Friday, January 28, 2011

A Modest Budget Proposal

In the spirit of cooperation from the Politicos at the State of the Union Blondie R. Dog and Eddie D. Cat have decided to work together in a Reaganesque trust but verify manner. They have inspired me to take a fresh look at some of the issues that our country faces and search for some novel bi-partisan solutions.After all, we have completed our God given mission to give tax breaks to the wealthy. Now it's time to get back to our roots and do some serious budget slashing.

This fresh look has inspired me to change my position on universal healthcare. It is unamerican to make people buy health insurance. This is a start but it doesn't go nearly far enough.In a move that even Michelle Bachman will like, I think we should also repeal the law that requires hospitals to treat the indigent.That way people still won't be able to skate until they get sick and then have the rest of us pick up the tab for their ER care. While we are at it we might also just outlaw health insurance outright. It just encourages sick people to seek care and we can't afford that anymore.This is also a bow to the consumer protection wing because we all know the waste and operating expenses of the insurance industry. Buying insurance to try to save money is like trying to beat the casino. It can't be done so let's protect all of us from being ripped off.With no price controls from Insurance companies(let's include Medicare here)  prices could float in a free market.Who could argue against free enterprise? We would save billions every day! No more safety net. The circus is always more exciting without one. I know there are naysayers out there that would complain that we need to look at other issues and Lord knows I've harped on Healthcare before so lets move on.

Consumer protection. Get rid of all of it.Natural market forces will sort out the safe and unsafe products. Buyers who are killed by unsafe products aren't likely to buy them again.Their neighbors and loved ones will probably not buy either or a least go for a good discount.EPA? If it wasn't for those clowns we wouldn't have to buy oil to fry our fish.Straight from the water to the pan in it's natural gulf coast lubricant, that's how I like it.

Social Security is a drain on our system. We have promised more than we can deliver. The rich don't need it and it would be unfair to means test eligibility. Simple, lets just get rid of it. We can put the "Trust Fund" toward more tax cuts at the top or maybe eliminate corporate taxes all together. In a nod to those Darwinists, we can see if the fittest do actually survive.(Probably not, but we won't know unless we try.)

Locally, we can do away with Tax abatements for corporations. They are actually a redistribution of wealth where communities trade property tax revenues for the right to levy income taxes on workers. We are not going to need those new jobs anyway. You see, the secret to the jobs crisis is that in reality we have plenty of jobs. We just have way too many people.If we implement these proposed changes, our population will drop like a rock and we will soon return to blissful prosperity. If we need an extra boost we could also bring back that tasty treat "Soylent Green" Yum.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

New Camera

I had been eyeballing new point and shoot cameras for a while. The old one goes thru a lot of batteries and has a limited zoom range.I finally succumbed to temptation,( the only thing I can't resist.) Costco had an amazing deal on a new Panasonic Lumix with 12mp and a 12x optical zoom with image stabilization.That's like 25 to 300mm to us old 35mm shooters.It has lots of bells and whistles but I love that big zooming Leica lens the most . I thought you might like to see the zoom range in action.These shots are taken from the same spot at the extreme limits of the zoom.

Thanks to everyone who responded to the last post.Seems like the average potter may wear jeans about two weeks between washings but it can go from a week to a month.Now for those of you with your own studios, how often do you actually clean your wheel and splash pan? Daily,Weekly, Annually, or just when you have a studio sale?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Pottery Pants

This week has been a good one for slipping on the old pottery jeans, lighting the heater and working in the studio.Blondie doesn't care how many times I wear jeans between washings but I'm curious as to how many days, weeks, or months my fellow potters let their clay pants go between washings. Let me know in the comments. (It's also been great weather for sitting in a recliner with an old dog on my lap.)

I'm excited that I am attending a workshop with British Slipware potters Hannah McAndrew and Doug Fitch in April. I will see them in Fredricksburg, Va, on the 15, 16, and 17th. Dan Finnegan is putting this session together at Libertytown Art Center. Hollis Engley is hosting them earlier in the month on Cape Cod, and Ron Philbeck is hosting a one day session is Shelby,NC between Asheville and Charlotte.There are links to Hannah, Dan, and Hollis in my blog list and Hollis has some info at These folks really know what they are doing and anyone with an interest in slipware or traditional British pottery shouldn't miss this opportunity to see two of the best in action.

In other matters, I would like to thank Hollis and Tracey Broome for putting up links to my site on their excellent Blogs.It's an honor to be included and I am already seeing more traffic.

This last picture show the dilemma of a slack schedule. The pot on the right is typical of what I have been making. The one on the left is the pot I should be making so I can stock the booth with cheap, easy to carry impulse items.I'll get it straight one of these days. It's been snowing like crazy but it is still warm in the studio so I had better get out there while I still can. Thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Tumble Stack and Ohio Slip

Before potters had kiln shelves, they just stacked pots on top of each other to fire them.(tumble stacking). I had pots of so many different heights this time that I just skipped the shelves and stacked the ware inside and on top of other pots.It worked swell and the kiln heated up and cooled off faster without the extra thermal mass of the heavy shelves. I have not been doing any glazing the last few weeks, just building up a bisque inventory that I can glaze as needed or if an interesting opportunity arises.The orange pots are covered with Ohio Slip and carved before firing. When fired to cone 6 or higher, the color will change to dark chocolate and the slip will vitrify and take on a nice shine.

I also want to welcome some new followers to the blog.Some how 3 new people stumbled in in the last couple of weeks.Glad to have you aboard. Feel free to comment, that's how bloggers know that people are reading.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Nice Rack

I had been looking for a ware cart for a while, hoping to pick up a bakers rack at a restaurant auction or closing sale but I had been unable to find one close to home. I had eyed this one at Costco for a while but did not commit to it until I tried to pick up the box last week. It was so heavy that I had to drag it onto a flat cart instead of tucking it under my arm and walking out with it. 6 feet tall, 4 feet wide, 18 inches deep with 6 shelves.Super sturdy with good casters and it only took about 10 minutes to assemble. $99 well spent.( I don't know what you expected from the title, but this is the rack I was referring too.)

January is a good time to practice and explore your limits in clay.The big pot bug has bitten me lately. 10lb and 12 lb one piece pots, larger sectional pots, everything but coil and throw because I really don't like to make large coils. I don't know what I'll do with a bunch of big pots but if anyone needs a wood kiln filled up let me know.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year

Our Holidays have been very nice. We spent Christmas with our daughter and son-in -law in Charlotte. It was a very nice visit and we did not have to clean. Charlotte had a White Christmas evening and Sunday. We drove back Monday and took the long way around through Asheville to miss the worst of the snow on the West Virginia Turnpike. Except for a slow one lane section between Asheville and the Tennessee line the roads were fine and we had an uneventful trip. When we walked in the house it was 8 pm, 45 degrees, and the boiler was shut down.Luckily I have a regular boiler guy who came over and got it running before too long so little harm was done.

Our son is an international marketing guru who lives in New York. He recently bought a 78 Jeep Cherokee on E Bay. So far so good but the Jeep was in Portland ,Oregon. He decided that he would drive it cross country and put his finger on the pulse of hope and optimism in the heartland as he went.Things went well to Boise where he discovered the joy of transmission trouble on a Friday. It was Wednesday before he was rolling again but the transmission mechanic was more hopeful about sending his kids to college. A few more stops brought studded snow tires and chains to help on the mountain passes. Before we knew it, he was in Kansas, Arkansas, Memphis, and our house.

We were more optimistic than we had been in a week. I have to admit it really is a cool ride. The kind that makes you overlook mechanical problems and just accept them as the price of admission.The next day, he headed for NYC after picking up his aunt Libby who had gotten stranded in Cincinnati while the east coast was snowed in. Last we heard everyone made it to New York and Ben had even found a parking space.