Thursday, July 27, 2017

Going out on a limb



Creative people make art every day. When they are not in their studios making art, they are looking at art, reading about art, thinking about art and dreaming about art. Except me when I have a couple of weeks of wood prep grunt work to do.
I bought this pile of wood from the Amish. I didn’t realize there was as much as there is so in this heat it has been exhausting to pick it up, put it down in the pick up, pick it up, put it down, in the rick, saw it in half and pick it up and put it down again in a pile. This is far from creative work but I actually like doing it. I’m on my 9th P/U truck load and I don’t think I’m half way there yet. Yikes!
This is limb wood that the Amish women don’t like burning in their cook stoves. It burns too fast. I have never in almost 40 years of wood firing ever fired entirely with limb wood. I have pretty well always had slab wood.
This limb wood doesn’t stack neatly in a pile like slab wood does. So with that in mind it won’t stack as evenly on the grates of the firebox either. There will be more space around the wood for air to travel down through the wood into the firebox. I’m thinking ahead that perhaps I will have to fire the kiln with the brakes on. The brakes with this kiln are the passive dampers. Pull out a passive and the temp stalls, put it back in and the temp moves ahead. I’m thinking we may have to slow this baby down.
There is also a mixture of woods I have never fired with- ironwood, yellow birch, poplar but mostly wood I am familiar with like maple, ash, beech, elm, oak and wild cherry.
Here is a little FB post written by a friend and collector of mine Wendy Gacparski that died  recently unexpectedly. I won’t say rest in peace as that would not suit her. She had opinions that she expressed. I think the world needs more of those people. So sorry one has left us. Give us hell, Wendy.


  I like creative people. Individuals who think outside the box. Those that take creative chances...and that think for themselves. Creative people that follow their passion and want to share it with others - because it brings them joy to do so. You can always tell who they are because they love to laugh, and they have zero hesitation at laughing at themselves. They take life in stride because they believe that a little bit of inspiration, creativity, laughter, elbow grease and trust can get us through just about anything. But most of all they shine in their own unique way...and their light makes our world a better place.

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Work as Balance





I don’t know how many times I have been told I work too hard and that my life needs balance. I should play golf, tennis, or go ballroom dancing.
 One definition of the noun “balance” is an even distribution of weight enabling someone or something to remain upright and steady. Sometimes I need to correct my posture because of a life stooped over the potter’s wheel but other than that I stand tall and steady.
In my defense I will suggest that my work gives me balance. At times when everything in my life is tipsy turvey I find sanctuary in my work. When I feel great I crank up the tunes as I work. I am blessed that my passion has become my career. I don’t need to escape it and do something else. I love my work, my home, my friends and it all seems to evolve around my passion for clay.
My young friend potter Emma Smith came for lunch yesterday and my long time friend Dawn Ellis came today. Do you think they are just checking in on me to see if I lost my  balance? Oh contrare!
 I just signed up for a fall course in Fundamentals of Perspective in Drawing at a good art college in London. This will help my work. So why didn’t I sign up for the “Fly fishing” course. I’d like to fly fish but I spend enough time solo I don’t need a hobby that gets me out alone some more.
I made these bud vases/candlestick holders today. I wondered about balance. Should I leave them alone to be adorned by a perching song bird? Should I put one handle on and have the bird perch at the front. Andrew and I stayed up talking last night and put a dent into a bottle of Woodford Reserve. I was slow off the mark today and had a wee nooner on the couch after Dawn left. I stared at my Jeff Payne outsider art painting which I love for it’s ultimate excess. What would J. Payne think about balance I thought? He wouldn’t give a fiddler’s fart was my answer. So thanks Jeff for the mentorship.  I went to the workshop and put two ribbon handles on each and perched the song birds all over Gawd’s creation.

“The young man knows the rules, but the old man knows the exceptions.” Oliver Wendel Holmes Harvard Professor.

Monday, July 24, 2017

All Gawds Little Creatures

All Gawds Creatures Love Bacon
I made a series of  10 bacon bowls. I’m in a show with Mary Philpott who makes fabulous creatures so I was inspired to fatten up my bacon bowls with some of Gawd’s little creatures.
I have the press mold my Aunt Cavvy made in art school in 1946 of a squirrel so I made some black squirrels and some brown squirrels. I don’t much like squirrels. I figure they are just a common rat with a better Public Relations Agent. It is illegal to shoot them in town so I figure by firing a few to Cone 12 I’ll get even with the little bastards for all the bird food they stole from my feeder this year.  Yummy range fed Premium Quality Birdfood fed brown, black or gray squirrel. Might be tasty in some gumbo.
Then last week when I was at Home County Festival listening to music there was my buddy Chris Snedden pressing out some song birds in a rather nice mold. Hey Chris I love those birds where did you get the mold. “I dunno” he answered. Well the song birds came home to Mr. T and he is slip casting a flock of them with slips enhanced with stains and pigments. I want red, orange, black, blue and white song birds. I’m going to perch them on my bacon bowls and other such pots.
My blue song bird is for Grass. Judi gave me a Zip lock bag of Cobalt tailings from his materials inventory. It is unrefined cobalt most likely from Cobalt, Ontario. That mine has been closed for some years.
As I lined the birds up on my table I was listening to Michael Enright talking to a black sociologist discussing Obama’s contribution.  We here in Canada have flown our own Confederate flag when it comes to First Nations people and the residential school system the Church imposed on them.
I want a white bird kissing a black bird and a white bird kissing a red bird and a red bird kissing a black bird. I want these song birds to be love birds that see no difference in the colour of one’s feathers.  The Blue Bird of Paradise will stand alone as the lovliest of all birds and perhaps who we should all aspire to be.

Shane Norrie Contemporary I have no idea where this show is all going but it won’t be because I didn’t give it some thought. Remember I'm just another one of Gawd's little creatures.