Friday, January 6, 2017

On the Constant Migration of Objects

I don't know about you, but I find myself spending a fair amount of time moving things around. I really became aware of this this past week as I put my studio back together after my Christmas sale.

For the sale, I have to move all my pots into the studio. I am not able to heat the half-garage (which I call Crabapple Gallery) where I store my pottery. That's fine most of the year, but not so fine in December when it is apt to be well below freezing. I usually invite a few friends to join me with their art work, and they get the house. So all pots have to move into the studio. I carry my pots around in those Rubbermaid containers, more-or-less cushioned by pieces of bubblewrap. I think this year it was about 20 trips to bring them all in. Of course, there were also things in the studio which had to go in the garbage - trip to the garage- and things that had to be washed - trip to the house, trip back.

After the sale, things had to be put away again so I could have my work space back. So 4 tubs back to Crabapple, several trips to carry the tablecloths, left-over wrapping paper and bags and such, several trips to take my Christmas decorations back to the garage where they can get lost for another year...

So it took me about two days to move objects to get ready for my sale, and the better part of a day to move objects back to where they came from so I could get back to work. And this goes on all the time. This morning I planned to make small plates, but before I could start I had to carry water to the studio because the pail was empty, take the bowl of washing water in to the house and clean that up, then take the bowl and the washed things back to the studio. Then I noticed that the last firing had left several seconds sitting on my table, so they had to go to Crabapple, and while I was there I picked up some bags because my small stack of bags in the studio was depleted.

Seems I'm always moving objects around. Maybe I'm not a potter, just a clay-based beast of burden. Years ago, going canoe camping, I used to measure all trips in the number of portages involved. Maybe nothing has changed... or maybe we humans are only here to serve all those objects that want to move from place to place but lack the feet to do it with.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Christmas Stuff

Well, folks, you'll all be thrilled to hear that I am now caught up to Tuesday. Hmmm, yes, I know it's actually Thursday, but that's the way it goes here. Worked like a demon from early this morning (still dark out...) and got the Studio tidied up to the point that I can now bring in all the pots that will be for sale on Saturday and Sunday.

Yes, my 1/2 price is this weekend. Both days, 10am to 4pm.  All Pine Ridge Studio pottery on 1/2 price. And some seconds, too, all of them at $1 each. Whoo hoo!

Just so you have it handy, the official address is 6114 Carp Road. That is North of the Village of Carp. Long driveway, watch the bumps and go right through the puddles. I promise the puddles are solid rock at the bottom and not very deep.

A few friends are joining me in the house, with paintings, jewelry, soaps, preserves and more. They have custody of the cider and cookies, so you have to go in the house to get some! Tricky, eh!!

We all hope very much to see you!

Oh, and do have a Merry Christmas and a very Bright New Year!

raven and crabapples Christmas card

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Why I Never Get Ahead

It's no wonder I never get caught up. I started tthree weeks ago to make some Fairy Houses. Several people had asked for them, and I was down to 3 and these 3 are not the coziest nests in the woods. So my plan was to make a dozen new ones and have them ready for the second Saturday (Market Day) in October.

Threw a dozen small cylinders for the bases. Then I started press-molding the roofs. While doing them I got a bit bored so I thought of other things to do. Took a break and washed the floor. Put the mop, an old stringy number, outside to dry. Went back to making roofs. Somehow it became the next day and I trimmed the cylinders and started to fit the roofs to the bases. I don't attach them, because the roofs are glazed in different colours and it is too hard to keep the colours from getting on to the bases... you know what I mean here. Seemed to have some extra roofs... plus I got the idea that a mushroom shape would be fun.

old string mop wetSo back to the wheel to make another 6 bases. While there I threw a dozen or so mini vases, the kind that people want to put brown weeds in every fall. About 2" high, any shape I felt like, some carving, some poking to make off-centre shapes. Fun to throw, fun to glaze, hell to trim.

It poured rain and the mop is soaked.

Had to make more roofs as the new bases didn't fit the ones I had. Made some very small ones and more bases to fit them.

Then I had to go do other stuff - shopping, banking, cooking, even a little cleaning because someone was coming.

 Got back to the houses on Monday. Painted some of the bases, then got tired and spent an hour watering my geraniums - here are a few in the Studio window. I don't have nearly enough room for them for the winter so I took some cuttings and got them set up in little pots under a plastic dome. You can just see the end of the dome on the left.
geraniums in the Studio window for the winter

In front of the Geraniums you see some of the colours I use to paint my pots. I've started giving each colour its own small tile palette and leaving them out. Messy but efficient, sort of.

After that I had to check my fern seedlings. They live in a shelf unit I made, under flourescent lights, until they get too big. Then they have to go outside. Going to be a bit of a problem this time as it's almost winter. Bad planning!
lights setup for growing ferns from spores

Went to get a lid for a small plastic container and the whole mess of lids stored on a certain shelf crashed down around my ears. Picked them all up, brushed off the dead spiders, sorted out the unusual ones and put the rest in a blue bag for re-cycling. Why do I have 396 lids and 3 containers without lids?

Back to the Fairy Houses. Had fun getting out buckets of glaze in neat colours for the roofs. Dipped all the bases in clear. Finally, two weeks after I started, the houses went into the kiln. Here are a few:
small pottery houses for Fairies in the garden
In all, I ended up with 25 Fairy Houses and one tiny weed vase.

small brown mottled glazed weed vase
That's a semi-matte white glaze over a shiny black glaze - an old and hackneyed idea but still effective. It's only a weed vase.

Only 2 weeks late and not really suitable for fall (the weed vase is, not the houses) but hey, I did them.

The mop may dry sometime this month, or else if I wait until it gets really cold, maybe it'll freeze dry.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Nine-finger Throwing

I threw 28 mug bodies today.

Not impressed? But I did it using only 9 fingers! A couple of days ago I was changing the die on my jolleying machine and hit the 2nd knuckle on my left index finger when the wrench slipped. It didn't hurt as much as I expected given the whack I gave it, but by evening it was most impressively swollen. I couldn't bend my finger at all. The next morning it was still very swollen and a lovely shade of red. It reminded me of the time about 10 years ago that I dropped a rather large rock on my right thumb. Don't ask exactly how I did this, because I never did figure that out. The point was that the long bone in my right thumb was cracked along its length. A torsion fracture, the doctor said. He insisted on a cast, saying that without it I might end up with crippling arthritis in the thumb. They put an odd sort of cast on, not the metal tube thing you see sometimes. It ended up looking a lot like a tiny barbell, fat at both ends with a thin part in between.

Throwing with the cast on my thumb was interesting. Turns out you need your right thumb to flatten inside the bases of things. The cast, except for really small inside bases, worked very well. At first I was careful to put the rubbery cover thing over the cast to keep it dry and clean, but after a while I forgot about that. When I went to get it off the technician said he had never had anyone wear out a cast before!

So this morning I tried throwing without using my left index finger and it worked fine. A bit awkward but do-able. Here are some of the plates I made on the jolley:

I'd show you a picture of my finger, now nice and green, but nah, look at the mugs instead.

Well, maybe not the greatest mug bodies I've ever made, but then I made them with only 9/10ths of my fingers!

Saturday, September 10, 2016


I'm not sure where 'there' is, but I'm getting there. There were actual flashes of normalcy this week.

On Monday I changed the thermocouples in my larger kiln. Before they failed. How's that for pro-active? I felt quite impressed with myself, especially since I didn't need so much as one bad word during the whole process. Really it's pretty easy, but I tend to be a fumble-finger about these things and fiddling with wires and tiny screws is not my long suit. Ha, and it worked perfectly.

On Wednesday I took my trusty (and rusty) truck in for an oil change... and was told that it had little or no transmission fluid. I don't know much about the innards of trucks, but I understand that this can quickly lead to disaster. The good part was that instead of feeling that this was yet another calamity, I was perfectly calm and just saw it as another of life's little glitches, to be fixed, but nothing to get depressed about. In fact, I feel very lucky that it was caught in the nick of time. Then my totally helpful local repair shop got the parts in, a very kind friend drove me from and to the garage, and my dear truck got fixed on Friday. So instead of feeling stressed, I'm happy!

On Thursday a customer called and asked to come over and see what Herb Tiles I had available. This motivated me to finally get the place where I store my for-sale pottery tidied up and ready for visitors. Not much pottery, but now at least what is there looks good. I've been putting that off, it just seemed an impossible job. Guess what, it only took a couple of hours, including cleaning the windows, and I felt so much better when it was done. And it worked, she came and bought a batch of herb tiles. These are something I used to make quite a lot of, from plaster molds I made from herbs from my garden. I stopped making them when the interest in herbs leveled off, but lately it seems to be reviving. Our local Herb Festival has moved (new organizers) and seems to be perking up. I hope it builds some momentum because I still love herbs and all things herb-ish. I did go to the new Herb Festival this summer, but got rather lost. It was at a place called the Waba Lake Cottage Museum, and there is a village called Waba quite near by, so I assumed it would be there. I also assumed there would be signs. Nope and nada. A quick check on Google using my phone didn't help - their 'here it is' symbol covered the whole area...and  I wasn't the only one confused, there were about a hundred cars in Waba, which is more cars than all the residents together can muster, all driving in circles looking hot and annoyed. I finally had to phone my friend (who was smarter than I and had looked it up at home) and then I was able to find it. But I digress. My point is that I got a chore done, enjoyed it, and felt cheered to have it out of the way.

I'm also slowly getting caught up on pottery orders. One is ready to go out, just need to take it to the Post Office on Monday. One tiny problem I keep having, and if anyone knows a solution, please tell me, is that the clear packing tape we all use, sometimes doesn't stick to cardboard. It seems to stick, then the next morning you find it has popped off. I was told once that it is because of a sort of 'mill glaze' on the cardboard, but why does it only happen with some boxes? I bought these at a local big box store, not wanting to drive for an hour each way to go to my usual supplier, and ended up sorry I hadn't. Had to use duct tape to close the boxes properly, and then of course the address label had to go over it and didn't stick, so more clear tape. My customer will need serious tools to get into these boxes!

So all in all a better week.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Some Sad News

As some of you readers may know, my dear husband, Robert, was ill for a long time. Early this year, his health became even more precarious.

Sadly, he passed away on June 17.

I miss him more than I can say. We were companions for over 50 years, and that is a long time! But I intend to carry on with my pottery and my gardening, and to consider that his spirit is with me as I go about my daily life.
Robert with both dogs, Jake and Kip (hiding his face) looking out across the marsh from the rocky ridge behind our house. This is a favourite picture, and how I plan to remember him.
The blog will return...