Well the conference is over, the weather is fine, and I’m finally back in the studio. Yay!
Continuing to work on carving some bas relief designs on porcelain pieces I had thrown before the weekend. Its a bit of a leap of faith.. you commit all that time carving a design and hope for the best that they come out fine in the firing and all the glazes do what they’re supposed to be doing. ..on to the bisque firing they go!
Well on Saturday, despite the greatest of intentions, I didn’t end up taking very many pictures at all, but here are just a few more shots from the conference for you, this time of the three presenters: Chris Gustin, Misty Gamble, and Christa Assad.
(fyi Next year’s conference will be in Birmingham and run by Scott Bennett)
It takes a few days to fully digest what one has seen at any workshop or conference. Sometimes you come away just brimming with excitement, inspiration and ideas, and are just rearing to go! Other times, well,.. it just takes a bit longer.
I have a question for you now.. If you were to attend a clay conference, what would you expect/like/want to see? What would you like to take away from the experience? Any dislikes…? Please comment
Today with the help of our neighbour and a John Deere tractor, we’ve moved our showroom
When we first got this little outbuilding a few years ago, the most accessible place to get a truck in to put the building, was up toward the front of the property. Its been really convenient up there for some things. It was an easy place to pull up the truck to load up for shows, and for customers so they didn’t have far to go up our driveway (which has been known to be somewhat treacherous at times). When we were not doing shows, I would sweep it out each spring and set up the show display in case a customer wanted to drop by. Prior to getting the building I would have to set up the display spur of the moment on the deck, for when I knew the customer would be arriving and then have to take everything down after they left. It was a bit of a crazy scramble. Having the building made all this a lot easier.
The plan has always been to finish it, add lighting, a permanent display just for the showroom, and do some landscaping around it, all to give it a more enticing appearance. Its been about 4 years now and, for one reason or another, we haven’t made a great deal of progress, short of rudimentarily putting in a few windows. Running power the two or three hundred feet from the pole was going to cost a bit and it was just a bit too far to even run an extension cord to work on it. Sooo this spring we tossed around the idea of moving the building.
Now the building sits a lot closer to the studio, in the spot where I had my garden last year. It looks much happier there (if a building could look happy). There will be enough room around it to put a small porch and do some gardening. But before that, we need to level it, stake it into the ground (in prep for hurricane season), and then start fixing up the inside, of course.
For the last 2 yrs or so, the studio has been in a state of absolute chaos. It has been part construction zone and part dumping ground for all sorts of non-clay related stuff… well, yes,, there was some clay in there somewhere too.
Eventually I got to the point where I threw up my hands, moved my wheel into the house, and set up a little work area in there. Not the ideal situation either, what with clay dust, etc, not to mention the challenges of proximity and navigation to the kiln with pots (doors, stairs, etc). After a while I would only venture to the studio when it was time to glaze a kiln load. Each and every time, I had to spend valuable time reorganizing, clearing surfaces, finding tools, etc., which was frustrating, before I could even get started. It kind of takes a toll on you after a while and doesn’t do a thing for your productivity or state of mind.
Well this week I have finally moved my wheel back into the studio. I now have my own dedicated section of the studio to throw, where all my tools are within reach and laid out so they’re easy to see and find. The addition of shelving and some pegboard makes it so much easier to keep organized and my work surfaces clear and instantly usable.
Behind my chair I have a bookshelf that holds bats as well as other small tools that I occasionally use.
Here in another section of the studio, is a waist high handbuilding station/table, right beside the slab roller. Again a pegboard mounted above gives a place to hang related tools instead of cluttering up the surface . (I haven’t tried it yet, but the table is also the perfect height for throwing on that little tabletop Aspire wheel as well.) Buckets of glaze sit under the table and out of the way.
I was surprised at how much more productive I have been this week and how much calmer I feel overall. Its so much nicer to walk in in the morning and cuz I know I can start working right away and I’ll be able to find what I’m looking for.
This photo was from last night before I started glazing. Oh yeah, there’s a ware rack outside the shot besides this lot as well. I am glad to say its now all glazed and in a lit kiln, finally. I’m relieved. In the morning I’ll load another bisque load, now that things are finally dry, and probably fire the gas kiln again Wednesday night.
The weather is fantastic tonight. Clear skies, 73 F, and (a rare occurance) no wind blowing across the clearing toward the kiln (and burners). How nice for being out by the kiln and firing! This is a relief after a summer of incessant rain. I was getting so tired of having to wear my muck boots seemingly everywhere to trudge through orange mud and puddles, not to mention having to deal with the headaches of trying to navigate my car strategically up our driveway without getting sucked down into a pot hole and stuck! Anyways, everything is drying up nicely and I am back to wearing flips and birks.
I’ve mentioned before that we’ve been working on expanding the studio for a while now. Its actually been an ongoing project for a long time.. scrape together a few dollars, buy a few more boards and nails. I would just love to be able to have all the materials on hand and get it done in one fell swoop so I could get back to some sense of order and normalcy, and maybe take on some students again, but for now, this is the way it is. This afternoon Lowell headed off to the recycling place in town to trade in some cans and metal stuff that was lying around, to clear up around and get a little pin money, I suppose. Well evidently he ended up having more than I thought because he came back with these. “These will look great in the studio upstairs!”, he said, with a big silly grin across his face.