Friday, December 18, 2009

'Love Pots'

Two weeks ago, when I was heading up to Kingston for supplies at Baileys Ceramics, I originally planned on crossing the river and driving north on scenic 9A past West Point Military Academy. The drive is like parts of Route 1 along the California coast; tight, winding, beautiful, distracting, with no margin for error. Determined as I was on my mission, there was a greater one taking place at the same time. Across the river, President Obama was speaking to the West Point cadets about their impending future in Afghanistan. I couldn't help but feel sad and utterly helpless while a helicopter hovered above. Knowing full well that these are things way beyond my control; the war will go on whether I like it or not. The fact that a significant portion of West Point families attend my kids’ high school makes the pain more palpable as not a dinner conversation goes by without the heart breaking news involving the deployment of a classmate’s parent.

So I changed course, stayed on the east side of the river and continued on my little mission to do what I set out to do; make something positive and beautiful; a new line of pieces aptly named 'Love Pots'. Created from molds of the last surviving Morning Glories before November's hard frost.
the bowl was formed from a wooden salad bowl (which I have since slump mold cast) and then slip applied five leaves spaced evenly around the bowl. The high fire brown stoneware clay suits the organic heart shaped leaves, but now I'm inspired to make more in different color schemes. And of course, what would I do without the Berkely & Jensen peanut butter filled pretzels to fuel my creativity...mmmm. The porcelain cup was done with the same process but I thought it would be fun to use a seltzer bottle form. There is a large porcelain platter I'm decorating now which is part of this theme and hope to Cone 6 this weekend if we're not snowed in that is.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Japanese Maple Leaf Platter

So I took a break from porcelain and decided to try stoneware for a change. Much as I love working with porcelain, it's so annoyingly fragile and demanding, requiring the patience of Job; like a high maintenance relative whom you have to tip toe around their moods, but you love them nonetheless, because they're family...if that's a good analogy. Stoneware, well it's malleable and obedient and respectful of your time; like dogs, thrilled to be in your presence. None of this unpredictable cracking and warping porcelain which I'm utterly and hopelessly addicted to...because the end result is worth the challenge.
This white stoneware hand formed slab platter is 15" in diameter and imprinted with leaves picked from my neighbor's blazing red maple tree. The leaves were painted with Aamco semi-moist watercolors and restrainly splattered (al la Jackson Pollack style) with orange and red underglaze, then finished with a satin matte overglaze. I photographed outside the other day during the first snowfall of the season.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

I hate when that happens....

Oye… If it isn’t a crack in a pot, it’s the dreaded blue screen of death that all Windows users know and hate. Then the black warning screen after your computer reboots itself to inform you that something is wrong with your disk and please pray to the computer gods that your hard drive is not toast. But, first things first - Fresh out of the kiln, I noticed a 1.5" hairline crack on the rim of my bisqued bowl. I just wish that glaze would fill it in like glue but it only makes things worse so I patched the crack with some porcelain slip mixed with damp shredded toilet paper. I read somewhere on some blog that TP concoction works well on green ware and has done the trick for me in the past. I haven’t tried it on bisque ware so this will be a first. Although there is something very beautiful and spare about this shell like bowl in its raw porcelain pre-glazed state, I'm tempted to leave it this way and just cone 6 it plain but am itching to try some new glazes.

AND if the crack defies my patch, there’s always another pot to be made BUT when it comes to computers, one cannot play Russian roulette with your precious photos and documents and neglect to back up everything. ‘Back up, back up, and don’t forget to back up’ is the mantra I say to my clients and I of all people should honor what I preach. Having just loaded my computer yesterday with photos of my daughter’s college portfolio for her admissions interview, I had a prompting to run my weekly back up. Too busy with my kid’s home from a snow day, I just shrugged it off. Wouldn’t you know, first thing this morning my computer was acting flakey and just when I was about to plug in my back-up hard drive, the blue screen appeared. I had some unsaved documents open - and as much as I curse Microsoft, the best thing since sliced bread is the Microsoft Office auto save and recovery function. Fortunately, my computer recovered with all files intact. As a reminder to all you fellow bloggers who, like me, push the envelope and neglect to back up - time is precious and external USB hard drives are cheap. Without delay, I must go and back up everything - NOW.

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