Thursday, June 27, 2013


These pictures were taken yesterday. I spent the last 2 days doing disaster/flood cleanup in my neighborhood. We finished undoing all of the units on the main floor of my building on Tuesday and then crossed the street to help out other home owners. I left at 4:00 as I was teaching at the studio and it was going to take me a long time to get home. I think in the end it took 2 hous when normally it would only take 20 minutes. I got to the condo at 8 am yesterday and by nine the garbage trucks were in place to begin loading. Once we finished there, it was all hands on deck to help out the building across the ally from me.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Surreal, but not like Dali

Well, I went back to my condo this afternoon. Not much that I can really say about it though. Pictures say a 1000 words. So on that note, I will let the picture tell you this story. 
My neighborhood is like a war zone though. Dirt in the streets, heavy equipment, empty "bombed out" buildings etc. Anyway, here it is:

What I find really funny is that the salt fired cup on the dark ikea furniture to the left in the picture withstood the rapids and is still where it was before the flood. I should mention that that unit used to be to the to the right of the window that this picture was being taken from. It traveled diagonally across the room. Crazy...

Friday, June 21, 2013

under water

It's official. I am HOMELESS. This is an aerial shot from a highrise apartment just north of where I live. St. Mary's Cathedral is about 6 blocks north of my condo, and you can see it in the middle of the pic. So I am 6 block back from that. This is gonna suck.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

I'm a refugee

I was told to evacuate my neighborhood this afternoon. This pic is what the Elbow river looked like at 3pm at the end of my street. The reservoir is expected to go over the dam some time between 3am and 5am tomorrow morning and I should prepare to be away for at least 72 hours and could be as long as a week.


The next phase in the transformation is webbed feet. The rain is ridiculous outside. I know June is the wettest month for Calgary, but come on, this is stupid. The news on the radio this morning was reporting that you can't take the Trans Canada Hwy to the west, as the RCMP have closed it east of Canmore due to flooding and began evacuating residents in the Canmore area in the middle of the night. My neighborhood is, thankfully, still above water. My little street dead ends on the Elbow river downstream from the Glenmore reservoir. The City tries to control the water levels with the dam, but it is a power generating dam and not meant for flood control so if the water levels rise too much, there is not much they can do about it. I think the mosquitoes are going to be fierce this summer.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

This is for the Birds

One of my Tuesday night students asked me if I could make her a chicken tea pot for her chicken collection. I made 2 kinds for her to choose from. The one she chose, and therefore I don't have a picture, is covered in feathers, has an actual wattle under the spout and a comb for the knob on the lid and is all done in black and white. This is the other chicken teapot I made. My freehand chicken skills are a little less than stellar, but it's ok.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Everything is the same, but different

This was the view from the front of Ceramics Canada on Saturday after the storm passed. One minute all was sunny and warm, the next it was a downpour. The aftermath was quite beautiful though. After work I went over to the studio to glaze a load of pots. They are all sort of the same, but each one is very different.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Pass the Salt Please!

Well, we had our open house this past Saturday and considering that we only relied on word of mouth, social media and a free listing in Swerve, we were pretty successful. I can't say for certain how many people showed up, but we had left over tea bowls and I only fired 23 of them. We did manage to get several people to consider signing up for classes, and since that was the whole point of this exercise, I would have to say it was a success. There were a few of us throwing, trimming and glazing pots. I threw a large vase in 3 sections as well as a tea pot. I was also firing the raku kiln, so that kept me pretty busy.

I have also scheduled another trip down to Medicine Hat to fire the salt and soda kilns. A fellow potter/instructor from the studio and I are going to head down near the end of August. I have a feeling that firing atmospheric kilns is somewhat akin to child birth (from what I have heard as I do not have first hand experience in that particular area) in that you quickly forget the pain of the event and are more than willing to take on the challenge again. I do remember the “pain” of the marathon glazing session, and the tears of joy/anguish when unloading, but am more than willing to give it as many goes as possible. This time we are going to head down the afternoon before after I get off work and get up bright an early to get all the deco done in a more civilized manner, which would allow us to finish loading well before 11pm (i hope). When I was down there in April, Susan and I almost killed ourselves trying to get it all done, but we did take in a bit of the farmers market that the Medalta Museum puts on every Thursday. We bought a couple of curry meat pies for dinner. I am not sure if it was the hunger and exhaustion, of if they really did taste that good. Either way, they were yummy. So was the mini saskatoon pie that I scarfed down. I am looking forward to partaking of the pies again.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


As you may be aware, the instructors and students at Fairview Studios are having an OPEN HOUSE on Saturday, June 8th. I was speaking with our fearless leader (Dave) and he would like to offer a bit of a deal to any new students that sign up for classes on Saturday.
Classes at Fairview Studios run on a 4 week cycle and they normally cost $100 plus the cost of clay. This one day offer will drop the price of the classes to $90. What will your $90 get you? Well, it will get you 3 hours of instruction a week for 4 weeks. PLUS a ton of extra studio time that is FREE. To make great pots, you need to practice and the extra studio time will allow you to get really muddy, get your creative juices flowing and get the right side of your brain working.

So there it is, if you are looking for a new thing to try, or are just interested in learning a bit about how pottery is made, come out and see us on Saturday, June 8th from 11am to 3pm. We would love to see you!

Monday, June 3, 2013

Spring has sprung....a leak

I am going to develop webbed feet if this rain keeps up. I think we have had ~100mm over the last week or so, and if that keeps up, along with the spring runoff from the mountains, we are all going to be learning how to quack pretty soon.

In non soggy news, the studio has been scrubbed down. Well, not precisely scrubbed, but wiped, swept, stacked and tidied in preparations for the OPEN HOUSE this weekend.
We will have 2 out of 3 instructors there as well as an assortment of students. We will all be ready and willing to talk pots, throwing, classes, etc. Ellen's famous carrot cake will be on the menu, as well as coffee. I will be firing up the raku kiln at 12:30 into which I will attempt to fit as many tea bowls as possible (if you come, you might just get to take one home with you as a THANK YOU for coming. I anticipate the firing to be over around 2:30, and the pots should be ready to take home around 3 ish.
So, if you are in the area and are looking for a fun and informative afternoon out, swing by the studio. You might just find the hobby/passion/obsession you have been looking for. The weather is supposed to be nice  (little to no rain) so the big door will be open wide. Come on in and check it out.