Monday, June 25, 2012


I thought it was about time I posted a few pictures of some of the pieces that came out of the June 20th glaze firing.  Overall, I think it turned out pretty good.  I am pleased with the results.  As I was unloading the kiln Thursday afternoon, I was all smiles.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The beautiful glow...

It's a few minutes after 10:00 and the kiln sitter just dropped.  A little while ago I heard a disheartening pop come from the inside of the kiln, but I'm hoping it was just the soft brick or steel encasement expanding, or something.  I doubt it, but I guess we will see tomorrow afternoon... what survived and what didn't.  I normally don't have much trouble with that sort of thing, but I guess it's bound to happen sooner or later. 

bisque day!

Loading the kiln for a bisque firing this afternoon.  Yahoo!  Had to kick the dogs out of the garage this morning, and they were not very happy about that (ha).  But they have since been distracted by a neighborhood cat that decided to taunt them by walking past our house several times.  The nerve!  Now they are asleep in the back yard.  Tough life.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Out in the middle of nowhere...

This past weekend, on our way to Colorado and back, we spent a lot of time out in the middle of nowhere.  Kansas to be exact.  And while we were there, the wind was blasting across the state with a steely eyed focus on Canada.  That was where it wanted to be apparently, and nothing was going to get in its way except a few cars and trucks, some cows... and these giant windmills.  In truth, I suppose we weren't actually out in the middle of nowhere, because we were west of Salina when we took these pictures, and according to all the maps I've seen, that is  somewhere.  The windmills (or wind turbines) are part of an enormous complex known as the Smoky Hills Wind Farm.  There were hundreds and hundreds of these huge wind turbines scattered in loose clusters along I70.  We saw one of the blades for these things sitting on a large flatbed trailer, at a truck stop, and it extended out past the end of the trailer.  It's encouraging to see so many of these being built.  Anywhere the wind blows consistently, there should be wind farms.  But from what I understand, all of the windmills in this complex are owned by an Italian company.  Seems we can't even get our own country to seriously invest in this kind of technology.  That is truly unfortunate.  But over the years I am sure that the coal and oil industries have applied a great deal of pressure on the politicians (always for sale to the highest bidder) to find subtle ways to underfund clean and renewable energy R&D.  Washington pays lip service to it, but when it comes down to making it a priority, and really  getting behind it, the money and initiative always seems to be lacking.  So much of what we do, how we get from one place to another, how we power our lives, is fossil fuel based.  It is ubiquitous; and because alternatives are not being given serious attention here in the U.S., the deck is stacked against the average consumer.  Going green is expensive.  So the car we drove across Kansas (at 75 miles per hour) runs on gasoline, and we used quite a bit on this trip.  That's just the way it is for now, I guess.  Don't get me wrong, this petroleum based system of ours has served us well over the past 150 years or so, but it is clear that the extraction and use of those products is harming our world, and it will eventually become too costly, in a number of ways, to obtain and use.  It is not going to last forever, despite what some would like you to believe.  "Drill, baby, drill!"... the rallying cry of the slack-jawed masses.  The people who embrace that philosophy are inclined to look no further than the tip of their nose, apparently... or they are in deep denial.  There is no such thing as generational thinking for them, it's just what serves them best right now. The future will take care of itself, I guess.  Ugh.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

A few pieces headed for the kiln

I am slowly getting enough pots made to have a kiln load here in the next week or so.  I am looking forward to it.  It all just takes time.  In this next firing there will be more skyblue terra sig ware... bottles & jugs, footed bowls, small platters, flower vases, and so forth.  I really like the look of the blue terra sig pots... to me, they have a very light, peaceful quality about them.
This time around, in addition to the blueware, (and a few pots with underglaze deco) I am making some pieces specifically to be glazed. The jug I'm holding (which still needs some finishing) will get a nice burnt orange glaze in the second firing.  I'm hoping that the star figure will catch the glaze nicely and add some dimension to it.  The plan is to have enough pieces ready by next weekend (the 16th) for a bisque-firing.  So far everything seems to be on track.  Keep your fingers crossed.      

Dave Farabee

I lost a friend yesterday.   Dave was diagnosed with leukemia in mid May.  They started his chemo right away, and he was finished with his first round of treatments by the end of the month.  He celebrated his 60th birthday in the hospital; and despite the weight of his situation, and the drain on his body from the treatments, he was upbeat and ready to get on with his life.  Always positive.  On Sunday he suffered a massive brain hemorrhage, and passed away the next day at 4:50pm, June 4, 2012.  Another light has left this world.  Dang it.  It just seems unreal to write those words.

I first met Dave Farabee in June of 2008... not so long ago, I suppose, but it seems like Dave and I have been friends all our lives.  He was that kind of a guy.  I was playing in a band called Electra 225 at the time, and our lead guitarist, Steve Thomas, asked if I would be interested in playing a couple of sub gigs for his other band, Cahoots.  I was more than happy to jump at the challenge.  A few week before, I had gone out to hear them play at a local bar, and even sat in with the band, so I knew their set list, and knew that they were a solid band, with good players... and easy to get along with.  Dave played bass in that band, as well as local favorites, the M-Dock band.  So for two nights on the weekend of June 20th, I played with Cahoots, and started getting to know Dave Farabee on and off stage.  My first and lasting impression of him is that he is a friendly guy, with an intelligent, easy-going manner about him... always ready with a smile and a corny joke, or when the occasion called for it, sincere words of encouragement.  I don't think I have ever met anyone who didn't like him.  In the past four years I have had the privilege of playing music with Dave on many occasions.  Among the most memorable have been the annual Mardi Gras and Halloween gigs at his church, Saint James Episcopal, here in Springfield.  The band included Dwight Gann on guitar, Dave on bass, Greg Hale on keys, me on drums, and Clay Stuckey on guitar.  Those gigs, with that group of guys, were always very enjoyable.  Those are times that will never come around again.  David Farabee was one of the good guys, and I will miss him.   So long Dave.  Rest in peace, brother.