Saturday, December 27

Some changes

well I'm not sure how my blog is going to continue to fare/fair. I think, actually know, I am beginning to look for another full time job. I won't be able or willing to work a forty or more hour week and continue to make pots on any serious scale. My debts are just too high to ignore right now. I'm trying to take it in stride and just accept that they will be paid off someday, but it's making me feel a bit like I'm in a prison. between my operation and charging a lot of pottery supplies it's really added up. Plus, without getting into any detail, I need to start saving some money for a move and the possible need to support myself. so, since this is a pottery blog, I'm not sure how much pottery I will be making to be blogging about. Who knows, maybe I will feel compelled to come home after working in a hot sweaty kitchen all day or night and toil in the dark damp basement. Hmm, I'll keep you posted (see that pun?)

Monday, December 22

Stuck in Chicago

some trinkets from a trip to Continental Clay?? (I can't remember the name-in Santa Monica I think)

Well I'm back in New Hampshire. We just got a load of snow dumped on us. The trip was nice, but it's also good to be home again. Long trip back though. I had to change planes in Chicago. I was supposed to have a two hour layover, but the plane was delayed from NY, and about five minutes after I arrived (looking like all that and then some in a new brown coat and suede boots-but that's another story) I found out that my flight, which was supposed to take off at about 6:50 p.m., wasn't even due to arrive there until 10:30. Since I arrived around 4:30ish, that meant I had around 6 hours to kill.

So after roaming around the small portion of the airport I was trapped in, trying to balance my guitar-a 1976 old Guild my father let me have which hadn't seen the light of day outside it's case in over a decade-on my rolling backpack, stumbling around on my new boots, I finally found a seat in a pub, ordered a glass of red wine, which I soon regretted as I became sleepy and got a headache, ordered a bowl of mediocre chili and killed like 45 minutes. Only five hours left to go and things were not looking good. I bought The Appeal, by John Grisham and did my best to get lost in it and and accept my fate. In another life, and if I were a little smarter, I might have been a lawyer.

Eventually the time went by and I got on the plane. We rapid-fire boarded and I was fortunate enough to have an old charming gentleman sit next to me who reeked of alcohol and had the gelatinous veined eyes of a career drinker. I was torn between genuinely liking this man, and being horrified by being trapped next to him for two hours. He talked to me non-stop, loud, animated, bouncy and rude. When I came back from the bathroom, he said to me: "well I can see everything must have come out all right!" He expressed himself at length about different colors of pee based on how much water you drink, told me that he could tell I was a white woman from central NH based on my political views, and commented on the nice breasts of the woman on the t.v. monitor. I felt elated when the plane finally landed.

Sunday, December 14

Fifty-eight degrees and 58$

I know I already posted today, but I just got back from a craft fair in Laguna called, Sawdust. I'm walking around in a t-shirt and jeans thinking I'm completely normal, and I look around and everyone is wearing sweaters, or some form of an actual winter coat. Some warmed their chilly little necks with scarves. I didn't realize it was cold out until people started telling me. No fewer than five people asked me how I could stand being in a t-shirt. Wasn't I freezing? So I kept telling them I'm from New Hampshire, which seemed to help them understand, but one person finally says to me, well okay. But that doesn't change the fact that it's 58 degrees out. I'm just like . . . uhm, that seems pretty warm to me. Fifty-eight degrees? Are they kidding? I don't even think we pull our winter jackets out until it gets down in the high thirties.

So this was a little shocking. Pottery is not, at least in this area, valued the same as it is on the East Coast. Stunned is the best word to describe my reaction to the prices. You'd have to have seen it to believe it. I finally had a conversation with this one pottter and we talked about it. She said most potters who do mainly functional work don't do well there. That the things that sell the best are things that will be used for decoration. The first pot I picked up and saw the price of was a ten dollar coffee mug. This is at a relatively high end craft fair. Large Raku pots with lids and such, around 58$. Crystalline pots, with cut altered rims for around 18$. I could go on and on. I just could not believe it. So I guess those of us who live on the East Coast have a new reason to appreciate our area. A lower cost of living, and we can sell our work for more. That's not to say I haven't walked into a couple of "art" galleries and seen way overpriced pots, but for the average gal selling the average type pot, I think I'm in a better place.

Thinking of warm and fuzzy things

Hello everybody. Still in sometimes sunny California. I heard the East had a fantastic ice storm. Adam's boss put them up in a hotel room so they wouldn't have to drive home (it's an hour drive down curvy back roads on a sunny day). He said all the trees are coated in glass. Nothing is coated in glass here. Although . . . there is the strange to me happening of wrapping Christmas lights around palm trees. I'm used to seeing lights going everywhere, snaking all over branches of real, you know, trees? It's kind of like someone wrapped lights around a paper towel roll and stuck some fluffy stuff on top. It's uh, interesting.

So I neglected to mention that the house where my father lives is on the beach. Here are a few shots from the back window. Oh the misery of it all. He keeps saying that he's going to sell the house, but he's been saying that for years. One of these days perhaps and who knows, this could be my last visit with an ocean in the backyard. I am missing my home though. Not my physical home, although it will be nice to be back in my own environment. But I think I am just a New England girl at heart. This is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn't . . . oh, you know how that goes. It will be nice to see people in down jackets and some North Face gear. It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside just thinking about it.

Wednesday, December 10

Once there was a dead girl

This is the first time I have logged into my blog or checked anyone elses posts in a few days. Just hanging around being lazy most of the time. I watched this great movie last night. It's about this singer, Glen something, and him getting started out. You'd recognize his music if you heard it. It's an Indie film, oh, it's called Once. If you haven't seen it, I recommend it. The movie won best song at the Oscars. That song that goes "I don't know you, but I want you, something something something something something ..." that might not be enough info. Watch the movie and you'll see. I rewatched The Dead Girl. Another film I highly recommend if you haven't seen it. It's strange having such a temp difference. When we left the house at the awful hour of 5:30 a.m. Monday it was 3 degrees below zero with a 16 degree below zero windchill. today I'm laying on a chair and I had to pull it out of the sun cause it was scorching hot. Oh, funny story. I touched down in Long Beach at 3 p.m. Pacific time-about a half hour early, so I call my father to tell him and he's like, "you're here? you're kidding. I thought you were coming tomorrow! I'm on my way!" really good thing I called or I might have been waiting a while. One more thing before I go. There is a yoga studio about a five minute walk from the house called YogaWorks. For thirty dollars I got an introductory pass that is good for two weeks of unlimited classes. They have like at least ten classes of different yoga classes of different kinds every day. I've already gone three times. My muscles are a little sore but it's been great. I've had three different teachers so far so it's really cool getting to experience all these different teaching styles. Mentally I'm feeling a little dead. Woke up a lot last night. The previous night I slept for seven hours straight. I felt like I was on speed the next day I felt so rested. It's always so strange not to feel tired. Hope everyone is well. Long post, time to go.

Friday, December 5

Grease and griping

So this was a bit of fortuitous luck that brought this problem to my attention. I had been testing these baking pieces. I heated them in the oven to around 475 and let them cool. Then I froze them for a few hours and then popped them frozen into a 475 degree oven again. I wanted to see what kind of crazing or cracking issues might arrise. Turned out none. But I had left them sitting on top of my stove while I did some kind of frying and the insides got all greasy. A couple of days later I look and this is what I see. Grease has seeped into several of the pinholes and created this grease stain under the glaze. I think it is safe to say it is never going away, and obviously raises a huge problem. I'm a little surprised because this clay is really tight at cone 6 and I wouldn't expect it to absorb oil like this. Although, it just occurred to me, that it likely is not the clay absorbing the oil-but-you guessed it-the white slip under the glaze. Eureka. I think I just solved my riddle. But it's still a problem. I obviously need to eliminate the pinholing and crazing completely, or change the liner glaze. If I find an opaque blue similar to this one that I can apply directly to the clay without slipping that would save a step and maybe eliminate this problem. The other blue I was using-the turquoise-is not a candidate because any dribbling on the outside, even after being wiped off, resists glaze, so when I dip the outside, whereverI had wiped off the turquoise the glaze is noticably thinner. In other news, I am in the middle of another bought of insomnia. A few days now. I am very, very tired. If you fall asleep and most importantly, stay asleep every night, you don't know how lucky you are. My life really is a form of insomnia. I am lucky if I ever sleep for more than an hour or two without waking up. All night long, every night of my life. Over, and over again. I wonder if there is some kind of disability claim for this, because it really does begin to render you useless during the day after a while. I can't think straight. It's like everything I see and hear is moving through thick mud before it reaches my brain. And then it has to move through that thick mud again for me to process it and respond to it. So I get on this horrible cycle. I start drinking more caffeine to try and wake up, then I still can't sleep at night even though I am DEAD tired, and so I take a sleeping pill, which, by the way, does not keep me asleep all night. I still wake up at least three times on a sleeping pill. Okay, this is turning into a pity fest.

Wednesday, December 3

Sugar free squiggles

So. I am about to tell you a gross story. Well, it's not really gross-it's just something that most people would not talk about in polite company. That's why I am going to tell you. First let me tell you about this little picture here. I had stretched this canvas a while back for my son to paint on, and after he showed no interest it sat around for a while until one day, last year, when I threw some black and white paint on it and spread it around. I also laid some paper towels on in for texture. I wouldn't exactly say it was successful, but I wasn't really done. It's just been in the basement for a while, and I've been watching some shows about getting your house ready for sale-we're putting ours back on the market-and I am trying to completely unclutter it and fix any eyesore areas. This story is becoming too long and you will loose interest before I get to the gross story, so, to cut to the end, I needed something kinda like art for an area and so I dug this out, took a wide sharpie and drew squiggles. While I wouldn't exactly call it high art, it does look kinda cool on the wall. I had to take it down temporarily because I am painting the wall behind it the grey that you can see.

So. You might want to stop reading now. If you have any warm fuzzy feelings about me this will surely ruin them. I ran out of paint and so had to go to the store and get more. Earlier in the day I had gone to the store and bought some candy. I can't really eat sugar-it bothers my stomach really badly-I burp puke/bile, whatever you want to call it. Throw in a beer on that and it's like I have fire in my belly. So, once in a great while I buy some sugarfree candy. I know I should only eat two or three of them, because, like it says on the package: overconsumption can have a laxative effect. I ate the whole package. That is about twelve pieces. I know. I have no self control, that is another story altogether. No one was at the paint department and so I went to jewlrey and had them page someone. Three pages later someone finally arrives. By the time she mixed the paint, found a pen that worked, got her little q-tip out to do her test smudge, and pulled the blowdryer out to dry the paint to check for color corectness I was a little worried. I was standing there all cool and collected on the outside, acting like I could wait all night for the paint to dry. To say I wanted to leave quickly would be putting it gently. Suffice it to say all is well, but please take my advice and do not ever eat twelve pieces of sugar free candy. Ever.

Tuesday, December 2

Lots of pictures

Okey Doke. I've got a lot of photos up here. Some for good reasons, some for bad. The creamyish glaze above, although not awful, I have decided I find a little boring. Adam says he thinks it might sell well though-to those people who kind of want things that blend in easily with their home decors. If they do, I might make more at least to run this glaze out. But they don't get me excited.

This platter came out really nice-except-if you blow it up you can see some considerable pinholing. that is the problem of the day. Pinholing. I think I may know why though. since I put the slip onto bisque, although I have managed to keep it from cracking and splitting, I still think it is shrinking enough in some parts to create little tiny fissures. some of the pinholes have little tiny linesrunnying from them which leads me to this theory. so, I am slipping all my work in the greenware state now. I will have to spray the larger pieces for now. I can't imagine holding them withought breaking them and trying to keep slip from getting on the outside. It's a big problem because this clay is HEAVILY grogged and so any wiping on the raw ware exposes a very rough surface.

I dipped a lot of the pieces aka Ayumi Horie and Ron Philbeck style. I've always felt I had to create this pristine finish, but the finger mark, and sort of record of the process has begun to grow on me and I kind of like it.

So more beads I made last night. I keep getting a lot of comments about making more, so maybe I should listen. If I'm going to be sitting there watching Futurama (yah I did last night) and the Colbert Report, I might as well make a little money at the same time.

Here is one of my salsa/dip bowls.

A photo of some of the spread. I have a considerable amount of work that I consider sellable-even the boring unexciting creamy stuff. I gotta get it out to the galleries.

My little test cups all trimmed and slipped. Often I use standing tiles, but when I am really testing hardcore-like I need to know how this stuff will look and fuction on a pot-I usually try to put the glazes on little pots. I've got a bunch of tall coffee mugs and ice coffee/ice tea tumblers in the back.

This was a nice surprise. It is a new test glaze I tried. I am looking forward to trying this out on several more test pots to see how consistent it is, and what kind of variation I can get. It looks really nice with the blue, and has a kind of earthy, manyly look to it. It's all about pleasing the men.