Tuesday, March 31, 2015

2015-03-23 - Monday - Loading the gas kiln

Monday I met Kimberly at Clayworks to help her load the gas kiln. As always, it was fun work and we had a lot of laughs while getting it done. We started it candling and Kimberly will fire it tomorrow.

Opening the kiln is a lot like Christmas and I plan on being there when it's unloaded on Thursday.


2015-03-21 - Saturday - Yard, museum, and pots - oh my

Saturday I was all over the place.

I started out in the yard reveling in spring's progress. The daffodil show is over and we're moving into the heart of spring where everything else starts to emerge and the overpowering green of summer gets a foothold.

I used to joke with a friend years ago that during early summer in the Carolinas everything was such a vibrant green that there seemed to be a green haze hanging over the wooded areas. We would laugh, but we still marveled at it. I miss Jim. He's been gone a long time now, but I think of him most in the spring and summer.

I am glad to see the may apples
I transplanted last year are propagating.

The native orchids are looking a bit rough after the winter,
but they're still here.

I think this native plant is called spotted wintergreen,
and it always makes me think of peppermint candies.

The lenten roses I transplanted from a neighbor's yard last year
are happily blooming. Thanks Sheilah!

The hydrangea is peeking out.

The vinca minor in the front yard is filling in nicely.

I love the fiddle heads on ferns.
This one is a holly fern.

Here is another holly fern past the fiddle head stage.

A close-up of the vinca minor flowers.

In the afternoon I went to the Mint Museum to hear Rose B. Simpson speak about her art. I arrived at the last moment and found a small contingent from Clayworks to sit with. Rose was amazing. She is a skateboarder, punk rocker, poetry slammer, multimedia artist from the Santa Clara Pueblo Reservation in New Mexico. She told us about her life and strong connection with her heritage. She amazed us with her artwork and her vision. She even treated us to one of her poetry slam performances. It was fun just to be around that kind of energy for a while.

Lindsay, Cathy, and Jeff.

Rose B. Simpson.

After the talk at the Mint I went to Clayworks to do some more work on my pots from March 11. They waited patiently under plastic for me to return so I decided to alter them a bit. The left one is softly altered, the right one is done with my usual method of adding clay to make the facial features. The middle face was made only by removing clay, so it appears a bit flatter.


Sunday, March 29, 2015

2015-03-20 - Friday - Squirrels and Raku

Friday the MSFH once again littered the ground with twigs after I swept them up on Thursday. I wonder if the maple trees will actually have any leaves this year at this rate.

Friday night was an all-studio raku firing in the courtyard at Clayworks. We had a light turnout and ran several loads of pots through the kiln. People brought food and beverages and we had a nice time.


Saturday, March 28, 2015

2015-03-19 - Thursday - Pollen and twigs

Today the pollen showed up, right on schedule. When I left the dentist I noticed it on the back window of the van. Well, breathing was fun while it lasted.

After sweeping up all the chewed-off twigs yesterday a whole new batch was on the ground from the MSFH (Mutant Squirrels From Hell). I hate those guys.


2015-03-18 - Wednesday - Squirrels from Hell

We have what I call "The Mutant Squirrels From Hell" at our house. Over the years they have chewed up hoses, flower pots, railings, and even the eaves of the house and the garage. This year they are attacking the maple trees in the back yard by chewing off all the small twigs with the new growth on them. I don't mind squirrels as a species, but the MSFH are my nemesis.

I'm getting a snake.


Friday, March 27, 2015

2015-03-17 - Tuesday - Spring & glazing

Spring is coming in this week. The trees are budding and the weather is warming. It's like an old friend is back to visit for a while. Familiar and warm with lots of surprises popping up out of the ground.

Unfortunately it brings it's annoying cousin: pollen.

Tuesday night I went to Clayworks to finish glazing. I wanted to put some underglaze on some of the pots I didn't finish the other day. I am starting to bring some of the elements I used on my Empty Bowls into my cone 10 work. I'm not sure where it's going to go from here, but it'll turn up here eventually.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

2015-03-15 - Sunday - Glazing again

Sunday I glazed a bunch of work that had been piling up for a while. We are loading the gas kiln a week from Monday and I'll be interested to see some of these pots finished. Every pot is an experiment.


2015-03-13 - Friday - Empty Bowls

Friday was the Second Harvest Food Bank's Empty Bowls event. Every year Clayworks contributes 300 bowls to this great fundraiser. That's just a portion of the work donated as several other potters are involved.

At this year's event, Kimberly demonstrated handbuilding, I demoed on the wheel, and Adrienne circulated and took photos. We talked to a lot of people about Clayworks, had a nice lunch, and did some real good for our community.

Bowls everywhere waiting for the crowds.

Adrienne and Kimberly placing cards in our bowls.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

2015-03-11 - Wednesday - New pots

Wednesday night I made some very round forms. I'm not sure exactly where I'm going with these yet. I will throw another rim on the one on the left once it firms up a bit.

Just keep swimming.


Friday, March 13, 2015

2015-03-10 - Tuesday - Plants

A while back I planted the stump of a head of romaine lettuce and it took off. I think it bolted since it went all straggly and never became a head. Oh well.

When I took the trash out the that night I again noticed the daffodils in bloom and decided to see if I could capture them in low light with my phone. The streetlight across the street was providing some light but I wasn't sure if it was enough.

In each pair of photos below the first one is the actual photo and the second one is after clicking the "I'm feeling lucky" button in Picasa. The button tries to make the best of whatever you give it, no matter how horrible the original photo is.

I really love my shadow in the first group as it looks like it was badly photoshopped in after the fact. I assure you, it was a valid part of the original photo. It makes me think of someone standing up in a movie theater taking snapshots.

While I submitted fairly awful photos to the tool, I think it really made new art out of my lighting disasters. 

Photos are fun.


2015-03-09 - Monday - Lollipop

On Friday I received the update on my smartphone to Android 5.0 (lollipop).

I have loved using my Samsung Galaxy s5 since I got it last September. It was very usable, featuring dark screens with white letters that were easy to read and didn't use much battery power. Things were arranged in meaningful ways to make daily life just a bit easier.

I guess we didn't want that.

After Friday's "upgrade" the phone is a complete mess. Everything, including the text keyboard is smaller, flat, featureless, and on a white background. There are no options to change the default colors and we are stuck with Google's hideous 'material interface'.

The only thing I can figure is there is a twelve-year-old somewhere designing this stuff with no regard to functionality because it is a major step backwards in usability.

Old dialer on the left, new on the right.
Old settings screen vs. new one.

I'm not posting my contacts screen for privacy reasons, but where there were once large square photos of my contacts making it easier to dial with my presbyopia, there are now minuscule circular photos that I can't recognize without my reading glasses.

All these white pixels are draining my battery more quickly than the black screens. Everything is tiny, flat, and white. Several functions are gone, replaced with less useful ones.

The list goes on and on. Why anyone would think this interface is better than what we had is beyond me.

If the phone looked like this when I was shopping for phones I would not have purchased it.

Just say "no" to lollipop.


Thursday, March 12, 2015

2015-03-08 - Sunday - Spring Break

This week Stephanie and Meredith are home for spring break and we are having a lot of fun. It's nice to have dinner together like we did for so many years. There has been a lot of giggling and slap-fighting happening, just like old times.

We are blessed to have two beautiful daughters who are doing very well at school and we are very proud of them.

I'm going to miss the silliness when they both go back to school and it's quiet around here again.

Stephanie trying to tell a story while
Meredith tries her best to interrupt her.


2015-03-07 - Saturday - Muddy Fun

Saturday was Muddy Fun day at Clayworks. We had a good class with very talented students. If you or someone you know would like to try throwing pots in a two-hour, instructor-led session sign up for Muddy Fun. You won't be disappointed.