Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Bumble bees

            Part of the yard here has been left wild, and there are different flowers that come up and bloom at different times of the year. Currently these tall white clusters of blooms are everywhere. I don't know what they are, but this is what the back yard looks like.

            Twined in between the stalks of the white flowers are these thin vines with clusters of purple flowers that look like this.

            Both kinds of flowers seem to be very attractive to bees and butterflies. I have seen honey bees and big fat bumble bees and swallowtail butterflies and monarch butterflies and black and white butterflies I'm not familiar with all over them. I've also seen another kind of bee that I've only ever seen in Maine. Mr. Riverdragon and I call them Copper-Butt Bees because they have this lovely tuft of copper colored fur on their rumps. They are actually called Orange Belted Bumble Bees according to the internet, but we like our name for them better. They look like this:

            Maybe sometime I can get a closer picture of one. They don't sit still long when there are tasty flowers to explore. I discovered in a previous summer that you don't want to step on them, because they give a nasty nasty sting. They sure are pretty, though, and I don't mind having them around. I just have to watch out where I put my feet! I would rather have a thriving bee population and watch my step than not have enough bees to pollinate the plants we depend on to provide us with food and beautiful flowers.

Sunday, July 8, 2012


            Remember this post in which I showed off a nice piece of birch bark I found by the shore? Well, I finally got around to painting it, and it is now a sign for the door of my studio!

            The figure in the lower left corner is one of my simplified dragons, like on the cups in this post. I am also working on a sign that can be put out by the road to let people know to stop by the barn-studio and see my pots while I am working. That one still has some work that needs done:

            Yeah, ok, a lot still needs to be done with that sign; it's still just a pile of lumber. But when I am done it will be a lovely pale green with black letters. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Some work in progress

            As you can see, I've been doing a bit of trimming today. I think I need to do something about all the trimmings that land on the floor. The splashpan on this wheel seems to work fine for catching slip while I'm throwing, but doesn't catch trimmings well. In the past, with other wheels, I have put plastic all around the wheel so that I could just pick it up and dump the clay into the reclaim bucket. I think I might cut up some garbage bags and tape them together in the right shape so it's a little less fiddly when I go to trim.
            And the results - a soup bowl:

            A carved serving dish:

            This clay is a porcelain that is intended for wood firing, and is the same clay that I used for the lighter colored dragons in my thesis. Example:

            I also used this clay when making a set of these bowls:

            I like this clay very much, although I don't have a whole lot of it left. I'm hoping to find someone in Maine who has a wood kiln who will share kiln space with me. I'm willing to do a lot of work preparing wood and stoking the kiln and cleaning up after! I'm still new to wood firing, but I love it.
            I'm thinking that the carvings on the carved dish will look really awesome when they catch the ash. I'm thinking of doing the same thing with a darker clay as well.