Monday, January 31, 2011

hike view

fog fills the valley
Sometimes the view on our hike is all about the sky.
Island? No, just the other side of the valley.
When it is foggy in the Tualatin Valley, it looks like a body of water from up here.
Catching the sunset is always a treat.
oval dish with spiral (14" W.)
We walk way, way down to the bottom every time. And then, back up to the top.

Saturday, January 22, 2011


chicken noodle soup* in a porriger
We find ourselves using this new bowl shape all the time. I like to call it a porriger because it sounds like such a comforting thing to eat from. The name suggests a wide generous dish to eat out of, something to use sitting in one's thick-walled, thatch-roofed cottage overlooking the White Cliffs of Dover. Apparently this is a  misnomer, because real porrigers have handles and even lids, but that won't stop me from (mis-) using this name for this bowl. Such a rebel am I.
Mr. Cranky got a set of tasting salts from a truly fabulous local resource, The Meadow, a shop that specializes in salt, chocolate, and wine. I try to use only the minimal amount of salt when cooking so that we can add salt at the table from our selection of eight different salts. I find the various textures to be very intriguing.
I even under-salt bread when I bake and buy unsalted butter now. I can't tell if we are eating more salt because of this, or less. A little goes a long way when added just before eating.
Rock Creek is running fast
There's nothing like a hike after a warming bowl of soup. It has been raining so much that the creeks are full, wide, and exciting. This is at the final leg of our current favorite hike. It is a good destination, but the hike is 100% uphill from here. We take this hike everyday, rain or shine. So lucky!

*Recipe for chicken stock and noodle soup

Monday, January 17, 2011


slab roller with two other essential tools
I use these tools so often I rarely think about how indispensable they are. 
One of our concerns when designing/building our studio was the potter's disease, silicosis, which is caused by dust inhalation, specifically silica dust. We installed a whole house vacuum because the unit containing the motor can be placed outside the studio, carrying the dust and particulates away without lofting all the tiny silica dust particles into my lungs. When I am carving clay I find myself constantly turning the vacuum on and off to suck up the bits of manganese and cobalt-coated slip that powder and float all about. I have had to replace the switch twice, but the trusty motor keeps chugging along. It has the additional advantage, being located outside in the shed, of quiet operation. Because I really hate wearing masks, I would probably be on a respirator by now without it.
The other tool pictured is a cutting bow. I have two sizes, this is the smaller one. 
there is a wire across the base of the bow
I take a block of clay and slice a uniform slab from the bottom by dragging the cutting bow through.
thin flat slab
Initially, I adjust the size and shape of the block to suit the size of the piece I plan to make. This saves on recycling scrap clay. The height of the wire can also be adjusted up or down to make a thinner or thicker slab.
thin square-ish slab
sheetrock tool
This is perfect for removing the canvas texture from the slab, although sometimes I leave it textured on purpose. I am currently obsessed with Japanese textiles and am putting fabric patterns on the blue & white tableware. I like the subtle play of the ghost of the canvas weave underneath the glaze and decoration, so I don't remove all of it.

hand-built plates