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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Random

Could the End Be In Sight??


You’d think that with the quarantine/social distancing/mask wearing and sheltering in place I’d be throwing pots and knitting like a maniac, but my orthopedic adventures brought these things to a screeching halt. The backstory is here if you missed it the first time around.

Anyhow, besides just the couple of weeks being bored out of my mind because I couldn’t do much of anything – when you break your dominant arm you’re pretty much out of luck for a while – being housebound hasn’t been too bad. You can bet, though, as soon as I got my cast off I was knitting, even if it was a super slow process. I got my hands back into the clay, finally able to finish what I’d started before I broke my arm and every day is a  little bit better than the day before. Here’s three very patient pots that waited for me to heal.

 

Word on the street is that life is starting to normalize.  Mr. iknead said there was toilet paper on the grocery shelves, no hand sanitizer or gloves, but at least it’s a move in the right direction.

 

From error to error one discovers the entire truth. Sigmund Freud

 

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p.s. Don’t forget to visit my Etsy shop, ClayDreamsPottery.  I’m always adding new pots and you don’t want to miss out on the perfect one!

 

Random

Etsy Update


Hi all, Yes, here I am.  The Insomniac Potter is alive and well. Storms are moving through my neck of the woods with lots of thunder and lighting.  I love storms and so couldn’t pass this one up.

I also wanted to give you a look at my newest Etsy shop update.  Hop on over to  ClayDreamsPottery, my Etsy shop and see what’s new!

You don’t need a weather man to know which way the wind blows.  Bob Dylan

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Random

Christmas in Bangkok


Hi all!

So, what did you think of the changes in my About Me page? It took me a long time to get the new content from my head to WordPress!  As for my 2020 Intentions, one of my main one is to start and stick to a blogging schedule.  I haven’t quite gotten that one settled in my mind but just getting started feels like a big step in the right direction! 👟👟

I hope you had a great holiday!  Mr. iknead and I went to Bangkok for Christmas with the Bangkok Bunch.  So good to see them…..even with Facetime, etc., sometimes I crave being able to hug them in person, hold their hands and hear their voices in person. Unfortunately, I was sick the. whole. time. with bronchitis. I went to the doctor and he gave me antibiotics and cough medicine.  They helped a little and at least got me through the long, long flight home.😷🤒👨‍⚕️💊

Best gift ever?  The Bangkok bunch is coming home! 🏠🏠🏠 The excitement and the relief of having them close by again is overwhelming!  🎇🎇🎇🤸‍♂️😍

 

I’m still plugging away at Gray Day.  I’ve had to rip the entire cable pattern out and start it again twice.🤬but it’s progressing slowly!

I plan to do an  update of my Etsy shop, ClayDreamsPottery, in the next day or so, keep an eye on it – you don’t want to miss a thing!  Here’s a preview –

pottery

The Insomniac Potter Rides Again!


OK, so it’s not exactly insomnia that rolled me out of bed this morning  but a commitment to play bells this morning with my Trinity Episcopal group.  And, of course, me being me, always sure that I’ll oversleep or forget that I’m supposed to ring, I calculate when I need to be up and out of bed getting ready, then set the alarm back at least 30 minutes to have a bit of a cushion and hang my vestments next to the coffee pot as a reminder.🛌⏰💤🎶

I’ve a couple of pots to show you all this morning, I apologize if these are a rerun.

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Rim Experiment

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Not the same pot, but similar.  The first of the rim experiments.

Glazed outside with Amaco Arctic Blue, outer portion of inside glazed with Deep Firebrick, middle portion with Rutile Blue, bottom with Arctic Blue, all Amaco Potter’s Choice glazes.  I’m on the fence regarding my glaze choices, I may need to fire a hair lower, like cone 5 instead of 6.  It’s growing on me.

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My current fave.  Glazed with Amaco Firebrick to cone 6.

These are currently in the damp box, slowly becoming ready for the bisque kiln.  Our weather has finally cooled, slowing the process, but making it much more pleasant in my garage studio.🙂

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Someday, I’m going to have a studio with running water.  The heat I can deal with — turn on a fan and work after the sun goes down.  I can handle the winter cold as well with a space heater and a sweater but carrying buckets of water back and forth is tiresome. Someday.

This has been a jam packed few weeks but I plan to take a breather after tomorrow and get caught up on listing pots on Etsy.  My shop is ClayDreamsPottery and I’d love to have you stop by!

Never put off till to tomorrow what you can do today.  Thomas Jefferson

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Knitting · pottery

Picking It Up Again


 

That’s right,  the Insomniac Potter is back. It’s been a busy month, both craftwise and familywise.  My gray sweater is growing, but slowly, as expected.  I’ve started and and abandoned several pairs of socks and a scarf or two, but I think I’ve found THE sock pattern – at least for now. Have a look-

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This is the book-

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My Gray Day Gansey

Like I said, this sweater is slow going, but is totally worth it, I really love cables. It’s definitely not portable or what I call cruise control knitting, though. It requires my full attention sort of like a toddler — take your eyes off it for one second and you’re in the weeds, at least I am! 😋

Then there’s the pottery. Here’s one of my newest pots –

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This one’s a do over. The original glazing turned out to be so ugly, I immediately reglazed it.  I’m much much happier this time around!  It’ll be going up on ClayDreamsPottery on Etsy in the next few days.  If it floats your boat, let me know!

I have several pieces that are in that limbo between just thrown and dry enough to  trim and bisque. I learned the hard way not to fire anything I’m not totally sure is bone dry.  Nothing more discouraging than opening a kiln full of busted pots, but I’m also waiting for a couple of new glazes to come in before getting started on finishing them.

I always pass on good advice.  It is the only thing to do with it.  It is never of any use to oneself.  Oscar Wilde

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pottery

Fired Up


FIRED

I had a great kiln firing this weekend – for a change.  I usually have a couple of successful pots out of each firing, but all of them turning out well feels like, well, a miracle.  One of the things I love about working with clay is that I’m constantly stretching myself creatively, either by learning new techniques or experimenting with different glazes and clays. I plan to list these new pots in my Etsy shop, ClayDreamsPottery, but wanted to flash a sneak peek beforehand.

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That dark stripe there on the front isn’t really there, it’s a reflection.  The glaze, Amaco seaweed, just comes out super smooth and shiny – perfect except for the occasional pesky persistent reflection.

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Working on my lid making skills

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Not sister pots but maybe cousins

We must not say every mistake is a foolish one.  Cicero

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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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Random

Monday in Bangkok


 

ON MY NEEDLES

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Ariel Socks

So far, the Ariel socks are playing nice, but they’ve been slow going.  Things are looking up since I purchased a nice, bright headlamp at Decathlon, a store similar to Academy Sports. I actually was at Decathlon to get a new water bottle, which I did, but apparently the placement of impulse items is universal – right next to the cash register.  That bit of extra light has made a big difference, I got through the first pattern repeat last night without problems.

I’m also working on a Leksak sweater, though I find the rows and rows of stockinette boring.  It makes for great plane knitting, I’ll give it that.

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Leksak

ON THE WHEEL

Not a thing.  While I’m in Bangkok, I have to be satisfied with surfing Pinterest and making endless lists in my head of glazes and techniques to try.  That reminds me, I need to order clay.  I’m thinking that if I order now, it will arrive in Little Rock about the same time I do.

FIELD TRIP

Here are a few photos of Iconsiam, a new mall here in Bangkok that has a replica of a floating market on the bottom floor, with traditional Thai food and crafts vendors, most wearing traditional Thai clothing.  Really, the photos don’t do it justice………..

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FYI – This is an escalator!

Action is the foundational key to all success.  Pablo Picasso

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Knitting

More On Our DFW Adventure


Recap – The five us – Big Mommy, the Papoose, the Sprout, the Peach and I – are stranded at the Dallas-Ft.Worth airport after missing our connecting flight to Hong Kong.  I might add that we range in age from 62 to 2 years.

Now, on with the story…..

The first hitch in our getalong was due to weather – storms in the DFW area – putting us an hour late    on an already tight layover.  Tight, but doable, so no panic. As Big Mommy had brought along an umbrella stroller for the Peach, she had it tagged and handed it off to the people who handle such things, i.e. wheelchairs, strollers, and miscellaneous assistive devices, to be handed over to their owners at the end of the jetway, right outside the airplane door.  Got to DFW, deplaned and, you guessed it, no stroller. Asked attendants and were reassured that it was coming, no worries, it was coming.  After five minutes or so, a tiny bit of panic starts to tickle. Explained to agent (again) about our tight and getting tighter layover time schedule.

Five more minutes and the baggage attendants leave the jetway, with no sign of the stroller.  Now true panic sets in.  If you are thinking “c’mon, it’s just a stroller” you’ve never had to negotiate a mega airport with an already cranky two year old, with two more kids and Grandma in tow.  Did I mention that between the five of us we had eight carry-on bags? At least we didn’t have to mess with a stroller, right?? 🤨😡🤯

Stay tuned……….

Wherever you go, no matter what the weather, always bring your own sunshine. Anthony J. D’Angelo

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Family · Knitting · pottery

Betcha Thought I Forgot About This Old Blog….


OK, at 63 (!) I’ve been been trying on a few different personas, just one more sign of my decision to never grow up, but here I am once more, an amalgamation of several whos and whats, as reflected in my new title, Mud and String.

As I type this, I’m en route to Bangkok, Thailand again, accompanying Big Mommy and the three grands, the Papoose, the Sprout and the Peach. All growing up so so fast and leaving me in the dust regarding what’s cool and what’s not. Anyhow……..

This trip has been very crazy, beginning with the first leg of the 30 hour trip being delayed an hour in Little Rock due to weather in Dallas, setting off a chain of situations like dominos falling. First, we missed our connecting flight to Hong Kong and so were stranded in Dallas for 24 hours, waiting for the next plane to Hong Kong. An adventure unto itself…More on that later.

So here we are, 32000 feet in the air, five hours into a 16 hour flight, with the outside time showing as -43.6F, wearing clothes that were fresh yesterday – Wednesday morning around 5 a.m. –  closing in on 48 hours. The time is 4:49 pm on Thursday, according to my ipad. I pity our seatmates! 🤭🤭🤭🤢🤢🤢

We made it to Hong Kong! Here’s the view from our gate waiting area-

Before I close this out, a few pics of recent projects

Ninilchik Swoncho

The art of progress is to preserve order amid change, and to preserve change amid order.

 

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