Tuesday, March 31, 2015

April Commeth

As we enter the last day of March, I want to remind you that like New Years, April Fools Day is for amateurs Be careful with your comedy and try not to hurt anyone who doesn't deserve it. Feel free to make Indiana jokes. I know plenty of good people in Indiana but they have a Governor who has some of the biggest Gay bashers in the country surround him at a signing ceremony then claims the bill he signed doesn't do what it says it does. Now he says they need to clarify things. He should have waited until tomorrow to announce that one! In this country, you can form a church based on Aliens, one based on tablets buried on a farm, one based on predicting doomsday, one based on hating everyone who does not look and think like you. Hypothetically, I am free to believe women should not vote. I am not free to stop them from voting.If you think about the lunch counters of the 50's you can just substitute the Gay Population for the African American s to see what will be legal in Indiana. Thankfully, the backlash is very strong and is affecting economics of the state. When you get into someones pocket, they pay attention. Enough soapbox. Moving on....

Not too much excitement in the studio this week. I have been trying to make some footed wine glasses but am hesitant to make a bunch until I have fired some successfully.

I like where these are going and hopefully by next week I'll have some finished ones to show you. I am taking about 20 oz of clay and throwing a cup with a large ring of clay left at the foot. I then heat gun the top of the cup, flip it over and stick it to the wheel with a little water and throw the foot. If I need to make the curve a little more fair, I can also do a little trimming. If I decide to make a run of them, I'll skip the heat gun and let them air dry with the foot covered so that part stays soft. There are other ways to make these but I like the smooth curve that this one gives. We'll have to see how they finish out.

Other than that, I have been trying to get some pots to dry in a cold studio for bisque firing. I have a load crammed full so I have been cleaning up to get ready for glazing later this week. It is cooling now so I took a few minutes for an old murder ballad. Although it is set on the Ohio River, I like to think that it probably happened in some God forsaken place like Indiana. Ohioans have too much respect for the rights of others to act this way.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Packing It In

 Last week I shipped some canisters to St. Louis. Monday they sent me a note that they had a safe trip and are happy and well loved in their new home. They even included a picture of them in situ. It was so nice of the buyer to take time to write and let me know everything was ok. I don't like to sell sight unseen and ship stuff but the buyer made this one very easy. Here is a shot of them before they left.

Other than that, I have been getting tax stuff together and trying to get more organized. I have been told that my big show in May wants us off the street by 6:30. I made it last year but it was close. I'm trying to make box dividers that will allow me to just drop mugs in place without wrapping each one. Once I made templates, cutting them out went really fast. I used scrap plywood and Masonite since it was cheap sturdy and handy.  It does put fewer in a box but I hope it will speed things up by 10 or 15 minutes since I will probably bring several boxes. A similar plan should help with cereal bowls. The picture shows some bubble wrap that is stuffed in the slot and just folded over some of the mugs. I will probably trim that down so I can just leave it in place. Note the blue mugs are not that intense in real life, more like the canisters. My plates go 8 to a laundry soap bucket on edge with a piece of foam in between. They load just like plopping them in a file cabinet. Big bowls nest, Baking dishes have slots in a big Rubbermaid tub. Any other ideas out there to streamline things?

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Ten Years In

I retired from teaching the last week of February in 2005. 30 years of combined state employee and teaching credits 54 years old. I was a teacher of students with multiple disabilities and many abilities. I was dept chair and had great support from my students, their parents, and my employer but it was time to go. I have seen way too many people work until they die or until their bodies are so broken they cannot enjoy their retirement. I had vowed long ago that I would take a different path. I also had developed diabetes, sleep apnea, and had a couple of transient but scary episodes of Atrial Fibrillation I took our new ( first ) camper on a trip down the Blue Ridge, I put new windows in the house. I bought a boat and went fishing. I went to Yosemite and the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival while visiting our son in San Francisco. I visited our daughter in Charlotte. I had a year to spend with my Mom before she passed away. There was time to get her groceries, time to cut the grass, time to take her to the doctor. She passed away in 2006  It was a year well spent. Then I took a clay class.

I had harbored an interest in making pottery for a long time but had never done anything about it. My wife had retired by this time and she was signing up for a jewelry class at the Middletown Art Center.  I asked her to see if they had pottery classes. They did. I started and 8 weeks later, I could center clay effectively and had made a few pots. I was hooked. I was spending a couple of days a week playing in the mud. Had we bombed Afganistan with those pots we would have been out of there years earlier. The pots got better and I kept making. I joined the Clay Alliance and became active in the local clay community. I took workshops and actually stayed in touch with people afterwards. I volunteered for stuff. I started blogging. I didn't see the blog as a way to sell pots but as a social connection and I have met many, many wonderful people both virtually and in person.

The inevitable happened and I started doing shows. There went the free time but it also brought the adventure of a new challenge. Making pots and selling pots are two different skills. You really can't sell crap at any price but even nice work at fair prices takes skills you only learn from experience and being a sponge around friends and mentors.

The other thing that is different is that after being told just to move my lips in music class as a kid I have recently gained the confidence to actually sing out loud and play guitar in front of people that usually takes up most of my non-show Sundays.

OK, enough about me for now. Here are some pictures of current work. Thanks for stopping by.