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Sunday, August 19, 2012

It takes awhile to be good

It takes awhile to be good...... I heard someone say that today and the words rang so true for me. This clay journey has been a long one and a hard one and I still feel like I have so far to go. It takes awhile....
But every now and then, I make something and I sit back and look at it and say to myself, Damn, that's a good piece!
I once had a student, a really shallow woman that wore pink Ralph Lauren sweaters and beautiful expensive leather boots to class. She also swished her very well tended long blond hair around a lot, just saying. The first class, she asked me where I would suggest she try and sell her work. I wanted to just slap her. By the end of the six weeks, I almost slapped her six times. She made the simple pinch pots and slab trays and coil pots I taught this beginner class, bought herself some peach commercial glaze and she was ready to go see some galleries. She just wasn't ready to do the work. I would be willing to bet you she isn't still making pottery.  I hope not anyway!
 Just so I don't appear to be a complete flake with my random plaster making post, here's proof that I do measure when it matters to me :) I mixed up some black terra sig today and made some small test batches of oxide washes. I wanted to test some washes all last year and just never found the time. Today I took the time to do some of those things I never seem to get to.


Chinese take out soup containers are great for mixing up test batches of glaze. Clearly we eat a lot of wonton soup around here. One little tip that I'm sure you all know but it bears repeating because sometimes I forget. Label the container and not just the lid. It's so bad when only the lid is labeled and you forget what container the lid was on. I've done this, even with knowing not to do it, I did it!
I also put some color on these little dishes. Not the best day to do this, the rain kept everything so wet. 
I don't think I'm feeling this color thing, but I had to get it out of my system. It just felt so so putting on these colors, but when I applied the black tera sig to the test tile and then burnished it? My heart went pitter patter!! Me and terra sig got something going on..... now that I got this color thing out of the way, I am going down the black and white path.... hmmm..... you gotta try on a lot of jeans to get the pair that fit just right!

I'm sticking to my rule of cleaning up at the end of the day. It makes walking in to the studio the next morning so much nicer. Here is my cleaning set up. I don't have running water and have mostly dirt around my studio, so I have this thick piece of rubber matting that keeps the mud from splashing all over me. I don't know how I would get along without plastic buckets.... thanks to the dumpster area at Whole Foods for most of these.
So, I'm back at it. I rolled out slabs today and cut out pieces for five houses, so I will get started on those first thing in the morning. Then it's gonna be house house house for the next few months!

18 comments:

Dennis Allen said...

3 things

1. What's with the twice a day posting? You're making the rest of us look bad.

2 The "floating Islands" method of mixing plaster is as good a way as any no need to apologize.

3 Yes, Always label container and lid. Free tip that not everyone knows - You can wash off the "permanent" sharpie with rubbing alcohol and reuse the tub for something else.

Anna M. Branner said...

I can tell you are home alone...you only have us to talk to! ;)

I know I could look it up but is terra sig used on greenware or bisque or either?

cookingwithgas said...

Hey TB- it is good to read you, even twice in one day. Your brain has turned back on.
I label both as well, I too have just glazed away to find I was using the wrong red looking or white looking glaze...
PS- I am back in the pj's hope you are.

Tracey Broome said...

In my pj's with only my blogger friends to talk with haha. It's weird without my girl here....
Terra sig on bone dry, three coats :)
Great tip on the sharpie/alcohol,I never knew!

Julie Whitmore Pottery said...

I can beat your hair swisher story,
(btw its dangerous to do that around a wheel). I was learning to throw in a night school type deal after work.
Determined as hell to learn, and this lady next to me had red fingernails about two inches long and they kept ripping her clay walls...I told her you have to cut them to the nub if you want to throw.
Not my nails! she said.

she quit. I swear. It was nails or pots and the nails won!

Lori Buff said...

You are so right, and just when I think I'm doing pretty well I come to a place like Penland to be humbled. It's good to remember it's a journey that takes time and lot, and lots of practice.

We have a lot of people walk into Mudfire, learn that they have to cut their fingernails and leave. It's a different set of priorities for sure.

Patricia Griffin Ceramics said...

Yes, it does!
Yay,for black and white... Though I can't help playing with color sometimes too.
Looking forward to seeing more wonderful houses!

smartcat said...

I have a rule that I have to get dressed before I do anything other than do my morning blog explorations and tea. Otherwise I would live a life of sloth in pjs.
Nice to see you back in the studio....looking forward to more houses.

Tracey Broome said...

This summer I was a sloth in PJ's with long fingernails, haha!
Julie I used to be the girl with the long red fingernails, and wouldn't learn to play guitar because I had to cut them. I remember my first pottery class, the instructor told me I had to cut my nails. It was really hard for me but I wanted the clay more. My fingernails grow like weeds and they were always long when I was young. Now I cut them all the time!
Lori, yes, Penland is a very humbling place :)

Michèle Hastings said...

there was a woman in my 2nd pottery class that had been to a craft show in the summer and saw ceramic lanterns. She quit her job and enrolled in the class so she could make lanterns and sell them at shows... never saw her again after that first semester!

like you, i label lids and buckets... Jeff on the other hand often doesn't label either one and it makes me CRAZY!

Tracey Broome said...

He doesn't label them at all!? Oh man, what a mess I would have. I barely get it right with the labels on, haha!

peggy koenig said...

Being a newby at clay, and knowing that I've got many years to go before I find my strenght in this craft, it's encouraging to read about the continuing learning curve of experienced potters. Thanks for the reminder and the images of what is possible with hard work and time.

Tracey Broome said...

Hi Peggy, yes miles and miles still to go. And I have been at it for ten years!

Laura Farrow said...

time baby, THE most important thing. my lobster roll says hello.. xo

Kings Creek Pottery said...

I swear that THIS year I will put my glaze recipes in a notebook like yours...so pretty!! Being organized in my studio helps my brain stay a bit more organized- I agree, clean up after mud play makes better for tomorrow :)

(looking forward to new houses!!!)

Tracey Broome said...

Laura, bring me one of those rolls would ya?!
Kathy, having a glaze book is one of the best things I have done, it saves a lot of frustration searching through scraps of paper for a glaze. Do it, doesn't take a lot of time!!

handstories said...

that ajar door is so inviting. looking forward to seeing more of your houses.

Tracey Broome said...

Thanks! They're coming.....