Saturday, June 28, 2008

What's going well

The foxgloves are out all over the place! These are at the beginning of our (nearly) daily walk on a logging road near us.
These tiles look promising. I'm going to paint the cherry red, crow black, pig pink-or purple.
The Gig Harbor tile are going swimmingly. A new series of tags are on the bottom shelf; fingers crossed for a good white this time.
This dinnerware set came out perfectly. :) :) :)
An oval sink order, with pond imagery, in the kiln. These are very expensive to lose. Think positive!
First 'Noah' tile failed (see the smudged circle on the left?), second one is in process...
I think the mouse looked a little ratty and maybe creepy anyway, do you think?
Romeo, Romeo, where art thou? Sorry, couldn't resist. Cute name, no?
These dinner plates are all 'firsts'. Yay! They have been waiting for these in Wisconsin for a long time... *note: never say 'there's no hurry' to me.
And, my chicken color test tiles make me smile.

I am so sorry that I left my grumpy, complaining post up for so long. I really haven't been in a bad mood for two whole weeks at all.
Just busy.
And lazy.
Oh, and speaking of cute piglets:

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Irritated and Annoyed

If this post had been titled two days ago, it would have been called 'disgusted and depressed'.
Yesterday, I would have said 'angry and frustrated'.
Clearly, I have cooled off a bit.
The reason for my distress is this:broken bowl in the garbage can
And this:atrocious tan color
And this:pasty, un-fluxed white, ghastly blue
And this:grainy, yucky off-white, thin background color
You would think that at this point in my career I would stop having seconds and failures, but no...

I still try new techniques with reckless abandon, new forms with irrational hope, new glazes with stupendous enthusiasm. (Something about the sound of that word ‘stupendous’, that seems to apply here).
The problem is, I anticipate every firing with expectations of the perfect manifestation of my most delirious imaginings of my latest experiment. It is, of course, inevitable that disappointment will materialize pretty much instantly upon unloading the kiln. Mournful, paralyzing gloom ensues, sometimes for days.

I know, I know, I should be ready for a percentage of failures. Yes, I have been doing this for years and years.

But this series has had nothing but misfortune from the start.

First, I used the wrong clay for my little baby tags (not porcelain after all) and they are ugly tan.

Then, Mick mistakenly glazed un-bisqued bowls and they melted on the spot (bye-bye, negotiating chickens bowl).

And the glazes for the dinner plates needed to be sieved (hello little chunks of crud).

And the glaze was too thin on some pieces, not beautiful at all.

Also, the wrong test glaze was applied to my new chicken plates, pasty and opaque.

Plus, the lamp bases were overfired and slumped badly.

Time to bring in the special forces crew.

Oh well, my blue & white tile almost always come out perfect. :)


Actually, this cow had uneven eyes originally, so I put glasses on her and added little bird blathering away in her ear. Now she is an intellectual cow.

Shadow Cat knows how I feel:

I get knocked down, but I get up again.

The song is catchy, but irritating, and I love the Office, but these clips aren't the best quality.
I won't feel badly if you don't stick around for the whole two minutes.

Oh, wait, I just watched it's pretty funny.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Out the window

This was my view from my office desk yesterday morning. Fuzzy little antler nubs!
And, no, I didn't crop this photo, he really was that close.

He hung around, happily munching the lush summer grass, for at least a half hour.
Meanwhile, over in the studio, I am working on tile for a beach house in Gig Harbor (Washington):
The tub/shower will be tiled entirely in subway tile (3" x 6"). The photo above shows about half the tile that I will eventually decorate, they will be placed in two bands running around the space. The remaining field tile will come from Pratt & Larson. All the images are marine (fish, shells, grasses, seaweed) except one. It's in there, can you find it?
This row of tile is an experiment of mine. I was trying to think of a decoration for a baby's room that would be a simpler alternative to our fancy commemorative baby plates (which @ $175 are grandparent-worthy). These are very thin porcelain paperclay tiles (about 4" x 6"), with various images and the baby's name on them (*see 7th, 8th, and 9th from the left). They are waiting patiently for Mick to glaze them. I envision them tied with a sweet ribbon, pinned up on the nursery wall somewhere...
But then I got carried away with images and made some to pin up on little nails in the kitchen and in the bathroom. Just in case you crave blue & white tile and don't have any.

These charming ponytail holders from cutecumber have a deer on one of them and my favorite image on the other, a little blue bird. I love that they don't match and pine for the days when Tawanda Faye would have worn them.
I can't stop finding things over at belleandboo that charm my socks off.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Boutros, Boutros, and Ghali

Our original six chickens were named things like 'mr. puff puff', 'little yellow poof', 'fluffy', and 'happy'. That was back when we took turns naming the chickens; each child named two and we parents named one each. (*That was before Mick, aka mr.crabby, lost his naming privileges by naming his 'dinner'.) We moved on to naming them after Secretary Generals of the United Nations. After all, who could pass up a name like Boutros Boutros Ghali? That was enough for three chickens all by itself. And then there were U Thant, Dag Hammarskjold, Trygve Lie, Kofi Annan, and now, Ban Ki Moon! But I don't get to use Ban Ki Moon (enough for three again!) because Tawanda Faye's chicken-less friends want to name them.
The chicks were so embarrassed when they heard their names they ran for cover:
Witness Gregory III, Gregor, and Tyrone. Yes, they are blushing. But they are loving their new jungle-like habitat; transitional housing before joining the flock.
I have chickens on the brain. Here are some new chicken-esque pieces I'm working on:
Handbuilt slab dinner and salad plate in blue & white (bisqued, waiting for glaze).
This chicken will be black and white after the glaze firing. But I'll probably splash some color on her... red-orange? yellow?

Flying peace chicken.
Chicken negotiators.
New earthenware large dish; glaze colors= beeswax with evergreen and zinnia on top.
If you city slickers still long for your own flock, these little fabric darlings can be yours from Susan Havens-Morris at Middleburg.
Or these paper mache chicks, also from Middleburg:
They are made from 100% recycled newspaper, water and a biodegradable binder.

Now try to pronounce
Trygve Lie. Seriously, I have no idea...