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Getting Ready For Art on the Patio Sale

My summer studio looks remarkably like my back patio and I want to try having an open studio sale. So, Art on the Patio. Now that I’ve said it out loud, I have to do it. I’m having the usual pre-show angst. Do I have enough pieces made? What if I sell out in the first hour? What if no one shows up? What if I don’t sell anything? I’ll be fine once I get to the last weekend this month – which is when the sale is.

Just to add to the fall fun, Jim and I have matching hernias. Mine is lower right abdomen, his is upper left. Neither of us should be living kiln shelves. Jim gets his hernia fixed in early December. I get to see the specialist to find out about my hernia later this month. Once we start getting fixed, there will be no shelf lifting or kiln loading for at least three months. I’m not just in pre-show production mode, I’m in pre-enforced no clay mode.

I’ve got a number of pieces in varying stages of ready to be bisque fired. I’ve made some Christmas ornaments. I’ve got cowboy boots and chilis made, and I wanted something a bit different.


The koi and the ginkgo are commercial stamps. The leaves and stylized trees are my hand-made stamps.

I’ve been playing with ideas for boxes. The white clay piece has impressions from my leaf stamps. The brown clay piece has an impression from a doily I crocheted. I am not thrilled with the doily so I am now using it with clay.

Someone, and I don’t remember who, suggested I would be able to see the cones better if I painted a brick or post with red iron oxide and put that behind my cones. I don’t have a brick or post to paint, so I rolled out a slab, used the same doily I don’t like, plopped the slab over a mold and got a little wall for behind the cones. I’ll coat it with red iron oxide and bisque it standing behind the cones.

I’m still working on a non-piddling teapot. When I tested the teapots I bisque fired a few days ago, one pot wouldn’t pour right. I knew I had made a better pot than that. Then I discovered that a wasp had built a nest in the spout. It’s tough to destroy a wasp’s nest after it has been bisque fired. The pot poured significantly better after I managed to dig out the nest. img_3289img_3288

I’m still working on learning the Canon. These are today’s backyard photos.

I played with the telephoto lens the other night as I took sunset photos. img_3203img_3204img_3230img_3254

I learned that with the telephoto lens, I’m better off it I use manual focus. I also learned that the lens shortens the foreground. In some of the shots I took, it looks as if I lived in the middle of a city. When I checked, some of the houses were at least a half mile away and  many were a mile or more away.

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Latest Experiments

A friend and I were talking about pearl cotton, and my brain started creating. Pearl cotton is fairly thick. Yes, you can quilt with it, but it takes determination to pull the needle and pearl cotton through the quilt sandwich. What about couching? I’ve got a special sewing machine foot that has a groove in the bottom. It’s used for couching cords, thread, yarn, whatever. The drawback is that I can only use a zigzag stitch with that foot and I wanted something more subtle. Or… maybe if I used a blind hem stitch with the couching foot???? I’ll have to play around with the foot.


I made a thumbnail quilt. A scrap of fabric, a scrap of batting, some pearl cotton and started playing. I used the close up setting on the Canon for these shots. Notice how well that bit of thread I didn’t see shows up.


For the top four branches, I used crochet cotton for the couching. The lower left branch has double thickness green holographic thread. The right lower branch has double thickness copper holographic thread. The stem has a strand of green and a strand of copper holographic threads. I have magpie tendencies and like the copper holographic thread the best. Somewhere in the sewing room I’ve got some pale gray pearl cotton. I think pale gray would be better for showing off the fancy threads used for the couching.

I like the couching, but I don’t think this is the best design for that technique. I think trapunto would work better. On my next thumbnail quilt, I’ll pay with trapunto.


For this bit, I used a variegated green, polyester thread, single thickness. I think this is a better design for couching, but I’m not happy with the ends of the pearl cotton. I think if I do this again, I’ll grit my teeth, thread a needle, and pull the pearl cotton through the quilt sandwich. A knot on the back of a quilt is less distracting than a fraying end on the front. Unless I exploit the fraying and deliberately leave frayed fringe.

This morning, I had better luck with sunrise shots. I wanted to take photos of the western sky because the sky in the west had all the lovely rose colors. Although these shots look like they were taken at different times, they weren’t. They were taken one right after another.

I’ve been playing with the close up setting on the Canon. I may be able to avoid having to buy a macro lens.

Some of the shots, which aren’t posted here, would have been far better had I used a tripod. Next time.


I finally got the kiln to fire evenly. From the bottom, bottom shelf, next to bottom shelf, cones I looked at, top shelf. I’m used to seeing all the cones on the top shelf flat and the cones on the bottom shelf standing upright. This was a bisque firing, and I used ^06, ^04, and ^03. Only ^06 went down although I was sure I couldn’t see any cones through the peep hole.

A friend on the Claybuddies page (Facebook), suggested putting a post or soft brick that had been painted with red iron oxide behind the cones so I’d get better contrast and be able to see the cones. I’ll be making a standing slab to coat with RIO later today.

I wanted to be able to remember where I had the damper and lever that controls the gas when the kiln was firing evenly. I usually sketch, but this time, I took a photo. It’s an Olympic round gas kiln fired with propane. We don’t have a gas line out where I live. I printed out the photos and put them in my kiln log.

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Dawn, October 5, 2016

I started firing the kiln today at 6:00 AM. Being outside and it was dark, I decided to take sunrise photos. In the desert, sunrise is either spectacular or bland. This morning was bland.


6:05 AM. Kiln s lit and warming up.


6:06 AM. Sun lighting the eastern sky.


6:07 AM.


6:15 AM


6:20 AM


6:16 AM facing west.

I’m still working on composition of my shots, where I put the focal point, and where I aim the camera for a light sensor reading. Another 2000 or so shots, and I’ll start to get good at this.