Archive for January, 2010

What Is A Studio Manager?
January 24, 2010

I have said many times that being the studio manager at Red Star Studios means that, somehow, I have “managed” to find myself surrounded by wonderful people. Here is an example…

Last week during my Wednesday Advanced Class, I lamented on the price of yellow peppers. (our conversations revolve around ceramics and food, perhaps equally) The next morning, Carolyn walks into my studio with this shiny yellow pepper. Later that day…

Maria came through with another. I have been in “yellow pepper heaven” this week!

OK…I am going to share this…
I do not recommend this because I have a healthy respect for the combination of water and electricity…
But, here goes…

I have an aquarium heater in my throwing bucket to keep the water warm.
And yes, I am a wimp.

“In The Studio” or “the aftermath of Christmas: the demise of Santa”
January 23, 2010

It’s glaze testing time!

I am very protective of the container I use on my beam balance…if I lose it. I’ll have to eat a tub of Cool Whip. Perhaps quickly. See that metal spatula? If you ever see one, BUY IT! It is perfect for scooping out small gram measurements for tests. This one came from a chemistry lab and I have not been able to find more. I actually want to have a dozen or more to give to our resident artists over the coming years.

I use a little cup screen purchased from Bracker’s Good Earth Clay. It is a time saver.

Here is the first round of test glaze mixing. My buddy, Andy Rogers is sending me some more recipes…glazes that produce crystals!

Taking a moment to open up a holiday gift. Chocolate Santa…mmmmm.

I have to fill up the kiln, Julie, with pots to test these glazes. So…

This is the style of vase I am working on currently.

Bird’s eye view.

Closer up so you can see the handle and the inside bottom. I did not write on this one! I think it wants to have a celadon applied. A light green one.


Here is a duo waiting for procelain slip and narrative carving…I have to write on something!

I’m using four different clay bodies right now. That’s silly. Here is B-Mix from Laguna and Phoenix from Highwater.

This is a red cone 6 body made by Flint Hills. I am also using the porcelain, Frost.

Chomp, chomp!

I am invited to have work in the La Mesa place setting show. Sponsored by Santa Fe Clay, it will be at NCECA. Pretend these are glazed and look for them in Philly in March:

Chomp, chomp,chomp…goodbye Santa! (Thanks, Kanada) Now where’s that Easter bunny!

Before I go home…gotta get those chargers spinning so I can trim them tomorrow…

Too Tired For Anything ‘Cept a Short Post…
January 22, 2010

I came home tonight with a camera full of pictures of my studio activity and toooo tired to post. I did get the images sized and ready to go, so look for it tomorrow. Until then, check this out…

I only had the energy to fix a salad, the activity of which was brightened by my use of “The Best Oil and Vinegar Cruet in the World”. Given to me by Bede Clark, this lil’ guy does not dribble, does not put out a perfect small stream…nope. Better. Somehow, it manages to seemingly “pump” out a quick succession of exceptional small droplets. Perfect for my mixture of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Thanks, Bede, it is a delight!

January 17, 2010

My pitcher entry was accepted into the show!
February 6 through March 6
Clay Art Center
40 Beech Street
Port Chester, New York

Here it is again. (I didn’t drop it before I got it shipped.)

January 11, 2010

How many layers does it take to get a potter to work in her studio?
One, twooo, three. Four, fivvve. Six! (You don’t get to see the pink layer)

In The Studio…
January 9, 2010

A serial killer?? Gasp!
Nope…it’s just me coming in from the cold. A cold day in the studio, 50 degrees, is a good time to test glazes instead of throwing pots.

Getting the test tiles ready. Sometimes I carve them like my pots to see how the glazes look on the textured surface.

Made sure to mark the edge of the tile with a “6”. See it? I’ll be testing cone 6 glazes and don’t want to get the tiles mixed up with my cone 10 tiles.

Made a bucket of porcelain tiles, too. These aren’t carved but I used the mishima (how is that word spelled??!) technique for transparent glazes.

This is the recipe. It comes highly recommended by my clay compadres, Brock and Kalika. He gave me the recipe, I sent it along to her. Now it’s my turn. It is a clear, gloss. I’ll try to adjust it to an opaque satin matt with options of subtle colors. Am also interested in getting a little micro crystal action going. Hey! anybody out there have a glaze like that already? Save me some work here!

Ready set go. (I think it’s time to invest in a digital scale. Andrewwwww??)

It would take tooo long to fill up the kiln with little test tiles, so I am making some cups.

And…I’ll be making some vases. Here’s how that goes.

First I throw a cylinder with a thicker than usual bottom. I cut the wall off and set the cylinder aside, carefully shaping it into an oval. The bottom remains on the wheel.

The wall has a split rim and I push down and in on each end to make a good place for a handle…or a wad of chewing gum. Whatever.

When I ovaled out the cylinder, it became longer than the bottom is wide, of course. Since I left the bottom extra thick, I could take it off the wheel head and stretch it out.

I attached the wall to the slab. I’ll use a sureform tool to take away the excess at the bottom later. And I added a couple of handles…or is that chewing gum? This is when I tuck it in the damp box for a good night’s sleep.

The next day I take care of that excess at the bottom edge and use slips and carve the surface.

It’s usually a good idea to dry work upside down. There are some little tricks to accommodate thin rims and/or handles. After the bisque, I’ll apply a shino to the vase and the cups. Then more, more, more to get the kiln filled up for the glaze tests!

Where’s Springtime?
January 7, 2010

My front porch.

Ryan’s truck across the street.

I think this means that springtime is…

…a little to our left.

Where’s My Truck?
January 6, 2010

People have been asking me how my truck (Susie Q) goes in the snow. My answer is “She does not go in the snow!”
Fact is, she could go quite well in the snow with her big, luggy, farm tires. But I plan never to put her on a snowy, salty, or even a wet road. Of course the next question is “Where is she? Where is your truck?”

This is my back yard.

Note the absence of a garage. Well there is, sorta…I keep my scooter in the shed.

My answer to the question above: “She is safely tucked…in…a…cave” A cave?
Yes…take a little ride with me in my green Escort.

This is Madison Avenue, my street.

Now we are going south on Summit. Past the Bakery. Fred is in there right now. (I was the first Bread Lady. Did you know that?)

This is Jane and Randy’s house at 20th and Summit. It is for sale. You should buy it.
Jane makes pots. Randy doesn’t. But he glazes hers!

West on the Boulevard, past Red Star Studio’s favorite Mexican restaurant. The little business to the left, with the red front? That is my barber’s shop. Paul.

Boulevard Brewing.

Take a left at the DAV. This is a good place to shop. I bought a chair there and my daughter, Whitney and I duct taped it!
You can do this, too. But my daughter won’t help you.

Take the next left and Look! The cave!

Going down!

I’m good. I don’t think I have been over height, any time, for any reason.

Owned and operated by Dean Realty Co. Developers, this cave offers cozy storage, office, and warehouse spaces. And!

A parking spot for Susie Q. There’s my truck!

When I signed on with Dean Realty, I received a handwritten thank you note from the owner! When does that happen??

I also received a holiday greeting picturing the Dean “family”.

Look! They all signed it and a coffee shop gift card was tucked inside!

When does that happen! You can learn more about “Kansas City’s Commercial Real Estate Resource”

A New Resolution And… A Warning
January 5, 2010

Friends, I hope you find the following correspondence helpful. It was sent to me by my good friend Mike Jabbur. Following is a gentle warning from yours truly. Namaste


I am passing this on to you because it definitely works and we
could all use a little more calmness in our lives. By following simple
advice heard on the Oprah show, you too can find inner peace.
Dr. Oz proclaimed, ‘The way to achieve inner peace is to finish
all the things you have started and have never finished.’

So, I looked around my house to see all the things I started and
hadn’t finished, and before leaving the house this morning, I
finished off a bottle of White Zinfandel, a bottle of Tequila, a package
of Oreos, the remainder of my old Prozac prescription, the rest of
the cheesecake, some Doritos, and a box of chocolates. You have no
idea how freaking good I feel right now.

Pass this on if you know anyone you think might be in need of
inner peace.

My response…

In the spirit of calmness described above, I attempted to achieve that sense of inner peace found by finishing things that I have started. This exercise began well…first, I finished a bar of 77% dark chocolate. “Chocolove”, to be precise. Immediately a feeling of calm permeated my being. So I moved on. I decided to finish a bag of kettle chips but half way through realized that I was about to run out of french onion dip. I became anxious. To restore my beginning level of inner peace, I reached for my favorite drink. Those who know me know that I do not drink much or often. When I do, my drink of choice is triple sec and vodka. Touch of lime. A big girl’s drink. Well, after two, it dawned on me that while the bottle of triple sec was emptied, the vodka remained 2 and 3/8 inches full. I measured.

I am so thankful for the grocery store that is now in downtown Kansas City. I envision a life of constant “runs” to the store. First for triple sec and french onion dip then, of course, for vodka and kettle chips. Always the same two trips, week after week. Always on a quest achieve the balance, that elusive inner peace. I am only hoping that this ritual, in itself…triple sec/dip, vodka/chips week after week, trip upon trip, will establish a seductive mantra that will lull me into an inner peace that is something close to actually finishing a chocolate bar.

Don’t Try This At Home
January 4, 2010

I learned something today! When you are working in your studio and it is cold…very cold…as in 55 degrees and you have had your hands in water and have been standing on cold concrete and have been working with very cold, seemingly frozen clay for hours, never, ever point your heat gun at yourself in order to enjoy a brief moment of warmth. You will scorch your wool sweater.