Monday, June 4, 2007

I just couldn't leave well enough alone.....

Sometimes, I have so much rattling around in my head that if I don't get it out somewhere (on paper, in a document, in a piece of handwork) I can't rest.

For instance, I plugged in the laptop to re-charge it and put it away - but, did I sit down to read? Or, put in a load of laundry? Or, work on something else? Well, did I?? Nope - did not! Because I just need to get those thoughts out somewhere.

I think it's because I'm frustrated - and disappointed. I mentioned earlier that I only have 2 1/2 months left before my retirement date - but, I feel as if I'm already gone. Or, at least that's the impression I get daily from others. It feels as if I'm being pushed out the door - that I'm no longer needed - invisible - and that doesn't give one a good feeling.

So, here I am bemoaning the fact that I'm a useless piece of flotsam, when I don't really think that at all. Nope, not really. I just need to remind myself that I DO have a lot to offer - and, that I am worth something.

OK - rant over. I'm putting away the soapbox.

Our summer session begins next week - it's something I look forward to each year. It's a great deal of work, but worth it. Especially the end of the summer when we fire outside - RAKU!!! What a rush! I'm sorry - it's a great deal of work for OTHERS - I have a blast! Looking forward already to the couple of quiet week-ends by myself firing bisque - the studio and those ill-tempered kilns all to myself.

How about a shot of some of the raku pieces before they get pulled from the kiln? OK - here's one. Remember, they've been bisqued and glazed - this step takes the place of another long, several day glaze-fire. We're talking maybe 20 minutes from start to finish once the kiln is past the first load.

Red hot!!! Pull them with special tongs and settle them into a bed of combustible material and let 'er burn!

And, if you work the flames just right, here's what you end up with.....

The orangish-reddish pot in the center front and the the little round guy on the left are both wearing copper-matte glaze. The tall guy in the back right is flaunting that famous 80/20 glaze that goes well with just about anything.

Copper matte is one of the most difficult glazes to control - to get to work. You can reduce it in leaves or sawdust or anything else all day long, but this particular glaze needs to work with the flame (or, is it the other way around?).

If you look close, the center pot sports all colors - that's the result of several years of trials and swearing and hair-pulling and almost giving up. But, after lots of reading and listening and speculating, it only seemed right to try just one more method. So, out came the fatwood sticks I use to light the fireplace - what a difference! The little, bluish one in back, even though it was the same glaze, just didn't muster up - we used sawdust and try as we might, that elusive copper matte remained elusive. Reducing with the fatwood sticks made a huge difference, don't you think? I just love it.

Ahhhh, renewal has set in. That's what happens when I can focus on something I'm passionate about. I can walk into the studio dog-tired, not able to put one foot in front of the other, and by the time a couple hours have gone by, I can't stop - I'm so jazzed that I could go all night long (almost).

NOW, it's time go put things to rest for the night. I've fed my obsession - typically, I just need to touch clay once a day to get through it. Looking at the pictures and at least telling you about it seems to do the same thing - renewal.

Thank you for letting me rant - and, for allowing me to show a little of my world - I'm afraid there's more to come, so look out!!

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