Saturday, March 23, 2013


About a week has passed since last posting.  Feels like I am getting back in the groove. 
Back on the hamster wheel and gasping for air.  

About a month ago I was asked to sit on our City Charter Review committee.  The committee made me do stuff that makes me shutter......... like submit all questions in writing!  I work off random thoughts and this was an exercise that was just grueling for me.  By the time we got to the first meeting it ran smoothly and quickly.  Whoa! take notes and apply this new learned technique to my life!  Read, re-read, take notes, submit!  What a flip'n concept!  What took me 30 hours to muddle through took the committee 90 minutes.  Articles were rationally discussed, voted on and we clicked through the city charter with ease.  I really need to try this, it was mind boggling.  Apparently not everyone thought the changes recommended were sane and later in the week a crazy person unloaded her opinions in public.  Wow! 
Good God I hate confrontation and immediately spouted back something like;  You are crazy and you're wearing granny panties.  My brain just short circuits in these situations, I have no excuse.  But realizing this was going no where I retreated to the studio.  Sitting at the wheel I became brilliant with the things I should have said!  In the solitude of the studio I vowed to not go out in public again, ever.  You really need a dog! 

It has been a turbulent winter; clay projects, house projects, city stuff and body failures!
This is my new secret weapon.  Gruel, a combination of rye flakes, quinoa, teff, steel cut oats, flax seed and buckwheat groats.  Every morning, no exceptions.  Whining loudly when wheat and dairy flew out the door.  Well sort of, I still have a bit of yogurt 1 or 2 times a week.   Anyway, Saturday morning there is a big pot of gruel bubbling on the stove.  Cooked gruel is divided up and dumped in the freezer for the week.  After 3 months I can get out of bed pain free!  My joints have stopped clicking and popping too.  Maybe it's the loads of veggies, way less meat, sardines idea but the pain is pretty much gone and I have stopped running into the wall when I vault out of bed in the morning!  Really miss wearing my helmet to bed..... 

  I stood in the studio yesterday afternoon and looked at a ton of clay, neatly boxed and stacked on the floor.  Time to spin straw into gold, call me Rumplestiltskin!  I dropped to my knees and wedged out 2 boxes of clay on my concrete floor.  Yes, I have a wedging table but I hate it.  For some reason my back feels so much better when I wedge on the floor.   Jumped up, cranked up the latest audio book and dipped my hands into a bucket of warm luxurious warm water with the addition of lavender oil.
It really is the little things in life :) 

7:30 p.m. stood up and had a good days work on the table.  Crank'n!  Down to the pub by 8:00 pm to hang with the neighbors and have a pint.  Hit the bed and knew it was a good day.  

The first part of the week I threw these lovelies.  The tallest is 14".  I stood back and thought yuck, call me the constipated potter, they looked like giant poops!   Not quite ready to throw them in the recycling bucket I grabbed my carving tools and set to work......... an afternoon later they looked a bit better. 
Still not sold but going to glaze them anyway.  The hammer is ready! 

The remains of the day..... chip carving makes such a mess.
and I will never have shoes that are not covered in clay ...... or jeans or sox or glasses....... 

Finished these two small woven pots!  

Pots finally found their way home via Boston and Virginia.  The packaging they came in ..... YIKES! Well let's just say it was a lesson in how to get things safely through the postal service.

Spring has been delayed.....  a balmy 18 F. this morning and more snow on the way.  
I guess I'm running with Mother Nature because the snow has kept me in the studio and with Boston and orders looming large, it's good.   And I support Butler County's decision to call for the death penalty for Punxsutawney Phil! 

and look what MMp brought home!  This is False Evidence Appearing Real! 
It's the boss's car.  The boss's daughter had to take her driving test again and as Dad's car is too big to pass the test he borrowed our little clown car, the Versa.  Oh this just makes me feel so good about being on the road because after she passes her test in the clown car she will be driving this behemoth again.  Again........ don't leave the studio!  
The neighbors have paraded down the driveway thinking we hit the lottery.  Everyone knows how painfully aware I am of my carbon footprint and I am insisting he park this beast across the street!  Get it out of my yard.  It leaves Monday morning.  Seeing as I am always covered in clay and a hot mess I'm thinking I might sit in that black leather interior and leave butt prints on those heated seats!  

Sunday, March 17, 2013

and they're out.......

The original order for two stacked Pho bowls quickly morphed into hyper drive.  I know just shocking!
Something soooooo simple went over the edge and dangled for weeks and still there is tweaking to be done.   This is what goes into design, well at least here in Paine Falls.  Some people are born with the design gene, they know how to put stuff together..... effortlessly.  
Me?  I was born to a salt of the earth woman who reveled with delight when she moved an orange plaid recliner into our living room with painted turquoise walls.  Then the brown, floral, flame retardant  velour, couch, flanked on each side with Danish modern lamps came through the front door, to make the whole package complete she tossed in a wiener dog named, Dortmunder.  I remember the day she stood back and said:  Look at this!  It's Done!  The dog was only thing I liked.  We survived the Early American phase, the 50's cosmic look, the I have kids plastic covered phase and her final phase: it's  big and I can get out of it!  I'm not gonna lie it's been a struggle.  Like Mom I preferring to muddle through set after set after set.  Each set I thought I can make it better, it didn't work with vodka gimlets last summer either but then I don't remember much..... 

I just know there's a group of nomads out there living in hobbit holes, yurts or air stream trailers who really want to eat off handmade dishes but have no room to store them.  Sometime this week I will be making a lovely pine or maple box to store this ensemble in. The box will make it much easier when loading your camel or hybrid and trekking to outer Suburbia.

From two Pho bowls to Pho for two, tea bowls on saucers, saki cups, condiment dish, liner or sandwich plates, napkins and chopsticks.  11.5" high, 8.5" wide.  

the tie down needs tweaking..... velcro anyone? 

The dinner napkins are tucked around the inner bowls, also providing a cushion. 
I hate wiping my face with bubble wrap, don't you? 

 TaDa!........ and there you have it! 

and then I added mugs..... because you need more fluids.  (I'm a Mom!) 

 obsessive carving....... 

the next set, no saucers....... 

 and how about really green, Happy St. Patrick's day! ....... no saucers again.

But this is where it started, two bowls stacked with chop sticks.

 nothing more, nothing less....... 

 and then it started ...... a condiment bowl and shrimp chip plate.  
This is when I should have pulled out...... but I couldn't.

but the design was not working, who in their right mind would want to thread waxed linen through those little holes?   Someone who loves to make things really complicated...... 

There are still other bowls sitting out on in the studio........ I had to stop..... 
off to kiss a Blarney stone and drink a pint....... 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Blue mornings........

Thought today would be green ........ 

Happy St. Patrick's Day! 

Grabbed the camera on my way to chicken detail at 6:30 am this morning.
A bit more than a dusting and snow globe pretty.

While the kiln reaches temperature I will be weaving in the house.
looks pretty inviting this time of the morning and there is a pot of coffee happily perking away! 

so quiet........ except for a herd of rowdy cardinals. 
Cardinals rock; They are the last ones partying at the feeder and first ones singing in the morning.  The bright red male feeds the female sunflower kernels, ever so patiently and his bright red veneer makes the Pope's shoes look faded.   

by 11:30 am it was pretty much over ...... 

Batina poked her head out and stood there!  
Pile up on inner belt, the other girls couldn't figure out what the hold up was.  
they were seen headed back to the roost at dark thirty...... 


Sailing club meeting tonight...... I don't ask anymore.  It's snowing and cold and a bunch of people are going to gather around eating appetizers, drinking copious amounts of beer and talk about knots or tie each other up with knots or chase each other around the aft deck.  (no idea what the aft deck is)  
I do know I need to help make a pan of mini reuben sandwiches by 6 p.m. and then I can get back to weaving :) 

Friday, March 15, 2013




This pretty much sums up my days in the studio, in deed everyday..... and life in general. 

Last night I attended an opening at Juma Gallery in Cleveland.  Long overdue and it was great to see a new gallery space and old friends.  It was MMp's birthday, a perfect excuse to go out for dinner and attend an opening.  Good way to start the weekend early.  Been awhile since I have been out in public, if one does not practice social skills they get ....... ummm.... rusty!  I had social tourettes: stuttering and flailing in large groups of people before drinking wine around expensive works of art.  Since the dog is gone and I am holed up most days listening to audio books I lack social skills on every level by the 30th day in solitary.  Honestly I would never come out of the studio or off the compound without dynamite. I keep myself enchantingly entertained over nothing more than sardines, as it was pointed out in the last blog entry.    
I will vow to attend a social gathering at least once a week.....  well until Craft Boston.  

Craft Boston...... the clock is ticking down and I am flinging clay as fast as possible.  Two days ago the phone rang and SAC Boston asked if I would give a 30 minutes power point/lecture.  Me?  Talk about my work?  Stop the train!  Sure!  Hung up the phone after committing to 30 minutes and settled into carving and trimming pots.  As I have blogged out my conflicted thoughts about this pottery thing I do.  My brain spasmed  as to which direction this power point/lecture should take.  About the time my brain was going to flat line, FRAP sprouted up.  Exactly........ and it was better then Carnage Along the Road to Pottery which would have been C.A.R.P...... 

While all these plates are spinning in the air, Michael Kline posted over at his blog Sawdust and Dirt 
a great little contest to keep us working in the studio!  Brilliant!  Of course I popped off an image.  That was yesterday and this is the table today.  Cannot wait to see what others have going in their studios. 
And then too you can pop over to mud colony love those potters in Australia! 

So here is the rundown on the table today...... 

Teapots, teapots, teapots.....

This little guy is my fav!  

and then there is always weaving...... 
(frantic random acts of weaving or FRAW just doesn't work) 

back FRAP'N out in the studio :)  

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

white smoke and Iditarod watching......

While crowds gather at the Vatican waiting for a bunch of guys in red hats and smocks, with the direct pipeline to the CEO to send up a poof of white smoke ( Hey, didn't the indigenous people start the language of smoke oh so long ago?  Are they sitting on the edge of their seats now...... just wondering)  The newscasters can't even decide if it's white or black.  At 6:45 am this morning they broke into the local news and I heard Cokie Roberts say..... it's black but kind of white but no more to the black. Oh wait, for sure it's black.   Cokie, get it right there are people choking on their toast!  When somebody finally  decided it really was black they cut Cokie off and we watched 53 year old Mitch Seavey, the oldest guy ever to win the Iditarod!  Yeah, give this guy a hat and a pair of Italian red shoes, I cheer!   
Hmmmm..... I am older than 53 maybe I should cross this off my bucket list...... maybe not, pondering as I trudge out to check my traps, baited with hot dogs slathered in 99 cent a gallon "maple syrup".  Yes, it's that time of the year...... RACCOON WARS!   So far 6 raccoons and counting.  I lugged another monster to the truck yesterday morning, MMp backed his car out of the driveway and waited patiently in the street.  The Sunshine Relocation service (that would be me) drove off relocating yet another crabby masked varmit to parts unknown. 
Arriving home with a slam of the door, triumphantly announcing that had to be the last one, MMp laughed and said:  "Well while I was sitting in the street I noticed two running across the street in my rear view mirror."  

It's March and time is fleeting!  The fishing rod is gathering dust but the shelves are filling in the studio. The weather still has the bite of winter even though we were ordered to turn our clocks ahead last Saturday night.  Can we just leave the clocks alone?  I will stop myself ranting on the time change but it's right up there with changing all my passwords.  Some of us don't do well with change, in fact I would say a majority. While standing in line at the grocery I overheard a frazzled woman confess to pouring orange juice in her humidifier Sunday morning.  Nuff said!  

And as if the time change was just too much the coffee pot blew out it's last gasp.  I am now French Pressing.  Yeah, sounds a lot sexier than drip, doesn't it?   At 6:00 a.m. it's dark, I make coffee in the dark, like sex.....  This morning I found out if I don't line up the spout to the handle I pour coffee all over the counter, again like sex..... great expectations dashed. 

Craft Boston approaches and I am feeling the time pinch. 
My weaving table is filling with gusto!  Since it is next to the heater one can be assured I will be weaving away, especially since the temperature this morning is a crisp 24 F. the snow and wind blowing..... excuse me it's March!  Peas should be going in the ground on the 17th as tradition holds; not gonna happen this year.

Teapots are coming along........

Bowls are out of the kiln.........

This is the glaze combo I have landed on for functional work...... 

This section is dedicated to my dear friend sitting in Uganda.  He wrote and asked how to eat sardines.  I replied with a fork.  I grew up eating sardine sandwiches on white fluffy bread with butter or mustard.  I ate them everyday until I sat at the lunch table in first grade as found myself banished from the cool kids table.  Imagine my shock when I realized cool kids did not eat sardine sandwiches!   I ate them in secret with my family at home where we would savor the tiny fish smashed into the fluffy white bread and moan, they were that good!  Thinking I could make it to the cool kids table if I stopped the sardines Monday thru Friday and substituted with gooseliver and mayo....... NOPE, still not making it to the cool kids table.  I finally switched to american cheese and mustard with an occasional PB&J.  But alas the dye had been cast and I was banished.  

Today I flaunt my sardine habit.  I love them, they are tinned, portable and beat the hell out of Spam, which should only be used to prop up rickety furniture.  On a recent buying trip, here are the many sardines I carted home.

Smoked little sprats from Germany, herring in horseradish sauce, herring tomato sauce, herring in burgundy sauce, sardines in mustard, sardines in hot sauce, smoked, and my all time favorite....

Bar Harbor = fish candy!   Just reading the label makes me go weak in the knees! 
"Skinless, Boneless, Smoked Sardine Fillets in MAPLE SYRUP.   and then there is the holy grail of all packaging........ "Sustainably harvested from the clear cold waters of the Gulf of Maine."  
and all this for $2.29!!   I will rip open the can and spoon out the fillets on steamed broccoli with a sprinkle of feta cheese.  Maybe a squeeze of lemon or drizzle of olive oil, maybe not.  

Another big time suck for March ....... taxes!  I will start them tomorrow, I promise.  
On another note, last month I was sworn in to the city charter review committee.  Our city does this once every ten years.  Yes, I sat and read our city charter, it made my eyes bleed but I stumbled through.  I submitted changes or clarifications with gusto, 3 typed pages.  I will probably be banished from the cool kids table again...... 
maybe I will eat sardines while racing in the Iditarod....... 

 and so it goes here in Paine Falls .........