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.


Nov 20 2007

In the Studio: Clay loving bugs


Yesterday I was just getting ready to cut and slam wedge some native clay that had been sitting on the wedging table to dry out, as I often do to pick out the odd little rock or left over hard chunks of debris. Found this little fellow “hunkered down”, as they would say here in the South. He had chewed and burrowed his way about an inch into the clay.

Earlier in spring and summer, we are pestered by some much smaller black beetles, resembling this one, actually, only about 1 to 2 millimeters in length. They come out once the sun goes down and make their way into the studio, seeking out leather-hard pots and damp clay. Groups of them will actually burrow right through the sides of pots. Sometimes I think they make a point to go for those pots you have spent the most time on trimming or carving a design into …pure coincidence, of course.

Since we don’t have screens on the windows and the studio is kind of open, we usually try and wrap or cover pots with dry cleaner’s plastic. We have to also make sure we turn the lights to the studio off when we leave, since they don’t seem to nibble in the dark.