Little Air Plants

When Significant Other and I went to Hawaii in December, we stopped by an orchid nursery. While lovely, I’m not all that crazy about orchids but I’m fascinated with air plants. So, I took out a $20 bill and bought some to bring home.

The first week, I anchored them to pieces of driftwood with copper wire. They looked fine and were even getting bigger when I discovered that copper wire is a no-no. But, little pots are fine.

I made these little pinch pots a few years ago as an experiment with crater glazes. They’re cute but not really practical … until now. They’re the perfect “home” for the air plants.

Better Late than Never

This year (2019) my hands were busy in clay rather than on my computer keyboard. But, finally, I’ve taken photos and attempted to document my pottery journey.

The pieces vary from raku and alternative firings to works in terra cotta and some random experiments.

Take a look and feel free to leave comments.  Just click on the little “conversation bubble” at the top right of this post.

2018 Texas State Fair – Part 2

By the time we finished in the Creative Arts building and make a quick stop in the Texas Products building, it was time for a mini-snack.  And then … on to the Hall of State Building for the 2018 Special Exhibits.

This year the focus was Texas Innovation, Inventors and Inventions.  Some (Southwest Airlines, Fritos, Fletcher’s Corny Dogs) are well-known.  Others (Shelby, Weedeater, Pacemaker), I didn’t realize were invented in Texas.  Once we finished in the Hall of State, we headed home.  Temps were getting warm and the Fair was getting crowded.

 

2018 Texas State Fair – Part 1

Significant other and I made our yearly trek to the State Fair on Saturday, September 29th.  It was the second day of the fair and, although the skies were a bit overcast, it was a great time to visit.

We arrived early and decided to park in the handicap lot (Gate 11).  It was actually easier than parking in the valet lot at Gate 5.  Coming in this way, we passed the Chevrolet test track and the Mattress Firm tent.  We passed the back side of the Cotton Bowl where trainers and other support personnel were arriving for the game between Prairie View A&M and Grambling which was scheduled for later that afternoon.

We also saw the backside of some Midway rides.  Side note: we steer clear of the Midway because (a) we’re not interested in the games, (b) Midway is usually the most crowded spot in the Fair, (c) there are few rides we’d get on.  One that we might try is this circle on a pole.  It looks fairly harmless.  But, we were not deterred.  We pressed on and …

Our first stop was the “birthing barn” where we saw twin lambs that had been born two hours earlier.  Several other very pregnant sheep were in another pen; some very pregnant cows were across the room; and some very pregnant pigs were being kept comfortable and warm.  Newly hatched chicks were in a glass-enclosed cage while other eggs were being kept in an incubator.

We kept walking (rather, I kept walking; significant other has a wonderful red scooter) and eventually arrived at the Creative Arts Building.  With the quilts, pottery, knit and crocheted items, jarred produce, walls of photographs, it’s a feast for the eyes and, almost, overload for the senses.

We stopped at the information booth to get a list of where my pieces were displayed (with over 70 display cases, we’d be searching forever if we didn’t get a cheat sheet).  So here are photos of my pieces at the Fair.

A couple other items that caught my eye:


The butter sculpture

This fantastic dress made of pull tabs from drink cans

Labor Day Picnic at the Lake

We (significant other and I) usually spend a holiday at home, watching TV and not doing much in particular. This Labor Day (September 3), my grandkids sent me text messages inviting us to join them at Lake Lavon. Hmmmm …. why not?

So, we packed up some water and some chips and Cuties and headed off to the lake. We arrived about noon and, while, there were lots of people, there was still room to park. So, we parked and headed off to find the family. They were still in the process of setting up a tent, a table with food, and chairs. We claimed two of the chairs (old people privilege) and watched the action. Great grandkids were having a ball in the water. And others were getting the jet skis out into the water.

After a lunch of a sandwich, drinks, chips, fruit, we relaxed a bit and then headed back home. It was a great day and we loved it!

Picture Day

The past month, I’ve been taking a summer ceramics class at Brookhaven College in Farmers Branch. The class was Monday-Thursday for 4.5 hours each day. Needless to say, I created a lot of pottery using various techniques. New pottery = lots of pictures = new post. So here goes …

Technique 1 – Texture Using Napa Cabbage Leaves
Somehow in my pottery learnings, I neglected to use this common texture technique. So, I bought a small head of Napa cabbage and use the leaves to create several pieces. Some pieces were soda fired; others were reduction fired. In general, I’m pretty happy with the way they turned out.

Technique 2 – Sgraffito
I actually posted results of this technique earlier but here are the photos again:

Technique 3 – Mocha Diffusion
Interesting technique using slip and then dropping a mixture of mason stain/water on the slip.  These are semi-test pieces to see what the effect would be with different firing environments.  Basically, the pictures make them look better and I have some other pieces to fire.  Like using this technique and will probably do it again.

Technique 4 – Using Extruder to Create Pieces

I have an extruder that’s not used a lot.  But, every so often, I’ll run some clay through it and then see what happens.  This time, I used it to create a series of triangular shaped vases.  There are 10 vases altogether but they can be grouped in various ways, making them very versatile.

Trying Something New

I’ve always been a bit fascinated with sgraffito (Italian for scratching. The process can be simple or quite complicated. It’s basically painting a contrasting underglaze or slip on a piece of clay, and then scratching away part of the underglaze/slip to reveal the clay, creating a picture or design in the process.

So, here are several examples of sgraffito. Beginning with a black underglaze on a white clay body, I scratched the black away to reveal the white clay underneath (owl and farm animals). Then, I tried a dark clay body with a white underglaze (girl and flowers). Finally, I applied an underglaze transfer on white clay and scratched it away (cat and blue girl).

By the way, these are all wall plaques.  As always, click on a photo to enlarge it.

If the dog won’t eat it, should I?

This is Charlie. He’s a rescue dog who was running the streets for quite a while. He had absolutely no manners when we got him and, though he’s improved a lot, he still has a street dog attitude, especially when it comes to food.

If it’s on a plate or napkin or the floor, it’s food and it’s edible. If you’re dumb enough to go off and leave it within his reach, consider it his.

Today he discovered that not everything  I eat is delicious … or even tolerable.  I was enjoying(?) a gluten-free chocolate muffin. It was semi-frozen so I was just taking small nibbles off it.  Then, I had to leave it on the end table and go in the other room.

Muffin Thief just had to have it.  And, to top it off, he brought it into the other room so I could see him enjoy it.  Except that he didn’t enjoy it.  But he wasn’t about to let it go.  He carried it around in his mouth, following me from room to room.  He growled at me when I tried to retrieve it (not that I was going to eat it).

Finally resolved the situation when I offered him a large piece of a cooked hamburger.  He dropped the muffin in favor of real food.

Lesson learned: don’t leave even awful food within his reach.

How Sad!

Yesterday evening, our neighbor called and told us that a limb had fallen off one of our trees.  He even offered to come over and do whatever to help clean up the mess.

  

This wasn’t just a smallish limb; this was one of the major limbs on this tree.  It just cracked and was now leaning on the fence, with a goodly portion of it hanging over in the neighbor’s yard.

It was late, hot and, even though our neighbor had the best intentions, we declined his offer of help.  I took pictures and send an email to our landscape company.  Hopefully, they can send someone today to take a look and remove the limb.