This week

My regular postings have lagged, yes I know, busy days are whizzing by and the hours within them seem like mere minutes. I tell myself I will write and post in the evening, but by then I’m done and in bed by nine. Currently I’m nursing a knee injury that I hope won’t incapacitate me for too long, but it slowed me down enough to allow me to get my WP post done because I have to sit! Previous to injury I have been getting some work done on the wheel, but I’ve done no writing on any of my stories. Finding that quiet, reflective time has been elusive to me lately but I am consciously moving to reinstate a set block of time each morning for planting myself at my desk and committing three hours to the page as I was doing not so long ago. Songwriting I suppose has been filling the “writing” quotient the last three months, taking the place of my other writing, but even songwriting has dropped out over the last three weeks; again it’s finding that reflective stretch of time. I do however have a song I’ve started working on, began writing two days ago and expect to post on Sunday. (Hmmm, maybe knee nursing is just the thing, I can’t do anything else right now but sit and write, play guitar!)

Last week in the studio I decided to make some large bowls. I had previously made some small bowls; I hadn’t gotten my new wheel or throwing bats yet, and I had some challenges removing my little bowls from the wheel head, but still managed to without causing much damage. Now that I have my new wheel, and removable bats, I knew the first thing I wanted to try out was to see if I could make a larger bowl since I now wouldn’t have to sweat over trying to slide the finished piece off the wheel head, or have to leave the bowl on the wheel to set up until the following day before removing it, tying up my wheel for hours.

So I weighed out and wedged nine balls of clay ( I have 9 Bats) at three pounds each. I would test myself to see if I could actually make something larger than a mug or cereal bowl. I had never thrown anything on the wheel over one pound, and if I may indulge for a brief second, I am happy to say each large bowl came out rather good- well, a true professional potter could likely squeeze out even bigger bowls with three pounds of clay, but mine came out well proportioned, not too thick, not too thin. Usually in a throwing session I’ll have a couple of pieces that go awry and need to be tossed back out on the board. This session however, all nine bowls were brought straight to satisfying completion. I popped out the bat and bowl off the wheel head, set them aside on the table overnight and the following afternoon removed them from their bats easily without warping the bowls. So, I was kinda thrilled. And I am loving my new wheel.

Fresh big bowls still attached to their bats, soon they’ll be removed and bottoms trimmed. I placed my little one pound bowls beside my three pound bowls for comparison.

Next I thought I’d try marbling my red, and buff white clay after watching a youtube video on it. I combined the two clay bodies and wedged out six, one pound balls, and started throwing. Very soon I was having difficulties. I had been careful when wedging the clay because I was attempting to not over blend the clay too much and lose the distinct white/red marble, but it meant I still had air bubbles in my clay, so after I scraped the two failed pieces off the wheel (see, I told you!) and tossed them back on the table I re-wedged the remaining four balls, hoping there will still be enough marbling running through. Not the case. The clay did become more on the homogeneous end of the marbling spectrum after more wedging, and the ones that I scraped off the wheel, after re wedging them they was no marbling at all in them, just a pale shade of red by the time they became mugs. But there was some marbling clearly coming through on two of the mugs which made me happy.

Some marbling came through

The shape and size of the mugs came out nicely I think; I just finished putting the handles on a couple of days ago. I have been pulling handles for all the mugs I’ve been making, but this time I rolled out a slab of buff clay and cut strips for handles. Next step is bisque fire and glaze and I’m debating if I should use underglaze again because I’m concerned as to how they may turn out due to the issues I’ve been having with the final clear glaze with my previous pieces. I do have a new clear glaze to try out that comes premixed, which should eliminate any clouding, or opaqueness problems I’ve been having; but, I’m still hesitant to commit this last body of work to a possibility of it failing again, so maybe I’ll just do some test tiles instead! I do have “regular” glazes I could use too, which are predictable in their outcome, more or less.

Handles on

So, with a hobble and a hitch I’ll see about finishing that song next. Cheers to all ~

Long Beach, Tofino 2017, iphone6

How to time manage a creative life

I’m not a great candidate for strict routine or habits. Which could be a character deficit when faced with the many things I want to accomplish each week. I prefer to follow “leanings.” Left to my own devices and left alone in general, I usually allow an activity or project to find me. Like, when I had accidentally discovered a fascinating effect on my laptop Photo Booth app one night. (while alone, so left to my own devices as I said). I had stumbled upon an exciting photography tool that could be so creatively employed for artistic expression, was so excited by it and engaged this app so rigorously I wore it out. It no longer does what it was doing before. I may have to buy a new laptop. I did gather a sizeable portfolio to work with though, but that app is toast.

I have much that bids for my attention. Painting, drawing, making something in clay, writing, practicing music, editing photographs, practicing Spanish, yoga, reading, or making/baking food to contribute to my sorely neglected food blog. And I’m married. And he is also retired, and now home, all. the. time. I need to acknowledge my spouse every so often, and feed him. (this isn’t a feminist issue, I’m a better cook, although he makes a fantastic curry chicken.) I can’t just bury myself away in my rainbow room of creative projects and ignore him hours and hours at a time.

Then there’s the house. This morning I was making a batch of apple chutney, and looking up into the stove’s hood vent, and noticing the thin layer of grease inside the hood, thus discovered where all the fruit flies that came in with my backyard grapes disappeared to. None fell into the chutney in case you’re wondering.

There is work to do in the yard like rebuilding that dilapidated back garden gate, and gathering material for making raised vegetable beds, cleaning and organizing the shed, taking stuff to the recycling centre. All the domestic stuff that, you know, those without hired housekeepers or hired gardeners have to attend. There are the sojourns by boat to town to shop for groceries.

The drama.

By rights any clear thinking organized person would in fact set up a type of schedule; to ensure especially that time is devoted to creative work. To prioritize. And I have tried that, starting with the mundane: a morning work out. I get as far as every morning I will rise and do my 25 minute weight work out before breakfast. And I will, for a couple of weeks. I acknowledge to myself how good I feel doing this, how energized my body feels and prepares me for the day. Then, one morning I’ll get up and think that I don’t particularly like changing my clothes twice in the morning.

Because, of course, I wear “work out” clothes to work out in, then after a shower, I have to dress all over again. Some mornings I wake up and think, I just want to get dressed in the clothes I’m going to wear for the day and go downstairs and start my day with a project, right off. No sweating first thing in the  morning. But the fact remains that I need the work-out and I do feel so much better physically in doing it. Starting my day with the work-out I feel helps me begin my day with some vigour at least. I know, the stupid preoccupations of a retired person. And it’s not like I don’t have time to change my clothes twice in the morning.

Then I’m stymied by wondering if I should work outside first, while there is daylight, then spend afternoons and evenings with inside projects. But, by the afternoon and working outside I am too physically tired to think in creative terms-like ok, now I’ll go downstairs to my studio and work up a painting, or get on the wheel and throw a mug. Before having to prep and cook dinner. Ugh, I know this  is such self indulgent mental pre-school!

I think now that I have that freedom to do the work I want to do, rather than the stuff I have to do that once required a schedule, ie: going to my job in town each morning, gives the illusion I no longer need to follow a schedule. But it’s increasingly apparent I do still need to have something, the very least a quasi-firm guideline, some form of time management.

 

 

 

A Little Space

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I finally tackled the upstairs room, pulled away the things that needed to go, rearranged a desk, a set of drawers for printing paper, envelopes and pens etc.,a bookcase and brought that big ol rubber plant, that I was really wanting to move somewhere else like out to the road to go to somebody else’s house, from downstairs to tuck into the corner upstairs by the window.

I have the challenge of making everything fit and be aesthetically pleasing because I am dealing with an A-Frame room, in other words nearly 4 feet of floor space along the wall on both sides of the room is useless for bookcases and floor lamps, cramping an already small space as it is! I also have no way to hang any pictures or cork board, so I’ll need to be creative in ways to do it. De-cluttering was key, having only essentials and it’s made a cozy nook and it works. The rubber plant did the trick in perfectly occupying a slopping corner and giving the space a warmer feel.

Now I have a quiet removed area to write, read, practice my guitar and look out the large window to the sea!

Now what I need is to create a studio space somewhere on my property. That may pose a greater challenge.