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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

More bowls! + More Music Thoughts, I guess.

It's a brisk winter day hear in South Dakota, so that makes it a good day to stay in and take care of a bit of pottery and a bit of bloggery.  I've been back at it, so to speak, this week.  Took the weekend to let some things dry out and firm up a bit while I spent my days staying warm and eating too many Christmas-y treats.  I'd feel guilty, but completely un-committed weekends don't seem to come along that often around here.  So there you have it. Monday I got myself back into the basement to tackle the trimming and decorating of Friday's bowls.  All in all a painless process, and maybe even a bit of fun.  Shocklingly enough.
One of those blue bowls.  Slip was still a little wetter than maybe it should have been for such decorating, but I forged onward regardless.
The outside of the above bowl.  Ornamentation inside, outside, upside down!
Friday's bowls from the hump.  Working with the brown slip.  Still hard to tell if I have it mixed dark enough, or if it's going to be too similar in tint to the clay body.  I think I'm in the clear.
I spent most of Tuesday not on pottery, but instead tackling urgent matters of graphic design and layout.  I'm volunteering my time and services to produce a top-notch Annual Report for publication for Krystal's organization.  It's certainly fun, occasionally, to "do art" in a medium that doesn't require extensive clean-up afterwards.  Namely, this digital medium.  Actually, it may be the only medium that doesn't leave my fingers dirty.  Clay, paint, charcoal, pastels, cut paper, printing, sculpture.  Actually, I'm pretty sure it's the only clean art form.  Weird. 

Anyway, that's what I was on most of the morning, but I did get around to throwing a few more bowls.  I've now reached my goal of 30, but I'll probably add another batch in for good measure.  I have to make sure I have plenty of bowls for trying out my glazes.  I worked from the hump again yesterday and I think it may actually be my preferred method for attacking the small bowl question.  I think if I were pressed to make a matching set I would probably go back to throwing individual pieces, but for unmatched small, fun pieces, it's the way to go.
12 pounds of clay gave me 8 bowls...
...and a decent-sized vase.  I'm thinking there may be some mountains in this vase's future?
Next up on my agenda: a system of storage between drying and firing, because this (see below) is getting out of hand.  Once the greenware is completely dried, it's really wasting space on these shelves.  I may, at some point, simply need to put some storage in our garage (near the kiln, once it's set up) to hold pieces for/between firings.  In fact, that's probably the most likely thing to happen.  But until that time, this is the problem I will need to address.
All sorts of dried bowls - and more to come!
In the meantime, I must confess that I like my little studio.  It's a little cramped for space, and every once in a while I discover that there is a tool I should really like to have, but I don't.  But generally, I really like it.  And it's mine.  Here ends the pottery.  Keep going for non-pottery, namely music.  Thanks!

One of the things I've been enjoying about having the studio in-home is my ability to take advantage of our home wireless network and tap into our complete music library from the basement via our netbook.  Now, Krystal and I recently made the shift to iPod and, likewise, iTunes, as a media player.  Now, six months later, I'm willing to lay aside (what I perceive to be) the many faults that iTunes has and simply share the things about it that make me smile.  Well, at this point, basically the two things that have made me smile:
  1. Home Sharing Made Easy: basically if you open iTunes on two computers on the same wireless network, you can share media libraries.  It's fast and brilliant.  There are features that would make it better, but it works pretty slick.
  2.  Album Shuffle Mode: Some days I guess I do really want to listen to a steady stream of randomly selected songs, and that's when I pop open the library (or my list of top-rated songs) and shuffle them all.  Some days it's fun to get your Bob Dylan/Rage Against the Machine//Johnny Cash/Red Hot Chili Peppers on.  In that order.  But sometimes what I'm looking for is a little bit of consistency within the randomness.  That's where Album Shuffle comes in.  Rather than playing individual tracks in random order, it will play complete albums - in random order.  If I'm honestly not in the mood for whatever comes up next, I can get up and change it.  But, being a potter, I'd have to be pretty opposed to listening to something to get up, clean my hands, and change the track.  As such, I've been able to listen to some stuff that I probably wouldn't have chosen off the top of my head.  With that, I wanted to leave you with a brief smattering of some albums that have come up at random and turned out to be quite delightful.

    Get Behind Me Satan
    Get Behind Me Satan, The White Stripes: After opening track "Blue Orchid," Jack and Meg put away the crunchy guitars and discover piano, glockenspiel. Groovy in its own old-timey way. I don't often find myself in a White Stripes mood, but I'm rarely disappointed when they come up.
Get Born
Get Born, Jet: I didn't even know we owned this album. Aside from their breakout hit "Are You Gonna Be My Girl?" I've generally panned Jet as being pretty forgettable.  And, actually, they are.  But the 70's-style riffs and kick-heavy beats ept me satisfied the whole time it played. They probably even left me wanting more.  But I don't really remember that.
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga, Spoon: Like the White Stripes, I don't normally go looking for Spoon, but they're always worth it.  This is my favorite of their albums, and it's probably their most accessible too.  Groovy indie rock with frequent, and totally awesome, use of horns.  "Don't You Evah" and "You Got Your Cherry Bomb" are tracks worth checking out.
Stockholm Syndrome
Stockholm Syndrom, Derek Webb:  Best known as founding member of Christian acoustic act Caedmon's Call, this recent offering from Webb is a departure into hip-hop-laced, synth-driven technofolk.  I think that's how I'd describe it, musically.  Lyrically, he stirred the waters quite a bit with an album that is sure to afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.  Derek Webb helped launch, and is also regularly featured on, Noisetrade.com.  I highly recommend you check him out.
  That's all for now.  I'll be back, hopefully sooner rather than later!

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