Monday, February 28, 2011

Could it really be this simple?

So, I have been trying to get this studio building thing squared away since January. I went to get a pre fab building, and you know how that went, not well. Then I got a bid from a very nice carpenter, way out of the ballpark for my affordability. Then I got a referral for another carpenter, contacted him over three weeks ago, still nothing, he is a busy guy. So this weekend I mentioned all of this to a friend and she said why don't you check out Builders Discount Supply? and by the way my son can build it. Turns out, I can buy a kit at BDS for $800, everything I need, have it delivered and I have two friends with sons that can put the kit together. Well, there ya go! I'm heading over to BDS tomorrow to see if this is too good to be true. If it's real, I'm buying the kit, getting it delivered and hiring two crazy boys to come over and build this sucker! Paul Jessop had a great post today about his studio journey. he started out in a 10X10 and look where he is now! I would settle for his little 10X10, but what a dream studio he has now! So, the quest continues, stay tuned......

Sunday, February 27, 2011


The great thing about living with someone that wants to go to film school is I see a lot of films I wouldn't see on my own. Wesley studies film more than she studies her school subjects. Today we went to see Buitiful. It was not even on my radar except for the fact that Javier Bardem was in it, and he is the greatest actor out there right now as far as I'm concerned! This film is amazing and sadly tonight for the Oscars, it will probably get overlooked for the more Hollywood money movies. But this one should win. The acting, the story, the cinematography, the art direction, everything is spot on and brilliant. This is what film makers should be striving for, not another Ironman or Avatar, this is brilliant movie making! It won't make you feel good, it is bleak and sad and thought provoking, and has subtitles, but when I leave a theater speechless, I know I have seen a good film.
And ladies, looking at Javier for two hours in this movie is not a bad thing!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Out before I'm in

I've been working on a bunch of these little dishes, just to keep my hands busy and my mind still. My very wise daughter said to me this week, "Never make a decision in a social situation". This is the best advise I have been given in a very long time.
I have decided, in the quiet of my studio, not to get involved with this new co op gallery. I am just not a team player and this group decision making thing is getting on my very last nerve. I know this co op thing works for lots of folks, but it's not working for me. Too bad, it's a very nice group of people, oh well.......

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Vanna White

I meant to include this in the style blog seven things I haven't written about thing, but I forgot it. I've had a weird week of ups and downs, and the camera batteries are dead, so here is a filler post. The eighty's disco queen look there would be me and the guy in the black tie and jacket was my friend Chip White, behind him his sister Vanna. Whenever I tell anyone I'm from Myrtle Beach, the first thing they say is "do you know Vanna White". Well, I knew of Vanna and saw her from time to time, but her brother Chip and I were good friends. That's Vanna behind Chip with some security guard at the Furniture Market in High Point when Vanna was a spokesperson for Spring Air Mattress. I was working in a showroom nearby and met them one day for lunch. This was the fuster cluck I got myself into. When I lived at the beach, disco was the shite and I was at a club every night dancing, usually with Chip and his roommate there on the right, Jack Henderson, great dancers and lots of fun to be with. I heard that he works for Vanna in Hollywood for Wheel of Fortune, but I haven't seen him in years. Would love to know what he is up to. Chip, if you read my blog, give me a shout sometime, haha!

SAVE AMERICORPS Sign the petition

Many of you may have received an email from me about this, but a lot of you have Hotmail and it is blocking my email, I got about half of them back, so if we have ever emailed each other and you didn't get an email from me this morning that's why. If you have a Hotmail account I cannot email you....
A tea party group of house members have voted to eliminate all funding to the Americorps program.I have worked with a lot of folks through Hidden Voices that were in the Americorps program and they are some of the finest people I have ever met. Please take a moment to go here and sign the petition to help save this valuable program!!!!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A new pear, a new gallery

I'm liking this pear, one of the few survivors, I dropped two and broke them, broke the stem off of one and the Raku glaze on one wasn't good at all..... these things are about as bad as my stars as far as survival goes! I have stopped making the stems clay, they are way too fragile, I am using other materials now and I think it's even better.
Other news:
Somehow I have found myself on the steering committee for the new Saxapahaw gallery. There is a new membership meeting this Wednesday night if you are interested in joining.The meeting is at 7pm next to the General Store in Saxapahaw. The gallery will be open at 5:30pm if you want to visit first. The new pub is open too, so you could have dinner before the show....

Monday, February 21, 2011

More cone 6 test results

A lot of you in the last blog post had questions and wanted recipes so I thought rather than try answering all of them one by one I would try answering here. Above is a test tile for the selsor base oribe, it worked very nicely, lots of red flashing pretty stable
This is Woo Yellow, it was a beautiful satin matte very stable
St. Johns Black, if you want a gun metal black this is a great glaze at ^6 and ^10
VC Matte yellow, VC matte can run like a mother but it is a very pretty, not a functional glaze, use on outside with a liner glaze, sort of a stone feel, good sculpture possibilities
Marks Temmoku looked the same at ^6 as it does at ^10, this was applied a bit too thick though
Laura's Turquoise, I have used this in ^6 oxidation not as pretty as it is here. Sort of bright, but I like the feel of it, very satin matte, very stable, breaks nicely if you do a lot of carving
This was a recipe I found for a ^6 amber celedon that said ^6/7 and I think it is more on the 7 side. The inside of the bowl below shows a true amber celedon, really pretty, but it didn't all melt. Although I sort of like this look and it feels nice, not rough at all. Sort of has an ash glaze look to it.
Most of these glazes I have used in ^10 reduction and am familiar with what they do. Many of the glazes we tested were Barbara's standard ^10 glazes and we didn't alter them. You can find most of them in the John Britt high fire glaze book. I mixed up some Selsor base and added colorants and Barbara mixed up a few of the John Britt glazes like the Cherry Blossom and the buttery rust. We had much better success with her ^10 glazes, especially the Dresang Shino and the Carbon Trap shino. Here are a few recipes, but if you are really into this and want to do some testing send me an email and I will see if I can help you with at least what I have learned so far!
I think part of it is looking at the neph sy content and I am wondering if swapping out the custer feldspar for something else would melt the celedon sooner, I may try this with neph sy and see what happens. I noticed that the turquoise and the celedon both have the custer and both have a very similar feel to them. Would the turquoise get more glossy, that might be really Walmart looking, ick...... So there you have it, you know what I know, email if I can help!

Amber Celadon cone 6/7 reduction
35.0 Alberta Slip
21.4 Custer Feldspar
13.6 Silica
7.8 Whiting
2.9 Kaolin
13.6 Wollastonite
2.9 Magnesium Carbonate
2.9 Gerstley Borate

Add: 8.7 Yellow Ochre
( I think this wants to be a cone 7, and I believe it would look as nice as a ^10 amber celedon)
Selsor Base
Cone 6 Reduction
56.25 Nepheline Syenite
12.50 Gerstley Borate
10.41 Whiting
20.83 Silica
this is a nice stable clear glaze although it showed a lot of crazing, I like crazing, this had an old chinese celedon look to it and it flashed pink in places, really nice.
Laura, I tried it over the white crackle slip from Keith Phillips and it did nothing..... can't get that slip to work for me at all.

for oribe add copper carb 3.5%
for blue add rutile 5%
for a nice gray add nickel oxide and rutile (sorry I forgot the amounts, something like 1.5%)
don't even bother with the copper red, it is very muddy and ugly but if you don't want to listen to me and try for better results than I got here it is: tin oxide 1.5% copper carb .5% RIO .10%
I did notice that where it was really thick it looked like it might want to be nice, but mostly it has sucked for me both times I tried it
Liz asked for cherry blossom but I really don't like this glaze, it's fussy and it flaked off the brownstone. I used it at the workshop in Wilmington on Raku clay, it didn't flake off, but I didn't like it. This recipe looks nothing like the recipe Ronan has in his photos, it's just a rust/brown with a tiny bit of irredecsence that looks cheap to me. I did like it over VC matte which one guy did in the Wilmington workshop, very nice, but huge potential for running with that VC, use it really really thin.
cherry blossom:
neph sy 40
spdoumene 40
EPK 10
Soda Ash 10
add 2% rio for irridescent shino (sort of, but this is not the shino we all know and love)
Laura's Turquoise
36.7 Whiting
22.94 Custer Feldspar
29.36 Kaolin
9.17 Flint
1.83 Bentonite
2.98 Copper Carbonate
2.75 Rutile
.23 Cobalt Carbonate

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Redux Results

L-R from bottom to top: carbon trap shino(see below), dresang shino, redart shino, red malcolm, spotted malcolm, gold shino, orange shino, cherry blossom, copper salt, yellow salt, white salt, venetian,cranberry, peacock, buttery rust, biscayne, turquoise, fb shino, rutile blue, marks temmoku, gold temmoku, st johns black, marty fielding oribe, willy helix, spodumene, ohata khaki, cherry blossom with rutile, selsor base yellow, selsor base grey, vc matte yellow, charcoal matte, nutmeg with white satin matte.
I met with Barbara today to look at our results and gather some information. All in all, I think this was a very good firing for learning a lot about glaze chemistry. We had some good, some bad and some really bad, as would be expected for a test. But I think there is lots of potential here for more testing and for some good possibilities. Tiles 1, 2 and 3 left to right: carbon trap shino, dresang shino, redart shino. These were 3 of my favorites. Others I liked above 11, 12, 13 were copper salt, yellow salt and white salt, all of these were very stable and very consistant.
Dresang shino, I liked this shino the best
Ohata Khaki, no reduction, very blah. I have bowls that were glazed in Ohata and fired to ^10 that are beautiful so this is not good.
Red Malcolm shino, really crazy crawl, but great if you like that look, which I do. This was also put on way too thick, I was getting lazy on the sieving by this time.
The pieces that follow are Barbara's, I was going to wait until I got home and photo some of mine but my camera batteries died and there are none in the house. This is a yellow salt mug
Faux ash, all of these are on a dark brownstone clay body, this mug was great, one of my favorite things from the firing
The rest of the photos are carbon trap shino which I think was pretty successful. I'll get some more photos posted later and more info for you when I compile it......
I think this was a much more successful firing than the one I did at the workshop in Wilmington, although I am glad I had taken that workshop first because John Britt is a wealth of information and I understood what I was doing much better. Since it was just two of us and not a class room full, we were able to focus better, we studied recipes, and since I had already done a ^6 workshop we had a lot of information to go on. A lot of people in the workshop I took used the cherry blossom, but it shivered bad in this firing and most pieces had glaze flaking off, so I would not suggest that glaze, it's unstable on some clay bodies, test it first. It has potential to be a pretty glaze but it's fussy. We did test a lot with two selsor base recipes and added colorants, some good results there and some bad. I also have a nice turquoise piece and an amber celedon that I will get photos of tomorrow.
more to come, stay tuned......

Friday, February 18, 2011


Well, I'm glad I got all of that out of my system! I figured I would be gone this weekend for Wesley's interview at NCSA and wanted to leave a more pleasant post, so here is my latest dream studio photo. This is the one I am going to have, somehow, some way. It's perfect!!!
Check out Scott Garrett's blog for a really chill moment with Frontier Ruckus, great tune, just what I needed as I head off to bed...........


Here is a pile of wasted money, over $100 in cartridges that my computer says are empty and after busting them open, I have proven the piece of shite wrong! I went and bought a laser printer after getting some good advise from my friend Bob, thanks Bob! and then I came home and visited with my little sheep, that makes me smile, even with this ridiculous corporate rip off, thanks Cindy!
This all got started because Wesley applied to the NC School of the Arts film school and she has been asked in for an interview this Saturday. They emailed a parking pass and I tried in vain to print it out last night and then this morning. So I had to buy a new printer just so we could have a parking pass at the school, does this make sense to anyone?!? Thanks to the lovely ladies that bought pendants from me this week, you helped me get a new printer, Thanks especially to Gay Judson, who wore hers this week on her 34th anniversary, that really made me smile! There are more pendants in my Etsy shop if anyone wants to help me buy new paper :)
So here is the sponge that fits in one side of this stupid thing, one side as you can see is completely empty, so I figure there must be about a tablespoon of ink in there.

Well, there is a full moon tonight, I have no beer in the house and Wesley just got a 1930's German movie to watch on netflicks...... could life be any sweeter :) hahhahahahaha! One bit of good news I did get today: I was accepted in the Hillsborough Arts and Craft show, that should be fun, wonderful historic town and really cool people living there. It rains, it pours......
peace ya'll

Hewlett Packard Printer RIPOFF

I very rarely use the color feature on this piece of shite printer I have. We print out school papers, letters, business cards, etc. But my printer has a page counter in it, and when it has printed a certain number of pages a sensor tells the printer to tell me that my cartridges are empty and it will not print. So I busted some open today because I just bought them and knew they were not empty. Here is what I found. Half of the cartridge is empty space, filled with air. the other half has a sponge in it leaving about an inch of space for ink. I am spending a small fortune in time and money dealing with this printer and I have been to STAPLES twice to complain, the manager says yes he knows about this, HP is ripping everyone off, and then he just shrugs his shoulders. WTF can be done about this? I feel like a complete victim of our fucked up corporate monsters that are sticking it up our ass every time we walk out the door. The insurance companies, the banks, the drug companies!!!!!!!!!!!! How come WE AREN'T OUT IN THE STREETS LIKE THE REST OF THE WORLD PROTESTING the fact that we are getting bent over every where we turn. I am sick to fucking death of this!!!!!!!
there, I feel much better :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Ewe are soooo sweet!

If you guys read Cindy Shake's blog from way up there in snowy Alaska you know that she has been creating these wonderful little felt animals, and I have been loving the sheep. I sent Cindy one of my first Raku sheep and today I got this little guy in the mail. Gerry brought the package to me in my studio and my first comment was oh boy, maybe she sent me a sheep!!! I love it, love it, love it!!!! Thanks so much Cindy, he is now sitting on our kitchen table so I can see him all the time. Isn't it the cutest thing ever!??!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Cone 6 Redux

Just in case I didn't have enough to do with the Raku firings, terra sig work, and the new jewelry, I thought I better add something else to the plate, so today my good friend Barbara McKenzie and I sieved and glazed all day for a cone 6 redux test this week. We are testing 40 glazes (yes we are nuts!) cone 6 oxidation glazes, cone 10 shinos and cone 10 reduction glazes. We got most of the glazing done today, loaded the back of the kiln and will finish up tomorrow. Firing by the end of the week and unload this weekend. I hope to have some notes on results by next Monday and will post something for you to take a gander at. The test tiles Barbara made are great, she made these little dishes and stamped a number inside each one, then we made a key to go with them listing the glaze that goes with the dish.
Let me just say that I don't know anyone that has a kiln in a better location than Barbara. Her studio is in the basement of her house, you step oustide onto a concrete slab and there is her kiln and behind that a beautiful lake.
This is a great little kiln and Barbara fires some beautiful work in it. Her work is some of my most favorite of any potter I know and you know I have good taste. Her shinos are brilliant and her forms are all very Japanese influenced and the aesthetic is wonderful. I took a class with her when I first moved to Chapel Hill, learned a lot, she got me hooked on raku and we have become great friends, now firing together when we have a chance. Stayed tuned for the results, good or bad, I'll let ya know!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Lowcountry Blues

Gerry gave me this new Greg Allman CD for Valentines. Since I grew up in the low country of South Carolina and I grew up on the Allman Brothers it was a great gift to get. Run out and buy it tomorrow, don't wait one second! It is fantastic!!!!!
So here is my contribution to the Stylin award that's being handed out. If you are reading other blogs you know the deal, 7 things about myself that I have not shared before, though I was hard pressed to find anything since I seem hell bent on spilling my guts here on this blog! First off, the above photo was me at 19 years old when I met Gerry. I was a runway model in high school and when I got to RTC, a lot of the photographers asked me to model for them. I was very skinny and had great clothes since I had been modeling for pretty nice stores in Myrtle Beach. This was a photo a guy named Joel Laws took, wonder where that boy is now. I still have that turquoise ring and still wear it, I do not have those size three Calvin Kleins, nor do I have those inch long red finger nails. And I have a bit more hair now.
I had my picture taken a lot when I was a kid. Our neighbor was the photographer for the local paper, I was in a lot of activities and whenever she covered something, if I was there she took my picture. Here I am selling Girl Scout cookies. I was the top seller one year in my troop. I stayed in scouting until high school and the humiliation of wearing that uniform to school finally took it's toll and I quit. I have badges on my sash all the way up the back. Some of the best days of my life! I still have my uniforms.

Here's one nobody else will have: Gerry's cousin took a cup of water that Elvis Presley drank from off of the stage one night at a concert and he goes around with the Elvis Cup Tour (I shit you not). He keeps it in a freezer and he has this CD of music he has made to go along with the tour of the cup. We have a t shirt and a CD, lucky lucky us! This is a postcard he sent us from the tour.
Still with me? I love Richard Petty, and once when Gerry was covering a NASCAR race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, I walked around until I found Richard not too busy and had someone take my picture with him. I can't find that pic just yet, but here is one I took just before down in the pit area.
This was my high school graduation present from my dad. One BAD ASS car. It's a Volkswagon Scirroco, five speed and I frequently ran it at 120 miles per hour on the highway. My nickname after I got this was Speed Racer. I loved this car, my dad bought me another one when I graduated from college and he drove this one. That was back in the day when you could actually pay cash for a car if you saved your money. He finally sold it to a guy that totaled it. he was probably doing 120 also!
and so I'll wrap it up with a shot of my crazy parrot Sam. This was a college bird and he was high a good bit of the time, people seemed to find it interesting to blow pot smoke in his face and he didn't seem to mind too much. Sometimes he got a little hash and sometimes some opium. We would take Sam for rides in the car, he would perch on the steering wheel and walk along the wheel as it turned. He was a pretty good talker and a screamer. When we brought Wesley home, he started screaming and would not stop. I finally had to sell him, he freaked her out. People of color also freaked him out. We had a red headed friend that Sam took a curious interest in and we had an African American friend that caused him to turn his head upside down and stare. What a great party bird he was. I wonder if he is still alive? I am supposed to name 15 other bloggers, I will spare you that but later I will list a few that I have recently found and enjoy. Let's spread the love, shall we?!
peace ya'll.....

Happy Valentines Day

Last week I heard a story on NPR about a couple that was in their 70's and for 40 years they had made a Valentine for each other and they still had their collection. This was a great story and so I told Gerry about it and suggested we make each other Valentines for the next 40 years. If you knew Gerry you would know that this isn't going to happen, he doesn't get into the craft room that often. I was sort of kidding about it, but I got up this morning and found this on my computer. What a really great surprise!!! sometimes he does that, just surprises me with the most unexpected thing. Guess that's why we have stayed together for so many years.
Now for my WTF of the week. I decided to make treat bags for Wesley's teachers. I totally blanked on Christmas gifts for them and since she is a Senior I don't do all the things you do as class mom when they are little kids. This will be my last treat bag to make and it was fun. Except for the designers at Target. I found the bags in the photo below, thinking wow what a great shape it's all ready for the ribbon to go around it without crunching up too much bag. Think again. The boxes of candy hearts that I bought to go in to them would not fit, so I had to cut open the holes, what a pain in the ass this turned into. Then Wesley said she felt weird giving her male teachers boxes of candy that said "true love" and be mine". WTF, why are these candy makers writing things like this on candy that is clearly intended for kids to take to school for their friends and teachers. Do we really want our daughters giving boys cards and candy in 3rd grade that say "be mine"? So, I hand wrote a personal card to each teacher, so that it didn't look like these were coming just from Wesley with some secret message to her male teachers!
The bags turned out really cute and Wes agreed to hand them out, risking humiliation, so all is well. I have to say, standing in the candy area at Target made me crazy thinking about what a retail scam we have going on in this country. The Valentine stuff was in the store almost the day after Christmas. Easter candy is there now and by July the stores will have all of the Halloween candy out. We are victims of the retail candy madness I tell you! I almost didn't get the red heart box of chocolates, but, think about it, who can resist a big red satin heart full of yummy chocolate?!?! Except when Wes and I opened our big red hearts, most of the space was taken up with the packaging and about 12 pieces of candy. Remember when those boxes were double layers and chocolates crammed in wrapped in those little brown paper cups? Nope, now there is some crazy gold contraption that cradles the chocolate and the boxes cost twice as much you get half as much. Ain't that the American way! Anyway, hope all of you have a happy Valentines Day and are soon in a chocolate coma like I will be today.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

More new pendants

I have been busy making lots of pendants, I like the pace of making jewelry and the Etsy Shop is filling up again after the holidays.

Friday, February 11, 2011

New pendants

I have some new pendants from the first raku firings of 2011 in my Etsy shop. I took some to the Saxapahaw Gallery today and there are still some to make. I know I look like I am all over the place, with the barns and the Raku vases, pears, and now pendants, and well, yes I am, but I would be bored otherwise and would probably quit doing this. So when those galleries ask me to send in photos showing a cohesive body of work, I just can't cooperate. Sorry.....