Sunday, December 30, 2007

Wonky Looking Minigama

It's good to take photographs as I go along; I didn't see just how wonky this minigama was looking. I read The Girl With the Pearl Earring and how he took photos of his work to see them with new eyes. My husband helped me today too since I couldn't decide how big some things should be and was it time to start building inward??? I see I made some pretty big errors but they won't affect the performance of the kiln - just wasted space. As I look at the picture here it makes me sort of worried that it will fail somehow.
I plan to bisque fire it first to cone 04 and then it should be ready to use. I hope to fire a small item in the chamber using either charcoal or wood or possibly a combination of the two. I'll get some cinder blocks to place it on and fire it with some friends while we are doing a raku firing probably.
I can see the flue area in the back is just waaaaay too big and that I made the front of the kiln too large too. As heavy as it is going to be.....I cannot dream of ever leaving in behind if I should move. Never say never, but OMG - I hope that *someone* would fire it and at the very least take pictures for me to see. Josh, who has left a couple of comments in the previous post said he did this. Nearly makes me cry to think of it!

Friday, December 28, 2007

My Minigama Continues

My Minigama Continues
Originally uploaded by sheilasthings
The walls are still growing. I've decided that I am making the walls too thick. What made me think they should be super thick? So, I am thinning them out as much as I can. My progress is so slow, the weather is chilly and overcast. It feels like a supreme effort to go outside and work in the cold. Oh, to have a studio. Wait a minute, I do have one it just looks like a greenhouse and the heat isn't turned on....
I am thinking about how I'll finish the outside, this should be fun!

The teapot exhibit at the de Young Museum was outstanding, outstanding, outstanding!!! What talent; I was in awe. One process I am always drawn to is unglazed porcelain decorated with black underglazes; as if it was used as a sheet of paper and the black looks like charcoal....there was a teapot there that had been decorated like that. Mmmm, nice. And I am a real sucker for the workhorse type of teapot, big and sturdy, no nonsense kind of guys. There were a couple of them too.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Minigama 1

I have now used 25# of clay and I will open the next bag soon. Today is cold and my greenhouse hasn't warmed up enough to refine my walls but I did want to use the end of that bag of clay. Coil building isn't my favorite method of handbuilding - not much instant gratification there. But so it goes...

I am impatient so this can be my exercise in patience.

I didn't have my little minigama book with me and I busily built up wall when I realized I must create a flue in the back. I can't make the kiln any longer than it is right now since I plan to fire it in an electric kiln and I must be sure it fits into it. So I will add a wall inside of the first wall and cut the flue out later.
Off to the de Young museum to see the teapot collection!

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Let The Minigama Begin!!!

MyMinigama 002
Originally uploaded by sheilasthings
Yesterday I started to make my minigama. It will be a little wood (or charcoal) fired kiln; big enough for just one sake cup. I think a sake cup must be the size of a wine goblet. I purchased a book that was translated from Japanese to English by a nice Japanese person that I think speaks English as a second language. But I have always had trouble following directions anyway. Thank goodness the pictures that have been drawn explain it - well, most of it.
The book begins by letting me know right away that the dimensions are approximate; whew for that!!! I am wondering if the firebox area is going to be too big - will the fire draw properly......
This clay I am using is amazing, I am not dainty and it just loves me back anyway. I don't remember how to spell it but it is something like Tokie Raku Sculpture Clay from Leslie Ceramics in Berkeley. Tiffany Schmerier said it would be the best clay for what I am attempting. Er, not attempting - what I am making (who was that power of positive thinking guy?).

Saturday, December 22, 2007

The moon over the ocean 5 a.m. 12/22/2007

So, this morning my husband was kind enough to awaken me to see the moon with him. Pretty big, huh? I took about 20 photos this little camera can't possibly do it justice.
Today is colder than it has been for some time now and bad weather is coming our way I think. Makes it more like Christmas anyway. One year it was so warm on Christmas day you coulda run nekked on the beach; not 2007.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Finger Pointing

Time to remember that people that run around pointing their fingers at others are really just avoiding looking at their own shortcomings. Who has time for self examination when we are so busy saying how wrong, bad or mistaken other groups or individuals or governments are....

Time to remember this for myself as well.

The Bob Dylan PBS program I recently watched has me all Bob Dylan feeling again, like I am back in 1965....please, no. But it did have its moments even if it was a confusing time.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

How My mp3 Player Changed My Life

I am the happy owner of a new mp3 player. What a revelation. No one told me how much better they are than the little radio things I have been using. WOW. I am in my own world, no one exists except me. Me, me, me..... I know now what the big deal is. Mine is a Sansa and it works great, I could even figure it out after playing with it for a while. Off to Napster now for my free trial and to get some music. Woo-hooo this baby boomer says!

In the meantime, here is one of my fish,he has swum off to a new home, I will miss him! He has been a large presence in my life. I think maybe he has special connections with all things - see how the scales form the eternity symbol?

Friday, December 7, 2007

Looks Like a Mavericks Day

Along the coast the waves are huge today, I wonder if it is Mavericks time yet.... Last year I forgot all about it but I was on Hiway 1 and the crowds were incredible! Lined up all along the highway and it's a good walk into the Mavericks spot. I went there a few year back but not on Mavericks surf competition day, there is a NASA tracking station right there and they don't want you messing with their territory. It isn't really a problem since the path is well traveled to Mavericks. So last year I thought that this year I would make the trek to watch the big waves. I mean people come from all over the world; word goes out that its going to happen and these crazy surfers hop on planes and make their way here. If it was today, well, I missed it again!

I am not a surfer but I live in a community that gets up in the morning checking the waves and maybe making a few runs before they head to work. Wet suits hang on porches and surf boards stick out of windows - heading to the beach.

I found some superb photos of past Mavericks contests here:

I think this clip on watch looks really like a party in itself.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Telemarketers Nightmare

I wonder how that telemarketer I just talked to will tell the story. He asked, "Is Mr. So and So home" - my husband, I said, "No, he isn't here". So then he says, "Is this Mrs. So and So?" and I said, "No, I'm not home either". We hung up. I have been cracking myself up over that one.

Hey, I am sure having fun playing around with making these ceramic rattles! I fired it in a primitive sawdust firing after decorating it and bisque firing...Looks kind of mysterious and old I think. I had a hard time decorating it since I didn't have the perfect beads. I don't even know what the perfect beads are, but I will know once I see them.

Christmas is sneaking up on me.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Falling for Peace Cranes

Another artist that I have been looking at; Nancy McNally: localcolorist. Her peace cranes are eye candy, I think I will be purchasing some for stocking- stuffers and for myself too. Imakefish says, "Check it out".

We are having a potters sale at my community college, I have been making so many different things - I'll put some of them into the the clip-on watches, even though they are mine, I really think they are cool...I don't wear a watch since they bother my wrists. I put these on my purse or belt loop.
Next years goals are to build a small wood burning kiln and to hone skills on the wheel and design skills at the same time by pursuing the art of making teapots. I have found that if I put something into my blog I feel accountable. I am not putting into my blog that I will lose 10 pounds - even though I would like that!!!