Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gay Smith

Here's a nice soda fired vase with Avery flashing slip by my neighbor Gay Smith.

It's a rainy morning; but very mild. This weather will be turning cold tomorrow with some possible snow expected. My cold weather veggie seedlings will have to be brought in for the night until later in the week. Hopefully it will be warming up enough I can plant them soon otherwise they're going to be too pot bound unless I transplant them to bigger pots until the evenings won't turn them into popsicles!

Got some more slips and glazes made and tiles dipped yesterday. Some of the colored slips I was going to use on some porcelains mugs hadn't settled enough for me to pour off the excess water. Hopefully they will be today. I spent part of the day re-figuring some of my cone 10 recipes, like oribe and somebrite for cone 6. Theoretically they should work; but firing will tell.

They ran out of wood for the wood floor in the bathroom and more has to be ordered, so that's a delay since they started the floor at the front which means they can't install the vanity and toilet until the floor is finished!

Since they still had time left I had them make me a potting table for the wood shed, using a double layer of the old, flat, hollow doors. They did a great job of securing it to the wall, so it will be a nice, sturdy table for me to use for re-potting, etc. I am SOOOO ready for spring!

Time to get to work!

Till later,

Friday, February 27, 2009

Pit fired mystery Pot

Here's another piece from my collection. I purchased this in the late 70's or early 80's during a fundraiser in Southern California. The maker is unknown (there's an indistinguishable mark at the base)and it appears to have been pit fired. I love the organic nature of this pot. If anyone recognizes this pot I'd love to know the name of the maker.

Got studio time in yesterday and got more slips mixed and dipped 17 tiles for the cone 6 soda firing. Today I'll batch some glazes and mix and dip a few more slips. I also mixed up some colored slips to use on a couple of porcelain mugs for our daugher and her husband. These slips hadn't been used for several years so it was a chore getting them mixed and I added too much water so they're sitting until I can pour off the excess and decorate those mugs.

Studio time was a bit shortened since I decided to make dinner in the morning so I could work till after 5. I did go back to the studio for a bit after dinner, but just to do some cleanup and get some glaze notebooks to go through while we watched TV. I made a list of slips and glazes - some of which I'm hoping to batch today and checked some recipes out using my glass chem software. I'm amazed at how many cone 9-10 recipes are actually too low in alumina and silica for cone 10; but are within those limits for cone 6.

At 8am this morning, I was in the studio packing up a broken trim tool I need to have Jim mail for me today. It's raining lightly but very balmy out there. Yesterday was an incredible, warm sunny day. Wish I could have spared time for the garden, but there's been too little studio time lately and that had to take precedence.

By 8:30 this morning we had the whole crew here starting work. The tile man will be here later. He only needs a half hour to grout the new recessed tiles area in the wall above the tub. The painter is here doing the bathroom and the two carpenters are here putting up the rest of the doors. As soon as the bathroom is painted and the tile is grouted, they'll be able to start installing the wood floor. Things are going along really fast now and I'm feeling very encouraged that this project will be completed by the end of next week!

This will be a full studio day. I have leftover beans for dinner and just have to make some cornbread which I'm going to get to right now!

Till later,

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Craig Martell jar

Here's another jar from my collection. It's a lovely porcelain jar with temmoku glaze on the rim and sprayed oxide washes over glaze - lovely piece.

Yesterday was a busy day with the 3 man crew doing the knock down work. They finished yesterday! Yeah! It has to dry now and on Monday the painter will be here to paint that bathroom and do a few other touch ups. I guess they'll start laying the wood floor afterward.or maybe hang the doors.

I think Rick finished polyurethaning the doors yesterday - I hope so! The smell in the studio was still over whelming; and because of it I quit early and came in and started on dinner - beans and corn bread. That bean recipe is really wonderful - not bland like some cooked beans I've had. These are cooked with fresh tomatoes, bacon, serrano chiles, garlic, onion and cilantro. I got the recipe from one of my vegetarian cook books. It was good but missing something. So I added 3 pieces of bacon that I pre-fried and that gave the dish that extra flavor boost.

Before I quit for the day I managed to complete the finishing work and marking on the test tiles and got some handles on a few mugs. Hopefully the smell will be gone this morning and I can slip and decorate the mugs and other pots.

Two of the regular construction crew were missing yesterday - one due to the current flu bug going around and the other had to go to S. Carolilna to help a sister move. Hopefully we'll have more than one worker here today. It would be nice to have them get those doors hung or start laying the wood floor. This construction needs to be done by March 10th, when our daughter and husband arrive for their visit!

Till later,

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

McKenzie Smith Soda fired jar

This is a beautiful example of my friend, McKenzie Smith's work. It's a thrown and altered jar. I'm always amazed at how he can continually find the perfect decoration on any form and rarely seems to repeat his designs!

Yesterday was another of those bust studio days. There was a crew of 5 here most of the day working on dry wall and door staining. The water pipes in the studio were frozen, so I kept busy in the house and when I checked again after lunch, there was water, but the smell in the studio was so bad I couldn't work in there. They had opened the studio door into the garage to get some heat into the garage for the staining and the smell was so bad, that there was no way I was going to work in there. An apricot tree arrived so I got that into a large pot and if it gets as warm as expected, I'll try to get it planted this afternoon. Since the studio was not an option, I used my time to make a nice steak dinner and work on going through my glaze books in search of more cone 6 recipes that might work in soda.

Today they're going to be putting a coat of polyurethane on the doors; but it's supposed to be around 60F today so maybe they won't have to open the studio door and I can get to work. I am so sick of this construction right now. On one hand I'm thrilled that we're updating those bathrooms and replacing all those flat, hollow doors; but on the other hand it's greatly eating up my studio time.

If all goes well I'll work till around 4:30. I'm making beans and cornbread for dinner and I've soaked the beans overnight so they'll cook pretty fast and I'll make the cornbread after breakfast.

Till later,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Ruggles and Rankin wood soda fired jar

Here's a charming little jar by Ruggles and Rankin who had their Rock Creek Pottery here until this past year when they moved to New Mexico.

Studio work was delayed till noon yesterday due to more meetings with the contractor. They are going to remedy the recessed area for shampoo, soap, etc in the tub area, which entails removing several tiles. So Jim has to drive to Asheville and get more tiles and I'll stay home and get in a full day in the studio.

I worked till 5:30 yesterday to make up a bit for lost time. After dinner I went through a few rubbermaid storage containers of cone 6 glaze, test batches,that I had Jim bring up from the basement. I had to check them against the recipes to see which may be likely candidates to test in the soda kiln.

Today I'll finish trimming and marking the Loafers Glory test tiles, get handles on some porcelains mugs and hopefully have time to batch some cone 6 glazes for the soda test fire.

The crew have all arrived. Some will be in the garage staining the new doors, and the other group are here to sand down and spray new texture on the larger, upstairs bathroom. Hopefully I'll be able to get in the studio my regular time without any more long meetings about these construction projects!So far, so good. Time to make breakfast and get to work.

Till later,

Monday, February 23, 2009

Will Baker soda fired bowl

Here's another Will Baker pot - soda fired bowl.

We slept in a bit this morning after staying up till Midnight watching the Academy Awards.

Grassy Creek just delivered the doors for upstairs. We're replacing all the hollow core doors with solid panel doors as well as replacing those old louvered closet doors for paneled doors. The construction crew will be here tin a little while and I'll dash out to the studio after breakfast. If they need me for decision making they're going to have to come in there.

I have over 100 test tiles to deal with this morning. After doing the Helios tiles, I realized that since the Helios's lowest cone is 7, I'd at least better just test these slips and glazes on a body that can actually be used at cone 6, so I threw another 50+ tiles of Loafers Glory yesterday. I rummaged through some jars of old bisqued tiles and found I have a few Phoenix , a large sun tea jar full of a cone 6 white stoneware from Highwater, and P5 porcelain tiles that I can use; but I need to throw more Phoenix tiles since I've finally decided to settle on that one body once I use all all my reclaim and other clays.

Yesterday I cut and cleaned the 56 tiles I threw the day before. Today I'll so the same with the Loafers Glory tiles, and trim and put handles on the few porcelain mugsI made a couple of days ago. If I have enough uninterrupted time I'll also throw more Phoenix tiles.

John Britt's new soda test kiln only takes two 12X24" shelves and there may be 3 of us putting tiles in there, so I don't have many tiles to make for this cone 6 soda firing of glazes and slips. All of the slips I want to test are already batched. They're slips I'm either currently using on a regular basis or have batched and only have to be remixed. I think I still have some small test batches of some cone 6 glazes I tested 5-6 years ago. I just have to figure where I put them. I suspect they're in large rubber maid containers in the basement, so I'll dig around there when I go down to water my seedlings.

Till later!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Cathi Jefferson Salt glazed cup

We bought this Cathi Jefferson salt glazed cup on a visit to Victoria, B.C., Canada some years ago. The buttery finish on her porcelain body is a terra sig slip - very lovely work!

Finally got a full day in the studio-- threw about 50 or so porcelain test tiles and some porcelain mugs. I found an unused piece of granite slab which was leftover from our kitchen remodel and Jim and I carted it into the studio. Actually, we tried to carry it, but my new titanium hip isn't happy with me carrying anything over 25 lbs and that granite was a lot more than 50lbs. Jim retrieved a cart from the wood shed and brought it in the rest of the wayt and then we both lifted it up on to the table. It's now serving as a wedging surface for porcelain.

I have a double sectioned plaster wedging table which I use for the two stoneware bodies I've been using the past 4 years and I thought it was good to keep the porcelain separate. These tiles are just for the Cone 6 soda firing John Britt and I want to play around with; but porcelain is something I rarely work with these days.

Today I'll trim and mark those tiles, trim the pots and pull handles and make a bunch of Phoenix test tiles. It amazes me how quickly 6 hours of studio time flies!

After dinner I've been doing studio related glaze research for this cone 6 soda project - looking through my recipes and re-figuring some cone 10 recipes with my glaze software to get them down to cone 6.

We've got leftovers for tonight so I'll be able to work till around 5:30, have dinner and get on with the glaze work while watching the Academy Awards which are always lightweight fun.

Till later,

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kyle Carpenter Salt fired cup

Here's a sweet little salt fired cup by Asheville area potter Kyle Carpenter. This is one very talented young man!

Yesterday was another one of those "man plans, God laughs" days! I was counting on a full studio day and there was one meeting after another yesterday morning with the subs. I had to make decisions on dry wall, lights, hardware and on and on. By the time everyone had all their answers, plants tended, it was noon, so I suggested to Jim that since I lost my morning time and it was obvious with all these people and activity that I was not going to get a full day in the studio, maybe we should go to Asheville and get the rest of the hardware. So we grabbed a slice of cheese and some almonds to hold us until we could get a proper lunch or dinner and took off.

We bought the last of the hardware at Lowes but still can't find a small, ceiling fixture for the smaller upstairs bathroom. The size is very limited, as is the shape, so I'm going to have to continue to explore on line lighting stores tonight. So far, no luck. I also made a quick stop at Highwater clay to pick up a quart of resist and couple of boxes of clay, both for the cone 6 soda project and a box of Moon White clay which I'm phasing out, to finish an order. I've finally decided on one commercial claybody-- Phoenix, so once I use up the reclaim and other clays I've been playing with, I'll finally get to use my de-airing Bluebird pugmill. It's such a horror to clean that I haven't wanted to use it again until I did all my slip and glaze testing and settled on one clay body.

We had an early dinner/late lunch at the Chinese restaurant so I didn't have to make dinner. I just make some buttered popcorn with parmesan cheese and a sprinkiling of cayenne while we watched "The Secret of Roan Innish" - lovely, mystical, movie!

The tile work was finished when we got home and looks great - except the carpenters forgot to make the recessed areas in the tub area wall to store shampoo, etc. Neither Jim or I caught it, so now I have to search for something to hold soap and shampoo - probably one of those gizmos that hang on the shower pole.

Well, time to think about breakfast. It's nice to have a quiet morning and the house to ourselves for the weekend and get some uninterrupted studio time.

Till later,

Friday, February 20, 2009

Josh Copus Hakeme bowl

This bowl by Josh Copus is a lovely example of Hakeme brush work.

Yesterday was a busy studio day, with some morning time for transplanting some seedlings and planting a few more seeds. It was also a day with contractors working all over the house. The tile man got the tiles up in the upstairs bathroom and repaired a tile in the master bath. Today he'll do the grouting. The carpenters put together the granite topped vanity and it looks great. There's still wood flooring to install in there and drywall repair and painting to do

I'll be back in the studio this morning after breakfast and checking my seedlings. It was 15F this morning when we took the dogs out for their morning walk. Fortunately the studio water pipes didn't freeze overnight so I won't have to wait for them to thaw.

It should be a full studio day till around 4:30. Dinner is going to be simple - braunschweiger sausage, boiled parsley potatoes and spinach.

I spent last night going through glaze recipes I've collected for 36 years. There are over ten thousand recipes so this will take a while! John Britt and I want to explore cone 6 soda firing, so I'm going through those glazes looking for some I think would work so we can do a firing in his new, small, soda test kiln in the next few months. First I need to get enough pots made for a firing before the TRAC tour late spring; but I'm hoping to batch some of these tests in between.

If anyone reading this blog has any cone 6 soda recipes to share we'd really appreciate it!

Till later,

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Ruthanne Tudball soda fire bowl

Here's a really sweet, faceted, soda fired bowl from Ruthanne Tudball. My husband bought this for me during a trip to England and Ireland last fall. I'm not sure why she made a saucer for this bowl. When I opened the package I thought he had bought me 2 pots. It almost looks like a small soap dish, which I think it could be used as, with a round bar of soap; but he said that it was a part of the bowl set.

Got my full time in the studio yesterday remixing some slips and decorating some pots. My black decorating slip sinks like a rock and so does my Linda's Yellow slip. And they both settle very fast - too fast - particularly the Lindas Yellow. I mixed up and added some ben a gel to the Lindas yellow; but when I checked it fifteen minutes later it was still settled, but easier to remix. It may be like concrete again this morning! I'll probably add more Ben a Gel today . It's a suspender that I got years ago from Ferro in Canada and I can't find it anymore. Either they've stopped making it or are marketing it under another name. Ruth Gowdy McKinley told me about it in the 70's.. With most glazes 1/4% is enough to keep the glaze well suspended. I only have about 2 cups of it left and I'm hoarding it for the couple of slips and glazes, like White Salt which settle like concrete! I'm going to have to start searching for an alternative suspender that works this well.

The construction crew is here this morning. They got some of the hardware installed in the smaller bath and are going to be putting together the vanity this morning. The tile man is supposed to be here this morning to get started on the tile work around the tub in the larger, upstairs bathroom. We're hoping these bathrooms will be done when our daughter and her husband arrive from Germany around the middle of March.

The Gordon Ramsay Linguini Puttanesca was wonderful last night and we have leftovers for tomorrow. Tonight it's the leftover Mexican, chicken stir fry so I'll just have to make more re-fried beans to go with it. Since I don't have to allow for a lot of dinner prep time, I'll be able to get my 6 hours of studio time. There are still more pots to trim, wax and slip, pots to decorate, and some handles to pull.

It was snowing earlier but the sun is coming out now and it's pretty breezy out there.. I put my broccoli, cabbage and brussel sprout starts on the front porch this morning but I'll have to bring them in at night for the next several nights which are going to be quite cold. I probably should have waited a week or two before buying them. If I get time tonight I'll re-pot them along with some of my other seedlings which are now big enough to go into larger peat pots.

Time for morning vitamins and some extra C for this cold that has come back , then head for the studio.

Till later,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Suze Lindsay salt glaze slab dish

Here's the last of my Suze Lindsay pots. It's a lovely slab piece that I use often. The size is just right for pickle, olives, veggies for dipping, etc.

Yesterday was spent shopping for the new bathrooms and having a big lunch at "Fatz". Lowes hardware had the missing shade for the guest bedroom and the shades are now installed and look great. They were out of the tissue holder to match the towel bars we bought, so we'll have to make another trip to get it. It will have to wait till next week or when this cold/rain/snow/sleet weather breaks. Going down or over these winding mountain roads is not something we care to do in this kind of weather.

I was hoping to get in the studio after breakfast but the plumber showed up at 8:30am, turned off the water while I was a making breakfast. It's 11am and the water is still off! They carpenters are removing a partition wall in the larger bathroom this morning and reinforcing the support beam above. Our contractor put the tile installer off a day, figuring the plumber might not be finished - good call!

It's all coming along nicely; but it's definitely digging into my work time! I've been using what little spare time after construction chores to cook and take care of seedlings. I planted a few more seeds yesterday and transplanted some red sage seedling and will be doing more tonight. It's nice to see all those tiny green seedling coming up. This morning one yellow echinacea seed came to life! I bought some organic potting soil yesterday and will be transplanting more of these seedlings as soon as they're big enough.

We had to drive to the Lowes in Marion for those bathroom accessories and I swear I saw daffodils blooming when we got down the hill! I bought some 6-9 packs of broccoli, brussel sprouts and cabbage. Tonight I'll transplant them to bigger big peat pots. It was raining and sleeting this morning and snow is expected tonight. We're expecting more of the same the rest of this week with some 20 degree night time temperatures, so I'll have to put those veggie starters out during the day and bring them into the mud room at night until the weather is good enough to get them in the ground.

Just found out that the water is back on so I'm heading out to the studio. I'll be able to get in my 6 hours of studio time. Dinner is going to be an easy linguini Putanesca with cherry tomatoes, fresh basil, anchovies, etc.. It's a Gordon Ramsay recipe I got from his web site the other day which I'm eager to try it.

Till later,

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Suze Lindsay Cup

Here's another pot from my collection - a Suze Lindsay, salt glazed, large cup.

The crew arrived this morning with the new tub and toilet. Today was going to be a studio day but after looking at the weeks weather forecast (snow/rain/cold for the next 4 days), we changed our plans and instead, will be heading down the mountain to Lowe's hardware in Marion to see if they have the missing shade we need as well as more hardware for the bathrooms. We'll have our big meal of the day at Fatz (Jim likes their shrimp and grits), and just cook some popcorn or a small, doctored, frozen pizza for dinner.

Yesterday wound up flying by way too fast. I got involved with my seedlings,dinner prep which took much longer than I thought, small appliance repair, etc., and I never did find any time for the studio; but we had a great Mexican dinner and there was enough leftover margarita mix from our margarita madness party so we could each have a double margarita. We had no trouble sleeping last night! :-)

Time to water my seedlings, check in with the construction crew, have some breakfast and get on the road!

Till later,

Monday, February 16, 2009

SuzeLindsay Cruet

Here's another cruet from my collection. This salt glazed piece is by another wonderful, area potter, Suze Lindsay.

Got into the studio yesterday, doing a bit of everything - trimming, throwing and mixing some flashing dips and waxing and dipping some pots. Today will be more of the same. I worked till after 5. It would have been later but we had a post Valentine's dinner date in Burnsville.

The construction crew didn't show this morning so we had a nice, quiet, leisurely morning. The forecasted snow never came and it's sunny and seasonably cool, so gardening will have to wait a while.

Watered my seedling and checked on them and all the lobelias seeds have sprouted; but some of the other, older seeds are lagging behind and may not be viable. Next week I'll be starting tomatoes and peppers and pining for spring!

Till later,

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Linda McFarling Cruet

Here's a lovely cruet by Linda McFarling another area potter who fires Soda or Salt.

We're moving slowly this morning after last night's margarita madness party. I never got into the studio yesterday other than a quick check on the drying pots. House tidying and food prep took up most of the day; but I will get some time in today after I tend my seedlings.

One of my favorite movies, "The Horse's Mouth" starring Alec Guinness is coming on at 11 am one channel 51 of our Charter cable Company. It's about this somewhat mad and eccentric artist - a movie I think anyone can enjoy, particularly artists!

Till later,

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Terri Gess Mug

This salt glazed mug is by another local potter Terri Gess.

I got in some good studio time yesterday and will get back in for a few hours after lunch. This morning was spent taking more photos for the blog because I'm moving my photo setup up down to the basement this morning. It will be nice to have my dining room table back!

Friends are coming over tonight for guacamole, nachos and margaritas, so I'll get a lot of my making done before I head for the studio so I'll be able to work till around 5:30.

I've been told I make great margaritas, so here's my recipe is anyone want to try it.

For 1 margarita:

1 1/2 oz Cuervo gold tequila
1 ounce fresh squeeze lemon juice (meyer lemons are the best if you can get them)
3/4 oz curacao
2 -3 heaping teaspoons of sugar (amount of sugar depends on the quality of the juice and personal taste). I like them sweet, so I usually add enough sugar to the batch to get it to taste sweet before I mix it with the ice. I usually mix, then taste again and add more sugar if I feel it needs it.
crushed ice.

I use a Vita mix blender but any good blender should do fine. I put the liquid in and cover with crushed ice and blend and keep adding ice if needed to get a thick mix, but not enough ice to where it stops blending.



Friday, February 13, 2009

Will Baker mug

Here's another mug from my collection. This one is a soda fired stoneware piece by a local young and talented potter, Will Baker.

The winds were pretty strong yesterday morning but we had no trouble driving over the mountain. We actually felt them more when we got into the flatter areas in Tennessee.

We almost finished all the shopping for the remodeling project. Lowe's was one window shade short of the style and size we chose, so we'll have to either go to another Lowes in the next couple of days or drive back to the Lowes in Johnson City, TN next week when they get a new supply.

I got a 4' folding table so I could get my photo set up off my dining room table and set it up permanently in the basement. It will mean carrying pots up and down but the exercise won't hurt me and my dining room will look like a dining room again rather than a make shift photography studio!

After breakfast I should be able to get in some studio time. I just watered all the seedlings and indoor plants and it's time to get breakfast made. After lunch I'll try to get some or all of the day lilies transplanted.

Tonight's dinner will be easy - chicken piccata and oven roasted potatoes and salad, so I'll be able to work till around 4 o'clock.

Till later,

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Lisa Clague Mug

Here's a delightful mug by my friend Lisa Clague. Lisa is a marvelous sculptor. If you google her name you can see some of her wonderful pieces on the net.

We are in the middle of a power outage probably caused by these high winds which have either taken down a tree that has taken out a power pole, or a blown a transformer. Fortunately we have a huge generator so the house has power; but I don't have it connected to the studio. Hopefully this won't be an all day or longer outage.

Yesterday we ordered the tub and toilet for the bathroom remodel and if this wind dies down a bit, we're planning on traveling over the mountain to Tennessee this afternoon to get the bath fixtures. That will complete our shopping for this remodel and we can get back to our normal routines. There are a lot of pots to make to get a firing in before I get heavily into spring planting.

The crew has arrived and need me to approve some moulding and stain colors.

Till later,

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nick Joerling mug

Here's the first of some of the mugs in my collection I'll be posting. This one is by another wonderful Penland potter, Nick Joerling.

Today turned out to be a gardening day. Just one more "man plans, God laughs day". The construction crew came for a bit to unload the tiles and vanity we bought yesterday and then took off to finish another job. The painter stayed and worked all day, so I was somewhat housebound with the painter here,since Jim had appointments in town and had a whole list of stops to make which took half the day.

My friend Laura came over early morning and we dug up some perennials and divided them. Laura did most of the work and I just supplied some help and tools and dug up a volunteer penstemon and potted it for her. We split half of the day lilies that were dug out. They needed dividing and I wanted to get them in a new location since they got too big for their current home.

This mid 60's degree, sunny, February day, was perfect for yard work - a day I was not going to waste in the studio. I also got some more garden clean up done. This warm weather isn't going to last so I was glad that I made the decision to enjoy it!

Tomorrow morning, if the rain stays away till later, as is forecast, I'll try to get those day lilies transplanted. They're already up a a couple of inches from this unseasonal spring like weather so I need to either hole them in or transplant them.

More of my perennials seedling sprouted overnight. If they all fare well I'll be sharing them with gardening friends because I don't have room for thirty or forty verbascum!

Tomorrow afternoon we have to shop for the new tub and toilet. After that we have one more shopping trip Thursday or Friday, for the hardware and then I can get back to a some what normal work schedule! I'm feeling guilty about all this time away from the studio!

Till later,

Monday, February 09, 2009

Crackle Shino Vase

Here's a crackle Shino form from my collection, by west coast potter Tate Shields.

The flu bug seems gone. I even got out yesterday and pruned one of the peach trees.

The whole construction crew is here this morning ripping out the upstairs bath. They're going to have fun getting that old, heavy, iron tub through the upstairs window!

We're headed to Asheville with friends after lunch in search of bathroom tiles, a new vanity and dinner at a popular barbecue restaurant we're heard about, but never tried. It's another lovely, mild day - so mild in fact, that some of the hostas and other perennials are coming up - way too soon! I may be able to get out for a half hour or so to do a bit more garden cleanup before lunch.

Any hope of studio time the next two days is gone. Tomorrow we'll shopping for the the new fixtures for the bathroom at a local plumbing supply place and then probably heading to the Lowe's in Marion for light fixtures and faucets.

I should be able to finally get back to work by Wednesday if we're able to find all we need for the bathroom. We swear that this is the last construction, redo project in the house. The only other thing I want is an outdoor pizza oven and a cold frame and that will complete 5 years of additions and redos on this property! The garden is an ongoing project, as are all gardens; but that's my joy!

My lettuce seeds are well up as well and doing well in the kitchen greenhouse window. The kale and penstemons under grow lights in the basement, have sprouted. Every morning I eagerly check the little peat pots to see what may have sprouted over night.

Till later!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Linda McFarling Bowl

Here's another lovely, large bowl by Linda McFarling. Linda does both soda and salt firing. My soda kiln is pretty much based on her kiln design. Both are Shane Mickey designed and built, cross drafts with a firebox so we can augment the firings with wood.

The past two days I've been dealing with cold and flu symptoms as well as a house full of painters, carpenters, plumbers and electricians. They started tearing out the tiles from the full bath yesterday and they're about 80% done with the 3/4 bath which is only a partial redo. Monday they start hauling all the old fixtures from the full bath out of the upstairs windows and into the truck for the land fill.

We have to get to Asheville Monday in search of tiles and a vanity. We were supposed to do that a couple of days ago but I came down with whatever this latest bug is and was not in any shape to go anywhere. A friend had this and said it only lasted 2 days, so I should be fine tomorrow.

The past few days I did at least get a lot of seeds started,and caught up with the mail and magazines pile. The lettuce I started has already sprouted. Each morning I do a quick look to see if anything else has come up. I haven't checked the basement seeds yet, but no new ones are up in the kitchen.

This afternoon we're going to get out with the dogs for a drive up to Roan Mountain and walk among the pines and rhododendrons if it's not too cold or windy. It's supposed to be in the low 60's here; but it will be colder up there in that 6,000 or so elevation.

Till later,

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

Kent McLaughlin Bowl

Here's another great pot from my collection. It's a huge, rope impressed,stoneware bowl by Kent McLaughlin. Kent is what I consider a "potters potter" always producing, beautiful, solid work that transcends gimmicks and the latest fads. He has a solid understanding of all parts of the process of making which is evident in all his work.

This week's been a constant reminder of that lovely saying "Man plan, God laughs"!
Life has impacted all my plans to get in the studio. Yesterday the plan was to get some seed starting in the morning, make a blueberry pie and get to the studio. Instead, the painter arrived; but sat around with me keeping her company for an hour and a half while she waited for the rest of the crew to show up with the paint she needed to get started. That ate up the pie making time! Fortunately she's a very intersting gal with amazing life experiences, so I didn't really mind the delay to my own plans. Then the crew needed input on where to place the pedestal sink, what more needed painting, approval of the new plumbing, and on and on it went. I was only happy I wasn't in the studio and had to keep coming back to the house to deal with all these questions and decisions.

So I decided to get on with my indoor seeding planting which took just about the rest of the day other than meal prep in between. So far I've planted onion, leeks, scallion, kale, spinach, artichokes, lettuce and a bunch of perennials. I've found places for all of them either in the greenhouse window in the kitchen or under the grow lux lights in the basement. Don't know where I'll put the seedlings once they need transplanting but I'll deal with that when the time comes. I may just have to buy more light fixtures and grow lux lights in another month!

Today was a nesting day which I decided to devote to cleaning up my huge paper pile in the living room, unpacking some of my jewelry making supplies in the basement, and making a nice, early, vegetarian dinner - tossed salad with garlic vinagrette and mushrooms stroganoff. Jim loved it so much he had seconds, so that is definitely a keeper recipe. He's open to vegetarian recipes as long as the man part of the recipe is not tofu! Although, I must say, that I've found if I deep fry cubes of tofu, and use them instead of chicken, for instance, in Indian or Chinese recipes, he will eat it. I think the problem for non vegetarians is getting weaned off the texture of meat as well as the taste; but I'm cooking 1/2 vegetarian and half non currently hoping to get the balance to about 80-90% vegetarian down the line.

None of the workers showed this morning even though, to Jim and I who grew up in the the Northeast (New York and Pennsylvania), the roads weren't that bad. There was only about 1 1/2" of snow; but the road was slippery. My 75 year old husband drove into town to pick up the mail and get me some sour cream for my mushrooms stroganoff. He just drove slowly and had no problem. The weather here years ago was much worse - 3' snow falls were common ten years ago; but these days 2" of snow keeps people home and schools closed. Go figure!

We were grateful to have a quiet day with no workers in the house, so I'm not complaining! It's been something of a cozy, vacation day with no studio time other than going in there after dinner to water plants, cooking and paper organizing and computer work (I turned the computer on this morning only to be faced with the blue screen of death, which took an hour or more to fix), and watching the snow fall.

I'll get in the studio tomorrow and get some work done and get away from the noise and mess of construction. That is, if the crew shows up. In any case, I'm still planning on studio time since I'm feeling guilty about staying away so long and there are pots than need slipping and decorating and more pots to make. But I have enjoyed these days off to catch up on things in the house that needed tending to.

Well, that's it for this cold (was 5F this morning)snowy, day.

Till later,

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Gay Smith jar

Here's another sweet little soda fired jar by Gay Smith.

Yesterday was cooking, doctors appointment, seed starting and dealing with sub-contractors - needless to say - another "no studio" day. Today I should be able to get a half a day in the studio this afternoon. We're expecting the snow to start around noon, so Jim is going out right after breakfast to do some shopping and other chores and I'll hold the fort with the carpenters, painter and electrician. I was up at 5:00am, got the dogs out for their morning walk, had tea and tackled email. Afterward I mixed up more seed starting soil and prepped a few planters and after breakfast I'll plant some kale, shallots and lettuce.

I started my indoor seed planting yesterday -got onion, parsley, artichoke, leek,scallions, basil and celery planted. Other than what I'll plant today, that will be it till next month when I start some of the other warmer loving veggies like tomatoes, peppers,etc. I find that basil does well as an indoor plant in a sunny window. Luckily I have a greenhouse window in the kitchen with herbs like oregano, thyme, parsley and basil. In fact, I need to pinch and re-pot those few basil plants and get them into a bigger pot. Before I had the greenhouse window I could grow a lot of basil in a single, 5 gallon bucket in front of a sunny window and that supplied us with fresh basil through the winter.

I'm contemplating making a blueberry pie while I'm housebound this morning, if my frozen berries from July are still good.

If I have time after dinner, I'll go through my stash of flower seeds and see if there are any perennial seeds that I can start now. I harvested some day lily seeds last fall, so I might just start them. The problem is figuring out where I'll put all these seedlings once they sprout and are big ready to graduate to bigger pots. I only have 4 sets of grow lights in the basement which are currently being used for outdoor plants I'm over wintering .In the next month or so I may have to move some of those to the studio and squeeze them around the citrus and other tropical trees and shrubs that were too big to move into the basement for the winter. Otherwise I'll have to buy another fixture and more grow lights.

Time to get started on that "to do" list of the day.

Till later,

Monday, February 02, 2009

Will Baker soda fired vase

Here's a lovely vase by Will Baker, one of the young, talented potters in our area. I love the simplicity and strength of the form as well as the heavy soda on the right side of the piece.

Today the house is full of workers- a couple of carpenters, an electrician and a painter and it's another non-studio day dealing with all this activity. I had to start dinner at 8:30 this morning since I have a doctors appointment early this afternoon and the lamb shanks I'm making for tonight's dinner take 3-4 hours to cook.

I'm sooo tired of having people around the house tearing things out, creating messes and a lot of noise; but at the same time we want these things done before our daughter and her husband visit next month. More than the dirt and noise it's the demands on my time that these projects are taking and the loss of studio time that I mind. One day this week we'll have to go out shopping for bathroom fixtures and probably tile since I'm not thrilled with the samples I got from Lowe's. It would have been a lot easier and probably cheaper to have bought a piece of land and built a new house rather than all this construction which have been ongoing for 5 years!

The Super Bowl was fun last night even though Jim's team didn't win. It was a nail biter in the last quarter. I'm actually getting a taste for football and not just the fun commercials! LOL

We got out in the garden for a couple of hours yesterday and I got all the roses except a couple of the climbers pruned and filled two huge garbage bags with dead plant material. It looks like a couple of the roses have bitten the dust, including one of my heirloom climbers, even though they were very well mulched. The climber looks like some critter just ate the whole root system! There's going to be another warmish, sunny day at the end of the week which will be an opportunity to continue the clean up. I'd like to get the garden really tidy before I start planting more perennials and potatoes, next month. I noticed that some of the perennials are peeking through already!

Time to stir the lamb shanks! All that wine, broth, garlic and herbs are wafting through the house like great perfume!

Till later,

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Tara Wilson creamer and sugar

Here's a creamer and sugar by Tara Wilson. It was fired in my friend and neighbor, Shane Mickey's anagama. Tara was working locally for a short time a couple of years ago, before heading west for another years residency at Archie Bray Institute.

Yesterday I managed to get a few hours studio time in the afternoon to pull some handles and trim some pots. It was one of those days when it was hard to get off the sofa and the computer. I went back after dinner to clean my tools and sweep up.

Today is Super Bowl Sunday and my potatoes for the potato skins are just about finished baking. It's going to be a downright balmy, near 60 F day, so I'm going to do some yard work. It's the ideal time for pruning roses, and trimming the dead perennial tops. I'll do that after lunch before the 3 o'clock men's final of the Australian Open Tennis, which we don't want to miss.After that it will be Super Bowl time munching on my very unlikely munchies menu of pate, potato skins, grapes and cheese and crackers.

Time for our bagels, smoked salmon, cream cheese breakfast.

Till later,