Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Translucent cone 6 porcelain

I have been mucking about with a new porcelain body. Plainsman Clays in Medicine Hat has been working on a cone 6 translucent body that would be comparable to Laguna Frost. They tested and came up with a body that appeared to throw well, but when they scaled it up to a full batch, the throwing properties were lost in translation. So they are back to the drawing board to tweak it to make it more throwable. That being said, I got my hands on half a box and did throw it. Whipped cream or pudding comes to mind when trying to describe it's consistancy. It did not stand up well, nor did it trim easily. I did however manage to get a few pieces made, mostly mugs. Here are a couple of examples of what came out of the kiln. I love the way it feels. Silky, smooth, fat etc etc etc. I like the finished result enough that I would try to fight another box of this into submission, and will definitely give their next revised batch a shot too.
This pic is of the inside of the little cup. I carved the bottom to see how that would show, and it does, quite well.
The little cup with the sgrafitto deco is not very thin, in fact the carving was not easy as the body is quite hard once it becomes bone dry. I really just wanted to know how it would take the OM4 terra sig and it feels really good, no fit issues that I can see.

Friday, July 18, 2014

I sound like a broken record....but I have a new move in date

We told our contractors on Tuesday that we were not happy and were considering the possibilities of firing everyone and starting from scratch. This would not be an ideal solution, but it seems to have made them step it up and move into a higher gear. They have fired some trades and brought some new ones on to the job. They are going to rip out some of the kitchens in other units, mine is apparently OK, but will have a corner cabinet installed where the last installer thought butting 2 boxes up to each other was acceptable (not). They will proceed with other work while the kitchens are being redone. I will need to re select cabinet door fronts as well as hardware. I find it funny that nobody ever asked me about hardware before. I asked, but never got a response. Anyway, they say that my unit will be done with a move in date of August 9th. The other 3 units will require more extensive work to remove the shoddy work. They will apparently be in by August 25th. All work should be complete by Sept. 1st.

My fingers are crossed, I can only hope that this timeline sticks. I don't see how they can't do it, as they are only working on finishing stuff, all the hard stuff has already been dealt with, like the mechanical, plumbing and floor leveling etc.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Customer Service is Dead

I got an automated call last night letting me know that my fridge and stove were going to be delivered today between 8 and 11am. I sent out an email to my office letting everyone know that I was going to be late as I was getting my appliances, because that is the courteous thing to do. Well, I sat there, in front of my condo (the one that is still not finished) for 2.5 hours. I called the store (sounds like The Crick) to check on the status of the delivery, but they couldn't contact the driver. I waited some more, I called back, they told me the truck had technical difficulties and had to go back to the warehouse. I left to go back to work. I get to work and not 5 minutes later the driver called to say they were 5 minutes away. I told them, I was 20 minutes away. They told me they couldn't wait. I said "So I waited 3 hours for you, but you can't wait 20 minutes? That is really inconvenient". Driver said they had to go back because they couldn't fit everything on the truck. and that I will have to reschedule the delivery. Wouldn't it have been better to call the customer to let them know that they were going to be late? I was so hungry, I hadn't had any coffee. All I had were a few chocolate mint things that I threw in my purse yesterday. Talk about healthy. So unimpressed. They fall all over you to take your money when you are shopping, but dropped the ball when it came to delivering the goods. When I called to reschedule, it took me 4 tries to get them to answer the phone, and I still have to call back tomorrow to get the delivery times.
I did get a human phone call while I was waiting from Home Depot. They were calling to let me know that my washer and dryer were unfortunately still in transit from the manufacturer. They called, it was a human being, and they will call again to confirm a delivery date once they have them in their warehouse. We shall see how these guys do when it comes to delivery time.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Scritch scritch scritch

I have been scritching and scratching pretty much on anything I can get my hands on these days. So much so that all of my small wire sgrafitto tools have been worn right through. These are some more mugs and yunomis that I have been working on...
In addition to the urn I posted earlier with the "boy and his dog" theme, I was also asked to make a less fat, more slender urn with blue butterflies. The recipient did not want to spend eternity in a "fat" jar :) So, here it is...
In condo news, we threatened the contractors with firing and man, that seems to have lit a fire. There has been work, they are firing some trades and getting new ones to fix the incorrect stuff and move it along faster. We were told that this is a 3 week project now. Once they give us a revised and updated schedule and plan, we will know more. So maybe August 1st? I really have no idea, I can only guess. So far, all of my guesses have been wrong though....

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

construction standstill...

This whole flood and rebuilding thing has been a total nightmare. When the rebuild phase started, we were told by the contractor that this project should not take more than 14 weeks. I can't exactly remember when they officially started, but it was in February. It is now July 8th, and we are at least 4.5 weeks past the original move in date. We were told at first that we would be in by the first or 2nd week of June, then it was "before summer", then Jul.y 4th, then the 10th, now we have absolutly no idea. The contractor can't seem to get his subtrades on the job, they are always making excuses as to why they are not working. I mean seriously, don't these people want to get paid? We do not pay anyone until the job is done, so what the !@#$%*^*?!!* are they doing?
I would post a picture, but sadly, the last ones I posted are pretty much the same as what I would be able to post today. The only thing to have changed would be that the ladder moved, and some more crown molding went up in the kitchen, but not much........

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Condo rebuild status

As you may or may not be aware, my condo was flooded last year on June 21st. There was 7 feet of water in there and reached almost to the ceiling. It has now been 1 year and 2 weeks since the flood and this is the state of the rebuild. It has been a long haul, and it looks like it will be a bit longer until I can move back in. I was told we would be in before the summer, well, that deadline was missed. Then we were told we would be in by July 4th. That is tomorrow, and by the looks of these pictures, that deadline will be missed. I don't have any expectations now that I will be in before the week of the 14th, but that might not be the case either. The City needs to sign off on the inspections, and the contractor does not want to bring them out until there are at least 2 completed units ready to go to grant occupancy. So, it is close, but still far away. I had a somewhat early welcome back to my condo gathering at a local pub with some of the people I work with at Ceramics Canada last night. Those people are fantastic and if you ever get a chance to go there for clay or other clay related items, they will help you out with all your clay needs. They truly are great.

Here are a few shots of the current state of the rebuild
This one shows the kitchen with the redone tall narrow cabinet, and the silly upper corner cabinet that needs to be revised...
And this one is of the partially completed bathroom. The toilet is in the bathtub right now to make room for the cabinet installer...

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

More pots

I took a 4 day long weekend due to Canada Day falling on a Tuesday this year and I spent most of it in the studio. These are just a few of the things I finished off. I did manage to throw some more mugs, a tall urn for a commission and some porcelain that Plainsman Clays is developing for cone 6. The porcelain was a chore to throw, but I knew it would be, they said it was no good for throwing, but I took that as a challenge. It sure was. These pics are just a few of the things I finished off...
This little 40lb lunatic also tried to kill me on Saturday... I took her for a walk around 8:00 pm, but it was windy and cold and starting to sprinkle so we turned around to go home. Half way there she wanted to run and jump and act like a jerk. She lunged in front of me, I tripped, she kept going and dragged me down to the sidewalk onto my knees and then immediately onto my face. The end result was skinned knees, both bruised, bruised upper left arm and sternum, strained muscles along my right side and hip, skinned and bruised palm and rattled brains. To top that all off, when I hit the ground, she kept running and the momentum of the fall dragged me forward, but not my pants....