Archive for January, 2019

Hospital Cups 2019
January 9, 2019

It is Hospital Cup time!

Time to take a moment to thank everyone who helped me out during a challenging time that began on March 15, 2006. To everyone who works at St. Luke’s hospital, thank you…I am so grateful to you for doing the difficult work that you do day in and day out. I still think of you often and hope that each of you enjoys this coming year to the fullest.

To my friends and family…continued gratitude for your help and your presence. I am so very lucky to have you and be able to enjoy our many good times.

This time the cups are either a matte or a glossy white exterior and have a touch of blue. I will be delivering them to friends, family, and to the 4th and 8th floors of St. Luke’s Hospital soon!


I have moved up a couple of the Hospital Cups posts from the past. Just scroll down if you would like to see how I go about making them.

Thank you again and again. I have given you just a cup. You have given me this: time with lovely granddaughters…

Hospital Cups 2009
January 2, 2019

In 2006, I went on a road trip and…well, I had a little coma. Bradley was on the trip with me and bore the initial traumadrama. My family and friends traveled to be with me in Georgia. My brother sat at my bedside for seven weeks. My daughter was in her last year of college, traveled back and forth…and still got straight A’s. I think she was in a “walking coma” of sorts at that time. My friend, Shannon, brought me “back from the dead” literally and Susan gave me a mantra that kept me alive. Larry got a plane, pilot and nurses to get me back to K.C. John is an interpreter at St. Luke’s and checked on me every day. Connie rallied my potter friends and sold my entire stock of work which went a long way in paying my bills. I would not be here without them, I’m sure. Many other friends and family members helped take very good care of me that year. It is too long of a story to tell but I consider myself very lucky to have these people in my life.

I am especially grateful to the staff of St. Luke’s Hospital. They saved my life and put me back together. A nurse named John sang to me every morning and a nurse named Caroline kept me laughing throughout the day. The therapists got me back on my feet and everyone from the volunteers to the doctors were so very kind. Three months later, I was able to walk out and go home. I felt genuinely cared for when I was there.

When I finally got back into my studio, 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 60 cups. Every year since then, I make 60 cups again because I am forever grateful for the care that I received. I give “hospital cups” to the ones mentioned above. Then I take cups to St. Luke’s Hospital. I leave 25 on the 7th floor where I stayed and I take 25 to the rehab area. I told these people when I left that I would never forget them and I never will.

Last month I sat my little self back down and made these cups…

Then I made more! …

A small cup and a big thank you to my family, friends, and the staff of St Luke’s!

Hospital Cups! Huh?
January 2, 2019

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!

Hospital Cups 2015
January 2, 2019

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!