Thursday, October 28, 2010

3 down, 7 more to go

I have 7 more teaching nights to go now. I don’t get home before 10 pm most nights, and that is starting to be a bit of a drag. I had one new student last night; she seemed very thoughtful in how she approached the clay. I helped her make her first bowl, but her second one (without my help) was pretty successful. It may have taken her half an hour to make it, and the walls were a bit on the thick side, but relatively even, and her bottom was not paper thin. She didn’t manage to get anything else thrown, but she also did not struggle with the centering process as much as others do, so that was a bonus.

I loaded a glaze last night as well, and I will load another tonight. I will then hopefully be able to fire a load of lustre on the weekend. I need to get all my pieces ready for the Turning the Tables show, and it is creeping up pretty quick. The gallery is only allowing work to be dropped off on Nov 10th at 10am. A bit a bit inflexible, but that’s ok, I will get the CCAA president to deliver it for me, but that means I can’t fool around, I will need to get it to her by the 7th at the latest. Maybe after the CCAA Christmas sale on the 7th...2 birds, one stone...

Tonight should be a cake walk. Thursday night is pretty much a class of very independent potters that have been coming for quite a while, and most of them leave really early. Last night I didn’t get to leave until 10pm as there were people still there madly attaching handles and glazing. Speaking of cakes, I also going to unload the very first cake stand that I have ever made. I don’t make a lot of cakes, and if I do, I usually eat them before they would ever make it onto a stand :). I was inspired by Kristen Kieffer’s cake stands ( I WILL take pics tonight If I can get a peek into the kiln, it will be too hot to unload tonight, and let you know how it turned out.

I also have 3 pieces loaded that are not mine, but belong to the 2 people that I taught a private pottery class to for their anniversary. It was a one off class, and they really wanted to keep what they made, so I offered to fire and glaze them, I hope they turned out alright.

Monday, October 25, 2010

I need a new profile picture

I need a new profile pic. This one makes me look way to serious. Not to mention that my hair is different, I probably weigh more now than what this picture appears, and I look way toooo clean...

And now it begins...

I will be teaching every night now for the next 2 weeks and two days. The only days I won’t be teaching are Friday nights, as that is my own time in the studio and there are no classes that day, and the weekends. I will be dropping the key to the studio off during my lunch hour on weekdays, as that is way easier than getting up early to drop it off in the morning. I will also drop the key off on Saturday morning before I go to work at Ceramics Canada. Of course, I will be bringing the key home every night as well. I have a feeling that I will be very tired by the time Dave gets back from Kansas. However, this will allow me to get things fired. I usually only fire on the weekends so that I don’t interfere with Dave’s firing of student work.

Firstly, I will be firing a load of my dinner ware set that needs to be complete soon for the turning the table show on November 13. As soon as I get it glaze fired, I will turn right around and lustre fire it. Then, I need to get the work that will be going into the two pottery sales I have coming up. I never know what I have ready until the last second it seems. I need to provide an inventory sheet for the CCAA sale on Nov 7th so perhaps this will make me more organized. The Fairview sale is never that demanding. So long as my pots are priced and packed by the night before, I am in good shape.

I keep saying that I will post pictures of what I am up to, and every time I go to the studio, I leave at the end of the day without having taken a single shot. Perhaps I will manage to take some pictures while I am glazing etc...

I had booked a few days off from my day job near the end of November so that I could go to Medicine Hat and fire in the Medalta salt kiln, but as I mentioned before, that is on hold. I was considering not taking those days off, but now, I think I might just need them after all this. Maybe I will book a massage for that weekend.....


Thursday, October 21, 2010

This is why I make pottery, and other ramblings...

I stopped by the studio yesterday after work. I was on my way out with a few friends, but I needed to kill a few minutes, and I needed to let the air get to a few pieces that I had sitting under plastic. Anyway, as I was coming in the door, one of my new students was coming out and she had a huge grin on her face. She had just popped in to pick up her very first pieces to come out of the kiln. She was soooo pleased with them and with herself. I am pretty sure that if she had just popped into Walmart to pick up some bowls, she wouldn’t be as happy!

The act of making something yourself is very fulfilling, and helping people learn to make their own is also quite enjoyable. I like to know that the pieces I make are going to be used and enjoyed and not stuck in a cabinet behind glass, only to be admired from afar. I am a self diagnosed pot fondler, and there is no cure. I need to use the pots I make and the pots I buy from others. One of the things I look for in a pot (esp mugs and cups) is not just how it looks, but how it feels in my hand. What does the glaze feel like on my skin, and is the shape conducive to snuggling up in an afghan while reading a book? I like cups that fit the shape of my hand so that I don’t have to use the handle if I don’t want to, and I want the surface to be soft but somewhat textural to provide a pleasant tactile experience.

Teaching people to throw pottery can be frustrating. It is not that I get frustrated with the students, I get frustrated with the fact that the English language was not designed to verbalize what is a very tactile process, and the fact that there isn’t just one way to do it.  That said, I really enjoy teaching and witnessing that “AHA/eureka!” moment that students have when the planets align just so and everything clicks into place and they just get it.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

What's coming up, or not...

Ok, so a while back I mentioned that I was heading off to Medalta in November for a soda/salt firing weekend. Well, as things usually do, this has changed. We are putting it off until January. The person I know that began all of this went to Italy for a couple of weeks, and when she got back, I think reality hit, and she realized that she wouldn’t have enough stuff to make it worthwhile for her and wanted to put it off. That was OK with me. I was awfully eager to go in November though, but I have coped, and am now eagerly awaiting January (not sure I will ever say that again, given that January involves frigid sub arctic temperatures and snow).

Now that I am not consumed with throwing stuff for that little adventure, I can focus on the more immediate concerns of getting ready for 3 sales/shows.


Calgary Clay Arts Association Christmas Pottery Sale will run for 2 days (Nov 6-7). I will be there with all of my pots on the 7th.


Fairview Studios Christmas Pottery Sale. This one runs one day from 9-12 on November 13th.


Turning the Table. This show focuses on dinner and table ware created by Calgary Clay Arts Association members, and will be at the Arts on Atlantic gallery in Inglewood. This show opens on Saturday November 13th and I will be there, after the Fairview Sale, and after I work a couple hours at Ceramics Canada)

In preparation for these events, I will need to fire at least one more bisque load, at least a couple more glaze loads, and at the very least, one more load of lustre. Then I need to price it, create an inventory sheet for the CCAA Christmas Sale, wrap it and pack it. In order to get the wrapping and packing done, I will need to clean out my car – haul out the containers that are in there with unsold pottery, clean out my back bedroom and sort through any old pots that can either go to the dumpster, or back into the mix for these sales. Then wash the table coverings, or at least iron and hem them. I bought 13 meters of dark blue denim one year at a fabric store that went out of business, and it was a deal, 13 bucks for 13 meters. I never hemmed them though, so they are looking a bit frayed after a few washes. Me thinks I am going to be busy for the next little while.

PS, I apologize for the extreme run on sentences in my last post. I just re read it and there are way too many comma splices in there.

i think i pulled something...

And it wasn’t a handle. Everything aches from the base of my skull to the tip of my tail bone. I was at my Jazzercise class last night, and I must not have stretched well enough. Oh well, I took a couple vitamin I’s (Ibuprophin), and that should work the kinks out. I am teaching tonight, so the kinks better be gone. I think I will demo bottles tonight. Someone at the studio has given an assignment to himself, and it is to make a tall, very bulbous narrow necked bottle (almost closed in). So, thought I would see if I could impart any gems for him tonight to set him on the right path. I think, and this is just my personal opinion, but I think the bottle is the toughest shape to make.

I worked on some bottles over the weekend to get me warmed up, as I never make them very often (not big sellers) and I needed to refresh my muscle memory. I will see if I can remember to take some pics tonight.

Next week I will be teaching every night (Mon-Thurs) for 2 weeks. Dave is driving down to Kansas to visit him family etc and I will be holding down the fort for him. I have done this before, but usually only a week at a time. Two weeks might just kill me. I have offered to fire the kilns for him while he is gone. He didn't want me to have to do this, as he doesn't pay me to do that, but really, I am going to be there anyway, so I may as well do it, especially since there is a student sale coming up on November 13th, and I know that most people will want to get some last minute stuff finished. I will also have some pots to fire, so I may as well load the other students work as well

Friday, October 15, 2010

Catching up

Well, this past week has gone by in a flurry of activity, and I have not been able to even check what all the other bloggers have been up to (until today). My job has changed a wee bit. I now have walls and a door, and I am not sitting up at the front as a receptionist. I have been thrust into the role of project assistant (of which I know nothing). This is in an attempt to help lighten the workload on the project managers shoulders. This new position is going to be interesting, but the learning curve is going to be very steep.

In terms of pottery, I was pretty industrious on the long weekend, even though there was a Turkey dinner to attend, yams to make etc...

I got back into some slip work, , but it is very different from what I have done in the past. I also managed to fire a bisque, but not a glaze. In terms of what I made, I managed to throw the rest of the Dove. I made some more cups for the dinner ware show, some salad bowls, and a cake stand. These are all Dove and are in the “mountain” theme that the rest of the dinner ware is in. I then threw 4 large platters that I went a little berserk with the slip on. I used to apply a very thick layer of slip onto a freshly thrown bowl or platter and then comb through it with a cake decorating edging tool. Now I have just used my slip trailer to apply the slip. I never used to put the decoration in the centre, only the rim, but this time, it is everywhere. I am concerned that the extra water content that I added to them may induce cracking, but I will dry them very very slowly, and hopefully everything will equalize and be ok.

Just a random shot of some of what I was up to

The first slip trailed platter

A close up of the platter

Thursday, October 7, 2010

When worlds get messy hair

I am going to get a haircut tonight. I also got a phone call from Dave this morning asking if I could teach tonight. So I will be in the salon at 5pm, and then I will be off to the studio with my new coif. I am sure I will get clay in it. Kinda like when you wear white to the office, you just know that you will spill coffee on it right away so that you have to go the whole day looking like you can’t feed yourself.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Gobble Gobble!

It’s Turkey day on Sunday!  My family will be gathering at my parent’s house this Sunday for Thanks Giving (above the 49th parallel here). I have been tasked to bring a vegetable dish (after I made gagging sounds when asked to bring the tomato aspic). I am trying to think of something interesting that doesn’t come out of a can or bag and that I can make really quickly, or even just throw together once I get there. I will of course be at the studio right up until 3pm, so I need to think ahead. Maybe I could turn the kiln on low and cook up some veg there (just kidding...maybe). I only have one day to get what I need once I figure it out, and that would be today, after work. I will be gettin a hair cut on Thursday and I don’t want to muss my new do peeling yams or something (nah, just lazy). Although, now that I think about it, Ceramics Canada is closed this weekend, so I will not be workin and I could procrastinate ‘til then.

Some of you (if anyone other than my parents reads this) may be wondering what the heck tomato aspic is. Others of you will know, and agree with my extreme reaction. A very small number of you will say yum, who doesn’t like aspic?

Tomato aspic is a 1950’s jellied salad made from canned tomato soup, lemon jello, assorted savoury ingredients like cheese, celery, peas, carrots etc...and then chilled in a fancy mould or a nice bowl. If you are feeling elegant, you can decorate it with a dollop of mayonnaise and chives....every child’s nightmare. I learned at an early age how to suppress my gag reflex and swallow it without chewing (or hopefully tasting). I adapted this technique for lima beans too..., but alas, brussel sprouts are too big to swallow whole.

I hope all you Canadians out there have a good Turkey Day too! I am going to try and fire off a bisque this weekend, and maybe a glaze if I am feeling really ambitious, and I will have more pics this weekend if I can remember to take a moment and shoot some.