Wednesday, August 20

New clay and snow

So I'm pretty happy about the results I have here. I am thrilled with the glazes on this clay body. They look great, and amazingly there are no obvious defects. How is this possible? Five glazes and they all look good? On a body I made? This is someone else's life. The clay is this great dark brown with a hint of red. It reminds me of a dark, hard terra-cotta. So, even though I want to plunge right in and mix up a couple thousand pounds, I'm trying to be sane and methodical about it. So instead I mixed up a 20 lb. batch which I should probably go check on soon. Weird. I swore that I would never make my own clay again because I so despised doing it in college, but I have no reservations about doing it now. I think I much prefer this method of making it (slurry and rack vs. dry in clay mixer). So I better design some drying racks and begin construction.

The thing is, unless someone has a better idea, if this 20 lb. test is a go and I go with this body, I have to imagine how much clay I might use before next spring-and make it all before the weather turns cold. I don't know what the weather is like in other areas where people make their own clay, but in the winter here it can be a bit chilly. Like 25 degrees below zero chilly sometimes, but almost consistently below freezing which I don't imagine is very good for drying clay. Especially the last three winters. They've brought a whole other level to cold endurance.

I was a snowboard instructor for one of the really cold years and on top of the mountain, with the wind blowing and the air already in the below zero range, I remember a day that with the wind chill it was 45 degrees below zero. On days like that we all walked around wrapped up like mummies. You could tell who people were by their goggles, snowboards and occasionally special attire. We had this one guy who taught skiing, who when he wasn't teaching wore a pink snowsuit, with a green furry belt. I didn't even know him but liked him immediately. I got frostbite once on just a little bit of the side of my nose, because there was the tiniest leak of air sneaking in between my goggles and face wrap. I could feel this little sliver of air burning my skin as I blasted down the hill at lightening speed, flipping and jumping and ollies to high heaven-oops, sorry, I got caught up in a little fantasy there. It was really cold anyway.


I almost forgot. Here's Daisy Doo. I made her a little cave under my slabroller. I really need the storage space but I'm hoping to give her a safe place to go during the frequent thunderstorms we have-she usually comes over and stands by me shaking violently, which I can stand for about three minutes. Also just her own little pad. Unfortunately her favorite place to lay is wherever I am standing, which isn't usually very practical. I'm making glazes the other day and walking around her and stepping over her for an hour. But I don't mind in a way because she went through this skittish phase, very skittish, and just walking by her or standing up would freak her out and she'd jump to her feet like someone had shot a gun. It was freakin me out a little. She's a weird dog. She's really good natured and always been treated well, so she has no reason to be fearful, but she has this habit of looking at you like she's done something wrong. She hangs her head low and looks up at you through the top of her eyes and keeps darting them to the side. It's hard to get a picture of her because I feel like I'm torturing her.

I just realized this is my 100th post. I think I am supposed to celebrate or something. So I wept some pretend tears of joy. I think I will be a little more festive on my 365 and 1/4 day of posting.


Ben Stark said...

Those glazes look great on the new clay body! They seem to be brighter with more variation. Good stuff.

Judy Shreve said...

WOW -- good work on your testing/glazes! The pictures look good. But I tell you if pottery doesn't work out you could be a writer. I loved your story -- about the cold, the mountain, your dog . . .
And happy 100th post!

Deborah Woods said...

Thanks Ben-I agree about the glazes, this clay does liven them up a little more.

Thanks Judy. Have you been talking to my father? He's always encouraging me to write more. I was actually a writing minor in college. I started out with it as my major, minoring in ceramics, and switched them around after my first year. I do enjoy writing, although I think I have a better grasp of clay, than of the English language.

Judy Shreve said...

Well then you should just do both -- your clay work & your writing are both wonderful.
You've taken on a big task making your own clay -- and I would think you don't have much time until the chill begins.
My kiln is finished firing - but it will be tomorrow before I can unload. I hate to wait!

Patricia Griffin said...

OHHHH... Love the creamy yellows/creme/blues (hint of rose?) in that first picture, and the black buttons. Very nice!... I cracked up at the part about your dog's favorite place to lay being wherever you are standing. That sounds very familiar. Happens all the time in my dogdom.

Deborah Woods said...

Thanks Patricia-it's nice having her around, but I swear-no more dogs and cats once these guys are gone. I think it could be incredibly dangerous in old age. I've almost gone down more than a few times because you turn around to walk and they have sidled up behind you and parked themselves at your heels.

ang said...

really liking ooh- lots of stuff going on with depth in the glaze, congrats on the clay making I just dont have the time other than working up the recycled..hppy 100th and watch out for the speed hump! my cat does exactly that & we both go flying..

Deborah Woods said...

Hi Ang-thanks-I think if I devote just a couple of days to making clay, I might be able to make enough to get through the winter. Gotta try and figure out how much is needed-probably several thousand pounds-piece of cake (a really big cake)