Saturday was the Ronan Peterson workshop at Clayworks. It was a fun workshop with a lot of great information on a variety of topics in Ronan's process. Ronan is a good teacher and kept us informed and entertained all day. He shared some of his insights on design and decoration which I will take with me into my work. That's the best kind of teacher --one that makes you think about your own work in a different framework. Ronan has obviously spent a lot of time thinking about and refining his aesthetics which I don't always spend enough time working out. He made me realize that I need to do more of that in the future to refine my work. Thanks Ronan, and thanks Clayworks.
On my way home I saw this interesting balloon display in front of The Diamond Exchange and thought it was kind of cute.
Lots happened on Thursday. Will Baker finished the salt kiln during the day before I got there. I'm looking forward to getting the gas line run and seeing the first firing in it. It's a beautiful sight.
Speaking of beautiful sights, the asphalt in the parking lot looks pretty amazing in the sunset light.
The tree out front was not salvageable after the storm damage on Friday night. I guess there is a balance there: we built a new kiln and something else had to go. We and the squirrels are going to miss that tree.
It was a big one as you can see from my ever-present ball point pen at the top of the log. It's interesting that the latest rings are a much darker color than the rest of it. That dragonfly in the middle of the log is pretty interesting too.
I tried to throw with some fairly hard phoenix and had to give up when I pushed it off the bat. I decided to re-slake it and try something else.
We had a visiting possum on the patio. It seemed a bit confused but eventually found it's way out.
After all that hard clay it was good to have some nice soft orangestone which allowed me to get some pots made.
Wednesday the catkins were coming down in like rain. The willow oaks in our front yard produce enough catkins to completely cover the house and yard every year. Like many natural processes the tree's reproductive season is very short and very intense. The catkins emerge and unload their pollen onto the wind. Before you know it they're done and fall off the trees, piling up everywhere.
Nature spends amazing amounts of energy to accomplish one task. The process of creating all those catkins, spreading the pollen, and then dropping them only takes a few days but the payoff must be worth it or evolution would have changed the process by now.
Another example of nature's excess is the cicada. This year the 17 year brood will be emerging once again. Think of it: These creatures spend 17 years underground, emerge, shed their skin to become their adult form, and live for one or two days to mate, then die. The astounding thing is that they spend all those years underground storing up enough energy to change to their adult form. That form is one of the largest, heaviest, flying insects in our area. Not only do they have to have enough stored energy to fly, but also to mate ensuring the next generation.
After the catkins are gone we will be piling up shed cicada shells and a few days after that, dead cicadas.
Will Baker is building our salt kiln at Clayworks and getting lots of help (whether he wants it or not!). It's coming together nicely and we are all learning quite a bit about the process. I'm very curious about the salt process and am looking forward to a whole new way of firing pottery.
Walking around outside Clayworks I stumbled upon this beautiful flowering vine which is apparently a weed, but quite striking. Please click on this photo and view it in a larger size so you can really appreciate the beauty of this flower. I could have missed it very easily but I'm glad I didn't.