Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Another Dragon

The New Year Dragon has landed in the lime tree to wish everyone a Happy and Joyful New Year!

It feels like just yesterday the world was going nuts over millenium meltdown!

Never a Christmas morning,
Never an old year ends,
But someone thinks of someone,
Old days, old times, old friends!

Thanks to all my readers and followers.....see you next year!

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

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas

The Christmas Dragon has come to visit and wish a Merry, Merry Christmas to all my friends, readers and followers.

May everyone enjoy peace, love and joy today and throughout the year.

Thanks to everyone for a great year!

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

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Winter Solstice

The Shortest Day

So the shortest day came, and the year died,
And everywhere down the centuries of the snow-white world
Came people singing, dancing,
to drive the dark away;
They hung their homes with evergreen;
They burned beseeching fires all night long
To keep the year alive,
And when the new year's sunshine blazed awake
They shouted, reveling.
Through all the frosty ages you can hear them
Echoing behind us - Listen!
All the long echoes sing the same delight,
This shortest day,
As promise wakens in the sleeping land:
They carol, fest, give thanks
And dearly love their friends
And hope for peace.
And so do we her, now,
This year and every year,
Welcome Yule!

Susan Cooper
written for The Christmas Revels

A happy Solstice to one and all at this turning point of the year.

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

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Snow and......


We spent yesterday afternoon and this morning hanging curtains....well, long strips of fabric to block off most of my studio thus creating a small space that I can heat and work in this winter.  I'm am so over having to move stuff upstairs for the winter.  I decided that if I could make it work today.....hasn't gone above 20 F. all day.....it would work over the rest of the winter......which hasn't officially started yet!  The space has started warming up nicely....particularly after we fixed the latch on the window....3/4 of an inch gap open to cold air does not lead to warmth!

I even found room for my tile.  Proge's father gave it to me for my birthday back when I had just come back to clay and we were still together.  It was collected by his grandparents when they went on a grand tour of Europe and other parts of the world around the Mediterranean.  I know very little about it.  I think it's Persian.  Any way I enjoy looking at it.  It tells me stories.

This is Aloysius sitting on the back of the chair watching the birdies.  Kiki was with him until I picked up the camera.  She like to sit by the glass slider and occasionally try try to penetrate the force field that is keeping her from the deck.

Four o'clock and it's getting dark.  I hope no one is getting snowed in too badly or experiencing any of the fires on the west coast.

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

Saturday, December 14, 2013


I was going through some of my various sketchbooks and notebooks this morning, looking for a croissant recipe.  I came across this sketch in a book dated 7/02 on the spine.   I think it's based on a U-shaped candle...."I burn my candle at both ends..." which I adapted to a holder.  On the other hand I may have seen something along these lines in a catalog.  It was eleven years ago and I made no note of its origins, if indeed there are any.  I suppose it's possible that I dreamt it.  I do note things I have dreamed of, but I have no memory of this one.  If it weren't so obviously done in my style with my writing I might even doubt that I drew it.

I do remember that I had several pairs of hand dipped candles that were this shape.  They were beeswax in soft colors and burned beautifully.  There is nothing like beeswax for a long burning even light.  Plus it has that wonderful scent.

We are a having a spell of cold weather; it hasn't gone above twenty all day.  It generally doesn't get this cold until mid January.....but you never know around here.  It has been snowing softly since mid morning.  I don't think there has been an inch accumulation.  Because it's so cold it sweeps away easily.  I think it's supposed to get heavier and possibly change to rain near morning.  I just hope we are not in for a winter where it starts out snow, turns to rain, then the temperature drops and freezes everything.  Stepping out the door can be treacherous in those conditions.  I can remember at least two winters that we slogged through in that weather pattern.

Meanwhile we have water inside, plenty of wood, a small gas burner and the power inverter if the electricity goes out.

This will probably do in our sales tomorrow.  People in this area tend to stay home even under slightly threatening conditions.  If the roads are bad I'll wait to go over to restock.

Aloysius is sleeping in his favorite box.....he's still in love with the green packing material you sent, Linda.  I think he looks like he was put together without reading the instructions!

I'm going to try to post this to Mud Colony's Facebook page, once I figure out how to do it......that may not happen until tomorrow!

Update:  Did a short post on Facebook....look for Suzi Caswell.  Boy! That thing can really suck you in!

Happy 3rd Advent.  As always, thanks for stopping by..........*s*

Friday, December 6, 2013


I was decorating pots last nights and got to thinking about how often I repurpose stuff.

I rarely use hairspray but I find it invaluable in the studio.  I spray it on the raw glaze before I start painting to provide a stronger surface.  When I am mixing colors on the pot I use hairspray instead of water to move the color around.  I also spray lightly before I begin adding the black outlines.

Nylon coffee baskets are so useful for sieving small amounts of slip, clay, terra sig that I have at least six of them.  When I'm working I hate to stop and clean so they get dumped in a bucket of water until the end of the day.

And I can't forget popsicle sticks, I buy them by the thousand at craft stores when they go on sale.  They are strong enough to make small wooden tools, yet not so precious that I can't throw them out when they get worn.

When I was still teaching my students would often say that Benny's, the local hardware/auto supply store, was my favorite pottery supply.  Chamois and sea wool sponges, for example, are always much cheaper than ordering through a pottery supply place.

Here is our post Thanksgiving turkey hot off the grill.  I took this in the dark with my little fill flash.  I am always surprised that it's possible to stake photos at night.  Last night I made turkey lasagna with a sauce made from leftover creamed onions, mushrooms, ricotta with a layer of parmesian and cheddar on top.  I still think no boil lasagna noodles are one of the great gifts to the modern cook.

Sadly this is the last week of Mud Colony. Go over and see what we are up to in the world of clay.

 Kudos and thanks to Adriana for providing such a wonderful site......and we can still meet up on Facebook!

Enjoy the holidays you celebrate;  there seems to be something to celebrate every day.....Not least of which is clay buddies around the world.

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

Friday, November 29, 2013

Tis The Season

We opened our Holiday Sale today.  Turn out was good, very steady for the five hours I was there.  I'm very happy with the work that is being shown this year.

Jason's ship below is a real centerpiece....even more impressive in the flesh or rather the clay.  The photos below are a small representation of what we are selling.

I'm also posting this over on Mud Colony.  We're down to the last few weeks of the Mud Colony Blog
so everyone should take a look at what is going on.

We seem to be going through another cold spell.  It doesn't usually go down in the teens until January, but there you are!

An edit added on 11/30/13

I just found our yesterday that for a change Rhode Island is leading the way on something!  As of tomorrow with the proper registration with the state there will be no sales tax to collect on fine art and craft.  We have had tax free zones in various cities for years, but now the legislature has made it a state wide thing.

This also applies to liquor and wine but not beer.....Proge is sad that beer is not included.  But still, pots and a bottle of wine sounds pretty good to me.

I stopped at a local remnant shop this morning and bought fabric to make curtains around a small portion of my studio.  I am hopeful that with my little heater and the southern exposure, I'll be able to work there all winter, rather than moving everything upstairs to the living area after Christmas,

The cold weather has brought home to me how much I like being in my own space.

I'm beginning to sort out Christmas decorations.  We don't put out tree up until the Winter Solstice, but I like to get stuff up outside.

I also sorting my seasonal cd's and downloads.  My, I have accumulated a lot of stuff over the years .

Remember to visit Mud Colony; next week is the last one.  How we will miss our weekly get-togethers, but the Facebook page will stay on.

Thank you for all the kind Thanksgiving wishes and, as always, thanks for stopping by.......*s*

Thursday, November 28, 2013



One of the great joys has been finding the clay blogging world!

The turkeys were out in my woods last spring.  I think they are thankful to be wild and free......and able to tease Winter!

Enjoy the day in the way that best suits you and yours.

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

UHHH.....What day is it?

I lost track of the time....rather days.  I spent most of Sunday thinking it was Saturday.  It wasn't until  I was dropping pots off for our sale that I realized, or rather was informed, that it was Sunday.

That's what happens when you get busy as the proverbial bee.  

I did a firing (one of the best I've ever had) which included the prototypes I've been working on, because I always have to complicate busy times by working on something new....it makes life fun.

I'm very pleased with the cupcake stand.  I just have to figure out a better way to attach the legs.  I think  they need to be exactly the same moisture and pliability.

Speaking of feet I do hope that everyone will pop over to Gary's Blog and take a look at his take on feet!

Suddenly I am having problems uploading photos.  This is a new one for me....I'm not sure what is going on, but it's difficult to talk about things that can't be seen.

Fifth time is the charm....finally got it to post.

I made this mug around a balloon.  I was working with wet clay and wanted to get an idea into reality.  It needs a couple of points opposite the handle for balance and stability, and the rim needs to be nicer.

With this I think I may have a solution to using a clear glaze over terra cotta.  Generally I don't like them as they always cloud somewhere on the pot.  This time I added a small amount of Mason 6131 Titanium to Spectrum Clear 700.  Commercial glazes work on terra cotta greenware, but I will be experimenting with my studio glazes.  That ought to keep me busy in the dark of winter.

We are having a gray day which will turn to rain later today and most of tomorrow.  It's going to be lots of snow further north.  I hope everyone will stay safe and think twice about traveling in bad weather.

We are doing two feasts this year.  On The Day we are having dinner with friends next door.  This is a gift, as the sale opens on Friday at 10:00 AM.  I am working that day as we have had trouble getting people to work.  I still question the wisdom of opening on Friday.  I think we could open Saturday and use Small Business Saturday to our advantage......Friday evening could be a special grand opening.

It's time to go meet the day and go out into the world....which means going to the market.  We are doing most of our shopping at a locally owned store.  (three stores does make a chain) I did some careful comparisons and if I buy staples such as animal food and such from the big markets (Walmart is not the cheapest place around!) I don't spend more than a dollar over shopping at Stop & Shop ......aaaaannnnnnd....I don't feel like I need roller skates to get around the place!

Stay warm dry and safe to enjoy a most Happy Thanksgiving!

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

Thursday, November 21, 2013


Yesterday when we went to the post office I didn't bother to change out of studio clothes because Proge said, "You aren't going inside, Mom."  To which I say HAH!  of course I ended up having to go in looking like I live out of a refrigerator box.

I made certain rules after I retired when I found myself gardening in my pajamas.  I get up and get dressed in studio clothes, make the bed, brush my hair etc.  When I leave the house I put on clean pants and shirt.  It always works out that I will have to do stuff  and be seen in public if I don't.  This is a pretty low bar but it does keep me in some sort of organized mode.

The Booth cartoon is one of our favorites.  A lot of the time our house looks like a Booth drawing, but we perservere. 

George Booth copyright 1984

I've been looking at the two pots below because someone from the co-op asked me for the recipe.  It's a ^6 glaze that I used a lot when I was teaching.  Both are from the same base glaze which is extremely forgiving.

It's much easier to see the variations in the rust with yellow than the mottled effect of the warm green.

The cup is one of my earliest efforts.  Because I had so much art stuff behind me, my glazing was much better than my early throwing efforts.  I did a lot of hand building then, which stood me in good stead when I damaged my wrist and could no longer throw more than three pounds.

Does anyone else have rules of behavior while being self employed?  It's a slippery slope when you have only yourself to live up to.

Sunny and colder today.  At least the wind has died down.

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

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Santa Time?

The dilemma of making things....When I mention that I am frantically making Christmas stuff most people react with, "not so soon!".....They forget that to be able to buy stuff at the holiday we have to be elves working away early in the year.

These two little guys are some I kept as the bottoms cracked.  They're made from my standard onion dome shape which I use for a lot of my whistles.

Going back to the studio for more work.

The weather is cloudy and warm.....we haven't even been using the wood stove.

Enjoy the day and pop over to Mud Colony and look around.

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

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Woke Up

Got out of bed and....realized that I never did a post last night for Mud Colony!

I've been working on some cupcake stands with different feet.  This came from making a cupcake stand. for someone to give to her husband on his birthday.  They aren't big cake eaters, but one cupcake seems so mingy, so we came up with the idea of presentation being the big deal.

I decorate them to look like a circus wagon.  Cupcakes need color!

There is just time for me to get this over to Mud Colony!  Take a look...it ends December 5.

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

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Time Fugits....

After the earlier in the week anxiety of the missing Aloysius, this is a small sampling of the pot painting I have been doing.  Some are finished; some are in progress.

This will also be over on Mud Colony.  Go take a look; it will all end soon!

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

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Were You Worried?

See how the conquering hero comes!
Sound the trumpets!  Beat the Drums!

Some hero!  Aloysius decided to come home at 4:45 AM this morning.  Winter started barking as though the starship troopers were coming over the hill.  Once we got her calmed down we could hear a certain very vocal kitty out in the yard.  He was sitting under the 4Runner, acting as though we had thrown him out into the cold.  So I gathered him up and and brought him in where Winter proceeded to welcome him by sitting on him.

After breakfast and second breakfast he has slept in his favorite green bubble wrap, which came in the package Linda sent when she was getting ready to sell her house.  I don't know what the love is, but he adopted this particular bubble wrap as soon as I opened the box.

Animals are strange......No doubt about it!

Needless to say we are overjoyed to have Aloysius back in the house and now can begin to resume something approaching normal.

I think I have gotten more done today that I have in the past several days.  In the center are the three little whistles I posted on Sunday all glazed, painted and ready to fire!

The weather is turning colder, no real frost yet, but definitely time to finish getting the plants in.  I'm  going to winter over petunias, nasturtiums, marigolds, and any others I feel like trying.  Right now it's like jungle in here.

I'm taking a tea break, but will head back to the studio in a few moments.

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

Sunday, October 27, 2013

I Almost FORGOT!

But then I remembered.......

I said I would post photos of the whistles as I finished them; the rest are in the kiln waiting to be fired.  

As I mentioned in my previous post They can assume many forms.  The mouse and the penguin are easy to see how I make them.  The pig gets turned on its side and trimmed and paddles into a rounded end.  There's a tail back there too.  I make the snout by carefully pushing the tip onto a flat surface.  The mouse and penguin have their whistles at the base; pig has its at the snout and becomes part of the mouth.

Because they are whistles I use commercial glazes on them and once fire them.  I don't once fire functional stuff a.) I think the clay is stronger if it goes through separate bisque and glaze firings, b.) I generally use my own glazes.  This is from my observation.  Some of the clay gurus out there may be able to tell me the more scientific reasons.  It might all be a figment of my imagination.

These are obviously still in progress.  If I keep my wits about me I may even post more photos before and after firing.

Aloysious has managed to pull one of his charge out the door acts.  That cat is fast!  It's a beautiful sunny day out so he's out having fun and we're searching!

This is late for Mud Colony, but I am going to email Adriana and see if she can put it up for me. At any rate go take a look at all the cool stuff that goes on in the world of clay.

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

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

                                       October Morning

Friday, October 18, 2013


.....in the name of heaven are these?  .......A question I was asked once upon a time.  My answer:  Tiny little warheads for tiny ICBM's.......because I was feeling really snarky that day.

REALLY!  They are blanks for many animal whistles.  Pigs, penguins, mice, fish,,,,I may come up with more as I work on them.

The powers that be have decided to extend the days of our Christmas Sale at the South County Art Association.  I'll go along with it, but I am not sure that it will make us much more money.  We'll see, grasshopper...........we'll see.

Speaking of grasshoppers, Robin Hopper's book,  Making Marks, is on sale over at Ceramic Arts Daily Bookstore.  I can't get the link to work, but it's worth taking a look.  This is one of the books I find an invaluable resource for decoration.

This year I have decided to make my inventory broad and shallow and we'll see how that works.

Sunny and warm today, so I am going out to hang laundry.

This post will also be over on Mud Colony.  Take a look at the world of clay.

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

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Presence of Mind


Remember to cover the clay at night that you have been drying outside all day......or it may rain and you will have mud again.

Can you see the puddles in the clay?

I was asked for some mugs that are smaller than what I generally make.  They hold ten ounces.  These are the first ones I made when I was considering handles.....and believe me, I spend a lot of time thinking about handles.  The originals were too sharp on the edges.  They wouldn't actually cut the hand but the possibility was there.  Satanic mugs for Halloween! 

Due to our continuing warm weather we are finally getting morning glories and moon flowers beyond the one or two blooms we've had.  I love it when it stays warm enough for them to completely bloom out!

This was a particularly nice moon flower, starting to sag in the rain.  For some reason wilting moon flowers always make me thing of drooping ballerinas......Swan Lake perhaps?

Autumn is showing up even with the warm weather.  There has been enough rain for the swamp maples to show some wonderful color.  I love the way they look like watercolor washes.

Mist and rain today, gentle but definitely putting a damper on doing much outside today.  The colors really pop in the soft gray.

We have been watching The Hollow Crown on PBS, Great Performances. It's Richard II, Henry IV Parts One and Two, and HenryV, by the Bard of Avon himself.  Beautifully acted and filmed, it's well worth watching.

Have an enjoyable Sunday.  This post will also be over on Mud Colony.  Take a look at clay around the world.

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

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Goose Is Getting Fat

I found this fellow yesterday when I was thinking about what I wanted to make for Christmas sales.  I made this many years ago when my dear friend NCS was teaching me how to make whistles.  I think I may have used him as part of my gravitar here one year.  He's formed around a dowel and really quite easy to make which as we all know is important when it comes to pricing. 

Some years I am totally on the ball and do a yearly Christmas ornament.  I have been doing Santas lately.  Many years ago I did a series of bells, which looked sweet, but.....I only really like clay bells when they are big and ring with a mellow tone.

I usually make terra cotta Santas in addition to the white earth ones.  Some customers had some surprisingly nasty comments to make about the brown Santas;  they can go pooh in a pot.  The terra cotta Santas completely sold out!  So there!

In the OH FER DUMB! department:

I managed to use salt instead of sugar in the whipped cream I was making to go on the Banofee Pie I was attempting last week end.  Let me tell you, two tablespoons of salt is totally overpowering in a dish which should have that amount of sugar!  It's annoying because I use a heavy cream that is not ultra pasteurized.  It's wonderful stuff that practically whips itself, but also costs a lot more than most cream.  Ah well!  Any ideas for salty whipped cream dishes?

We are enjoying Indian Summer...days in the seventies, nights in the forties.  Although many would say that this isn't true Indian Summer because we have not had any frost.  I'm not complaining, mind you.  I hope it continues for many days to come!

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

Sunday, September 29, 2013


We had a successful opening Thursday night.  There was a pretty good turn out and many nice things said about my work.  The hit of the evening was Humpty Dumpty.

The turtle below was originally intended for the show but his bottom detached in front during the bisque firing. I have never had this problem before so why this happened is one of life's little mysteries.   I've come up with a couple of ways to work with the break.  We'll see, grasshopper....we'll see.....

Can you see the split ?

Nina Hope Pfanstiehl, the other clay person in the show did wonderful buildings.  The Edward King House, the former Newport Library, was a great favorite by her.  For many of her historic interpretations she does photos of the original building.  I couldn't quite manage to get her photos in my pictures.  I'll get more sorted and posted over the next week.

Edward King House.....Exterior 

Edward King House........Interior

I had wanted to do a long post on Friday but woke up with a wicked migraine; I finally got rid of it last night.  It's goldenrod season;  I love autumn but not many of the pollens that abound.  Ahh country living.

I'm going to try to get this over to Mud Colony to add to clay happenings around the world.

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