Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hey, look! A pottery update!

I've been easing back into the pottery this week, and it's been wonderful, like reconnecting with an old friend over hot drinks in the back corner of a bustling coffee shop.  In this case, my friend's name is Brent, and he happens to be a mustard yellow B-Series wheel, and instead of hot drinks we're sharing a cold water dish.  Delightful.
Readers, meet Brent.  Brent, readers.  Now you're introduced.
Please note, also, the short stack of brand new, never-before-used, spotless bats.  Beautiful, aren't they?  I've been experiencing quite a bit of giddiness this week, breaking into all my brand new toys.  Brand new bats.  Brand new banding wheel.  Brand new scale.  Spotless.  Sparkling.  Beautiful.  At least until they get used for the first time.  In any case, the point is that up until now I have always been working in shared studios, with (predominantly) shared equipment.  It's always been a struggle to find a bat that isn't warped, or that isn't so used it wobbles around on the wheel.  I feel like the little kid who just got his first brand new (i.e. not hand-me-down) whatever.  Bike, bed, snowpants, shoes.  If you're a little brother (or sister) with a big brother (or sister), you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

Anyway, I've been easing back into my work.  And by easing, I mean really cranking some stuff out in the few hours I've actually been able to get myself on the wheel.  I'm still spending a good bit of time job-searching each day, and apparently running a household (even of only 2!) is just about a full time job, too.  A couple hours on the wheel each day isn't too bad at all, with that in mind.

I'm in the process of throwing a small army of bowls to test my new glaze palette.  Eventually I'll also get to throwing some more small, vertical forms for testing things out too, but I thought I'd start with the bowls.  I won't bore you with the math, but I figure to test for the results I'm looking (for) I need about 30 bowls.  Monday I sat down and threw these 1.5 pound bowls to get started.  After a couple hours drying in the evening, I wrapped them up for the night.  I unwrapped them first thing in the morning (Tuesday) and they were ready to trim by mid afternoon.  Home Studio Perk #1: No time commitment to let pots dry/firm up.  I have a feeling that I will appreciate this exponentially as I start recycling clay.
Post-throwing the bowls (Monday) I decided to warm up on my vase forms.  Wasn't quite perfect, but I think it'll pass.  Needs a little more trimming and shaping (still a little foot-heavy), but I'm  not too disappointed at this juncture.  Like riding a bike...
After trimming my bowls on Tuesday, I was ready to get some more going.  For the purpose of trying out my glazes I think that the 1.5# bowls are still a little bit bigger than what I'm really looking for, so I shifted to 3/4 - 1# bowls.  Tuesday's batch I also went ahead and threw from a hump, rather than as individual pieces.  This is something that might be better explained in pictures than words, so it'll just have to wait.  The end result was 7 little bowls from 6 pounds of clay.  Just cute little things.  They'll definitely give me a sense of the glazes, but I'm not burning through all my clay just on a test firing. 

That's about all the studio related news for now.  We've been getting ourselves in the Christmas spirit up here, and Krystal was very excited about our first Christmas tree in the new house.  Namely in that there's more room for a tree to breathe without having to move all our furniture out of the living room.  Sadly, having more room for a tree doesn't necessarily translate to higher ceilings, so our "little" balsam fir had to be trimmed slightly to fit the angel atop. 

A Royal Tannenbaum!
On a related note, trees in the 6-7 foot range are surprisingly heavier than a tree in the 5 foot neighborhood.  Also, they may or may not actually be secured in the same tree stand used for the last several years.  And just because your pretty string of multicolored lights worked last year doesn't mean it will work this year.  All this to say that it took 48 hours and multiple unplanned trips to Walmart before our tree was up and decorated.  Well worth it, clearly.

Also, I am obligated to post a retraction concerning my previous post: Krystal did not, in fact, abandon me to unload my kiln by myself.  She did in fact tell me to come get her when I was ready for help, and I forged on alone.

Finally, it wouldn't be a complete blog post without a note about music.  While I have had many musical thoughts to share as of late, I would like to mention a little band called Sleeping at Last.  Sleeping at Last have been a part of my listening library since 2003 when I caught them as one of the opening acts on tour with Switchfoot.  They released their third LP last fall (a delightful little affair - heavy on the ukulele and piano for a beautifully effected album), and this summer decided to undertake a project titled "Yearbook."  They talk about it in much more detail here, but the gist set out to release a 3-song EP every month over the course of the year.  Today marks the release of December, to which I am listening as I write this - it's superb.  I highly recommend checking them out.  They currently have a 6-song (FREE!) sampler available over at, or you can purchase or subscribe to Yearbook direct at 
Click on the beautiful artwork to check out Sleeping at Last!

That's all I got for today.  Have a great night, and keep warm!


Anonymous said...

I have no idea what it feels like to be a little brother and get hand me down things. None at all.

Anonymous said...

And by anonymous, I mean I'm Noah, your little brother.