Monday, February 28, 2011

Filing sketches

I retrieved all my recent, un-filed sketches on little scraps of paper and I'm going to go through them and file some in my permanent notebook and put those that I want to try soon, in an envelope. There's a series of garden shows on PBS now, so I'll watch/listen to those while I go through these sketches.

Jim and I are both hobbling around - me because of the good hip gone downhill way too fast, and Jim with a badly pulled sacroiliac. Most intense flu symptoms are gone so I've just been letting it run it's course and keeping busy with easier tasks like cooking, paperwork, houseplant and seedling care and light garden cleanup when the weather permits.

I spent the past two days in vain, and wasting flour as well, trying to resuscitate two of my old sour dough starters that got pushed to the back of the fridge. So, another job for today or tomorrow is to find my reserve packet of dried San Francisco sourdough starter and get that started. I found a nice on line, baking forum and that and another newly ordered artisan baking book have inspired me to get back to some sourdough baking

This morning I ordered a set of saw horses from Harbor Freight. I've decided to wait till they arrive before I sand my kiln shelves. Sitting on the paved driveway or studio or kiln room concrete floor is just too hard on these old deteriorated hips and knees; and the sawhorses will make that a much more comfortable job. I don't know why I've waited this long to purchase them. The good part of potting in my 70's is that I've finally learned to do things in their own time as well as my own optimum time.

We had a big roast duck dinner last night big roast duck dinner last night and a big breakfast this morning, so tonight's dinner will be some lighter fare - a simple pasta with a Putanesca sauce that I took out of the freezer this morning. Well, that's it for this balmy, rainy day in the mountains of Western North Carolina.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Blustery rainy morning

Sitting tight waiting for the bisque kiln to cool. I'm in no rush to head out to the studio on this wet, windy morning. The weather is supposed to clear this afternoon, so I'll check it then.

My body is still fighting this bug, so I think I'm just going to continue going through glaze books and catching up on snail and email, watch movies and dose myself with assorted vitamins, elderberry syrup and over the counter medications and a lot of liquids until it goes away. Time for some herb tea.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Bisque on

Got the bisque kiln turned on around 6:30 this morning. The last plate never made it into the bisque, because I trashed it while slipping it; but I batched a couple of flashing slip tests and got them on tiles and dried outside, and they went in instead.

By afternoon, the flu symptoms hit me again, so I dropped the plan to clean kiln shelves and went to bed for an hour and a half nap. I perked up after the nap and Jim suggested we go out for dinner; so we wound up having another nice meal at the Tin Lizard with plenty of leftovers for Jim tonight. As for me, I'm opting for some of my home made, potato and cheese pierogis.

Time now for a rainy day, oatmeal breakfast and then to the studio to make some followup notes on some of the test tiles I have sitting out, and get them back in the boxes. After that I may be able to batch some glaze tests before the kiln makes it too warm to work in there.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Taco recipe

Managed to get a little studio time doing piddly things like going through 4 boxes of soda/salt test tiles without finding the one tile I was looking for, so I'll continue that search this morning. The last plate was trimmed and waxed and is waiting to get slipped. Other than going through one of my glaze recipe books and making notes, those were my only studio chores yesterday. Other than cooking, the rest of the day was spent on computer cleanup. I put my Etsy shop in vacation mode until spring freeing up time for other things until I can redo the site with better quality photos and new pots.

This morning I need to make up a batch of Helmer flashing slip, and get that last plate dipped and dried so I can fire the bisque kiln tomorrow. If it warms up enough, and I feel up to it, I'd like to get my kiln shelves sanded outside. This flu bug is hanging on a bit, so I'm trying not to overdo it till it's out of my system. This is a busy time of year with gardening chores and getting ready for a firing so I'm being careful about pacing myself.

The basil seeds and poppy seeds have sprouted and I need to separate some of those poppy seeds into smaller, individual pots this morning. Poppy plants don't like transplanting so I need to get to them early.

Last night we planned on having the tacos and margaritas but the taco shells were a bit stale, so I wound up serving deconstructed tacos on taco chips, which were a little messier to eat but just as delicious. Jim was in taco heaven and wiped the pot clean! Last night tacos were made with vegetarian ground round. Here's my recipe:

Line about a 10-12" saute pan with some extra virgin olive oil. Heat to medium high and add either a package of vegetarian ground round, or a pound of ground chuck. Break up the meat into very small, crumbly pieces and when it starts to brown a bit, add 1/2 of a medium to large, diced onion, cook about 5 minutes, stirring often, then add 1 large clove of minced garlic. Lower heat to medium, toss and cook another minute and then add some Open Pit Barbecue sauce (enough to coat the ground ground or meat well)(this is the best flavor. I've tried others, but none work as well as this one). Add salt to taste and let this simmer for several minutes and it's done.
To assemble tacos, put some of the mixture in the taco; but don't overfill. Then add some diced fresh tomato, about a teaspoon or more of taco sauce, some grated cheddar, and top with shredded lettuce. PS: If you don't have taco sauce, you can use some salsa instead.

Enjoy tacos with a margarita or what I call a slurpie. A slurpie is just some juice like mango, or a tropical juice mix (You can buy this in the cold juice section of your grocery store), thrown in the blender with crushed ice. It's like a non alcoholic frozen margarita. It doesn't work with all juices.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

The bisque is almost full and I have new shades in the studio - finally! I like having one of my wheels near the window but certain times of day the glare makes it impossible to see what I'm doing.

Yesterdays plan of finishing up and bisquing today hit a glitch when I was hit with sudden onset of a really bad headache and flu like symptoms of chills and exhaustion. So I moved the last drying plate indoors and got it covered and gave up for the day, came in and headed for bed for a couple of hours. I wasn't in any shape to cook, so Jim went to a local restaurant and got us some takeout.

I did manage to finish the other pots and get them in the kiln before I got hit with that bug, and if I don't feel any worse than I do this morning, I'll try to get that last plate trimmed and slipped and stick with paper work for the rest of the day.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Last nights Spicy, Italian Eggplant and Chicken dish - nice to find another way to get Jim to eat eggplant! It isn't pretty but it was tasty.

Spent this morning checking a list of soda/salt recipes and posting them to my yahoo soda/salt firing group. I found a copy of the list on another site and a lot of the recipes were missing the additions. So I posted it again on my Yahoo group and I'm putting it out here for future reference and for those who are not part of the Yahoo group. These are just a few of the over 10.000 recipes I've collected, (some of my own creation,) over 37 or so years.

Soda Firing Glaze Recipes most in the C 9-11 range, a couple that will work at C7.

#166 Woo Blue Brown C9-10R

42 Custer Spar
18 Whiting
13 Ball Clay
27 Flint

Add: Red Iron oxide 4%, Rutile 4%, Bentonite 2%

#167 Shaner Yellow Red Glaze C 9-10

49 Custer Feldspar
20 Whiting
4 Talc
4 Bone Ash
23 Zircopax


#171 plum glaze C 9-10

4500 Custer Feldspar
1300 Whiting
2800 Silica
1100 EPK
776 Red Iron Oxide

#356 Sea Gull Eggs C9-10
(not to be used on interiors. Barium and nickel are toxic so use careful studio practices when handling).

96 Potspar
35 Barium Carbonate
20 Whiting
30 China Clay
30 Zinc Oxide
10 Rutile

#1009 a Jane Hamlyn glaze

subbing OM#4 ball clay for AT ball clay. This will run a bit at C 10 if you're firing to full cone ten you might want to add about 5-10 more grams of a combination of the ball clay and silica.

24 Custer Feldspar
18 Whiting
30 Kentucky OM#4 Ball Clay
30 Silica
ADD: 5 % Red Iron Oxide

#1014 Walter Keeler Blue C9-10

100 Potspar
60 Ball Clay
40 Dolomite
ADD: 1.3% Cobalt oxide
1.0 % Copper carb

#1170 Temmoku
It will go amber/gold in salt firing, black in soda.

316 Kingman Feldspar (can use G-200 or Custer)
204 Silica
75 EPK
133 Whiting
71 Red Iron Oxide

#1319 Chris Staley Red/Green

C7-10 Ox or Red.(because of high copper only use as exterior glaze). He fires porcleain so this may be at it's best on porcelain or on a white stoneware.

50 Custer Spar
15 Whitng
13 EPK
20 Flint
2 Dolomite
ADD: Bentonite 2%, Copper carb 8%, Red Iron Oxide 1%

#1320 Special Ash Cone 7-10 Red or OX Chris Staley

50 Mixed Hardwood ash
25 Kona F4 Soda spar
25 Tenn. #5 ball clay
Add: Cobalt carb 1%, Rutile 5%

#2297 Clear Liner Cone 5-10

50 Plastic Vitrox
50 Gerstley borate

Add: a handfull of Aberhill clay. (can use without this).

#2298 Clear

50 Colemanite (can use Gerstley borate)
50 Cornwall Stone

*add a handfull of kaolin, or Albany or Alberta slip, or Ochre, etc.

#2310 Sandra Johnstone Liner C10

15 Potspar
63 Albany slip (try Alberta slip as a substitute)
11 Whiting
6 silica
5 Red Iron Oxide

#2311 Sandra Johnstone Pumpkin glaze C10

44 Kingman Potspar (try Custer or G200)
12 Whiting
10 Barium carb
10 Kaolin
3 Silica

Add: 1 Red Iron Oxide %
6 Rutile
2 Bentonite
*Base is in grams and doesn't total 100%

#2333 June Perry Matt Kaki C 10 Reduction

In soda/salt this looks like a plum temmoku. I designed this as a regular C10 R glaze but it works well in soda/salt.

50.0 Custer Feldspar
18.0 Grolleg Kaolin
12.8 Silica
7.7 Whiting
11.5 Red Iron oxide

#2501 Kaki.
This is a regular C10 R beautiful Kaki glaze, which turns into a Temmoku on some bodies in soda firings.

55.90 Cornwall Stone
6.15 Talc
5.64 Wollastonite
10.26 Kentucky OM#4 Ball Clay
12.82 Calcined Kentucky OM#4 Ball Clay
9.23 Silica

Add: 6% Red Iron Oxide

#2517 Sam Moligian's alkaline blue glaze C10 ox/red.

50.00 Kona F3 Soda Spar
21.42 Whiting
14.29 EPK
14.29 Barium carb.

A: Add: Zircopax 5%, Cobalt carb 0.5%, Red Iron oxide 1%. Bentonite 2%

NOTE: with this much toxic barium, only use as an outer glaze. My first test on this ran a bit with a flat cone 10, so you might want to not fire that high. I’ve added 2% bentonite but it may need a bit more EPK and a bit more silica for a full cone 10.

#2597 Wettlaufer Spodumene C10

26.5 Potspar
22.1 Dolomite
22.1 Ball clay
17.7 Spodumene
8.8 Zircopax
2.2 Tin oxide

#2659 Walter Keeler C 9 liner (this may be OK at c10).

70 Cornwall stone
30 Wollastonite
Add: 8% Red Iron Oxide

#2792 Randy's Green C9 Ox or neutral (may go to cone 10) (different than #7730 other Randy's green)

7.61 Dolomite
10.86 Whiting
26.09 Custer Spar
21.74 Kona F4 Spar
13.04 OM #4 Ball Clay
20.65 Flint

Add: Copper Carb 6.52%, Tin oxide 4.35%, Zircopax 8.70%

*WARNING - anything with this much copper should not be used on cooking surfaces. It will definitely fail the lemon juice test and may fade when exposed to long term dishwasher use.

#2807 Gustin Shino (good liner, apply thin, particulary if you use it on bisque,or it will crawl).

45 Neph Sy
11 F4 soda spar
15 Spodumene
15 Ball Clay
10 Calcined kaolin
4 Soda ash

#2914 Temple Wood fire/Light salt Cone 11 Persimmon

10.00 Bone Ash
5.71 Talc
7.15 Whiting
50.02 Custer Spar
5.70 EPK

#2985 Shaner Red altered for cone 10

45.7 Custer spar
3.7 Talc
21.5 6Tile clay
3.5 Bone ash
18.7 Whiting
5.4 Red Iron oxide
1.9 Bentonite

#3104 Rob's Green (Hunter green)
(different than Rob's Green #7730 on this list)

75 Cornwall Stone
18 Whiting
5 Gerstley borate
10 Copper carb
7 Strontium Carb
2 Bentonite

*WARNING: Don't use on food surfaces. It's unsafe because of the high copper content.

#3108 Oatmeal.
This is a recipe that I have used in regular C10 R firings.

49 Custer Feldspar
19 Dolomite
20 EPK
4 Whiting
4 Tin Oxide
8 Zircopax
2 Yellow Ochre

#3142 Jeff Oestrich high clay Shino
should be good liner C10

42.88 Neph Sy
10.28 Kona F4 Soda spar
14.47 Spodumene
14.29 OM#4 Ball clay
14.29 EPK
3.78 Soda Ash

#3148 Jeff Oestreich Shino
on Windsor porcelain..
This was one of the best soda/salt Shino recipes. It will carbon trap and makes a very good liner glaze. It may also work as an exterior glaze.

40 Nepheline Syenite
30 Spodumene
17 Kentucky OM#4 Ball Clay
8 Soda Ash

#3165 Amber Celadon C9-10 Dark treacle brown

(lighter on porcelain or white stoneware). You can use it very thin for reddish accents in soda.

36 Albany slip (try Alberta slip)
22 Custer spar
3 Gerstley borate
14 Wollastonite
8 Whiting
14 Flint
Add: 8% Yellow ochre

#4125 Sohngen Stony Yellow
This is a very nice matt, quiet, light green in soda.. This glaze is a matt yellow in a C10 R firing.

67.0 Kona F4 Soda Spar
34.0 Dolomite
21.0 Talc
14.0 Spodumene
9.0 Whiting
50.0 EPK
4.0 Bentonite
3.8 Red Iron Oxide

#5014 Gordon Hutchen high clay Temmoku C10 R

16.5 Alberta Slip
30.0 Local red clay
37.2 F-4 Soda spar
9.3 Ball clay (I use OM #4)
2.3 Borax
4.7 Red Iron ox.

(for the local red clay I think, if memory serves me, that I used Redart and I think it needs a lower melting red clay. Redart is a bit more refractory than your average earthenware. Next time I'm going to batch this with red clay from our property).

#5015 Shaner Shino slip (different than his others posted on this list)

36 Nepheline Syenite
12 Spodumene
9 Kona F4 Soda Spar
3 Soda Ash
12 Om #4 Ball Clay
28 EPK

# 5862 Vivika's Orange
This is another C10 R glaze that is used in regular C10 R firings. This glaze works great on porcelain or on white stoneware or over white or porcelain slip on stoneware bodies. Because of barium content only use only on exterior of pots or sub 4.95 strontium carb. for the barium. Not good on iron bearing stonware in soda/salt.

56 Kona F4 Sodaspar
15 Nepheline Syenite
13 Whiting
6.6 Barium Carbonate
8.0 Tin Oxide
4 Red Iron oxide.

Add: Red Iron oxide 2%, Rutile 4%

#6330 another Malcolm Davis Carbon Trap
This shino is darker than his other one I posted. This one works better, with better color over the porcelain slip.

38.6 Nepheline Syenite
9.3 Kona F4 Soda Spar
16.3 Soda Ash
5.7 Redart
17.9 EPK
13.0 OM #4 Ball Clay

#6362 Malcolm Davis Red Shino
(carbon traps. Crazed on porcelain in soda. OK on stoneware).

42.94 Nepheline Syenite
10.34 Kona F4 Soda Spar
7.00 Soda Ash
6.34 Redart
18.91 EPK
14.47 OM #4 Ball Clay

#6365 Amber celadon
(light amber on white bodies, more of a deep amber brown on higher iron bearing bodies)

26.09 Custer spar
25.97 Whiting
6.99 EPK
19.98 OM#4 ball clay
20.97 Silica
Add: 9.99% Yellow ochre, 2% Bentonite

#6601 June Perry's Chun blue
This chun did well in the soda/salt environment. The color is a lovely powder blue with a lot of pink/lavender color throughout on porcelain.

31.44 G-200 Feldspar
10.72 Ferro Frit 3134
4.09 Barium Carbonate
9.65 Dolomite
5.49 Whiting
1.56 Zinc Oxide
7.02 EPK
27.59 Silica
2.44 Tin Oxide

Color C, ADD: Copper Carb 0.5, Rutile 5.6, Cobalt carbonate 0.2%

#6925 June Perry blue green Celadon
(this is a very rich, buttery celadon that I use as a liner glaze) Color is deeper, richer with more reduction, but fine with light reduction.

31.12 G-200 Spar
5.05 Dolomite
18.01 Wollastonite
19.47 Grolleg
26.35 Silica
Add: macaloid1%
A: color add: 1/2% black iron oxide,2 tin oxide
B: color add: 5% alberta slip, 1% black iron oxide, 3% tin ox.
Another variation is to do B but substitute 1% cobalt oxide for the iron. It gives a very bright blue celadon. I use these as liners.

#7730 Randy’s Green
(not safe for functional ware)(different than #2892 other Randy's green)

22.8 Custer Spar
19.2 Kona F-4 spar
17.4 Flint
13.6 Barium carb
10.9 Ball clay
9.5 Whiting
6.6 Dolomite

A: add Opax 7.5%, copper carb 6%, Tin ox 4%

#7803 Val’s satin black
beautiful buttery, satin finish on this black glaze. Avoid using is as a liner. It may not be a safe liner on functional work due to the amount and type of oxides.

20 Custer spar
20 F-4 soda spar
2 Whiting
15 Dolomite
20 Flint
10 OM#4 ball clay

Add: Cobalt carb 3%, Red Iron 3%, chrome ox 1%, manganese dioxide 2%

#8436 June Perry Oribe
(this one stays bright green in soda) (don’t use as a liner. There’s too much copper in this for a safe glaze for functional ware. It won't go turquoise like Shaner Oribe; but will stay a nice bright green.

30 Custer spar
6 Talc
10 Whiting
5 Barium carb (can substitute 3.75 strontium carb for the barium)
5 Strontium carb
15 OM#4 ball clay
20 Silica

A: Add 6% copper carb, 4 tin oxide

#8473 Somebrite green
(apply very, very thin for best color. Goes too dark is applied normal thickness and can get a de-vitrified surface). Don’t use as liner glaze. It’s not safe with this much copper and low silica. It makes a nice accent glaze with flashing slips.

45 Custer spar
7 Whiting
10 Zinc Oxide
25 Strontium carb
13 OM#4 ball clay

A: add copper carb 5%, Rutile 1%, Red Iron Ox 1.25%

#8483 Robs Green
(not a safe glaze because of high copper content) don’t use on interior of pots.

70 Cornwall stone
16 Whiting
9 Barium Carb (can sub 6.75 strontium carb)
5 Gerstley Borate

Add: copper carb 8%, bentonite 3%

#8457 Yellow Salt (don’t apply too thin or it goes brown. Can get too shiny at full Cone 10) Best color on body with some iron content. This is a soft, not very durable glaze, so I wouldn’t use it as a liner. Cutlery will scratch the surface. (from John Britt's wonderful book).

60.7 Neph Sy
20.0 Dolomite
15.2 Zircopax
4.1 OM#4 ball clay

Add: bentonite 3.8%, Red iron oxide 0.9%
Can add some epsom salts to prevent hard settling.

#8719 Raw shino liner C 10

71.5 Neph Sy
28.5 OM#4 ball clay

#8891 Ayumi C9-10 (nice light green matt. Can craze if overfired it hit directly with too much soda)

3.6 Soda ash
11.0 Dolomite
5 .5 Whiting
36.4 Kona F-4 Soda spar
18.0 EPK
20.0 Strontium carb
5.5 silica

Add: Copper carb 1.5%, Bentonite 2%

#8980 Gustin Shino
(I use this one as a liner on raw pots or quite thin on bisque to avoid crawling). It might work better for bisque if you use calcined kaolin.

15.2 Spodumene
10.8 Kona F-4 Soda spar
4.0 Soda ash
10.0 EPK
15.0 OM#4 Ball clay
45.0 Neph Sy

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Soap dishes

Here's stage one of a couple of soap dishes with a very thick slip. It's the same slip I use on some jars and I thought that as a thicker mix, it might work well for a soap dish. Today I'll cut them into modified ovals. The next ones will be a big larger; but this size should work for those smaller, guest soaps, and maybe some others.

I spent the early part of my morning going through my old Rhodes book on kiln building and I'm thinking of having this cross draft rebuilt as a bit smaller sprung arch, which was my first gas kiln about 37 years ago. It would give me less space to fill, and give Jim and extra inches of space for any future car he would want.

Late morning we did a Walmart run. My old scallion seeds don't seem to want to sprout so I needed to get another package and pick up some organic potting soil and more seed starting mix. All my other onions and leeks have come up and are doing fine in the kitchen greenhouse window, and outdoors, my fall planted garlic is up about 4 inches. My parsley seems to have survived the winter as well.

Now that lunch is done I think I'll do some early dinner prep for a new Italian recipe of spicy eggplant and chicken and then head to the studio for a bit.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Planting afternoon

I made a fruit salad with almond cream for breakfast. It's a nice light, protein breakfast for this balmy February morning. To make almond cream just soak almonds in a lot of water, overnight for about 12 hrs. In the morning, pour off the old water, put almonds in a good blender, cover with water and puree (add more water as needed;but only enough to keep the almond cream moving while being blended. You can use as is, or add a bit of natural sweetener like Stevia, maples syrup, honey, etc.

Yesterday afternoon we did a Johnson City run for some food shopping at Earth Fare, followed by Lowe's and Home Depot stops for a few boxes of pansies, a grape vine and much needed bamboo shades for my studio. I love having one of my wheels and desk near the window, but I need to cut down on some of the glare so I can see my pots and read my computer screen.

We had an early dinner of Caesar salad and their fabulous Mussels (steamed in a lovely pernod, lemon, garlic and basil sauce) at Carrabas before heading back over the mountain.

I did get morning studio time yesterday and now I'm heading out to trim the last couple of plates and continue dipping and decorating. So much for my thinking I'd have all this done early in the week!

This afternoon I'll be busy planting the perennials before the later, expected rain arrives, and doing some much needed garden cleanup.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Easy supper of welsh rarebit

On busy studio days like today I look for something easy to cook. This is welsh rabbit with peas, tomato slices and bacon - easy, fairly quick and tasty. It's basically a roux, melted cheese, beer, some dry mustard and Worcestershire sauce.

After re-arranging some pots in the bisque kiln I realized I could squeeze in a few more pots so I'm working on them now. My intention of firing this bisque early this week has now been put off for another couple of days while I wait for these latest pots to get finished. A few got trimmed, waxed and slipped today and on this lovely day I was able to put them outside to dry. Tomorrow I'll decorate them and myabe trim, wax, and slip the couple I threw today.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Yesterdays roast chicken

Yesterday was mainly a cooking day - making bread and cooking a big dinner. Here are a couple of pictures of yesterday's roast chicken. I start with a bed of chopped onion, apple, carrot, celery,parsley, bay leaf, and juice of one or two oranges. I salt and pepper the inside of the chicken and then add some apple, onion and a wedge of the squeezed orange inside. I place the rest of the orange wedges in with the veggies. The chicken is set on top of the veggies, and then some pale dry sherry is poured over the chicken, and later in the roasting, I pour a bit more (maybe a 1/2 a cup total. I never measure.) The fruit and veggies and sherry make a lovely sauce. When the chicken is done, I cover it loosely with silver foil and let it sit for 10-20 minutes while I strain the bed of veggies, pressing hard on a strainer to extract all the liquid. I remove most of the fat, and reheat the sauce, and pour some over each serving.

My electrician is coming this morning to work on one of the small cone 10 test kilns and my lapidary machine. Since he's been delayed with an emergency job, I'll just head to the studio and get started. Yesterday I reclaimed some of the last of the Helios porcelain, but it's too soft to throw, so I think I'll just make a bridge and let it dry out a bit more while I check the condition of my liner glazes. I think I'm low on one or two of them, so weighing and mixing new and old glazes will be the job for the next day or two.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

First seedlings of winter are up

The first leek seedlings sprouted overnight! Whahoo! I do love this time of year, with the promise of spring so close. Looks like we have a lovely day, but still coolish, so I'm putting off my outdoor planting till later in the week when we're expecting a couple of days in the low 60's.

We've been enjoying a lazy Sunday morning, catching up on email and snail mail, but I will get a few hours of studio time today before I start on tonight's roast chicken, mashed potato, honey ginger carrots dinner. Jim promises to open a really good Chardonnay as his contribution.

Right now I need to get a loaf of whole wheat started in the bread machine and then head to the studio. There's only one more pot to slip and about 3 to decorate. All should be dry enough for the bisque early next week.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pizza night after a day in the studio

I had a full studio day and came in to get the pizza made around 5.

Today I got the bisque kiln about 90% loaded, and dipped and decorated a few more pots. I should finish decorating the last few pots in the morning, and will load and fire once they're dry which I'm hoping, will be by Tuesday.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Seed starting, citrus in bloom

We were out and about part of the morning and most of the afternoon with various shopping chores and a lovely lunch at the the Tin Lizard in Spruce Pine. Since we had a fairly big lunch we opted to just pick up some Won Ton soup and a couple of egg rolls for dinner.

If I didn't have seeds to buy, I would have stayed home and worked; but I wanted to get more onion and basil seeds and some perennials, and do some more grocery shopping. Walmart has all their seeds in stock as well as packaged bulbs and perennials. With the warmer weather coming in the next few days, I intend to plant the lily of the valley and cinnamon ferns, and do some more pruning.

When we got home I planted two small pots of Genovese and Thai basil, the new onion seeds and another variety of leek.

The basement smells divine, from one of the over wintered, citrus trees which is blooming. I can't put it outside, so I'm hoping I may be able to hand pollinate the flowers with a Q tip.

I did manage a few minutes of studio time to put the finishing touches on a teapot.The rest will have to wait till tomorrow. There's dinner, and a Netflix movie to watch and some sketching to do for the rest of today.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Pugmill needs some attention

On this cold, blistery,snowy morning, I find myself yearning for those early signs of spring - crocus, pussy willow, forsythia and daffodils. Some birds seem to be building nests so spring can't be too far off (she says optimistically!). Since I'm too old to be broody, I plant seeds this time of year. Sunday I planted a small pot of leek seeds and this morning I planted some bunching onion seeds. Tonight I'll plant another couple of small pots of two other varieties of leek.

The only studio related chore I did yesterday, was move most of the kiln shelves from the kiln room to the studio. They should have been cleaned after the last firing while the weather was still mild; but my aching back just wasn't up to it. It's supposed to be sunny and milder this weekend, so hopefully I'll be able to grind them outside. The rest of the day we were out and about the county doing chores and didn't get back till late afternoon. After emptying the car, putting away our purchases and tending to our furry family member, it was time to think about dinner.

First studio job this morning is to to follow friend Shane's and Bluebirds possible fix instructions and see if I can get my Powerstar pugmill de-airing again. It was working fine several days ago. When I'm done, I put wet towels and plastic in all the openings so I don't think dried clay is the problem, unless some got into the hose leading to the vacuum chamber. Or, maybe it could be that it needs a new gasket or a new pressure gauge, or????

Even though I'm not planning any throwing in the couple of day, I'd like to have this resolved, so it will be ready to go when I do need it. I'll give it a few minutes of my time this morning, before I move on to my main focus of the day - continuing slipping and decorating. I'm aiming to get these finished by Friday and bisque soon after.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

John Britt video on making screw tops.

I purchased these molds from Axners a while back and they're sitting on my slab roller table waiting to try.

This morning I slept in and the freshly thrown pot I left on the wheel, waiting to be worked on this morning, dried too much overnight even with the studio heat turned down. Fortunately it was just a cylinder that I was going to square off this morning, so I'll throw another one before I continue slipping and decorating. I want to get the rest of this white stoneware out of the pug mill so I can start on the Phoenix which I want to use for some slab work.

My laptop wireless is working great in the studio and I used it to listen to some archived Coast to Coast talk shows which come on too late at night for me to stay awake. First I had to spend a half hour or more trying to find out why the sound didn't work; but the settings somehow got messed up. Computers often change things without any human input. Sometimes I think they're haunted! :-(

Time to head to the studio for the day. Jim's been making me a little lunch plate (some grapes, almonds and a small piece of cheese)so I can work straight through. For Super Bowl Sunday, at Jim's request, I'm making nachos and margaritas. Jim's rooting for the underdogs, the Green Bay Packers. He says he likes the quarterback, whoever that is! I usually only watch the commercials or when Jim urges me to watch some great play. I'm not a big fan of sports where the player may be taken off the field or ring in a stretcher, much more preferring to watch tennis, golf, track, etc. Saying that, I do enjoy the enthusiasm and celebratory rituals of the Super Bowl.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Delicious Cuban black beans and rice recipe

Yesterday I spent most of my time working on the after effects of a bunch of viruses that hit my computer. Norton immediately filled my screen with bright red, warnings of about 3 viruses and I quickly tackled the problem. Even after Norton removed them the computer kept freezing. After several, unsuccessful reboots, I remembered to hit the F8 key at the beginning of the reboot. A repair button was an option on the page that came up, so I selected that; and it seems to have solved the problem. I'm not really sure if the problem was due to the after effect of those viruses, the several re-installations of Paint Shop pro, or something else.

The day wasn't a total waste since I manged before and after the problem, to free up another 1 1/2 gigs of memory by deleting duplicate and other photo files, and got Paint Shop Pro working again.

I'm making an easy and delicious Cuban black beans and cornbread for dinner. The cornbread will get made this morning, then I'll head to the studio for the day and around 4 o'clock come in and start on the chili. I made this dish a couple of weeks ago and Jim liked it even more than my other, more time consuming, bean dish. Here's the recipe if you want to try it.


2 cans black beans
1 tsp. finely chopped garlic
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 c. chopped onion
1 tsp. extra virgin olive oil (I think I used about 2 tsp)
1 can chopped Rotel tomatoes (these are spicy)
1 bay leaf

2 (5 oz) packages. Vigo yellow rice (Spanish flavor)


Saute the onion in olive oil, on medium heat, until transparent. Add the remaining ingredients, except the rice which you cook separately according to the package instructions. Simmer the chili 1/2 - 1 hour. Serve it over the rice.

OPTIONAL: Top with chopped hard boiled eggs,and/or diced onion. It really didn't need the egg for taste; but it does add a little extra protein and color to the dish.

(You can add extra minced serrano chiles if you like your food super hot; but add it after you've cooked the chili a bit since the Rotel tomatoes contribute a good amount of heat.)

Thursday, February 03, 2011


Slipping and decorating is going slowly, as usual. I'm just about finished with half of this group of pots. I'm taking a risk with a new, Amoco, black under glaze which seems to be working smoother than the black decorating slip I usually use. I think this Amoco under glaze that Kyle Carpenter mentioned a while back so it should work at cone 10.

It took 3 hours for Ron the computer guy and I to get all 3 of my computers setup with the router. I'm now wireless. The only problem is that it's not accepting my code, but I can make it work by hitting the button on top of the router, which is upstairs. I'm probably going to get on the phone again tomorrow and see if they can find out why this isn't working.

Since the wireless setup took so long, the only studio time I got today was a few minutes to trim and wax a plate I threw late yesterday and take a photo for the blog.