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..


May 28 2008

Well Who knew?

The Shimpo Aspire Tabletop Pottery Wheel.

This little wheel weighs 25 pounds, goes on a tabletop, and is supposed to center 20 lbs. Yeah right. Looks like a toy doesn’t it?

Shimpo's table top wheel for beginner to advanced throwers

Well I tried it out and here it is. No toy.

The proof is in the pudding.I don’t remember how much clay I used, but the pot stands 13 1/4″ tall. Not bad. Like any Shimpo I’ve used, (and despite the fact that this one is belt driven vs direct drive) it handles clay without breaking a sweat. Very quiet as well. I like the fact that despite all that strength, its very light and I can easily pick it up, stick under my arm, and go. I’ve tried a Soldner tabletop model (made by Bluebird) and it was great.. sturdy and strong, but very heavy.

Anyways, I was impressed not only by its ability, but by its exceedingly reasonable price.


May 5 2008

Experimenting with technique

Last fall I started experimenting with bas relief (low relief) design on pots and hand built forms. This style of carving and design seemed to me a natural progression/extension of the designed raku pieces I already do.

Unfired Designed platter

I had a number of pieces ready to glaze, but when we started having serious issues last fall with our raw materials that consequently, left our old standby glazes unusable, I put the pieces safely away until some of the technical issues were resolved. With all that work, I was reluctant to commit them to the fire.

With some long needed changes to the kiln this spring, and a fresh full bucket of celadon glaze, I finally felt brave enough to commit them to the fire.

Carving a relief design and knowing how the glaze will play with it, has its learning curve like everything else. I am anxious to see how this process evolves.

Relief Designed Platter with celadon glaze

Here is that same platter after it came out of the kiln last Friday. It was glazed with celadon then fired to Cone 10 (2400 F) in a gas kiln.: