Saturday, April 27, 2013

Santa Cruz Clay Prep

The garage has become a busy hive of activity. All of the pieces are selected and priced. Now the packing begins. I decided to rent a van, so that I would only have to make one trip to haul everything to the show. Hopefully, the entire plan will come together next weekend!

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Green Fades to Yellow

Grazing on the last of the green grass...

 I am fascinated by the time of year between the end of spring, and the beginning of summer. The hills are transitioning from vibrant green, to subdued ochre. Today's commute home was lovely. There is just a last hint of water in the hills. Soon it will be unbearably hot and dusty here. The cows will cluster underneath any nearby trees. And, I will stay on my side of the mountain, enjoying foggy ocean mornings, and doing as I please all day long.

More straw than emerald...

Summer is approaching...

Along the fenceline...

Saturday, April 20, 2013


Over the years, I've had a few students that sit in their desks, and literally do nothing for the entire year. Not only do they not do the non-fun classwork, that we're all required to do by the state, but they don't really relish participating in the fun activities that we do as a class. I have to take the role of head negotiator/chief nag, in order to squeeze anything from these students. At first, I spend a great deal of think time, figuring out how to motivate them. Then, after a few months, I realize that they aren't going to have any buy-in, no matter what I do, try, or say. Thankfully, this is a tiny percentage of the school population.

One quality that each of these students has had in common is destructiveness. They shred paper and throw it on the floor. They chop crayons into tiny bits and throw the bits on the floor. They often cannot sit on chairs or use a desk properly, so they end up breaking furniture from hard use after a year. Another quality that they have in common, is that their parents often tell me how creative or gifted their students are. This baffles me. I always think of creative people as those that "make" or "do". It is part of the creative drive to produce, whether it is writing, being an athlete, being a scientist, being a historian, being an actor, being musical, being a leader, or making art. So, it is curious that these students are identified with this term. Maybe it is wishful thinking on the part of the parents. Maybe I'm just not seeing it. Maybe there is a hibernation period, and these students need some down time, before their creativity germinates. Maybe I am like Albert Einstein's teacher, or William Morris' teacher. William Morris famously said, "I learned nothing, for next to nothing was taught."

I often wonder if many teachers in the past ran across this phenomenon, or if it's more modern. Food for thought.

Bead Pole

Getting ready to make the base...

I need to give some height to one of my tables at Santa Cruz Clay, so I'm building a tabletop bead pole. The beads are made of recycled clay from student projects. I had an entire bag of balled up clay from kids, all in different stages of dryness. Making beads is the perfect way to use this clay. Now, I just need to finish the base, and take the last few beads out of the kiln. I'll post a picture of the finished product tomorrow!

Mix and pour the cement...

Check to see that the pole is level...

Beads that will be strung on the pole...

Bisqued beads are now finished...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Setting the Weird Table

These plates are ready for clear glaze, and then for the last firing. Hopefully, they will turn out well, and then I can sell them at the Santa Cruz Clay Show! The first photo shows the plates without the brown wash, seeping into the sgraffito lines. The rest of the photos demonstrate after the brown wash...

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Fresh From the Oven

Subtly Spotted Letter Holder

These pieces just cooled this morning. I was excited to use them for my Open Studios application. But, ended up using mostly other pieces. I have a feeling that I'm going to be moving away from vases in the near future. It's hard to predict the direction that I'll be taking this summer.

I desperately need to invest in a photo box. That is going to go on the Summer To Do List, along with finally finishing the studio shed awning project!

Birdie Vase

Swirly Vase

All Green Vase

Black Chalkboard Vase

Birdie Nicho

Chartreuse Nicho

Pumpkin Nicho

Pointy Faux Bois Wall Heart

Barn Wood Wall Heart

Friday, April 5, 2013

Coastal Drive to Babygoatland

Dogpile of Cuteness

Curly Horned Mom

Stepping on Each Other

Cheese Shop Ho!

Where's Mom?

Here's a little movie of wagging tails filmed by Jana...

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Brief Salinas Encounter

Looking for Photos

I'm searching for old photos in order to have something special inside the nichos that I've made for the Santa Cruz Clay Show at Bargetto Winery. There is an amazing antique store in old town Salinas. Inside, are several booths that have suitcases full of vintage photographs. On this trip, I finally managed to snap a picture of the homemade, twirling fish sign! Also, I completed my annual check on the artichoke harvest. Thought you'd like to know, looks like a winning crop this year...

Eat at Frank's

Salinas Bus Station

Empty Store Front

Highway One Fruitstand

Farmall Tractor

Near Castroville

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Table Shrines

Cherished Toy Cow

During vacation, I've been working on some ceramic tabletop shrines. They are like little stages, and the actor can be the dearest and most meaningful item of your choice. It can be an item that reminds you of the past, or of a loved one. Hopefully, these will make it through the first kiln firing. In the meantime, I'm going to be thinking about glazing.

Two Large Shrines Together

Vintage Baking Powder

Glue and Senor Mysterioso

Close-up of Smaller Shrine

Large Shrine with Surfing Baby