Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Let’s talk ceramics – which, I can assure you, my information bank on this one would fill the head of a pin. What I can do is tell you what product I’m working with to make these.

First off, I’m using low-fire Earthenware clay in white (from Runyon Pottery Supply, a Michigan company but I think most States and Countries have similar suppliers). It also comes in red and gray. I have some old red left from my DD’s days on the pottery wheel and it looks like even after all of these years they might be useable too. The clay is sitting soaking up some extra moisture and soon I’ll knead/ and wedge the reconstituted stuff.

For the under glaze colors I’m using the ones Jennifer Heynen gave us in class – simply labeled by color. I also bought some new colors to mix from the Big Ceramic Store and Runyon called “Concepts” by Duncan. They’re compatible with the clay and firing that I’m doing.

After they’re fired to the bisque and nice and hard I under glaze them and cover that with clear glaze. Fire again and voila.

Seems simple, huh? Well, I only think it is because I’ve followed Jen’s instruction and her book. I do have a daughter to refer to but she did it for fun, it wasn’t her area of study. Since I’m such a lover of books I will admit to a half a dozen on the topic but other than that I can do little but learn as I go on this one – so far I’m having a great time.

Nellie update:
The stitches are still in but they removed the tube and she's finally perking up. YES! I was getting worried. Whew!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tis' the Season, what a great way to start!

Done like you've never seen before!

This video from the small Yupiq Eskimo Village of Quinhagak, Alaska, was a school computer project intended for the other Yupiq villages in the area.
To the surprise of the villagers, over a half million people have viewed it! Check it out for yourself:


Sunday, November 27, 2011

Newest Bisque

There is plenty of moss growing under these feet – LOL. Isn’t it just like that during the holiday? Oh, we’re all busy alright! It’s just that the artwork suffers a bit while you recharge the personal batteries with family – hence the artistic moss. It’s a good thing to enjoy family and take an artistic break (aside from playing nurse with Nellie). Here is the current plate of bisque pieces ready to be painted. They probably won’t be up on Etsy until next week – after there is a kiln load painted.

On the Nellie front - the vet visit went well but they did not pull the tube - Yuck -three more days of pads and arm sling covers. They also piled on the antibiotics and her stomach is not taking to the Rimidyl what-so-ever. Can we get a break here please? Back to the vet tomorrow....and hopefully the torch too!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Poor Nellie - Who thought of this fashion statement?

She is on the mend - at at least that is what we hope to hear from the vet tomorrow who is meeting us at her office on a Saturday. She'll be removing a tube from her leg. This is our beloved fur-baby, Nellie. She is our 12 year old golden retriever. Some place along growing up she developed a growth on the inside of her left rear leg. It never bothered her and we had it checked yearly - but it just kept getting bigger (double grapefruit bigger). Finally it interfered with her walking and we decided it had to be removed. And so it was, on Tuesday. Wednesday, the day before the "big turkey", we picked her up from the vet.

She has to have a temporary tube covered so she doesn't bother it - and there has to be plenty of changeable padding there to absorb the dripping. I think I deserve an award for ingenuity on how to keep the pads and gauze on...and up where they belong. I'm calling it the ultimate arm sling. Take one old shirt and cut the arm off with plenty of material up to the neck and presto - leg warmer.

Poor thing - but she can walk with it. LOL - and do the necessary business. We've run out of Leopard print cotton arms and today's new sling is hot pink polyester. I'm not sure which is worse - the indignity of the get-up or my poor choice in recyclable long sleeve shirts.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Entirely TMI On Thanksgiving

I know this is more than you want to know about Thanksgivng here in the States and elsewhere but what the heck - If you are reading this you can dazzle your friends and family with after dessert trivia. This is reposted from World Gormet.

Thanksgiving - A Celebration of Plenty

Did you know that eight nations of the world have official Thanksgiving Days? Those countries are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Japan, Korea, Liberia, Switzerland and the United States.

The tradition of declaring a special day or period for giving thanks is an ancient one. It dates far back to the time when our ancestors hoped that an ostentatious display of gratitude would placate their capricious gods -thus ensuring continued bounty. But these days of thanksgiving were also occasions for celebrating the year's plenty with feasts and joyful gatherings. The thanksgiving celebrations of the ancient Greeks took the form of an annual fall festival, during which offerings were made to Demeter, the goddess of corn. Every October the Romans held a harvest festival called Cerelia, in praise of Ceres (Demeter's Roman counterpart) which included games, parades and a feast. The Jewish harvest festival, Sukkoth, is still celebrated every autumn as it has been for 3000 years.

One of the most well-known symbols of Thanksgiving also dates back to ancient Greece. The cornucopia or "horn of plenty" comes from the myth in which Zeus gave Amalthea (who had fed him with goat's milk when he was an infant) one of the goat's horns as a gesture of thanks, with a promise that it would bring an abundance of anything she wished for.

Proclaiming days of Thanksgiving for various reasons - success in war, a bounteous harvest, the recovery of a king from illness - was part of European tradition for centuries. The first rite of Thanksgiving to be held in North America took place in 1578, when English explorer Martin Frobisher arrived in Newfoundland and ordered that a ceremony be held to thank God for protecting his crew during the long and dangerous sea voyage.

However, much of modern North American Thanksgiving lore is associated with the Pilgrims. In 1621, a year after arriving in the new world on the Mayflower, and following a severe winter in which many of their numbers had succumbed to disease, the colonists celebrated their first successful harvest by organizing a thanksgiving feast to which they invited the neighboring Native Indians. On the menu for that first American Thanksgiving were almost certainly some foods that have become staples of the holiday - turkey and pumpkin - along with other wild fowl, venison, oysters, clams, fish, corn cakes, and wild fruit and nuts.

Why do Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November?

Because President Abraham Lincoln declared this day a holiday in his famous Thanksgiving Proclamation of 1863. Yes, but who was behind this decision? The answer is Sarah Josepha Hale, one of the most important, yet least recognized, women in American history. She lobbied the President to officially proclaim a day of Thanksgiving, convinced that observing it on a national level would bind the warring country together and ensure peace.

In Canada

During the American Revolution, many colonists desiring to remain loyal to the British crown headed north to Canada, bringing with them many New England traditions, explaining the continuing similarity of many US and Canadian Thanksgiving customs and menus. Following European tradition, general days of Thanksgiving had been officially proclaimed in Canada since 1799 to celebrate royal events or the end of wars or epidemics. By the latter part of the nineteenth century, a day of thanksgiving for an abundant harvest was proclaimed each year for a Thursday in November, later moving to October, perhaps because of Canada's colder climate and earlier harvest. Eventually Thanksgiving came to be celebrated on a Monday, though in the 1920s Thanksgiving was once again observed in November, the Monday before Armistice Day. Finally in 1931, Canadian Thanksgiving was fixed for the second Monday of October, a move formally enshrined by Act of Parliament in 1957.

But enough about history! What's for dinner?

On most North American tables, a turkey still holds pride of place for the annual Thanksgiving feast. In the US alone, over 40 million turkeys are consumed on this holiday weekend each year! It is usually accompanied by gravy and stuffing, the particular accents of which are determined by region. Along the eastern seaboard, oyster stuffing is traditional, hearkening back to the days when these shellfish were a cheap and plentiful source of food. In the south, you are more likely to find cornbread stuffing, while in the northern US and Canada you might find wild rice among the ingredients for the turkey dressing. Cranberry sauce is traditional, made with fresh or frozen berries, or perhaps in the form of a jiggly cylinder that slides out of a can! A staple of many American Thanksgiving dinners is sweet potatoes, combined with sugar, spices and butter, turned into a casserole and sometimes topped with marshmallows. Other vegetable dishes, salads, pickles and rolls usually round out the meal, followed by the traditional pumpkin pie and whipped cream. In many households, a final Thanksgiving tradition is to retire to a comfortable chair to loosen one's belt!

If you made it through your dinner and are reading this you are probably already napping and I hope you had a wonderful day.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cold Feet - Warm Heart

Right now I’d settle for 70 degrees – that is the temperature in North Carolina tomorrow where one set of my grown children reside (Son #2 and Darling DIL). Alas, it’s Michigan and tomorrows high will be 45. I’m thankful for no snow at the moment. I’ve shopping to do!

This cold weather contributes to cramps in my legs and cold feet. I hate cold feet. A very smart country doctor, who took care of the nursing home folks; and me, gave me some sound advice. He said that when they changed over to nice wool slippers for the patients, because of the chronically cold feet and cramps, that the majority of patients responded favorably -at least those whose cramps weren’t contributable to other medical issues. His advice to me – go on-line and get yourself some Eddie Bauer wool slippers.

My slippers are Walmart specials but I think some of these would be nice. The Martha Stewart pattern is free and they look very comfy. And then, there is a pattern on Etsy at Fibers and Twigs that appeals to me too. It uses old wool sweaters that you can felt up in the washer and then cut out and sew.

Best of luck my cold weather friends – I hope this helps you all keep those tootsies warm while you’re torching and working away at your favorite cold weather projects.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Indelible Memories - An ISGB call for submissions...

Hey there everyone! We just received a notification from the ISGB about the upcoming 20th Anniversary show for the Gathering. They've had many a good topic in the past - but this one - well, I really like it. I don't know anyone who hasn't had a time in their lives that they can't reference back to.

For example, I cannot smell cinnamon without thinking of my Grandfather making oven toasted cinnamon with sugar on old bread in the oven. It was crisp - crunchy - sweet. Conjures up a brown necklace - maybe frits - or crushed clear glass like sugar - maybe hollows with spices captured within. The possibilities with this theme are endless.

What's your indelible memory? Here is the call for submissions (I've made ISGB clickable above):

A Collection of Personal Narratives Expressed in Art Glass Beads

In everyone's lives are moments that stand out, moments that we remember more clearly than others. We can call these certain memories to mind as if they happened just yesterday, no matter how much time passes. What makes these moments unforgettable may vary greatly. Maybe it was doing something for the first time or for the last time. Perhaps it was an entirely commonplace occurrence but one day, that one day in particular, something different happened. These are the moments that become etched in our memory permanently. Sometimes, all it can take to transport us back to that moment is a smell, a word, or a sound, and we can play that memory over and over again in our mind's eye.

Reach back into your memory. Pluck out the details from one of your most memorable or special experiences. Take those sights and sounds and translate them into glass! Paint a picture of that memory using glass beads as your brushstrokes and jewelry as your canvas. Turn that special memory into a wearable work of art.

This is an opportunity for ISGB members to participate in a special exhibition that will open in conjunction with our twentieth anniversary Gathering in Bellevue/Seattle, Washington. Jewelry can include but is not limited to components such as seed beads, fine metal, PMC, fibers, etc. Multiple mediums are encouraged; however the main focus of your piece should be hand-crafted glass bead(s). Members may choose to work solo or with partners of their choice.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Handmade Meaning...

I'm having the usually "Silly Sunday" but did some browsing this morning with my coffee. When I did I found this interview on Etsy which contained Seaworthy's explanation of what she thinks qualifies as "handmade". She hit the nail on the head for me.

While growing up my Grandfather lived with us. He was a professional chef - I not only basked in grand parenting I also got interesting things to eat. Would I consider that handmade? Absolutely! Chef's are artists with their materials too. I guess I've lived a handmade life...crocheted and knitted blankets, sewing, cooking, lace, shoes, toys, gardening, and so much more. How about you?

This is what Seaworthy had to say when asked, "What does handmade mean to you?"

"Handmade, in my opinion, is about human connection. Handmade isn’t just tangible items – it extends to locally-owned shops and restaurants, small wineries, organic farmers and people who make made-from-scratch meals for their loved ones. It’s about people doing and making what they love and sharing it with the people who enjoy and appreciate it. It’s all about the human experience and how we connect to one another, as corny as that may sound."

Bravo! You can
see Seaworthy's incredible wares by clicking on her underlined name above. It will take you directly to her Etsy site. She mades some great jewelry.

Friday, November 11, 2011

When I Wish...

It's on a Star!

This is one of the first totally finished and Etsy listed ceramic, lampwork, and metal mixed works. Let's see - I have a 50# block of clay - I've had it for years. Today I had to dip back into it because I've used up the first couple of fist fulls I've had wrapped up in my ceramic box...LOL. It's still in perfect condition! Yeah, Runyon Pottery Supply! Who'd of thunk it. I ought to be able to get a million stars out of that block of gray stuff - right? That's a lot of great sculpting fun.

When my friend Susan and I teach she has a funny saying that makes me chuckle every time. "Now, let's see - If we can just sell a million of these at a dollar a piece we'd be rich." It's a quick nod to the fact you'll probably never get rich doing least not in the pocket book. Thank goodness there are all kinds of rich!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Ceramic Treasures

This is the pile of bisque from the kiln. Now, I'm just waiting for the kiln to cool so I can remove what I painted - YES! Off to torch and everyone have a wonderful day...

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

While I'm Working...

Today is a creative day. Yesterday I fired up the kiln for the clay pieces I left behind to dry and today it's back to the torch - YES! Until I get some photos of what I'm working on I thought I'd show you an assortment of the items available for purchase at FaerieCon. Whatever your faerie persona you can fulfill it here.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Wing Whacked and a Fin

Costume judging for the adults - there is one for the kids too!

Steam Punk and Mermaids are well represented!

Gothic Faeries are always welcome.

Watch Out for Wings !

I feel a little "wing whacked" after the drive back - but joyful about the experience at FaerieCon. Since I'm too tired out to write a bunch I thought I'd just let the photos speak for themselves. I've talked before how you have to be careful sometimes when you are walking around FaerieCon...because...some of the Faerie's wear very large wings and when they turn in a confined area you can get thwacked a good one. Included are some of the many many wings of FaerieCon, a few Princes and Queens, and tons of assorted creatures. Tomorrow when I get time I'd like to show just a few more photos before I sign off of this years fun time and gear back into normal. What's normal anyway?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

On the way back to reality

I'd edit a batch of pictures to share tonight but it's late. FaerieCon has ended another mythical year in Maryland and we've packed and driven part of the way home. I'll post the best of the rest tomorrow night....but for now I'm going to snooze. Just like this tired little Gnome who was busy being cooed and coddled by all of adults for his costuming.

Catch you tomorrow.......

Saturday, November 5, 2011

More from FaerieCon...

Check out this Viking, he is just so dignified and has a booth close to Mystic Swan.

This is Jenny Davis-Reazor. She's a Mixed-Media artist that caught my eye yesterday when I was browsing around the booths. Her clay and jewelry work is great. If you were here with me I'd take you down to see her booth but since I can't I've made her name clickable and it will take you to her web site - and from there you can check out her blog and Etsy too!

And, then there is this photo of this wonderful couple. I was at the costume competition and when I turned around to leave when they were finished there they sat. They were having a wonderful time - and so am I.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Having a Faerie Nice Time

I'm just to pooped to write much so I'm sending some Faerie love your way. Just a few photos I edited tonight. We are here and having a wonderful time. Tonight we went to the Good Faerie's Ball and heard Delhi 2 Dublin play. Holy Crap - they rocked, and the floors in the Maryland Ballroom just shook. Wish you were all here to enjoy this......

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

FaerieCon Here I Come

Sorry I've been missing in action again. I've been making ceramic and lampwork beads like crazy and trying to get ready to leave for FaerieCon. I attend to accompany my friend Sharon Dent of Mystic Swan Jewelry - she gracious invited me to add some of my work to the mix but on this show I just so enjoy being the side-kick that I've declined.

This year Sharon has moved to a larger booth in a downstairs ballroom and we will be closing at an earlier time which will allow us time to attend the Faerie Balls. It's always fun to see the costume changes and listen to the music. This year a popular band called Qnytal will be playing at one of the Balls. And then someone I haven't heard before called Priscilla Hernandez.

I promise I'll be posting from FaerieCon and sending along the daily photos of what's happening. Plus, if you have never been to a Renaissance Festival or one of these you ought to consider it.....such a feast for the eyes and soul.