Saturday, January 22, 2011

It's Been a Busy Week(s), Part II

Well, I had this past week all to myself after Krystal took off for some work travel.  And what, pray tell, did I do with my week at home while wife was gallivanting in our nation's capitol/capital (both are true)? I'll give you a hint: it's something you do with bisqued pots and it's not my favorite thing in the world!

That's right! Glazing!  Please forgive my Dora the Explorer moment and watch this video.  You won't regret it.

Blurgh. That about sums it up. I'm quite prone to glaze-related performance anxiety. All the work and love and effort and energy you pour into these pots and it could all be wasted (irreversibly!) if the firing doesn't go swell. It's even worse when it's your first time trying glazes, cause who knows how any of it will turn out! Add to it that I can't even just do two or three things to try out and then see what I like - I have to glaze enough to fill the kiln! Oh, the agony! The humanity! The indignity of it all!
It all starts out innocently enough: neatly stacked bowls, tight rows of vases, just waiting to be waxed and glazed. Even preparing the glazes is an adventure - stirring the water into your chemical mixtures, all in great big five gallon buckets. It's like mixing your own magic potions. Bubble, bubble, toil and trouble...
Toil and trouble is more like it. Before you know it your entire work area is triage center for bowls and vases just begging to be dipped, brushed, and wiped. There's not enough organizational skill in the world to keep a clear record of which is what and who is where. You wanted to try this bowl rust red on the inside and fiesta blue on the outside? Too bad, you didn't label it as such, it was in the no fly zone, rust red too closely resembles albany slip brown, so you inadvertently paired the "albany slip brown" with rouge red - which might have been lovely, but now your shades of red will clash in such a Titanic manner (referring of course to both the ship-iceberg incident and the Titans-clashing incident for such a double whammy of clash-ness that even Joe Strummer couldn't possibly handle it!!!


All that to say, the glazing was just a little bit more stressful for me than normal, and just a little less fun, but I finished it up, and I used every single one of my glazes, and I think I got a decent rate of overlap and mixing and matching and blending to really get a sense of how the glazes will interact with each other.  However, there's also an off chance that I mixed my glazes wrong and didn't apply them thickly enough and so everything will come out brown, or I applied them too thickly and I'll discover I giant pool of murky glaze mess on all of my kiln shelves, in which case I'll be out six shelves and have a buttload of clean-up ahead of me.  You see where the anxiety gets the better of me?  No good at all.  But I finished them up, loaded the kiln, and fired it last night.
Kiln finished up the firing this morning - Cone 6 slow fire for 14h27m.  Last time I checked I was down to 1500 degrees or so.  I should be able to crack the kiln by later this evening.  It will be exciting.  And then either extremely elating or devastating.  Either one.  Maybe both, like Round 1 of American Idol, which is the only round I've ever been particularly interested in, actually.  But there you have it.
Anyhow, Krystal's flight made it in at 11:40 PM last night (2 hours past my bedtime) and she had to turn around and go back to work today - on Saturday, I know!  While I'd much rather be enjoying a lazy Saturday on the couch (like the last 3 snowy Saturdays?  Yes, it's snowing again today...) it has given me the chance to catch up on all the throwing that didn't happen this week because I was glazing.  So, anyway, I did some throwing. 
Bowls+Arizona.  Going to try something new on that one on the lower left!
Vasey-vase.  I've got a plan to trim this one down once it firms up a bit.  Needs to lose some weight, be less pear shaped.  Or, at least, less Sooki-shaped.
I was back to work with the iTunes album shuffle mode this morning and had quite a delightful blend of music to throw pots to.  Here's the playlist from the morning, with brief comments:  
Beauty of Simplicity
The Beauty of Simplicity, Telecast: So, this one wasn't random, and it wasn't for pottery, but it did get my morning off to a great start.  A beautiful and simple (get it?) debut album from this (worship) band with Coldplay-ish influences.  Unaffected, unpretencious, honest music.  Musically it's not particularly original, but I really don't mind one bit.  One of my favorites.  Lead singer Josh White recently released a solo album that's in the running for my best of 2010 .
Hold Time
Hold Time, M.Ward:  The first shuffled album of the day.  You may know him better as Zooey Deschanel's counterpart in She & Him, but this solo effort is worth the listen.  Indie music that doesn't sound like it's indie and warm guitars that could have been recorded at Chess are reasons why I like listening to this blues-folk-singer-songwriter.
In the Name of Love
In the Name of Love, Various: In 2004 a bunch of CCM artists got together to cover U2 to benefit Bono's DATA Foundation.  It's 50/50 on the quality scale, as most cover projects are.  While some of the songs are uninspired mimics of the originals ("One" and "Pride") or just don't work (hip-hop "With or Without You" anyone?), a few artists struck cover gold in their takes.  Highlights: hard rock heavyweights Pillar beef up "Sunday Bloody Sunday," Jars of Clay go bluegrass with a stripped down "All I Want is You," and Sixpence None the Richer haunt their way through "Love is Blindness."  Apparently you can get it for $1.95 on Amazon right now, so go check that out.
In Your Honor
In Your Honor, Foo Fighters: A knockout double-album from 2005.  The front side is as good as it gets from the hard rocking Foo Fighters, followed an entire set of (acoustic-ish) ballads including a guest spot from Norah Jones.  They rock your face off and then tenderly put it back together again.  Blistering and beautiful, I highly recommend it (both sides!)
Songs For Silverman
Songs for Silverman, Ben Folds: I only got a few tracks in before I had to take a lunch break, but as someone who doesn't normally go looking for Ben Folds (especially anything particularly recent), I really enjoyed listening to this one.  Not particularly rocking, it's high-quality more-of-the-same from everybody's favorite piano wrecker.  It came on a few weeks back while doing some heavy-duty cleaning and was really good then, too.
Well, that's definitely all I've got for now.  Krystal tells me I need to start a new blog that's exclusively music writing.  I can't tell if she's being supportive of my music writing, or if she's sick of reading it in this blog.  Either way, I may be acting on that so you can read more/less about music, and we can stick with the pottery over here.  Anyway, should have new pots before the end of the week.  I'll try to be back sooner, rather than later, as I'm really excited to share these with you!

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