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#tbt and lost/found!



#tbt and lost/found!
#tbt - me in October 1961 - two years old as my birthday is in October
I have been going through all the plastic bins of holiday decorations, which have been stored in the basement. Picking out what I want to decorate with this year. Making sure everything is in the correctly labeled bin "holiday lights" or "nutcrackers/stocking" or whatever. 

#tbt and lost/found!

I was able to fill two boxes of extra holiday decorations I'll never use and will donate to charity. In the meantime, I found a un-labeled bin tucked away among the holiday bins, and inside was a treasure-trove of things I have been looking for for years!!!! Most importantly, I was looking for some low fire glaze recipes, and glaze notebooks and sketchbooks, and found not only the majolica recipe I used thirty years ago, but also the clay recipe, too. I am so incredibly excited about this!

#tbt and lost/found!
I tried to do an artsy-fartsy video on my phone of me flipping through my notebook,
but it just didn't work.
This photo is a mistake as I hit 'photo" instead of "video" and didn't realize it until later.
Looking forward to mixing up that majolica recipe and trying it out again. I believe that all the ingredients are still available. I'll post about this process. 

august

I cannot believe it is August already. Actually, I guess I can - it has been so dry and hot it has been like a typical August 'dog days' since, well, for awhile now.

I am really glad we didn't plant a large vegetable garden this year. Our water bill would be huge! We planted late - corn, beans and melon, and I also planted a few kale, chard and Brussels sprouts. Robert recently cleaned out our rain barrels - they were clogged at the bottom.  He was able to siphon the water out so we got two days of  'free' water for the garden.

We have one baby melon so far!

august

Here's a sweet photo of Sephora. As you can see, we still haven't put up that fence. You can also see Robert's corn growing in the enclosed little garden bed.

august

With regard to pottery, I am still making my sgraffito things - tumblers and tea cups this time around. They go into the kiln for their first firing tomorrow.  Then I'll glaze them. I'm also teaching a few private lessons. My next class offering is in a few weeks, and then more in late September.

august

This was breakfast this morning (I posted this bowl a long while ago, I think).  The tumblers above will be glazed with this celadon glaze:

august

The part-time job at the non-profit is going very well. We have a wonderful student garden manager this year, so I do not have to be at the community garden all the time, and can focus more on reports/grant writing/fundraising, etc.  Plus the office is air-conditioned ;)

I think that is about it for now. Hope everyone is having a great summer (or winter, for you down-unders!).  I'm looking forward to the county fair in a few weeks!! Whooot!!!

summer so far


summer so far
Rose of Sharon in our back yard/garden
It has been hot! And we need more rain. We may have a thunderstorm soon - I sure hope so.

And I have been distracted.  Mostly by politics and negativity and hate - oh, a shout out to Cleveland for shining during last week's RNC  - but also by other things.

I am also incredibly lazy these past two or three days. Haven't had much energy to do anything but read books (The Miss Peregrine series) with the A/C blasting, and watch You Tube videos of people talking about tarot.

Yes, I'm seriously studying the tarot these days, and I am fascinated! In 1990 I bought a tarot deck but didn't do much with it until recently, being spurred on by an on-line friend of mine that I have known from the old ATC (artist trading cards) and mail art days.  She has a YouTube channel, and that's how I (gladly) fell down the rabbit hole!

summer so far

Other things?

Had coffee with Evelyn, then visited her pet rescue pig.

summer so far
Oliver is a movie star - but I keep forgetting the name of the movie he was in!
Then later in the week she let us borrow her truck so we could get some fencing home. Free fencing! Yes! We have plans for the back yard. We had to cut the fence pieces in half because they were too long for the truck.
summer so far
At the community garden. 
As you can see, Robert is doing very well after his surgery in February!
I am not teaching pottery for a few weeks, so I have time to do some pottery things for myself. Though my majolica glaze experiment was a flop - but I'll try try try again.

summer so far
Top photo of glazed test piece before firing.
Bottom is of after firing - the glaze was either mixed wrong or
not fired to the optimal temperature
Another fail - tried using rubber cement as a resist for my watercolor greeting cards but while taking the glue off, the paper ripped. In the past, I used masking tape. Will try try try again.

Here's me off to buy that darned rubber cement.  See how hopeful I was:

summer so far
Empty chicken coop in the background - we need a new flock

dirt mud clay

We had our first work day in the community garden on Sunday. I am so happy to have a student helper this year - she will free up my time at the non-profit so I can work on grants. We also had a lot of help from members of the Track and Field team from the college.

dirt mud clay

I tended P and M's (the gardeners, not the artists P and M) garden for a week. It is so nice to be there - calming relaxing zen-like.

dirt mud clay

Have some terracotta test pots drying - I took them out of my basement art space aka studio and put them on the back porch to dry, and then brought them in last night because we had a thunderstorm.  Once they're bisqued, I'll mix up some majolica glaze and give it a go. I also want to try some old low-fire glazes I have sitting around and see how they look. I need to make more test pieces.

dirt mud clay

As I mentioned here, we have used white plates and bowls for years. Now we're using/testing some different colors and glazes on bowls/mugs/tumblers that I have made - making sure the glaze fits and the shape works well, and refining my color and glaze choices. (99% of my pieces are glazed white inside). We both have a few favorites!

dirt mud clay
we hand-wash all our dishes, not just pottery
I have a class with the at-risk youth group later this afternoon - have to do some preparation but maybe I can also sneak in a little nap beforehand!

Aren't paint palettes some of the prettiest things?
One of my cheap sloppy watercolor palettes -  bought it for a dollar or two years ago.

Still making cards...
Blanks/backgrounds - haven't doodled on them yet.

My sister M is taking a watercolor class starting tomorrow!  Cannot wait to see her work!! She is so talented.

One of these days I hope to take a watercolor class, too, and not just screw around like I have been doing (though I have to admit I am having fun). A perk of teaching where I do is that we can take a class for free!

I am getting ingredients together for a majolica glaze recipe. Found some old terracotta clay in a bucket in the basement - it has been in that bucket for about...ummmm...ten years....more? Wedged some up today, will throw and/or handbuild some pieces so when I make the glaze, I can test it all together.

I haven't done proper majolica in years.  Here is a bowl I made back in college (1986?). I cannot believe I still have it.



And here's me, testing out one of my mugs...or am I just kissing it?



celadon glazed pots

I am currently using pre-made celadon glazes; my plan is to make my own one of these days.

In the meantime, here are a few pots that just came out of the kiln:

celadon glazed pots
This is the one pictured here, before I glazed and fired.
White engobe with sgraffito and glazed with light green celadon glaze.
celadon glazed pots
White engobe, sgraffito, and brown celadon glaze.
Because the white engobe doesn't show up much, I'm going to
lighten the glaze next time.
celadon glazed pots
A demo piece - I usually teach this technique in beginning hand-building;
I used two different celadon glazes on this piece - no engobe or
sgraffito, just texture with lace and a piece of open-weaved metal.
The first two pots were supposed to be mugs. But the handles weren't working, so I did what makes me happy - I threw on some engobe and started carving. Gosh I love doing sgraffito.

Next on my to-do list for pottery - I will, yes I will make actual mugs. And I will do some larger vases and jars so I can sgraffito to my heart's delight!


smash!

Stupid me - I was wrapping up some of my pots to take home (I fire at the pottery classroom) and somehow I knocked this one over :(  Arghhhh!

smash!

Still working out what glazes to use. Below is a mosaic of a handful of recent pots/mugs glazed with Spectrum Shino glazes I have been playing around with - some I really like, others I'm having trouble with.  I really need to make my own glazes one of these day-zes.

smash!

I made some citrus marmalade/jam on Sunday (blood oranges, regular oranges, and key limes), and I just winged it. I simmered everything together for about a half hour, then scooped out a lot of the rind so that it wasn't too bitter, and then added the sugar. Turned out pretty good (that is, I didn't cook it too long and turn it into fruit leather!) Whoot!

smash!

Robert had a dental appointment yesterday outside of our town - two teeth were extracted. Ouch!!Hopefully now his heart surgery will be scheduled. In the waiting room, there were some annoying people talking about how President Obama has ruined our country.  I was reading Wodehouse's Leave it to Psmith, but I could hear them talking and I wanted to say something, but I'm not as clever as Wodehouse so I kept my mouth shut.

how to pass time while at the hospital

Robert had a heart catheterization (and a bunch of other tests) on Friday. To keep calm, I loaded up a bag full of stuff to do while I was waiting for him. I felt like I was 'mommy-ing' myself (remembering when I would pack up things to keep my son occupied when we were on a road trip or visiting). The bag included a book, my knitting (I'm knitting more caps for monks), and my old school Nintendo DS.

how to pass time while at the hospital


We arrived at 11:00 a.m. This is pretty much what I did while waiting and trying not to stress too much...
  • knitted - while he was in pre-op, I finished a cap but didn't cast on another because I wanted to...
  • play my DS, until I was called by the nurse to see Robert off to his heart cath and I went back to the waiting room and then I... 
  • started to read - until a smelly woman (I feel bad writing this out as I don't want to be mean or disrespectful) was sitting near me in the waiting room and I had to leave, so I...
  • walked the halls and tried to find a spot to get cell phone reception, and then I... 
  • walked the halls some more, and went into the bathroom, where I took out the scissors from my knitting bag and cut my bangs.
  • Going back to the waiting room, I was able to read and also play my DS for a bit more, but I was...
  • a little hungry so I went to the cafeteria and was surprised at how cheap everything was, so I purchased a brat with grilled onions and peppers, topped with mustard. They didn't have Coke Zero but they had the Pepsi (boo hiss) equivalent, so I had that instead, and while I was just finished eating...
  • the buzzer went off so I went to see how Robert was doing. Hospitals now give you those buzzers like they give you in chain restaurants, to tell you when your table is ready, or in this case when your loved one is out of surgery. 
He had a few more tests and we left the hospital around 4:30.  All the tests that had immediate results looked good. On Monday, we're going to see one of his doctors to hear about the other results, and on Tuesday he has a dental appointment for surgery clearance. Then they'll schedule his open heart/aortic value replacement surgery.

In other news, since I was able to extend both the bisque and glaze firings, this test bowl looks pretty good - only a few tiny tiny pinholes, and no blistering or pitting!

how to pass time while at the hospital

how to pass time while at the hospital

It's Super Bowl Sunday!! I'll probably be rooting for the Denver Broncos - mostly because I had a fondness for them back in the day. But honestly, we'll just enjoy watching the game and be happy with whichever team wins.

the first of december

December already? How did that happen? The weather is so very odd - nearly 60 degrees and rainy. Not what you would think for the beginning of this month.

Tomorrow is my last class for awhile. I have mentioned that there are some issues with clay/glaze fitting. Lots of crazing and some pinholes, too. Spent a bunch of time over the Thanksgiving weekend researching and asking questions (also eating turkey, and watching sports - we were especially jazzed by the MLS/soccer conference finals which were, in our opinion, better than any of the Premier League games we watched)

Denise came by on Sunday and I was in the midst of a meltdown about all the glazing problems, but it was great to have her here, as she listened to me rant and rave and gave me comfort, and I felt a lot better after awhile. Robert makes me feel better, too, but it's nice to have other's sympathy! One good thing is that I haven't made and fired a ton of my own personal pieces- that would have shattered me (pun intended).

At class on Monday, I looked at some demos from the spring that I have sitting around the pottery room, and some of those had crazing, too. I had a discussion with the students about testing and living with your pieces (eating and drinking from them, washing them, etc) to make sure that the work will hold up, highlighting these problems we have been having. Thank goodness for this nearly year-long teaching gig I have had because we have been able to see what is happening over time.

Also, I called or emailed the glaze companies and asked a lot of questions and received some helpful suggestions - the first thing I'll try is to slow down the firings and see if that will help.

(Even on my simple pots, there are glaze issues...*deep calming breath* ... )

the first of december
Not only did this outside glaze pit, but the inside is a white matte, and cutlery marks show....sigh
I will figure out these problems!  I am determined to find a way to make my pieces work and look great. May take awhile, but I'll keep you posted on the results.

scented sunday: pulling myself out of a funk

Perfume has helped this past week; with all the horrible events happening in the world, and the disgusting viewpoints of some fellow citizens and politicians and media and what about some of those running for President?!?! ..... I have been in a sad dark place.

So here is what I wore this week:

Agent Provocateur Strip, Annick Goutal Encens Flamboyant, The Body Shop Moroccan Rose, Chanel Coco, Raphael Replique and Creed Fleurs de Bulgarie. (I have linked to posts from my perfume journal for reviews.)

This photo makes me happy - Laura, who visited us in the summer from Denmark. We gleefully found out that we are both perfume fans when I was giving her a tour of our yard/garden.  So wonderful to share perfume with her. Thanks, Laura!

scented sunday: pulling myself out of a funk

In other news, I am having trouble with some celadon glazes - a few of them are crazing and it is driving me a bit crazy. I need to test different clay bodies and figure out this pottery issue.

I guess that is about it for now - hopefully by my next blog post I won't be such a downer.
#tbt and lost/found!augustsummer so far dirt mud clayceladon glazed potssmash!how to pass time while at the hospitalthe first of december scented sunday: pulling myself out of a funk

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