Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dorgies and Plaster Bats

The scrap bucket was full so it was recycle time today. Lily, of the dynamic duo, Lily and Dash, was all for helping out ... yeah sure she was ;) ..... These two dorgies - 8 yr old rescue dogs, have been with us for a year now. Last January, our old lab cross Tisha, who lived to be a ripe old 14, had been gone for over a year and hubby was campaigning for a puppy. I was not up for all the peeing and chewing that goes with a puppy so suggested we adopt an adult dog ... maybe a senior as they are so hard to place (like I'm going to be one day ;)). Our search took us to the Langley Animal Protection Society (LAPS). Here are the mug shots and the write up that stole our hearts .... Travandashblog Lovey Weds. By mid Feb Dash & Lily were ours and our double doggie adoption adventures began! ohhhh yeahhh .... there are tales to tell but those are stories for another day.

Back to boring, snoring, recycling .... today I thought I'd share how to make a great clay recycling bat - a design courtesy of my ceramics prof. When it's a 2-5 hour drive (depending on the city we head to), including a $125 round trip ferry ride, to get to the pottery supply store, recycling clay becomes a necessity. To use, I mix 25% of my recycled clay with new clay so I'm not using the recycled clay on its own.

The basic frame is made with two 24" 2x2's and two 18" 2x2's, pre-drilled and screwed together, with the 18" pieces placed between the 24" pieces. Outside diameter is now 21" x 24". Four 21" 1x2's are added to the bottom, to both brace the frame, and raise the bottom of the finished bat up off the table to permit drying from underneath. 3.5 inch coated decking screws are screwed through the outside the frame every 4 inches. These act as anchors for the plaster to hold onto once set.

Place the frame topside down on a sheet of plexiglass or hard plastic coated with a thin coat of liquid dish soap or mold soap. Use masking tape to seal the frame to the hard surface.

The plaster mix is 9 kilograms (19.8 lbs for my US friends) #1 Potters Plaster to 6 kilograms (13.2 lbs) of water mixed per normal plaster making processes. Pour the prepared plaster carefully in between the braces up to the top edges of the frame and the bottom side of the braces. Set, clean and cure for at least a week. Voila .... Super Bat!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Pots in the Gallery

The picture isn't the best (most of the gallery lights were off) but my gallery display at Artique is in place. Kudos to hubby, who did a great job with the shelving! I dropped by on Fri to see if things needed re-arranging. Yes, they did, which meant a few pieces had sold. Yeah!

Yesterday I muddled about in cyberspace updating my website. It's built with one of the tools offered by my webhosting provider and although it's not the worlds most intuitive software (Soholaunch), it's free with hosting package. I spent a lot of time with it two years ago, rebuilding my site when I thought I would try online sales. That effort (online sales that is), turned out to be a bit of a bust. Marketing online is itself a bit of a science and I just didn't have the cycles to go down that road. My daughter, a quilter, has tried to convince me to give Etsy a go as it's the one online handmade sales channel that does some marketing for you .... but I don't know .... in my heart, I just think pottery is one of those things better purchased in person. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Books and Butterflies

Definition: Procrastinator .... someone who postpones work (especially out of laziness or habitual carelessness)
Ahhh yeah ... I'm rarely ever careless so lazy it is. Come to think of it, if sitting on my ass with a good book is a ever an option, it's the one I'll pick. But nothing like a deadline or two to give me a kick in the butt. This morning I am going to Artique for my 'orientation'. Each co-op member works one day a month at the gallery so I expect that will be the focus of the session. Monday afternoon is my move in date. Hubby has done a great job building the display set up.

After a couple of good days in the studio, I'm thinking this new gig at the artist co-op will keep me on track. I'm quite excited about it all which also means I have a bazillion ideas coursing thru my brain ... oh oh! .... I will also have to watch that my other personality trait, butterfly syndrome, doesn't derail me ... "hey look, there's a beautiful one over there ... no, wait! ... look over there! ... and there! .... OMG!, did you see that one!"

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

I didn't know that ....

Apparently the term Polar Vortex is not a newly coined description for the deep freeze that's encompassed a good portion of North America this past week. It was first described in 1953! Gotta love Wikipedia ... . Gotta love Mother Nature even more ... She's such an artist! (as is photographer Thomas Zakowski).
Entombed by the weather: This lighthouse in Michigan resembles a giant icicle after crashing waves were frozen around it by a severe winter storm

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Just Thinkin'

Spent my morning coffee time hanging out with potters from faraway places, whose words written in cyberspace, made me think .... and that can be dangerous for a middle aged brain!
MK from Sawdust and Dirt ruminates on the challenges of getting ones self back in the groove of work. I too have been dancing with the devil called procrastination since the rellies left after the holidays. When I read his post I had to ask myself why ... I think it's because the beginning of a new cycle means I have to do the grunt work before I can get to the good parts. The studio has to either be cleaned or at least tidied of the crap and clutter accumulated since the last kiln was unloaded - I like to start with a clean slate. And oh, right, of course all my workable clay has been used up so there goes a couple of days worth of work softening clay, recycling a few buckets of scraps and wedging ... yeah .. not my fave things to do. But the good news is as of this afternoon - its done ... 120 lbs of clay wedged and mug balls weighed and ready to go ... now the fun starts!!

MH from Whynot Pottery also posed the question of why are potters often other potters' best customers ... Why do we collect and use the wares of other potters? Hmmmm ... I can't speak for others but in my case I was a fan before I was a potter. I hardly have any of my own pots in my house but I do have a fair bit of pottery. When I hit the coffee cup cupboard in the morning, the best part is having to decide which potter I am going to share my morning cup with.
And I am sorry for all you potters struggling to keep your studios warm in the latest weather phenomenon called the 'Arctic/Polar Vortex' ... someone had fun coming up with that one! Cold studios are no fun to work in. We're kinda balmy here in the Canadian Southwest (aka the Pacific Northwest) but with my heater on the fritz, even I've taken a beverage break late this afternoon to warm my toes and hands by the fire.
Ahhhh...come to think about it's too late in the day to start throwing. I'll get back at it first thing in the morning ..... ;))

Friday, January 3, 2014

New Venue

A few weeks back I got a call from Artique, our local artist co-operative, asking if I might be interested in applying for a spot in the co-op's gallery. I was, I did, and I got word just before Christmas my application had been approved.... yeah! ... a spot where I can take the pots to town! My little gallery here at home doesn't get a lot of traffic as we live 20 minutes or so 'south of town', in a rural area. In our little isolated city, that's considered a long way to travel ;). I have resisted applying to the co-op in the past because meeting and talking to the folks who buy my pots has been an important consideration for me. However, economics being what they are these days, getting more pots in front of more customers has become even more important.

So now the holidays are over, hubby and I have been working a plan for modular display furniture. I have to provide my own setup for the gallery and my assigned spot will change every 4 months so I need something I can morph with each move. I have been collecting display ideas for sometime as the ol' table display method I've been using for markets and fairs wasn't cutting it for me any longer. We've decided to do a version of this display setup ..... 

Thursday, January 2, 2014

I'm Baaack!

To all those potter (and other) bloggers out there, who are hanging in there, still blogging, in the midst of the overwhelming choice of online and social media venues ..... you have inspired me these past months. So much so, I have decided to rejoin you in the blogging world once again.

To my customers ... I hope I can make it easy for you. My main website will be your source for general info about the studio, location, hours, etc. This blog and my Facebook page will be where I will do my best to keep you up to date on the latest happenings in the studio and beyond.

Happy New Years, everyone!