Thursday, 29 May 2008

A Rooster

The secret surprise I worked on last week is still in one piece so far and ready for the kiln. I hope for the best! My big vase is finished now. The pattern came out really subtle. It's the same wonderful greenish-grey glaze I used before. It always looks a bit different.

I mentioned before how impressed I am by the animal figurines my claymate, who sits next to me, makes. Sculpting funny animals like frogs (Those are extremely popular!), cats, owls and bunnies probably is what is done most often in class. I never felt like making one myself though. But now the time has come to try it! I wanted to know if I can sculpt.

This rooster I really like, made by the lady, gave me some inspiration and she said I should make one as well. Because I didn't want to make exactly the same, I spent many a thought musing how a cock made by me should look like. I realised I want it to be more ornamental and folkloric and less funny. (I think it's a nice coincidence that the first animal I made with polymer clay in Millefiori style was a cockerel too.) So, here's my first try ever in sculpting:

Shaping the body took ages. I did it very cautious with the least pressure possible but still my wrists hurt now like I had a box fight. I think it looks quite good for a first try, but my initial intention was to make the wings rather raised like a relief but I completely ran out of time to make all the intricate details I had in mind and so I just carved them. But I see in the picture that I did not do it as carefully as I wished. At least this time I wasn't the only one to stretch the class. It's odd how we feel, if this was school, we would get admonished for being too slow. One lady once said, when she smashed the project she worked on but wasn't satisfied with, I would have got the worst mark if this was school. It tells a lot about the restrictions we experience and internalise in school. We don't get rid of them.

Monday, 26 May 2008

The Eurovision Song Contest

I'm an old fan and I'm not ashamed of it. I watch the Eurovision Song Contest every year, passionately and unpatriotically and I must say more and more unironically, despite the cheesiness. The thing I love most about it, is, that it gives me the opportunity to listen to a great variety of European languages at prime time once a year (which makes me want to learn a great number of them) and to get a three minute impression of how countries represent themselves that I mostly won't hear about the rest of the year. That's why I prefer songs sung in the language of their countries and not in English. My favourite this time was Vania Fernandes who sang for Portugal. A great song and a great voice and a beautiful performance! Another wonderful voice was Boaz Mauda for Israel!
I absolutely don't like the winner this year - Dima Bilan for Russia with an expensive but cheap sounding Timbaland song accompanied by figure skating world champion Yevgeni Plushenko, who I actually think is quite a cool guy. Well at least it is cool to wear that haircut for years! But it looks stupid to skate on a tiny space with a mad violinist and a half-naked singer. The performance looked repulsively new-rich and I don't want to hear an American song by a Russian singer. I disliked the ones who finished second and third place as well, a Ukrainian shady lady and a Grecian Britney. People should please stop voting for stuff like that!

My absolute highlight of the evening was Goran Bregovic's Wedding and Funeral Band. They played in the voting break. Look how handsomely and gleefully they smile while singing! I love this, I really do! And I love the Eurovision Song Contest for letting me discover gems like this every year!

Wednesday, 21 May 2008


I was back at the pottery this week, but I won't show you photos yet, because I'm working on a secret project! (Now that I told it, it's only half a secret.) It's not a bowl and it involves a stencil I made (which I pondered about for weeks) and it's quite likely to fail because it is very fragile or might crack. (I was inspired by prototypes in the pottery and they all cracked.) So far I'm very satisfied with it though and I was told by several people that it looks very fine, so maybe it really does. I felt extremely good when I went home. I was able to get rid of the worst anger and stress I'm in. (Hopefully it lasts for a while.) Very often I feel in the mood for a rant like this:

[From Huffington Post.]
Watch it! This is brilliant (and so necessary)!

Saturday, 17 May 2008

Bell Pepper

My good mood got smashed by the ruthlessness of bureaucrats I have to fight at the moment, but one thing made me smile today. Look what I discovered!

A tiny green pepper is growing on my balcony! The plant is already two years old and usually lives in my kitchen. It grew really fast now and began to blossom and so I put it out a few days ago.

I also repotted my little tree today. (I took this picture before.) I even got a second tree now, that I sowed the day the first one sprouted.

Wednesday, 14 May 2008

Skipping Class

I did not go this time because I just need a little break. It's the loveliest warm (almost too warm) weather at the moment, which is really good for my hands and spirits, very unlike the damp, grey, un-snowy, bone-aching stupid mess of a non-winter we had for months. So I'm doing lots of things at the moment I couldn't do before but it's just too much.

I also started making polymer clay beads again and finally baked the bowl I made back in February. I received a very nice e-mail a few weeks ago about one of the bookmarks I made last year. I used some of my first and thus very flawed beads for that, so in my today's eyes it's not good at all, yet it brings joy to it's owner! It helps a lot to know that! My bead making skills are a lot better now, although I can only make a few at a time. I mainly used up bits and ends of old canes. They are all still soft and perfectly workable, even the ones I made a year ago.

Thursday, 8 May 2008


The new classes began, so there were many new faces (and finally a brave man among the clayers!) and one familiar face as the lady, who always sits next to me, decided to continue as well. She's really good at making animal figurines, maybe someday I should try that too, although I think I completely lack the talent and also some nice ideas for that. I felt like making bowls again, because I just love to make them and because I wanted to try some new tools and things for making textures. Lately I ponder about everything that comes to my hands what kind of indentation it would leave in clay.

I was very unconcentrated this time, with my thoughts elsewhere and too much in a hurry as we had to finish on time and usually I'm so slow. I started with a mould again, a very small one, but my impressions, which I intented to apply orbital became quite wonky.

I worked so fast though that I had enough time to make another small bowl with an equally wonky pattern. I used a clove for this one.

Last week's pierced bowl is ready for the kiln now, but I totally forgot my big vase. I didn't see it but surely it was in the shelves impatiently waiting for me, while I didn't spend a thought on it.

My finished little button only just escaped this destiny because one of the tools I used reminded me of it.

My finished bowl was quite round after bisque firing but now after glaze firing it's a bit distorted and reminds me very much of the creepy shape of a skullpan. The pattern came out very nice though.

Sunday, 4 May 2008

The Balcony Gardening Season Begins

First of all here are pictures of my newest creations! This is my so called cobblestone bowl:

This pictures illustrates why it has that name:

Doesn't it look like chocolate? So delicious! Unfortunately this is the last item that was glazed with this gorgeous colour. I'd like to use it more often but this glaze is not in everyday use at the pottery and my bowl was bathed in the last drops that were left from the glazing of Easter bunnies.

This is my lace vase with its tail or fin. Meanwhile I really do like it!

My tomatoes finally are out on the balcony now! There was very sunny and warm weather for days but as soon as I had them outside a heavy shower of rain came down. That's how tall the biggest ones already are:

My father built me a lattice so they can grow without falling over (as they did last year when it was stormy).
Finally here's a picture of my little tree. It has some graphic qualities I find very inspiring.

Thursday, 1 May 2008

Some thoughts

Today was the last time my classes took place, but I will continue without a break as of next week despite all the trouble it causes to my hands. My mother said to me she never sees me as glad and happy as I am after a class and she's right. The opportunity to do something I really truly love without any restrictions and without pressure (and I feel a very deep and strong urge to be creative this way) outweighs the pain and complications although they are sometimes quite severe and very discouraging. I've thought a lot about that. To others this is just a hobby, an activity to relax after a busy day, while my whole week is organized around it and physically this isn't easy at all for me. So my desire seems to be very much out of proportion and I don't know if anyone can understand why I go on this way. (Why do I have the terrible feeling I have to vindicate and defend my decision?)

Last week's vase dried but it is still quite heavy. My cobblestone bowl reappeared and was indeed still in the kiln last time. The lace vase is also finished. Both turned out very pretty in my opinion, but so far I found no time to take proper pictures, but I'll show you soon! The bowl with dotted impressions I made two weeks ago was fired as well as my button. Both will get their glazing when the kiln is ready for glaze firing. I sticked to the colours I succesfully used so far: the greenish grey and transparent green.

This week's 90 minutes creation is a pierced bowl. (I told you, I wanted to try something like that! And I want to try more!) It started in a mould, then I took it out, stretched and roughened the rim and pierced the poor thing from outside to inside. The holes are very small though, so I don't know how many of them will stay holes in the end.