Saturday, September 21, 2019

Fall Favorites.

It’s official. Today is the first day of Fall and I’m loving it this year. I’m not sure why I’m not sad to say goodbye to Summer because it’s always my favorite season. For some reason, this year it feels good to see the changing fall colors, cooler temperatures and warmer foods. 

Here are a few snapshots of my favorite things about fall this year. 

Beautiful hydrangeas. 

I love how this plant produces so many different colors on one bush. Deep red. Light turquoise. Even a lovely purple. Oh, I know it’s the ph of the soil that affects color and each flower is like a living litmus paper showing the acid or base of the earth beneath its roots. While this is fascinating, the best part is how they dry out in a vase to be even more beautiful.

Surprise mini pumpkins popped up. 

I did not plant pumpkins this year, yet a new vine appeared in July. At first, we thought it was more zucchini but then magic happened. The squash we thought we had was in fact, a small crop of little white pumpkins. The reason? Last year, in November, when I was done with the mini pumpkins I’d bought at the store, my husband decided to compost them in the empty garden space. Voila!

Apples and crows. 

I love apples. As a kid, my favorite thing was fresh pressed apple cider. So every Fall, I just have to get mounds of apples and pile them in my big black, oval, slab built dish and add my artist friend, Terry’s quilted crow. 

I also love crows. One of my first mixed media pieces was about a crow shapeshifter. I’ve collected crows from other artists. And this year, I made my own slab built crow to add to my collection. It can hang on a wall, sit on a table for decoration or, maybe, I’ll add it to my Halloween wreath on my door this year. 

I can see now that my Fall favorites are also becoming Fall inspirations.   

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Time In. Time Out.

Life flows like the ocean, in and out. You and I know this.  But I forget as I get caught up in the everyday, trials and triumphs, schedules and space. Today as I look back at a Facebook memory photo, I’m taken back in time to our anniversary trip to Maui. 

Facing the view of ocean and sky was beautiful. The sounds of construction below us was not. We were moved to another unit just in time for our anniversary day. This was a gift in itself. I was very relieved and grateful. 

This year, was completely different. We were home living our normal everyday life. But we did make reservations for a special dinner at our favorite place. I found a wine from a vineyard that brought back a lovely summer day picnic memory. My husband found 2 dozen beautifully garden grown roses for me to arrange around our home. 

Again the flow. 

The last few months have been a wave of events, emotions and energies. 

It was filled with the wonder of a birth. My daughter and son-in-law had a beautiful baby boy. Flying to LA for me is like landing in a different world with all the sunshine, heat and constant traffic. But I’m so glad I got to be there for my daughter, son and new grand baby. I just wish I didn’t have to leave them when I know they could use more help. 

Back home, I spent time inside my home resting, cleaning, recharging and rearranging. I weeded, cut and cleaned out in the garden. I cleaned cupboards to make room for a new set of porcelain dinnerware, our anniversary present to each other.

In my studio, I worked to get my new work from bisque stage to glazed and done. And found time and energy to get back to the wheel and throw.

Time in and time out. 

I’ve had a lot of time out of the studio and I haven’t thrown on the wheel for almost 2 months. I was a little rusty at first.  My balance felt off. Getting my feet adjusted and the seat in just the right place seemed to take forever. But once I thunked that ball of clay down and the wheel started to spin, it all changed. 

Throwing on the wheel transcends time. Normally, I see minutes, hours and days click past but when I’m at the wheel throwing clay, time just flows. Hours go by unnoticed. And time just doesn’t seem to exist at all. Because I’m in time’s flow and not outside it. 

It’s so easy to forget to flow, isn’t it? Our world is so full of schedules and seasons and reasons that chart our time in and out. Perhaps what I need to see and remember is how good it feels to flow with time. 

Friday, September 6, 2019

All Fired Up

On my studio shelves, they sat. Almost 2 dozen new pieces, all painted, all bisque fired twice, waiting for me to be home and be ready to finally finish them. 

This week, I spent one day waxing. If you work in clay, you know why I wax. But if you don’t, I’ll explain. Waxing the bottoms of each piece is a necessary step to resist the glaze and keep the piece from being glazed to the kiln shelves. If that happens, there is no way to go back and the piece as well as the kiln shelf is ruined. 

So you can see, waxing is a very important part of the process. And since I make a wide variety of different shapes and sizes both wheel thrown and slab built, some with lids, each piece needs a different application of wax. It’s a bit tedious. And boring. But care is necessary because if I get wax where I want glaze, well that can ruin a piece too. 

Dipping is fun. 

I have a wonderful new glazing cart in my studio. It makes set up and mixing and applying the glaze to my pieces so much easier. 

It’s still a process, though. And each time I glaze, it’s a little different. New challenges pop up. This time, it was some sediment that needed to be strained from the top. So I borrowed a strainer from my kitchen to filter it out of the glaze. Note to self: I’ll need a new kitchen strainer. 

As I dipped in time with the music, wiped drips and set each piece down I was once again amazed and grateful. Even though waxing is boring, glazing is technical, and finding enough space for each piece to dry is a challenge, I still love what I do. 

A firing that’s fun. 

Today, I loaded the kiln. Fitting each piece around each other within the shelf space inside my kiln is always a lesson in organization and patience. 

I always worry I won’t have enough room for everything. Or I’ll run out of kiln shelves to put all the pieces on. Or I’ll drop something. My studio and kiln are in two different areas. So I have to put the pieces on a tray and carry them out to the kiln in multiple trips without tripping going up and down the stairs.

Magically none of this ever happens. It all fits. It all makes it inside in one piece. I always seem to have just enough kiln shelves and stilts to make it all work. 

And now, my work is over, really. The kiln is on the job. All I can do is sit with my timer and turn up the kiln when it rings. And wait with fingers crossed that this firing will create some new exciting pieces. 

I can’t wait.