Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Hello from another planet....

I pretty much feel like Eppie (above) -- tired and blobbed out (well well well!). Only not as cute.

As fate would have it, I got sick as a dog* after the euphoria of Mayhem, and so I've been back under the comforter sleeping most of the days away. What is it with me and being sick this year?! I'm feeling much better, though, and should be as right as rain in time for Junefest, when Stephanie M. and Sonya J. arrive next week. Whoo hooo! Junefest is like the cold-painting and sculpting version of Mayhem, with just as much culinary indulgence.

Anyhoo...I was convinced to join Facebook during Mayhem, and did so about a week ago. As planetary alignments would have it, Facebook promptly decided not to recognize my password, and also has prevented me from resetting it. Is this divine providence? Whatever it is, I'm waiting to hear from the Facebook team to see if they can remedy the hiccup. If they can't, well...I'll cross that ether bridge when I get to it. I really don't want to open another account, and so I may opt out altogether. But who knows. I could just be cranky about it.

The good news is that in between naps, I've been able to work on the Haflie mare! She's coming along quite nicely now, and getting her "hair done." Take an in-progress peek from the salon....

I apologize for the fuzzy photo, but I'm so hopped up on cold meds it's a wonder I can operate the camera. She's going to be very "pasture-y" so that mane is flopped around every which way. I think it's so lovely when painters "follow" the flow of the hair in their coloration detailing, and this little lady will give them a fun canvas for that.

So today I'll be working on her some more, and pouring the first of the slip-cast Bjorns. The mold should be dry now and I'm so very excited to try it! This fun piece she created will give Sonya lots of fodder to learn how to pour, clean, claybody and underglaze her creation! And if I get my act together, we can play with the overglazing goodies Lynn provided me, too. I'm anxious to try them and it'll be fun to explore the media with fellow newbies together! And so....we flail! But laugh as we do!

So...time to set the tea on and get to mixing slip!

"As the artist matures she is continuously shaken by what she manages to discover: by the earth shifting beneath her feet once again, by her own amazed, ringing laughter." ~Eric Maisel

*I wondered about where this saying came from -- it's a rather sad thought! And lo...I found a plausible answer here.


Monday, May 18, 2009

Rumbling Sunday

This is the sticker on the back of my Husband's helmet. 'Nuff said (ha ha). Yesterday we rode in the annual MDA Harley ride. It was a perfect day -- clear blue skies, good weather and open roads. Harley-Davidson has a long tradition of donation to the MDA -- 26 years! Idaho is in the top 20 donors (High Desert Harley), via MDA - donation rides, in the country -- woo hooo! (Hubby is particularly proud that Sauk Prairie, Wisconsin is in the Top Ten -- he was born there!) This year, we had a record turn-out....over 500 bikes and over 800 riders! It was truly impressive, twice the number from last year! Here's a shot of one small part of the High Desert Harley-Davidson parking lot right before we all rode out:

What's super cool is that Boise City closed the roads and intersections for us and gave us a police escort to Boise Bronco Stadium, which is right downtown. Here's a shot (below) of just one small segment of the long caravan heading to downtown Boise (our friend, Linda, is in the purple bandana on the left there):

The sound of all those bikes rumbling was like supernatural thunder -- so awesome! And it was wild to see so many of us in one go. Here's the ol' gang we rode with (with Hubby in the middle there):

There were a series of designated stops along the way, since this ride was a "Poker Run," and it was fun to go through the unknown back roads of this area. Then all 800 of us ended up at the last stop, Joe's Crab Shack in Boise, which was quite a sight. This was painted on their window, which pretty much summed up my feelings for the day:

Now usually after something like Mayhem, all I want to do is stare at a wall for a couple of days, just to decompress and "come back to reality." I don't usually welcome a jump into another "party" so soon. But I couldn't say "no" to something like this, and I gotta say -- it was the perfect prescription. I had a wonderful time, the ride was relaxing, the day was gorgeous and the gang was a riot. Now I'm fully "aligned" back to my life and ready to restart work in the studio....Deep breath.....ahhhhhhhhh.

"Reality leaves a lot to the imagination." ~ John Lennon


Saturday, May 16, 2009

We Survived Mayhem 2009....Barely

Lesli -- Don't confuse your water cup with your pina colada! Doh!

Oh my gosh -- what a time! The week just flew by! I had intended to do a kind of "play by play" of each day, but alas....we all became too immersed in good times to remember much else other than catching our breaths between laughing.

Lesli and Joanie are on their way home today, and will probably be recuperating as I am. I've lost my voice from constant chatting. My face hurts from laughing so much. My brain is swimming with new ideas and information. My inspiration is running amok. And my belly is so sated, as to be shameful. I'm still full from last night's dinner! Who knew that "work" would be such a tremendously enjoyable vacation!? We've existed in some strange dimension for the past week, high on good vibes and good food! Now it's so strange that they're gone -- the house is oddly quiet and lonely. I kinda don't know what to do with myself! So here are some pix from the one day I remembered to grab a camera....

Joanie and Lesli taught me what I was doing so very wrong with these multi-part molds! Yay! I'd been doing it backwards with the plaster -- I needed to do the littlest pieces first! Plus some mold-soaping issues I was messing up. And Lesli taught me her "damming" technique to build those insert pieces from scratch -- thank you Joanie and Lesli! You helped me jump my obstacles! Wooo hooo! So now I have a good working mold of Sonya Johnson's Bjorn...finally! I was unable to pour the Feral Mare medallion master mold (we just ran out of time), but I now have a good idea of what to I'll get to that pronto.

Anyway....Here's a pic of Imp's teeeny tiiiny mold (shown with Taboo, for scale), made by Lesli (which you can follow along with its creation on her blog, kinda starting here).


And here's Joan working on her teensy weeensy Imp, which came out fabulous this morning from Maury's belly (Maury is my little kiln -- we mudheads name our kilns, we're just strange that way. But "Maury" is short for "Moravia," which is the archeological site believed to be the first place where ceramics were made purely for art's sake).....

Here's how Joan transported bisque Taboos on the plane, all lined up neatly...

And here is one of the Taboo molds, "exploded" in all its complex glory (each of those inner pieces is custom made for that particular mold):

Look at these tiny inner mold pieces! Don't sneeze!:

And here's how Vixen and Imp arrived with Lesli on the plane -- neatly tucked in a Harry & David pear box!:

The box o' Brownies arrived via mail, and the gals dove right into them. Predictably, all manner of "ass" jokes were lobbed about a-plenty. I mean really...who can resist?! Amongst the giggling, I was able to create a claybody Brownie for each of them (and they flipped a coin as to who would get which one), and I'll post pix of them when they're fired.

I also finished a claybody Collier, which I -- miraculously -- decided to keep for myself....gasp! I haven't done something strictly for myself in well...I can't remember in how long. But I ended up liking him so very much, I just splurged. I'll post a pic when he's fired. Through him, I remembered how much I enjoy playing in the mud this way, so I'll be pouring more Colliers and Limericks to claybody later today, for the gals to glaze eventually. Claybodying (in which you resculpt the unfired greenware) is such a joy. The clay wants to be played with, and takes to resculpting so well. And being able to do variations on a "theme," such as with Collier and Limerick molds, allows me to push my imagination in useful ways that help me to "think out of the mold box," so to speak, which helps develop new perspectives in design.

A real highlight of the week was venturing over to Lynn's studio, to play with her there. She and Barry are such a delight, and her studio is simply wonderful! But golly -- she put together a fabulous china painting starter kit for each of us, beautifully packaged and with glazed medallions to give us starter fodder. We were blown away -- Thank you, Lynn! She also gave us a demo of china painting techniques and preparation, and hands-on so each of us could play with the materials and methods. Thank you, tons! Wow -- how differently it all feels and works, but oh so fascinating and inspiring! I love the feel of it. So much more like cold-painting than I expected, which suits me well. Not only are the pigments more "what you see is what you get," but the way you work them is more "cold-painting-y" than underglazing. I have a really hard time with underglazing since it works so opposite what I'm used to doing and I'm such a hopeless klutz, but I'm thinking I could combine the two for a happy medium. I think that's what we're all thinking! It's these synergistic, positive retreats like this that push us all forward, along with the technologies, and Lynn's china painting demo was a classic example of how great the model works. It also is just plain ol' fun!

The food was amazing, of course, and we stuffed ourselves silly. Thai (yes, Steph -- Sa-wah-dee....twice!), BBQ, Japanese, Idaho pub food...the works. I think my pancreas was just about to go on strike. Amongst all the brazen feasting, I also managed to devour a whole jar of Stay Puffed marshmallow creme. Hey...what can I say? I love marshmallow creme. Lesli was icked out, saying it looked like styrofoam....and it does! Tasty styrofoam! Her Mom sent us some salt water taffy, too -- my fave! Thank you Mom Jeffries! And my Mom treated us to an amazing "farewell" dinner Friday night at a local mom n' pop restaurant, Kahootz. Thank you Mom Mink! The meal was fantastic and epic -- we waddled home and spoke of our great meal in hushed tones. But it'll be a loooong time before I'm truly hungry again. Oy. Lesli fell asleep on the couch while we digested and chatted while playing with the Well Wells. We even managed to squeeze in a matinee of the new Star Trek movie on Friday, and boy...was that awesome! Viva Spock! And Scotty!

Anyhoo...I'm laying low today and getting my bearings on my life again. I sure had a fantastic time with those two and I can't wait for next year's Mayhem! Thank you Lesli and Joanie, for another amazing visit and learning experience! You rock! regain my voice, my appetite and my mind in time for tomorrow's MDA ride with Hubby!

"If it's not fun, you're not doing it right." ~ Bob Basso


Monday, May 11, 2009

The Calm Before The Storm

Mayhem is here! HAZZAH! Lesli is en route and on time! Everything is ready for them in the ceramic studio, bracing itself for the tornado of activity the next six days will bring! I imagine after those six days, we'll feel like Wuzzle (above)...blobbed out on our own goo that we packed on during all the good eatin' necessary to create shiny ponies.

And speaking of appetites...for a taste of things to come, Lesli has finished the first clinky Imp! How awesome is that?! I have a feeling we'll be doing lots of squinting this week!

Anyhoo, I'm adding some hair to the Haflie mare, though she isn't anywhere near done. But at least Lesli and Joan will have an idea of what I'm aiming for with her. Along the way,
I'll try and post pix of the madness as it unfolds! Until then.....wheeeeeeeee!

"Part of being sane, is being a little bit crazy." ~Janet Long


Wednesday, May 6, 2009

I'm Surrounded by Well Wells

Last year, my buddy Stephanie Michaud sent me this fabulous bird feeder, fully knowing that it would become a squirrel feeder...something she knew I would love even more! And lo! Behold the gooey glory! We now have a preggers female and a smaller male regularly showing up to gorge. Good times. Good globby times!

Squirrels crack me up. The way they move and respond to sound almost makes them seem like they're constantly saying, "WHAT?!"...."WHAT?!!!" Like Eddie Izzard (one of our fave comedians) would say, "Wait?! Did I leave the gas on? No...I'm a squirrel!" And watching them figure out how to get to the goodies in the bird feeder was a hoot. Is there such a thing as a squirrel-proof bird feeder? Me thinks not! Do not get between a Well Well and food. Food, glorious food! Hey, I can relate!

Speaking of food...Mayhem is right around the corner! I'm madly trying to get stuff done. Unfortunately, however, it's been rainy and overcast for the past three days. Not that I'd usually mind, but I can't pour the rubber master mold of my Feral Mare medallion because it absorbs the atmospheric moisture and won't cure properly. DOH! I may have to pour indoors, so we'll see how that goes. Me, rubber and plenty of places not to get rubber on is a really bad combination.

Another project I'm trying to finish up in anticipation of their arrival is finishing (or getting close to finishing) that Haflie mare. It looks like that left hindleg has finally come together the way I want it, thank goodness! Sheesh. So here's another sneek peek (though she's still bald!):

Speaking of finishing's another sneek peek of that CM Breyer Man O' War I was finally able to pick up again and work on (has it really been that long?!):

Now I'm not sure when I'll actually get this guy painted and up for sale, but at least his customizing is done. I also started working at cold-painting again. In particular, I'm finally back to working on that fun dapple grey Laf'n Bear LLC Bram'll Blue Boy! Hazzah! For the longest time I couldn't find the original reference photos I was using for him in the wreck of my studio. But since I cleaned it up last week (pretty much using the leaf-blower technique made famous by Bill Murray in CaddyShack) -- there they were -- hiding in plain sight. Of course. So back to work! I'll post teaser pix of him when I'm farther along.

Until then...back to the plow....

"You can't be suspicious of a tree, or accuse a bird or a squirrel of subversion or challenge the ideology of a violet." ~Hal Borland

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