Wednesday, March 6, 2013
The Naked and the Black
This is a kind of unruly clay from Laguna called B-3. This vase is about five or six inches tall, thrown and stamped with the stamps I carved. It's fired to cone six, unglazed.
Here's another smaller vase, made the same way.
This is the same vase as up top along with bisqued pieces of the same clay.
I love the color transitions. In the bag, the clay is a kind of dark chocolate color that pales out to various shades of brown in the bisque firing and then goes black in the final firing.
I call this clay unruly not because it's difficult to throw (in fact it's a dream to throw) but because the glazes that I have tried almost uniformly hate this clay. There are one or two glazes that sit very heavily on the clay and don't run at all in the firing that work, yes, but the fit is so bad that if I only glaze the inside of the pieces (leaving the gorgeous black clay bare on the outside) the pieces tend to crack in half. I tried putting some clear on it and though the clear normally doesn't budge on other clay, on this clay it ran off the piece and stuck it to the shelf.
So bare it is. Naked as little jaybirds.
What else have I been working on? Well, altars and altar accessories mainly.
These little scrappy roses are bits of groggy, iron-oxide rich Annie's mix (around some highly textured B-3 bowls).
This is an altar I made last week, the smallest of the five I've put together recently. I was toying with the idea of having little shelves inside to place little things on, as one does with little shelves.
Damn, my cell phone camera is effed up. Lens is all scratched, I think, so all my photos are nice and fuzzy.
On The Book Front
Damn, I am being lazy so far this month, only have made it through one book and two half books this week. I finished...what was it? Oh, yes, Lucky Jim by Kingsley Amis, and I began both A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith (a re-read, obvs) and Revenge: Eleven Dark Tales by Yoko Ogawa.
I meant to start in on everything Hilary Mantel has ever written, honest, but after I kindled and read samples from each of her novels, I was hit with a kind of decision-based paralysis and I was unable to choose which novel I wanted to read. I had to step away and think about it for a bit.
While I was flitting around the Amazon site looking for my next victims, I downloaded a bunch of free stuff I've never read but probably should: Persuasion by Jane Austen, Agnes Grey by Anne Bronte, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, Tess of d'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy, and a handful of others.
One of the things that I've realized from my ongoing reading resolution is just how many books are not worth keeping. I mean, I used to be a Book Collector. Capital B, capital C. I kept every single book I ever bought; I felt obligated to do it. I started my descent from Book Collector to book collector when I worked in a bookstore and handled thousands of books a month, stripping covers off of paperbacks and marking down the stuff that didn't sell, and saw what kind of profit margins (40% plus, usually) new books have. That erased a lot of the respect I had for books themselves, honestly. From there, I stripped my collection down to next to nothing before moving to Japan, and I stopped thinking of myself as a collector (of books or anything really). And now, looking at what I'm likely (or more likely unlikely) to want to or have time to re-read in the coming years, I have to say that I'm very much disinclined to hang on to books. Of the 32 books I've read since New Year's, I'd probably keep maybe--maybe--six. Maybe.
Change is good though, no?
Posted by Rosa