Make 22: mug demos for my guild class.

Make 22: mug demos for my guild class.

Demonstrated slip trailing (the bumpy one), agate wear (two colors at once, the green one) and a handbuilt textured slab mug printed with one of those long dogtag chains..

Make Seven: two more clay stoneware rattles.

Make Seven: two more clay stoneware rattles.

I worked at Hands On Studio today and taught at Toledo Potters Guild tonight — started more projects and demos — but finished these two small rattles. The one on the right is still wet clay.

Make 9: Butter dish.

Tonight’s slab project demo. Textured slab laid over a rolling pin for the cover… ends cut to fit. Textured slab base.  I just got home from mopping up after the evening class — but it isn’t midnight yet, so it’s still today! I was starting to worry. I painted half the bathroom today and started cleaning up an old steamer trunk to refurbish, but neither of those are at the “ta-daaah!” stage…

Make 8: Ceramics class demos

Today’s Owens College demos: a tall cylinder form using a textured slab (pillow lid with rattly-balls inside) – on my clearly labeled shelf.  Also, I made some demo examples of signature chops, bisqued and ready to test.  I’m grateful that my work day involves making stuff, so I don’t have to miss a day of making things for work!

Make 6: Pinch pot demo.


  This was a demo for pinch pots and burnishing for my Owens class.

The photo is crooked and it makes me a little woozy.

Soda Kiln Project


This is the kiln form, on loan from a friend

that holds up the walls til the keystone is in

it sits up on wedges, to drop and be pulled

as the test of the arch that Kelly built.

Soda Kiln Base

This is the nice triple layer of brick

on top of the cinderblocks,  heavy and thick

with firebrick on top and low temp bricks beneath

and a sheet of aluminum foil in between

it’s the floor for the arch that Kelly built.3floors

Kiln Bricks

sortedbricksThis is the trailer where Kelly lined bricks

in their rows of 2000’s, 23s and 26

the three kinds of arch bricks, in rows new and used

while the slab of cement had a chance to firm up

as the base of the arch that Kelly built.

Kiln Grandma

This is the grandma at ninety and four

with a Michigan license who rode to the store

and rented the mixer

for pouring the slab

as the base for the arch that Kelly built.grandma

Kiln foundation

This is the hole that was dug for the slab

for the base of the arch that Kelly builtthehole

Kiln build site

clearingThis is the clearing up north by the lake

by the cottage of parents

who said it was great

 as the spot for the arch that Kelly built.

Lobster Casserole (the clay kind)

(The casserole I made for my mom for mother's day)
(The casserole I made for my mom for mother’s day)

Jeff and the kids headed for the lake yesterday, but I had to teach at the guild last night. I’m rattling around the house today beginning projects, trying to stick to my list, hoping to get to the lake by suppertime.

Today’s synchronicity appears to have a poetry theme. In the mailbox this morning I found a book of Theodore Roethke’s poetry from my Aunt Ruth in Saginaw, and the 50th year issue of Midwest Quarterly — which republished my poem, “A Gatherer’s Love” from 1990. Yow!

I took time this morning to pick gooseberries for jam. Funny to think that the bees harvested the gooseberry blossoms, which I will harvest again at honey time… and I am harvesting the berries, while the mosquitos are harvesting me.

I seem to be on kind of a working binge, up in the morning making lists and surrendering long after midnight, determined to hit it again in the morning. I take a perverse pleasure in the open-endedness of my tasks, as there are no deadlines and nothing is every really “done” for good. I am painting offices for $$ when time allows, remodeling my studio toward teaching in summer and fall, nurturing a big veggie garden, chickens, and beehives, uncluttering the house, teaching at the guild and making  inventory to open an Etsy store.  Meanwhile I am determined to give my kids as many hands-on life skills as possible this summer, fixing, baking, tending, shopping, cooking, planning.  We’re using scout merit badge books as inspiration, and Molly’s vest is already so covered in badges there is oplace to sew the new ones.

I made 50 jars of strawberry jam, a few dozen of backyard cherry, and I’m starting soon on gooseberry currant. Raspberries will be ripe any day.

In the studio I am experimenting with screenprinting on clay slabs, and I threw an enormous stoneware beehive in multiple sections… I’ll post a photo when the kiln cools.

Molly, my littlest,  will be 11 on Monday and her girl scouts are coming for a combination party and work day.  Our troop has a beehive, built by the girls and covered with kid art,  and we’re making a model to go with a jar of our honey for the Ohio State Fair.

Jeff got a “No thank you”  from Audubon society, his latest interview.  He gets discouraged but the truth is, it’s wonderful to have him home.  He is more himself than he was before, as his job had been really stressful and unrewarding this last year or so.  He’s funny and relaxed, getting tons of projects done around the house,  building scale model trebouchets with the boys, organizing family bike rides, cooking great meals, and generally completing the circle of family.  I wish we were medieval peasant farmers or had some family business, and it could stay this way forever. Of course, medieval peasant farmers didn’t worry about health insurance, or orthodonture…

I am looking forward to a weekend at the lake, and should just kick back and relax, but I packed my potter’s wheel (grandma likes to watch me throw) and a sewing machine to make curtains for the pop up camper.

Jeff just called and they stopped just now at a roadside farm, and Connor bought four fancy white pigeons, “tumblers” — two mated pairs.  I have to go find them a cage to bring to the lake…