Sep 24 2008

Waiting for the cone to bend

Webb Pottery mugs

So Its Tuesday night (Wednesday morning), its 12:20 am, and I’m up waiting for the cone to bend in the bisque so I can turn it off and go to bed.  Grabbed a cat nap a little while ago and though still a little bleary eyed, ready for the final stretch.

No matter how organized you *think* you are, the last 2 weeks leading up to a show tend to be somewhat more tense than usual, what with trying to make sure you have enough fired and hoping everything makes it through the firings okay (can you ever have enough pots?!).  With the studio more or less a construction zone, I have to work around the weather forcast  when it comes to glazing and other related outdoor activities.  Potting is a lot like a well coordinated dancing act.. timing is everything.

The first fall show is just over a week away.  The roof is finally on the studio (yay!) though rain can still blow through a bit from the sides, and I am still working out the house and around everything else.   Pushing things through the bisque as I can, relying soley on the small electric kiln since our other 2 larger ones are out of commission due to faulty bits that still need replacing.  Coming to the realization that tomorrow or the next day are probably my very last throwing days for the show Oct 4 & 5 (The George Ohr Festival in Biloxi, MS) and after that its just glazing and firing and hoping for good weather!   Doh.. forgot to order that replacement part for the canopy.  Tomorrow.

…And so show season begins!


Sep 8 2008

Sept 21st – Peace One Day

Hope in these days of war. elections, and lip service  promises.

September 21st ….”A day of cease fire, a day of non-violence, a day of intercultural cooperation on a scale that we have never known before” – Jeremy Gilley

Please visit: http://peaceoneday.org

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Sep 8 2008

You’re it! Blog Tag

I’m not quite sure what this is about, other than a friendly way to draw attention to and share other peoples’ blogs.  I’ve found some of the neatest blogs by word of mouth.   I pass this on from Gay Judson of http://sistercreekpottery.blogspot.com/ .

Here are the ‘game’ rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on your blog. (this is what you’re now reading.)
3. Write 6 random things about yourself (see below).
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them. (This is only a game.)
5. Let each person know they have been tagged and leave a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six Random Things About Me:

1. I have 4 dogs, 2 cats, and used to have a turkey called Einstein. (all live outside)
2. My favorite color is purple
3. When I was 27, I took flying lessons.
4. I’ve always wanted to bungee jump or do sky diving! (They’re still on my list of things I want to do before I die)
5. I’ve knitted since I was 18 and learned to crochet off of YouTube last year.
6. I am *very* wary of power saws and sharp spinning blades since having my finger nicked by a shaper tool a few yrs ago.  Needless to say my woodworking ambitions were short lived.

Six People Tagged – these are only some of the many blogs I like… not all clay:

1. Tascha Parkinson  http://timewithtascha.blogspot.com/

2.  Cynthia    http://coloradoartstudio.com/blog/

3.  Pam McFayden   http://lureartsceramics.blogspot.com/

4.  Eleanor Hendriks   http://eleanorhendriks.blogspot.com/

5.  Almapottery  http://almapottery.blogspot.com/

6.  Carpediem  http://carpediemchris.blogspot.com/


Aug 20 2008

Along came a spider…..

Yellow Garden Spider found by the wheel

I spotted this *little* fellow as I sat down at my wheel the other evening. These yellow garden spiders usually live outside but somehow this one had made its way inside.

Spider set free onto elephant ear leaf outside

These spiders (unlike black widows, brown widows, and brown recluses , among others) don’t really concern me too much since they are not aggressive and just eat insects. Still… the size, especially if you are not accustomed to them, could be quite disconcerting (hopefully the photo with my hand will give some idea of scale). Thankfully I’m not petrified of spiders so I trapped this one in an empty yogurt container and put her back outside.

Anyone who does anything with clay in the south, I am sure, are already quite familiar with the mud dauber wasp that takes bits of clay and builds tube-like structures where its larvae can grow to maturity. Apparently they are natural enemies to black widow spiders! Knowing that, I will think twice about removing a nest that’s stuck to a beam, wall, or post the next time I see one, especially around the studio.


Aug 14 2008

Mugs, Throwing, and the Birdie

This spring I took one of Alyson Stanfield’s latest art marketing workshops based on her recently published book I’d Rather be in the Studio. I’ve been following her blog on and off for a few years now and it is great, but its nothing like having her right in front of you to interact with and ask questions of, not to mention feed off some of her positive energy.

I regret that this summer has been crazy with both kids home and increasingly demanding as they get older. In preparation for the upcoming time with *both* of them in school and a fairly regular daily schedule of uninterrupted time in the studio (its been so long), I’ve spent the last few weeks cleaning, sorting, organizing, and FINALLY going through bits of Alyson’s book, hoping to start this fall show season off some good footing. With several bags of trash and reclaim removed and the wheel moved to a different spot to allow a better work flow, my work area is so much more inviting and I actually really like being there. The girls went back to school this past Monday and its been really good.

Late last week, in my cleaning frenzy, I finally came across my little tabletop camera tripod which I thought would be really helpful in shooting some pottery videos unassisted. I’ve posted a few videos on Youtube in the past 2 yrs, but my intention all along was to post some demos online as well. Youtube is another great free resource available to get our work and names out there! Making a demo tape is a lot harder than it looks and most certainly different throwing for a camera than for someone in front of you.

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Baby Mockingbird

On a sadder note, I haven’t posted much about my little baby mockingbird lately. After his first week of successfully being spoonfed, he/she jumped up one day and bunged up his/her leg. I guess their little legs and bones are pretty fragile because that one never came back. He was lame in the one leg, then a few days later he stopped using his other. Last Saturday morning we found him/her motionless in his little box. I’ll miss the little guy. I was really rooting for him.


Jul 25 2008

NCECA in Jingdezhen China

Have you visited the NCECA web site lately?

For those who are not potters, NCECA is the “National Council on Education for the Ceramic Arts”. Their objective is to enrich and promote the ceramics through education. Most people know NCECA for its annual conference they put at different locations across the country, their exhibitions, and publications.

One of their upcoming events will be a symposium this fall in Jingdezhen, China!
NCECA/Jingdezhen Ceramic Institute International Symposium –
Shared Journeys: Chinese/American Ceramic Art Education

October 22 – November 2, 2008

On the Preview page of the Symposium are slideshows from around Jingdezhen, the Ancient Kiln Museum, as well as a few great Quicktime videos of people there skillfully making and decorating pots, all compiled by Richard Burkett and Joe Molinaro when they were there earlier this year .

The pure magnitude of some of the pots produced there and the skill of the craftsmen is, to say the least, somewhat humbling. ..five foot platters, 4×8′ handmade porcelain tiles, 6/9/12+ foot tall urns… almost unfathomable, especially to those who have worked in porcelain before and know its finicky and particular nature.

So what is their secret? Apparently, I was told, the porcelain in Jingdezhen isn’t like the smooth plastic body we know here in the west, in fact its not very plastic at all, but they have learned to work with this. They throw thick There’s a picture of one segment of a particularly large pot on the Symposium page being thrown by a team of 3 people. For large pieces such as the massive urns pictured on the website, sections are thrown separately, let dry to bone dry, then the segments are bonded together using slip. Once that’s done, they trim the assembled vessel and decorate.

There are still some spots available too.. I sure wish I could go.


Jul 21 2008

Foundling

TweetLowell came in this morning with this little baby mockingbird he found hopping across the road with no parents in sight, no nest in sight, and on his way to getting run over. Pretty obvious he had fallen out of his nest. He is quite a skilled hopper, even for a little guy.

For now, we are spoon feeding him and hopefully we’ll be able to set him free once his flight feathers grow in. As anyone who has found little wild chicks like this can tell you, it can be a challenge to keep baby wild birds alive once you take them in. I hope this little guy, who my daughter has already nicknamed “Tweet”, makes it.

To feed him I am using a tiny baby spoon which is actually just a little narrower than the inside diameter of his beak. A teaspoon can also work well if you bend the edges of the spoon in and kind of over to fit inside the bird’s beak enough to get the food down its throat.


Jul 15 2008

Up the Creek with my digital

Hooray! Finally, a day without any rain in the forecast so I can do a bisque firing!

River flowersLate yesterday we were out on the boat and took a ride up the river to see if I could catch any photos of the shoreline, shore flowers, and hopefully an egret or heron. There’s so many things out there in nature to look to for inspiration. We did see a blue heron but, unfortunately, he flew off before I got a chance to get close enough to grab a shot. (Did I mention its hard to snap shots with a chatty and fidgity 4 year old in an aluminum boat)

I’ve been curious about the movie function on my digital camera for a while and how it would look once I uploaded it to YouTube. Unbelievably, I’ve had this camera for close to 4 years now and have never used the movie function. Anyways, on our trip up the river, I tried it out. (Maybe now that I have straddled that hurdle, I can start putting together some demo clips. ) Unfortunately, I discovered, the zoom capability (macro) on my camera only works when taking still shots. For now, though, I will just have to work with the technology I have.

I had a bit of fun last night editing it with the MyMuvee AutoProducer software that came with my computer then I uploaded the clip to YouTube so see how much distortion there would be. I am glad to say, I noticed no difference playing the video off my hard drive than online. I had hoped to just upload a straight shot, but the editing software I was using (that I’m not all that familiar with yet) kind of forced me to use a “style”, so I chose “classic sepia”. Its not all that bad though because the sepia and the addition of a bit of music seem to distract from the roughness of the filming.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yg8X6GLjew4]

Knowlty Creek is not 2 miles from the studio. Its part of the tributary system that feeds Weeks Bay, Mobile Bay and eventually the Gulf of Mexico. Its part of the Weeks Bay Watershed. It is also part of one of the two remaining water postal deliver routes in the U.S..


Jul 3 2008

On Paul Soldner

Playing with Fire, DVDI found this lovely video/DVD put out by the American Museum of Ceramic Art (AMOCA) online and thought other people might like it as much as I do.

For those of you who raku, or simply love raku pottery, you may or may not know that Paul Soldner is known as the father of modern raku as we know it today… but that is only part of the story.

This video is available at: http://www.playingwithfirethemovie.com

Please check out this video trailer of the film I’ve linked in from YouTube below:

:
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bnN13tsIJTA]


Jun 30 2008

In memory of..

Raku Urn with Magnolia Design

Magnolia Raku Pottery Jar by Anne Webb