Tuesday, January 31, 2012

This would be post #199.

Hidy-ho, neighbors! Just briefly (previously spelled: breifly, breifely, and brefily. It's not a spelling issue; it's a "my right hand types at a different speed than my left hand, and my brain can only keep up with one or the other" problem. Happens all the time. Other than that, I tend to type effectively at upwards of 70 wpm. Thought I'd share.) a post for y'all. More pictures, less talk-tures. Probably. Got something planned for what proves to be post #200. Sometime. Later. I hope. Here's hoping.

Before I get rolling too much further, I wanted to share (shoutout!) that I got my own mention (shoutout!) at my good friend Jon's blog, Farmboy to Foodie. I was commissioned to make a tea set for his 1st wedding anniversary last summer and my work was featured in his recent post on tea.  The glazing on that set was unique - misbehaving glazes and all that. But funky and unexpected is not always a bad thing. Always nice to get some positive feedback. You can read about it here.

And here's what happened in the studio last week/this weekend. For your enjoyment.
Asphyxiated bowls. Two more under the white wrap behind.
Mugs and mugs and mugs. With handles and everything. I'm not sure I've been feeling alright, making mugs and all.
Part of my workspace - trimmings and leftover bits and pieces from the mug handle-ing process. And my not-so-shiny, not-so-new scale. But I'm very pleased with this table. It's a good solid working surface for wedging and kneading and such.
Plates happened. There's a fourth floating around somewhere. Just not in the picture.
The Two Towers! Some recycled clay, airing out and firming up just a bit before being kneaded and bagged. In anticipation of Part 1 of The Hobbit coming out this summer I thought I'd recycle my clay in a Tolkein fashion.
More mugs! Wet mugs! Hope you're not distressed by my non-linear treatment of time in the displaying of these photos!
So that's been it. Lots of music in the studio, of course. This week I gave another good listen to David Crowder Band's epic finale - truly a phenomenal effort and I think it might be hard to displace it over the course of the year as my favorite album of 2012. Also getting into some new artists, including the debut(ish) release from Pioneer - sort of a pop-punk/alt-rock sound reminiscent of MAE or Relient K, with their own spin. I've embedded the "trailer" for their album release party below to give you a taste:
Pioneer recently signed to Davy Baysinger's (of the band Bleach) Slospeak Records. Now, it's not a hard and fast rule - plenty of exceptions out there - but I think it's fair to say that the musicians you love often sometimes occasionally can point you in the direction of more music you'll like. It's not foolproof, you know, and sometimes people love listening to music that is not of their style or whatnot. Like hip-hop artists who cite Bob Dylan as an influence. (Really?) In any event, Bleach is one of my favorite bands, their self-titled 2000 release is my anytime-anyplace go-to album, and the last time I saw them live (2004 - before they hiatused for 7 years) ranks at-or-near the top of my list of best live music experiences. So I'm not surprised that my interest has been piqued now by multiple artists on this small, indie label.

Here's the sneak-peak at the upcoming release from the band SONS:
If you like the sound of that, you can listen to a full track of the new album here. I'm excited about these prospects for new music this year, especially from new artists, because it honestly doesn't look like there's going to be a whole lot else coming out this year, at least suiting my tastes. Exceptions and disclaimers, et cetera, ad nauseum. Music and stuff.

So that's all for now. Gotta keep throwing, gotta keep trimming, gotta keep sgraffito-ing. Kiln won't fill itself, you know. Later.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Bowls and bowl and bowls.

Because today I don't feel much like dealing in words, here are lots of pictures. Because I used my camera this weekend. Lots of trimming, lots of decorating. Some plates. Some mugs. Some things didn't get photographed. But you should really take what you can get. Especially at this time of year when my basement (studio) is so cold that... it's pretty cold. So I took lots of pictures of the bowls I've been making and the decoration therein. Of course, once they're turned right-side-up they'll have a completely different balance and flow. Part of the magic and mystery, I think.
Bowls! Trimmed, footed, sgraffito-ed.
...by two...
by two, by two, dear Lord...
these things we clay!
A few of these - soon to be pretty blues. A friend of mine recommended I refer to the blue effect as "in your face cobalt." So there you go.
Minis - These will get the In Your Face Cobalt treatment, and a vase!
And one that's not a pot at all!!
That there above is a powered speaker dock for my iPod/wedding-ring-holder. It was a Christmas gift from my fabulous wife and it makes my studio quite cheerier. I had been playing my tunes through an old pair of computer speakers but it was constantly draining my iPod's battery to do so, and this little black box has fabulous sound, plus it (re)charges my iPod and keeps track of my ring while I'm potting so I don't have to remember where I put it. Potter problems, I guess. In any event, the little blue Nano has been keeping me grooving to my favorite tunes from 2011 (Fleet Foxes! Civil Wars! Foo Fighters! Who was my favorite for the year?) and even 2012 (A Requiem Mass from the David Crowder*Band - amazing! Off to a great start for the last year on the calendar and all that!). So that's been great and I wanted to give Krystal a shout-out for her great gifting. Also under the tree from Krystal: this amazing tome on Marguerite Wildenhain and the Bauhaus. Wildenhain's work and the Bauhaus tradition are of significant influence on my ceramic ancestry, if not my work and philosophy directly, so I'm very much looking forward to digging into the anthology.

Will I get to work in my studio some more this weekend? I sure hope so. Will I wait until next Friday before blogging again? Most likely.

Stay warm, folks. It's cold out there.

Friday, January 13, 2012

briefly briefl brief

Since I did grab some snapshots while I was in the studio last weekend, I thought I'd better post a brief update before I hunker down for a wintery long weekend in my studio and fall behind on sharing what's happening. 

After finding a few hours to throw - Saturday? Sunday? - over the weekend, bowls and mugs sat on my shelves for too many days. Finally picked up on decorating the bowls whilst catching up on Krystal's new favorite entertainment phenom, Terra Nova, or as we call it in our house: Dinos! Trimmed bowls Thursday night. Will be back to throwing this weekend, and hoping my mugs won't reject handles. We'll see.

Anyhow, a few pictures:
The weekend's work pre-trimming, decorating.
Some mugs. Feeling better about these still. Should have been more, but I ran into some chamois remnants that had been recycled with the clay, then shredded, then recirculated. Pulled little bits out of three potential (non)mugs. Bummer, but it happens.
Decorated, trimmed, and drying. Hoping to get a full kiln of these + mugs + a few other odds'n'ends projects.
That's all there is to it, I suppose. Should have plenty of time this weekend to throw, trim, blog, sleep - so there you go. Stay warm, folks!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Does it come in blue?

Hey all!

I haven't done as much potting this week as I'd like to - back there's some progress, some photos to share, eventually. Bowls and mugs and such. I could have made further progress, but I had to spend a fair amount of time Saturday correcting some warped lips/flanges that my plastic coverings left on some bowls. Not my favorite way to spend studio time, but it sure beats not discovering the flaws until the bowls are too dry to do anything about it. So, there's the lemonade: home studio = staying on top of time/moisture sensitive pottery issues.

In the  meantime I wanted to stop by and share this video I came across recently (out there on the interwebs). If you're a potter, or an artist, your you like art, or you frequent art fairs for some reason not listed above, this is worth the watch.

Video is supported by Clay Times Magazine and written & produced by Ivy Creek Stoneware.

I don't even do that many shows each year and it still nearly gave me an anxiety attack. If you watched the video and didn't understand what was so hilarious (stress-inducing), please don't ever ask to purchase pottery from me, or any other artist.

I guess that's it for me. Lots of decorating and trimming ahead this week, as well as more throwing, dreaded handles, probably followed by more trimming and decorating. And a three-day weekend, as well - so even more pots down the chute, hopefully.

Thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Happy New Year! + New Pots + This is Post #195

A Happy New Year to all and to all a new year! If you're still living in 2011, I guess that's your prerogative but I'd think twice before getting too upset with anyone you think "stood you up" on Monday, January 3rd, because, you know, for most of us January 3rd was Tuesday, and Monday was January 2nd. So, you've been warned - but it is a free country and all that.

I'm looking forward to getting back into the groove around here. Took 10 days or so away from "home" and visiting family and friends in Iowa. Mostly family. Mostly friendly family. That's the way it goes sometimes.

But I'm excited! For pottery! And related suchness! I had a glaze firing unloaded the week before Christmas that was a real joy. Some Christmas orders that had to be boxed and shipped away (with minimal shipping casualties) and then some just for funs. I think I've finally figured some things out and I'm looking forward to kicking back into production mode and increasing my supply of what I hope will become "staples" of my work. Because they're gorgeous. And I don't have any of them left. Because they're sold. Mostly. I guess I have one or two. But seriously. Good times.

Also a good time (dork moment): upgrading our main home computer's RAM from 2x512MB to 2x2GB. For those not in the know, that's amazing. It had become standard practice to go grab a bite between instigating computer processes because you could. And now I can't even keep up with things. I open a window and BAM! Firefox is going shopping and playing videos and sending e-mails and downloading music and writing webpages and I'm still trying to find the cursor on the screen. I'm afraid I may have just unleashed the Singularity.

So I may also be inclined to blogging more, with pictures, since it will hypothetically take less than a leap year to crop, edit, and upload new pots. So yay for that.

I also procured some large stone brick things to boost my wheel six inches higher off the ground. I'm thinking this will ease some back pain I've been having (too young!!) and make throwing more enjoyable. All around: excited.

So here are some of the pots that came out pre-Christmas. I think they're beautiful.

These eight were shipped. Seven survived. Looks like I'll be making some more. Thanks, USPS Shipping Insurance!
Glaze Detail.
I've been working on my love-hate relationship with mugs. Heading into a "love" phase. I think that's a good thing. I was excited about these. Also had some blue mugs that were cute, but a bit small, and not as dynamic a glazing effect. Back to the drawing board on those.
Finally figuring out this blue with some consistency. There are two left, if you're interested.
Batch of these little darlings. Love the blue-red bleed. I have one left.
Glaze bleed detail.
I tried a couple of other glaze things as well, to some stellar results. I believe I still have one (singular) in a new glaze that I will need to be incorporating regularly, because beautiful. The end.

Back into the studio for me this week, or at least this weekend. Maybe both?

ALSO: I've made my selection of my favorite (musical) albums of 2011. I need to post it soon before the late arrivals sneak their way in.

Back to the grind, friends. Happy potting!