Friday, January 28, 2011

Getting Ready for a Vacation

Strong Frost Needles
Race Dave and I are heading off on vacation for about 10 days on Monday, with a friend giving us a ride to the Cassidy airport and the dogs off to the Kennel. The cat and house are being babysat and I have stopped throwing pots that would need to be trimmed or turned around while I am gone. I am always a little nervous before we go away and I struggle to decide whether I should take my knitting with me as carry-on and risk having it taken away as a potential weapon or pack it as checked baggage and make sure it gets there.

We are going away to ride a lot of bike! Training Dave is in need of a lot of hours of riding in the last two months of useful building up in overall prep for ir0nman st george (the place without coffee!!!!) My job while away is to run all the maps and figure out where bike dave is going and how he can get there, where he is with a flat tire and an empty stomach, or soaked without a jacket. I also have to find good lunch and snack foods that we can eat in the forest or volcano or wherever we find ourselves. He has also found another person that wants to ride some big miles so I will support them both. I also am taking the camera and sketch book, the knitting, the swimsuit and beach towels and a few books that I have yet to read.

This last week in the studio has been again tearing as the last day to throw before the trip already passed and the gallery and glaze room were both FULL of bisqued pots that needed glaze but I didn't have the cobalt carbonate that I needed to finish the 10,000 gram that I had made last week. So, I did what any desperate person would do, I glazed enough pots for a glaze load (by eye) and wiped them and set them to dry overnight so that this morning I could (hopefully, by some magic) the cobalt came in the mail then I could add it, sieve the whole batch, dip a few test pots and then put them into the top of the kiln so the glaze could be tested without having to ruin a lot of pots if the glaze needs tweaking.

The reason I don't know what will happen with this glaze is because it is the fix I was working on to try to fix the really uneven storm blue. I built a 10kg batch of the last blue that worked for me into the blue that wasn't working and then by crazy inspiration, I added a packet of an old mason type stain to the double batch to see what happens. Usually I am very careful to follow my recipes exactly so this is a huge (small, really) departure from things for me and it means that I will have to test this new glaze once it is fired for dishwasher and food-safety before unleashing it on the public, assuming it turns out visually appealing.

I also made the decision today to glaze some pots that have been sitting around in the studio for over a year. They were made by a student who took a few lessons and then bought a wheel right away and then found it difficult to sustain. It is my strong opinion that a person must be completely infected with the clay bug before you will shift all your priorities to accommodate pottery. I tell all my students that it is best to start slowly and once they are centering well and pulling up walls with confidence I offer them studio time at a reduced rate to practice. The really fun part for me is that I am forced outside to work in the garden for that hour, which I spent two and a half hours doing yesterday!! There is still a large patch of grass in the garden and I would really like to get more dirt a bit later in the spring, the garden mix here has a lot of sand in it and that works beautifully with my clay based soil.

Well, I'm off to a knitting night as a friend's house with another friend and when I get home the kiln should be almost done the slow glaze cycle and if I leave the downdraft fan on I could open the kiln and check out the new glaze sometime tomorrow.

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