Friday, July 24, 2020

Who You Gonna Call?

Living in L.A. can be a trip, sometimes. From the strange phenomenon of Angelyne (made herself a human Barbie doll and has a pink Corvette - and is famous for being famous) to the ofttimes bizarre freneticism of Hollywood Boulevard, L.A. is a place where the rich, the famous, the creative, and the weird, rub shoulders daily.

Case in point: this random Ghostbusters mobile! 
I was out running a few errands when I drove by it, and had to drive around the block so I could get some pictures!
It's surely not a surprise to my readers that much of the population of L.A. is involved in the film industry in one form or another. I'm guessing the guy or lady who modded this car is in prop design and building, though I didn't have time to wait around for him or her to show up so I could ask.
In a day and age when nothing seems happy or fun, anymore, running across this was like a small breath of joy, of hope that things will ease up and straighten themselves out.
 Orange County Ghostbuster: I salute you!

Wednesday, July 22, 2020


This one is reserved, already!
I was happy to have some time this weekend to do some more inlay work and some cleanup/touch-up on the new sugar skull jacks. I got my new underglazes in earlier in the week, and now I get to play with some color combos!
 My dad was also good enough to take some product photos for me. I've had some new items hanging around and not in my Etsy shop, yet, so it was on my to-do list! They sent out some new info on how to best market using product photos, and suggested to the sellers that we include a picture of ourselves with the item we made. Ultimately, I'll post some video, too, but for now, I have this one to start with!
Dad used his little point and shoot, but it looks like I may have convinced him to do some puttering around with my Canon T-3i. Yes, it's an older camera, but as I'm not a professional photographer, I really don't see the need to upgrade when this one work really well and suits my needs. Besides, I have a kiln to save for!
I completed the above pumpkin person over the weekend, too. I'm going to use underglazes on him, too, and see how he comes out of the Raku kiln! Orange and white with black crackle seems like it will be perfect!

I'm going through a period where I'm having a wealth of ideas barraging my poor brain, but the positive part is, I'm keeping occupied through all the craziness going on right now. I have friends in Portland, and I worry about them staying safe through Covid-19 and the Federal interference in our First Amendment rights. Work is still good and the proof-of-concept I've been producing is coming along impressively, so my days are pleasantly full of creativity and new learning! I've never felt luckier to be where I am in my life than now!

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Tuesday, July 14, 2020

Odds and Ends

Every summer garden needs some corn in it, right? Man, fresh corn is so good! Throw in some BBQ chicken and a potato salad and you have the quintessential summer meal. So when I ordered seeds this year, I decided to take a gamble and get some corn planted.

Normally I would say that corn needs more space than what we have, but I also know that corn likes being planted in squares for purposes of pollination. So even though my space was limited, I had hoped that my corn-planting experiment would work.

And voilĂ ! I have some ears growing! Hooray! (Seriously, it really doesn't take much to make me happy!)
 Everything else seems to be pretty happy, too. The peppers are going to be ready for picking, soon. I haven't grown this variety, before, but I'm pretty sure they need to turn red before I pick them.
 Predictably, the tomatoes are going nuts. I'm going to have to try my hand at making some mozzarella for a nice caprese salad! There are a bunch of these guys looking like they'll be ready all at once!
The cucumbers are a day or two from harvest, and we're going to have some nice zucchini. I ordered one of those food slicer/shredders to try to make zucchini noodles. (I mentioned the plan to my dad, who quipped, "Sounds awful!" Little does he know!)
Of course, I've been chugging along on my Hallowe'en ceramics, too. 
I've started to inlay the color on my sugar skull jack-o'-lanterns, which will go into the Raku process after they get their first firing. Whenever that happens. 
Tomorrow, I'm supposed to receive my new colors, and I've been delaying inlaying more until I get them, although I'm laying down the second coat on the colors I already have. Meanwhile, I've been making some more pumpkin people for Raku. (You can see the process of making a Raku jack-o'-lantern from start to finish here. I need to make a new video soon, since this was from when I was still with the ex and I don't work in that space any more.)
And last, but certainlay not least, Robert Santos of Necrotic Creations passed away from complications of a massive stroke. He is survived by his partner, Stacy Fitz, the children of his heart, and his parents. He was 52.

Like many people in this country, he had no medical insurance. If you want to help with the medical bills and his final arrangements, please go here and drop a few bones. Even if it's just $20 or even $5, everything helps! (The ambulance, alone, was over $10k!)

UPDATE, JULY 18, 2020:
Robert's internment:
July 27th
Gates of Heaven Cemetery
22555 Cristo Rey Dr
Los Altos, CA 94024
United States

There is a 60 person limit, so anyone who wants to attend can.

Masks are required

There will be a place for flowers

Meet at Gates of Heaven at 9:45
I was lucky enough to know Robert and to spend time with him and Stacy. He was a funny, uplifting, good human being who had a smile for everyone he met. The Hallowe'en community will miss him deeply. Rest well, my friend.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Sugar Skull Jacks

The making cycle continues! I threw these guys (plus a few others) last weekend so I could continue my experiments with sugar skull jack-o'-lanterns. I left them under plastic overnight so they wouldn't dry out too much; I'm in L.A. and it has been hot and dry for a while. (People forget that before Mr. Mulholland came along and stole water from up north, we were a desert!)

They were still too wet to work with the next morning when I took my Grace out for her morning constitutional, so I left them uncovered in the morning sun for a while so they could firm up a bit. 
I get my wooden potter's knife out so I can sculpt the leaves and outline the lid. Yes, I am fully aware this is horticulturally inaccurate, but it looks good and I have decided to take artistic license!
I'm a bit of a clay tool fanatic, so I'm playing with different tools to draw the patterns on the clay. So far, I like the clay shapers best. I can use them like pencils and they don't seem to leave behind a lot of clay debris like carvers do.
This week before work, I laid down three coats of white underglaze on each of the sugar skull jacks.
It's nice to get back into the work flow. Back when I was still in Folsom, I used to be up and at my wheel at 4:30 AM, go to work at 8:00 or so, come back around 3:00 PM, carve or throw more, then do some household chores - or mix them in through the day. Somewhere in there was taking care of the dogs and the ex, doing a little grocery shopping, sometimes making dinner.

I'm not quite to the stage of getting up that early any more. Part of it is that I'm working outside and I just don't have the lighting I had in my old studio. The other part is I'm older and need my sleep!
I ordered some new colors for these guys, and they should be here early next week. I am so looking forward to using the turquoise I bought! It's one of my favorite colors and it's one used in the more traditional Mexican arts.
Shown sans lid.
These guys are destined for the Raku kiln. I can't wait to see if the crackle works the way I hope it will!

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Monsters Under Plastic

Right, the headless, armless pumpkin guy. Left, the guy who needs arms and hands!
It's been a little difficult to adjust to having such a full schedule. I work full time, have an occasional side job doing transcription, and I have monsters to make on the weekends! (So much for anyone who says I'm lazy!) Plus, there are the glamorous tasks of poop patrol and laundry! (I still wash my sheets on Sundays and the towels on Thursdays, as I always have.) And I take over cooking duties from time to time so my dad gets a break from cooking.

Because clay needs to dry to a certain point before I can assemble it into something, that often means I have to keep the incomplete pieces covered with plastic until I can get back to them. I check them every day even though they're covered, to make sure they're not drying out because I missed covering one spot or another. 

Today, I'll get to selecting a head for one of my pumpkin people. I threw three of them before work the other morning so I could see which one looked best. I threw a set of arms, too. I hope to get the whole thing put together today, as well as putting arms and hands on the other piece.
It's great seeing how many pieces I've made! All the smiles make me happy!
I'm toying with some other ideas, of course. I wish I had time for them all! I have other, unfinished, projects I need to get back to, as well. It's been a real blessing to only be listening to my interior prodding to make new things! Some ideas work out better than others, of course, but I keep moving forward and developing more!