Archive for June, 2017

Hospital Cups! 2017
June 4, 2017

In 2006, I, yes, had a “little coma”…for two months. A year later, I was pretty much recovered but it was quite a life informing experience. I’ll spare you the details (I reposted some earlier posts that explain a little if you are interested. Just scroll down after this post.)

This year I’m just going to tell a funny story. So…since my 3 month hospital stay in 2006 I have, every year, made a couple dozen “hospital cups” and given to family and friends who were very helpful to me at that time and I have taken 50 cups to St. Luke’s Hospital as a thank you. Every year.

Last May a lady walked into my booth at the Brookside art fair and said, “you are the one who brings cups for the people at St Luke’s, right?” “Yes, I said with a smile”. “Well..You need to know something!” (fortunately I saw a twinkle in her eye or she would have scared me a little!) “You take the cups to the 4th floor for the therapists and to the 7th floor for the staff there.” “yeah”. “Well, you stayed on the 8th floor, not the 7th. I have been taking your bags of cups up to the 8th floor. Every year. And you need to know this because I am retiring and you need to take your cups to the eighth floor from now on.”

So this very nice…and funny, lady…Susan, instead of contacting me and reporting, simply took care of the cups for me. For years! Just another example of the kindness of those involved in care giving.

To my family and friends, to the staff of St. Luke’s Hospital, thank you from the bottom of my heart. You gave me my life back literally and you recently have given me the best thing of all… cherished moments with my granddaughter, Evelyn, who would not have known me without your care, attention and kindness.


Hospital Cups! 2015
June 4, 2017

Would you believe Year 10? Yes, this is the tenth year I have made Hospital Cups. I wish I could make many more for people who work at St. Luke’s Hospital and my friends and family. Seventy is a lot of cups but I could multiply seventy billion times seventy billion and still not come close to the amount of gratitude I have for those who took care of me during the year of My Little Coma.

To the medical staff; thank you for your dedication to your profession. You are very much appreciated by me and I’m sure many others. You put me back together in 2006 and somehow kept me smiling. Quite a feat!

To my friends and family; I’m certain you know how happy I am to have enjoyed this last ten years with you. Gravy! Icing on the cake!

I hope all of you had a lovely year and am wishing you a very happy New Year.

Scroll on down if you are interested in the details of the making of your cup…
This year, I chose a dark stoneware instead of our usual porcelain. Just one half a pound of clay because when I thought to make thank you gifts in 2006, that was all I could manage…
The first year, it was a big challenge to make all the cups. That September, I was just barely “back on my feet”. Now it is easy to pull up a little cup. And fun to make a bunch more!
Here are some of the cups all dried out and ready for the first firing. Dig the red stripe? 

Loading the kiln…

After the first firing, it was time to glaze. I put a clear glaze inside but before firing, it looks white!

I’m what you call a “clean potter”. No glaze drips or runs for me…

Usually! However, on “glaze night”, although I kept my first few cups clean and tidy, I thought… this is gonna be a long night…I wanna have a little fun. So I kept some little drips at the top and let the glaze sheet down the red stripe. Which kind of cup did you choose? Drips?

Or Runs?

Whichever, I hope you enjoy your Hospital Cup and remember there is someone out there with a lot of gratitude for YOU!

  The cup you chose is the best. Because you are The Best!

Hospital Cups! 2009
June 4, 2017

This is a message to people who work at St. Luke’s Hospital in Kansas City, the Coliseum Hospital in Macon, Georgia and actually anyone who works in the health field anywhere on the planet…really! Thank you for saving my life. St. Luke’s has a “rehab reunion” once a year and unfortunately I was out of town on that October date in 2006. So…I wrote them a letter to be read at the function. One of the things I mentioned (along with thanking them for the “good” drugs) was that I thought of them every day. Now, I want them to know that somehow, in some way, I still do. It might be a memory of John on the seventh floor singing to me as he whisked in to open the blinds, Caroline making me laugh when I really, really needed to, Randy kicking my butt in PT, or whoever that lady was who came in a few times during my last month to give me a hand massage (my only pleasant physical experience for a total of three months). When I simply have a brief thought of gratitude for good health during my day, as we all do, mine is followed by at least a brief thought of gratitude for all those people who took such good care of me and got me back on my feet.

Today, Whitney and I will take the next round of “hospital cups” to St. Luke’s and leave them on the 4th and 7th floors as a tremendously inadequate thank you for “saving my life”.

Here is a picture of the two cups that I saved for myself:

The one on the right was fired in the soda kiln and has a dot of gold luster. In an earlier post, I blogged how they were made.

Hospital Cups! 2010
June 4, 2017

This is the post I published in 2010:

In 2006, I went on a road trip to Florida and…well, I had a little coma. Long story, but when I got back into my studio months later, instead of throwing 50 pound platters on the wheel, I was only able to throw with 1/2 pound of clay. So I sat my little (very little) self down and made 50+ cups to give to some friends of mine. Every year since then, I make 50+ cups again because I will never forget and am forever grateful for the care that I received.

This is one pound of clay…

I wedge the clay then cut it in half…

I make some cups. Then I make some more cups.

I have a plaster cast of a sheet of metal that has a diamond plate design. I pound a thin slab onto it to pick up the impression.

I cut out the diamonds…

and attach them to the cup.

I glaze and fire them. Then I put gold luster on the diamond and fire them again. I give one to…

…Bradley. He accompanied me on my fateful journey and was the first person to save my life.

My brother sat by my side for seven weeks and held my hand when I was in my little coma. My daughter, well…there are not enough words…
These two cups are for Randy and Whitney…

Did you ever die but then think of someone at the last moment and change your mind? This cup is for Shannon…

I also give a cup to Susan and John. Susan gave me a mantra when I was in my little coma…it worked. John works at St. Luke’s and was with me every day. Connie gets a cup for all she did for me and because she represents all of my Red Star friends.

And the rest of the cups…

…they go to St. Luke’s hospital. I start with the lady who has been a greeter there for years. Her station is near the door to the parking garage. My daughter told me once that she found this person to be such a comfort. Everyday when Whitney came to the hospital, first to see if I was alive, later to see if I had made progress, the first thing she received at the door was a smile. Then I take cups to the physical therapy area and to the seventh floor.
Doctors, nurses, therapists, and others were so very kind to me. They saved my life then put me back together. I told them that I would never forget them…and I never will.
I forgot to put a diamond on one cup so I gave it a gold rim instead. Maybe you have this cup.

Hospital Cups! 2009
June 4, 2017

This is the post I published in 2009:

Awhile back I…well, I uh…had a little coma. Months later, back in my studio, it was obvious that I wouldn’t be making fifty pound platters until I got some meat back on my bones. Happily I began to move the only amount of clay that I could… one half pound. I was still in a state of “overwhelmed” by my experience. Part of this was due to the tremendous amount of support I received from the people in my life. It was actually difficult to”get a grip” on the fact that so many people did so much for me. Two things solved the predicament, one being…I sat my little self down and did the one thing I could do… I made cups…dozens and dozens of little one half pound cups. Destined to end up in the hands of nurses, therapists, and doctors at St. Luke’s Hospital, plus a few other folks, these lil’ cups helped express a huge gratitude for being alive.

The next year, I took a bit of time from my summer schedule (which included 25 pound platters…hey, I’m gettin’ there) and did a repeat.

This year I changed up the form and am making a shorter, wider cup. They are porcelain and very, very thin.

These are the kinds of tools I mostly use to throw. Half of a sponge (as a teacher I highly recommend taking the scissors to those sponges). The wee Mud Tool rib…mmmmsoft. The infamous Lil’ Chizler from Bracker’s. The omnipresent half pound of clay. I don’t know why the needle tool is there…I don’t use it for these cups. Hanging up to the left, you can see the green handle of my “Dirty Girl” wire cutoff tool and the top of my torch. Aw, the torch…yes. Love fire.

I weigh out 2 pounds of clay, wedge then divide into 1/2 pound lumps, then smack them into a wee ball. See that yellow patch on the left side of my scale? That’s my Osceola Cheese Factory refrigerator magnet. A must stop on your way to the Ozarks. Got cheese? My scale, sadly does not double as a tiny refrigerator. That would be my dream studio equipment, a Scale/Frig that would keep my chocolate cool. I shall move the magnet to that green circle thing on the wall so that it can be in all my pictures!

The small ball of clay is centered.

There are many ways to open a centered ball of clay. I tend to use the sponge in my right hand to push down on my left thumb.

pull up
The wall is pulled up.

pull up 2
Up again and…

pull up 3
yet again.

After addressing the cup with the Mud rib, I torch the top 1/2 inch. Careful…torching porcelain is extra tricky! I do this so that I can…

Grab the top, push down and turn the wheel just a bit to alter. Here is a good time to mention the “Joy of the Kickwheel”. A motorized Lockerbie kickwheel…the wheel of choice among fine potters everywhere. We should start a club…(they know what I am talking about).

hospital cups
Here is a pile just out of the bisque kiln. Time to glaze and wad for the soda. Hope you enjoyed. I’ll add on a couple of more photos as they get through the process…

wadded cups
Here are a few cups with the liner glaze in and little wads glued on…ready to go into the soda kiln. Wads are made of materials that don’t melt…keeps the cup up off the shelf so that when the soda solution is sprayed into the kiln, the cups won’t fuse to the shelves.

Fired Hosp. Cups
The first batch was fired in the soda kiln. I put in several different liners and left the outsides bare porcelain. The grey color on the outside is from the soda solution that is sprayed in the kiln, the spots of blue are from the copper that is present in the glazes on other pots in the kiln. Back to work…I want to have them all finished in October!