Monday, February 21, 2011

Insert Clever Blog Title Here

I had a three and a half day weekend this weekend, which was nice. I got quite a bit done, but nothing in the studio. Instead it was a weekend of getting outside, taking care of animals, house work and playing with motorcycles. I also spent some time just hanging out with my wife and son; something I don't get to do enough of.

Today was especially good as I got some eggs pickled (the chickens are producing an abundance of shelled goodness) and got bread baked. I also got our microwave fixed; a chore that has been hanging over my head for quite some time now. Things are looking up in the kitchen.

Another high point of today was getting the motorcycle (Hank) running. Oh I wouldn't say that he runs well by any means, but at least I can get him started. The plan now is to get him a seat (he is lacking that essential component), get him licensed (another missing component that the government thinks is important) and get him a good tune up. Hopefully I can get these things accomplished pretty soon as I have been hankerin' to get out on two wheels. I would have been able to take Oscar (the smaller bike) out, but I think I fried an electrical component messing with the battery. So it goes.
The ultimate plan is to get one bike running decent so I can ride it while I tear down and rebuild the other one. Do I know how to build a motorcycle? No. Do I even know how to work on engines and such? No. Am I going to let that stop me from wasting large amounts of time and money trying? No.

Now, as far as pottery goes (this is supposed to be a pottery blog after all), not really a lot happening. In late January/early February the art club at school was making ceramic pendants for a festival at the school. We made them pretty quickly with a variety of bisque stamps the school had on hand (sorry, no pictures of these). Despite being free they did not go over very well (folks were more taken with the henna "tattoos" we were also doing), but I did enjoy making them. I don't know that it is something I would want to do a lot of on my own, but it might be a fun distraction every once in a while. And it could be a nice little something I could throw in for lagniappe.

I did get a chance to sgraffito a couple mugs...
Oh! Side note: I got a new spray gun for spraying slips and glazes! Perhaps after I have used it a little more I will do a little review post.
...The first of these I made for myself. I make hundreds of pieces and ocassionally keep seconds, but rarely if ever do I make things specifically for my own use. Oh sure, I make stuff for my wife from time to time, but never something just for me. So finally last week (or some time, I really don't remember) I up and made myself a mug.

Rob's owl mug - side A

Rob's owl mug - side B
Apparently I was working on this mug at the same time Ron Philbeck was working on his fantastic owl and branch yunomis (check them out here and here). He got his posted first, though, so now I look like some kind of Johnny-come-lately. Oh well; maybe I will just call it a Philbeck cover pot (you know, like a song cover but with pots).

The funny thing is that when I was deciding what kind of decoration to put on my mug it ended up being exactly the kind of decoration I have been wanting to do on all my work. I think I mentioned a while back about wanting my work to be more narrative instead of just decorative, and I think that is how these mugs turned out. Or at least it is a step in that direction.

This mug is the Bomb!

You can still see the pencil marks on this one where I was playing around with the final design. I decided to go with just one skull bomb though and suggest the others with the dotted drop lines. I was thinking the lines might look good with some luster embellishment. I forget what color the slip is, though, so I don't know if it would work. (Don't ask me what the imagery means because I have no idea.)

Now the problem is finding a clear glaze that is not going to distort the images. The one I have been using has a tendency to run and smear the sgraffito images a bit. Not a big deal with the more abstract, decorative designs, but I think these would need to be more crisp to be effective. Actually I am not sure if that is due to the glaze or the slip. Either was a bit of testing is in order.

Ok; unfortunately I have to go to school tomorrow, so I better knock off.


Post Script - Goats! More on that later...

Monday, February 7, 2011

A Nice Little Pat on the Back

I have been sick for the past few days. Nothing too big; just your garden variety severe cold/flu. I went home from work early Friday, spent the next three days in bed (my wife has quarantined me to the bedroom so Noah doesn't get sick), and stayed home from work again today. It pretty much sucks. One bright spot though. When I haven't been sleeping I am getting caught up on my blog reading. While doing so I noticed that Julia over at Henhouse Pottery was kind enough to bestow upon me the Stylish Blogger Award. Julia writes a fantastic blog about her trials and triumphs living simply and providing for their family on their homestead. I have the utmost respect for her and her family and for what they are doing. It is something I would like to do myself some day.

As part of accepting this award I am required to reveal seven things about myself that most folks probably do not yet know. I am not usually the revealing type, but I suppose I have to play by the rules to get the award (there is not a real award or anything. it is just a nice little pat on the back of recognition). And for all you know I might be lying anyway. Let's go!

1. I am a book snob. I am very particular about how my books look on the shelf. I will buy an additional copy of a book if it looks better or is in better condition than the copy I already have. I actually have a grand scheme in mind to print and bind copies of all my books so they are all of uniform appearance on my shelf.

2. I have very little faith in America's public education system. Having attended a private school, then having worked in a public school for 4+ years I can tell you there is a marked difference. Even in the short time I have been working in public schools they have gone down hill. Perhaps it is just the school I am working in, but I am afraid it is not.

3. I am not in the military, nor have I ever been in a fight. This is somewhat related to no. 2. For some reason many of the students at school think that I used to be in the military. They doubt me when I tell them I was not. Similarly, many students are astounded to learn that I have never been in a fight. I try to explain that there are very, very few instances when fighting is necessary; that there are other ways to deal with problems. Sadly, they do not seem to understand this concept.

4. When I was younger my family once went for a year or so without a t.v. Again, many people do not understand how this is possible. I was glad when our current t.v. stopped getting reception. A computer is bad enough.

5. I cannot stand having hair. I have had my head shaved to varying degrees since high school. I don't think it has been longer than 1/2 an inch in the past 14 years.

6. IT by Stephen King is the only book (the only thing really, book or otherwise) that has ever scared me. Once, shortly after reading it again, I was hanging out by the river. The water was down, exposing a 6ft or so drain pipe. I knew it was foolish, but I was a little creep-ed out to go look in it. I made myself do it anyway and no clowns came out to eat me. Take that Stephen King!

7. One time I saw a UFO. What was it, you ask? Well I'm really not sure...that is what makes it unidentified. It looked like a long silver...shape in the air. I would have dismissed it as an airplane or blimp or something, except it did not move. For almost the entire ten minute drive from work to the babysitter it did not change position. Weird.

And now this has taken far too long. I will come back later with the other requirements for the award. Until then.