Tuesday, November 22, 2011

A Summer Memory

The Bluegrass Festival

A weekend village has sprung up
Gulf Streams, Dutchman, Fleetwoods, tents
a bass drives out a beat
while the dobro weaves a path through it

guitars fill in the edges
as the fiddle springs to life,
and the banjo dances in and out
vocals weeping in the distance

the professor, pharmacist, salesman, and lawyer
this weekend are banjo, guitar, bass, and mandolin
the development director of a small charity
               is dancing Denise

teenagers appear at the edges of the compound
               instruments nervously in hand
only their timidity standing in their way

where else can you wander into somebody’s home
               quietly pull up an empty chair
and become part of their evening
               whether as an appreciative observer or participant
and leave later, never having exchanged names
               drunk off intimacy and community

This poem contributed to dVersePoets Open Link Night.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Occupy Augusta November 19th

I love this photo - that's me holding two signs - both mine and Rick's, Keeley beside me and my oldest son Justin, on the far right.  Rick took the photo from the steps of the state house and you can see the tents of Occupy Augusta behind us.  We participated in a meeting there today that was quite interesting. They talked about legislative actions they would like to see happen; some made sense and others I can't say I'd subscribe to, but they were all treated with respect and allowed discussion.  There was discussion about legalizing the industrial use of hemp, which only makes sense and I've never been able to understand the blind objections to it.  Maybe it's not really as useful as folks in these settings expound. I'll need to do some internet research.  

Friday, November 18, 2011

Test Glaze Firing

So I fired my test glaze pieces a couple of days ago.  I had numbered each piece on the bottom when I threw them so that I could track what I did to each one in terms of glaze thickness and placement on upper or lower shelves.  I wanted to test two different glazes:  the first, red chun, has always been a difficult glaze but when it works out well, it’s really beautiful and probably my favorite all round glaze.  However, instead of coming out red my pieces have been coming out rather gray and I couldn’t tell whether it was because the glaze was too thick, too thin, the kiln was too hot or too cold.  So I put one with thick glaze and one with thin glaze on each of the 3 shelves.  There’s about a whole cone’s difference in temperature between the top shelf in the kiln and the lower as you can see from the photo below.  

These are 5, 6, and 7 cone packs.  I'm trying to fire to cone 5.  I had to put a cone 7 in the kiln sitter and I think it still turned off the kiln a little too early. The single ones are cone 5 which I put right in the peep hole to be able to see it best while firing.  You can see that the cone 5 and cone 6 bent fairly nicely on the top shelf; just the cone 5 bent on the middle shelf; and the cone 5 on the bottom shelf only bent slightly.  
So . .

#1           red chun – thick glaze – bottom (cooler) shelf 
#3           red chun – thick glaze – top shelf
#4           red chun – thick glaze – middle shelf
#2           red chun – thin glaze – bottom shelf
#5           red chun – thin glaze – middle shelf
#7           red chun – thin glaze – top shelf
Starting from the left front they are numbered 1, 2, 4, and 3, 5 7 coming down from the back on the right.  The larger piece in the back is a red chun when behaving well - the color that I'm going for.  
There really seems to be almost no difference overall.  Each of them are fairly gray but each has a section that's got a little red tinge to it.  So I can't say that the test firing taught me anything.  Bummer.  It's still just red chun behaving badly.  Maybe it's just a bad batch.  I buy my glazes all mixed.  The glazes I'm accustomed to using are ones that my pottery teacher, Malley, mixed herself.  

The other glaze I wanted to test is the royal blue which has always been a really solid glaze, didn’t run much and showed off embellishments fairly well.  However, mine had been blistering and running and again, I didn’t know why. I think I did learn something from the royal blue test glazes.

It seems the thinner glaze on the cooler bottom shelf works best for the royal blue, though they all seem to have some blisters.  I really need to get this one right because I'm going to use it for a nice covered casserole dish and don't want to mess it up.  

Friday, November 4, 2011

It's my birthday . . .

Today's is my 58th birthday.  Hard to believe.  But life is good, I feel pretty healthy and I guess I don't look too bad for my age, at least most days.  I guess at midnight last night I was dancing at The Wharf with Betty, Melissa, and Dave Thibodeau, to music by Paul Thibeault and Alfred Lund.  Fun time!  I slept late this morning, (being a Friday) and took a leisurely shower and puttered a little around the house, spent some time on FB, and now need to pack for our overnight at The Second Street Bed & Breakfast in Hallowell.  Rick reserved us a room for the night so that we can indulge and not have to worry about driving.  School Street Band is playing at Higher Grounds tonight; they've got a killer guitar player and do some great dancing music.  We were out till 1:00 last Friday night celebrating with Regina and Lance but not sure we'll make it that late tonight.