Sunday, February 24, 2013

Weekend Wood Firing.

by 6 he meant 6 am.

all night candling.

about 30 hours into firing. somewhere around 2100 degrees farenheit.
Let me tell you about my week. It wore me completely out. It included all sorts of lovely things like a good critique, dance classes (one of which I helped teach! Eek! Fun!), crooner music, almost a whole day off classes, and this crazy 32 hour wood firing. It did, however, lack a lot of sleep. And food. And I may or may not have had a terrible sinus headache and felt sick, but it was filled with friends and excitement.

I posted a few photos of our crazy weekend. Nick was at school from 11 pm Thursday to 6 am Friday glazing his work. We started loading our kiln that same day around 2 pm. We got our fire lit around 8 and he left me to candle till 1:30 am Saturday. He came back and I went home to sleep and go to work. I got back at 2:30 pm and we finished around 2:15 am Sunday morning. I don't know how he managed to stay awake and keep firing. I managed to get about 5 hours of sleep, but was still wiped out by the end of our firing. It is tough work!

With all the craziness and discomfort that was experienced this weekend I have to say that I still feel like one of the luckiest kids in the world. How many other kids can say that they burned their homework outside under the stars for hours with their friends listening to Dean Martin, drinking coffee, and roasting marshmallows on the kiln fire? I think I've had quite a unique education. Yeah, I get really discouraged sometimes, but all in all I absolutely love what I do and can't imagine having studied anything else. I think I would have regretted it if I chose not to do art and I think I've learned a lot that I can apply to my life outside college too. I'm very grateful. And very tired. I'm calling it an early night and catching some zzzz's. :)

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Sketches of my pots...

Pieces for a larger project that I was critiqued on this week. We had to make wallpaper. I made wallpaper of sketches of my pots. It was really fun. I love my multi-media class because every project we have done makes me want to continue to research and push the techniques we learned. In my critique they told me I should make more of these to put alongside my pots in my BFA show. I think it would be fun. Especially if instead of using brown paper as my backdrop if I used watercolor paper that I toned with tea, coffee, or hot chocolate since those are what I drink from my pots anyway. :)

Monday, February 18, 2013

Being me.

Chinese underglaze decals.
Sometimes I get frustrated with myself. I wish I was the kind of person who was passionate about medicine. Or math. Or engineering. Or political science. I wish I was a natural intellectual.

But as it would turn out working with my hands, dancing, poetry, languages...those are more of the things that make my heart feel so full. Those are the things that make me feel energized. They aren't prestigious. They are not profitable (at least not in comparison with medicine and engineering, etc). If I could be the kind of person who loved those other areas of interest I would be. Maybe people would treat me more like I was serious and ambitious.

But I'm not that person. I'm Grace. I make pottery and books and other objects because I've always been a maker. It's part of who I keeps me sane and a bit crazy all at the same time. Dancing makes me feel wildly happy. Poetry has made me cry. Communicating in another language is thrilling.

I can't change myself. And I'd like to think that if God created me with these interests and passions...that if he created those disciplines...then rather than be disappointed in myself I should just be thankful. Because if He saw fit to create them then they are good. And they are fine to pursue and to enjoy and to throw myself into. That they are all useful in some way.

Perhaps I am rationalizing things here, but it would be nice to not feel that I have to explain my choices of study or defend my passions and justify them in some way. That is the way I tend toward now.

Motown at night.

Someday I will learn photography. I will learn to take photos at night. And portraits. And art photos.

Until is a photo of the city from campus. I love stars and I love the lights of the city at night. Even our little, run-down city.

Sometimes I think about how nice it would be to go to an open space at night to see the stars. They are so pretty. I think it's why I like to see the town lights at night. They remind me of the stars when it's too bright or cloudy to see them myself. It's nice to think of people together enjoying their time in their homes with each other. Do you ever look out at the lights at night and think about the people in those buildings? Or do you think about the people in the cars passing you on the highway and wonder what sort of travels they are on? I used to work at a coffee shop and I liked serving the regular customers because it was fun to think that I was a part of their every day lives. And although they came in every day and ordered the same thing I really knew nothing about them.

I like the mystery of it all.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Scenes from Valentines Day

There was quite a bit of love in the studio this Valentines day. Candy, a note to one of our grad students from a secret admirer, and notebook paper heart confetti...

Lots of people wore pink or red and lots of folks skipped class. I hope they had a fun date to go on.

I spent the day with my boyfriend ceramics. Later I went salsa dancing. It's becoming quite fun. We are learning more steps and the guys are becoming better leads all the time which makes following much easier and more fun. I am very glad I get to be involved in social dance this semester. What a fun outlet and way to relieve some energy and stress.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013


car window
I have been in a bit of a funk these past two days. I guess I thought too much about the impending changes coming up that I got a bit anxious. I have to be thankful. It's the only way to be happy.

The sun came out to say hello the past couple of days. It was a welcome change from the dark and cold days we have been having. Also, today is the 13th of February which means we are almost halfway through the month. Which means winter is almost over!

Sometimes I feel sad about the fact that I don't have all the time in the world to do everything I want to do. Every opportunity you say yes to means you say no to others. I'm pretty young, but I already mourn the fact that life is too short to do everything.

On another note, this old lady has been really enjoying watching Masterpiece Mystery shows (Ms. Marple and Foyle's War) and listening to crooners. Dean Martin, Bing Crosby, and our modern day crooner Michael Buble. I will never understand why people listen to rap.

Friday, February 8, 2013

In this thick of it.

Compared to New England's super blizzard that they are expecting, the snowfall we have had here is nothing to complain about. But I will be honest, I am sick of it all the same. It's not even that I don't like snow or cold weather. I really don't mind. It's the stress of it. Worrying if the roads will be clear. Worrying about missing class or having it interfere with work or worrying about getting stuck out in it. If we had better road maintenance it would be much more tolerable. There is still something appealing about this weather. Maybe hibernation just sounds appealing to me and that is what I want to do.

It does make studio days a bit more cozy. And nights a bit more quiet. I have been slowly catching up on my Downton Abbey, Ms. Marple, and Foyle's War episodes. I know. I'm an old lady. I miss the sunshine, but dance is a good beta-endorphin creator, so I'm hanging in there.

Oil and Water

Oil and water...sometimes not mixing in is a good thing. :)
Call me a hippy (this does look a little psychadelic), but I think this little oil spill out on the kiln pad was very pretty with the light reflecting on it.

What funny little sights do you see throughout your day that are pretty? Also, does taking photos of things like oil spills or sponges in front of people make you feel nervous? It makes me feel pretty self-conscious.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Topography, breakfast style.

I made pancakes the other day. As I transferred the pancakes from skillet to plate I noticed all the creases and crevices on the surface of the food. It was beautiful. It looked to me like an aerial view of some desert/mountain terrain.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Things are not as they seem.

Ivy on some logs dropped off for the wood kiln.

I'm beginning to think everything in life is backwards. All that we thought we knew is not quite what it seems. Ease and comfort are not always a blessing, nor do they always make us happy. Sometimes tragedies are the best things that ever happen to us. I think it all goes back to the Biblical truth that to find your life you must lose it.

I just haven't met him yet.

Valentines Day is just around the corner! Whoo! Single as always this time of year, but I still like Valentines day. Really, if it's a day to specifically honor love it shouldn't matter whether you have a significant other or not. I still feel overwhelmed by how much love is in my life regardless of the fact that there is no special guy in my life right now.

I get lonely sometimes though. I don't like to really talk about it because it seems like once you do people start trying to set you up with people and it's so awkward. While I appreciate the freedom I have in my singleness and the opportunity to do whatever I want I still want to settle down someday. So when I heard this song I felt so happy inside! Because it's about being single and waiting for that special person, but it's happy and therefore encouraging.
Michael Buble. I was never much of a fan of you, but you are winning me over.

Super Bowl 2013...Who wouldn't want to put a ring on it?

Guys. No one reads this blog. I don't blame them. Anyway, I watched most of the Superbowl this year. I even watched the halftime show (I usually don't). And everyone laughed at me because I looked horrified through the whole thing. For real. Beyonce. I've never seen her "dance" before, but I blushed through the whole thing.
This is my parody on her performance. Rated G for Gracie. lol. Really, who wouldn't want to put a ring on that?

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Two more...

Some puffy jars. Everything is in a bisque kiln firing as we speak. I made clay today and now my arms are really sore. Ceramics is rough on your wrists! Taking a break and hanging at home. This includes mint cocoa and the Les Miserables soundtrack and chats with friends. Yay for a snowy evening in!

Friday, February 1, 2013


In typical mid-atlantic/mountain region fashion, we have experienced quite a range of weather this past week! Tuesday was in the 70s and overcast. Wednesday we had pouring down rain and strong wind with a drop in temperature. Thursday we had freezing temperatures, wind, and snow. Today is really cold again too. Perfect weather for hibernating. Getting out of bed is very difficult these days. Lots of blankets make me happy. For such intense weather winter has some calming qualities about itself. I'm just thankful I don't have to work in the outdoors right now.

I went to the arboretum today to see the snow in a prettier more rural setting. The sun came out for a bit today. I'm usually not a fan of winter at all, but I am trying so hard to accept all of it with a thankful attitude and not wish it away. It has a very beautiful side. It's so extreme and harsh. But when I am out in it running back and forth between buildings and the car and going between freezing cold and warmer environments I do feel quite alive. Discomfort has a way of shocking your senses and reminding you of yourself. Does that make any sense at all?

I remember the first time I realized that there are not always words to describe how we feel (I believe I was in the checkout line at Food Lion, oddly enough). And that we think in ways that don't use words. I'm not sure exactly how we communicate those ideas and feelings that we are not sure of how to express, but I wish I could communicate my thoughts and feelings more clearly. Since I'm not doing a very good job, I will just say that I do love winter. I don't love it as much as I love the other seasons. I don't have gushy feelings for it. But I appreciate its presence, it's rotation in the seasonal lineup and the way it forces me to adjust myself to it. Winter isn't easy. It reminds me to be appreciative of easier weather. Of bright living spring flowers. Of heat waves. Of dying, colorful leaves. It makes me thankful for warmth. For friends. For coffee. For being alive. For having the ability to take in my surroundings. Maybe I'm grateful that it gives me something to juxtapose the ease of those other seasons to so that I appreciate them more.

New ideas

Some 3D ideas. I'm not much of a sketcher. Although we are encouraged to sketch our ideas, it's so much easier for me to throw than to sit and draw out what I want to make. Also, I can troubleshoot when I actually make the piece. Then I can make multiples of them. My photo editor did something strange to the colors in those cups up above, but I think I like it. I wish my pots were multicolored like that.

It's been FREEZING cold these past couple of days! And I work directly below a bank of windows which let in a terrible draft. My left arm started cramping while I was working today so I called it quits a bit early. So much to do. I feel this strange freedom in this last semester to experiment a lot. It's very nice. I want to recapture that enthusiasm for trying new things with clay that I had my first semester. So many changes coming up. I really want to enjoy this while it lasts.