Wednesday, January 31, 2007

a gathering of the clan

I have two sisters: Catherine, who lives in Maine, and Pam, who lives here in San Antonio. Catherine's visit last weekend--the first in 2 years--prompted several small family gatherings--making sure everyone got a visit with her--and one large gathering on Sunday evening which is pictured above. Not all of the San Antonio family was present--one of my boys was absent as was Pam's son and her daughter Margaret and her husband Rob who live in Arizona--but we picked up a couple extra guys to fill the gaps--they are the beaux of Pam's daughters. I love getting us all together--we have such a wonderful family and I love celebrating it at every opportunity!

Now that the celebrations are over and Catherine has returned to Maine I must get back into the studio! But it is cold out there! I may have to get another electric heater to make it workable--because I have a lot of work I want to do there.

I loved pulling out some of my functional work to serve our 'tapas' from Sunday evening. The table looked so wonderful laden with all those hand-made earthy plates and bowls filled with wonderful cheeses, pates, olives, nuts, and more. I have little wooden spoons and knives with decoratively carved handles from Mexico that fit the mood perfectly. I took one of Daphne Hatcher's gorgeous platters off the wall to serve the breads in. [Everyone that comes into the house comments on those wonderful platters--people who don't know my work but know that I am a potter ask, "Did you make those?" In my wildest dreams I did!]

This afternoon is the opening of our guild's annual juried exhibition. This is always a very special event. It is so stimulating to see the incredible work some of our members produce! This year the focus is on functional work--not that every piece has to be functional but that it is related someway to functional work. That is much more appealing to me so I am excited about seeing the choicest pieces on display--about 25 pieces will have been chosen to be in the show.

Thursday, January 18, 2007

my new class

First class of the new semester/year. It was wonderful, like being back home. I knew everyone in the class—a nice feeling, being on the inside and not looking in from the outside. It took me back in memory to my first class at the Southwest School of Art and Craft four years ago. I knew no one and nothing about clay. A lot of clay has passed through these hands since that first class! A whole new life!

This should be a good class for me. It will focus on the details of the additions to the pot: feet, lids, handles, form and overall balance. Aimed at helping us find our own distinct look. Hope I don’t feel overwhelmed—most of these nice friends are also very good potters! In fact, two of my classmates teach other classes there!

Herb and I ordered some ‘crocus martis’ to see if it helps us get a ‘red’ glaze at cone 6. It arrived this week and I delivered him his ‘share’ yesterday. Now we are busy mixing up glazes in which to test the crocus martis and other glazes to compare the results to. We are also comparing effects of our two different electric kilns and of different clays! Lots of experimenting. And it means that I need to get busy mixing up glazes tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

a new decade

My birthday is today, the seventieth! Sounds SO old! Doesn't feel that way. A very interesting phenomenon. A friend, who also celebrates her birthday today, and I were observing how fast the years fly by now--and remembering how far one birthday was from the next when we were young. And how you don't feel the same age inside as you are outside!
Every year I get very unsettled inside myself between Christmas and my birthday. It seems to be related to the chaos that develops in the house from all the Christmas preparations--though now we do little in the way of decorations. So I celebrated today by cleaning out the refirgerator and freezer! Maybe it will get me going on other cleaning projects I had in mind to do while Jim is away.
I also loaded the kiln to do a bisque firing. But I found when I got to the top of the kiln that it was pretty light there so I have postponed the firing while I make a few more test tiles and a lid for a pot that got dried before I made the lid--I do have measurements to work from.
The real highlight of the day was lunch with two of my sons--the oldest and the youngest--and one of my beautiful daughters-in-law! I am so fortunate in having such a wonderful family. Each of my boys is a great expression of his own unique potential. I can't help but feel very proud and very blessed. And I have such lovely daughters-in-law, each a wonderful mother and dear wife. How could one want for more?

Saturday, January 06, 2007

hands in clay

It's a new year! And I'm home alone--Jim is in New York for 3 weeks--so have lots of time to work in the studio. So why haven't I? It seems like I am testing out just how free I am--can I really get by with doing NOTHING? It takes a real push to just take care of myself--I am even exploring the frozen-dinner-food section at the grocery.
But I have done a little work in the studio. I keep reminding myself that that is what I WANT to do! So far I've used about one and a half 25# bags of my new Blackjack clay. I am about ready to load it into the kiln for a bisque firing. Then I'll test out some of the glazes on the new clay. I want to especially test out base glazes to find one that I can trust to work well to add colorants to later.