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

Monday, June 18, 2012

"Wilderness is not a luxury, but a necessity of the human spirit..."
~Edward Abbey

So true! Most of my hiking this summer has consisted of local hikes in & around town... which is great, but I really love going deeper in to the mountain wilderness. Last week, a friend I had the same midweek day off... so off to the mountains we went! Our hike started out at the Santa Fe Ski Basin, around 10,000 feet and had us hiking 11 miles up & over 3 peaks~ Deception, Lake, & Penitente. (12,320, 12,409 & 12,249 ft respectively.)
View from Raven's Ridge looking over the burn area from last years Pacheco Fire~

and up to the peaks we would soon ascend.

Climbing higher, we reach & surpass tree line to the summit of Deception Peak... just to the left in the distance.

I am always amazed that these  tiny, delicate, beautiful flowers grow in such high, rugged, windswept country!

We are rewarded for our climb with amazing views in all directions, and breathe deep the thin, clean air.

View into the valley from Deception Peak.
View from Lake Peak down to Nambe Lake Basin.

View from Lake Peak

The trail crosses one of the last snow banks of the season, ascending to Penitente Peak in distance.

View of Santa Fe Baldy from Penitente Peak. I love the scale & how the trees look so miniature.

Back into the valley, we stroll through one of my favorite meadows. 
The remainder of our hike is an easy stroll after the descending the Peaks, and I take in all the detail & beauty that nature has to offer.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Tales from an Apartment Dwelling Potter

While my clay classes at the College are finished for the Semester, I am not certainly not finished with clay!  I am now back to hand building Micaceous Clay Pots... which is why on any given day off from work, my apartment may look like this~

or this~

Mixing & Wedging Clay
 or this!

That is the nice thing about hand coiling pots, or doing clay sculpture work. While it would be great to have a real studio, if you are determined enough & are willing to deal with the mess & clean up involved, you can make it work in a fairly small space... in my case, it's my kitchen.

But luckily, I have another place to learn & work, because as it turns out, just as my classes were finishing up at the Community College, my  Micaceous Clay instructor was offering a clay class at his studio in Tijeras, NM. I've been spending my Saturdays there, and then trying to put into practice what I'm learning in my little "Kitchen Studio" back at home.

Above, my first pot from class. (In the drying stage. Keep in mind, all these pots are all Raw, needing several stages of scraping, sanding, burnishing/polishing & firing before they are finished!)

For my second pot, I chose to make a casserole. They are pretty challenging for me, so I  was pretty excited about this one!

Until I flipped it over for drying & this happened~ Arrrrggh! I've never had a pot crack this humongously before!
But! A perfect opportunity to test out what I like to call "The Apartment Dwellers Clay Recycle System." 

I had another pot to recycle as well. (During the drying stage, it had developed a very small but critical crack near the bottom of the pot.)

After a bit, it looked like this.

In goes the cracked casserole.

I smashed it into pieces & let it soak in water.

Over the next several days, I stirred it & let it soak... pouring off the excess water at the top.

I then transferred it to an old pillow case, and lined a clay box with a trash bag, so that the excess moisture wouldn't make a huge mess all over the floor. After several days of flipping it, it still was not getting dry enough, so I transferred it to another pillow case- this one split open to increase the surface area to air ratio. 

I put it outside in the dry summer air... keeping an eye on it & turning/mixing it as needed. Is this exciting stuff, or what?!

 Soon enough it was back to the right consistency & I wedged it back up as you see above...

Recycled Clay Pot

and gave it new life in the form of a bean pot.
I also made another casserole to replace the one that didn't make it.

Pics before & after the handle is added.

This time it dried fine except for a crack in the lid where the handle was added, but that can be repaired, which I am working on now.

Another bean pot...
(I cut the rim down significantly from what is shown here.)

and another.

This pot I made w/ the help of my instructor last saturday. It's a fluted casserole dish, and I find the form to be quite lovely. I found it so lovely in fact, that I made another one today! Getting over my attachment to every piece, I also recycled another pot today. It was a little on the thick side, & I decided I wasn't really crazy about the shape, sooooo...

After a few hard thunks on concrete, and a little hammering action... back into the bucket it goes.

It'll be interesting to see what this one turns into after the recycle process!