Monday, March 14, 2011

New Drying Molds

I mix my own clay, both stoneware and porcelain. At this point in my career I want to be sure that it is done like I want it done, and want to be able to mix small enough batches so that the formula can be flexible when conditions change. The old drying bats were just totally worn out. So we made some new ones last week. Here is a view of the process with the bus pan balanced in the wet plaster, and all the sides clamped up. We actually needed that wrench to balance the load.

A very quick little mixing formula is 2.75 pounds of plaster added to 2 pounds of water makes 81 cubic inches.

Here is the finished bat. 50 pounds of plaster and 36.6 pounds of water.

I always line the bat with a double layer of cotton sheet and then pour in the slip. After a couple of days the sheet can be removed with the clay and the bat can be allowed to dry. With these new molds that might not be necessary, but I will probably still do it.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Owen and Nadia's Pieces -- Part 2

Owen and Nadia's Pieces.

This last week I got to fire Owen and Nadia's pieces. Owen's piece is a dog with an invisible fire hydrant, and Nadia's is a Macaroni Penguin, something which I had never heard of, but sure enough, if you Google Image them, they are there in all their glory. Before Nadia glazed her piece the head came off and we glued it back on. In thinking of what might happen in the firing, I decided to make an executive decision and fire the head separately. It was the right decision. I made a little conical clay support and glued the head to it. Some of the macaroni also came off and I made a little clay pedestal and fired them so that they could have shiny glaze like the pieces do. Here they are unfired just before stacking in the kiln.

And here they are fired, but not assembled.

Dupuytren's -- The Surgery

Friday was the day that I went to see Dr Eaton at The Hand Center in Jupiter to get my hand fixed. It turns out that I had something that had to be removed and the surgery that I thought I was going to have was not going to work; there was a skinny tunnel into the hand about the diameter of the metal part of a wooden needle tool and about an inch long and covered with hardened fascia, and it was going to have to be removed. I had driven 300 miles and so Dr Eaton just numbed up the hand and we waited for about an hour for all the components of the medicine to work. There was the anesthetic, of course, and then there was epinephrine which is a vaso-constrictor which helps with bleeding, about 3 cups of coffee worth, taken in about 1 minute. Soon I was just zooming.

Dr Eaton's mom is a potter so he has a real appreciation for potters. All through his childhood there was a wheel and kiln at his house, and his mom made pots.

The reason I went to see him is that my friend Alan Stowell, guitarist, violinist, mandolinist extrordinaire had a Dupuytren's repaired several years ago using needles and all traces of it are totally gone. So I already knew that Dr Eaton was an incredible craftsman, and I felt totally comfortable with him and the staff.

I sat in a chair and watched the whole thing and it was fun in a weird sort of way. Anne and her sister Trish were walking on Jupiter Beach but they came over to the office when they found out that this was going to be more involved than we had originally thought. When they got to the office they said that it sounded like we were having a party back in the operating room -- lots of laughing and carrying on. Friday afternoon, you know.

Here is a photo where Dr Eaton is holding the tunnel just before removal. Don't look if this sort of thing will not be interesting to you.

I can't make pots for a couple of weeks but have talks to prepare for NCECA related events so this is a good time -- and it's over!