Wednesday, March 31, 2010

You Can't Get There From Here Day

Ever have one of those 'you can't get there from here' days? I got up early, and went out to the Studio even before the coffee was ready, I was so keen to see what the glaze tests in the kiln were like. Big bleah. Dull and boring blue, no life, too dark.... sigh.

Then I uncovered the bonsai pots I have been trying to make. I had covered them to dry them very slowly as I have been having trouble with the corners not holding. Sure enough, two out of three were cracking again. Guess I'll try them in a different clay, one with some grog in it. The porcelain I am used to for most of my work just does not assemble well as slabs.

In the afternoon two ladies came looking for a mug with yellow tulips on it. After dithering around for over half an hour one of them chose a pansy mug and a sunflower mug. She felt that a sunflower was sufficiently Spring-like! Her friend wanted to see the Studio so I took them in for the 10-cent tour, and Friend looked at my ferns and brightly told me that I was starting my tomatoes early...

Didn't have quite enough Frit 3124 to mix the glaze I needed.... went out to buy groceries and forgot the very thing I went for.... decided to get started on the window cleaning and banged my finger on the corner of the frame.....

Should have stayed in bed!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Trillium Platters

I'm relieved to say that china paints have once again saved my butt. I had promised a platter with a Trillium design to a local Wildlife Festival and had painted a half dozen of them. When they came out of the kiln, however, they were disappointing. The leaves were alright, the platters were fine, but the flowers just hadn't any 'poomf'. I looked at them for a day or two, trying to convince myself they would do, but it wasn't working. So yesterday I got out the china paints, mixed up a tiny bit of black, and added thin black outlines to the flowers. After re-firing to cone 010, they were much improved!

I bought these china paints many years ago. I only have the basic colours, but they are endlessly mixable and keep forever. I just mix a wee bit of the powder with a drop of mineral oil, and they are ready to go. I'm not skilled enough to paint whole pieces in china paints, and anyway that is a very different medium from pottery, but I can fix the odd piece. I once had to paint back in all the soft rose colour that had burned out in a batch of mugs with pink hearts on them - a lot less work than re-making them, and much quicker.

So now I can bring the Wildlife Festival their platters for their Silent Auction this weekend. Not sure why I am doing this, an ego thing, I guess. I also made a very fine bookmark with info about my pottery and garden and had 1000 of them printed so I'll bring some of them as well. Never hurts to advertise!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Flowers!!! Studio Tour!!!

I have flowers! This has to be the earliest there has ever been anything in bloom in my garden. Mid-March only and I have flowers!

They are Snowdrops, which seems appropriate. There
is still a lot of snow, especially in the woods, but these tiny things are blooming happily right beside large drifts of snow. I found several clumps in the Sampler Garden and a largish patch in the Crabapple bed. I was a bit surprised to see some of them in a certain spot in the Sampler, as I totally don't remember planting them there, but I must have. They can't be the other ones seeding around because they seem different. The leaves are wider and the flowers seem to open wider. They are tricky to photograph - easy to over-expose the white flowers and end up with no detail in them. So these pictures aren't the best (must try again today), but worth seeing just because, well, because it's only March and they are really blooming!

One thing about Spring coming, it does make it hard to stay in the Studio and work. I'm trying to get ready for a Studio Tour next weekend and it's a challenge to keep working and not go out into the woods looking for signs of green.

The Maple Run Studio Tour is next weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 10 to 5 both days. There are a variety of stops on the tour, including Fulton's Pancake House. If the weather is nice, it should be a great weekend - interesting stuff to see and maybe purchase, from pottery (three potters!) to blown glass to jewellery..... followed by pancakes with maple syrup. There is a website too: I'm at Stop 7, which is an interesting log house. The owners are log house builders and are on the tour to advertise their building company. I do hope the visitors will take a break from looking at the walls and look at my pots!

Well, to work.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Spring is sprung....

Spring is sprung! OK, maybe not quite sprung, but Kip left muddy paw prints on the kitchen floor! It's supposed to rain over the next couple of days and that will really get rid of the white stuff. It's been a very easy winter, hardly enough snow to bother shovelling, and never very cold. Luckily the snow did stay in the woods and on my garden so I'm not that worried about winter kill.

The snow storm two weeks ago that dumped a foot of wet heavy stuff on us did bring down a lot of branches and weak trees. I've started cleaning up - my paths as usual will need clearing. Maybe tomorrow I'll be able to get the bits of pine branch off the edge of the driveway. The huge pines there dropped a number of branches in that snow st
orm, and several landed on or right beside the driveway. Trouble is, then the oil truck drove right over them, as did my husband when he came home late, and then the broken bits froze into the driveway. For a while the driveway was pretty slippery and I said that at least the broken branches provided some traction!

I started seeds of a couple of dozen of alpine plants in the window in the Studio. Got the seeds from the Alpine Garden Society seed exchange. It's amazing to get free seeds, and of things that aren't in seed catalogues, but I wish they had sent me the seeds I asked for! I got a few of the ones I thought I wanted, but many others I hadn't asked for. I have no idea what they are. The packets come with only a number on them. I looked many of them up and at least found the names, but I haven't had time to research them all and find out what they really are. They may be treasures, or they may be useless. Many probably won't be hardy here. Well, it'll be interesting.