Tuesday, April 22, 2014

A thoroughly enjoyable Easter

This is the third Easter since I moved into my own home. Yet again, the weeks fell in such a way that the kids were not here for the holiday. This seems to happen too often for the odds. In the past I have not anticipated any upset, but then found myself struggling - missing them very much indeed.

So I was a little nervous facing the 4 days of Easter. I needn't have been as I have had a simply lovely weekend.

Friday I was expecting guests in the evening but felt quite ill in the morning so it started very slowly while I waited to feel better. Eventually I just got up and got stuck into cleaning. Bathrooms, kids bedrooms, tidying up all my pottery bits. But I will be honest - I can't for the life of me remember what I did that used up all that time!

Let me think.......hmmm.... swept the veranda...ah.. who know?

The stitching ladies came after tea and the rest of my day was woven with Mark's.

Saturday was a lot more fun though. As soon as Mark fell asleep (which he did quite early as the poor lamb has had a very horrible cold) I leapt out of bed, and packed up my pottery bits, sorted - as in 'fed' - all the beasts (one dog, 6 canaries) and headed over to Watson.

I arrived to find the glazing shed locked. I trotted back to the gallery and asked the lady working there if she would be able to unlock it. She was a mixture of dubious and friendly but fortunately decided to act in my favour when I let her know I had done the safety course and had emailed the office but got no reply when I asked if the facilities would be available. She didn't like to send me all the way home (really not so far in my terms).

Poh with a missing hand

So once in the shed I got very happy. I lined up all my friends and tried to pick colours to finish them. Sometimes I stood and stared at them. Sometimes I stood and stared at all the sample colours. Thinking and imagining.

Chris came through, busy with his own work, and commented that it was good to see I was using my work health and safety lesson. He was lured closer. I suspect because I was standing still pondering Poh. What to do with him.

Chris offered the advice that I would probably do best if I sprayed him given the issues I had with uneven glaze application. I am too much of a  beginner. I have hardly glazed anything let alone sprayed anything. However he has offered to give me some tips on spraying when he has time. For a while I considered leaving Poh until I had more experience but finally decided to go ahead and finish him ala beginner. I may take Chris up on his kind offer when I build Better Poh.

I settled in an had a lot of fun. A load of little cups I filled with glaze, a string of creatures and I painted and fiddled for three hours. I chatted with Maryke who was wet-vaccing the classroom. I explain to the regulars that I am a boots and all beginner.
At the end of three hours I had a bunch of friends ready for firing.
Looking at the photo I can see things that bother me. The girls on the far right are white with glaze. The garden sprite is not white. They should be the same. If one is right another must therefore be wrong....eeek?

After all this fun, I headed to Fyshwick to buy Bill's birthday present. And some clothes from my favourite store (50% off) and new sheets and doona cover to celebrate Mark's imminent arrival.

What an excellent day????

Then Sunday. More fun! But I already wrote about that :)

 Then Monday!
I had a few things I wanted to do before I was going to allow myself fun. First I wanted to get John a desk so I measured the space in his bedroom. Not much space - but enough.
Then off to Officeworks. Surprisingly few desks to choose from. But I found one and carried it myself onto a trolley and finally into my car. Good thing I don't see myself as a wilting princess because there were no handsome princes offering to help carry it.

Then to Vinnies where I dropped off a large bag of old fat clothes.

Then to Gungahlin. A momentary break in the fun while I tried on trousers. 

I hate trouser shopping.
I am not a good shape. When I wear typical pants they fit my stomach and leave a big gap at the back. The more comfortable the fit over my thighs, the bigger the gape at the back. 
Anyway, no need for sadness. The trousers were fitting and in fact I was down a size and found some 'short' ones (sigh again) so no hemming required.

Then into BigW to buy some odds and sods that had been plaguing me to be purchased even though they don't bring the adrenalin rush of a good fun spend. (Bird seed, light bulbs, stapler, pens, plastic box for pottering tools etc.)

And finally home to play with the pots I made on Sunday. The job this time was to carve the bottoms. This is a skill I didn't know I needed when I began pottery. It is a little tricky, made harder because I think my pots were just a little too dry. I killed one pot by carving a hole in it, carved another until it was a lovely round thing with no feet at all. And two successes. Given that I started with 6 balls of clay the success rate was low but enjoyment was high.

The pot that ended up with no foot is the one that is exciting me most. I have a wonderful plan for it!

This blog is too long so now I end it. I end it with a Mark reference because it is 2 days and 22 hours and 38 minutes until he gets here so it is no small wonder I am so happy!!!!

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Easter Sunday Play

awwwwwww If only the world needed a bowl exactly like this...
Isn't it special?
This kids are at their father's. I have been sick for days. Mark's asleep and I have an Easter Sunday to myself.
Unpack the dishwasher
Pick up dog poop

Then pottery time!
Initially I thought I was going to be too sick to play but in the end decided that playing sick is better than sorry-for-myself sick .. so I played!

How to make a pot:

  1. Knead the clay for 5 minutes. Much easier done in small pieces as kneading a big lump takes a lot of strength
  2. Centre the clay on the wheel. Easier said than done and requires a fair piece of exertion. Wedging my elbow into my side, I swap between different centering techniques until I have it in the middle.  I think my small hands make this a little harder.
  3. Opening the pot out from the disc is the hardest part for me as I almost always end up off centre. All you are supposed to do is put your fingers into the middle, press down at an angle and the pot is supposed to just open up as you move to the edge....Psshhht 
  4. Then pull the walls up. This bit takes skill to control the outcome, however I find a random result relatively easy to pull off - it's just getting that hole in the middle to begin with that is sucky. By random I mean: don't ask for a pot, mug, bowl or plate - it will be one of them but we don't know which when we begin!
I started with 6 balls of clay. I ended with 1 good bowl + 1 OK bowl + 2 not so ok bowls and a large mess of wet clay that I will recycle.

Wet clay - was once pots

And I am so reckless, I gouged holes into two of the not so ok bowls while working on the others. I have patted clay over the dents and will see if they survive.

The winning bowl in place, one ok bowl and one not so ok bowl on the shelf. Both with gouges.

Two bowls are really not going to be good for anything, but I also need to practice turning the bottoms.

As a new potter, I had no idea that turning the base was an art in itself. It turns something clunky and ugly into something lovely.... if you know how to that is!

I also need practice with the glazing process so these poor ugly bowls will go through the whole process, even if their looks wouldn't recommend them.

So much fun I almost didn't count the 25 minutes it took to mop up all this mud!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Not feeling well but feeling happy

This year has been a year when I really haven't been 'well'. Chronic issue that had been rumbling along for 20+ years. I thought I would finally 'do' something about it and in fact it has now become so much worse. I hate to be thought of as a hypochondriac. Having something wrong for weeks on end doesn't sit well as I know the world's interest, patience and sympathy for ongoing ailments is close to zero.

Despite that I feel happy.

Mark is nearly here and you can see the counter beside the post saying how many days and hours. I can't say what a relief it was to hear his visa had been granted. Inside my head, crazy had been growing. I felt like it was taking over again just as it had at the end of my marriage.

I do think I am not quite right in that department. I sit too precariously on the edge of tears, anger and laughter. The persecution complex is there too. I love people - so when someone doesn't enjoy and respond to my personality assault things get dark. In a social situation it is easier as I can retreat. In a work context it is much harder. I guess I try very hard to make people like me to make working together a success. And when they refuse to behave there is no where to go but take it personally.

I should simply stop trying to operate this way.

You'd think knowing this about yourself would make it go away but it doesn't seem to.

The reason I am writing what seems to be a sad story is because at the moment I am happy and being happy gives me clarity and vision. So I am writing it down now so that when the cloud descends once more, I have left a message to myself to try and steady the boat!

By the way - the pottery is also making me very happy.
It fills my head with light. It pushes into the gloomy corners with colours and shapes that I can't wait to transform into things. (This morning I got excited as I drove into work thinking about buying cone shaped Styrofoam to use as a template for serving plate feet....)(and ended up at home sans foam when the illness drove me away from work)

People often think I am a pessimist. I don't think I am. I have made so many things over the years full of whimsy and expressing my joy in creating. I think they are evidence that despite the imbalance I mentioned above, I am not a pessimist at all :)

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

It occurred to me....

that the modelling I am doing now is more successful than I expected given that I haven't played with clay since I was a kid.
Then I remembered all the 3-D modelling I did in SecondLife. If I can fashion a cat with tentacles from prims, it is no biggee to make a cat in a kimono... is it?
Cats, foxes, sheep and space buggies....