2020

Clay Today


I’ve working hard these past two weeks getting my Etsy shop, ClayDreamsPottery, updated. This is a multistep process and pretty tedious. Way tedious really, but I’m taking part in this year’s Arkansas Art Center Museum Sale, a once a year sale when the Art Center students get to show off all they’ve learned and hopefully make enough money to support their various art/craft habits – at least until the next visit to the art store. This year, it’s going to be different. This year, instead of an in-person sale, it’s gone virtual. SURPRISE!!!!! AM I RIGHT???? Here’s the progression of my emotions since, oh, I don’t know, like 2020 happened and everything changed.🤞🙏😟☹️😭😤😠😡🤬😡😠☹️😕😮🙂😀

I’m not the only one on this rollercoaster, making the best of a bad situation. My mama used to tell me that it’s just as easy to smile as to frown. She was right. I must have gotten my optimistic mindset from her. ❤️ But I digress.

Here’s what came off the wheel today –

In a week or so they will be ready for their first firing

Stay tuned, I hope to follow these guys until their final, most exciting, nailbiting firing. Every potter I know, though, keeps their fingers crossed throughout. 🤞 I sure miss my pottery peeps!

To practice art, no matter how well or badly is a way to make your soul grow. So do it. Kurt Vonnegut

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Knitting · pottery

Almost Back to Normal


After being laid low last week from my shingles vaccine booster – think worst hangover ever accompanied by a temp of 102, I finally feel like I’m on the downside of this ugliness.  Jeez louise, I hate to be sick!

I’ve made what I consider great progress on Leksak Lady, with only one and one half sleeves and the crochet edging to be done.  I admit, I’m particularly proud of my edging as I rarely crochet (though I really do enjoy doing it) and am usually pleasantly surprised at how good it looks.

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Leksak Lady

I’m going to try my hardest to remember to add project notes when a project is completed.  I find other knitter’s project notes really helpful and, well, turnabout is fair play my mama always said.

OK, that’s my string side.  Now, on to the mud…..

My new clay finally arrived and new clay is always cause for a celebration.  I threw a couple of chucks, which I sorely needed.  It seems like just about everything that comes off my wheel lately has some sort of neck and I find it impossible to trim without using one.  Granted, a chuck isn’t the most  exciting thing to come off my wheel, but it sure is nice to have one when I need it!

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Someday I’m going to learn how to level my shots. 🙂

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I threw this vessel and stamped it as an experiment.  I like the way it turned out – what do you think?  Maybe my new glazes will have arrived  by the time it’s ready for glazing and it’s final firing.

FYI – Tomorrow is the first day of the fall session of pottery class.  It’s doubly exciting  because we’re in a new (to us) building as the Arkansas Art Center and Museum School is undergoing a facelift/remodel slated to take three years.  Exciting stuff!

One more thing – If you haven’t visited ClayDreamsPottery lately, go on over and take a look.  You never know what you might find!

All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. Albert Einstein

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Everything Else

Meyer’s Shino Try Out


A few weeks ago I was poking around in the glazes at the Art Center pottery studio and came across one that I wasn’t familiar with – Meyer’s Shino.  In keeping with my “I’ll try anything once” personality type, I grabbed one of my bowls that was glaze ready and gave it a dip.  I had no expectations, I hadn’t used it and neither had anyone else in the studio that day.  So, to satisfy my curiosity, I dipped.

LOVE!!!

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One dip Meyer’s Shino

Fired to cone 10

Looks a lot like a soda firing, doesn’t it?  All who saw it in the studio yesterday asked me the same question: Soda?  Nope.  Just glazed and fired as usual. I love it when the clay gods smile down upon me!

The years teach much which the days never know.  Ralph Emerson

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Knitting

Pics and Pots


THROWING THINGS

They had a big firing at the pottery studio last week and two of my pots made it into the kiln. Both turned out really well, but one is amazing.  Funny thing, working with clay.  Sometimes mistakes turn out to be the best pieces.

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I’m not sure what happened to this pot, I think I bumped it when I was taking it off the wheel and having a really thin spot didn’t help, so it sort of collapsed.  I really liked the shape, though, and decided to keep it.  The shape reminds me of a calla lily.

For the glaze, I did a total dip of Rhodes Turquoise with a rim dip of Tin Purple.

I can’t remember what glaze I used for this pot and I left my notes at the studio.  I have to run something back to the art center, so I’ll duck in and grab my notebook while I’m there.  This pot isn’t as “catchy” as the other one, but I love its simple lines and that it has just enough texture to make the glaze interesting.

FUN WITH MIXED MEDIA

These are a couple of backgrounds I’m working on, incorporating modeling paste and spray inks.

As usual, I’ve been a busy bee and have a new knitting project on the needles to share tomorrow, stay tuned!

I always find beauty in things that are odd and imperfect – they are much more interesting.  Marc Jacobs

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Knitting

Back in the Studio


POT THROWING

Hurray!  It’s back into the pottery studio after a two week break.  I have some new ideas and several things I want to try, like this

Yarn Bowl

and this

or this

and maybe this

So ready to get in there and sling some mud!

Work while you have the light.  You are responsible for the talent that has been entrusted to you.  Henri-Frederic Amiel

Knitting

WIP Wednesday 6/11/14, Booklike, Pots


ON THE NEEDLES

I’m coming right along with the Cable and Pleat Tunic, being really close to finishing the front and side shaping.  For once, the color in the photo is nearly, if not completely, true.  Another awesome thing about the patio – it’s a fantastic place  for taking pictures.

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POTS

Here’s my latest set of pots, which once again exceeded my glazing expectations.

I have one or two left to glaze and plan to go into the studio this weekend to finish them up.  Class has a two week break before the next session and it’s always nice to go into the studio with a clean slate as far as projects go.

BOOKLIKE

This week’s book is a biography of Johnny Cash by Robert Hilburn.  I like it, I don’t love it.  It had parts that are hard to read, it feels like you are in the front row for his self destruction at times.  It also goes into minute detail seemingly sbout everything, which bogs me down sometimes.  This probably won’t be a repeater, it’s a library book, so I don’t feel guilty about just skimming it in parts.  I’m anxiously waiting for my Audible credits to show up so that I can get Stephen King’s newest, Mr. Mercedes.  They should be coming any time now.

AN ASIDE

Mr. iknead figured out how to turn the autocorrect off, but now, I get aggravated at all the typos and have to proofread much more carefully.  I know, gripe, gripe, gripe.  Sheesh!

I’m linking with the Wednesday regulars, Tami, Frontier Dreams and Ginny.

You must train your intuition — you must trust the small voice inside you which tells you exactly what to say, what to decide.  Ingrid Bergman

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Knitting

Guess What Day It Is!!!!!!!!


WHAT DAY??

It’s the first day of the new session at the Art Center – now known to my family as “my new second home”.  I can’t wait to see what this new pottery session will bring.  I’ve decided that I’d like to make a couple of big (think holding with both hands) coffee cups, all different, but with matching glazes to tie them together.  Actually, this project is two fold, I want the cups and I need to practice uniformity in certain projects and more than anything, get better at making handles.  For some reason, I’m apparently handle challenged, just can’t seem to “get” them.  They always turn out wonky, won’t stay on, droop, are crooked, are too big or too small.  So, I guess you could say that my goal for this semester is handles.

Cups of My Dreams
Another of my pottery goals is to remember to take pictures of projects, before, during and after, if for no other reason than to be able to identify my pieces when I forget to mark them as mine.  My bee stamp looks to have turned out well.  I’ll give it its first use today; results to follow.
Moral excellence comes about as a result of habit.  We become just by doing just acts, temperate by doing temperate acts, brave by doing brave acts.  Aristotle
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Knitting

When Pots Speak


LEARNING

I’ve been heavily involved these past few days, checking out Google +, playing around with it and generally trying to get a feel for the site.  I really like the idea, sort of a Pinterest/Facebook hybrid, I really don’t facebook much, would I use Google + more and is it easier to navigate?  That remains to be seen, admittedly I’m more than a little technophobic and slow on the uptake when it comes to computer stuff.  I prefer things to stay pretty much the same, I tend to melt down when something computeresque changes, even small things like layout and upgrades and it takes me forever to finally get comfortable with whatever changes happen.  Slow, slow, slow in the computer literacy department.

GOING POTTY

Awesome pottery class this morning.  I started a coiled pot Saturday afternoon, had to put it aside when the studio closed and then my mom had a small issue Sunday, she’s OK, but I wasn’t able to get back to work on it until class this morning.  I’ve fallen completely in love with this pot; my instructor says I may have found my pottery “calling”, coils.  I don’t know about that, there a lot of things/techniques I’ve never tried, but I am loving this pot.

I put the water bottle next to it so you could get an idea of its size, it’s not huge, but it’s the biggest thing I’ve done so far.

The soft square shape just sort of happened.

You can get a better idea of its shape here.

It’s finished and is in the damp box awaiting bisquing next week.  This pot just happened, I had no plan or even any idea in my head,  then, today, I knew when it was finished, don’t ask me how I knew, but I did.  And no, I’m not hearing voices – yet.  🙂

ON THE NEEDLES

Mr. Iknead’s socks are still a WIP, but the heel turn is finished and gusset started on one and the 75% Medano Bag was finished this afternoon.  I’ll show and tell it for sure on Friday.  In the meantime, I’m trying as hard as I not to be seduced by the patterns in the newest Vogue Knitting, don’t know if I can resist…..

OOPS

Almost forgot, I’m linking up with Frontier Dreams Keep Calm and Craft On today.  Check out the Flickr KCCO group.  Very cool!

Learn to be happy with what you have while you pursue all that you want.  Jim Rohn

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Knitting

Acorns, Pot and Clunk


GOING POTTY

I had a touch of bad attitude Sunday, just feeling tired and overwhelmed – I suppose I finally ran out of adrenaline after running on it all week, so I took a field trip to the pottery studio for a couple of hours.  After some enthusiastic wedging, I settled down and began a new coiled pot.  Class meets this morning, so I’ll get some feedback on what works and what doesn’t on this particular project.  I remembered to bring the fancy camera to take a photo of the acorn I started last week.

It needs a little fine tuning, I think.

Trying to decide, should I glaze true to nature or go for something more whimsical, like blue or purple?

A peek at the pot I started Sunday.  I can’t decide if it needs a little fine tuning or not.

Clunks for a windclunk I randomly started

(I call them clunks because they don’t chime like glass, they clunk)

After glazing with Rhodes Turquoise

Excited to see their true color after firing!

ON, THEN OFF THE NEEDLES

I swatched the handspun yesterday, take a look –

I’ll keep practicing.

Very little is needed to make a happy life.  Marcus Aurelius Antoninus, Meditations

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Knitting

Getting My Hands Dirty and Bread Love


GOING TO POT

I’m still love, love, loving my pottery class and look forward to it every week.  Yesterday, we learned about building with coils and how to use an extruder, which is a really quick, easy way to make them.  Takes a little bit more upper body strength than I have, but by standing on a stool and leaning my weight on the handle, I can get the job done.  Here’s my pottery WIP from yesterday – with emphasis on the WIP!  I’m starting to feel more comfortable with the clay, catching on to how it feels when it’s too wet to add details (too wet clay is floppy and will slump and collapse) and then how it feels when it’s dry enough to hold the details or embellishments added.  Cool stuff, I think.

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I didn’t get to finish this little pot, I want to flare the sides more and then narrow and smooth the top; since I’m in a class at the Art Center, I can come and go at the pottery studio when I want, not just at class time.  I may go later today and work on it a little more, maybe experimenting some with different sized coils and bases.  I love this!!

FROM THE OVEN

The Sundried Tomato Basil bread was such a success that I want to share it.  This isn’t my recipe, so to give due credit, the original was submitted by girlversusdough on tablespoon.com.  She has a baking blog, girlversusdough.com, one I’ve enjoyed following.

Sundried Tomato Basil Bread

1 cup warm water

2 tbsp olive oil

3 cups unbleached all purpose flour

2 tsp sugar

1 1/2 tbsp chopped dried basil

1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes

1/2 tsp salt

2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast

1.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add 2 cups of the flour and all other ingredients to the batter and mix with dough hook until just combined.  (I used the paddle attachment and it turned out fine.)

2.  Add remaining flour 1 tbsp at a time until dough no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl.

3. Remove dough from bowl and place in a clean, lightly greased bowl.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about an hour.

4.  Punch down risen dough and shape into an oval, stretching from the top of the loaf to underneath the bottom.  Place shaped loaf in a lightly greased 8×4 inch loaf pan.  Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes.

5.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Once dough is ready, bake 15-20 minutes until golden brown.  Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a wire rack before slicing.  So good!

Thanks girlversusdough for sharing this recipe, it’s delicious!

The deepest craving of human nature is the need to be appreciated.  William James

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