Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Glazing glazing glazing

This past week saw the reincarnation of our Lime glaze. For the past year or so, it has been finicky. Some days it is willing to lay down a nice clean layer. Other times it decides that it wants to crawl. NOT this batch. This batch of Lime is downright sweet. It goes on nice and thick and comes out silky and kind of juicy. Go figure.

So today and yesterday were all about glazing. Even with stuff to trim, glazing takes priority. With the humidity at 100% I am not terribly worried about losing any pots to drying out. On the other hand, once I get things messy with all my glazing paraphernalia, the last thing I want to do is clean up. Once we finish a BIG round of glazing, I like to bring in the garden hose and completely saturate the floor. Flood it with enough water to have a half inch of standing water. Then we wet vacuum it all out. Helps keep the dust down and also helps moderate the temperature a bit.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Did anyone see the spider?

Well.... did you? Did you see the spider on yesterday's flower?

I love shooting with our macro lens. I wish I had a bellows focusing rail setup so I could really work out the focus problems that plague macro work... but that will have to wait a bit.

I spent the weekend trolling through Craigslist and Ebay... looking at lenses. I have my heart set on a 70(or80)-200mm f/2.8 lens. Similar to what I shot with for the hockey tournament this spring. The Nikon model is just shy of two grand. Looks like Sigma makes a model (albeit without the vibration reduction feature) for about half that. I found a few used lenses for $800 or less... so the choices are tough.

The family made that choice a lot simpler last night though. We bought a dishwasher.

(we're getting a maytag!...not an LG)

You have to understand... we have never had a dishwasher. I know, I know. They are like air conditioning in cars. Everyone has it. They dont use it. Whatever. We dont have one. Never had one. So this week, while our new spanky dishwasher is on the way, we need to gut our cabint carcass, rig a water line, waste line and figure out the electrical.

Oh, and we need to throw pots.

Had a bang up Friday in the studio. Sold more pots than we had in two weeks! Blew my mind. We had some of the most fun customers stop in and share with us, all the details and fun from their visit to our area. Very fun. Best exchange was with a family with two kids from Michigan who MADE my day. Such a fun family! We sent them on their way after an hour in the studio... car full of pots, bags of clay in the back seat for the kids to play with on their 8 hour drive home.
Too much fun!!

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Taking a break

A funny thing happened on my way through the garden yesterday. It rained.


With near-clockwork precision, just as we closed up shop, a HUGE summer storm came wailing through. Ten minutes later everything was wet and blown down. As the water started shedding and plants regained their upright posture, there was just enough light to catch a few images before dark.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Walking Into the Sun

Dana and Justin were kind enough to email us pictures of our last visit to the Creamery on their last night here in T-burg.

We walked up that road into the sunset so many times. Usually arriving at the Creamery just before dark, sometimes closer to closing-time. A ritual for sure, complete with rights of passage. I think in the end, we all tried Cake Batter Supreme!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Boccadori/Burdick family reunion in Archibald PA

I am not sure it is really possible to describe this weekend's family reunion in Archibald PA. I dont think we have had a family gathering like this for at least four years. For this reunion everyone was there! Enjoy the slide show. (if you find any images that you would like high-res jpgs of, please let me know. Always happy to email them!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Struggling with Despair

I find it very hard to write this morning. Harder still to try to speak to anyone. My eyes are still watering up everytime I look up.

In a beautiful card left in our guest room, I was told Not To Despair. Yeah. Sorry. Can't do it. I am saddened. I am down. Blue. Just plain sad.

As someone who seldom expresses much sadness, today is a humdinger. Our two apprentices, Dana and Justin, began their journey back to California. After the movers took away all their personal effects yesterday, they spent the night at our house before hitting the road today.

It's a good thing I don't drink. We would have been up all night talking, drinking, crying. As it is, I am tired, but not hungover. I can trust my sadness is a result of seeing two people who began as patrons of ours, then students and apprentices, and finally family... leave.

Staying here now, with no job prospects, innumerable health issues (climatically induced), and with their families on the west coast... would be punishment.

But the last five months have been wild. Wild like fire.

No less than three days a week, they would show up like clockwork. Car wheels on our gravel driveway. Always upbeat and ready to go. Even when family strife was knocking them down, they were continually jazzed about what pots were coming out of the kiln. We tried to make sure that at least once a week we would prepare a dinner for them. Sometimes, being too tired to cook, we'd head out to a local restaurant... but one way or another, we shared meals.

LOTS of ice cream. We deserve to have a monument with our name on it at the Cayuga Creamery. We visited there no less than once a week with D&J. Then we'd find some excuse to be back there just Nancy and Aurora and I at least once more each week. That's a lot of ice cream!

Bob Dylan sang "Death is not the end," which has been playing through my head this morning. The going away of our apprentices is like a death in the family. I keep trying to see it as just temporary. We're already making plans to visit next Spring.

But loading that last batch of killer bowls into their car meant that there were no more Dana and Justin pots left to fire. No pots on boards waiting to be trimmed.

Somehow that empty space is just wracking me this morning. Maybe we aren't supposed to get so close to our apprentices or students. I dont think I can work any other way though. If someone wants to work with me here, it has to be 100%. They have to love clay, enjoy my family, suffer through our ice cream jaunts, and be ready to be here all the time. It isn't about learning to make pots. It's all about becoming a potter.

So as I wring tears from my eyes this morning, all I can think about is how two Poetry MFA grads from Cornell became potters accidentally this year. How we went from one lilac glazed mug to a whole huge dinnerware order for their wedding registry. From students to peers.

I can't even begin to understand how distraught my daughter is. She finally found her people. She has spent so much time in school frustrated with kids, teachers and curriculum alike. Along come Dana and Justin... who LOVE books and love reading and write all the time. Each of them saw bits and snatches of themselves in eachother. Meeting a relative you didn't know you had. For Aurora it meant validation of her ideas, her feelings and more. Anyone who knows us, or has seen us together knows how close we are. Dana and Justin slipped right into that.

And now they're gone.

One of my closest friends in clay suggested I start posting an opening for an apprentice,... seeing as how summer is only half over. It hit me like a brick.

I can't replace Dana and Justin. I didn't ask them to be apprentices in the first place! They were always welcome here. Always will be.

I am sure some day, further down the line, we'll add another apprentice to the shop. For now, it'll just be Hannah and I plugging away in the mornings three days a week. I'll have my afternoons to myself. Just me and the tunes.

I don't think the studio has ever felt so empty.

Justin and Dana have left the building.
Godspeed to both of you.

Another long evening of glazing

It really shouldn't take this long. After all these years, you'd think I would have figured out a better, simpler, faster way to get glaze off the bottoms of my pots. Nope. Not sure there is one. So, I wax, I glaze, it dries a while, then I clean all the drips off. That seems like all I have done since about 2pm this afternoon! But... it's done. The kiln is loaded and I am excited. (I'm always a little excited when we fire.)

Tonight is the first batch of lime since last year. We haven't made a lot of pots in Lime because I haven't had many orders calling for it.... till June... and now we have more than a few pots waiting to become LIME. So, tonight that's what we're firing. In fact, we'll be firing Lime again, on Friday, and perhaps again on Tuesday! Lots of pots have accumulated so it's time to get them through the kiln. We're still waiting on some materials for our Sunset glaze, but as soon as they arrive, we can get the pots for those orders glazed up and fired too!

So what's next? Well... I have been hoping to find time this "Spring" to work on our Espresso Brown glaze. It never really happened. Jim Gottuso over at Sofia's Dad's Pots was kind enough to send me a recipe he has been testing that looks like a warm chocolate bar! Hopefully I can get some tests going of that glaze base on our claybodies soon! Also wondering when we'll finally start playing with a creamy white glaze. I want to develop something with some character... some movement, but also still very satin, well behaved.

You know... the perfect glaze. That's all I want.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

New Driveway - almost Christmas in July!

Nancy and I have been wanting to redo our driveway almost from the moment we bought this house. This morning, my neighbor Frank came over and offered to redo the gravel on our driveway. An hour later he had re-graded the whole long driveway, added 2 HUGE dumptruck loads of gravel, then spread it all around, and finally tamped it all flat and level. REALLY nice.

Almost like Christmas!!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saying Goodbye to Dana and Justin - The Picnic

Today's picnic to say goodbye to Justin and Dana was hosted by their fellow writing student Julie. Here are just a few pictures of the afternoon's fun.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Slip trailin' up a storm

One of the things I have enjoyed a lot this year is sliptrailing. I started working with a bulb syringe with a basketball needle on the end as my trailing tool about 10 years ago. It never really gave me the line I needed and it clogged quite easily too. Now I'm using a Clairol haircoloring bottle. $2 at the haircare store. Seems to do the job quite nicely.

Next week... LOTS of teabowls and more slip trailing.

Makin' it look easy

Most potters who throw pots every day develop a certain ease with clay. But this...
this is Alberto Forconi, making it look more like dance and less like throwin' pots! Wild! Not too blown away by his forms, but his style just cant be beat. Reminds me of Issac Button. Grace and calm.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Images Passing Into Night

I have tried to keep this blog upbeat and focused primarily on clay, life in the studio and things we do that inspire us (and lead to more fun in the studio). In doing this, I have had to edit some of the more frustrating things in my life OUT of the blog. There's nothing worse than negativity insinuating its way into places it just doesn't belong. Tonight, rather than typing out my frustration, I sat down to a session with Photoshop and combined a few images in our gallery, shot last week. Gave me a nice panorama that otherwise I couldnt capture with my camera.

If I can find a way to write about my frustrations of the past few days/weeks/months... and if I can find a way to articulate it such that it relates to clay/studio life/etc... then I will. Then again, is that something anyone reading this blog cares to read about?

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy Fourth Of July

Originally I wanted to wax eloquent about how tonight was such a wonderful night. I think after looking at all these amazing images, I am content to call it a night and let the pictures do the talking. Happy Fourth of July everyone! And thank you Aurora, Dana, Justin and Nancy. This was the best!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Those Sleepless Days of July

Hannah's Wall-o-Mugs!

If you think you know the lyrical reference in the title of this posting, and you leave it here via a comment, (and you're correct)... I have a prize for you.

So, what have we been up to this week? Mostly making more pots. I had a good series of footed mugs come through the kiln, and they all sold before we had a chance to get some good images of them.

I finally had a few minutes this morning to catch a few quick glimpses around the showroom. Surprisingly, it has been pretty slow in our gallery this week. Compared to last week, it has been silent... a few folks each day, but nothing like the onslaught we had the last week of June!