Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Peter Pugger on the way

 This was my setup in North Carolina for the very small Olympic kiln which I used for soda test firings and refires. And now that the weather is going to be turning again, this time for the better, it's time to get working on finding replacement metal sheeting to keep the wind from blowing out the burners.

I have natural gas now and have drilled out the orifices and hopefully it will be ready to go sometime this week. The first group of glazed and decorated pots have certainly been ready for months; and there are enough other pots on hand for multiple firings. I'll just have to batch new liner and decorating glazes for them.

So far I've had no luck finding replacement metal for the wind screen. One scrap metal place looked abandoned, and the only visible metal was thick, rusted out material. Lowe's won't cut one of those big sheets of corrugated roofing, which is what I used before, as seen in this picture. It was some leftover we had on hand, that was used as roofing for our old wood shed. If I had known how difficult it was to replace it, I would have thrown those pieces on the moving truck! There's only one more possible source in the county and I'll try them today. Needless to say,  I'm open for any and all suggestions for possible material and sources for it. I'd prefer lightweight, non corrugated material, inexpensive, probably galvanized sheet metal (a lot easier to cut with tin snips).f.

My new pugmill wasn't sent out Friday as originally scheduled, but they assured me it will be sent out today via Fed Ex and will take about 3 days to get here. So, if all goes as planned, it should be here by Friday or Saturday.

Yesterday my last order of Velvet underglazes arrived and I got them on to bisqued tiles, and glazed them as well as the latest, bisqued slip tests. After a cold night in the unheated studio, they're still not dry this morning, and will have to wait till tomorrow to be fired. So I'm skipping the studio today and heading to town for food, soil, and plant shopping, as well as a stop at the only other scrap metal place in the county.

And, if I'm lucky enough to find that metal today, I'll light that little Olympic kiln later this afternoon to make sure those burners are working OK after sitting all winter, and load and fire it tomorrow, which is forecast to be a perfect firing day, with a high of 75 after a coolish, mid 40's, morning.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

The glaze fit for a king

Winding down a weekend with family and friends, sharing some amazing company, food and wines, and great fishing trip on the Rogue. We caught a lot of fish, saw several eagles and a few pairs of Canadian geese with their babies. My son bought me a fantastic jacket at the fishing shop, but I had to remove it the minute the boat hit the river, because it was already too warm for a jacket by 9 am.

Our son left for L.A. this morning and after a last bit of visit time with him, then dropping off something for a friend, we've spent the rest of the afternoon enjoying a lazy Sunday with reading the papers and doing the daily "have tos".

I met this wonderful gal at a party last night and we got into a conversation about Chinese glazes. She's the assistant vice president and senior specialist in Chinese works of art at Sotheby's and I was intrigued about the Ru ware she spoke of. Ru ware, from Northern China, was only produced for around 20-30 years and only produced for royalty; and there are only 70 known pieces to have survived since 900 AD, and they survived because they've always been highly treasured. She said that although they have the analysis of the glaze, no one has ever been able to replicate it's unique qualities.

So, being the curious animal I am, I spent quite a bit of time late last night and this morning reading up on this glaze. I'd love to play with those known formulas and see if I could get something close to it in my small gas kiln. But that journey will have to wait a year or so until I finish current projects.

A small Ru ware bowl, sold at Sotheby's for 26.7 million dollars. Rarity creates such economic windfalls. The glaze has many variations, obviously from kiln placement, amount of reduction, firing temperature, etc. So, like an amateur sleuth, I've been digging up as much information as I can. It doesn't seem likely that I could ever replicate this glaze, but it would sure be fun and challenging to try. In fact, some of the photos I've seen of the blue green variation of the glaze, look a lot like my blue green celadon, at least, color wise. But I think there's an optical blue quality to the most prized of this ware, similar to, but not quite like a chun glaze.

If you want a peek at this glaze fit for a king, check it out at the link below.

Tomorrow I'll be back to reality in the studio re-mixing, my very common clear, earthenware glaze and dipping the latest bisqued, stain tests; but maybe day dreaming a bit about Ru ware.

Friday, April 26, 2013

I emptied the tiny test kiln this morning. These slips look promising, but I will find out the true colors once they're glazed. It was a bit of guesswork on some of these mason stains, particularly the green ones, which are all dark; but after putting swatches of them in paint shop pro and lightening them, I got an idea of what they would look like if I use smaller percentages. These tests are reflecting what I saw in paint shop pro, so that's another tool to use in the future. It's still hit and miss guess work; but it's a lot better than starting with ten or 15% when you know you don't want something that dark.

Now that breakfast is over, and some living room paperwork tidying has been done, I need to get in the garden for a bit to hand water and uncover the seedlings, and then start cooking. Our son is coming over for dinner and I have to make some stock for our soup first course and cut up a couple of chickens for the chicken Cacciatori. At some point in the afternoon while the chicken is cooking I'd like to get in the studio and glaze these tiles.

They're supposed to be shipping my Peter Pugger today, but I'll call them to make sure that is still on schedule. It's going to be 86 degrees today, so I'd better close for now and get this garden work done while it's still cool.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Potters of the US video

Here's a bit of pottery nostalgia. Enjoy! PS: if the embedded code doesn't take you to the video, just copy and paste this url to access it:

After yesterday's busy day, it was no surprise that I was asleep early enough to be wide awake around 4am this morning. So I headed to the studio to turn on the tiny test kiln to fire new slip tests and found that I hadn't covered the ring of clay I threw for test tiles yesterday and learned something new!

They were as leather hard as you can get with the top of the ring starting to show the beginning of bone dryness. I cut through with my fettling knife figuring that I'd cut them all then wire cut them off the bat; but at that stage of dryness, they just popped off the bat, nice and clean. Who knew! After 38 years or so of potting I once again, learned something new.

Today's studio plan is just to fire the little test kiln which I have to do manually, and do a little organizing. I still have one big rubbermaid container full of small items that I have to go through and see find places for or put them aside to give away or sell. Then I need to go through all the recent glaze and slip tests and see if I want to do any more followup testing.

For now, I need to update some of my test notes.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Shift happens

Going back in time, here are a couple of examples of some of the cone 10 Reduction pots I was making in the mid 70's and 80's. The reason I'm putting these up here, is that I held on to those stamps, which I made when recuperating from a hysterectomy. I really enjoyed that form of on glaze decorating and I have an idea of trying to use them with the new earthenware under glazes. These stamps also worked well stamping slip, or using the stamp to remove slip.

There was so much seedling and garden work yesterday morning that I didn't get to the studio till after lunch. Almost everything I planned to do in the studio yesterday was shifted because a package of new stains arrived from U.S. Pigments. So, instead of cleaning up (sanding, scraping the slip applied the day before), I wound up only slipping the interiors instead; and after cleanup, I weighed a test batch of slip, using the vanadium yellow stain. By the time that was on a test tile and cleanup was done, it was time to think about dinner, and leave the other tests for today.

I had also shifted the dinner plans. Jim wanted to give me a break and get Chinese take out; but I had made us a nice lunch of quesadillas and guacamole, so I suggested that I just fry up some frozen pot stickers, and save the Chinese takeout for Thursday night.

After dinner I dug out my glaze notes sketchbook - the one I used to keep track of how I decorated pots for my soda/salt firings.  I sketched all the current group of earthenware pots and will be making extensive notes on the under glaze and glaze decorations.

The idea of decorating these pots gets me into a mild state of panic, because I'm clueless about what I'm going to do, and  have no idea how these under glazes will be to work with, etc.. One of the ideas I'm going to try is using my old foam stamps with the under glazes, like I did in the photos above. I used these over thirty years ago, stamping oxide washes over my cone 10 reduction glazes. The washes  worked great over rutile, celadon and saturated iron glazes; but how it will work or not with these low fire under glazes remains to be seen.

 I've done some sketches of decorating ideas,  but transferring those designs to actually working with new materials is going to be another learning curve. Fortunately I have another week or so till I have to face that decorating starting gate, because the larger Skutt kiln needs some brick repairs and the repair guy can't come for another week.

 Right now it's time for vitamins, and seedling care (they all spent their first night outdoors covered with remay). Once I've removed the remay and watered them, I'll be heading to the studio for most of the day, then quitting at 4 to start dinner. It feels like it's going to shift into a good very good day.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Can you tell the difference

Can you tell which of these have the light yellow slip and which ones have the plain white slip? Neither can I, even after putting a whole small bottle of yellow food dye in the buckets. 

The plant nursery, aka the meditation room/office, is now closed. All seedlings are fed, watered and hardening off outdoors.

Morning chores are done,, so now I'm heading to the studio with my "to do" list. First thing on the agenda is cleaning up some of these pots that I slipped yesterday, maybe slipping some of the interiors, and doing some sgraffito.

Jim said I deserve a break and he's offered to get some Chinese takeout so I'll  get some good afternoon studio time. Life is good.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Honoring Earth Day

It was a morning to feed all my seedlings with fish fertilizer, make breakfast, do email and start transferring documents and music from my stand alone hard drive to my other laptop. I thought I could just leave it doing it's job but suddenly realized with the first message on screen telling me I already have that file and asking if I still want to add it. So it looks like I will need to be here to manually deal with this.

Oh Lord, the whole process just stopped and the new folder where I've been pasting these for the past hour is empty. AARGH!

Time to head to my closet and find a short sleeved green shirt in honor of earth day, and head to the studio. It's more like an early summer day and would be lovely to sit by the river and cast a few. But I have pots that need to be slipped. Our son is treating me to a fishing trip with him and a guide Saturday, so I shouldn't even be vaguely bemoaning my having to choose studio time over fishing on this glorious day.

I'll tackle this computer mess after dinner tonight, if I can resist hitting the thing with a sledge hammer!

Sunday, April 21, 2013

After I got my seedlings watered and outdoors for the day,  we went out for breakfast, and then on to a search for a new planter for the atrium, followed by a trip to our sons' place to check on their vegetable beds, a stop at the grocery store and home to spend the afternoon cooking a lovely roast duck with grape sauce, rice pilaf with mushrooms, onions, raisins and almonds, and some home grown cauliflower with a lemon chervil butter.

The lovely, large planter we bought was only $49. There's no way I could have paid for the clay and glaze materials and fired that pot to cone 10 in a wood kiln for that amount of money. And yet that pot could be shipped from Thailand, and still sell for that retail price. It makes one wonder how cheap the the wholesale price was before the shipping costs.

The past couple of days have been dedicated to shopping for clay and other supplies, plants and other things, transplanting seedlings, planting some annuals, hand watering since some of newly installed watering system is not doing the job, and finally getting software updated and getting my ipad and ipod touch updated. For some reason the process finally worked. Maybe it was the new Windows 7 updates. I can never figure this computer stuff out!

I also spent time ordering some new stains. Some of my latest test were not quite what I wanted; but I got the idea of taking some of the other colors on Mason's site and putting them in my Paint shop pro, and using the part of the program that  will show you what the color would look like lightened. And voila! I saw that some of those stains colors when lightened, look like some of the tones I'm looking for. So I ordered a couple of them and am  I'm hoping that smaller percentage additions just might give me the right colors. I'm keeping my fingers crossed.

Tomorrow I'll be back in the studio after breakfast and morning plant and animal care.  There are a few more seedlings to transplant and feed and I'm going to risk planting a few tomatoes since we're in a warm spell and I can cover them at night with thick remay.  With my pugmill arriving in another week or so , I'm really hoping to get some of these veggies planted - at least the cucumbers, cabbage and larger tomato plants, that I think will do OK if covered during the cooler evenings. Tender things like basil, eggplant and peppers will probably have to be babied for a couple more weeks.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Akar yunomi show link

There's some amazing work on Akar - over 200 yunomis to drool over. Enjoy!

We've been out most of the day - shopping for clay, some groceries, plants and buckets. None of the 3 hardware stores I went to had the bucket and lids I needed. I have 5 gallons buckets but needed a couple of 1 gallon with lids, and 2 gallon with lids . No one had the one gallon with lids, nor lids for the 2 gallon, so I bought a couple of the 2 gallon and figured I'd have to go back in a week to get the lids. Fortunately when I got home, I found that I had two extra 2 gallon lids, so I'm in pretty good shape. They had some light weigh, one gallon plastic containers with lids, but no handles, so I got a couple of those. I want to make up some small batches of glazes that I'll be using minimally so there's no need for more 5 gallon buckets which I don't have room for anyway.

After I got home and unloaded pottery supplies, plants and groceries, made lunch, it was already after 3 o'clock, and I still haven't checked my snail mail other than a package from U.S. Pigments. Two of my new stains arrived, so I'm hoping I get a second wind in the next half hour so I can get to the studio and test those in slips and glazes. Right now I feel like I need a nap; but I need to see if any of my seedlings need watering. Shopping is more tiring than working!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

A bit of this and a bit of that

Few more mug shapes I'm playing with. The two with spiral design are shapes that worked well for me in soda/salt but I'm clueless at this point about how to decorate those two for cone 04, other than a solid glaze. The other one looks like it will offer more decorating choices.

I also got three more slip tests done and on to tiles and will continue that after lunch. There's room in the tiny test kiln for a few more of these, and I'm hoping to get that firing Saturday or Sunday.

Feeling guilty about getting so little studio time lately, and when I do I'm screwing up. Lost a few yunomis yesterday - they melted before my eyes after slipping them.  Looks like earthenware pots have to be a bit thicker to take the thicker slip, unless of course, you enjoy watching your pots self destruct before you eyes, doing their imitation of ice cream melting on a hot driveway in August. Slipping soda/salt pots was a lot easier. Lesson learned - I hope.

This morning I got my new wireless keyboard unpacked and working and Jim, a proudly self proclaimed Luddite of the first order (the man wrote two books on yellow note pads), got his new, not so smart cell phone. I'm prepared to hear a lot of bitchin and complaing for the rest of the day. It took him a couple of months to take the GPS I gave him out of the box, and waited till our son-law arrived to tell him how to use it. On second thought, maybe I should just get way out of his way today. :-) He's been on the phone an hour so far trying to get them to walk through getting the phone set up, transferring his minutes and making sure his triple minutes are showing.

After breakfast I got a lot of my tomato seedlings transplanted into bigger pots and outside to start hardening off. But I ran out of potting soil, so I'm heading out to our local Grange Co-op to get another bag so I can continue that after dinner or tomorrow morning. It's been a good day - just having to switch gears back and forth between gardening and studio chores.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Great group of potters doing a show and sale in Madison county North Carolina this weekend.

Here's a link to a great group of potters having a show/sale this weekend in the mountains of Western North Carolina. If you're  anywhere near there, treat yourself. You won't be disappointed.

After a couple of days of cooking, plant care and computer work (finally got my documents and photo files greatly cleaned out and backed up), and some pot sketching and followup notes, I'm ready to head to the studio this morning. A small group of pots need to be waxed and slipped and more tests need to be weighed and mixed.

I'm still looking for a rich, warm yellow - either slip or glaze. Most of those I've already done are either too light or too lemon colored, which is lovely, but not what I'm looking for at this point. The color I want is like the yellow on the Victoria Christen mug I put on my blog a couple of days ago - a rich, sunshine/buttercup yellow. I've got it close with my glaze and 6% rutile; but I'm really hoping I can get this color in slip.

To that end I've been spending a lot of time looking at stain colors on line; and it's amazing how different the same stain color looks on various retail sites, so lord know what colors  they will actually wind up being, once tested. Mason's Buttercup stain is the one that looks like a good possibility to explore with higher amounts of stain  than I've done up until now. That's the possible good news. The bad is that that stain color is no longer available. I did find a site that lists it, so I want to test it as soon as possible and if it's what I'm looking for, I want order more of the stain  while I can still get it. My other option is to do some higher percentage tests with the rutile. The 6% rutile test I did with my my clear glaze is really close, but I want to test it at 8% as well. Ideally,  I'd like to get this color in a slip, so that's another test to do today - probably start at 12% rutile and then mix that 1/2 and 1/2 wet volume with my plain slip and see what it brings.

While waiting for my new Peter Pugger to arrive in another week or two, I'm going to use this time to wind up all of this testing and getting the studio ready for more pots to come. I've already re-organized a lot of things last week - moved all the test glaze batches to a shelving unit, freeing up a low, wheeled cart to use for bisqued pots which I finally moved off the slab roller; but there's that last bit of mostly little stuff that I need to find homes for. I'm thinking that I just may have to come up with a hanging shelf suspended from one of the suspended ceiling storage units we already have. I checked that out this morning and am thinking that  I can get some chain and hooks and a piece of plywood or similar and suspend it over my slab roller. I saw suspended shelving similar to this at pottery studios and potters homes in Japan; and it's a good way to find that extra storage in small studios. So much to do and so little time and energy.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Great new trim tool to make from bamboo

Thanks to Lee Love for making this video available. Unfortunately I don't think my few pieces of very dry timber bamboo from my garden in Florida, will do the trick. Maybe I can find someone locally who is growing some of the larger bamboo and get a fresh piece. Or maybe I can just steam one of the pieces I have and see if I can cut a strip. Hmmm!

My check is in the mail for the new Peter Pugger mixer; or will be as soon as Jim walks down to the mail box. I'm a bit late with emails because my server was down last night and until about 15 minutes ago. But breakfast is done, seedlings are watered, and I'll do email until the heating cooling people arrive to do the spring maintenance on our system.

Once they leave I can get to the studio and finish the last two pots that I left last night, and figure out where I'm going to put the items which are now taking space on the table which I will need the pugmill. Lastly, I need to sort and store a lot of test tiles and other items which are now taking up my entire slab roller. With the  pugmill arriving in two weeks or maybe sooner , I'll be putting both that slab roller and the extruder to work.

It's amazing how much more work you can put out when you have the pug mill mixing, wedging and de-airing clay. You use your energy to make pots and you never have to angst about making a mistake. If it doesn't work, just throw the clay back in the pugmill and let it do the donkey work. For us ancient ones it's a lifesaver and for you youngsters, it can save your body down the line. I may even ask Santa to give me one of those clay centering gizmos next. My arthritic neck and spine would really appreciate that. Think I'll leave extra cookies for Saint Nick this year. :-)


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

My new peter pugger pug mill

One of my readers asked me to post some of the result of my pug mill search. There are good things as well as bad reported by owners and users of various models. As a former owner of a large, powerstar Bluebird, I can say that for me, with my limited production, it worked fine. It was much bigger than I needed but I got an over $5000 machine for $800 at an auction, so I dealt with the size. What I didn't like about the Powerstar was that you had to tilt this over 300 lbs or more machine to empty the oil. Jim and I couldn't do it so we had to pay someone to do it.

For one Bluebird who spoke well of the brand, he also reported a long list of needed maintenance and rebuilds over time. Another poster with a Venco  which also had heavy duty, long term use, had no where near the same maintenance or rebuilds. The Bailey has a new pugmill which looks good on paper, but they don't have a size small enough for my current needs.

The Peter Pugger is the one I zeroed in on. It's the perfect size - only 3feet long and 14inches high and deep. It will fit on a heavy metal table I  already have, and it doesn't have those messy screens to clean. Four small bolts remove the shell for easy access to the auger blades for cleaning, and there's even a temperature control.  When the machine is closed up the clay will stay moist a very long time. With my old Bluebird, I had to stuff the hopper and exit with wet towels, and plastic to keep the clay from drying out. It's small but with it's capability to pug and deair 500 lbs of clay an hour, is more clay that I or any working solo, studio potter would need.

And since I also sold my clay mixer, the Peter Pugger will be great reclaiming dry and wet clay as well. Most of the reviews were very good, with the exception of someone using it for porcelain who felt that the clay lost it's plasticity; but it could have been because he over mixed it, which another owner said, would cause that problem. Doing a short e-mixing with a bit more water was recommended as a fix.

I think you need to read up on all of them and do some one line queries for people who may own the ones you're considering. From what I can see, the PeterPugger is the only one that is that small that can reclaim dry scraps as well as pug and de-air clay.

These are pricy machines, but at some point you have to determine if, as in my case, you aging, aching body is worth it. And since I know that once I hang it up, the pug mill will have no trouble finding a new home, recouping some of my initial investment.

The Peter Pugger pictured is the one I'm ordering from the manufacturer. Since I'm paying cash, he'll ship it for free. They also have the option of time payments if needed or desired. I compared the total price to other on line prices and the manufacturer is the best deal. Some may give a little discount on the list price, but charge much more for shipping and may not give a cash discount. I think there may be the advantage of perhaps getting the machine quicker because I ordered directly from them. In case of any problem I won't have to deal with third parties.

Delivery was my concern, but because this machine is only about 185 lbs crated, he said the UPS or Fedex people would just put it on a cart and bring it to the house, as long as I'm here, which wouldn't be a problem to arrange.

It took me until one o'clock this afternoon to get household and garden things, including meetings with the garden man to get the drip system set up done. Now it's time to get this won ton soup heated up for lunch and hopefully I can get those mug handles pulled and on to pots this afternoon.

It's looking like another one of those "where did the time go", kind of days.

Tuesday, April 09, 2013

More earthenware eye candy

 Here's the days earthenware eye candy -a few mugs and a cup.. From the top, Victoria Christen, Tony Clennell, Martina Lantin, Ron Philbeck

So much great and diversified work is now being down with earthenware, from the simplest of decor from people like Courtney Murphy to the more heavily decorated majolica from Linda Arbuckle and others.

On a personal level, I still haven't figured out the direction I want to go with this new leap into earthenware. The sgrafitto pots can be a delight. Just look at the wonderful work that Ron Philbeck has done with his joyous characters or the complex sgraffito patterning that others are doing. And then there's the huge selection of underglazes to be used with abandon or precision, or slips and glazes without any added design, or slip trailing that is being done so beautifully by Hannah McAndrew and Doug Fitch - so many things to choose from - maybe too many.

Yesterday I got some studio time in between everything else. The clay was still a bit harder after wetting it down, but doable. This morning I'm going to get on line and check pricing on the small, Peter Pugger. Yesterday Jim said "when are you going to order that pug mill". I have been dragging my feet on it, but that hard clay the past two days was enough to get me moving. I like the fact that I can use the Peter Puggere to reclaim dry scraps as well. The fact that they have a really small one for my limited space was another consideration. I have the perfect, heavy table, in the right place for it, so it's time to do some price comparisons.

Studio heat is on, pots checked and seedlings watered. Hopefully these pots which I left uncovered overnight will dry enough now that the heat is on, to be trimmed later. Today or tomorrow I need to make time to get some of my tomato seedlings transplanted into bigger peat pots. Even with a second grow light I'm hoping I won't run out of room for them before it's time to get them planted outdoors.

Later this afternoon I have to get over to our sons place to harvest some asparagus and then it's a dinner night out at the local Chinese restaurant. This is definitely another one of my smorgasbord kind of days. This time of year, every day seems to be a juggling act between studio, plant and garden chores, animal care, household chores, cooking and shopping.

Monday, April 08, 2013

Earthenware eye candy

 Here are a couple of earthenware yunomis. The first one is Campbell Hagan and the second is Clary Illian,  and third one down is Diane Kenny

Slept late because I was up till midnight  with computer chores. I finally figured out, up to a point how to get this Justcloud on line file saving to work, and was able to get some of my documents into a Sync folder which is on both my laptops, and worked all that time transferring some of my documents. The Sync folder only has limited file saving, so this is going to be a long, tedious every night process.

Now that seedlings are watered, email done, people and critters fed, and yesterdays few pots uncovered,   the studio  should be warm enough for human occupancy. Last night I got two pugs of clay watered down by slicing and dipping and hopefully the clay will be  a lot easier to wedge and throw with these arthritic bones. If I was twenty years younger that freshly purchased clay would still have been too hard to use.

Why did I sell my clay mixer and pugmill. :-(

Saturday, April 06, 2013

Ruthanne Tudball unique centering technique for plates and platters.

Here's a Ruthanne Tudball video showing s different way to center clay for a plate or platter. With this method, you only just have to center the rim if you want a traditional, round. If you don't want to center the rim, you can just leave it slightly off center and get an interesting reticulated edge, with a bit more visual movement.

There hasn't been a lot of time for the studio, but I did get a bucket of very pale, Titanium yellow slip  batched and dipped a few small pots and got a couple of test tiles dipped. This yellow slip was the one our daughter picked from all the yellows I tested, which she felt more closely matched her commercial set of dishes that she uses for her tea parties. So now I'm just waiting for these to dry so I can get them bisqued in the tiny test kiln and make sure the batch matches the original test before I throw her requested tea pot.

The house, major computer cleanup, finally figuring out how to backup using Jcloud and seedling care kept me busy yesterday. This morning was spent sketching some decorating ideas for some more yunomis and mugs I want to throw tomorrow. I've been backing up my files for over 30 hours and have less than 40% of them backed up. Seems I would have to pay more to speed up the backup. I think stand alone hard drives are the same price and work a lot faster.

An order of under glazes, along with a lovely liner brush and brush holder arrived from Dick Blicks this afternoon, so I headed to the studio and got those  under glazes on to a bisqued test tile and got the slipped pots cleaned up.

After making a nice pasta dinner and enjoying the lovely wine that Jim selected, I'm ready to retreat to the bedroom for some mindless Brit coms for the rest of the night. It's been a good day.


Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Spring is busting out all over.

Spring is busting out all over - trees flowering, the leaves on my Japanese maples are opening and there are already flower buds on my clematis vines.

Been moving at snails pace the past two days. We're both dealing with infectious colds and probably allergies as well, and the blahs that go with it all.

Yesterday morning I downloaded the Linda Arbuckle video which I really enjoyed. She's a very good teacher and even though I probably won't be doing majolica, I was very interested in some of the techniques, design considerations, brush choices, etc.

I got a tiny bit of studio time yesterday just to label some things and make some lists; but had to cut that short because my only grow light stopped working and I had to deal with that. The rest of my day was  cooking, animal care, getting my seedlings in and out and watered, doing email, computer cleanup,some sketching and taking fist fulls of vitamins and some oscillococcinum.

This morning was more of the same - getting a second grow light set up, moving the larger seedlings outdoors, breakfast, shower, email and trying to get my wireless keyboard to work which has been an on again, off again, as it seems to be slowly dying like this Dell laptop. My son-in-law suggested I looked in Asus, so I'm going to check that soon.

Since it's going to be 77 degrees today, when Jim gets back from a meeting with our insurance man, he suggested lunch out (good idea), so off we'll go to the Thai restaurant, followed by a quick stop at the grocery store to pick up some ingredients for the faro salad I want to make tonight, and then a stop at our sons ranch to pick up the jacket I left there Sunday, and to cut whatever asparagus are ready.

If time allows, and I'm up to it when we get home, I have a couple of small things to plant. A fragrant double blooming hosta that I bought on ebay has to be potted as well. Then it will be time for dinner prep and then get back to doing my couch potato imitation after dinner, to do email, and computer filing and cleanup.

Monday, April 01, 2013

Check out the New York Times homage to the bowl - lots of photos to see and you can add your own favorite as well!

After a couple of weeks of house guests and holiday partying, heavy duty garden chores, and cooking my body is screaming "sit down and be a couch potato for a day", so I am taking heed and doing just that. So, other than feeding us and our furry kids, taking care of my seedlings, feeding my sour dough starter, ingesting a lot of vitamin c, and making a loaf of breakfast bread, I'm staying put on this sofa. There's a lot of computer filing and cleanup to do and some on line ordering to do which should guarantee that I stay put for a good portion of the day.

I'm also going to treat myself to the Linda Arbuckle video download and learn more about majolica techniques.

Mother Nature is watering the garden for me today and it looks like we're in for a few days of this rain.  So after this self indulgent day of rest and lots of vitamins, with no house guests, parties or appointments for the rest of the week, I should be re-charged and ready to get back to work tomorrow.

First, I need to feed my starter and then, let the couch potato day begin.