Let the Beauty of what you Love be what you Do...

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday is Clay Day... Part 3

The pots have made it through the bisque, and are now ready for the pit fire! Below are the beautiful pots all ready to get thrown into the fire. As you can see by the work here, there are some quite talented ladies in my class. I try (and do not succeed very well) not to be envious of their pots!!! Though, I have to remind myself... I am not retired, nor independently wealthy... currently I'm just a working stiff, & thus I simply do not have the time most of these lovely ladies have to put into this class. I try (really hard!) to keep this in perspective! 

The Pit Fire goes like this:
1) Dig Hole,
2) Stuff Pallets with Crumpled Newspaper & Place in Hole,
3) Stack Pots on top of Pallets.

(The Pots themselves make a cool abstract art form, don't you think?!)

Once the pots are all stacked, you cover them with bark from the Ponderosa Pine (this is what gives the finished pot the "smokey" look) and various scrap wood & light the whole thing on fire!

Everyone in class is an active participant... from digging the pit, stuffing the pallet, keeping an eye on the fire, etc. The whole process takes around 3 hours.

After the wood burns down, the pots are soon ready to take out out of the ashes. 

Below are some pics of my finished pot~

Hmmmmm. I do like it, but I have to admit I am a bit partial to the golden orange of the bisque fire! The smokey effect of the final firing is fairly unpredictable, depending on how the wood burns, and in my opinion it came out just a little too smokey.

But, what the heck, it's my first micaceous pot, I have a lot to learn (story of my life...) and while you cannot control the end results, I believe you can learn to manipulate them a bit more. I have 2 more pots I'm concurrently working on, plus some various hand building projects, and my little bear made it out of the glaze firing... but we'll save that for another post... it's late, and it's back to work Tamale...

Monday, September 27, 2010

"Autumn is a Second Spring, When Every Leaf is a Flower..."

 ~ Albert Camus

Where I went hiking last week, the colors continue to change and huge swaths of the mountain have turned brilliant yellow & fiery red. Along with the color also come large crowds of people, because who wouldn't want to see & experience such natural beauty!? But, being that I'm around people constantly at work... I was craving a little solitude. So, just a bit farther up the mountain I went, to a favorite trail that meanders through stands of Aspen. Many of the leaves have already fallen, and the forest took on the most beautiful yellow glow! To lay upon a blanket of freshly fallen leaves, look up at the blue sky, and breathe in the smell of the sweet earth... makes my soul just a little bit happier.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday is Clay Day- Part 2: Who is that Masked Woman?!?

Ha Ha~ it's me, of course! I had much scraping & sanding to do on my first Micaceous Pot, to get it as smooth & uniform as possible... and one DOES NOT want to breathe in dust for hours! I didn't win any fashion shows today, but I did get a few ideas for a bank robbing stint.... kidding!!! 

Remember all the work I had left to do? It took another 5 hours today to scrape, sand, apply slip & stone burnish (rubbing smooth stones over the surface~ one section at a time on this BIG POT!) Work, yes, but not like work work if you know what I mean. When I'm working on it, it just feels like something I do... if that makes any sense. Anyhow, here's how it looks now!

Now, just say the potter's prayer that it makes it through the bisque firing and the pit firing!! I am hopeful, but I also try not to get too attached to the work, knowing anything can happen. Good reason to document with photos...  if it cracks or blows up, I can say, "No...really, I did make this super cool pot once..."

In other clay news... I did sneak in a little wheel time last week, too. I thought I'd make a couple of the coffee bean mugs like I had made up in Oregon, since I had given all those away. I like them, but they are kinda a pain to make, having to slip & score every bean, and then stain them a dark brown color, (French Roast!) which must be painted on. They still need to make it through 2 firings too, so keep your fingers crossed!
Have I mentioned that I love clay days?!
Stay tuned next week for Clay day Part 3... I'm working my 2nd coiled Pot with a new twist!

Monday, September 20, 2010

"In Every Walk With Nature, 
One Receives Far More Than He Seeks" 
~John Muir

How true this quote is! The colors are just starting to change in the Mountains above Santa Fe, and I as much as I was tempted to say to myself I was too tired to hike today... I knew my soul needed to get out there. So glad I did!

The air was fresh, the sky blue... and the sound of the wind rustling through Aspen leaves was like music to my ears.

Have you ever noticed it looks like they have eyes? Aspen are one of my favorite trees... though I've yet to meet a tree I didn't like!

I found a tiny little creek with miniature waterfalls...

And hidden treasures!

I return rejuvenated, and I'm reminded once again how much beauty is in this world.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wednesday is Clay Day- Part 1

So, it's decided then! Starting today & every Wednesday... it is officially my "Clay Day..."
for the next six weeks anyhow. No laundry, no errands, no house cleaning... just me & the clay. Yeah, sure... I would love to do it full time, but it's not an option presently... so I'll do the best with what I've got :). I finally got to dig in & make my first ever Micaceous Pot today! It's not finished, but I wanted to show it anyhow, because for me this is pretty exciting stuff!

I've actually never made a coiled pot before, so it was a little challenging for me. It took about 5 hours to get to this point!

It will still need to be scraped, sanded, slip applied & stone-burnished before it's ready for firing, so lots of work to go, but I'm off to a good start.

Me & my pot... just to show scale, as it looked so small in the pics above, and it's actually quite a large pot! If it makes it through all the steps above, it'll be a functional cooking pot... now is that cool or what?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Rivers and Tides

I've always loved this clip from Artist Andy Goldworthy's Rivers & Tides. Watch it & maybe you'll understand why. I can relate to so many things he speaks of. If you get the chance~ watch the film in it's entirety... it's such a wonderful blend of man, nature, beauty & art. I believe his art (which is intricately tied to nature) is his passion... his souls desire. We all have those things that we love to do~ our passions~ things that on a deeper level feed our souls if you will... things that that we must do in order to feel fulfilled on a deeper level. For me, it is very simple things that feed my soul. It is time spent out in nature, having the time to create, time to sit quietly and just be. A place where no demands are made, & there is no place that I have to rush off to. How do you feel when you are not pursuing your souls desires? Do you feel rootless, disconnected? I do. I think that's why I've been feeling a little glum the past few days, for seemingly no reason in particular... but perhaps simply due to the fact that lately, I feel as if I have to "squeeze in" these moments that feed my soul.... amidst the clamor & demands of daily life. 

Friday, September 10, 2010

Madrid, New Mexico~ A Stop Along the Turquoise Trail

My Mom & Grandmother have been visiting each summer for a few days for the past 3 summers that I have been working in Santa Fe. I am the self appointed "tour guide" & try to show them a little something different each time they visit. There is so much to see & do! Wednesday we drove out along the Turquoise Trail to Madrid. It's a tiny little town, rich in mining history~ turquoise, lead, silver & coal. (If you're interested, there's some really great history here: http://www.legendsofamerica.com/nm-madrid.html~ it even tells of a several hauntings!) After the coal bust it essentially became a ghost town... but it's since been revitalized into a funky little artist enclave & popular tourist stop along the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway.

I love old buildings, things that are funky, and checking out other artist's work, so poking in all the little shops & galleries was right up my alley.

We didn't eat here, but we all got a kick out of this sign. I mean, really, isn't it the coolest? While poking around, I also found this really simple, yet beautiful turquoise necklace. 

My birthday is coming up this month (already?!? It seems I just had one!) and my sweet Gramma saw how much I loved it & she decided it would be my early birthday present. Awe... thanks, Grams! It is by local Jewelry Maker & turquoise miner Rianna Newman~ you can read about her & her work here:
Our last stop before heading back, was to photograph this little church a bit farther down the road, near Golden, NM~

I've photographed it before, in 2008... actually using it as a template for a Printmaking class I took this spring. I'll often photograph things/places repeatedly... there's always a slightly different angle, weather or season that can change the whole feel of a photograph. It's a great side trip if you're ever in the area!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Walk Through O'Keefe Country, Through My Eyes

A Landscape that needs no words... but you can clearly see why Georgia loved it so much here. I could have spent days exploring in the hills behind Ghost Ranch... and hope to get there again in the not to distant future & do just that! Be Sure to check Georgia O'Keefe's interview in the post below~
It's awesome!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Georgia O'Keeffe in New Mexico

I found this interview with Georgia O'Keefe a year or two ago on YouTube, & thought appropriate to post, as I just spent the day w/ my mom & grandmother up in O'Keefe Country at Abiquiu & Ghost Ranch. If you like Georgia O'Keefe, you'll love this video- she's 92 here & still quite spunky! I love the part where the interviewer says "It was nice of Steiglitz to let you go to New Mexico every summer...."  to which she replies, "Listen, he didn't let me go, I just went." I really admire O'Keefe, not just for her Paintings and her contributions to the Art world... but I've done a fair amount of reading about her life, and I think she was an incredibly strong woman, and quite ahead of her time.