Monday, December 31, 2012

Sleight of Hand

 #3 Blue Dotted Vase

The Pajaro Valley Arts Council Gallery is having a show during January called "Sleight of Hand".  I have to select four pieces for the show.  So, I've spent the past few days, in the shed, studying my work. The first three pieces were an easy choice.  But, I'm not so sure about the fourth piece.  I'm really excited to be in this show.  It will be fun to see all of the work assembled.

#1 Arbol de Vida Wall Wreath

#2 Large Pointy Heart Wall Piece

Possible #4 Birdy Vase

Possible #4 Sanded Pink Vase

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Christmas 2012

Merry Christmas...

Another holiday has come and gone.  Right now, I'm sitting amidst stacks of thank you cards.  My favorite part of Christmas Day was sitting, eating, and chatting with Jordan and Kevin.  Also, I enjoyed seeing the plastic manger scene, which caused many an argument during holidays past.  My brother and I would take turns getting to have it in our rooms during Christmas vacation from elementary school.  You'd think that a scene depicting the birth of our Savior, would have a calming effect.  Blame it on the glitter…  I remember it actually being thrown once, along the lines of "If I can't have it, no one else can either!"  We missed all of the family members that were absent, but thought of them throughout the day.  And, we looked through some photo albums of past Christmases, with much embarrassment over the hairstyles of yesteryear.  And, now it's on to making some New Year's resolutions!

Not So Merry Christmas...

The Plastic Manger Scene 

Excellent Picture Frame...

Irritated, As Usual...

Swag BFFs...


Awesome Giant K...

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Ack Ack Ack!

The Happy Couple

We earned 100 class points, and the students voted to make clay monsters from Jenni Ward's wonderful blog.  It was a blast!  The kids made pinch pots, and then added decorative elements to give their monsters character and attitude.  We just finished glazing them today.  After the second firing, they'll be ready after Winter Break.

Painted Toenails

Aliens and a Possible Killer Oyster

Heaven Help Us

Red Eye Flight

Last Firing

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Caul's House

I recently heard from a dear, old friend after a long hiatus.  This is an essay that I wrote 
in college, after visiting him in his new digs.  

Caul speaks with only a slight southern accent.  Underneath a shock of brown hair are two blue eyes ringed by golden flecks of color.  His skin is freckled.  Around his wrist is an old watch on a greasy band.  As he guides me through his house, he gestures and points with excitement.  The house is located at the edge of four adjacent parking lots in downtown Salt Lake City.  It consists of three large rooms, a bathroom, and a kitchen.  All of the rooms face northward, and there are high ceilings and long, tall windows.  Each room is a compositional masterpiece arranged by Caul.

The front door opens on the living room.  One corner houses a large industrial heater, with several curving pipes that pierce the ceiling.  In the center of the room is Caul's desk:  a fragment of an enormous, metal Sinclair Oil sign supporting a thick, glass bank door.  This desk fills the entire room and is covered with books, magazines, pens, and projects.  It is a central feature in his house, hinting at his obsession with design.

The bedroom is relatively empty, except for a single mattress resting on two rough wooden pallets, and an old stool.  The bed is near three tall windows, and breezes blow white, lacy curtains across the sheets. Green ribbons hold a few of the curtains in place against their dark wooden frames. Occasionally, the lace blows outward, and touches red stone window ledges.  The bed looks so comfortable.  Caul has a difficult time getting up in the morning, which is understandable.  On the floor, at the foot of the bed is a broken brick, isolated and somehow important.  The old stool in the corner belonged to his grandfather in Louisiana.

The study contains a brown, leather armchair with a footrest.  Ringed around the room, on the floor, books line the walls, and large grey stones serve as bookends.  His favorite book is Walden.  All four of the walls in the room are papered, but the ceiling is bare.  It is raw concrete, pink and yellow with erosion.  The thin cracks are filled with plaster.  One exposed bulb hangs from the cement.  The texture reminds him of rock formations.  It is his favorite room.

The bathroom and the kitchen are both sunny.  The tub is old and rounded, with claw feet.  Beside it, is a child's rusty beach pail, filled with shampoo bottles.  There are several exotic oriental soap bars and a razor on the shelf, beneath a cracked mirror.  In the black and white tiled kitchen, is a leaded glass cabinet full of the dishes that Caul has collected for years.  Plants in clay pots rest on the window sills. He shows me a tiny ceramic skunk, as I drink lemon-water from a ribbed green glass.  And, he tells me that he loves his house.

Uh Oh.

I hardly ever use glossy glazes…  But, I wanted these to be watertight, so why not?

"Curse you, yellow glaze!"  It is a beautiful, runny, glossy yellow glaze, and when it behaves, it has small pink bursts of color underneath the yellow.  I can safely say, that any kiln misfortune that I've had in the past year, has been because of this glaze.  It has leaked, pooled, and ruined pieces.  So, after last weekend's firing, where the glaze puddled, and ruined two kiln shelves, and some posts, I took a moment to drop kick the half-filled glaze container into the trash.  It felt good.  Really good.  Now, the dremel tool is hooked up to the charger, and I'll try to salvage the shelves.  This is why I pretty much always use underglazes and washes.

The yellow glaze on the interior leaked and puddled...

No worries with the magenta gloss that went on the interior of this one...

There are some nice things happening on the surface of this one...

These posts are now glazed to my giant bottom kiln shelf…  

Saturday, December 8, 2012

"Let Right Be Done"

Experimental Vases and a Cup of Decaf Earl Grey

After an extremely trying week, it's time for a little art therapy.  During the past month, report cards, parent conferences, and assorted stressful meetings have kept me out of the studio.  So, it's high time to get back.  Glazing is a very contemplative activity.  But, I'm hoping to fix my mind on pleasant things, instead of dwelling on the junk, and the disrespectful, insincere language that is cluttering my brain right now.  I keep thinking of a catchall phrase from a movie called "The Winslow Boy".  In the movie, a father defends his young son from accusations of dishonesty, and loses his life from the battle.  The father's motto is "Let Right Be Done".  He is firm in the knowledge that his son's good name will be exonerated.  I feel that I have made some choices for the greater good this year, and here's to hoping that right will prevail.

Two years ago, at a seminar taught by a lovely Native American basket maker, I learned that in her tribe, basket makers would never work when they were upset.  Each basket making session began with a prayer, so that the mind would be right, and the soul could connect with the work.  So, I'll start my glazing with a prayer, and a heart full of gratitude for the kindness of true friends.