Saturday, January 31, 2009

I'm All Ears

My latest work is slightly different. Why? I don't know, I just like ears.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Secret Belgians and Baby Dremels

Saturday was a busy day for us. Susan went to a workshop sponsored by the Capital City Scribes where she learned how to make a book with a Mongolian Binding. She said was sturdy enough it could have been carried around by Genghis Khan (no picture of it, sorry). These pictures are of the 2nd book she made with the Secret Belgian Binding. She said the secret was that it was hard as hell to do. The covers are Arches Text Wove paper, with washes and stamping (large foam stamps) with acrylic paint mixed with gesso. The thread is waxed linen.

While she was in that workshop I was busy shopping at one of my favorite stores, Harbor Freight. (And it's one of EJ's favorites, too.) If you haven't signed up for their mailing list, do it! That's how I found out this great tool was on sale for only $6.99. This Baby Dremel will be perfect for drilling little holes in stuff like leather and cardboard where normally I'd have to work with a screw punch and wind up with a big hole. When Susan saw it she made me go back and buy her one. She calls it her Sissy Dremel.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Squadron, Revisited

A few months back I showed you The Squadron before they got their final "dress uniforms" on (bottom picture). Well, here they are, all ready for their parade.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Book Arts

The Austin Book Arts people don't just do books, they do lots of other stuff. For example, zines, Calligraphy, conservation, paper arts, bookmaking, book binding, etc. Jerome is currently in charge and this is just one example of his artistic talents, you can see more in the "Books" photostream here. (If you are in the Austin area, think about going to one of their meetings.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Rolling Along

Susan meant to get this for me at Christmas but things got too hectic around the mall area so she didn't do it. But the day I said I had to make a trip to Home Depot (I was having tool withdrawal pains) she handed me a BedBathBeyond discount coupon and reminded me it was just next door so I could easily treat myself.

It's a very heavy teflon-coated rolling pin I use to roll out clay slabs at home. At school I have the use of a big slab roller but before I just had a junky wooden rolling pin and it never seemed useful. This big one is PERFECT.

My ceramics class starts back up today. Or as Susan calls it, "Adult Daycare".

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Getting Ready to Make History

"Occasionally in life there are those moments of unutterable fulfillment which cannot be completely explained by those symbols called words. Their meanings can only be articulated by the inaudible language of the heart."

Martin Luther King Jr.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Politics in Sicily

I was looking over my Sicily pictures so I could show you more about our trip there when I noticed something unusual (to an American, anyway) in the background of this one.

The picture was taking in an open market in the center of a town called Catania, not far from a restaurant whose specialty was horse meat. Although the posters look like they were torn off I don't know if they were just wearing off or were torn off by a rival party worker. There are LOTS of political parties and candidates in Italian politics. They make our ballots look really slim.

At the time we were there the Italians were getting ready to vote in their big national election so there were posters everywhere. I might not be totally accurate about this but here are two trivia facts I learned:

1) They vote on Saturday. No problem about getting off work or disrupting school.
2) All TV election/campaign advertising has to end 5 days before the election.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Charming the Local Police

In Sicily we listened to a lecture about the history of the Mafia. It was given by a professor from some school and was very scholarly and very neutral. Of course, Susan couldn't leave it alone and had to privately ask our tour guide, Rosa, if Sicilians were still watchful about the Mafia. Rosa rolled her eyes ("Another question?") and told Susan 1) that if it wasn't for the Mafia, nothing would work in Sicily and 2) don't do anything to cross the Mafia, which is just like the Polizia.

A few days later we were in a small town, heading back to the bus and Susan saw this guy and told Rosa she'd be right back, she wanted me to take her picture with him. Rosa freaked out. "No, you canNOT do that! Do not go near him! Don't even look at him. He is Polizia, he is Police. They do not talk to tourists. It is worse than Mafia. No! No!"

I missed getting the picture of them shaking hands.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Old Sicilian Coots

These two old coots were just sitting on a bench, glaring at the American tourists running around taking pictures of the church in their town square. Susan was making sketches in a little sketchbook she had and went up with a big smile and asked the scowling guys to sign the little sketch she made of them. The guy in the red hat gave her a big smile back and a long, long story in Italian. He was probably trying to hit on her. They both VERY laboriously signed their names on the sketch.

The town? Beats me. A long, dusty two-hour bus ride up into the mountains. Not very many tourists in the area at all. The next page in Susan's sketchbook said "Piazza San Paolo" so maybe that was it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Yes, I Can So!

Maybe you think that all I can do is make art? Wrong! I can cook. Two years ago we went to Sicily and part of the group tour involved cooking classes. Not only did I learn to make gnocchi, I made two new friends.

Right now all my clay work is in that in-between stage where I'm not sure where I'm going with it but I'm not ready to give up on it. In the meantime I'll be showing you my wish-I-was-there-again pictures.

Susan: Don't let him fool you. We buy our gnocchi now.

Saturday, January 10, 2009


This is the final piece in this series for now. I really like the glaze colors but, as usual, I never write anything down so I have no idea how to get the same colors again. My work definitely is "What you see is what you get . . . .probably just once."

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Ike and Morley, Before and After

Some pieces change a lot from the initial phase, some not so much. Here you can see that I'm still working on developing new glazes. Some of Robyn's work was the inspiration for the neck treatment. She recently posted about the difficulties of getting back into Work Mode, which I completely identify with. So much so that I need to lie down and take a nap.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Sometimes the art I'm showing you needs to be Susan's.

Susan: Watercolor paper, Adirondack Color Wash, rock salt.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Barney and Jfry, Before and After

Just for the record, I have been producing. This set of pieces (more to follow) is a slightly new direction for me as far as glazing goes.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

Here's hoping we all have a Happy New Year. Zee Bunny went to my sister-in-law, Linda, who took the snowy Taos picture posted from a few days back.

To all the faithful readers of my blog, thank you for your validation. Throwing thoughts, words and art out into the vast anonymous cyberspace can be a lonely feeling but you have all made me feel so much richer for your comments and your contact.

My Blog Wrangler, Susan, is everything a computer-klutz like me can hope for. She types for me, fixes my photos, sends me off to Adult Day Care (better known as my ceramics class at our community college), and keeps order in my world and on my blog. She has pushed me and shoved me into the art world and into the blogging community and I'm a much happier person for it all. However, she has given me my one New Year's Resolution: To be better about reading other people's blogs.

Is a Resolution resolved if you do it 3 days in a row?

Susan speaks:
Don used to claim that his dyslexia made it hard for him to use the computer. But his prolonged playing of Bejeweled and TipTop let me shoot that claim down. I do try to balance out internet information time with creative time for him but, as we all know, any type of balance in life is hard to maintain. We'll continue to work on it.

For those poor demented souls who think we are such a Perfect Couple, here's a brief peek into our life that might provide a little reality wake-up:

S: Check out the blogs, ______ has a great entry today (just fill in your name here).
D: What does it say?
S: Check it out yourself. Besides, you haven't looked at anyone's blog in over a week and they look at yours all the time, you rude clod.
D: How do you know they look at mine?
S: By their comments. You have been checking your own comments, haven't you?
D: Oh. Sort of. Well, what do they say?
S: Say about what?
D: Anything. What do they say in their blogs? And in comments?
S: Read them yourself, you lazy bum! I can't be reading everything to you. I already have to tell you when you have email.
D: Email? Do I have email? What does it say?
S: Definitely what is says it that you're not going to get lucky at all, ever, in 2009. And now you're working on 2010.