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.


WooHooo!! “Forest Nymph” Accepted into CAC Juried Exhibition

My piece, “Forest Nymph”, has been accepted into the Creative Arts Center of Dallas’ 2018 Annual Juried Membership Exhibition.

Created of clay and glaze, and highlighted with metallic leaf, this forest nymph sleeps in the dappled sunshine, dreaming of adventures past and follies yet to come. The inspiration for this piece is fairytales, legends and a bit of Shakespeare (perhaps Puck).

Opening reception for the show is August 4th from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm at the Mary Tomás Gallery, 1110 Dragon Street, Dallas, TX.  The exhibition ends September 1st.

Read the Label

For quite a while, I’ve had a problem with certain foods … garlic, onions, black pepper, milk and milk products, gluten.  The worst offender is milk and milk products because my body lacks the enzyme to digest them.  I can sometimes “cheat the system” by taking lactaid pills but I haven’t always been faithful about taking them.

The other day at lunch, I ordered nachos: yummy, gooey, cheese-covered nachos with guacamole and sour cream.  And I love them until my body rebelled in a terrible way the next morning.  I don’t want to gross you out.  It’s enough to say that I couldn’t get very far away from a bathroom.  I took lactaid pills (belatedly), kaopectate, tea with turmeric.  Nothing helped.

Later that afternoon, I was feeling semi-human and my Significant Other offered to get me something at the store.  I asked for crackers.  He came back with this package.

Just looking at the front of the package, everything was fine.  Potato crackers, no gluten. The ingredients label on the back was in teeny tiny print; couldn’t read it.   So, I had a few.

This morning, my gut was in trouble again and I didn’t understand why until I got my reading glasses and checked out the label on the crackers.

Oh my gosh!!  They have Parmesan Cheese Powder and Garlic Powder.  No wonder I was still in trouble.

So … from now on, I’m going to read the label before it goes in my mouth.

Footnote:  feeling much better and ready for dinner!

Another Experiment – FREE Pottery

Every so often, my closets become crowded and it’s time to thin out things. I’ve toyed with the idea of having a “pottery only” garage sale but that seems like too much work. Instead, I decided to put load up a table with odds and ends and offer it FREE!!

We live on a fairly busy street; and there’s often foot traffic, too. So, here’s the table at the beginning of the day. No one actually stopped their car to gather up FREE pottery but a couple of neighbors came over and selected pieces. At the end of the experiment, half the pieces had new homes and the rest were wrapped up and put into a box for a charity drive.

Note: I didn’t actually sit and monitor who was coming by and looking.  I was surprised by what pieces were chosen and what pieces were left.

A Few New Pots

I’ve been working on a couple of ideas and wanted to see how they’d work in various clay bodies and glazes.

This first set is the Sea Life series.  (You can click on the photos to see a larger version.)

It began with the pot on the left that I created in class at Brookhaven College.  I was going for tubular growth/sea life and wanted it to be pristine.  So it was made of a cone 10 white clay (Trinity Ceramics T-Mix10) and I was planning on using a white glaze on it.  Well, I couldn’t find the white glaze; so, I dipped it in “Snow”.  Now, you’d think that a glaze called “Snow” would be white, wouldn’t you??  It’s  more gray than white but, actually, I like it better, especially the white tips on each tube.

Next, I built Sea Life: Gulf using a cone 6 red stoneware.  Then, it was glazed with Lapis Satin, Gun Metal Green and Copper Blue (Coyote glazes). The  glazes ran together; I like the result.

Finally, there’s Sea Life: South Pacific.  The clay is a black (actually dark brown) cone 6.  And, before the bisque firing, I coated the tips of the tubes with a slip/silicon carbide mixture.  You can’t really tell it’s on the pot until you add glazes and refire it.  Glazes are Matt Bronze Green all over, then Copper Blue (Coyote) sprayed on and Sea Salt (Mayco) dabbed on.   Love it!  Gotta try more of that.

Next, I wanted to try new shapes; so, I created tarpaper templates and these pots are the result of that experiment.

The main body of the pots are glazes with Coyote’s oil spot glazes.  The one on the left is Brick/Marshmallow; the one on the right is Licorice/Marshmallow.  The top/bottom accent sections are glazed with Coyote’s White Crawl.  Interesting but need to play with these concepts and glazes a bit more.