Thursday, April 16, 2009

Twitter, Photoshop, Clay and Fire

Learning technology is a challenge. The latest is Photoshop and Twitter. The amazing part of the process is how long it takes, how many failures I must experience before that ah-ha moment when I realize how easy the procedure truly is. 

Elsah Cort, the organizer of the Three Rivers Artist's Studio Tour, wants the artists to join Twitter. Being that Twitter is the latest rage in communication, or so the NYT's said, she thought it might help us do a little marketing for the upcoming tour March 19, 20, 21, 2010. So far a handful of the artists have jumped on board. How it will play out is hard to tell. But for me, it has pushed using this blog since there is a way to link from Twitter to here. 

I had started with Facebook since a few friends included me, and especially when I realized our daughter Delia using it, I jumped at the chance. Uploading images is easy and the way Facebook is organized captured me. Twitter, 140 words an entry, whereas Facebook you can write more. But Twitter has a link capability that I haven't figured out on Facebook, yet.  

The photographs now have the Haiku on them. I will mat them today, wrap them in protective sleeves and put on the bulletin board. It will give a chance to look at them for a while, to see if I like the result.

Last Monday I glazed the two masks and one coil pot that is in this batch of firing. All three survived bisque firing. The only crack was a very slight one on one of the masks. 

There is a rule we joke about at the workshop, "Don't fall in love with a piece until it makes it through the final firing. Anything can happen." Well, I do love the two masks I made this time. One is porcelain with colored slip that I put transparent glaze on the colored part, and the half that had the sliver of a crack. The other is more plaque than a mask, a sun/moon combination out of black mountain clay with colored slips that also have transparent glaze applied only on the slips. Both are beautiful pieces. It is a joke in the workshop that I do ugly really well, because  many of the masks I do are primitive. I still sell them to my amazement, but every now and again I do a mask that is really beautiful, and both these masks fit the bill. They have one more firing to get through. 

What could happen? The glaze instead of being clear like I want could be tainted with chemicals from other colored glazes on other pieces in the firing. Someone's could blow up, or mine could, if an air bubble is in the clay. They could stretch in the firing because it is so hot, and crack in ways that ruin it. Sometimes the cracks are a blessing. I sold one that the woman said, "It gives the face character." So to fall in love with your piece before it is done sets you up for huge disappointment! But I cannot help it this time. I really love these two masks and I hope they do fine in the firing.

Marn was over yesterday to see the mural Nadi Spencer finished for us the day before. The shed wall is empty of masks. "Where are they all?" Marn asked. "I sold them. That's all that's left," I said. "You'd better get busy and do more than one mask a week!" She's right. I look at the schedule of shows coming up, and the studio tour, in the next 6 months and I need more masks to sell. This is a great problem to think about. Do I bring clay home to work? Or go to the workshop an extra day? 

The stars are back and so is good sleep. Both Bruce and I slept the whole night in peace, a first since the fire. The trauma of opening eyes in the dark to find a raging fire next door that threatened lives and property shook us to our very souls. But as the week progressed the reality that no one was hurt, that no homes were burned, that because of firemen and neighbors and spring green of grass, trees and bushes it wasn't as devastating as it could have been. The neighbors did loose the tools of their trades, he construction, she a gourd artist, which is bad enough. 

The barn that burnt down blocked the stars from our bedroom window. Now I can see the hillside covered in oak trees. And since the neighbors were moving shortly anyway, I am not sorry the barn is gone. The moon has been with us this week, and when it disappears the stars will fill the window like they did when we first moved in.