Saturday, February 20, 2010

Feeling the Heat

Anchorage is having unseasonable warm weather, in the 40’s! Normally we’re locked in a deep freeze –but not this year. Unfortunately with the warm temps and rain creates a higher risk for avalanches. Daddy-O just called from Girdwood and said that Max's Mountain had slid all the way to the top of the Tanaka lift(!) he said it looks like one big giant brown skid! In all our years in Gird we've never seen Max's slide to the Tanaka run. Normally the mountain crews blast the ridges with the cannons to purposely create small slides before the lifts open but this slide was all due to Mother Nature. With the daylight finally gaining time and the crazy, spring-like weather, my industriousness has been at an all-time high. Good thing too, there are several deadlines approaching and a lot of art making getting done. With each success in clay I find that my tempo increases –a bit too much. I get so happy with a clay success I really crank up my metronome.

I’m finding that working in clay takes patience and my impatience and excited fervor need to be tempered IF I want positive results. The mantra I repeat to myself is “you can’t rush clay, you can’t rush clay,

and DON’T rush clay, DON’T rush clay.” One of the main reasons my metronome is peaked is that my kiln fired fine at cone 6. I know I shouldn’t be so surprised, but I’m happy I tested it before buying a pallet load of higher firing clay. I even found some ^6 cones to put in with the test Pods and it appears that the kiln reached temperature. I only had ^6 so I couldn’t add the traditional range of higher and lower cones to the ^6 cones. Everyone that

has been encouraging me to fire at higher temps was absolutely right –I LOVE the feel of the clay fired at the higher temperature. The texture and sound of the Pods at ^6 is completely different than the trays that were fired at ^04, even though it was the same clay and well within the recommended firing ranges. With the successful bisque firing at ^6, I was ready to test the buckets of mystery glazes that are supposedly also ^6. I had 6 test Pod sculptures and tried two different glazes, the Galaxy (a blueish gray green) and Antique Iron (for some reason I thought this would be blackish like iron but it fired rust colored -duh, ANTIQUE iron would be rusty, what kind of metal chick am I anyway?!). The Galaxy was just as I had hoped and the Antique Iron, though a nice color would not be a top pick. I purposely rubbed off the glaze along the seam of the Pods so I cold still see and feel the clay. Fresh from the kiln, the warm Pods felt so wonderful in my hands! I did lose two of the six Pods in the glaze firing though. One small Galaxy glaze fired Pod appeared to have exploded(?) because there were shards on the shelves and one of the small Antique Iron Pods appears to have tipped over, maybe during the explosion, and broke a leaf tip off. I’m so happy with the results of the Galaxy glaze that the broken Pods didn’t bum me out too much. It was more of a shock to see the bits and pieces in the kiln. At first I wasn’t even sure what they were because I haven’t had an explosion in a while. I must be making progress!

Adding to my clay excitement the clear glaze load of tiles and trays fired beautifully at ^05. I wanted to repeat some of my favorite sgraffito designs that were on the first batch of trays that didn’t turn out. I liked how the Coloramics NM-450 Clear Soft Matte, made by Mayco applied with only two coats. The load was a bit more shiny than I like, but hey, at least it was uniform and was successful! I bought plate hooks to secure the tiles/trays so they can be hung on the wall. With some new clay Pods drying on the shelves now, I need to switch gears and tend to some upcoming deadlines. The Rasmuson Foundation Individual Artist Awards grants deadline is March 1. I’m applying for an Individual Project Award grant to hopefully help fund some future clay work and a visit to North Carolina for the “Clay and Blogs; Telling a Story” of which I’ve been invited to participate in. Here is a link to Mered

ith Heywood’s Blog, Whynot Pottery, she is the curator of the Show. I've got my work cut out to submit 3 incredible pieces by October - I'm practicing though!! Scroll down her Blog and to the right is a link to all of the artists and their Blogs that are in the Show. The Mt. View 1% for Art Outdoor Sculpture project process has also started. On Thursday I met with SteelFab to outline the fabrication specs for my sculpture “Bicycle Bloom,” that was selected and we saw the project site and are working on the fabrication details. We’ve got a meeting with the engineer on Monday and the foundations will be

ready to be poured as soon as the building season allows. With the way the weather is might be much sooner than later. PLUS, I just saw that the Anchorage Museum of History and Art All Alaska Juried Biennial Art Exhibition XXXIII deadline for submissions is March 2! I have received several solicitations to donate for the upcoming annual Museum Gala, but did not receive a prospectus in the mail for the All Alaska Juried Show… For all my Alaska artist friends, here is a link to the prospectus. Hurry, deadline for digital submissions of works for the All Alaska XXIII Show is a week from Tuesday!


cookingwithgas said...

oh how pretty are all those pods and tiles!
You are doing a great job and we will be happy to have anyone of them for the show- practice! By george I think you got it.
We are going to be 60 tomorrow!
So happy to have some sun and warm.

cindy shake said...

Hi Meredith! I'm logging all kinds of inspirations in my mini-journals for your upcoming Show... with all of the TALENTED potters you have included, the pressure is on. Thank goodness I can have a few more months of tests, practices and trial and error with the clay :o) I'm pretty stoked to be included!!!

Linda Starr said...

congrats on your cone 6 firings, your pods look great and are much bigger than I realized in the previous posts, nice to see them warming your hands.

Gary's third pottery blog said...


Anonymous said...

the raven's are looking great. i hate hearing the stories of unseasonably warm weather tho. hope it gets back to normal. we're in the same show! are you making the trip down from the northcountry?

cindy shake said...

The Pods did feel wonderful in my hands Linda! The one in my hand was one of the smaller ones. Yeah, Gary, 40's! a bit weird. Thanks, Jim. I think this has been a weird weather season for the whole Country. Poor Polar Bears! Yes, I'm trying to put a trip together for the Show!!! It will be my first time to NC -would be a dream to see all of the Potters and their studios in the original Clay Country :o)

T.Gray said...

Cindy, I have some pretty good cone 6 recipes on the link above. At least they look good on fairly dark clays, not sure about white clays.