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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Silent Night

It's always so festive in the Plaza at Christmas time! I hadn't yet been out walking the Plaza at night this December... it's been a little chilly for an evening stroll and I have to admit I've been a little partial to staying home in the evenings with a cup of hot chocolate! But after a bit of snow yesterday, I figured it would be the perfect time to get out for a little photography. So glad I did!

Wishing you all a very, very
Merry Christmas!!!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Dreaming of a White Christmas...

Well, according to the weather forecast, it won't likely be snowing here on Christmas... but we did finally get a little snow this week! Not the 4-6 inches that was predicted (we started the week off with rain!) but enough to dust everything in a wintery white... a beautiful day to go out walking... and as luck would have it, I had the day off to do just that! 

 I walked around town for quite some time, in awe at the beauty of it all... smiling a goofy smile. It was one of those days where you just feel happy to be alive... and thankful to have the leisure time to enjoy it!

Monday, December 12, 2011

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas... :)

Ok, perhaps this doesn't look like Christmas to most people, but to a clay loving Chica such as myself... it looks a whole lot like Christmas to me! Not to mention the fact that when you've been waiting in anticipation for weeks to see how your crazy glaze-dipping concoctions have turned out... well, It's kinda like that feeling the kids get waiting for Santa... hoping they get something from their Christmas list, and not for example, a lump of coal. Metaphorically speaking, I got both.

I experimented with 4 different clay bodies and numerous glazes, which resulted in a large range of results, from super cool, to so ugly I'm glad I took good glaze notes so I'll know never to do that again!

Above~ a random sampling, and below, some of my favorites pieces.

This mug was my # 1 fave. I love the shape, size & glaze, but I especially love the handle. Have you ever notice how mugs fit in your hand? Some handles are two finger holds, some three, some four. The handle to hand fit often determines my favorite mugs.

The mug on the left was hand built & funky & I love it. The mug on the right was wheel thrown, way too small to be a proper coffee mug, but I totally dig the glaze combo.

Two of my favorite bowls.

These? Well, I'm not the craziest about them. I've found with all the pieces I've gotten out of the kiln so far, the ones I like the best were made with darker clay bodies. These were done w/ a white clay, & I'm just not super excited about the way the lighter clay bodies interact w/ the glazes, and I tried a lot of different glaze combos! The feel to me is just not as earthy & natural as the effects achieved with the darker clays.

Above, a darker clay with a couple of different glazes works for me... a much more earthy feel.

And the finished bears~ I totally love them! 

 I tested different glazes on each one & came up w/ about 3 combos that I would definitely use again. 

My favorite!

I've still got 2 larger bears & about 12 or so pieces (both white & dark clays) yet to glaze, which I'll get in to finish later during the week~ though those likely won't be out of the kiln 'til 2012! That's fine though, because I've got plenty to get started on for gifts... and have been as busy as a Christmas elf packing them up w/ goodies to ship "home" for Christmas!
Hope you're all having a wonderful December!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

Well, not quite the Winter Wonderland that was predicted by the weather service, but enough to give us a fresh dusting of snow, and w/ temps in the low 30's today... perfect hiking weather! I took these while out hiking Picacho Peak today with a friend... it was a beautiful day to be out & about. Thankful for heat right about now, as our lows by monday night are predicted to be in the single digits & more snow on the way!
Hope you're all staying warm out there!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Still Playing in Clay :)

Nope, I haven't stopped working in clay since my last class ended... I just haven't been doing as much documentation in process as I normally do. I picked up a short 7 week class at Santa Fe Clay here in town. It's actually a wheel throwing class, but I had some leftover bags of cone 10 clay in my closet, so I've been doing some hand building at home, too.

Still making bears.... :)

Setting up the clay station in my apartment is rather messy... still dreaming of my own studio someday, but I suppose I've gotta make do until then.

Looks like a bear migration, doesn't it? I find them fun & relaxing to make.

In class, I've mainly been working on mugs & bowls.

The 3 shallow bowls in the back are Puki's which I'll use as a base when I get back to Micaceous clay. Though I tend to gravitate towards darker clay bodies, I've been experimenting with lighter clays, too.

I threw these last week... it's funny because when I sat down at the wheel, my original intention was to try to throw identical cylinders, but I found it much more fun to experiment w/ different shapes.


What generally happens, regardless of the fact that I spend all day in the studio on the day of class... is that I run out of time with what ever I'm working on, and either need to triple wrap them to keep them moist until I can get into the studio again... or take them home & work on them there.

Once the handles are made, they generally dry rather quickly, so in this case, I decided to take them home & finish them up that night.

Below~ another bear I made after work one night. I've decided to leave him a little rough & see how he fires up w/ a clear or two toned glaze.

So, that's what I've been up to. I've got the day off today & I don't know how many bowls/mugs that should be out of the bisque & ready to glaze. I haven't got any finished work back yet... but had a few glazed bowls on the rack last week awaiting the final firing, so we'll see!
p.s.~ Happy Thanksgiving! I'll be working, which is actually a good thing... 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

First Winter Hike of the Season~ Santa Fe Baldy! :)

I love it when nature cooperates with my schedule! It was a cold & blustery day on Saturday as I worked, but I paid it no mind, as the forecast for Sunday- my day off- was for blue skies... and I had a hike planned with a couple of new friends.
I love hiking in freshly fallen snow. The landscape seems so quiet, and the summer crowds are gone.

It was a chilly start... somewhere in the teens as we started our hike, but we quickly warmed up in our many layers with the gentle uphill effort. A couple of miles in, we get the first clear view of our goal~ the summit of Santa Fe Baldy.

At about the halfway point towards the summit, we were breaking new trail through the snow... it was only a few inches deep... not enough for snowshoes, but enough to make the hike a bit more challenging.

Below, a view of Santa Fe Baldy from the saddle. At this point, it's only another 1,000 feet or so to climb~ but it's the steepest part of the hike and the air is thin!

Climbing higher, we find we are not alone on this hike! We spotted a Bighorn sheep (look in the right hand corner)... he was very cool to observe from a distance.

But he apparently wanted a closer view of us, or perhaps he was a bit perturbed that we were in his territory, but in any case, he started down the trail~ making a beeline directly toward us!

I had never been this close to a Bighorn before... my experience has been that they keep their distance... and we keep ours. It was a little nerve wracking as he approached. Not knowing what to do, I implored the technique I'd use if encountering a bear in the wilderness~ yelling & clanging my hiking poles, trying to seem intimidating (as if!) He just came closer... staring us down. 

We changed tactics, and slowly began backing down the mountain... looking for possible shelter in the rocks.

We gave him a wide berth, and thankfully he got bored with us and sauntered on down the trail...

though he paused to take in the view!

With him now below us, (and with a fresh burst of adrenaline) we got back on the trail & continued on up the mountain.

Looking down from the summit ridge, I was able to observe for the first time the devastation from the Pacheco Fire this summer. I hadn't been up on Baldy since June, just before the fires... so my last view in this direction was of green forests. It was a little heartbreaking to see, though with the freshly fallen snow, it seemed to have a stark beauty all it's own.

The snowy windswept ridge, with the summit of Baldy in the distance.

Quite a glorious view from the top!

Summit of Santa Fe Baldy~ 12,622 ft

And the Summit shot! Normally there is a windbreak here, but it is covered in a mound of snow! In the summer, it is nice to hang around at the top... have a snack & soak in the view... but it was fr-eee-zing up there and with the shorter winter days, & 7 miles remaining to hike out, we did not linger long! We hiked out & drove down the hill just as the sun was setting, with that deep, relaxing feeling of fatigue only acheived from a day well spent in the mountains!