I started out to make small articulated ceramic senior women in blue and green bathing suits. Don’t ask me why, I do not know. These things come to me, float around in my brain and then I am driven to make them, not logical, I don’t care just thankful some inspiration pops up and then I run with it. But then the women kept turning into old men and finally I figured why fight it, make old men. No, I have no idea where the tops hats are coming from but they persist. This is where I am so far. I know this crazyness is going somewhere, but again destination still unclear. I am presently working on a boat for the old man on the right, why a boat, madness I presume. These men are all porcelain with slip coloring, no glaze. The hats are made of dark clay. The next step seems to be men of all different colored clays. Am I subliminally searching for my very own old man? I hope not. Time will tell what is happening here, I will keep you posted.
These are the new articulated pieces I am working on now. I have made a couple in the past and now would like to take my time and explore this further. They are all small figures averaging 8″ and have movable arms and legs that are attached with wire. I want them to be quickly made, more passion than technique so that they have an energy but it’s sort of a static energy.
Amelia Airhart loves to fly always followed closely by her BFF. Amelia is a big chicken that easily clears a five foot fence. She has a BFF that is missing a lot of feathers on her head because Ameilia is a bossy, pushy headpecker. Her BFF regardless of the abuse follows her lead. Monday they jumped the fence together and ate all my baby cabbages. It took me a couple days to catch Amelia, she is very fast and once she lands back in with the flock she looks like several others and I cannot accurately pick her out. But catch her I did and then I clipped her wings. I clipped both because she is one of the hens that roosts in the rafters instead of the perches and I was afraid she might get up there and then spirel down and injure herself, she is a beautiful big bird and I like her in spite of how annoying she is. In the evening I found her on the lowest perch looking quite dejected. I felt very sad, I had taken a wild, free spirited bird and made her like all the rest, what had I done. The next morning shortly after I let the hens out into the big pasture there was the BFF in the garden heading for the broccoli while Amelia gazed at her through the fence. She was easy to catch, she is slow and not my sharpest chicken and easy to pick out because of her red featherless head. In her defense she is one of my best layers. I clipped her wings too. I spent a lovely day with no chickens in the garden and in the evening there they were close together on the bottom perch. I have no more remorse. Animal husbandry requires some tough choices, I chose broccoli.
For the past month I have been building this stone wall around one of my raised beds in the veggie garden. This has been my first experience with building a dry stone wall and I love it. I would have kept going to the other beds but I ran out of stone. hopefully will get more stone when the budget fattens up. Can’t wait to see how it looks full of plants and maybe little bits of creeping time in between the rocks. The ceramic houses are what I call “transplant houses”. I use them to protect new transplants in the garden, they protect from sun, wind, and cold nights and have reduced my transplant shock with young plants, right now they are covering broccoli plants. When I am not using them for transplanting they make little garden lanterns along the path with either candles or LED lights. I have used these houses for two season now they work great and I don’t have to wait for a cloudy day to move my plants around. In the summer we put them on the deck with citronella candles. Luckily I enjoy making them because I need about six more.
I have been obsessed with pinch pots for about six months now. I like the feel of the clay, especially porcelain, I like the pinching between my fingers as the clay sort of squishes out. I also like the idea that I can take a ball of clay and my two hands and mold it into a functional object, a bowl I can eat soup out of, a cup for my coffee. No wheel,no mold, my two hands and the quiet and the clay. These forms have not been well received by friends and family. I do not make much effort to make them look like thrown or mold made objects. for me the imperfect idea intrigues me, the wonky, lumpy, bumpy child like madness of them. I set a table with them and I feel like the mad hatter at a tea party, one lump or two. I still have not found the right place I want to go with this idea. Right now all I can do is keep making them keep pushing the limits until I come up with the vessel that moves me to make a service for ten or twenty.
Yes I left the garden in a mess last fall and I do not exactly remember why. There it is though, the mess still waits for me and creeping charlie has had a grand ole time covering everything. The ground is more than wet so I started pulling up the charlie and repairing the tomato trellises. My plan is to then spread chicken manure mixed with pine shavings. I bed the hens with pine shavings so that is how it comes, ready for the garden. After that has settled in and it gets a little warmer I will plant white clover. My plan is to then make holes in the clover and put in tomato plants, the clover then serving as a living mulch while fixing nitrogen for the tomatoes. Last year I tried red clover, but it gets too tall and floppy. The honey bees cannot harvest from the red clover as the flowers have to long and narrow a passage but they love white clover and it is shorter and should form a sustaining mat although I am not sure it is any match for creeping charlie, we shall see. I am doing this because I am having difficult finding anything I can use for mulch. It turns out hay and grain fields are being sprayed with a herbicide that keeps flat leaf weeds out of the field and it comes through in the straw and my tomato plants suffer being a flat leaf plant and I am trying to keep toxins out of my garden. the first year I used straw I was lucky to get any fruit at all. I feel this is a horrible thing for all the native plants and insects and birds but I won’t get started on how we are killing the planet spray by wretched spray. A warning, it also comes through in the manure I learned that the hard way with horse manure now I only use my home grown fertilizer. I have also been reading “Attracting Beneficial Bugs” by Jessica Walliser. She has some very interesting concepts that make sense to me. It turns out that when a plant is attacked by lets say aphids that the plant puts out an odor that signals beneficial bugs to come to the rescue and chow down on the bad bugs in this case the aphids. when we then spray the aphids even with just soapy water we also kill the good bugs that have come to dine and we damp down the smell signal. If we wait maybe a couple weeks do nothing and check again we will probably see the good bugs in shinning armor and maybe eggs for backup that have come to do the job and of course dine. Maybe we need to get out of the way and stop doing more harm than good. Also part of the plan is to put in plants that attract beneficial insects and build an environment that has a natural cycle of eat and be eaten. I am going to jump in and try this as it makes sense to me and the book is worth checking out. As gardeners we need to educate ourselves as to what a good or bad bugs looks like[also in the book] and find another way to live in harmony with the whole system that already exists for us to take advantage of.
Cooked for the chickens this morning. Rice, green split peas and chopped collards was breakfast this morning, all nice and warm for my girls. They seem to love a nice warm breakfast on a cold morning but then they come running for food almost any time. they will however let you know if they think the treats are not yummy, lots of vocals and I don’t think it is nice talk. I can’t translate verbatim, just as well some of them are fowler than others but I definetely know the tone.
I enjoy the holidays, I get to spend time with family and I get the house all cleaned up and shinny. All the treasured ornaments go up on the tree and I live with magical little twinkly lights and gobble up festive foods, some that I packed in jars and stuffed in the freezer in august especially for Christmas. A lovely culmination of the year. Congradulations to all of you for making it through another year in fine style and I wish you peace and joy in the new year.
I had a very lovely day at the Boylan Heights Art Walk. It was a good day for me on so many levels. Friends that care about me and support my work came and helped, stayed all day and helped pack up when we were all so tired, I was amazed I never expected so much help. My son was amazing, loading, unloading, staying calm and charming all day, lots of positive energy, always there for me with good advice and lots of love, such a sweet man. Tonya and Jason that own the porch we took over were very gracious and generous and truely nice people, made us feel very welcome. All the Artwalk crew were very kind and helpful, they do an amazing job. To all of you that purchased my sculpture, I thank you so much. I like to think I don’t need validation but that is not true, it felt fantastic to have people like the pieces and take them home or give them to loved ones and you make it possible to buy more clay, mix more glazes and keep going. I admit that for the first part of the day I was very freaked out, showing in galleries is much easier, I can run away and hide, being there with the work is hard for me, I hold my body very tight, but the kindness just kept pouring in from friends, family, neighbors and patrons, complete strangers so sweet that I had to start to open to it and the next time I do this I will not have to be so apprehensive, Raleigh people are great. All in all I have to say I am a very lucky woman and thankful for my life. I have included a photo of my sidekick Louie, my business consultant and spiritual adviser, We both thank you all.
Please let there be sunshine this Sunday. I will be at the art walk at 711 Mc Culloch on the porch noon to five pm. Come by and see the new work that has been happening including this piece I call House Sitting.