Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The Horseman

The late ride after the party.

Faithful Gunpowder, running for all he's worth.

And the Horseman, searching for a head.

Drawing by Walt Sturrock.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019


Click on the pic.

Monday, January 14, 2019

Oh, the Glamor!

One of the most basic parts of being a potter is the tools you use to make your pottery. Some of the tools are expensive but easy to make yourself, in the sense that they're not complicated.

Plaster bats are on this list. Get yourself a five-gallon plastic bucket from your local hardware store, some potter's plaster from your ceramics supply store (it only costs a few bucks!), some plastic plant dishes from your local garden store and some water, and you're in business! 
Plaster bats are one of the potter's go-to tools. They enable us to throw certain kinds of forms, such as plates, without running the risk of warping or destroying the form when we take it off the wheel head.
We fasten the plaster bat, which is like a thick disc of plaster, to the wheel head with a bit of wet, sloppy clay. The plaster absorbs the water and helps it to stick and stay put. Then we can throw low, wide forms such as plates on the bat without having to cut it from the wheel head because the plaster will absorb the moisture from the clay evenly and the plate will just pop off evenly, without warping, when it's ready.
Making bats is messy and time-consuming, and frankly, I hate doing it! But I couldn't justify packing my bats and driving them down from Folsom to LA when they're heavy and very likely to break along the way. I gave them away to a nearby school so they could replace some of their old ones which had gotten chipped.
After rubbing the plaster through my hands into a bucket in order to get rid of the lumps, I started mixing the plaster by hand, paying special attention to getting it smooth.
When it was ready, I poured it into my plastic dishes and left it to set.
 After I poured them, a little jiggle here and there helped get some of the air bubbles out. 
Immediate cleanup is key. I had a bunch of old newspapers handy to wipe out the bucket because if you throw plaster down the sink, it will set and wreck your plumbing! I poured the leftover plaster into some newspaper and let it set before throwing it out.

I'm really glad I finally decided to bite the bullet and get it done. Now I can get some more variety in my work!

Thursday, January 3, 2019

New Year's Resolutions?

Artist unknown
I can't say I really do New Year's resolutions anymore. 

It's not that I think I'm perfect; I'm well aware of my flaws. I've just had a steady drive to be better, to be more than I was, for several years, now. In all honesty, I've had that drive most of my adult life.

I guess it's the last couple of years of challenges, one after the other, which have helped me to become refocused on what's important to me. 

Someone once told me that human beings only change when the pain is so great they have no other choice. If everything's going along swimmingly, there's not a real drive to change, because why fix it if it ain't broke, right? Except I've never really been comfortable enough with myself to stop wanting to change, to stop wanting to be a better human being.

These last couple of years have put that to the test. Even so, I think and feel as though I'm making some significant strides forward. I've gone back to my practice of daily meditation, and it's making a difference. I've been more careful (with the exception of the holidays. And haunt conventions.) of what I put into my body and my mind. I'm working on being more consistent with my exercise.

I think the most significant change on which I've been putting my attention is how I think, or more specifically, what I think.

In the past I've struggled with thinking more about what's wrong than about what's right. 2017 and the beginning of 2018 saw me sunk into that mindset, and it wasn't comfortable. I felt like crap, all the time. Granted, that was the time when people were coming forward and telling me about all the things which had been going on under my nose, and it was crushing to contemplate.

I have an "excuse" for thinking dark thoughts.

But then I started to make the decision to turn my thoughts to other things, and life started to get better. I got work with a spectacular boss, a new car, found a pottery studio to go to so I could get my hands back in clay. I started to feel more playful and willing to experiment with my art. I started to redefine what was truly important to me. 

This year, I feel more like myself, but better. Wiser. More compassionate. More willing and able to experience life with some confidence. 

There will be some adventures. Some new plans. Some pleasant surprises. Connections made at just the right time. And more "right place right time" happenings than I've ever had before.

But no resolutions, except, perhaps, to live life with as much grace and courage as one woman can.