Monday, January 28, 2013

Gazed and bread bowl

Bad blogger! Just a week after posting about my efforts to go back to once a week I skip a week. LAME. No excuses, just the promise of two posts this week to make up for it. The studio has been in hyper clean (do not make messy again after deep cleanse that took 2 weeks) mode. Meaning I had (until this week) essentialy sequestered myself to glazing only. I did this mostly to fight of the seemingly inebitable return of floors with drips or splashes of slip, pockets of dust, and the more than occaisional misplaced tool. However I did manage to finish glazing the big vase forms I have been working on for the past several weeks. The'll go in the kiln sometime this week. Also managed to take a photo of my bread bowl. mixing bowls in Japan always leave my big baking recipeis overly full in my mixing bowls and generally feeling confined by the lack of space to stretch, so I made my own big bowl. The glaze didn't turn out astonishing, but I don't need it to be. This bowl was made to use, to have flour, egg, and all things baked good mixed within it. I can't wait to test it out, and baking gives my currently overly cold house both a delicious smell and pleasant warmth.

Enjoy the photos!
We'll see you later this week with a small change of pace perhaps.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Wrapping up and what to say.

Tonight I'm baking chocolate chip cookies. My Japanese oven is tiny and can only fit one small cookie sheet at a time. The warms of the oven will help my little kitchen with no insulation feel more homie against the cold that seeps in through the little gaps and nooks where the doors and window in my apartment. Tomorrow those cookies will be like a badge of honor for the 6 students in my pottery class. A reward for finishing the dirty, dusty job of deep cleaning the whole studio and wedging as much of the reclain bucket's wet clay as they can possibly complete in 2 50 minute periods. A prize for being the class has been my reason for loving Fridays. Their energy, patience, and willingness to put up with a non Japanese speaking art teacher-ish guy, trying desperately to share his passion for wheel thrown potter was simply FANTASTIC! Some of them progressed far beyond I progressed in my first course of ceramics. Some of them just learned that pottery isn't their favorite form of expression, but those students never let their struggles disrupt class or dishearten them. They just kept trying over and over again, still blew me away at the school assembly by thanking me infront of the whole school. Yep. . . they got me. In front of the whole student and teacher body they thanked me (IN PERFECT ENGLISH!), and the little jerks made me cry. They even all worked together to make me a tiny, heavy, overly glazed plate that firmly demonstrates many of the things I told them not to do when making pottery, BUT IT'S TOTALLY MY NEW FAVORITE PLATE!

So tonight I will post some pictures of a few peices from the last firing, and I'll stay up late baking their cookies. I'll spend all day tomorrow wondering how to adiquatley tell them that they've been some of the best kids I've worked with. I worry that I won't be able to adiquately thank them for being the great kids they are. I have taught these kids for 3 years now, and after next week they won't come to school again until graduation day on March 1st. I doubt they'll ever find and read this, but just in case.

You guys have been a real blast! Your spirits are like an unquenchable fire, and it burns brightest when you laugh and smile. I've watched you grow up (though there is always more growing to go) and lay the foundations of really good basic potting skills. You always push me to learn more Japanese, and think of more ways to communicate. You were my wonderful ever willing testing ground! You make me remember why laughter in the classroom is paramount, and why sometimes lesson plans are there to drop like an ugly off centered, bone dry coffee mug you just trimmed through the bottom of, and just go where the wheel takes you. Thank you for an excellent year! I hope you keep creating and expressing yourself in any way possible! You're the best.

we'll see you next week folks.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Trips and Travels

 Happy new year dear readers! Above are a sampling of works that came out of the kiln before the Christmas Holidays came knocking at my door step. The blue and green cup pictured above are actually not my work. These fine yunomi were created by a friend, Mark, who asked for
my assistance with a gift for his fiance. The three cups show in the bottom left now dwell in
the Gray family home, where I hope they are used every day!

I've been been bad to you. Neglectful even! In part my absence of postings has been because of a two week travel explosion to Vietnam where I traveled by plane, taxi, bus, van, big boat, little boat, train, and my own two feet to Hanoi, Sapa, Ha Long Bay, Ho Chi Minh, and The Mekong Delta. It was a holiday season to be remembered by its vast difference from any other experience I've had. Vietnam was an almost completely sensory experience (at times borderline overload). The colors, smells, sights,
and taste were all challenging, vivid, and mostly delectable. I even managed to squeeze in a small traditional pottery exhibit while I was traveling, but I can't say the small selection I saw really sparked
my fancy.

The year to come will be full of many great and grand adventures, and I have so many hopes for the growth of my work. Because my life seems to be a bit busier than before, and because I don't want to promise more than I can deliver I am going to shift from promising two posts every week to one post for now. If the new year proves to be less busy than the tail end of 2012 then I'll return to two a week, but for now we'll go for one more meaningful post.

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season! Go out and create something in the new year. Can't wait to get back in the studio!