Thursday, January 30, 2014

A New Toy

I ordered this from Axner last fall when I was ordering clocks.  I have never worked with underglazes but this looked interesting.  There are four different thickness tips which self thread onto the plastic bottle tip.  The tips are numbered by lines around them.  The sizes are fairly obvious upon looking closely. 

Below are my first experiments on paper.  I smeared the #4 a little which is something to watch out for.  The main thing is to shake the bottle well and avoid air bubbles, which cause spitting and smearing.  I found that tapping the bottle hard gets rid of any bubbles.

Now I need to make some test pieces so I can experiment on the real stuff

I'm not sure when or where I will use this, but it does raise interesting possibilities!

It's still cold out; the temp is 26 F at 2:00 PM this is about the warmest it will get today.  Even though we are in a warm wood heated house the weather seems to beg for things like bread and soups.  These are two of the spinach pies I made for supper last night.  They were stuffed with spinach, chicken pesto sausage, mushroom, onions and cheddar cheese.  I should have take a picture of one after it was cut, but we ate them too quickly!

This is a Friendly sitting in my suitcase when I was unpacking it.  She seems to have made up her mind that I am not going anywhere for a while.  She normally sleeps on my bed at night.  Since I came home she has been following me around.  If I move a suitcase or a tote bag, she gives me the kitty-stink-eye!  I guess I've learned my place!

Has anyone noticed that the days are getting noticeably longer?  I watched the sun go down at 5:00 PM, a far cry from the dark of the solstice!

I hope everyone is staying warm and comfy.  It's supposed to go up to 40 F this week end.  We'll see, grasshopper..........we'll see.

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

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Wrap It!

Save It!

This is the bird teapot I started before I went up to NH last week.  I wrapped it tightly in plastic and put it in a sealed plastic box.  Ah Tupperware and all your kin, what did we do without you?

It is now at a perfect stage of leather hard to do finishing work.  As soon as the studio warms up I'm going down  to work on it.  It's in the teens but blindingly sunny so with the heat on I should be able to go down in a hour or so.  I never realize how much I need my studio until I have to be away from it.

I've enjoyed this one so much I think I'm going to do one in white earth......we'll see, grasshopper....

While in NH I went into TJMaxx to see if they had any boots.  No boots, but these screaming pink shoes that will be perfect for working in the studio.  The soles are thick enough without being clunky to provide some protection and cushioning against my cement floors!  Pink is a great winter color.  There is none of it in nature.....except for the flamingos that keep hanging around the shed!

For all of you who are celebrating (in one way or another) Australia Day.  Here is a link to Neil Gaiman  reading a poem he wrote and performed at the Sidney Opera House a few years ago!  Happy Day to all.

Again I want to thank everyone for all the kind comments regarding my brother.  We have arranged for twenty-four hour in home care until he can move in with one of his kids.  He is doing as well as can be expected.  The most important thing now is his comfort.

This post will also go over to Sunday Ceramics.  Not many have posted yet....more please?!

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

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Sunday Ceramics and.........

I forgot to take any pictures of last week's teapot.  Fortunately I had a few sketches to give an idea of what I have been up to.  I along with other potters have been thinking a lot about birds lately....little harbingers of spring when they start their mating calls.

Obviously a bird teapot is in order.  This one is completely handbuilt .  I started with about two pounds of clay which I treated like a giant pinch pot.  The wings tail and feet are added when the form has set a bit.  The beak was a bit harder.  Initially I thought it should be small....then I thought about it being the spout and how difficult a small spout can be to make pour properly.  For all the funkiness? weirdness? of these pots I do want them to be able to function as working teapots.

I was not able to add any feathers or cut the lid so I wrapped it very tightly in many layers of plastic and put it in one of my air tight storage boxes.  With any luck it will be just right when I get to work on it again.

By the way I find that lock top plastic boxes make wonderful little damp boxes.

I want to thank every one for all the kind and thoughtful comments on my last post regarding my brother.  Over the years that I have been blogging a circle of friends has formed.  No we don't really know each other, but we all have things in common that bring us together.  Again I thank each and every one of you for all your support.

I am watching Miss Congeniality,  which I have seen many times, but I do love the way Sandra Bullock plays her nerdy beautiful best.

And finally this will also be posted over on Sunday Ceramics.  Take a look at the world wide world of clay.

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

Thursday, January 16, 2014

It's All About MEEEEEE!!!

Or so Aloysius would have us believe!

Many thanks for the many and varied comments about Aloysius. He looks like a tiger with the personality of a bengal.  He's not a bad cat just what the guy on My Cat From Hell calls a Dennis the Menace type.  Yes, Gary, I think Spike and Aloysius are indeed cousins!

On a sadder note I am up here in New Hampshire with my older brother for the next week or so.  His cancer has exhausted him so the family is doing what it can to make things easier for him.

I will try to keep posting as it's the little things that help keep us sane in hard times.

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

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sunday Ceramics

Welcome to the new kid...well not really new.  Kim Foale is taking up where Adrianna left off on Mud Colony.  It's very nice indeed to again have a space where far flung potters can exchange ideas.

I've been working on the idea of handbuilding a teapot once a week.  I made this one last Monday but only just got the lid working so I like it.

The good thing about this series is that it does (should) not demand huge blocks of time.  Of course if I should come up with a form I really like I can repeat it.

Over the years I've made many bird whistles.  For some reason they have always been quite small....I think it has to do with being able to hold them easily.


At any rate I have started making larger ones.  This first batch is made from white clay which I like because I can work directly on the surface of the bird.  However, I am really fond of the warmth terra cotta gives under a white glaze.  I guess some of each is in order!

This one is more than twice as big as the first two.  It's hard to see the design I've drawn but that is one of my fantasy fishes on its back.

I have not done a lot this week.  My studio was so cold in our cold snap that I could only work for short periods, even with the heater on.  Then too, we had to deal with the well pump which is too long and involved to go into here!

Hit the link and go over to Kim's Sunday Ceramics......see what is happening with other potter-bloggers. (Ploggers?)

Enjoy the day.  It's warmed up considerably since the beginning of the week.  This is typical for this area.

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

Friday, January 10, 2014

About Dragons

Drogon is pleased to read this!

 I found this on Neil Gaiman's Blog down at the bottom of his post.  Or you can go to Dragon Research  and read all about it!

It's getting warmer today....enjoy the weekend!

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

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Tea and Bread

Yesterday it was 56 F. in the afternoon.  It was so nice to work in my studio without waiting for everything to warm up. Today at 7 A.M. it was 8F.  with wind chill....ah the benefits of a good wood stove in the house!  The sun is still cold but shining brightly into my studio.  I have the heater on so I should be able to work in an hour or so.

I have started a project that has been rattling around in my brain.  I am challenging myself to handbuild a teapot a week.  Most of my teapots are thrown, but last summer or so there was this post in Ceramic Arts Daily; Handbuilt Teapots.  I made a couple of teapots and put the idea aside.  Now, in winter, when I need something to explore and give me a January kick in the seat of the pants I have been thinking about doing a series.

This one is still in its early stage.  I need to clean it up a bit and put a knob on the lid.  The neat thing about working this quickly is that it can become very gestural.

I started it over a bowl, added the spout, handle and cut the lid; then I took it out of the form and added the bottom.  I didn't quite do it in half an hour, but I came close!  I was also doing laundry!  (Always there seems to be laundry to do!)

I was thinking about glazing them and doing a once fire.  On second thought I've rejected that idea.  Some of my best designs have come from having a group of pots to consider.  I do like the idea of a family of terra cotta teapots waiting for glaze.

I'm not sure that I will manage a full year of fifty-two teapots.  It would be great if I could end up with such a result, but I have to consider that my studio may be too cold to work in, or life getting in the way, or being drawn down a different path to explore.  The idea is to keep making and not beat myself up if I don't meet my stated goal.  It's an enjoyable clay experience not boot camp!

Before Christmas I started making small clocks.  This one is about seven inches across.  The flowers are waxed with resist.  I have been doing a sponge style pattern for background.  The plain backgrounds weren't doing it for me anymore!  This still need the numbers added.  I want to figure our a simple stand so they can either be wall mounted or placed on a table.

I have been baking my Cuban Bread or Italian Feather Bread lately.  They are quick and tasty, but I wanted to do another slow rise loaf.  I made my started with 1 Cup White Whole Wheat and 1 Cup APB White Flour;  1 Tbsp. honey; 1/4 tsp dry yeast and 2 Cups water.  I mixed it all together and let it sit for a couple of days, stirring it down occasionally.  I used half of it with another 1/2 tsp yeast and 2 Cups Water.  I made a soft dough that I let rise over a day or so.  I folded the dough on itself every time it got big.  The final rising was in a large warm bowl in a cotton napkin dusted with oat flour.  I preheated the oven to 450 F. with my cast iron dutch oven in it.  I quickly greased the pan, dumped the bread in and covered it.  I reduced the heat to 400 and did not disturb it for about forty minutes.  I checked the temp and continued to bake until the interior temp of the loaf was 220F.  I let it cool for half an hour before cutting it.  I probably should have waited longer but I am a notorious heel stealer!

It's a tasty loaf which I will probably do again.

Enjoy the day with hot (or cold for those of you south of the equator) drink and stay warm (or cool)

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

Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Twelfth Night Dragon

I'm willing to bet that few people know that there is a Twelfth Night Dragon.  He landed in our tree this morning and is preparing to celebrate a quiet evening of merriment.

This is feast where traditionally roles are reversed.  Servants become lords and lords become the help.  In Westerly, R.I. there is a wonderful celebration put on by the Chorus of Westerly.  We will not be attending this year but will enjoy our own feast.  I'm not sure how we can do any role swapping.  Somehow I cannot see Winter, Aloysius and the other kitties serving us any food at all!

Old Christmas is past;
Twelfth tide is the last.
And we bid you adieu,
Great joy in the new!


This was my Christmas treat.  Robin Hopper is so generous with his  knowledge and information that anything he writes is a treat!  This is particularly enjoyable as he tells of his life as a potter and how he got where he is today. 

It's a little warmer today, 28F the last time I looked.  It's supposed to be 50 with rain tomorrow, then get down in the single digits by Tuesday.  We will stay warm and cozy in the house.  At those low temps I can't get my studio warm enough to I've been doing some much needed cleaning in the house.

I'm making one of my slow rise breads.  It seems like a good time to do it as I have only been making Cuban and other quick breads lately.

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

Friday, January 3, 2014


Yes indeed, it did snow here last night into this morning.  Aloysius always wants to get out so I let him onto the partially (enough to get to the wood stack) shoveled deck.  He looked downright insulted and appears to be over his love affair with snow.  He used to go out and roll around in it.  Not anymore!!!

We got about eight inches of very light, powdery stuff with some but not a lot of wind.  Such is not the case further north.  I heard on WGBH this morning that Boxborough MA got the most at about two feet!

I have the heat on in my curtained off studio.  When the sun is out I can get it up to about 62F;  I'm curious to see how it will work out with the temp down around 9F with some wind.  I may not want to throw at 62, but I can certainly handbuild.  Unlike throwing, I stand and move around a lot when I am handbuilding.

Well see, Grasshopper...........we'll see!

Enjoy the snow, or not, and, as always, thanks for stopping by............*s*