Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Looking Back

 Mariette did a post on her blog on April 25, 2013 about Sisters Dressed Like Twins. That led me to find this photo of my big sister Prudence and me.  Obviously, since she was eight years my senior we couldn't dress like twins, but she used to make us look-alike dresses.  It's a little difficult to date this photo, but I know Prudy was in high school, probably a senior which would make me about nine.  We may have been going to church or more probably to some summer lawn party.  As you can see, even little girls wore white gloves when they were dressed up.  I don't think I stopped wearing them until I moved out of New York in 1964.

It being Time Warp Tuesday I think this is an appropriate picture.  It sure brings back the memories!

We had to put the netting back on the pond.  Well, at least it seems like a good idea.  Our old friends the Red Tail Hawks have spent days sitting on the branches over the pond eyeing the fish.  There's nothing like having a beady hawk eye on you.  It was like a word balloon over his head, "Dude, that is food and if you are not going to eat it I am!"

We've had hawks on our property ever since we started living here over thirty-five years ago.  I am assuming that these are descendants of the original pair...who knows how long hawks live?

Other than the nuisance of having to have the net on it's really cool to have the hawks around again.  They have little fear of humans or vehicles.  Once we get the water hyacinth and other plants in they will provide enough cover for the fish to hide.

I put the pump and filter in the pool now that really seems to be warm enough not to have frost at night.    The water temp is only 60F but I like seeing the pool open.  It should be warm enough to swim by the beginning of June.  68F is when I go in.  I still remember swimming in the ocean when sixty was considered warm!  I'm still not sure how we did it; I think children have some sort of built in armored we suits!

We are in for a stretch of beautiful weather.  I'm hanging the laundry out today, doing a little of yard work and continue reorganizing my studio, with clay play time thrown in.

Enjoy the day!

As always thanks for stopping by..............*s*

Sunday, April 28, 2013

It Must Be Spring!

Timothy Turtle is out by the pond.  I made this fellow several years ago.  He is the one I was not terribly satisfied with, but  entered into Earthworks to get a crit from that year's juror James Lawton.  I almost fell over when I heard that he had given it fourth place.  He felt the successful parts outweighed the unsuccessful.  I am still not comfortable with selling Timothy so he gets to sit out by the pond every year as soon as the weather warms up.  

The turkeys are mating so they have been wandering in and out of the yard and woods.....

 Which led to Winter's discovery of a great new activity......Rolling in Turkey Poop!

Which needless to say led to a trip to the rain closet.

 Sometimes it's just better to push the towels aside and finish drying off on Aloysius!

I've been busy rolling out tiles for the stove surround and for the workshop I will be giving this summer.  Pictures of tiles are about as interesting as watching grass grow so I'll leave it at that.

Oh, and a shout out to Jenny Mendes who has a studio visit in the May Ceramics monthly.

This post will also be over at Mud Colony......everyone should take a look at clay around the world.

Sunny days here in Southern New England.......I hope they are sunny wherever you read this.

As always, thanks for stopping by..............*s*

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Time Warp Tuesday?

Given the age of the photograph this seems appropriate for Time Warp Tuesday.  I'm not sure about linking; perhaps I'll do that next week.

I found this picture of the Dragon Tail birthday cake I made for Proge on (I think) his sixth or possibly seventh birthday.  That would make it ca. 1977-'78.  I know we had read J.R.R. Tolkien's wonderful story Farmer Giles of Ham, so of course a dragon tail was in order for the day.  Proge added the knights who in the story all got rather singed by Chrysophylax Dives.

If you haven't read the story, you should.  It's Tolkien more in the vein of  The Hobbit rather than the serious mythology of Lord of the Rings and most charming.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Earth Day

Care for Mother Earth as she cares for us.

Purple Finch



White Violets

Purple Violets

Headlights and Moby 

Enjoy this very special day.

As always, thanks for stopping by............*s*

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Fooling Around

A few weeks ago I threw a bunch of small cruet/ tiny teapot forms to alter and in general mess with.  So far this is the only survivor.  It's not by any means done.....I want to add more slip on the other side and incorporate the slip with the handle, lid and spout. 

 I think I will return to hand building the next bunch.  When I work with slabs I don't have to wait for the clay to set up enough to begin altering the form.  The piece becomes one gesture that way.

 I did another slow rise bread experiment.  This time I let the initial mix bubble and proof for thirty-six hours.  I also added about two-thirds of a cup of whole milk greek yogurt which helped the process and gives it a nice flavor.  After I added the rest of the flour I folded and kneaded with the aid of my bench scraper (Yes, I do keep one for the kitchen and one for the studio.) for about ten minutes.  I then let it rise and folded it down in the rising bowl another four times and let it spend about eighteen hours (overnight +++) in the refrigerator.  I folded one more time, let it rise wrapped in a cornmealed napkin and baked it in a preheated cast iron dutch oven.  This time we managed to let it sit for a good six hours before slicing.

I think it's one of my better efforts.  In the meantime we had cuban bread calzones and a loaf to tide us over.

I took this pictures last night.  I love the way fish look when they are swimming in the dark.....like they are flying through the night.

I also put up a new set of shelves.  They are stable and will work fine for my storage which is fairly light weight.  I would not use them for the canned foods and equipment that is pictured on the carton.

What state do I live in?  CONFUSION!  I just realized that it's Sunday not Saturday, so I'm going to rush over to Mud Colony to post this.  You should take a look too.

Enjoy the day and as always, thanks for stopping by...........*s*

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Retro Tuesday?

Originally I was going to join Gary for Retro Tuesday with old pictures I've been digging up.

The Retro Tuesday I am experiencing today is a snap back to 9.11.  Not the kind of retro I would wish on anyone.

Patriots Day is not a holiday here in RI, but it sort of is.  Many people run the Boston Marathon, many more go for the celebration.  Early battles (Shot Heard Round The World) are reenacted; bombs are not part of it.

I am trying to understand the why of this and trying harder to get past the urge to destroy the perpetrators.  Killing people is wrong (or RONG) no matter the circumstances, but it's hard to get past that initial urge to destroy.

No, I am not posting any pictures; there are plenty of images elsewhere.  One of my great regrets is that I turned on my tv in time to see the plane heading down the river and hitting the second Tower dead on.  No one needs that permanently in her brain.

We will survive and go on.

As always, thanks for stopping by.........*s*

Monday, April 15, 2013

Busy Days!

This was our Earthworks week end, the clay show for New England potters.  This year's juror was Hayne Bayless.  And what an enjoyable time he gave us.

Our jurying process is unique in that is open to any potter who wish to observe.  The expectation is that there will be a short critique of each work presented and why it's accepted or rejected.  Often there is more articulation about why a piece doesn't work than why it does.

Hayne's comments were thoughtful and helpful, often suggesting ideas for making a piece work better.  At the same time he emphasized that he is one person with his own opinions and others may have different equally valid points.

(No, I did not enter anything this year; time got away from me.)

I did buy this mug which called my name.  The glaze is downright seductive to the touch.

Mug by Hayne Bayless
On Sunday Hayne presented a workshop filled with goodies of information.  He showed us how he uses stencils, extruders, and various tools he has made to make his hand built work.

Hayne Bayless teapot
I found it most interesting that he doesn't use forms to make his work.  Instead he lets his slabs dry to a point where they become self supporting.  He only uses a form for support when he is doing the joining seams.

Hayne Bayless slab bowl
All in all it was a fun and informative time.  Thank you, Hayne!


NCECA will be in Providence in 2015.  Now I wish I had a great big house so I could invite everyone to come.  Alas, the house just squeezes in Proge and me.  But there are lots of B&Bs around here and it's still pre-season so there should be some less expensive places available.  This is pretty exciting for all the potters in our little state.

AND......I have been asked by my old pottery co-op to do a one day work shop on Majolica Decoration .......exciting and a little scary  as I haven't done any workshops in years.

Now I have to spend a few days getting my studio organized.  I hope it warms up a bit....spring is slow this year.  I think Mr. Groundhog is playing with us.

Enjoy your day.  As always, thanks for stopping by.........*s*

Friday, April 12, 2013

How Did This Happen?

I am now officially calling myself A Woman of a Certain Age, or Une Femme D'une Certaine Age.

Today is my seventieth  birthday!  Boy does it look strange to see that written out.  Birthdays have never bothered me but for some reason this one is pissing me off!  Ridiculous I know.....you mean I'm not immortal?


It's raining and just barely 40 F....which in some ways is even stranger than turning 70....(70?!)  Spring seems to have gone into hiding for the time being.  Hey it isn't snowing!
Below is a picture of me at about age four or five.  I know it was Christmas and I know we were living in Michigan, so I'm pretty sure of my dates.
I remember when my grandmother (paternal) was seventy and how she loved telling everyone she was old.  To be fair I think people were more aged then than now, but this was a woman who decided she was too ancient to do anything when she was sixty-five and proceeded to live until she was into her nineties.  So basically she wasted a third of her life.
Not for me!  There's still too much to do and too much to explore.  And lots of pots to make.  And I've hardly done any traveling; hopefully I'll be able to do more of that.  There are still lots more presents to open!

I remember what Maurice Chevalier said when asked how he felt about turning a certain age. "Pretty good, considering the alternative!"

P.S.  I'm looking forward to a week end with Hayne Bayliss,  our Earthworks juror.

This post can also be found at Mud Colony; take a look at the many ways of clay.

As always, thanks for stopping by............*s*

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Pie and Taxes

Yes!  I do love being a citizen of the U.S.A. and I don't even really begrudge paying taxes.  But I just wish it could be a little less complicated!

You may have guessed that I have spent most of my time this past week immersed in The-Great-Tax-Hassle!  With the amount of income I have one would think that my taxes would be fairly simple and straightforward.  Such is not the case!   Because I have income from so many sources I simply pay an accountant.  The cost is worth it for my peace of mind.  However, I try to be reasonably organized as I see no reason for paying her to sort receipts etc.

I felt so virtuous after all this that I rewarded us with a Banoffee Pie.  This is my first try and I have to say it is delicious!  But I think it may be one of the seven deadly sins.  Who knew dulce de leche, bananas and whipped cream could be so good?  I'll add an edit when I find the recipe.

The pie plate is a salt glaze piece my sister bought me when she was in Maine many years ago.   I have no idea what pottery it came from, but it's my favorite pie plate.

 Hopefully I will be able to get into the studio for more that thirty minutes at a time this next week.

I wasn't going to do a Mud Colony post this week.  Then I thought that taxes and pie are a part of a potter's life!

I found this recipe for Banoffee Pie At Three Many Cooks.  I omitted the chocolate as I can't eat it.  Next time I may use some sort of brittle as a topping.

It's sunny and warming up.....I hope everyone enjoys the day.

As always, thanks for stopping by..............*s*