Monday, October 20, 2014

Pit Fire

Friday was the last day of my class in micaceous clay, a clay harvested locally and used for cookware. On that last day, we pit fire all our vessels (or at least those we haven't fired in the raku kiln, which turns the pottery a metallic black).

We use pine bark to construct the fire.

The vessels are under the bark, which will burn hot and fast.  Areas of the vessels which get less oxygen (often the areas bark is leaning against or which become covered with soot) will turn color, making "fire clouds".

The fire gets EXTREMELY hot.  Pine bark burns hot and fast.

It's important to keep an eye on the pots at this point.  Fire clouds appear and disappear.  Adding heat will remove fire clouds, and even something that's been raku fired or reduced (more on that in a moment) will go back to orange if it becomes super-heated again.

If the pottery is to be reduced (oxygen deprived so it turns metallic black), it's pulled from the fire and quickly placed in an airtight metal can stuffed with paper, which burns off until the oxygen is totally deprived.

This process allows you to create pottery with two distinct colorations at the same firing.

At the point where the pots are removed (if they are not to be reduced) horsehair can also be applied, which burns on the slip (coating layer on the outside of the pottery) to produce beautiful black lines on the pottery.

None of the pottery in this post is mine. Mine were in the previous firing, it's a lot easier to photograph the process when you're not trying to watch your pots for the fire clouds you want! I'll do photos of my work later.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Time Flies

Why is it the older we get, the quicker time goes by?

Today I'm thinking about the things I used to do when I was younger, and wondering where I found the hours in the day.  Back then I'd work 12 hours a day, go home, get changed and grab dinner, feed the kids and help them with homework, do home repairs and crafting, and still have time to go out a couple times a week with friends clubbing.

At one point (and it seems like only yesterday!) I was doing my Masters, taking 33 credit hours at once, working full time, and raising 4 kids, 3 with special needs programing.

Now I'm on my own, struggling to maintain my A average in community college, and struggling with getting out of the apartment in the mornings.  Every day seems too short, every week not enough hours, and balancing school, volunteering, and home seems like a nearly overwhelming chore.

It's been four hours since I've rolled out of bed (yes, I overslept today), and it seems like minutes.  I'm on my 3rd cup of tea trying to wake up enough to get going, stop the shaking (which I get when I'm really REALLY tired) and start my day.  When I think of what I used to be able to accomplish in the time it now takes me to simply get moving, I'm a little baffled at how I did it all.

At this point, I've been in my apartment alone for 4 months, a third of a year already! and I just hung the lamp over the table yesterday.  Where did all that time go?

At this point I'm closer to 60 than 50.  There's something about that number... 60... that carries so much more weight.  I remember blogging about turning 40.  I remember making goals for my life at 50.  I even named my blog Fabulous @ 50 because that was a goal I had, never thinking I'd be blogging about my weight loss and health improvement work after that point.  After all, I was only 45ish.  and then it became Fabulous AFTER 50, and I knew that the years were rushing at me quicker than I could foresee.

At this point I know if I blink I'll be 60.  I also know that there's no going back to 20, or even 30, and the energy and time I had in those days.  Life is becoming more and more compressed, and I have to adjust to that somehow.

I think the first step of that is going to be acceptance.

The old grey mare just ain't what she used to be.

I also know that this doesn't mean that my life can't be full or fulfilling.  I simply need do place those things that nourish me ahead of the perceived "have to" list I have, to fill my time with things I truly value and which make my life happier, easier, and more secure.