Saturday, September 29, 2007

Raku Fish on Driftwood

Raku Fish on Driftwood
Originally uploaded by sheilasthings
I painted a tile while she did her homework and the house was quiet. The kind of quiet with a quality of quietness I have only experienced in childhood when time slowed down. We sat across the table from one another each absorbed in our own world and it was good. I felt magic in the air, a quiet magic that I didn't understand but it just happened; that quiet magic.
Later I heard how the magic had affected her and how her internal screaming had stopped for a while.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Making Pitchers More Fun

So, I want to make my work looser and "more fun"; ... more fun, more fun, need more fun. In my attempt to throw off-kilter work I realized that it doesn't feel so good;... must feel good, must feel good. Instead I have put little feet on things so they sit a bit lopsided, hmmm, now they look like some type of ritual vessels. The feet are too tall usually, too tall or just too big in general. I kind of like them but I missed the mark that I was aiming for. As I made my latest pitcher (since the previous one worked out so nicely, haha, lol and all that), it occured to me: "I WILL PUT A FISH HANDLE ON IT!" This is my first try at this type of fun and it worked, the handle doesn't look like one could handle it easily but, one would be wrong. It works just great. If only my photography could do it justice.

Henry David Thoreau quote: "Men have become tools of their tools."

Wow, how long has this been going on?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Friend Who Makes Her Own Shoes

At lunch the other day I was visiting with Mary Loomis and she is so talented in so many ways that I almost forgot that she makes her own shoes! The last time we talked we were discussing an upcoming Gem and Jewelry show at the San Mateo County fairgrounds. The time before that we talked about her skills with gold filled wire and what she makes and how she does it and all of that. So when she mentioned her updated website and the sales of her book I was stunned, well, not "stunned" but I felt like, Oh, yeah....

I bought her book a few years ago and it is on my list of things to do: Make shoes! I think that one may stay on the list a while but isn't it amazing the things that we make??

Meanwhile, back at the beach another tile has found its way onto my blog. This is made using a technique called cuerda seca. I doubt that I will make another one, it was time consuming and messy. The black lines use a petroleum based product that is messy and difficult to control. I do like the tile very much but I'm not sure it was worth the effort...

Friday, September 21, 2007

Steinbeck in My Head

Yesterday a women's club thing that I belong to had a speaker that photographed Steinbeck country which is just a ways down the highway from me but a million years away. So Steinbeck has been stuck in my head. I once decided I would scour the 2nd hand stores and find all of the Steinbeck 1st editions. For a while I even thought I had one but I was too new of a collector and didn't know any better. The presentation yesterday has me wanting to re-read Steinbeck and go hang out in Steinbeck country but Steinbeck country is no longer Steinbeck country so it has to be in his books and in my head.
I am adding little feet to mugs that I make. I used some push-molds I made from old buttons, they almost look too big; I'll try a few more. They were glazed yesterday and carefully placed into the big gas kiln.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

My Oops Pitcher

Pitchers are kind of fun to make and they are so functional. Last summer someone requested a pitcher for Christmas this year. I guess they know they have to ask well in advance - and they most certainly do!!! So I make multiple pitchers hoping for a really good one. The pouring spout tore on this one so I added a leaf thinking that would solve the problem plus it would make it dressed up. Half of the problem was solved. Unfortunately it doesn't pour, the water runs around the edges of the leaf, grrr. It's still a nice form even though it doesn't pour perfectly and the glaze ran too much.

I am afraid to look outside this morning, I can hear wind gusting and it feels like rain. My greenhouse is still not fixed.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Why I Like C.S. Lewis

I once said to someone that C.S. Lewis was really great. Now, I do like him but when I uttered these words I was thinking about one of his books where he said that he didn't like signing hymns because he just didn't like them or something very close to that. Well, I don't sing so hot and my throat hurts going thru 8 verses of "whatever" and it makes me snicker when the man behind me bellows off key trying to harmonize.
I just wanted to say that. Plus I like having something in common with C.S. Lewis because he says things like this: "It's so much easier to pray for a bore than to go and see one."

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Asking For Help

Enough of the whining about how I want to do more fun things on my blog, like put in all the toys. That is not actually true; I want it to look uncluttered BUT I have been craving the ability to make little click-on words.

Why is it so hard to ask for help? For me it meant, what if I was told and I still couldn't do it! The person that sells these wonderful retro style cards at Pepperinapress kindly told me how to do it. Why do I feel so smarty-pants? Because I can follow directions? Well, yes, following directions can be a challenge for some of us. Thank you so much for taking the time to help out a fellow blogger! Here is her blog too. She and I are in agreement about our blogs, we like to write about not only our work or hobby but about our lives too. Blog on!
There are signs all over the studio at the local community college where I enroll from time to time. This one I posted here was new, I don't know who put it up but it reminds me of kindergarten. These kind of signs really shouldn't NEED to be tacked up but thinking back I guess they do. One year I made a ton of extremely thin porcelain pieces which I spent a lot of time decorating. Before the pieces are fired they are called greenware and they can be very fragile. Time after time people would pick up my pieces and break them. Very sad for me. It is one of the drawbacks of using a public institution. I have had to incorporate that into my thinking or, or, I don't know how else I would come to peace with broken work.

Odd things I was thinking about this morning.... How difficult it can be doing things on my own, not asking for help; like turning mattresses over, big things like that, and how incredibly simple it is when I work with another person. So suddenly I see it doesn't apply just to the big, heavy mattresses I am coping with but the simple little click-on things in life too.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Little Yellow Bird on a Branch

Little bird on a branch
Originally uploaded by sheilasthings
This little bird looks like it is ready to fly off because it sees me!
There is something about this tile that is not quite right to my eye. There seems to be too much blue and it is; well, just too much do-nothing blue. Other eyes see things I don't. So perhaps someone will come along and see - a lake - the wind - or whatever they see. This one was destined for the holiday boutique sale in Half Moon Bay. After I put it into a nice frame the look of it may change and it will be ok to sell....

Today MAY be the day I start looking for someone to fix the window in the greenhouse. Winter WILL come and then I will be sorry, like the grasshopper that played all summer, eh? Finding help is hard, I'm not even talking about "good help" like I have heard it said. No, just someone that will return a phone call or show up when they say they will or even at all. I have an electrician that is not cheap but oh, so worth it, he comes on time and does a professional job. My plumber is good too; if he runs late, he calls me! If he can't come, he says so. My father could fix anything, I am like that; I like to work with my hands too. Oh, sure, I can fix it but sometimes it LOOKS like I fixed it myself. So, I will let the professionals earn their living too!!

My grandchildren saw the sewing machine sitting on the kitchen table and ran over to it and wanted to sew. I found some scraps of fabric and gave them a sewing lesson. My grandson made a pouch, I gave him some handmade ceramic beads to put on the ends of the pull-string and he had a "magicians pouch". He told grandpa, "I know I'm not supposed to like doing that but I do." My husband told me this sometime later. Note to self: Tell him he comes by it honestly, he likes to make things with his hands and it's ok.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Playing with fire

Playing with fire
Originally uploaded by sheilasthings
Sawdust firing was successful, well, sort of. I learned from it and I think that counts. I buried the little pot in the sawdust and started the fire. Had I left a portion of the pot uncovered I might have had a more interesting result. As is it, I got a very black pot that I like very much. None of the neighbors complained or called the fire department or the police either!

Friday, September 7, 2007

Friday, September 7th, 2007

I have been in a space I don't want to be in...and I want to get back to a space I was in once before for a very long time. I don't know if it is possible. Ok, here is what I was doing when I was in that space. Lots of long walks in the sand all the way to the end of my own particular stretch of beach. I didn't want to do it today but I did it anyway.

What a good morning it was! This time I brought my camera and took waaaay too many pictures. Pictures of (I think) a sea lion, lots of dead things, the birds, fishermen, the ocean breaking thru the rocks. One problem is that I end up finding things and stuffing my pockets; pretty rocks, interesting wood, beach glass, and today I found a mean looking fishing lure! Sometimes there are tennis balls and golf balls, and of course there is always trash, cigarette lighters, plastic, beer cans, odd bits and pieces of who-knows-what. I got inventive out of neccessity today, I put the cute little rocks into a plastic bag I found and tied it up with some great new rope that washed in and tied that onto a cool piece of driftwood; I felt like a hobo!

I treated myself to a cup of coffee after my walk and took some rotten boards to the recycle yard and dropped a package at the post office - things like that.

Yesterday I visited a young woman in the hospital. She called me before I left home in August, she was in distress. We talked a while in August and I told her she should call me when I returned in September. I was sad to hear her say she was being kept in the hospital and didn't know when they'd let her go home! What can I do? What can I say? I think I have said it all, guess I'll just listen since I'm not much of an orator.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

More Secrets

Oh good, more secrets to not tell. I am so blessed with secrets! This one is also safe since I am at the beach and they are in Tennessee. I'll let you know when it's safe to let this one out of the bag. The other secret may never be safe to let will eventually be known and I will not say, "Oh, I knew that from the start", or "Yes, so and so told me because I didn't (don't) have any friends to repeat it to". Well, never mind that.

So, I tried to photograph this tile, my Buddy (um, hahaha) gave me a light box, no a light something or other to photograph things in, but it still has the reflection. I must be doing something wrong.

Today, I glazed 2 covered containers, 1 small pitcher and 1 funky baking dish casserole. I used the compressor and sprayed them with cone 10 glazes. It will be months before the huge gas kiln gets filled up, so I won't get to see them for a while. The covered containers are going to be a coppery green, and so is the pitcher. The funky baking dish will be a golden Amber - I also over-sprayed the green with a dusting of the amber. What will it look like I wonder?

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Lake Las Vegas

Lake Las Vegas
Originally uploaded by getofab
This is where the finish line was.

Las Vegas Sprint Triathalon

I don't know how he got her to do it! She has always been like my mother and I in that respect. We might run if someone was chasing us...... He tricked her by using the children I was told. She has been doing some training since April for this one Sprint Triathalon, who knew it would be the same weekend they are warning of extreme heat???
Anyway, I am so proud of my daughter; she made this goal and by God, she finished it.
The heat was oppressive even at 5:30 a.m. when I got to her house and we loaded the children and the bikes and all of the other gear into the truck. It was kind of confusing to me but the children had witnessed this craziness before so they taught me the ropes.
Transition Area: The place where the participants switch from one activity to another. This is where we stayed most of the time. I found a patch of shade and sat there with my water and my camera.
Wow, Ann, you swam 500 meters in yucky Lake Las Vegas Water, bicycled 10 miles up and down hills and then ran 3.1 miles, I am really in awe. My son-in-law does these triathalon things so I was happy when he finished and then returned to run in with her to cross the finish line again.
My husband arrived to see the transition from bicycling to running and to see her cross the finish line. He looked at me and said, "You don't look so good." Funny, I felt sick too, but I kept thinking that I was just being a wimp. If Ann could do all these amazing things in this hellish heat, why couldn't I sit in the shade and cheer her on? Anyway, I survived and I haven't talked to her yet this morning - I hope she is resting and not too stiff!! You go kiddo!!! Can't wait to get home to post the photos I took of her during this ordeal.
In the meantime I kind of miss the people I used to communicate with via my blog. I don't mean to be such a crab; it's fear. When I am in fear I am not living in faith~ the opposite of faith is fear.