Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Pots, sort of.

So, I was getting all excited to post a real update and show y'all that I've been working hard (sometimes) in the studio, even if I'm not able to update it even remotely regularly.  And then I forgot to take pictures of my bisque unloading, and really, it's just more pictures of the same pots, except that their a little bit drier and smaller and in the kiln-ish, so not that exciting.  And then the other "big" things I've been working on have been requested not to be posted online until they've been gifted to the appropriate recipients, so that's out.  So I have three pictures.  Kind of.  And they're kind of boring.

But I did run a bisque fire recently (last weekend? The weeks are starting to blur together.) Sometime in the last fortnight.  If that helps any.  I made a slight error in my firing that shouldn't cause any problems, but I still feel a little stupid.  Normally (as in, since this studio) I've been firing my bisques to ^04, because that's what most of my glazes say they should be bisqued to prior to being fired to ^6 in the glaze.  Well, when I loaded up the kiln, I set it to fire to ^08 - the range that we bisqued to back in my college studio.  Sort of a brainfart moment.  Like mixing up the salt and sugar in your brownie recipe, or putting a carton of ice cream into the fridge instead of the freezer, or failing to take the plastic wrap off the meatloaf between fridge and oven.  Yes, all things that I've done.

I ran this firing with a couple of my cone packs in, as it had been a few firings and I thought it best to make sure the kiln was still firing to temp.  And when I opened the kiln and the cones hadn't dropped at all, but the kiln had still run for 11 hours (short, for this firing, but reasonable) and all the pots had the nice *ping* that comes from being bisqued, I knew I'd done something wrong.  Yes, they are ^04 pyrometric cones, so firing to ^08 they won't drop (Scale runs 09, 08.... 01, 1, 2, 3 ^04 is hotter).  All that to say, physically, the pots appear to be bisqued reasonably well, and I can't see how horrible of a difference it will be.  But some of the pots seem to have a powdery residue that is out of the normal, so that makes me nervous.  Any pottery pyro-wizards out there have any thoughts for me before I start glazing and ruin 7 cubic feet of pots?

So, anyway, that was that. And there's been plenty of throwing over the last fortnight - throwing and trimming and handbuilding of sorts, even. I know! Imagine my surprise when I found pots in my basement that clearly had non-concentric features! But apparently I did that.  Bizarre. And then some stuff like this:
Some of these bad boys. Tight. Or, as the kids are saying these days, "clutch." I dunno. Ask my brother about that one.
Some cups (part of an order) and a vase that didn't fit in the firing. So if I did screw it up, at least this one will be okay.

Here there be vases. You'd think, with only weekly updates, I'd be able to unwrap for the photo shoot, but no, I am really that lazy.  Deal with it.
In other news, Tempy is still adorable, Pierre is still flooding, and I think we'll be blowing our savings driving across the upper midwest all summer for weddings and such. There are flowers on our tomato plants outside, but no fruit, and our green beans have been a dismal disappointment. I pulled weeds in the driveway this week, have recently discovered that I greatly enjoy feta on just about everything.  In music news, I'm not buying any for a while because I sort of have a problem.  But Bon Iver's self-titled sophomore release was streaming on NPR's All Songs Considered and it is fabulous.  Really a beautiful album.  That's going on my wishlist, because I'm not buying it.  Gotta save up my pennies for new releases from Switchfoot and MuteMath this fall.  And that's about all about which I feel like rambling at this moment.

Have a wonderful evening, friends.  And, since I probably won't post before then, have a very happy Fiscal New Year as well!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Pots on their way

There are actually pottery-related occurences afoot in these parts.  Throwing and firing and glazing (but no glaze firing yet).  Mixing and cleaning and sorting. Lots of thinking about pots. 

One thing there would not happen to be in abundance is photography of pots.  The other would be time for adequate pot blogging (plogging? blottery? pottelogging?). In the meantime, those who are fans of the clay, trust that I miss you and think of you often and am excited to share with you these things which (hopefully) will be producing results of the exciting variety.

And for your patience, here's this:
Because Temperance always wants in on the action.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A real post?

Well, the wifey's been out of town for the last couple days which means I've actually had time to devote to clay and such.  There it is, there are pros and cons to bach'ing it for a few days.  Mostly cons, though, I'd say.  Tempy and I sure tried to stay upbeat, but it's hard with our Krystal absent.
So forlorn, sitting in the rain, waiting for our Krystal.
Somehow being pathetic is cuter when you're a thirteen pound fluffball.  So we're ready to not be alone anymore.  But as I said, I got to do some potting of substance.  In no particular order:
A veritable smorgasborg of plates.
Some bowls to match the blue-trimmed plates.
Plate to match the blue bowls.

Plates trimmed and footed and drying.
Recycling clay! It's really not that thrilling at all, except that it's been a long time coming and needed to be done and it's been a while. So these are the things that excite me these days.
Bowls to match the plain white plates.
So that's what's been happening in the studio.  Lately I've been enjoying the tunes of Foster the People's full length debut Torches as well.  We heard one of their songs on an iTunes alt-rock radio station a couple weekends ago and were intrigued enough to look up who they were.  Picked up their album when it released later that week and have been enjoying it pretty regularly since.  Electronic-minded dance rock - Maroon 5 meets The Killers on tour with Kylie Minogue.  Check them out below - "Pumped Up Kicks" and "Houdini" are favored tracks off the record.  Good music for a morning run or a stretch in the studio.

Also in heavy rotation lately: the latest from Paul Simon (funky, enjoyable!), Bleach's eponymous "couch" album (10 years in, it's still on my desert-island discs list, on account of I'm never NOT in the mood for it), and I'm still rocking Foo Fighters' newest, Wasting Light pretty regularly, too.
Torches [+Digital Booklet]So Beautiful Or So What [+Digital Booklet]
BleachWasting Light
So there you have it. You should check out any of these four musical recommendations: because I said so.  Good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Brief Update, Plates.

I've actually managed to be a pretty busy bee with regard to the clay this last week/weekend.  In and out of the studio.  Throwing, trimming, decorating, confering with customers over commissioned works.  Still feels like a lot of busyness, but most of that is my fault.  Well, as much as it can be my fault that all the time over the last month that normally would go to pottery has instead gone to family-related travel, houseguests, and sandbagging efforts.  But I've finally buckled down to getting some real pottery work done.  Looming deadlines are awful good for that.  Proper post with more pictures soon (hopefully, or at least this week at some point) but here's a taste of what I've been up to:
Took the clay on a field trip to my back deck yesterday; decorating in the sun is certainly a change from the chill of the basement.  By mid-July I should be quite content with the basement chill but for now the heat is still quite novel.
Part of the frustration/delay lately has also had to do with spending a lot of time waiting; waiting for pots to firm up so I can slip them, waiting for slip to dry so I can decorate, waiting for pots dry so I can trim them, and soonafter, waiting for everything to be bone dry so that I can fire them.  I'm very thankful for the fact that once I get things dry enough for the bisque there isn't a whole lot of necessary waiting involved.  Assuming I have the time, I can unload the bisque, head straight for the glazing, and reload the kiln within 48 hours.  Assuming I have the time, and don't screw up, I can go from dried greenware to finished works in 72 hours, assuming I have the time.  

So there we are, for now.  Stop back later for a better update, and have a great week!

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