Sunday, January 31, 2010

Sunday, muddy Sunday

I was hoping to relate some good news to you all out there in blog reader land, but certain things have not yet transpired, so that particular piece of good news will just have to wait... I hope I didn't just jinx myself by telling you all I had good news. Crap.

Anyway, today was another good day filled with pots and chocolate cake. After rolling out of bed and finally getting out to the studio about 9:30 or so I hunkered down to some throwing. Bowls are something that I do not really make many of. I think it is just because I have not found a bowl form that I am really comfortable with yet. Regardless, or perhaps as a way to work out this problem, I threw a batch of 1 and 1.5 pound bowls this morning (sorry, I don't have a good picture of them). They turned out passably fair, but nothing to shout about.

I've had an idea for vases like these for a while. I started with a plain cylinder that I squared off (obviously) and kind of dented up a bit. I wanted them to feel a little more loose. Later they will get some ears, kind of like my oval vases. This is the first time I have tried these, so I am anxious to see if they live up to my expectations.

These here are some tea pot bodies and lids that I worked on today. It has been quite a while since I made anything with a lid, so that took some work; probably far more than it should have. I tried making them a bit larger than my regular tea pots, starting off with 2 pounds of clay instead of 1 to 1.5 pounds. And I am really going to have to find some tiles to make a tile bat system. I had to resort to throwing these lids on 14 inch masonite bats that I usually use for plates.

And last but not least, some more mugs from the extra 5 pounds of clay I had ready. You can never have too many mugs. The shelves are filling up; and as soon as I have enough for a full load I will be heading into decoration mode. Not quite as fun as throwing, but important none the less.
Oh, one more thing, if anyone is looking for a good photo manipulation program, definitely check out Gimp. I don't really use it for anything but touching up and resizing pictures, but it seems like there is quite a bit you could do with it if you had a notion to. And it is free! You can't beat that with a stick...tschus.


Monday, January 25, 2010

Does it smell like yeast in here to you?

I was going to post this yesterday, but it just got too late. Yesterday was a pretty good day by all accounts. I spent the morning in the kitchen playing with yeast, first making bread (a rather nice whole wheat), then brewing beer (I won't know if that is nice for a while). After lunch it was out to the studio to get some work done. I now have a nice batch of reclaim worked up and ready to throw. I also finished up a few things I started on Saturday.

First we have a couple bowls that got trimmed. There were three to start with. One bit the dust, though, when I failed to realize my Giffin Grip was not on the wheel head properly. Drat! These two I was not entirely thrilled with at first. Not real fond of the wide rim sticking out there. They are beginning to grow on me now, however. I think they will end up as planters after I punch some holes in them and throw some plates to go under them.

And here are some fancy little oval vases. I have been playing around with this idea for a few months or so. One problem I have always had with them was how to handle the seam between the wall and the base. I left it visible on these, but have blended it in on other. Not sure which I like better. Any thoughts?
The little spiral "ears" I have done before; they are probably my favorite addition on these. The lug kind of things on the rim of the one in back don't do much for me. I was somewhat pleased with the feet on the one in front, though. I had not tried these before, and they definitely need some polishing up, but it might be another direction to go.
Now everything is happily drying under plastic and awaiting slip and decoration. And it is time for me to go to bed. Tschus.

-Rob (I decided to start signing my posts...not sure why.)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Studio Tour

OK, I tried to post this for a while yesterday, but for some reason it was not working. So here it is once and for all. If it doesn't work now, I just give up.
Yesterday I did quite a bit or organizing and cleaning and such in the studio. The morning, though, was spent messing with the new kiln. I had to adjust the lid so it sits flat on the kiln; just loosen a few screws, slide up the hinge bracket and you are done. Sounds simple, right? Close to two hours of frustration says otherwise. After trying in vain to adjust the lid, researching how to adjust the lid and again trying in vain to adjust the lid I finally called L&L. Yes, I probably should have done this much sooner, but oh well. As it turns out (as I suspected, actually) it was the tension in the spring in the hinge that was preventing me from adjusting the lid. With this new knowledge it was a mere 15 minutes to get everything worked out.
So here is a brief tour of the newly organized and cleaned studio.

Work table, wheel, extra/trimming wheel, new kiln

Kiln (again, with flat lid and re-routed vent piping), new work table with canvas and wedging block

Kiln (yet again), new work table (again), new shelves (already full of junk)

New shelves (again, still full of junk)

Now if I can just get in there to make some new work.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Studio Progress

So far this has been a nice long weekend. By no means stressful, but busy and getting stuff done. Yesterday the wife and I did some running around and I picked up a set of shelves for the studio. I was originally planning on building shelves, but buying the lumber to build them was not going to be much cheaper than buying them from the store. And I figured the store shelves would be more versatile in that I could move them if necessary and adjust the shelf height if I so desired.
After getting them home and putting them together, though, I probably should have just built my own. It would take too long to explain all the reasons why. Suffice it to say that I am not entirely pleased with my purchase. Oh, they will do I suppose, and they will undoubtedly be better than what I was using before. If I am ever again faced with the choice between building something and buying something, though, I will go with building if at all possible.
Other than that slight disappointment, the studio is coming right along. The table is covered with canvas, the shelves are put up, things are getting put away...before long I will actually be able to work in there. Tomorrow I am off work, so I will be finishing up the studio, test firing the kiln and possibly even throwing a little. Then I might be able to put some new pictures on here. Until then, however, more shots of older work

Little Slug Man, about 4 in. tall by 3 in. wide, paper clay with stain and clear glaze

Round lidded jar, celadon & tomato red glazes, gas fired cone 10 reduction

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Let's Table This For Now...

Good, productive studio day today. I got stuff moved around, cleaned up and, AND I got a new work table put together. It is a sizable 5ft long by 32 inches deep; a nice big work space. I was toying with the idea of putting a slab of sheet rock on top of it to get that whole moisture absorption thing going on, but that would add a lot of weight and is not all together necessary. I do still need to cover it with canvas though, so I guess that is on the agenda for this week.

Also on the agenda for this week is the building of a new set of shelves. I only have one small set of plastic shelves at the moment. They fill up pretty quickly and I always run out of shelf space before I have a full kiln load. This problem will undoubtedly be exacerbated since my new kiln is supposed to hold twice as much as the old one. I will have to go get some lumber to complete that project, though. I got off pretty easy with the table; it was constructed entirely of scrap lumber that I already had on hand. Net cost to me? An hour or so labor.

I guess that is all for now, so here are some random pictures of older work.

Teapot #7553, Cone 6, Sprayed on slips with carving

Satellite Shots, Same as above

Friday, January 8, 2010

Paints, not Pots

As luck would have it (I guess it would be luck) we had a bit of snow the past few days. And even though it was only a few inches, school was canceled. People south of the Mason Dixon get kind of stupid about snow. Ok, I may not technically be south of it, but I'm pretty close...close enough that people still get stupid about a couple inches of snow. So now I have some extra time to catch up on this stuff...hooray!

I know I said I was going to keep you all fully appraised of my artistic endeavors over the semester break, but I didn't. I know everyone was dieing to hear about my goings on (note the sarcasm) but I am a world class procrastinator. So here are a few shots of the paintings I have been working on.

This is how far the original painting got. It was universally decided, though, that this did not really fit the motif of the bed room. I did enjoy working on this, though. It was fun playing with texture and layeringSo this was the second attempt. I know, it is really pedestrian, chincy crap, but that is what the sweet wife wanted, so that is what she gets. And it does match the bed room better. It still has a small bit to go, but not much. I did not enjoy working on this one as much; it was more a labor of love.
So that is that. Now I am going to put my extra time to good use and clean up the garagio so I can get back in there, if it is not to cold, that is.