Thursday, December 27, 2012


Too many days spent with hands in wet clay leads to this....I think I need some hand lotion!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Large teapot continued

A while ago I posted a out a customer that is looki g for a large tea pot that would hold approximately 12 cups. After many back and forths on size shape and colour, this is what I came up with. It hold 11.5 cups or so and requires some muscle to pick it up when full, hence the extra lifting lug on the front. I have yet to hear back from her if is acceptable or not, we shall see. In the back groundw are the last batch of mugs with the black and white scraffito decoration.

A Christmas Orphan

Last year I was a Christmas orphan for the first time. My parents decided that humid Hawaii would be a better place to be than cold Calgary and they did not get back until after the new year. We had a pre Christmas dinner before they left, but it was not the same. My Cousin took pity on me and invited me over for their Christmas day dinner, but still, not the same.

This year, they decided to go on a Caribbean cruise and will not be back until late on Christmas Day evening. I had no plans, and wasn't really looking for anything to do. I don't mind being alone, I can do whatever I want, like go to the studio, contemplate the universe, eat cookies, watch movies etc...But last night one of my students asked what I was doing for the holidays. I made an offhand comment that I was not doing anything as my family was mostly out of town (not sure what my sister is doing). Later that evening, one of my other students, who joined up with his daughter, invited me to his family's house for dinner. I couldn't say no, being the charitable time of year, so I accepted and now I will have turkey.
When I got home, I got a message from my Cousin asking if I wanted to come over Christmas eve, and so now my calendar is full and I am no longer a Christmas Orphan. Now I just have to think of what to give these people as a thank you for including me in their holiday goings on. Good thing I make pottery.

Monday, December 17, 2012

A Weight has Been Lifted....Hallelujah

...Wait a second, nope, that was the stove shaped albatross. I had the junk removal dudes come by on Saturday to take my extra stove away as well as all the detritus on my patio. If you have ever wondered (although probably not) how long a person could live with a stove in their living room, then I can honestly say that 1.5 years is about as long as any person can stand it. I know, 1.5 years. It just flew by though. One minute in August I had 1 stove, the next I had 2, throw in a generous helping of procrastination, and you have 1.5 years of living with two stoves. It was pushed out of the way and was partially hidden under assorted pieces of pottery. It was as if I had an installation art piece in my condo that “...explores the human condition through it's dependency on electricity and lays bare the divide in western culture between function and art by juxtaposing the sad stove and hand made functional art....” or something. But really, it was just that I am hardly ever home during the day, and am often not home before 9:30 pm during the week and I am lazy (Sorry Mum, it's true, but I think you knew that already)

So Saturday was a write off, I worked until 3, went to let the junk guys in at 3:30 and that was pretty much it. Sunday I loaded a glaze with all those cups in my last post as well as a few other pieces and lots of other student work. I threw half a dozen mugs, slipped and scratched a bowl with a geometric pattern on the outside and my new Dr. Seuss inspired Who House motif on the inside, worked on a commission for another ceremonial firebowl, put a tea pot together and finished trimming a low wide bowl/plate. It too will be destined to have the Who Houses on the inside.

On Saturday I also took possession of my new tungsten carbide trimming tool and a 20kg bag of New Zealand Kaolin. The trimming tool is fantastic, but it will take me a bit to get used to it. I think it requires the pot to be a little drier than what I am used to trimming. The Kaolin will be something for me to play with over the holidays. I am going to try combining it with frit to make a low fire, highly translucent porcelain body. I am not 100% sure what I am going to do with it yet, but once I get my hands in it, the ideas will come (I hope).

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Mugs, mugs and more mugs

These mugs and an assortment of bowls, plates and vases that were done in the same black and white sgraffito decoration were bisque fired on Sunday. I will be glazing them tonight. There are a couple in there that were done with a deep red terra sig slip and I have no idea how it will come out, so I will have my fingers crossed for those. I tried layering the red and black on one mug as well. I am really liking some of my designs, some not so much. One in particular is sort of an accidental homage to Dr. Seuss. It ended up looking like the houses the Who's live in. You can see the "Who" mug in the last picture front and centre.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Hoarding – a Confessional

Ok, so I am not as bad an actual hoarder, but I can see that I have certain tendencies in that direction. I also work best when faced with a looming deadline. So, with those 2 things in mind, I booked an appointment for the junk collector dudes to come around to my condo next saturday after I get off work. They are going to take all the detritus off of my patio and a stove. A stove you say? Yes, a stove. My mother, in all her best meaning motherness, foisted, I mean gifted the stove that she did not need anymore after my parent's renovated their kitchen a while ago. I'll grant you that it is a much better stove. It is a ceramic top, it self cleans etc, but I knew that the old stove would become an albatross around my neck. My mum seems to recall offering to take the old stove away but that I refused the offer. I however recall that they dropped the stove off and left like jack rabbits. I tried to get rid of it the cheap way by calling scrap metal guys but no one seemed to want it, or if they did, it had to be outside.

Long story short, I have been living with this stove pushed up against my wall between my kitchen and my living room for more than is mentally healthy. I broke down the other day and booked a pick up time with the 1-800GJ? guys for next Saturday. I will now have to pay to have it removed, but in the long run, who cares, I will get it out of my house and I can begin thinking of new furniture. I really really want to change my living room, and this will let me do that. The sitting furniture is staying, but the shelving is changing (I hope). The only snag in that plan will be to see if I can hang the wall units that will be affixed to to the wall above and behind my new sitting area by myself and if my skills are up to the job so that they do not come loose and concuss or kill me while I am sitting in the “new” sitting area.

So, there is a lot going on, and hopefully these new improvements will help me achieve a new level of unhorderliness. So let the purge begin. I hope the dumpster out back is empty, because I am going to fill it up.

Monday, December 3, 2012


I have come to the conclusion that there is a massive cosmic imbalance. At least in terms of the number of flat tires I have had and had to change when compared to the rest of humanity. I could understand it if I drove through fields of rusty nails and broken glass, or was a maniac with a blatant disregard for curbs and speed bumps etc. However, I am a normal person, I drive on paved roads, I do the speed limit (mostly) and I don't go off-roading and 4x4ing across curbs and cement barriers. Friday was, I'm just guessing, but at the very least, it was probably the 8th flat tire I have had over a period of 4 cars. I have driven 5 in total, but strangely enough, the little '82 Dodge Colt did not get a flat, at least while I drove it. Everything else was wrong with it, but never a flat. Anyway, in an attempt to be somewhat proactive, I got a couple of “new” all seasons put on the front of my car last Tuesday. On Friday I drove into a parking lot not 500m from where I work and got a flat tire. To top it off, it was really cold last week. My fingers were like chunks of ice by the time I was done changing it. Oh yeah, I was in boots with skinny little heels on them, so it was as if I was standing on my toes the whole time. Not so good for the calf muscles. I almost had a charlie horse in both legs. A lot, if not all, of the other people I know have never had to change a flat, or even had a flat tire for that matter. It can't be some kind of Karmic retribution thing. I mean, I think I'm generally a nice person, I'm polite, I don't get angry etc etc, so that can not be it.

Anyway, while pondering the injustice of it all, I left work early to get my flat fixed/replaced. Turns out that I had picked up a screw. I thought there was a strange vibration that morning, so it was probably slowly losing pressure, and the balance was thrown off . They replaced it for free, so that was great, but not how I wanted my Friday to go. I guess the upside to this story is that if you are ever with me in a vehicle, you know I know how to change a tire. I can do it fast too. Unless it is -15 and snowy and wet, and then I'm a bit slower. With all these flats, I have learned a few things. I have learned that there is no cell phone coverage on the Trans Canada Highway in between Lake Louise and Banff; long haul truck drivers don't stop for nothin', at least not a single woman on the side of the road trying to change a tire; old farmers eating ice cream will give you a hand even though they look frail enough to blow over in a light breeze; and the police officers in Calgary will give you a hand when it's -24 and the cheap !!@#ss tire iron your car manufacturer provides wont cut the mustard.

So there you go, if you have never had to change a tire, then you should thank me, I probably picked up your slack.