Wednesday, March 26, 2008

I have these lovely orange lilies in the living room that lift my spirits each time I walk through the room. The pleasure these flowers give me stimulated me to make a tall, heavy bottom vase to hold an arrangement of tall flowers without toppling over. After the vase was thrown, I decided I would try using the punch'ong stamps I bought at NCECA last year. I love the work made with these stamps but so far I have not mastered the use of these stamps. The stamps are of small flowers--like little daises. Slip is applied over the stamped area and after the slip has firmed up a bit it is scraped off the high areas leaving the slip only in the recessed area formed by the stamp. My clay fires to a very light grey so I used a red oxide slip. After I had painted the slip over the stamped area I thought I might use leave it that way--the trouble I've had using the stamps int he past is in trying to remove the slip from around the stamps.

Then I realized that I was treating this project as "too precious" for not wanting to follow through on the process. So I have gone back scraped away slip between the flowers. So we'll see how this works after it is bisqued and glaze fired.

With the help of a friend, I did get new elements into my kiln so it is ready to fire and I have a batch of dried pieces ready to be fired. Feels good to be back in the swing of the studio.

Monday, March 24, 2008

no more boxes

in my living room! Yeah! It has taken 2 months and lots of intermediate steps but we finally got the last of the boxes out of the living room. Not that we don't still have boxes (mostly books now) but they are not piled up in the living room. I can see now how depressing that was for me. I feel like shouting every time I walk through the living room--it is so wonderful!

I was planning to spend the morning replacing the elements in my kiln today with the help of a friend--but at the last minute she had to change our get-together to next Thursday. I have an accumulation of bowls to fire--but really no rush to do so. Some of them are for the Empty Bowls project of the guild which will be held in May. Others are just for playing around with glazes. The studio is working very well for us. It is a pleasant place to be in. Kenny functions very independently there--we are still working on improving his easel set-up but he manages with it as it is. I am beginning to remember where I put things in the studio--takes a while and sometimes lots of searching.

This move has been so arduous that I have a HUGE repulsion against saving anything that I don't have an immediate use for--which is very much against this family's standard-operating-procedure. I got an email from Sarah Susanka's "The Not So Big Life" that really fits the situation:
"The questions we need to ask ourselves today are: 'When do we know we have enough?' and 'What could we do with our lives if we weren't so focused on acquiring more?' Or in my case, 'What could I do with my life if I weren't spending so much time searching for where I put it?'

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

in the studio

with Kenny. We had a little set-back last week which kept us out of the studio till today. Our time in the studio today was pretty brief but at least we got out there and got some work done. Kenny is working on a painting of cars from the movie, "Cars". His first show was a series of cars from his childhood--which I thought were terrific. He has always had an unrequited love affair with cars!

In the photo you see Kenny in his corner of the studio. His easel is not working well for him--it was made for someone to stand at but he has to sit--there is no room for his feet under the easel so he is back too far from the canvas. Back to the drawing board for that one!

Other views of the studio:

This is my little nest (my wheel surrounded by tools) looking out onto the terrace.

This is a wonderful worktable that the contractor made for us out of a cabinet that we had removed from one of the bedrooms. One side (this) is low for Kenny to sit and draw--or for me to sit and draw!

The other side is high for me to work at standing. I can wedge clay at one end and have lots of handbuilding tools and paraphernalia at hand. In the cabinets below, just behind my chair at the wheel, are my bats, trimming equipment and wareboards. I am loving this work space!

Watching Kenny struggle to get his food on his fork or spoon I imagined making a plate with a 'pusher' side. But when I tried to make something like that I ended up with a plate with a standing rim that makes a nice pasta bowl! It might be a bit small for him--or for a real pasta bowl but it is a beginning point. I've made good notes on the amount of clay used and size of the plate/bowl wet so I will know where to start from when I decide how I need to adjust it. The bowl here is ~9 inches wide and 1 1/4 inches high at rim. The picture does not show the depth of the plate/bowl.

Monday, March 03, 2008

a leap-year-day baby

My new grandson, Jack, was born smack in the middle of February 29! So for 3 years out of every 4 he will celebrate his birthday with his dad on the 28th. Just think, he could graduate from college when he is just 5 1/2 years old. But I guess he would have to forfeit all those between-leap-years birthday parties!

Oh, and BTW, I did work in the studio over the weekend and have it pretty much ready to start back to work there. I need to call for help to replace the elements before I can fire--But I am eager to get back at the wheel and it is ready to go! I am not ready to post a video tour of our studio--Have you seen Ron's tour?--but may put up some snap shots soon.