Saturday, August 9, 2008

whadda week!

I admit it was hard at first to know I'd be out of the new studio for the whole week, but once the workshop started, I was both too busy and having too much fun to notice, and by the end of each day I was too tired to care. It was great to finally meet Gay Smith, and the workshop was wonderful. I really like the way she presented and paced everything, and I got so much from the week. We had plenty of demo, plenty of wheel work and plenty of discussion, and nothing seemed rushed or drawn out. I think I got as much out of it from the standpoint of watching how she taught as much as what she taught.

Thursday afternoon chat session, Gay Smith facing camera in yellow

And we fired the soda kiln! Thankfully, Heather was asked to assist with me for the week, and drawing on her experience pre-Odyssey as well as our experience in the couple of firings we've had with this kiln really made a difference, plus I think it was a great benefit to her as she prepares to fire it twice more for her upcoming class. Lots of good information, and best of all, nothing fell in, over, out or apart, and nothing burned down. Some may chuckle at that, others will nod knowingly...still others may well breathe a sign of relief! Overall the firing was pretty darned good for a workshop firing where folks bring in various bisqued clay and try new decorating and glazing techniques.

front stack & back stack

I'll take some pictures of what I fired after I clean it up. I mainly re-tested some brushwork I started in the McKenzie Smith workshop, and added in more pieces with surface texture. One of the glazes we used is a copper green that I love to fire in reduction (go fig), and in the soda it does something very different. And I even got some pieces thrown during the week, revisiting some faceting and playing with fluting, which had always eluded me. Not sure it's meeting me head on yet, but we're in the same area code. So worth taking a week off!

Not all work on the new studio stopped during the week. Annie & Dan installed the storage shelf, and I spent a good part of today cleaning up and reorganizing yet again. But it's a lot more satisfying when things are going where they GO, rather than 'over here till I get a...'. More pictures of all that coming soon too. A couple more shelves and odds & ends, and a table for the slab roller and we're good to go.

Also this week, we had the last class for my beginning wheel class. They were such a great group, and working till the last! I'm proud and thrilled of the progress each of them made, some even with missing one or more classes. I'd look forward to having any of them in a class again, and happily a good many of them are going on to the 7 week session at Odyssey for more classes.

I didn't get a picture of everyone, but the early birds are here, from L-R: Helen, checking out her kiln results; Adam, not at all in a posed picture (but what's up with the hair?!), and Mary, Anika & Nelle, proudly showing off their fruits.

Speaking of the next session, I've decided that as tempting as it is, I'm not taking the classes I had planned to take. I'll be assisting with the Bowl Project class, but not taking any others as a student. And I'm ending the Residency just a couple of weeks early to start making the new studio the main focus. Plus, I've got OrganicFest coming up on September 6 and I need to get ready!

So today it was cleaning and organizing, putting things together and prepping for a day of throwing tomorrow...and cleaning. I started loading the kiln, and I've got just over half of it loaded with more greenware drying. With any luck, this load will catch me up on orders and commissions, then the next load can be for OrganicFest.

I smell the rice cooker finishing up, and Lissa smells it too, so off to kitchen pursuits. peace!

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