Saturday, January 8, 2011

End Of A Long Week

A view of our house and shop at sunset, from across the street.

This evening, instead of our usual drive cross-town to the trails, or walking the nearby greenway, we simply hitched up the dogs and walked across the street. It felt good to get outdoors after all day still cleaning the shop. But the shop is getting darn near clean.

I've been going through shelves and boxes and crates of old stuff ... finding things I hardly remembered I had. I found a set of old lead type I bought from an antique dealer who specialized in linotype. Twenty years ago I used to use the type to mark pots. I found old clay stamps too.

I cleaned up my old, first generation Giffin Grip (with the formica laminate surfaces on particle board). It still works great. I used to regularly rub bee's wax on the surfaces of the discs and the sliders. The old one actually closes more smoothly than does my new one. And I found a set of sliders I forgot that I ordered with the new one.

So much of what I've spent my time on, besided throwing away things I haven't used in years, is organizing. And reorganizing.

I put a shelf over my trimming wheel (and beneath the cabinet) so that all the trimming tools that are constantly getting lost in the piles of trimmings will have a place to go as I'm working.

The hardware store was having a sale on plastic containers. I bought about twenty of them. I now have tools and things generally organized in containers that can be placed on the work stations where they'll be most often used.

Above is the work station where I've generally done all my attachments -- handles and the like. I haven't used it for nearly a year because it's been overrun by tools, brushes, sponges, slip-pots, etc. for that long.
Y'ever wonder just how much value there is in the "de-airing" component of a pug mill? It's kinda one of those things that you don't know what you've got 'til it's gone.

As I was pugging up some older clay I'd had soaking in water so soften, the vacuum chamber got filled up too fast. That happens when I introduce clay into the hopper that's barely more than slip.

Well, when the vacuum chamber is full, the de-airing of the clay doesn't happen. When non-de-aired clay comes out of the barrel, it falls apart easily -- almost crumbles -- and what does stay together in that barrel shape is all dog-eared...

dog-eared, non de-aired clay

But after I'd processed it enough (run all the clay through enough times) to get the wet clay mixed with some normal clay, such that all the clay going through was stiff enough, I then cleaned out the vacuum chamber. (to do so before would have been futile, as more slip-like clay would have just jammed it up again).

As soon as the vacuum chamber was cleaned out and the de-airing started working, the clay came out dense, together, and not dog-eared...

de-aired clay

More shots from across the street this evening. Here's Breeze in the foreground and Ariel in the background. Something got their attention.

And here's Ariel in the light of a beautiful Winter sunset.


  1. Any coincidence that after you write about 'dog-eared' clay you show photos of Breeze and Ariel? ..and what do they think of that turn of phrase?

  2. Heh. The dogs tell me that they don't care what I call the clay as long as they don't have to wedge it.

  3. Treasured creatures.
    Space to make art - treasured.
    Our lives simply lived - treasured.
    It's all good.

    Thanks John!

  4. Your clean studio is eye-candy. Inspiring!