Friday, June 12, 2020

Mutts and Glazes

Legacy chemicals. 

I inherited this box of soda ash from my friend, Dave, when he made his final move to FL. It's marked: "Sugar Creek Art Products" -- a company that hasn't been around in more than 30 years (maybe 40). 

I finally broke into the box yesterday to mix up a shino glaze. Some of the soda ash has petrified into stones that would have required mechanical breakdown (they'd need to be re-crushed) in order to be incorporated into a glaze. 

As I screened and re-screened the glaze, I ended up with rocks I had to throw out. I then re-introduced more soda ash by guessing how much I had thrown out in the rocks.
I'll probably end up with a mutt glaze.

"Mutt glaze". 

That's not a bad thing. I've noticed that some of the most remarkable dogs I've known in my life -- both by their beauty and their behavior -- have been mutts. And each time I noticed such mutts -- whether the "Tippy" I grew up with, or the "Bear" I met recently on the trails -- I couldn't help but sense the bittersweet nature of such a dog. That is: there's no duplicating it. 

The mutt is a treasure....but once gone, you can never again have it.

Oh, I get it. No dog is duplicate-able. But at least a breed will put us in the ballpark of looks and behavior. 

But a mutt is its own unique being, so often for the better.

I hope this mutt glaze I created yesterday is more than I hoped for. If it is, I'll name it "Tippy" and enjoy every pot I make with it.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

The Table

Troy is the guy who welded up my kiln frame and a half dozen ware carts. Nearly 30 years ago I had him weld me 16 corners of 3" angle iron drilled to thread bolts into. They are made to affix to 4"X4" posts as legs, and those are used to create sturdy worktables. I have two of them in the shop and I have had this one outside the shop for nearly 30 years now.

This old table has seen a few million dollars worth of pottery ground, tagged, and boxed in preparation for art fairs over the years. It stands at the back of the shop on a wide concrete apron beneath a 40 foot maple tree. It's a wonderful outdoor workspace in the summertime.

But we learned as soon as we put it up that the dogs all loved it too. When they were young they could easily leap up onto it. When Bear (our first) got older, I built him steps so he could still access it. It allowed the dogs a view into the shop through the window above it, and a vantage point to stand sentry over the back yard. It also provided a nice bit of shade to nap under with the cool concrete adding comfort.

As you can see, it's finally rotted away. Today I disassembled it (Keeping the angle iron corners and the post/legs). The table is now a pile of ashes. 

It's an odd thing to feel sentimental about, isn't it?