Sunday, August 31, 2014

Play days

Sometimes you just need a play day or even just a half of a play day. Yesterday was a half a play day with our son taking me on a guided fishing trip on the Rogue. I met him at 6:30am and shortly after we were on the river with the guide. It was a lovely, coolish morning for fishing or just cruising down the the beautiful Rogue, through the gentle rapids at times and enjoying the enjoying the scenery, and alone time with my beautiful son.

We fished with bait, plugs and a few other setups with the aim being,  to catch steel head and salmon. The fishing wasn't great for us and didn't seem to be for others we passed on the way. We caught a few cut throats and trout but no keepers and nothing we used could tempt a single salmon; but the day and river awarded us with wonderful sightings of some herons, many ducks, and several osprey as well as the usual, exquisite views in and around the river and of course, the great weather.

The guide dropped us off at our sons boat ramp around 12:30, where Jim and Bodhi were waiting to drive me home; but first there was some fruit to pick. The pears and apples were ready for harvesting, so I picked just enough for us to eat some fresh and some for  cooking and left the rest for others to enjoy.

After morning watering chores and breakfast,  I'll be making some stewed apples for the freezer. I'm not sure what I'll do with the extra pears - maybe make a creme brulee tomorrow with poached pears on top with a sugar threads topping for the pears, or maybe just cook and freeze them tomorrow. I also have to figure out what to do with these ripe tomatoes - maybe another small batch of pizza sauce for the freezer with some and some beefsteak slices with mozzarella and fresh basil with a bit of vinaigrette for lunch.  Jim has just about had it with tomatoes this time of year, so it's time to freeze more or get more creative.

With all these pears and apples available to me, I was wishing that I hadn't given away my fruit dehydrator a few years ago; but on second thought, I was relieved that others will be able to process much of this fruit.

I was wiped after over five hours of fishing and wound up taking a 2 hour nap when I got home. This body is still not where it should be energy wise, so I've decided not to fight it and just let it rest as needed till it makes up it's mind to re-join the living.. Or maybe this is just what it's going to be from my mid 70's on.  My friend Kay sells some very good supplements and since she's going to be 80 in about two weeks, and a dynamo (the perfect advertisement for her products), I'll start taking some of those supplements today that are supposed to make me feel like 20 again. Frankly, I'd be happy if they just made me feel like 70 again! 

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Funk isn't just a ceramic movement

So many people in a funk lately, including two of my favorite bloggers, so what the heck is going on! I haven't blogged for the past 11 days because I've been dealing with my own funk. The way the past 2 weeks have gone, I feel like the guy in the old joke, who stands up in the filled stadium and says, "ten thousand people and the bird had to shit on me!".

Of course it could be worse. It always can be; but the past two weeks have made me want to stop the world and get off. Kiln shutting off at 700 and then almost 1000 degrees, and having to abort my soda firing, unloading it next day and re-wadding everything, then getting a deep gash on my pinkie trying to deal with frozen kiln plumbing. I switched gears fast, put a double bandage on the ever bleeding pinkie and glazed enough earthenware pots to  fire the electric kiln. Next day was for unloading, pricing and packing and going off to the yearly luncheon show that was a total dud. So far, no positive change in what the universe was sending my way.

It doesn't help to sell anything to a group of retired women with houses already filled with stuff, and it's especially not conducive for people to want to look at members work, when one member of the club has a stroke in the middle of lunch. The poor dear passed away the next day. Well, at least this 74 year old, well worn body was still moving; but barely.

Next morning I woke up feeling like someone had sucked every ounce of energy out of me and I spend all day sleeping on and off dealing at the same time with intense stomach pains and a low grade fever and wondering "What now!". After three days of that, it seemed to be leaving but I was still darined. Self diagnosis, made it pretty clear it had been an intestinal virus. Evidently, they last 3 days, so I figured I'd better get back to living.

The past few days I've been dealing with catching up on food shopping, dealing with garden maintenance and the  abundance from two gardens, making pizza sauce, marinara sauce and today, a tomato based vegetable, macaroni soup. Yesterday was the first day I felt like my energy was coming back, so now I'm checking out the weather report for the next ten days and starting to think about firing that little soda kiln as soon as the replacement baso valve arrives and I can get someone to deal with that frozen kiln plumbing. I have one, still a bit store, scarred pinkie to prove that some things are best left to the professionals!

PS: I did make some good use of that down time. I started a Soda and Salt firing group on Facebook that now has about 140 or more members.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

The Good the bad and the ugly

The firing is kind of what I expected with a couple of unpleasant surprises, which is why the blog today it titled "the good, the bad and the ugly!

 The best pot, or my favorite in the firing is this tiny test cup. Like Mary Poppins, it's practically perfect in every way. I love the color and design combination and will use it on larger cups and bowls as soon as I can throw again.

 Jim and I love this bowl which I made for us since my only big bowl met it's demise a month or more ago when it become at one with the kitchen tiled floor and broke into enough pieces that only a mosaic artist could appreciate. I'll put a big price tag on it and that should keep someone from buying it tomorrow. I love how brushing the slips with the intent of having some of the red clay show through works, so I'll be doing more of that. My pea green mason stain, used in a low percentage is a slip color I will keep. I love it and it works well with the gold.

  • Since I no longer can have chickens, I'm enjoying putting them on some pots. My real ones always made me smile, so hopefully others will enjoy seeing them on some of this work.

The bad:

One of the bad ones is this bowl with the Axner red under glazes crawling, pooling and running; and I have no idea why this happened.


Another bad puzzler is why the bisqued slip and well dried glaze jumped off this pot in the firing. It is certainly a puzzlement. It happened on a couple of the pots. I'd love to know what caused this so I can avoid it in the future. I'm just grateful that I made a lot of small experimental pots at this early state of my working with earthenware. It certainly is a different experience than high fire and soda fired work.

I will spare you the ugly!  Actually, there was only one ugly - just way too much of a good thing because I didn't know when to stop decorating! All was well until I decide it need a bright blue center. Bad decision!

When I opened the electric kiln to see how the firing went. I already knew that there was a problem with the Ayumi slip on many of the pots. I slipped some of those at the pretty hard leather hard stage and when bisqued, the slip crazed. A lesson learned on this earthenware journey. But, I wasn't expecting to see the other problems that showed up in this firing. It was definitely a WTF moment looking at some of these pots.

Some pots as one example shown above, had little chunks of slip and glaze pop off.  I glazed yesterday, dried the pots outside and then fired with a 6 hour hold at 100 degrees just to make sure they were dry, and continued with a slow firing after that.I was sure that would work, and it did for most of the pots.

Some under glazes crawled and even ran on a flat plate in one instance (like the bird house pot above). The pots were clean, and sponged before glazing, so why did this happen on some of the pots? Was the under glaze applied too thick, or is cone 03 too high for them? But probably not the temperature since some others were fine fired at the same temperature. It's a mystery to be solved and re-solved.

Some of the under glazes applied to bisque and glazed over, were dry. Another WTF moment, since the rest of the pot was fine but the handle or knob on one pot not. These pots were dipped, so why was the same color under glaze dry on one part of the pot and not another?????? It's all a mystery right now.

The colors on the  test tiles were awful, but I wanted to test a 2% black iron version of a honey glaze on top of various slip colors to see how they would modify the colors. They did modify, but not only didn't offer anything, but made them look dull and brought in some funny speckling from the black iron on a few. Another good learning experience.

I'm eager to get back and make more pots now, since I do not give up easily  on anything; but this very injured pinkie has to heal before throwing, so maybe my initial attempt at soap making will come sooner than this fall. The swelling is down a bit more this morning, the purplish color is still present, but looks a bit more faded than yesterday. There's no pain and it doesn't feel like there's any nerve damage, so all is good. My only problem now is to figure out why those under-glazes acted the way they did. Hopefully some readers will come up with some helpful reasons and solutions for this under glaze problem. Please feel free to offer all opinions!

Monday, August 18, 2014

What a difference a day makes.

What a difference a day makes isn't just a line from a song! I thought I'd be useless yesterday after the finger trauma, but I perked up enough to get a couple of little test earthenware cups in the mini, one cu. ft test kiln And since my finger seemed to stop the heavy bleeding, and was no longer hurting,  and the clear glaze was made, I decided to start glazing and doing a bit of decorating on a few pots. The finger is still very swollen, and the purple, black and blue on the whole thing is starting to fade into a more softened version of the color combination, bordering more on light gray, and lavender. LOL

Since it wasn't made long ago, I didn't re-sieve the clear glaze, but mixed it well with my good  turbo mixer and am hoping for the best. It was time to take some calculated risks and short cuts if I have any hope of having pots for Wednesdays show. Over the years I've learned to not make the pots so precious that I'm not afraid to lose them.

As I glazed the pots, they were put in the sun and with it, along with a little help from my heat gun, I felt comfortable loading them after dinner. Checking the weather, and getting an all clear, I decided to fire overnight with a very slow firing just to make sure they were as dry as they seemed. So a first ramp of 100 degrees an hour with a 6 hour hold, and then proceeding a bit normally after that seemed like a good choice.

At 2:30 am I was awakened by the sound of thunder and then saw the flashing of lightning coming through the bedroom window. So much for the clear weather report. A short, sense of panic arose not just for the electric kiln but the gas soda kiln.

Jim had covered the small soda kiln with a tarp, but couldn't wheel it next to the house (he didn't know I had locked the wheels). So there I was in the middle of night risking getting hit by lightning while unlocking the wheels and pushing the kiln against the house. Good thing, because I noticed a tear in the tarp and it was right on top, so I got a big bat and put that over the tear. The storm, so far, wasn't bringing any rain (it's those dry storms that cause these August fires on the west coast), and the electric kiln was still going, so I decided to let it continue firing, since it seemed the thunder and lightning was moving west and on it's way out, I hoped!

The kiln was still going this morning and is now 1070 degrees. So far so good. The little test pots in the tiny kiln were not great. I fired them to cone 03 and that might have been too high for that glaze. All three had the same amber glaze over black slip; but two had pin holes and one was perfect. There's only one small cup with this glaze in the larger kiln and the rest of the clear glaze, so I'm hoping the pots will be OK with the longer firing and a 15 minute soak at the end. It's time to cross the fingers and maybe ask for some heavenly help!

With summer starting to wind down I'm hoping that I can get a bit more on top of this earthenware. I've certainly learned a lot with just a few firings, and have a long list of to do's and not to do's, and add to the list with every firing. The Ayumi slip I'm using doesn't seem to like being applied to firm leather hard pots (got cracking on drying on the thinly applied slip). Also learned that you have to be very careful slipping pots and be very thorough cleaning the slip off unwanted section, because even a slight shadow of remain slip will show through under the clear glaze over the red body. These clear glaze want to be quite thin (not sure I have that one done pat). In the current firing I dipped some and brushed some. It will be interesting to see how this first attempt at brushing glazes went.

The rest of my day is going to be spent with cooking after morning garden chores and breakfast. I have a lot of eggplant and other garden produce that I should be cooking today and the next couple of days. Since we have leftovers tonight, I think I'll make an Italian marinated appetizer with one or two of the eggplants and save the others for eggplant parmesan on another day. Our daughter-in-law sent Jim home with three packages of mozzarella that she didn't get to use while they were here for a few days, as well as other garden veggies I gave her, so the eggplant parmesan and pizza will definitely be on this weeks dinner menu. Somewhere in there will be cucumber salad or one kind or another.

The garden awaits!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Never too old to stop dreaming

Decided to not get this deep gash stitched up, so I sat up with my hand above my heart till bedtime to slow down the bleeding; but added three more band aids to protect the sheets. This morning I cut off the band aids and cleaned the area. It's still oozing a tiny bit but I think it will close on its own in another day or so. The swelling hasn't gone down and the  black and blue from being traumatized is now on the whole pinkie, but it feels a whole lot better than it did last night and the cut area looks a lot better.

Needless to say I didn't get to say goodbye to our son and his family. Jim drove our grandson home and brought back some lovely brownies our daughter in law made. Fortunately I had a mac n' cheese in the freezer and a lovely big beefsteak tomato that I harvested in the morning, so we managed to have a comfort food dinner and finished off a lovely bottle of Seghesi Zinfandel with it all.

Our daughter-in-law has left us a leftover dinner care package of pulled pork which we'll pick up this afternoon so I get a dinner kitchen break tonight.

Since it looks like I won't have to sit with my hand above my heart today, I'll get my morning hand watering done and after breakfast get back out to the kiln and continue spraying the liquid wrench, which is what I started doing before I got attacked by that concrete brick the size of a double hard fire brick. Hopefully the liquid wrench application will help the plumber remove those burners so I can clean the orifices and also get that bar that they are attached to unscrewed, and moved so that the burners will sit upright and be centered in the ports.

Jim, my sweet husband said "just get a new kiln". That would be nice, but Olympic is the only company these days making these small gas kilns which is the only kind I can have here. If circumstances were different, I would build another soda kiln, but since they're not I just have to deal with what I have to finish firing these bisqued soda pots and probably just focus on the electric kiln after that.

These hobby type, small Olympic gas kilns with the upward facing burners and insulating firebrick won't last long with soda firing. I think it will last long enough for me to get all these pots fired but who knows. If it lasts that long and goes even longer, then I'll switch to cone 6 soda. My other option would be to look for a free, non working, larger electric kiln and set it up with a single, quality, powerful burner  coming in from the side, and hitting the center of the floor placed target brick to disperse the heat and flame. I could probably use the current stand which I put on rollers, to hold it - just might have to put a piece of steel slightly larger than the stand to hold a larger kiln. I guess there are always options. Another possibility is to use the current stand, put a heavy steel plate over it and build myself an updraft  IFB kiln, first spraying the bricks on five sides with ITC 100, and use an ITC 100 treated, high alumina fire board for a lid  At my age and life circumstances, it may all be wishful thinking; but I figure that you're never too old to stop dreaming.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Blood sweat and groans

Got the kiln unloaded and of course the glue on the wadded pots had gone up the flue during the aborted firing, so I brought the pots on the shelves into the studio and got all the wads glued back on.

Then I installed the new thermocouple for the pilot burner and turned on the kiln. Fine so far, turned the heat up high no blue flame and a couple of seconds later the kiln shut down. So it look like I need a new baso valve.

I tried to clean out the orifices by reaching into the kiln with my make shift long piece of wood with a  thin sewing needle taped to the end. This has worked for 40 years, but I just couldn't feel the orifice opening, nor see it with the 3 flash lights I tried. I also noticed that the burners were not only slightly tilted, but not centered properly in the port openings. So I got out some pliers figuring I could loosen the bolts that hold the metal bar that the burners are attached to, and try to remove the burners to clean them. All the bolts are frozen. Being prepared for most studio problems, I went in to get some liquid wrench spray to unfreeze those bolts and as I was spraying, my left hand was in front of one of the wind screens, which was secured from wind with a very large, heavy brick.

Somehow I managed to hit the wind screen and it and the heavy brick came crashing down on top of the front of my left pinkie hitting the bottom edge of the nail and creating a deep gash in the finger. Intense pain, blood everywhere, ran to the studio to run finger under water, grab hand towel paper and get in the house for a better look, antiseptic and band aids and antibiotic cream. The pain was so intense that it made me nauseous. A tylenol or maybe just time made the severe pain go away after about twenty minutes. Now it's just aching.and a lovely color of blackish blue/purple but still bleeding.

Bottom line is I will not be firing this soda or any kiln for a few days at least. I hope when the plumber arrives he
can fix that plumbing, get those burners off and get the pipe they sit on shifted so that they will point straight up.

Time to change these band aids. It's been over a half an hour now with me sitting here with my left hand in the air most of the time, trying to slow it down. I sure hope I don't have to get stitches. It's the family's last night here before they head back to L.A. and I'd much rather be spending it with them, than at the emergency ward.

My daughter-in-laws step father and our friend Doctor Bob is on the way over to take a look at it. Maybe there's a special suture like tight bandage can close this gash. I certainly hope so.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Facebook soda group address correction and firing update

Here's the correct URL for the Soda and Salt firing group I started on Facebook:;

Seems the first group I started, was not a true group; but a community. Who knew there was a difference! This corrected one (a true group), now allows members posts to be in the main part of the page instead of off to the side. It also allows member to create albums to post photos of their kilns and work, and add files. Members also have the option of receiving emails whenever anyone posts or they can opt out of receiving those posts via email, and just check messages at their leisure on the Facebook, group home page. Ask to be invited if you are interested in soda or salt firing, or are planning to be involved in this type of firing in the future, or are just a fan of soda and salt firing.

Got my little, soda, test kiln loaded yesterday and candled overnight and then ran into the first problem around 700 and again at 900 degrees (kiln just shut off even though it was well protected with a wind screen). The second time I just shut it down and waited for Jim to get back with the car and then we headed to Lowes where I got a new pilot thermocouple, a 6 inch bar clamp and large C clamp just in case the problem is with the baso valve and not the thermocouple. One or both of those clamps may work to depress that starter button on the baso valve and thermocouple and just light the burners manually.   I thought the bar clamp was a better option at the moment.
I've decided to unload and re-load it tomorrow morning. Once empty, I'll drill a 1/4" hole in the one exposed brick, for one of the Fluke thermocouples. I've been removing the thermocouple during my spraying so this will be a time saver.  I'll still have to remove the other thermocouple when spraying but better one than two to have to deal with.

There was a great heat differential top to bottom early on which I didn't have in the last firing, so I'm going to change the spacing on the first couple of  half shelve,s as suggested by Olympic, and use the solid shelf as the last shelf. Other Olympic owners have reported these huge temperature differences and have come up with some
some interesting tweaks to try to get these kilns to fire evenly. Some have had some success and others have given up. Uneven kilns are a good reason to have glazes with a wide firing range, or adjust your glazes to fit the uneven temperatures, or have a lot of patience and be willing to do many firings to figure out your kiln's idiosyncrasies.

Since our son and family are in town and leave on Sunday, I'm going to put off this firing till Sunday and use the cool of the morning tomorrow to do those little adjustments, re-load, then candle overnight with that clamp depressing the baso valve button for insurance. This kiln should be cool enough to unload late Monday or early Tuesday, giving me enough time to clean, price and pack those few pots for Wednesday. Some kilns like some horses are just hard keepers!

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Started a Soda Salt fire group on Facebook

One of the members of my Yahoo soda and salt firing group suggested that it might be a good idea to start a Facebook page for the group, so I did that yesterday. Here's the URL for anyone interested in soda or salt firing to check out. I still have to figure out how to get members messages to post in the main body of the page instead of on the left side.

The Yahoo group is moderated to avoid spam mail and the group has been very quiet as of late, but it's a good repository for a lot of soda and salt flashing slip and glaze recipes, as well as photos of members work and kilns. I think the Facebook page, might bring more activity to the group since I allowed anyone to read or post on the page.

Because of the rain yesterday which prevented me from candling over night, I decided to put off the firing a day and load today so I could candle over night. It makes firing day a lot easier that way.

We had some lovely barbecued ribs at our sons last night and right after dinner a couple of the guys went out with the guide to fish the salmon holes right in front of the house. Within minutes we heard a lot of celebratory hollering and they caught the first of salmon for tonight's dinner, so I don't have to cook again tonight. What a treat!

After morning watering and harvesting chores I'm heading right to the studio for the day. Since I put off loading yesterday I wound up glazing and wadding more soda pots, mixing up a bit more wadding, and weighing out a test batch of turquoise oribe and using that as an accent glaze on one of the mugs since I don't have any cone 10 test tiles on hand.

This morning I need to clear the slab roller (my only work table), which means clearing the short side of the table and moving the earthenware pots waiting to be glazed to that side, and getting all the soda pots that are decorated on the table so I can decide which ones to load for this firing. There are enough pots already decorated to do a couple of firings in this tiny, four cubic foot Olympic soda test kiln (now my only soda kiln) so I just have to decide to pick a selection of pots to add the already fired ones to take to the Eagle Point Women's club luncheon/sale next Wednesday. I have no expectations of 20 or fewer, mainly retired women, buying any pots, but it will be the easiest show I've ever done, since they supply the tables and covers and all I have to do is set up some pots on an 8 foot long table and get to know more of my neighbor ladies.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The early bird catches the worms

I didn't catch any worms but I was in the studio at 5:30 am waxing a few more pots and will glaze them as soon as I finish my first cup of tea.

There are more pots decorated and wadded than will fit in this tiny Olympic gas soda kiln, but since the glazes were made and ready to pour, I decided to keep going, so I 'd have enough for another firing when weather and my energy permits. Seeing all these pots ready to be fired is making me think that a larger kiln might be a good thing down the line. My first thought would be an old electric kiln to convert; but then I think about my health and my age and take a deep breath, and tell myself that it may be time to just give all of that up and stick with this little kiln and fire it the few times a year when the weather permits. That would be the most practical thing at this stage of my life.

Checking today's weather (thunder storms, isolated thunder storms, rain and showers, all day and all evening). The forecast says it clears at midnight when I will be happily in restful sleep, so it looks like I'll be up very early again tomorrow to load and start firing. If I see that there's a lull in those isolated showers, I might just take a chance and load and re-cover the kiln, then wheel it out first thing in the morning and start firing. Ideally I would have love to candle it overnight, but that is just not possible with this forecast.

This rain is welcome since the Eagle Point/Shady Cove fire jumped the fire lines and doubled overnight and is threatening 134 homes. There is a mandatory evacuation order for those threatened, so hopefully, mother nature will help the firefighters with a bit of this rain. August is always a big fire season on the west coast. We get these dry storms - no rain, but thunder and lighting which starts the fires.

We have light rain for the last half hour and with more on the way all day, I won't have to spend any time gardening, so it going to be a long studio day. Once I get another batch of wadding made, and finish these soda pots, I'll start glazing those earthenware pots if it has settled enough for me to get a bit more water out of the bucket, and get those fired over the week end.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Soda firing on schedule for Thursday

 Since it was obvious to me that I wouldn't have enough good earthenware pots for a decent display in 8 days, and my clear glaze needed settling before I could glaze, I decided to shift gears and do a soda firing. I have plenty of finished work to choose from and just needed to make a liner glaze and one or two of my accent glazes, do a bit of wadding and glazing and be ready to fire in two days.

Miracle of miracles, I actually got what amounted to a full day in the studio yesterday and it felt great!  Soda firing is my passion and I haven't felt this good about being in the studio for a while. Wish I could get as excited about the earthenware as I am about soda firing.

The morning was the usual gardening chores at two gardens, but afternoon was all studio time and I even went back out after dinner and worked till 9 o'clock.

I made a small batch of my bright blue celadon liner and wadded more pots and got enough pots glazed and decorated for a firing. Since rain is in the forecast for today and tomorrow, I'm aiming to fire Thursday which will be the coolest day in weeks. It's forecast to be in the 80's which is a great change from the 100 plus degree and 90's we've had for weeks.

This morning I have to make up a tiny batch of amber celadon which I use watery thin to make flashing orange halos. For insurance sake, I'll wad and glaze a couple of more pots this morning and if I have time maybe make a small, 1000 gram batch of my temmoku liner for a few pots. I'm not sure a couple of these pots will fit on these shelves in this tiny Olympic kiln. .

Dinner is my leftover spicy Mexican stir fry chicken and margaritas, so it looks like I will have plenty of time to at least finish these soda pots and maybe even work a bit on the earthenware if that glaze has settled enough since yesterday for me to pour off the excess water.

Time to do my morning hand watering, breakfast and off to the studio for the day.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


This is yesterdays first harvest of Corno de Toro frying peppers. These grew in half of one of my earth boxes. Bell peppers are in the other half.  Needless to say these were part of  our hero of  fried sausage, onion, and of course, pepper dinner. The rest will be used again tomorrow. Maybe I'll add some tomatoes to the mix and serve it over pasta instead.

The kitchen table is covered with onions, potatoes and shallots which are drying and a part of the kitchen counter is covered with tomatoes. My dinner menu is governed by the abundance of the days harvest, so tonight I'm doing a Mexican chicken, tomato, onion and serrano chile stir fry and margaritas.

The maintenance and generosity of these two gardens is taking up at least half of my days working hours, ; but I did get a full  afternoon in the studio yesterday. It took almost 3 hours just to re-mix six of my under-glazes which resembled settled concrete after sitting for months. I managed to wax the pots, get those under glazes remixed,  which entailed  a lot of pounding, grinding in a mortar and straining (not fun), and at the end of the day, after waxing and re-constituting those under glazes, I had only decorated  one mug and one bowl.

Today should go quicker since not too many pots need a lot of decoration. The only glitch will be if I have to re-mix any more under glazes.  Time to hit the shower,  then do some hand watering out front because someone working on the lawn broke one of the drip system connectors and I would have lost a lot of plants if I hadn't discovered that yesterday. It's always something!

Friday, August 08, 2014

Bisque unloaded

Got the bisque unloaded last night and forgot how few pots were actually in there! I had a lot of test tiles and impression stamps and not many pots that could be for sale. The teapot is a special order for our daughter, the large bowl is one I made for us. A couple of the pots have a problem with the slip cracking and I think it may be because I didn't slip them early enough - still learning on this earthenware journey. With this scant amount of possible pots, I may just have to fire my soda kiln early next week. The pots are made, just have to line and do minor glaze decoration on a few more. I'm not thrilled with firing a soda kiln during these mid 90 and 100 degree days but it looks like I may have to.

One nice thing about earthenware is that you can fire bisque and glazed pots in the same load. One of my experimental decorations turned out to be ugly to the max.  It might have been OK if I just omitted the bright blue center on the plate.  This was definitely a case of the need to remember the "less is more" philosophy.. 

 I'll head to the studio late morning after all my garden and other chores, and start glazing and decorating these pots till late afternoon when we have to go to town for some shopping and dinner out. There definitely won't be enough earthenware pots for the sale in a few weeks, but I do have some finished soda/salt pots that I can add to the mix, and if I get another small soda firing in, all should be fine.

These are for our women's club annual luncheon and members craft display/sale, so I wasn't wanting to lug boxes and boxes of pots to start with,  just make a small presentation of my current work, have a nice lunch and finally meet some of these ladies, after over two years of being a member and being too busy or not intrigued enough  to attend a single event.

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Bisque firing day

Doing a bisque firing today. The kiln isn't full, but I have enough other bisqued pots to fill it for a glaze firing, so all is well. I signed up for the Eagle Point Women's club annual member sale/show and I have about two weeks to get all these pots finished, which shouldn't be a problem, even with only half days available for studio time.

There's no expectation that this is going to be any kind of a money generating event, since so many members of this club are retired and on fixed income and this is not a club with a huge membership; but I figure that after living here almost 2 1/2 years, it might be time to temporarily end my happy, almost hermit like existence, and see if there are any kindred spirits in the community other than my friendly neighbor Kay.

My garden spraying was done by 7am and I just have to get the hand watering done before breakfast and the rest of the day will be for cooking and re-mixing two of my glazes and decorate and glaze the few bisqued pots on the ware cart. I'm hoping that the air conditioner will make the studio comfortable, even with the kiln on; but that remains to be seen. If it turns out to be an oven in there, I'll put off those chores till tomorrow, which may not be a bad idea, since I've been fighting some kind of bug which has really zapped my energy the past three days.  I'll continue with my mega vitamin and oscillicocinum therapy and keep moving, albeit, at a slower pace.

Half the slab roller table is clear, now that the soap making storage area is complete, so I just have to clear the rest of it and get it ready for glazing. This big slab roller is my only work table, so I'm always having to clear it for the next job. After decades of having very generous sized studios, it's still taking me time to get used to all this moving and shifting in such a tight space. It's doable, just a pain in the butt at times. But this is a first world problem, so I'll quit my bitchin'.


Sunday, August 03, 2014

Tomatoes and peppers are doing great

My two earth boxes are loaded with tomatoes and peppers.; and the hot peppers and other tomatoes in the raised beds are doing just as well, and maybe even a bit better if I got by size of the largest tomato in the garden. I'm going to have to look up a lot more tomato recipes soon, and probably do a bit of canning and/or freezing in another week.

Went to the store after breakfast to buy some canning jars and pectin and was ready to make peach jam when I got home, and the bottom rack of my big canning pot is missing, and no where to be found! AARGH. It's another thing that may have just gone walkies during our move. Looks like peach jam is not going to get made today or till I get a bottom rack. Oh well, there was Buffalo wings, fresh corn on the cob, garden fresh wax beans and margaritas for dinner. I shall not complain too much!

Got my gardening chores done before 8am. It's was smoky out there and got worse as the day progressed. We now have 7 fires here in the valley,  plus that very large one east of Ashland, so it was a good day to stay indoors once my morning gardening, and a trip to the local farm for corn and another quick stop for some canning jars and a few other pick up groceries.

I  found a vintage canner rack on Ebay this afternoon, and it should be here within the week. The Amazon reviews on the new ones were not good (the word flimsy came up a lot) so it was time to look up vintage racks and Ebay has quite a few. Fortunately, peaches will still be in season for another couple of weeks, so there may yet be some home made ginger peach jam in the Perry cupboard this fall.

Since the day's plan was thrown off,  I got in the studio a bit and moved some things around while searching, in vain, for the bottom rack of the canner. I think I can free that whole shelf  for those test glaze containers. I'll finish that right after breakfast tomorrow.

 Jim wants a quiet Sunday at home and he'll get his wish, but not until after the morning drive to our sons place for me to do some garden chores.

I should get the whole afternoon in the studio since, at Jims request I've put off gumbo making till Monday. He loved the corn so much he wants it again tomorrow, so corn on the cob, a tomato salad with these garden fresh tomatoes and a mild Italian sausage will make for a fast, easy dinner in this 100 degree weather and give me a decent block of studio time, which has been a rarity for me this summer. Next year I'll be content with just dealing with one garden to care for. That's about all this old body can manage these days if I still want time and energy for the studio.