a few light passes with clear glaze.  It came out great with a warm, almost wood-fired look to it.  I really liked it though several friends were not comfortable with it.

I sold it in November at the Concentrix terra4m sale and felt validated:  someone else liked it too.  After selling it I decided I was going to make some similar pieces in the future.

On February 5, 2011 I was working on another one and before I could slice it into quarters, a friend offered to purchase it if I didn't slice it.  I was still determined to make more "broken vessels" so I resigned myself to start another one as soon as I could.

The next day I received an email from the person who purchased the original piece asking if it was one-of-a-kind or if I might have similar pieces.  He wants to buy a piece for a friend.

Apparently this is a popular (and somewhat classic) form.  I see more of these in my future.

Even in the midst of all this commerce there exists a conundrum in my own mind.  The first one I made (on the left) has a nice shape, but doesn't really adhere to the rule of thirds.  The neck is too short to be a third of the overall pot.  On the next one I really paid attention to the height of the neck and even though it is closer to a third of the pot, I like the first one better.  I guess some of the "rules" are more like "guidelines" when the clay hits the bat.

I was also struck by the (accidental) almost identical height of the two pieces.  It's funny how the mind works on a subconscious level when making similar forms.


Friday, February 11, 2011

February Muddy Fun!

Saturday was February Muddy Fun Day at Clayworks.

For the uninitiated, Muddy Fun is a two hour instructed class that allows folks to try throwing pottery for a very reasonable $10.  If you or anyone you know would like to try getting their hands dirty, just click here and sign up.  It's "Muddy Fun!".

Our friend Angela has volunteered to teach the classes and she does a great job.  She makes me think about my basics every time I listen to her step the students through the process.  We assistants have a great time helping out in the classes too.  It's like the old adage: "If you want to learn something, teach it."

The morning class.

Angela demoing.

I just like this picture.

The afternoon class.

Our wonderful leader.

While standing on the table to take the group photos
I realized I really need to clean up my shelf.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Friday - First Friday Lunch With Old Friends

Friday was the First Friday Lunch at Clayworks.  I am sad to say I have never attended this studio function before now, but I had to this time since our dear friend Ju-Ian was back from Shanghai for a visit.  It was a nice lunch with good friends and acquaintances and it was great to see Ju-Ian.  I also had a pleasant surprise to find out that our friend Karla had moved back to the area and I look forward to seeing her around the studio.

There was a great turnout and a grand buffet of exotic foods.  I brought Jīn bāoyín, which Ju-Ian taught me literally means "gold wrapping silver".  It's fried rice made by adding the egg at the end instead of cooking the egg in the beginning and chopping it up to add to the rice.

I had a great time and will try to attend more First Friday Lunches in the future.

A feast!

There were so many people we spilled over to the members area.

The whole crew.

Gina insisted on taking one with yours truly in the picture.


Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday - Making Stuff

Wednesday night was class night.  I finished trimming the orangestone tea bowls I made on Saturday, and threw two phoenix pots.  The tall one was made in two pieces, the body and the neck.  The other one was made with the clay I trimmed off the tall one.

More Empty Bowls

Saturday I got some more empty bowls back from the kiln and I was pleased.  I really like the subtlety of the black with the white lines.  Remember, get your tickets for Empty Bowls soon since they will sell out.