Thursday, July 31

Keep On Keepin' On

I'm pretty sad this morning. If you remember from a few posts back I had an issue with one of my main glazes. I had mixed up a new batch, tested it and it was not good. So I made two new tests with my old yellow ochre, and my new yellow ochre and fired those with some other tests yesterday. Something is still not right. I could post some photos but this post is not so much about what is wrong visually but what is wrong with my heart. It's crushing. I've worked sooo hard and was finally turning the bend a little. I'm not giving up, but this is a real log on the path and now I've got to figure a way through or around. It started raining this morning and I was glad. I told Adam it was like a big warm blanket around my heart. Now it's no longer raining and I just want to smack the sun.

Serendipitously, I checked Emily Murphy's blog this morning and found her post on Ira
Glass from This American Life. It's dead-on and I know these things already but I needed to hear it now and it really helped to turn my negative energy around a little. So I'm closing that gap but it's cracked open a bit. Maybe it is meant to be and the necessity to go down a different path could lead me to something really great that I never would have seen before. But for now, I am sad.

Wednesday, July 30

Peepholes, pots and clay goop

I bisque to cone 06. Cone 04 is for sissies. (juuust kidding)

Yesterday I took some steel wool to my wheelhead which had badly oxidised then gave it a bath. Pretty sweet?

Today my goal was small covered pots. A friend who gave me a massage said she wants a honey pot for payment. I threw 20 pots and lids, and then about 10 small tumblers and called it a day. I'm beat.

The same sweet wheel after 20 honey pots and 10 tumblers. It's like . . . why? what did I ever do to you? Yuck. I find this whole messy business a little grotesque, but it comes with the job.

Monday, July 28

Guitar strings and clay thangs

One side of pitcher
Other side of pitcher
Some tumblers
Another pitcher
A couple of vases and jars

I'm pretty excited about finishing all of these pots. I have an idea of how I would like for them to all look, but of course no idea of how they will actually look. As you can see I put some white slip on some of them. I plan to put white glaze on those areas probably so it really pops out on my clay. The white glaze I use is a little translucent, which I like because it allows the clay body to show through a little, but some bright white contrast might be nice too. I've got a lot I would like to write, but I have to go back to my studio. I'm trying to treat all of my work days as work days and not screw off too much. My guitar thang is tonight, so I only have until 6:30 to work. Then I'm off to be a rock superstar (and live small?-how's that right?).

Saturday, July 26

Seven pitchers

Seven pitchers, seven hours. Kind of. I trimmed 16 tumblers also. Plus a couple of meal breaks so maybe seven pitchers, five hours. Still, I hope once I get my groove on making these that I will become a little more efficient time-wise. The spouts were kicking my butt at first. I kind of like adding the spouts as hand made additions, rather than pinching the rim to form a spout. In the past however I usually cut into the rim to create an opening and attach that way. You know the drill. I hate cutting into the rim. There's something about it that gives me the willies. I don't mind altering the rim as in making it wavy, or making square or triangle plates. But just to take a round rim and cut a chunk out is very distasteful. So then I realized I might be able to just add the spout on top of the rim (yes, I just realized this, I know) and I like it that way much better. The four pitchers on the right are made that way. I think the second and third pitchers from the right are my favorites. Too tired to write more.

Friday, July 25

Two new friends

At the dump today, huddled together within the rubble I found these two world adventurers. They were stranded and needed a ride and so I offered to help. After spending a moment with them I discovered that their names were Brett and Nina.

Brett and Nina spent much of the morning with us and then it was time for them to go. We dropped them off at a place where they thought they might have luck catching their next ride. They thanked us for our hospitality and we waved goodbye. I was sad to see them go.

I hope I haven't heard the last from Brett and Nina. I have a feeling I haven't. Good luck Brett and Nina!

Thursday, July 24

Old pots, fresh pots and an outlaw

Thought I'd post something with a little color for a change. From my last glaze firing I think. I like the idea, but it's a little flat to me.

Adam said I should make some pitchers and I always do what he says so that's what I'm working on above.

Some beer, ice coffee, whatever tumblers.

If you see this woman on the street, run, don't walk to a safe place. I hear she is quite dangerous.

Wednesday, July 23

Polka Dot Pot

I kinda like this pot. Hope it comes through the glaze well.

Mmmm, eze zalright.

I trashed a lot of the jars I had going. They just weren't working for me. That's alright. Part of the process. I'll know it when I see it. I have enough pots ready for a pretty packed bisque now, but everything is taking sooo long to dry. Raining constantly lately and humid on the days it's not.

I'd rather eat cake than crap but I don't eat sugar

So, these are some of the events of my morning. I won't get into details but I suppose a little background information is needed. My patience for things that bother me is very thin lately. I think as a result of this medication I am on and just life stresses. There was a communication issue at work (there are frequent communication issues which I usually grit my teeth about) and so without naming names there is a person who is frequently rude to me. Sighs, annoyed tones of voice when asked simple questions that are necessary to my performing my job, etc.

This morning (communication issue #1 of the day (I actually received a sigh and the stomp of a foot because I answered the phone, I guess I was not tuned into knowing that she wanted to answer the phone-it's all very confusing since usually she is really annoyed by having to take a phone call-I can't keep up) So when communication issue #2 occurred I just snapped. Simple and to the point. I barely remember the events and could not recount them well in a court of law were I required to do so. One minute I'm standing there trying to help a customer on the phone and when I asked this other person I work with a question about the customers order and saw that posture, the look on her face and heard that tone of voice . . . I just snapped. I don't even know what happened to the box of jewelry that was in my hand. The poor customer on the phone. I'm sure they must have heard my profanity and experienced the lack of connection to a person on the other end of the line as the phone took its flight across the room.

My feelings on the event are this; I feel like I have a legitimite reason to have experienced the emotions that I did. As I said, this has been building for some time. But it's so inappropriate for a grown woman to behave like I did in a place of business. For that I was truly wrong. I'm still trying to decide if they were to want me to continue working if I even want to. I know no matter where you go it's the same shit on a different lawn. I've worked enough places to know this, but I still don't understand it. Working for someone else is hard enough as it is. We often have to eat so much shit. Why do we want to create an environment where we also have to eat each others crap as well? I work way, way too hard to have it be any harder than it needs to be.

I hope there was no injury. It certainly was not my intent to hit her with the phone and I hope I did not. I heard no glass breaking (I REALLY hope there was none). Well, if I don't go back maybe it's for the best. I'm not getting anywhere with my own work. Maybe it's time for me to jump in full time. Man, I don't feel so good about all this. Don't you hate it when you start to think that maybe you're a grown-up and then realise that you are still a child after all?

Monday, July 21

How many hours can you waste in a day and still call it productive?

(first, please excuse the rage you are about to witness. I thought about deleting this post to save myself from the peeks inside my tortured soul, but as a tattoo artist once said to me: it's who you were that day)

So, this is one of the only redeeming qualities of my day. To post photo of my cute grandson because this day has SUCKED!!!!!!. No new pots to show. A lot of new aggravation to show, so if you are sensitive to blood you might wish to avert your eyes. I promised my daughter, mother of said grandchild, that we would take any files from our old crappy computer and save them then wipe the hard-drive out and all that jazz and re-install and all that shmazz and give her the old computer. Okay. I started by 9:30 this morning, and it's now what? 2:30, 3:00? and I am still going. I want to smash things with very big hammers and scream very loud screams. Is it too early to bring out the LUKSUSOWA vodka or should I wait a while?I also have our guitar group meeting at my house tonight at 7:00 and oh yeah, I am a potter after all, and I have, what are those things called, oh yeah, POTS!!!! waiting to be finished while I f*** around on that computer.

My friend Caroline (am amazing sign painter in New Hampshire) said that computers are supposed to make our live easier, but instead bring incredible frustration and she is so right. I can't imagine life now without the internet, but sometimes I just want to smash! and smash! and crush! and obliterate! these things! Ug. If I were not so self-controlled and reserved in my emotions, I might express my utter frustration by suffice it to say that I am not pleased with the events of the day. Chow.

Naked in Uncharted Waters

"Create according to your knowledge of beauty with the knowledge that someday you will be understood."

This is a quote from the article "The Joy of Style" by Karen Terpstra in Sept/Oct 2001 issue of Clay Times. I've been paging through my old issues and I had underlined this sentence seven years ago. I must have been physic and sending a message to myself in the future. My work is in the process of taking a radical shift in the way I glaze my pieces. If you look back to June 16, Electric and Lovin It, you can get an idea of what my next kiln of pots might look like (sort of, those photos are just little test pots). But I can hear the voices in my head of well-meaning people I know who might be a little shook up by this new direction. "are you still going to make your old work? maybe you can do both? why are you doing this? (said with that just tasted something yucky look on their face) Hell, I'm not even sure it will work out. It's uncharted waters for me. But, I do know that I feel excited about my work and I'm actually looking forward to glazing (usually I consider it a bit of a drag). You never could have told me seven years ago or even one year ago that I would be following this path. I guess I am on two different paths. I have also been sprigging as well and was really happy with the results and the glaze combinations I began discovering. But they are the same glazes either way(down to four remember?) and so saybe I will dip my feet in both for a while. Or maybe I should just strip down naked and leap into this one pool of the shimmering water.

Saturday, July 19

Giving up-what the???

Oookay. These are two squarish jars that I managed to get covers on. The handles are a little different for me. Usually I throw the handles or handbuild them but I had enough clay to try just turning them. These two pots were waaayyyyy more work than they are worth. Contrary to my personality, I am temporarily giving up the square thing until later. I need some advice before I move on. My second option is just squaring the base but leaving the lid area round. I spent way too much time trying to get these lids to fit.

So . . . these shapes harken back to the days of what now seem like my youth. When I was in my early 30's and working on my BFA. These are a few vases I threw today when I decided if I made another covered pot I would throw a IT against the wall (you can see six jars in the making in the background, also in my old organic shape). When I was in college I threw really tight at first, probably like many of us. Perfection meant good you know? It took me a while to loosen up and like many of us, began almost seeking imperfection in my work. Tight and perfect meant no good to me (which reminds me, I forgot to wavy cut these rims!). So now I intentionally throw with my wheel too slow, intentionally cut my rims so they are not perfectly level and give a quick swoop up the side of a pot (not these) with a rib to give it some movement. Like I said, like many of us. I wonder why this is part of the road?

One lone little bowl of the day (with a wavy rim-ooh yah).

Thursday, July 17

20 lumps of clay and a not so good day

Every time I try to make square covered jars they end up sucking quite a bit. I get really frustrated and destroy most of them and so now I have 6. Six little not so great-ish, not so square-ish pots. I don't know what I am looking for with these, but not finding it yet, that much I know. I went flipping through my back issues of Clay Times because I remember an illustrated article about making square pots from the round but couldn't find it. Maybe it's in one of my Ceramics Monthly. Who the * knows. For some reason I'm just not in a great mood today. So here's a story. I'll finish below.

So I go to the cable place (Time Warner Cable next to the liquor store, a FIIINE place if you don't mind interacting with robotrons) and they ask for our phone number (got it) name (got it) last four digits of Adam's SSN (um, what?) "I don't have that", I say. Well we need it. "You need his social security number for me to cancel cable? Don't you think that's a little intrusive?" It's our policy. "Well I don't have it. You have all the other stuff. I'm his wife." That doesn't matter. "What?" It's government regulation.

I try to call Adam but am unable to reach him. "Can I just leave this (the remote and cable box) here and I'll have him call you?" We can't give out our phone number. I feel like I've been dropped on my head. "You can't give out your phone number. Are you serious?" (I say these last three words with a slight valley-girl inflection) No we can't, but you can call this number. She hands me a card where I can reach a corporate answering clone. Store policy, she says again. "Okay fine, can I just leave this stuff here and as soon as I reach him I'll have him call." No. "I can't leave this stuff here?" No, she says again.

I am tired of pretending any longer that this conversation is rational. I pick up the box, checkbook, and remote and tuck the special little corporate contact card into my wallet. "You know," I say, "I don't expect you to care much because it's only 40$ a month, but when I tell my husband about this, he's gonna be furious and you're going to loose us as customers" (for this I receive a blank stare). I start to walk out, turn back around and say simply: "this is ridiculous" and then as I turn again to leave I drop my check book and bill onto the floor and so have to bend over while balancing the cable box, remote and my wallet, to pick them up from the floor. I wonder if this might have lessened the drama of my parting last words but then as I reach the door, I pause and turning only my head to aim my words with precision I say: "it's only cable you know", and walk away. I get into my car and carefully back out and drive away. No screeching tires, no slamming doors, no flipping of birds, just pure, dignified outrage.

So Adam WAS angry and called the corporate clone and canceled and we did have our revenge in a small way. He refused to drive up to return the cable box again, and so they are sending a postage-paid box for us to return everything in. They could have cared less we were cancelling and their cheerful parting words were: "is there anything else we can help you with today?" How friendly. How absolutely, condescendingly, corporately friendly. So now we have to switch from cable internet to DSL through the phone co. I'm not so sure we came out ahead here but sometimes we just have to prove a point.

Some sad clay worms recuperating from the abuse they suffered on the wheel and a beer which did not make me feel better one bit.

Wednesday, July 16

If no one hears a tree grow in the woods, should it keep growing?

I've been feeling a little frustrated about my blog. I thought it would be fun to write and an opportunity to share my work with family, friends, and hopefully strangers or other potters I might hope to meet someday. The sad reality is that it doesn't seem to be the case. My wonderful husband Adam (and my friend Ella from work) are my only constant readers. I've definitely become aware that I am sending this out into space. It's like this little sattelite up among the stars. It's pretty happy it's in space, but like Pinocchio, it just wants to be a real blog.So what do I do when what I am doing is meant to be shared and no one wants a bite?

Well, my first feeling is one of discouragement and the thought to just can it. What's the point? But, I don't have a web-site yet and I feel the need for some kind of prescence on the web. Perhaps I just post a few photos with my contact info and call it good? That doesn't exactly seem like the nature of a blog though. Should I be annoyed with my family and friends for their lack of interest? People have their own lives and I was told when I was little that the world doesn't revolve around me, and it may just be true. Should I be disappointed that out of the dozens and dozens and dozens of pottery blogs out there, many in their third and fourth years, that my little six-month-old pottery blog has not picked up national interest? Yah I'm disappointed, because my Mom did always tell me I was special, but I'm not foolish. I know I am but a small speckle of specialness that exists in the pottery blog world. So what to do?

Well, my wonderful and supportive husband Adam has asked me to not give it up, because he reads every day hoping I have written something new. So if only for Adam alone, I will continue. I do have to ask myself if it is worth writing if only for myself. If no one reads, is there a reason to type these words? I suppose the answer is if the act of creating is enough even if I am my only audience. I think I'd have to answer no. Part of my pleasure is imagining the response of another human being. And the less I can imagine that, the less fun it seems.

But for now there is Adam every day, and for now I guess that's good enough for me.

*disclaimer-the above information isn't entirely correct. In the interest of self-pity and writing a more interesting and succinct post I have left out the fact that my father has read several times, my mother twice, my brother twice and my sister once. I'm sure that these glaring omissions of facts may be pointed out to me otherwise.

Tuesday, July 15


Just a quick post. First off, I'm feeling pretty awesome. Thanks to that medicine I am still sleeping through the night which I think has begun to have a positive effect on my remaining headache. I just sort of realized late in the day yesterday that I hadn't thought of my pain all day, because it wasn't really there. First day with drug-free pain. This morning is the first morning I have woken up without pulsing and pain. I think my body is finally healing probably thanks to four solid nights of sleep.

These are some bowls I threw Saturday and trimmed Monday. I left them uncovered for almost two days and some were still a little soft to trim. The weather has such an effect on our work.

I am off to make some jewelry. Sadly this means a sharp decline in my pottery output for the next three day. It's an unfortunate cycle I am on.

Saturday, July 12

Mold and the Art of Zen

So I'm pretty excited. Usually I pull all of my handles. It's a sloppy business and it's not my favorite thing to do. Makes the idea of making a lot of mugs at the same time seem like kind of a drag. Well, yesterday I had the idea of making the handles out of a coil of clay and hand shaping them on the table, like I do when I put a little lug on a jar or oval pot and I thought, why not the mugs? It worked fantastically! The handle looks a little large here because of the photo perspective, but it looks pretty sweet. I found that making the handles this way made the whole experience more enjoyable and little more zen-like.

This is what happens when you let your pots sit under plastic in the New England humid summer weather. These rings are all mold.

I got my new scale which almost instantly gave me the same problems with the on/off button so I exchanged it for the model on the left which is larger and more heavy duty and so really more suited to the business of weighing out clay and glaze materials for large batches. The scale on the right is for my testing. I got two because you want the scales to be as accurate as possible of course, and with digital scales, the more you go up in weight capacity (the one on the left can weigh 15 pounds while the one on the right can only weigh 2 pounds) they become slighty less accurate in the sense that the larger one is accurate to within one gram, while the smaller one is accurate to within .001 grams. One gram is not a big deal when weighing out a large batch of glaze, but could be a problem when weighing out a test batch. My tests and my large batches have always come out exactly the same I believe as a result of using two scales and the result of doing my tests in a small computer-controlled kiln and my large computer-controlled kiln. This way I can also program my small firings to fire, and more importantly COOL, very closely the same as a larger firing.

So I took the new medicine the neurologist gave me before nighty-night time like he said, and an amazing thing happened. I slept the entire night. Now, this may not seem like a big deal to most people but I don't sleep well. Four to five hours if I am lucky, and it is all interrupted. Sleep one hour, wake up, sleep another hour, lay awake for an hour, etc. So during the day I am always tired. I woke up this morning and after I rubbed the sleepies out of my eyes I am amazed at how much energy I have. Physically and mentally. I wonder if this is how other people feel all of the time? It's a very strange state for me to be in. I gotta figure out a way to make this a permanent thing. See-ya.

Friday, July 11

Spinal Fluid 101

I went to the neurologist today. Still had a headache although not as intense as before and just overall crappy feeling. The good thing is that he seemed pretty confident as to what was causing it. Bad thing is that there's really only one or two things to do about it. He believes I have a spinal leak from my surgery. I had a spinal instead of general anesthesia and I guess sometimes the hole doesn't heal fully or something and your spinal fluid actually leaks out of your spine into your body. When this happens the pressure in your spine and around your brain (because they are connected) drops and your brain which usually floats in the spinal fluid starts to sink your head causing a lot of pressure. He said the pressure at the base of the spine is around 36 pounds when standing, and drops to about 6 when lying down which is why lying flat is better and standing upright would often make me feel as if there were a large action figure trying to kick it's way out of my head. So the solution to this is one: let enough time go by and it will go away or two: go in for another surgery in which you get a blood patch where they take some of your blood and inject it into your spine where you had the spinal. I guess this helps it to heal but is pretty invasive and of course, punctures the spine again. Since mine is already dropped in intensity I am going to try waiting it out for a couple of more weeks and he gave me something new to try for the pain that is often diagnosed for seizes and I guess helps nerve pain. So for anyone who has not followed this dramatic story this is about four weeks now of a constant headache, two of it pretty intense. Oh well. There are people worse off.

These pots are from the firing before last and are just okay. I was thinking about a lot of the pots I have in my seconds area (almost all the pots I have made thus far) and these are two of them. There is nothing inherently wrong with them except they are just not what I am looking for and they don't really represent the direction I am heading. Kind of like when you have a snack and you don't feel satisfied. You had the wrong snack and you still feel hungry. I just feel kind of empty about them but I can recognize them as moderately attractive. Many people do not understand this and think I am just too critical of myself and my work.

This line of thinking is incorrect. The first obvious problem with this is that if I am not critical (I think it's important to see this word more positively) and treat everything I make like it is successful, then I will never grow and find my voice. Just because something is okay does not mean that it speaks for me. I guess it is something you either understand or you do not. I think we are so trained in this culture to treat everyone and everything one makes as precious and special that we have often lost the skill of critical thinking and accepting failure as part of the road to success or just part of the road. You can't become emotionally attached to everything. You have to be able to let it go. Everyone and everything can't be a winner. So these are a couple of my not bad looking, but not what I am looking for pots.

Chow for now.

Wednesday, July 9

Who the !$@#$ is Deb Woods?

This may seem like another non-pottery related blog, but if you stick with me long enough you will see that it is indeed. These images from Maggie Taylor are from the shop calendar at the silversmiths where I work part time. I'm posting them because I think they are pretty cool. No other reason. I don't really have new pots to post because I have been either feeling like crap or working at my (day, other, paying, real, interfering--choose one) job. After work today I watched a movie named "Who the !@#$ is Jackson Pollock". It's about a woman truck driver who finds a painting at a thrift store and buys it for 5$. She hates it, the woman who she was going to give it to hates it, and it ends up in a yard sale where an art teacher tells her she might have a real Jackson Pollock on her hands to which she replies "who the !@#$ . . ." . She spends the next ten years (and still I think) trying to prove that this painting she hates is real. The art world does not believe it is real, but she is told if it is, it is worth about fifty million dollars. At some point she is offered two million dollars which she turns down; on principal she says. Mmm-hmm. Yup. Later she is offered nine million I think which she also turns down. This woman is in her seventies. But I didn't write this to talk about greedy truck drivers or arrogant art dealers.

I was thinking about all the pots I discard because I hate them, legitimately or otherwise. I have made stuff that is just butt-ugly, god-awful, I don't want anyone to know I made it, terrible. I either smash them or throw them in a bucket. I usually know, but not always, that it's really bad if Adam loves it. His taste is not quite . . . the same as mine. And I wonder how I can trust the aesthetic opinion of someone who's favorite shade of blue is more commonly known as -- tarp. No offense Adam. And I think about this painting that Pollock very possibly painted, but maybe did not love enough to put his signature on and maybe even discarded. Can it be claimed to be legitimate? Possibly. Should it be claimed to be valuable? I don't know. How fair is it to the artist and his legacy to associate him with something that he himself may not have valued. I hate the idea of someone holding up one of my pots that I despised and attributing it to me. I once let my husband take some of my seconds to use at the restaurant he was working at (he's a chef) with strict instructions to tell no one where they came from. Well anyways, it just got me thinking. But I could be a hypocrite because I have lately started selling some of my seconds. I am very conflicted about this, but money is sometimes needed. Given my opinion on this matter however, I may have to think some more and either re-evaluate my opinion or smash a little harder.

Monday, July 7

Knife Skills 101

This is a completely non-pottery post. It's about another lesson in survival skills from my husband Adam. Adam used to be a Marine, which means in his mind he is still a Marine. As a result he has a lot of information in his head about what to do in the event of an attack. I don't even remember how this came up yesterday morning, but next thing I know he is up and giving me a demonstration in how to defend myself in the event of a knife attack and how to do my attacking more efficiently. This is not just his idea by the way, he actually took a class in the Marines called Knife Skills 101. This is about the fifth, sixth, twentieth, I don't know, survival lesson I have had by the way. I'd like to say that I appreciate it and that they will come in handy, because I'm sure this knowledge would benefit me if I could only remember the other lessons. But if I am involved in a knife fight within the next few weeks, while this information is fresh in my mind, I think I will be a formidable opponent. If I just remember to lead with my other arm (to protect my good throwing arm) and keep my knife close to my body . . .

Sunday, July 6

Listening Within

I loosely had a goal yesterday of maybe throwing 60 mugs. I got to 46 but I wasn't feeling so hot so not too bad.

I was reading something last night which I thought applied aptly to pottery making. I know in my own work it has been a bit of a struggle to give myself permission to take chances or try something new, worried that the result might not be successful, people might not like it, almost like worried about embarrassment or something. I've heard and read a few things that have really changed my way of thinking in the last few months.

One was on an NPR program and they were interviewing an artist whose medium was nails. That's all he ever used for his sculptures were nails. The thing I took away from that interview was a comment he made that by limiting himself to such an extent he became truly inspired and creative. I imagine once you think you are out of ideas of what to do with nails, is probably when you really start to get ideas. That's when I decided to get rid of a lot of my glazes and limit myself to four or five (I had twelve going I think). This is already having a noticeable, positive effect on my work.

Another thing I heard somewhere was the idea that no one had to see something you have made unless you make the decision to put it out there. That your only audience has to be yourself. That idea really freed me up to try new ideas because if they don't work, who cares. I don't have to sell it, I don't even have to show it.

I also used to believe that I had to make all these items. Not forms so much as items. I have been spending a lot of time going through my old Ceramic Monthlys and I have observed that the interviewer often will say something like: so and so's forms, or the forms so and so makes and I realized that I don't think that's it? How boring or whatever, on the contrary I found myself thinking how lucky and freeing and I realized one day as I was reading that there was no reason this couldn't be me. How enlightening! I can make whatever I want! I like making ovals, I like making cups, I like making bowls, I like making teapots and if those are the only forms I make for the rest of my life then that is my choice and it is okay. That is very freeing, to let go of the idea that you HAVE to do something, or that you SHOULD be doing this or that.

So last night I was reading and I thought this was very inspiring. The author is Erich Schiffmann and the book is "Yoga, the Spirit and Practice of Moving Into Stillness". He's talking about his experience writing the book and he says: ". . . that spontaneous intuitive revelation flows into your mind, when you pay attention inwardly, are receptive, and listen . . . to move into stillness in order to be guided from within, and then to be brave enough, and willing, to do as the within is prompting you to do-even when you cannot explain your behavior to yourself or others. In this way you will be an inspired, inspiring, and meaningful prescence".

Saturday, July 5

The Bomb Boule

Here is one of the two loaves I made with my new sourdough starter. This is a 100% whole wheat bread, except for the starter which I have made with unbleached white bread flour. I'm really surprised how good the flavor is with these loaves. For a new starter there is a nice tang and it did a fine job in raising the dough. If anyone is interested in pursuing sourdough bread making the BEST book that I know of to get is "Breads from the La Brea Bakery" by Nancy Silverton. If you do what she instructs you will be making bread like the kind you thought you could only buy. Another book to check out is one a friend gave me called "World Sourdoughs From Antiquity" by Ed Wood. Another book I have which I havn't used as much but like having because it's kind of an earthy baking book is "The Tassajara Bread Book" by Edward Espe Brown.

Unfortunately I am not feeling well again today. It was my intention to throw about 60-75 mugs and finish them Monday. I'm still going to try but feeling less than enthusiastic about it now. I don't usually make so many mugs at one sitting but thought I'd try. It's a lot of handles to put on the next day. Adam said if I made 60 mugs he would make me breakfast tomorrow, and if I made 100 he would take me out for breakfast. I not very gratefully told him that that didn't seem worth it to me and that I would make my own breakfast and less mugs. I'm not very nice sometimes.

Friday, July 4

Oval pot construction

This will be obvious and boring to the potters out there, but to my friends or family it may be mildly entertaining, so this is how I put together an oval pot, in a very abbreviated form. Above is a pot that we will pretend doesn't have a bottom yet, because this is the wrong picture. Pretend it is just walls.

Then I flip it over and score the bottom to help it stick to the slab (sheet) of clay that I have already rolled out on my slabroller (think really big pasta machine that cost about 700$ more).

Flip the only walls pot over and set on the slab which I have sprayed with water. I carefully jiggle it down firmly onto the slab because we want it to stick really well so there will be no cracking later. After I cut around the base of the pot and smooth the outside and inside to hopefully make it look as if the pot were born this way, and not the horrid result of a really bad plastic surgeon.

Two little handles made from a coil of clay that has been flattened and shaped a little.

And like magic, the finished pot. I pre-decorated this one with some lines I drew into the clay. I made 15 of these today (threw them yesterday, but finished today) but they are not all alike. The handles vary, only half have lines drawn in them, and the general shapes are different, but all oval.

I'm really looking forward to glazing these pots. I am trying something different. I've done a lot of testing and it you look back to the post from June 16, "Electric and Lovin' it" you get an idea of the approach I will be using to glaze many if not most of these pots.

Another day in paradise

Well, if you are into the sort of thing like holidays like Adam who is walking around the kitchen singing about the fourth of July, then happy fourth. If you are more like me and are growing weary of your Adam telling you to have some fun today because it's a holiday, then happy Friday.

Thursday, July 3

Pots, tools and smelly stuff

The other day I was going through my shard buckets looking for anything I might want to sell at my super-discount-out with the old-in with the new pottery and yard sale and I came across this old mug I handbuilt about two years ago. It's not the greatest mug in the world but I decided I wanted to keep it. Most of the stuff is broken-on purpose. I throw the rejects into the buckets with great gusto.

I finally threw some things again today. I can't tell you how tired I am. These pots only weigh 1.25 lbs. and it kicked my butt! I have lost a lot of strength over the last six weeks of not working. I feel like one of those sick people in the movies who has to shoosh everyone out of the room because she needs to rest. That is what I am going to do next. These are going to be oval shaped pots. They don't have bottoms so many of them began their transformation as I cut them off their bats. I will roll out some slabs tomorrow morning to use as bottoms after I re-shape the pot. Maybe I will photograph the process for the billions of non-potters who are reading my blog. It promises to be fascinating.

Some covered jars I made several weeks ago.

More covered jars. They remind me of baby bottles. I did a demonstration to that effect for Adam including a little "wah".

This is my newborn baby Sourdough Starter. It is about thirteen days old and we are very proud of it! It is all bubbly and stinky and in a few days I will make some delicious bread or bagels or english muffins or some other delectable delight with it. Some people have had cultures (starters) for decades or more than a hundred years. If you take care of them they will last literally forever and you just keep using it and hopefully it keeps getting better and better. A few years ago I had an amazing one going. It made the BEST bread. One day I was vigorously stirring some flour into it and the gallon jar I was keeping it in shattered, as did my heart.