Friday, September 26, 2014

John Glick selling contents of his studio

John Glick is selling the contents of his studio. He's moving to California to be near family. Here's a link to some photos of some of his equipment and ontact information:
John Glick
Plum Tree Pottery
30435 W. Ten Mile Rd.
Farmington Hills, MI 48336
Plum Tree Pottery

We finally got some very much needed rain the other day. It was an all day rain that gave us an inch of water - enough to put out a lot of those fires.

With our daughter visiting for the week it will be like a little vacation for us as well. There will be lots of shopping for things she can't get in Germany, lots of home cooking and dining out, and a lot of good old down town enjoying each other. We had dinner at the Mexican restaurant last night. Evidently Germany doesn't have any decent Mexican restaurants. Erin told us that the first time she ordered nachos there, she was served some plain taco chips with what looked like Chinese sweet sauce. There wasn't a speck of cheese to be found anywhere on the plate. That was the first sign that it wasn't going to be a pleasing dining experience! So we will go back for at least one more visit to the local Mexican restaurant before she leaves.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Clay of the gods

I'd love to get my hands on some of that local, Turkish clay that he's using. I'm a bit doubtful that he and the other potters at this pottery could do that with any of our over processed, commercial clay bodies; but I could very well be wrong.

After morning house and garden chores, I changed focus to electronic chores, and solved the problem and got my iPod touch to send emails. First I had to fool it by typing in a wrong email address, which was the only way to get the screen to pop up and give me the option of either IMAP or POP. I never would have figured that out for myself, but Googling the problem, finally, turned up this solution. Thank goodness for all those computer geniuses out there in cyber land.
Next job was to read the booklet on the new dvd/vcr player recorder, so I could test dubbing. Unfortunately, it turns out that it won't work with the current HDMI cable setup. It has to use the conventional cables that came with the unit, and of course, it says that you also need an  RCA component cable that doesn't come with the unit. So I'll have to put that chore off till I can either buy one of those or see if I have one in my huge pile old old computer and boom box cables and connectors. TIme to head to the office and dig through all those old cables. Maybe I'll get lucky this time.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Lovely Clive Bowen video

Clive">">Clive Bowen 'Born, not made' - film about British slipware potter
from Goldmark">">Goldmark Gallery on Vimeo.">Vimeo.>
Goldmark gallery also has a show of his work right now and there are some wonderful pots on that page. Here's a link to that show: Clive Bowen show at Goldmark gallery

As for me, I'm dealing with computer stuff. Spent the past two days figuring out how to get around the problems of the new ITunes software so I could sync my iPod. Then there was a full day of changing passwords, since the card with the new passwords, mysteriously disappeared from the only place I keep it. I tore the bedroom apart, to no avail, and since I didn't know if it made itself in someone else's hands, I had no recourse than to change all the passwords. Fortunately, I had saved many of them and remembered a few.

After breakfast and my own garden watering chores, we have to drive to our sons place to harvest veggies, since these computer issues made me cancel that job the past two days. Then I'll have to process all those beans when I get home. With our daughter arriving Tuesday, I'm also behind in getting the house in shape. Fortunately, the house is clean and not a total disaster, I just have to tidy up my books and papers and finishing clearing some of the stuff on the kitchen counters.

Time for breakfast, watering and then off to the river. With Jim driving, I'll use the car time to re-set my iPod touch, which is only offering IMAP instead of Pop, which is what is causing the problem of me not being able to send emails from that device, so I have to fiddle with it. I think last time this happened I had to delete all email accounts. Sometimes I long for those days without computers. I wonder if it's too late to become a luddite!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Unique way to alter a rim

Here's another nice video click from Ceramic Arts daily of  unique way of altering a rim.

Our daughter Erin is coming in four days so I'm trying to get this house in shape as well as dealing with the usual garden and kitchen chores. Our kitchen island right now looks more like a potting shed, with a lot of garden stuff taking up half of the working surface, so this afternoon I'll be re-organizing our small garden shed to hopefully find space for those things.

Since she's going to be going home with a suitcase full of my pots that I've yet to photograph properly, one of the things I want to do is get my photo setup back up in the guest bedroom. I took it down a while back when we had to do some work in there. Unfortunately, it's the only place I have room to set it up so the setup is always going to be a temporary thing, being removed when house guests arrive. Ah, the joys of cutting down!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Fires continue and getting worse

The Gold Hill fire has grown to over 3,000 plus acres in the past two days and the Weed one is over 10,000 acres. Over 150 houses and structures have burned in the Weed fire and thank God, no lives have been lost.

It was too smoky to work on the kiln yesterday. My lungs had taken in enough smoke during morning  gardening chores at two gardens, so I retreated to the safety of our air conditioned house and found enough kitchen and other chores to keep me busy for the rest of the day.

I checked the pilot orifice on the Olympic kiln, and re-drilled it just to make sure it was correct. There was a bit of resistance which was probably because it needed a bit of clean up. That and going through some cone 6 soda slip and possible glaze recipes and making a bunch of notes topped off the evening chores. I still have more paperwork to do with that little job; but it's not a rush chore since I have a lot of cone 10 pots still to fire one of these days.

Mark Knott shared some of his recipes with me a while back and I needed to write those down and compare them to the same recipes I have. Some recipes were the same and others seem to be modifications for cone 6 or other versions. I also went through some of my glaze recipes books to find some cone 6 versions of temmoku, oribe, shinos and a few other likely candidates. Looks like I'll be batching a lot of cone 6 soda slips and glazes this winter.

 Time to solve yet another computer problem - downloaded the latest iTunes software yesterday which then removed an important file and so far I haven't found a recommended fix that has worked. And now I'm getting an error message trying to update the software on my iPod touch as well as having problem synching it. Good thing I have leftovers for dinner, so I'm free to waste my afternoon on Apples software problems. Oh joy - not! Maybe I manifested this so I won't have to do an over do clean out of the vegetable bin in the fridge. :-(

Monday, September 15, 2014

Clary Illian interview video

Looks like today will be as busy as yesterday. After morning garden chores and breakfast I'll be working on finishing up the plumbing on the little Olympic kiln. Then once George the handyman finishes the staining on parts of the fence, and after our leftover tacos lunch I've got to drive to our sons place and do some garden work in the vegetable garden. The newer planted beans are coming in full force now and the tomatoes although slowing down, are still coming in abundance between both gardens.

On the way home it will be a quick stop for a couple of things for tonight's dinner and a few birthday cards.

I might take a nap when I get home, since my body in recent weeks has decided that napping is a good thing to do, and then it will be time to start on tonight's comfort food dinner of Salisbury steak with a mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and of course, green beans.

Well, that's it for another busy retirement day. Lately I've been thinking about retirement communities. Maybe it's because some neighbors are making that move in a few months, or maybe I'm just a bit more tired than I'd like to admit.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sunday a day of rest?

Sunday so far has not been a day of rest. Since George the handyman woke up to a dead battery in his car, my morning was now free to do some garden cleanup after breakfast.

When George and his now working car arrived around noon, we took the little Olympic gas kiln off the stand, and he went off to the other job of power washing parts of our fence and our outdoor table and chairs while I wire brushed  the pilot bar and some of the other piping, ground down one of my trim tool points and cleaned out every hole in the pilot bar and put the kiln back together. Afterwards, I realized that I could probably handle the weight of those kiln sections by myself, since it was no problem to put it back together alone. So, next time it will be a one woman job.

Tomorrow morning I'll install the new thermocouple and turn the kiln on for a bit to make sure that the baso valve really is bad, before I iremove it and nstalll the new one.It's just too hot out there right now to deal with it and besides,  it's time to get some early dinner prep done. It's a taco and margartia night, so I've got to get started making some salsa and getting the toppings and filling made.

I've replaced the dead dvd/vcr player recorder and  have been solving some of the problems which the TV guy couldn't fix. It cost $150 for him to pronounce the old unit dead, and then proclaiming this new one "dead out of the box" because the video tape wouldn't play. Seems it's a bit fussy about following a sequence before it will play, which I discovered; but just in case it wasn't just a fluke that I got it to work, I have another ten or eleven days to return it to Best Buy. Now I just have to free up some time to test transferring an old video tape to a blank dvd.  Don't tell Toshiba, but at this point, I'd be happy if it just played those old video tapes and dvds!


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

It's a chicken little couple of weeks.

It's not exactly that the sky is falling, but I wouldn't be surprised if it did the way things have been going the past couple of weeks. Part of the  strangeness we've been dealing with is what seems like all the mechanical things failing or dying in our house. First it was the leak in the pool heater, then two of my three stand alone hard drives dying the same day, then the air conditioning going out (the repair man is here right now in the hot attic replacing a coil). Then the leak in what we thought was the one year old water filter/alkalizing system turned out to be the garbaretor and that was replaced two days ago. Then  two nights ago when we went to watch a dvd, our two year old Samsung dvd/vcr player wasn't working and after a phone consultation with the repair man he said that it  looks like, his words, that the  player has gone south. But Jim being ever optimistic wants him to come and look at it just in case, so we're expecting him today or tomorrow for confirmation. And of course, let's not forget the occurrence that started this non stop sequence of failures - the baso valve dying in the middle of my soda firing week before last. And of course, my own body seeming to go south with a bad gash and intestinal virus which thank goodness, seem to have slowly decided to not live her anymore, plus a return of the problem I had with reflux which the surgery had cured and is now back; but since I still have the medication on hand, I'll wait a while before getting that looked at again.

The replacement baso valve and new thermocouple arrived yesterday. And the day before, the plumber, after installing the garburetor, made time to remove the kiln burners for me. He also found that the pilot burner was not sitting in there properly, so that may have been why I was getting all that back burning from that burner.

I wrote Olympic and got the information on the right orifice sizes for the main burners and pilot burner and they seem to be fine, so now I just have to get the whole thing cleaned up and put back together.

The handyman should be coming over the weekend, to do some power washing and staining on our fence, which the homeowners association has just informed us needs doing, but first, I'll have him help me lift that kiln off the stand so I can wire brush the pilot bar, clean out the holes, get the pilot burner back on and the new baso valve installed. Since we're still looking at a week of 90 degree daytime highs, I'm not in a rush to fire an uncovered, kiln on the south side of the house. In the meantime there's plenty of garden and kitchen chores to deal with until then, and keeping my fingers crossed and hope that the universe doesn't have any more fix it or replace it projects in our near future. We've had enough of this kind of excitement and check writing for a while!

For now, I need to get my hand watering done and be ready for write a check for the air conditioning repair man.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Down time activities

Taking a post gardening, pre tomato sandwich lunch break. I've been feeling crappy for over two weeks so I've been behind in my plant feeding which I finally made a big dent in this morning.

I've been using this down time dealing with the loss of two of my 3 stand alone hard drives. The Samsung is totally kaput (no sign of life at all), and Toshiba says I have to format it but won't format and gives me other drive error messages and so far, can't find a fix for it. It's a bit suspicious that this all happened at the same time of some windows and other updates. I'm tired of these badly made, stand alone hard drives and maybe it's time to step it up a notch and spend a bit more money on something with a better track record. How come they can made hard drive for computers that last 3 years or more and can't make stand alone ones that barely make it through a year or less! I might take the Samsung apart and put the drive in a different case and see if I can get it to work. It's never boring with computer hardware in ones life.

I've also been going through glaze books and test tiles and starting a Facebook group called Soda and Salt firing. In two weeks the group has had well over 200 people joining, so I've been putting a lot of soda and glaze information in the folders on the groups Timeline page. Starting this  was prompted with me giving up my paid web page a  couple of weeks ago, since they no longer support my software, and the fact that I'm not getting any younger and wanted to get a lot of this information out there for others to use and share while I'm still on the planet. So it seemed a good idea to put it somewhere where it could be easily accessed. Other members are also contributing glaze, slip and other soda and salt firing related information which is really great.

I have a similar group on Yahoo that I started several years ago, but Facebook is much more accessible. In fact it was one of the members of my Yahoo group that made the suggestion that I start a group on Facebook. I also like the fact that when a member puts  a photo in a post, Facebook automatically puts it in a permanent group, photo folder. And every member can also create perssonal files and folders. It's a good system.

We have no big plans for this somewhat lazy Sunday.  I took some of my gumbo out of the freezer for dinner, and we're planning on watching the US Open women's final, and enjoying this laid back Sunday.. Next week I need to batch a couple of cone 6 recipes that I want to test in my little electric test kiln. I'm hoping to find a few that would work as well in cone 6 oxidation as well as cone 6 soda, just in case, I want to continue to do a couple of soda firings a year in that small Olympic kiln.

A couple of days ago I went through all the cone 6 tests tiles that I took with me when we moved; and I was surprised by how many of them seem to be possible candidates for soda firing because of their high calcium, magnesium, barium and/or boron content - the materials that will repel soda if the amount of one or a combination of those is in the 15 -20% range. Of course, the colors will change in the soda, but that's why we test, tweak, and test some more.

When we moved to Oregon, I discarded all of my Cone 10 Reduction and most of my soda test tiles and all of my glaze test batches, so I need to start weighing out new ones. This week I'll get some cone  6 clay and throw new test tiles. I have a few bisqued cone 6 test tiles, glazed or with flashing slips ready to fire, but those are mainly slips and celadons for soda and reduction, and most are on clay bodies not available locally.  I'll  get some Cone 6 B mix in the next day or two, which seems like the most likely clay body candidate that's available here. The only other one is a P5 porcelain, which probably wouldn't make it to cone 6 -7, and wouldn't be as good a throwing body as the BMix.. The reason I want one of these porcelain type bodies, is that I found that porcelain  and porcelain type bodies like BMix and Loafers Glory which I some times used in North Carolina, give the best melt and  color response with flashing slips at cone 6 and 7. 

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

What a difference a clay makes

I posted this photo on my Facebook Soda and salt firing group this morning, to show just  how much a clay body affects the color of slips and glazes. This is the same cone 10 soda slip fired in the same kiln. The tile on the left is Phoenix, a buff stoneware and the tile on the right is Helios porcelain.

The porcelain one has such a lovely finish that I think this might be a good candidate for cone 6-7 soda firing.

Unfortunately, I left most of my cone 10 test tiles when we moved west and now I wish I had kept more of them. At the time the cost of paying sixty cents a pound to ship test tiles that I didn't think I'd ever need again, just didn't make any sense. I did think I had saved more than the tiny group I found this morning, but have not found them anywhere. So either they went missing as did some other things in our move or the trickster gnomes or fairies or whoever makes us mortals scratch our heads when things go missing, have hidden them in places yet to be revealed.

This morning I'm sorting the test tiles I do have on hand - a few cone 10 soda/salt tiles, a small group of cone 6 soda tests and later I'll go through my old cone 6 oxidation tests and pull out some likely ones for future use and check the recipes and  pull some likely candidates for cone 6 soda firing.

This morning is  a good time to do this sorting job since it's a bit too cool yet to do my morning hand watering and harvesting, and  I can't do any studio work until the parts arrive and the soda kiln plumbing gets done and those soda pots get fired and out of the studio.

Well, time to think about breakfast and test tile sorting and note taking before the air conditioner repair man arrives. The afternoon is for cooking. It's either going to be a tasty, comfort, biscuit topped chicken casserole or lamb shanks for dinner; but I think I'm leaning toward the chicken tonight. It feels like a biscuit kind of day.

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Still waiting

Just got an email from Olympic kilns that the baso valve and thermcouple I ordered about a week ago were just shipped and wont' be here till the 9th. And since I'll have to get a plumber out here to work on the kiln plumbing that's frozen, it will be a while before I can get this little soda kiln fired. Guess it's another good opportunity to practice patience - not my strong suit!

It's probably just as well (trying to see the glass half full), since I'm needing to spend a lot more time in the kitchen processing all these veggies for the freezer. This morning I'll be making another batch of pesto sauce and after lunch I think I'll skip the creme brulee and make an apple crisp since there's no room in the fridge for these ripe apples!

The rest of the day will be for more cooking and working on some glaze chemistry to see if I can re-formulate some cone 10 soda glazes to cone 6-7. It's a good job to do while half watching the U.S. Open tennis.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Kitchen and garden days continue

Waiting for the water to boil so I can get a few tomatoes skinned and processed for another small batch of  pizza sauce. Yesterday I made the stewed apples and they're in the freezer; but there are still more apples to use up, so if I have the energy when we get home from our son and daughter-in-laws place, and a quick grocery stop, I might make an apple crisp for tonight, since there's no more room in the fridge to store them! The creme brulee has to wait for tomorrow since I don't have enough eggs and cream on hand.

Jim didn't groan when I handed him another tomato lunch yesterday - a thick slice of a Brandywine tomato, salt and peppered, then drizzled with olive oil, topped with a generous slice of mozzarella with another drizzle of olive oil, a couple of drops of Balsamic vinegar and topped with baby basil leaves. Today I'll give him a tomato rest, since I've harvested enough padrone peppers for a light, tapas lunch. The Spaniards are geniuses with so many of these simple and so delicious tapas foods.

As you can see, with all these veggies and now fruits coming in, cooking is taking most of my spare time and energy at the moment. I'm going to be very happy when fall arrives and these gardens can be put to bed. The Farmers Almanac says it's going to be another very cold winter, so we might get an early freeze this year - something I usually dread, but not this year. It would be very welcome!

Time to make the pizza sauce and get some beans processed for the freezer.