Friday, December 31, 2010

2010-12-29 Wednesday - End of 2010

I can't believe it's already the end of 2010.  Where does the time go?  There's no new way to couch the question, but it really is astounding to realize another year has slipped by under the tires.

So many things have happened this year, it's hard to remember them all.

My children stopped being "children"
(when exactly did that happen since I caught up to it late?)

One day you realize that you are not talking to someone who looks up to you, but someone who actually pities you since you appear to be so old and frail and deluded about life and did I mention old?  I think it starts about the time they are learning to drive.  Suddenly they see the nest for what it is --small and cozy while there is a big wide world out there that they obviously know everything about and can't wait to get into knee deep.

I tell them to get a job while they still know everything.

My body figured out how old it is

Up until now I think I had my body fooled into thinking it was in it's mid-twenties.  Somewhere in the middle of the night it did the calculations, carried the ones and figured out I'm in my fifties.  Once that was done and verified, many things happened at once.

Much like a large corporation facing a bad economy, a good third of the hair follicles on my head were laid off or transferred to other departments.  My joint and muscle crews were gutted by cutbacks and the remaining workers are pretty whiny.  A major addition was added to the front of the company that spilled out into the parking lot.  Finally, the IT department is falling down on the job and a lot of files are losing their indexes.

My art took a major leap

My pottery moved so far ahead in 2010 that even I noticed it (sometimes we're the last).  Thanks to a discussion with a friend, I re-focused on what brought me joy and it has made all the difference in the world in my art and my attitude.  I am at a point where I can't wait to make all the ideas I have screaming at me in my head.  (Yes, there are voices in my head but they are all talking about clay.)

I can't wait to see what 2011 brings in my new range of work.  Stay tuned here to see it as it happens.

The Road

Final thoughts about the road analogy I started at the top. It's an easy one for me to identify with since I spend a lot of time driving.
  • Sometimes the road is smooth, and sometimes it's pretty bumpy
  • Even with the best planning, the road will take you where it will
  • Some folks slide off the curves way too easily
  • We don't know where or when the road will end, but it will.
Here's hoping your 2011 road will take you where you want it to and it's smooth driving.


    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    2010-12-21 Tuesday - Empty bowls

    Tuesday I made some more empty bowls for the food bank.  These are fun, but I would like to break out of my same old bowl shape once in a while and make some bowls with a different personality.  If I keep making more maybe it will allow me to branch out a bit.

    On the right side...

    ...on the left.

    These pots are shakin!


    Monday, December 20, 2010

    2010-12-19 Sunday - Decorating pots

    I decorated the pots I made on Wednesday with some critters and leaves.  I am currently exploring more surface decoration thanks to influences from Greg and Ju-Ian.  Some of these may be raku fired and the rest will be fired to ^10.

    More decorated pots coming soon.


    2010-12-18 Saturday - Almost Christmas

    Christmas is almost here and nothing is getting done around here.  The lights aren't out, the tree is not up, and the gifts haven't been bought.  Somehow, we just don't have any time to get things done.  Work takes a lot of my time, the girls have been up to their ears in mid-term exams, and Karen always works too many long hours.  I haven't had time to read any blogs lately, let alone post to mine.

    How did things get so crazy?  I haven't been able to set aside time to send Christmas cards in several years.  We haven't even baked any cookies this year.  I've been trying to listen to some Christmas music to put me in the mood, but that hasn't helped much either.

    It's just run, run, run, hurry up and wait, then run, run, run some more.

    It'll get better.  Merry Christmas!

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    2010-12-15 Wednesday - Making Pots --Finally

    I finally got to throw some clay on Wednesday night.  It seemed like forever since I got my hands dirty and it felt good to get back to it.  Thanks to the clay and Nic's mp3 mix I was able to get outside my own head for a while and simply make.  As always, I was playing with shapes and wall thicknesses.  These pots will probably get some frogs or leaves on them and some of their shapes may change before it's all said and done.  Some of them will be raku fired and the rest will be fired in ^10 reduction. 

    It's good to be back.

    Made pots.

    Left side...

    ...right side.


    Friday, December 10, 2010

    2010-12-09 Thursday - Goneaway Pottery Holiday Sale!

    It's that time of year again!  It's time for the Goneaway Pottery Holiday Sale!  Come on by and see us on Saturday, December 11, 2010.  We'll have lots of great work by several local artists, some snacks, and some warm drinks.  And this year, something new and different --Heat!

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    2010-12-06 Monday - Stephanie's Birthday Cake

    Stephanie asked me for a hamburger birthday cake so off to Google I went to look up ways to do it.  I baked two cakes, one yellow and one devil's food.  I coated the "hamburger patty" with vanilla icing mixed with cocoa powder, then stuck chopped chocolate chips to the icing.  I colored the icing for the "lettuce", the "bun", and the "sesame seeds" and proceeded to assemble it.  I found that I should have put the bun icing on the bottom layer before stacking the patty on it.  Live and learn.  It tastes better than it looks.

    "...on a sesame seed bun."

    Stephanie liked it.

    The cross-section.


    2010-12-04 Saturday - Santa's Helpers

    Stephanie and Meredith help out at Santa's Bag every year.  It's a chance for young children to shop for their relatives with elves leading them through the experience.  It's a lot of fun and I always enjoy getting some pictures of them.

    Meredith and Stephanie.

    Meredith, Dad, and Stephanie.

    Elf with attitude.


    Friday, December 3, 2010

    2010-11-21 Sunday - Guild Meeting

    Sunday we had the November meeting of Carolina Clay Matters at Carolina Clay ConnectionHal Dedmond and Corine Guseman did demos at the meeting.  They make very different styles of pottery and they compliment each other well.  They did the demo in a tandem style by throwing it back and forth as they created their pieces.  It was very effective and it made for a lively and informative demonstration.

    I would like to apologize to Corine that I didn't get a picture of her since I was too busy talking to her and forgot to take a photo.

    After the demo, the customary covered dish was held.

    Hal with his candle holder face jug.

    Supper in progress.

    The line forms here.


    2010-11-20 Saturday - Mark Peters workshop

    On Saturday, November 20, Mark Peters did a workshop at Clayworks.  Mark did a great job and showed us lots of new techniques which I can't wait to try.  Not only is Mark a great potter, but he's also a genuinely nice guy.  He answered all our questions and gave us a few to think about too.

     He told us about his June wood firing workshop and got me thinking about wood firing again.  It's a week long event and sounds like a lot of fun.

    We had a nice lunch and even though it was slightly chilly someone had the great idea to set a couple of tables out in the sun and it was wonderful.  A perfect day.

    Mark starts to make a faceted bowl.  This becomes...


    A beautiful tray.

    A ribbed bowl.

    A squared pitcher.

    A great lunch.

    Talkin' pots.


    Wednesday, November 24, 2010

    2010-11-23 Tuesday - Horrific Sight

    Tonight I was driving home from Shelby on Route 74 at about 7:30 when I noticed a black column of smoke silhouetted against an already dark sky.  I was thinking, "I don't remember a smoke stack there...".

    As I got a bit closer I noticed that there was an area of trees that were bright with the light of flames and I thought someone was having a bonfire.

    Traveling further down the road I saw that the trees were lit very brightly and was hit with the tragedy that this must be a forest fire.  I immediately thought about calling 911, but thought I would wait to get closer so I could see if the fire department was already there.

    Rounding the last bend in the road a terrible tableau opened up and seared itself into my memory forever.  There was a house on fire not one hundred feet from the road on which I was driving.  I often use the word conflagration, but I don't think I really understood the meaning of it until tonight. 

    There was no part of that house untouched by flames.  Every surface, every edge, every molecule it seemed was combusting.  It was literally a fire in the shape of a house.  It was a hellish nightmare of flame.  It was the most horrible sight a homeowner or anyone with loved ones could imagine, and yet it was also mesmerizing in a "can't look away" moment.  As terrible as it was, I couldn't take my eyes off it as I drove by in what seemed like slow motion and I will never forget it.

    It's odd, but I remember thinking there was also a strange beauty to it.  If one can remove or at least postpone the tragic aspect of it, the house was completely illuminated by the most unearthly light imaginable.  That same light shone on the trees surrounding the house and lit up the area almost like daylight.

    The fire department was there, but no one was making any effort to extinguish the flames.  I guess it was a total loss and I prayed to God that nobody was in that building.

    I remember thinking all these thoughts in less than a minute while looking at it.  I was, after all driving down the highway and it soon disappeared from view, but not from my memory.  Never from my memory.

    This is not an actual picture of the house, but the closest one I could find to what I saw.


    Sunday, November 21, 2010

    2010-11-18 Thursday - A Fine Mess

    Thursday found a new development in the back yard.  Nature had repainted the yard while we slept.  It's beautiful to look at, but a lot of work to clean up.  We go through several of these leaf falls every Autumn.  No sooner do we get one cleared away then the next one comes down.  This cycle continues into January.

    Color everywhere.

    Yes, there is a deck under that new coating.

    Of course there are WAY more left on the trees.

    I love taking photos in different lighting.

    The dappled sunlight.

    More lighting fun.


    Monday, November 15, 2010

    2010-11-13 Saturday - Set up for "An Artful Affair"

    On Saturday afternoon we began the setup at Concentrix Music and Sound Studios for "An Artful Affair" which would take place that evening.  I think studio one looked pretty amazing after we set up our wares.  At one point Becky had to snake her way behind Kim's shelves to plug in an extension cord and we had to capture it.

    The sale went well and everyone had a great time.  Unfortunately I was too busy talking to everyone to remember to take any photos during the sale.  I have asked Kim to share some of her photos with me and I will post some if she sends me some.

    Thanks once again to Chris for lending me her shelves.  I hope to build some of my own in the next couple of weeks.

    Becky climbing out.

    It's a process.

    An aerobic process.

    Start the push-ups.


     Kim's display, part 1. 

    Kim's display, part 2.

    My display (with flash).

    My display (without flash).

    A closer look, part 1.

    A closer look, part 2.

    Elaine's display, part 1.

    Becky's display.

    Elaine's display, part 2.


    Sunday, November 14, 2010

    2010-11-11 Thursday - Porcelain work

    Before my friend Ju-Ian left for Shanghai she gave me a bag of porcelain.  I am using it now and making some fun pots out of it.  In the past, using porcelain meant changing the type of forms I made.  Porcelain just seemed to demand more formal shapes and refined forms than stoneware clays --until now.  I am experiencing a freedom with porcelain that I never have before.  My forms are lighter, thinner, and looser than my porcelain has ever been.  Wish me luck.

    A crackle pot and its big brother.

    Tea bowls and an altered pot.

    A more altered pot and a more "normal" one.

    Top view.


    2010-11-07 Sunday - Ripping Holes in the Ceiling

    I've been cutting holes in the ceilings lately, and boy is it fun!  Not!

    We are planning on replacing our HVAC system soon since it's several decades old.  One of the problems we have is the compressor is on the driveway side of the house and new ordinances require concrete-filled posts five feet out, which will put a serious crimp in our driveway clearance.  To place the compressor in the backyard we will have to reroute the refrigerant lines through the downstairs ceilings, hence the ceiling-ectomy.

    Luckily it appears we will have a fairly open run through to the back wall of the house.  Wish us luck!

    Boy, it sure makes a mess, though.

    Hall ceiling window.

    Resulting debris.

    View through the chase.