Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Beginnings

It's springtime, and that means new beginnings... this sweet little baby was in our garden this week; poor little thing had been frightened by the lawnmower.  My running out there to snap it's picture probably didn't help it's mood any, but I just couldn't resist.  It's hard to tell from the photo, but this little one could have fit into the palm of my hand.  Good thing Mr. MacGregor wasn't around!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Summertime, summertime, sum, sum, summertime!

The work has been done, final exams given, and final grades turned in... YAY!  Let summer begin!

Gee whiz!  I didn't realize that it has been such a long time since I posted anything here.  I have been busy, busy, busy at school, at Ed's trade shows, at Gemorama, and in the studio; there just never seems to be enough hours in the day!  I'm hoping for a little breather now that classes and trade shows are over for the summer.

Speaking of not enough hours in the day, I've been thinking a lot lately about carving out a little more time for myself from my daily schedule.  It's important to make sure that everyone and everything is taken care of, but I'm starting to understand that it's also important to take care of me.  That means improving my diet, taking steps (no pun intended) to make sure that I squeeze in a daily walk, and giving myself a little time every day to do something creative and satisfying.  After all, if I don't do it, who will?  I would love to hear some of your thoughts about how you accomplish all of this... any ideas out there?  I can use all of the help I can get!

In other news, Boone and Sunny are now getting along quite well; their little period of strife seems to be over, although they can still be a bit competitive.  If Boone is getting attention, Sunny will try to wedge herself in for some attention as well.  If Sunny is getting attention, Boone will nudge her out of the way, and woo,woo,woo until he gets what he wants.  But they seem to like each other, and sometimes gang up on us now when they want something.  There's nothing like turning around when you've got your lunch in hand, and seeing two very large dogs drooling and hovering, both of them hoping something will fall on the floor.

And, of course, just in time to coincide with the springtime pollen, the shedding has begun!  This is Boone after being brushed.  I think there's enough brushed out fur there to make a whole new dog.  Just so you know, we brush this much out of him every day.  He's not that crazy about being brushed, but will sit reasonably still for a little while.  We know when he's had enough, because he jumps up and runs off, squeezing himself into some small space so that we can't get close enough to brush anymore.  Thank God for slipcovers because he's a real couch potato, and I'm not sure how I would get all of the fur off if I couldn't just take the cover off and wash it.

Now that I'm off for the summer, I am taking the opportunity to play more with the metal clay.  I have quite a few pieces waiting to go into the kiln, and a few that are finished.  This material fascinates me; to be honest, it doesn't look like much before it has been fired.  Kind of off white, and, in a word, boring!  And after it has been fired, it doesn't look much different.  It's in the finishing that the real beauty of the piece begins to appear.  This can be a bit of work, but I love to see it go from its dull off white to shiny gleaming silver.  I can understand now what the alchemists of old were trying to achieve.  It's a little like magic, watching these pieces transform.

This is how the silver looks after it has been fired and brushed with a brass brush.  It takes on a matte appearance, and any flaws are readily visible.  It sometimes takes a good  bit of finishing to get that smooth, shiny look to it.

I confess, I wish I knew more about working with this material.  There are no classes that I am aware of in my immediate area, so I guess, at least for now, I'm on my own.  I suppose I will learn as I go along, and maybe it will be kind of fun for me to see my work evolve.  I'm firing some more pieces today, and will plan on posting their progress here.  If anyone has any pointers, I'd love to hear them!