Friday, May 24, 2013

New Shelves, New Clay, and a New Look for my Glazes

I'm really excited about the new adjustable shelves my husband is putting up in the studio. They look great and make my life so much easier.

The piece on the upper shelf is a lot of fun. It's an explosion of carved roses all the way around the pot. I threw the bottom pretty thick in order to carve really deeply (the petals point downward, while the body of the pot curves in, out of sight). On Tuesday I got up at 5:30 am, marched into my studio, and carved for seven hours straight. Yesterday I cleaned and refined the roses for another three hours. It's hard to stop myself! I'm so glad clay dries out or else I'd never have a reason to put down my carving tools.

Now it's on to thoughts of glazing... My regular clay manufacturer recently went out of business, and although the new clay doesn't look much different from the old, my glazes are turning out much differently on the new clay body. I'm very excited! There are glaze tests in the kiln right now -- (going to go check on it right now, be back in a sec!) -- so as I get to know my new colors I'll get new ideas for my pieces.

Leafy tea bowls show off the new look of my green glaze.

This glaze used to be a dark lilac.

VoilĂ  the lovely fountain inside the Apothecary. I dropped of my new pieces on Wednesday. I'd like to think the koi fish on the teapot are feeling right at home here.


Sunday, May 5, 2013

Soul Searching


I've been very quiet for a while.

I went to Paris in October and had a great time hanging out with my Dad, eating delicious food, drinking wine, and walking around endlessly. Also I got sick, which was very frustrating while my taste buds were on strike. On the other hand, I loved being able to lean on my Dad when I wasn't feeling well.

Never too sick for hot, melty chocolate and delicious coffee. Heaven!

Paris is like my second home and I'm always happy to visit. I floated on a cloud all the way back to Colorado. Then I watched myself making major changes: I stopped going to my studio, I stopped talking to many of my friends, and I took all my extra time and threw myself fully into my job. Although I'm thankful to be employed, what I do in my job is not my passion nor does it feed my soul. So what would possess me to spend nearly all my waking hours at work, and the minute I leave, worrying about how to work even harder to make up for other people's inadequacies?

A container for keeping some of the ashes after we scatter the rest.

The anniversary of Jesse's death is fast approaching and I feel very anxious and also very calm. I think I'm experiencing a major internal struggle. I'm also aware I keep feeding both sides, which is incredibly frustrating. At times I have moments of clarity that seem like amazing epiphanies; then I realize it's like pushing a very heavy object and rejoicing at each budge forward. Obviously this is a long-term effort, as the "life is a journey" motivational quotes always tell us. I just have to keep going.

Nature + prayer flags for Jesse

Watching Glee the other day (apologies! but there's a point to this), I was pleasantly surprised to see a character as strong as Santana struggle with focus. She insisted she has huge dreams, she just doesn't know what they are exactly. The show balanced that large question mark with an homage to ballet, to the childhood experience that awakened in her a happiness through movement, expression, technique, and hard work. It made my heart soar. I started dancing ballet again a year and a half ago and it continues to be an incredible inspiration. There are many days I want to quit my job and simply dance!

"Om" casserole dish with lotus handles: inspiration from a dear friend. This piece is one of several that sat, cooled, in my kiln for 6 months while I was busy with other things.

I'm quick to ground my dreams and remind myself of obligations. How can I be such an out-of-the-box thinker in my job while I insist on keeping my own dreams tightly constrained and limited?

Glazing an extra large planter for our lemon tree, which reached the living room ceiling six weeks ago.

 Since the beginning of March, I've found myself in my studio sporadically. My first firing of 2013 was too hot, completely overfired, maybe cone 8-9 instead of 5. Oops. I'm using brand new clay, so I have yet to see what it will look like after a normal firing. The surface looks interesting overfired, but the ware isn't particularly usable.

Gritty & burnt, like the surface of another planet.

I make my living by creating solutions for small businesses and steering people toward success. When am I going to turn my talents to myself?

Tea set currently being fired in the kiln.

I am where I am because of my own choices. Nothing is terrible, but I'm not happy standing here. Like Santana, I have huge dreams and I don't know exactly what they are. So let's get moving and take a step somewhere, see where it goes.