Friday, December 19, 2008

Small Pitcher with Rooster

 I found this little pitcher at a local garage sale, and I keep it by my wheel for inspiration.

 I'll have to try to duplicate this style at school this next quarter. I believe it is a Majolica style.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Some things finally done from class.

 Two coffee cups Shaner's green glaze breaking brown on the outside, sea foam blue on the inside. Also, a 5" glossy blue bowl with a dip of something nice on the rim.
 A nice small 5" bowl.
 A 4" x 4" tea bowl with Shaner's Green, and a dip of Tenmoku on the lip
 A 6" bowl, also with Shaner's Green glaze.

I have more items (a few more coffee cups, a couple large plates, a pitcher, some big bowls, and a vase) that are still in process, but this is some of the stuff I threw in the first three weeks when I was getting a feel for the wheel again.

Monday, December 8, 2008

My First Teapot.

I think it is a success for a first attempt.

The front view. I need to fettle a bit to slim down the spout. It should taper better, so I've some work there to do.
I like how the lid turned out. You can see the handle drying on the blue glass vase in the background. I'll attach it tomorrow after I finish fettling the bottom of the teapot.
Here it is all assembled, just some dent and scratch removal and I'm ready to let it dry.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Female Front Person Bands. Your favorites? Here's mine.

Over the years I've always been entranced by bands (rock, punk, metal et. al.) with female lead singers. Here are some of my favorites over the years in no particular order;


Veruca Salt

Brandi Carlile

The Runaways

Joan Jett

Annie Lennox

The Pretenders


Luz Casal

Pink covering 4 Non Blondes

So what are some of your favorites?

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Aegishjálmr, the HELM of AWE! Or, a big metal snowflake.

From Miscellaneous

Here is a site that sells the Aegishjálmr symbol on a t-shirt. I thought it would be a fun exercise in learning to use the cutting torch in class on this sheet of 3/8" steel. I just finished the cutting, and now I need to start working on the finishing work. Each of the spokes needs 4 slots cut, and then a bunch of wire brush work to make it all shiny again. Snow flakes should be white after all. So far, the class has been a potpourri of learning different welding techniques using acetylene, arc, and MIG welders. They also just acquired a TIG welder, so I might get a crack at it before the end of class if the teachers can get themselves trained in on it first.

A box painted like a puppy.

From Miscellaneous

Christian asked me to make him a little treasure chest painted like a puppy. It made my brain jog a bit in thinking about how to paint a rounded and oval object onto rectangle. Here is the result. He likes it quite a bit, and took it to show and tell at school today. His older brother is now jealous and wants a treasure chest painted like a dragon... We shall see...

My wheel space, and some things in process.

Here is my wheel space. I have my wedged clay, and tools next to me on the right, with some green-ware drying above, then I move my freshly thrown pieces on the shelf to the left of me. The view outside is down the hill to the pond/wetlands in my backyard. I love the view, and deer actually walk past my window not more than 5 feet from me if I'm pretty still.
From Pottery

This is my first attempt at a pitcher, and I have to make an appropriate handle for it now. It will hold just over 2 quarts, and I figure it would be a nice pitcher for cool drinks in the summer.
From Pottery

This is a closer look at my existing stack of cone 10 green-ware drying before bisque firing.
From Pottery

This is my growing stack of cone 1 green-ware of things the boys and I have made with some extremly stiff experimental clay. I suspect it to have an overly high concentration of grog. The angular canister on the right there is hexagonal and made from slabbing that groggy clay. It slabs well. Making the canister and lid with slabs was much more involved than I thought. To finish the surface I decided to impress the slabs with oak leafs which you can sort of see. It is experimental after all.
From Pottery

Here are three new cone 10 pieces I'm working on, from left to right, a small creamer (its about a 3" glass shape pinched together at the top), a cup, and a small bottle that needs a cap. Oh, you also see the pots are sitting on parchment paper which I found works in pottery just like it does in cooking. It's great to put freshly thrown pots on and won't stick to the pots and keeps my shelves clean.
From Pottery

Anyway, I thought I should post some things so you can see what I'm working on. I have a ton of stuff still in post bisque stage at school. I have an open class tonight(meaning my teacher is off at a show in Chicago), so I will be adding 4 to 6 more items to my growing collection at school. When I get it back home, I'll post some photos of the best ones. I'm still trying to make space, repair, and install the 2 kilns I have so I can run through the entire process at home.

Why I love clay.

In one of the facebook groups that I have joined, a grad student doing a thesis asked, "Why do you use clay as your main material?"

My response was, "There is something spiritual to working with clay. The fusion of earth, water, air and fire to create with human hands something from nothing. The life of the created work, like us, is fragile and eventually becomes shards which may be passed on to future generations. Some of our works are merely beautiful and serve to enrich us with their pure aesthetic, and other may not be so beautiful but serve us our dinner, our drink, or other menial tasks we assign to them. I choose to work in clay because it is a temporal medium that combines the subtle nuance of gesture in the making, with the creative expression of decoration and glazing all to be frozen as a success or failure within the kiln. Most other mediums can be manipulated until they are finished, but a pot is done once its fired."

I have to admit that my eyes have been reopened to the amazing depth of knowledge encompassed in the craft of ceramics.

When I first encountered it in school it was a course which was difficult, that I muddled my way through. That was my experience with college that I attended when I was 18, and 19 years old. There is a clear schism in my memory of the past where before which I consider myself to be almost entirely insane. I was already employed full time as a programmer, so rather than struggle in that uphill battle of work and college I focused on work. I attribute some of this to my experiences with SPD myself, but somewhere in my mid 20's the fog lifted and I could actually concentrate on my school work and excel in it. My wife was beginning her Masters program that year, so it was the right time for me to go back. I finished my remaining two years of my computer science degree with all A level work.

Now, I find I have an insatiable curiosity regarding almost everything. I've developed the patience to learn at a pace that is also not frustrating, but I'm also excited to start digging into the materials science, the artistry, and the subtle skills needed to be proficient.

Here is a video of Simon Leach, who describes a similar sentiment.

Monday, December 1, 2008

I'm a Wii bit tired.

My beautiful and talented Ice Dancing wife could not resist the Wii fit bundle offer any longer, so we unveiled it for the boys this past weekend. My conditions for this new thing was that the entire house be clean before another thing could be added, which also required that the suspense of the "special surprise" I hinted at on Friday be followed up Saturday with enough hints to reveal pretty clearly what "it" was. The number one (or pretty high up there) rule of parenting is always take advantage of awesome perks to offer as rewards for extraordinary behavior. This resulted in a flurry of excited cleaning on Sunday sufficient for me to relent and at a convenient point install the new game system in the rearranged family room. Rearranged, since the Wii requires about a ten foot diameter clear area where you won't smack anything or anyone. The original purpose for getting this device are that the Wii Fit balance games are great for motivating Rane through his OT, and it also came with the sports pack which has Tennis, Baseball, Golf, Bowling, and Boxing. Christian has decided that golf is his game, and frankly he is better at it now than I am. Rane is fixated on boxing to the point of being 1/2 way to professional standing after about an hour of play in the last two days. Angel and I are competing in the ski racing and ski jumping competitions, and also to see who can do the yoga poses better. The result is now that we are all spending about 30 to 60 minutes together a day exercising. Hence, I'm a Wii bit sore as well as tired.


I just had my first bowl of grits. It was ok, but I was weaned on oatmeal. I think its like drinking coffee. At first you think, yeeeecccchh! How could anyone stomach this foul concoction? But, then later you get past the whole visceral consistency of nasal discharge phase and begin to experience the subtle nuances of flavor. And then, once you season to taste, you actually begin to enjoy the rich flavors and textures. I like my grits with a little butter and a sprinkle of brown sugar. But, who knows? Being a damned Yankee, what do I know about grits anyway? How do you like your grits?