Sunday, July 28, 2013

Good and Bad.....

The bad, or sad, is that my majolica workshop did not get enough people signed up for it, so we had to cancel it.  This did not surprise me as summer is hard time to get workshops going.  We'll  offer it again in january when everyone seems to need something to get them out of the doldrums.

The good thing is that I have been invited to participate in one of the co-op type shows that the Art Association periodically does to get members work into public awareness.  We all contribute a small fee to help offset the cost of the show and the Art Association covers the rest.  I need to start getting my work out into the world again; this seems like a good place to start.  I think the next step is to learn how to take photos that are something more than what I do for my own records.

Meanwhile back at the zoo....I finally finished the hippo whistle.  I need a better wax that will not peel off so easily when it dries.  Years ago we had a great resist at a Linda Arbuckle workshop.  It took no more than half an hour to dry and when I painted the background the wax did not come up in chunks if I hit the design with my brush.   Anybody?

This is a new type of decoration for me.  I'm doing the design in resist then laying in the color.  It's based on a printed fabric I saw from the early fifties.  I'll have to do several and think about the results before I go further.  Jeez, I can be such a stick in the mud!

The day lilies are having a wonderful season.  I think all the June rain got them going like gangbusters.  Below is a double orange.  This one showed up unannounced in my garden when I still lived in the back house. (To quote Monte Python....seeds are carried in the guts of birds.) I have only rarely seen doubles and never in anything but orange.  If I knew more about plant breeding I might try crossing it with some of my other plants.  Zette on her blog, (Picture a Day) posted one on July 25.  I think I've seen one garden with doubles.  Has any one seen these?

I want to thank everyone for all the comments made on my little rant about workshops and arts education.  This is a subject we need to think and talk about every now and then.  I would love to see a balance between sports and art.  Contrary to some belief it is not  Clean Mind, Clean Body: Take your Pick!  As I said in one of my comment replies, have you ever noticed that the kids who need sports the most are the ones who are left behind or left out completely.

The sun has just come out when it was supposed to stay hidden until early afternoon.  Another afternoon spent lolling by the pool is in order.

This post will also be over on Mud Colony.  Take a look; there is always something interesting to be found there.

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

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Workshops and......

I made another quickie pot yesterday.  I'm not really happy with it; I think because the form is way outside my comfort zone.  I added the various elements because I got to thinking about Steampunk.  The original form was made around a large plastic glass.  I think it looks sort of like 'modern' pots from the 1950's.  At any rate I'll keep it.  I will bisque it and probably stare at it for a few months before doing anything else. 

 Lori Buff posted Paul Mathieu's introduction to Art of the Future in which he states his dislike for clay workshops. Well, he seems to think they are ridiculous and a detriment to the professional clay community.  Only serious artists need apply!  

Why he singles out clay is sort of beyond me.  There is a long tradition of amateur education in the arts.  Workshops, classes, community art centers are the lifeblood of the arts.  How can you get support for anything if you make it an exclusive club?  No, not everyone is going to be a (name your favorite) and innovate and push the medium to new places, but if taking a class makes a person look at a pot, or a painting in a new light, see the need for programs in our schools, that's a good thing. (Side note:  Why are students and, yes, employees, encouraged to think creatively or outside the box, yet arts programs which are the very thing that teach creative thinking are the first to go in any budget cutting?)

There is a certain joy that can happen in a workshop when the whole becomes greater than the sum of its parts. The rhythm and knowledge that comes from a concentrated learning environment can't be beat.  Creative energy will crackle in the air and amazing things happen.  Having taught and having spoken with a lot of art teachers I can say the take home value is enormous.

And in the end....the love you take is equal to the love you make. (Paul McCartney)

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

P.S.  I may edit and add to this one.

Sunday, July 21, 2013


I just realized that I haven't done a real post in a week.  We've had a lot of heat with equally high humidity;  I have thought of myself as being exceptionally slothful and doing nothing but lying around or in the pool and drinking iced tea.

Then I started listing what I have done and I don't feel quite so bad.  (Puritan guilt can get you every time!)

Does anyone get the CAD daily postings on Ceramics Arts Daily?  There is a great post about a 30 Minute Teapot.  (Click on the photo of the teapot or scroll the links.)  I didn't have a hump mold so I used a bowl.  And, being me, I had to mess around a bit, screw up the lid and fix it to some extent.  Still I think i was done in an hour.  I love The possibilities of this.  They are fast enough to do, that I can do them between projects.  Teapots as test pots?!  Hmmmmm........we'll see, Grasshopper.......we'll see.

I did a variation on my Cuban Bread recipe.  I added a cup of uncooked oatmeal and one eighth cup of molasses.  I wanted something a little different so I decided to fool around with the basic recipe.  I've found that a good bread recipe can be very flexible.  It also made great hamburger buns!

This is KikiLaSois after an exhausting go at destroying a pile of mail which I had sorted.  She likes to sleep in this position.  She is turning into something that more resembles a meat loaf than a cat.  She loves to eat the leftovers and will even push Winter away from her own food.  Winter was smaller than the cats when we got her and easily intimidated.  This pride is the only one I have not been able to leave food out for.  I still think it's because they are all rescue cats and for a long time did not know where or when their next meal was coming from.  Bad habits die hard.

We are starting a I am going to post this over on Mud Colony while there is still time and do an edit later.

It looks like a day of rain is ahead......the gentle, soaking kind....not the wash away in floods kind.

Enjoy the day and the week ahead.  As always, thanks for stopping by..........*s*

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Living In....

Wet Southern New England or......

A watched thing never dries....

We ended up with a sunny reasonably dry day yesterday so I put more clay out in the driveway to start drying.  I beat this batch into smoothness with the mixer that was originally meant for mixing joint compound and plaster smooth.  Unfortunately, I forgot to cover or bring it in last night, with the result that when I heard the rain start at 5:30 AM I sat up in bed and ran outside to cover it.  It has some rain pits but given time it will dry......she wrote hopefully.

Meanwhile I have been wedging the dried clay I have inside.  This afternoon Proge is going to rough wedge another 50 to75 pounds.  I finish it off in small amounts as I need it.  What I really like to do it prep my clay and whatever else I will be using the next day before I finish at the end of the day.

Just as watched clay never seems to dry, watched tomatoes never seem to ripen.  It feels like these guys have been green forever.  I may end up gathering my recipes for green tomatoes.

The cucumbers, however are in heaven!  This year I am growing them in pots on stands.  The one behind the tomato is a pickling variety.  I was going to get a picture of the cukes but the drizzle turned to rain.

We do have hostas and day lilies this year.  Last year the deer ate both. The hostas in particular looked like they had been mowed!  That was when Winter was still a fairly young pup and had not learned her job of keeping the deer out of the yard.  She is still quite shy but does a dynamite job of keeping the deer away.  We call her the little omega dog, as opposed to Breezy who was a total alpha female.

I'm still not ready to complain too much about the rain.  I remember recent summers when water was at a premium, forest fire danger was ever present, and we recycled almost every bit of gray water into the garden.  Tomorrow is supposed to be sunnier....toes crossed.  Today is a studio day.

Later we are taking Winter to the vet for shots.  She has been on antibiotics for a tick borne disease akin to Lyme. She has the Lyme prevention shots but this is one of the many Lyme-like diseases out in this part of the world.  We've had quite a go-round keeping the pills down. Sour cream seems to do the trick. The meds make it difficult to digest her regular food.  Cat kibble has worked; I mix it with chicken in broth.  We also bought some grain free kibble yesterday that she seems to be able to eat.  What we do for love!

This post will also be over on Mud Colony.  There's lots going on over there.  CLick the link and take a look at the world of clay.

Enjoy the week end.   As always, thanks for stopping by...........*s*

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Recycle Or.....


We have had a stretch of hot, humid, sunny weather so guess what I have been doing?  Yes!  Drying clay enough to wedge.  I first I just spread it on boards.  Then I decided if I was going to get serious about it I needed to dig out my drying screens.  These are old silk screen frames I replaced with screening.  I lay a piece of old sheeting and then put the clay on it.  The whole thing is raised on bricks for air circulation.  When the clay is ready I roll it up like a jelly roll and wrap it in plastic.  I get even drying with this method and I can do about twenty pounds at a time.

The day lilies are finally blooming.  I bought these last year for Proge to plant by the pond.  They've grown by leaps and bounds.  Others are in bud.

 This is one of the few lilliums that survived the red beetle infestation last summer.  The bugs hate day lilies, or at least they don't demolish them.  I've bought new bulbs and am planting in a different area.  We'll see, grasshopper.......we'll see.....

Mr. Frog is chilling at the edge of the pond.  The water is clear enough to make the fish look as though they are suspended in air.  Proge has won the fight with algae etc.

I've been replanting a bunch of stuff that just didn't make it through our June rains.  We do have a great crop of sassafras.  As far as I am concerned the only good sassafras is in the wood pile.  We took all this stuff down with the brush cutter in the middle of May.  We just have to keep cutting.

I've been baking a fruit (peach and plum) crisp to take to a get together with a group of friends from my first round of college days.  We try to get together at least once a summer.  Our ranks are thinning a little but we still go on with old friends and new.

This post will also be over on Mud Colony.  Hop over and take a look at what is going on elsewhere in the world of clay.

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

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Stars and Bars and Fireworks


Happy Birthday United States.  Go to's a cool little header today....and read what is possibly the most seditious document ever written......The Declaration of Independence!

Enjoy celebrating the day!

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

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Summer Memories?

Obviously this is not my memory but one my sister had.  

I guess I've always been a big fan of summer!  This is, an admittedly not very clear, picture of me around 1945 or 1943.  I think it was taken in my Nanu's backyard.  My sister probably took it with her Kodak Brownie camera.

This is the way little girls dressed in the '40's and '50's.  As I recall I was not great at staying clean.  The mud was calling even way back when.

Speaking of mud....I have made a clay drying area on some of my shelves.  My heat lamps are pointing up to underneath the shelf above.  The reflected light is quite even and not too hot.  I also have a small fan blowing away the moisture.  Of course, when (note the positive when and not if) the sun comes out I can get everything dried in a day.

I inadvertently left the little witches on the shelf.  I guess they are guardians of the clay to keep it from drying too much!

We are supposed to have sun by the Fourth of July.......we'll see, grasshopper......we'll see.

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