Friday, September 30, 2011

B & N

No, not Barnes and Nobles.
Though that's going to be the last mega bookstore left around these parts now that Borders is going, going, gone.
I admit, I've not patronized a brick and mortar book store in a while, most of my book buying is done on Amazon, but the bargain book sections are nice to browse.
Anytime I can get an art book for less than twenty bucks, that's deal for art books are usually expensive because of all the pictures.
Anyways, I got the thingy No.2 out of the kiln tonight:

That's right black and nasty fans!
It's well, black and nasty!
With a bit o'red.
Actually I used two different blacks there, flat and gloss.
I was going to do the spring part as a metallic, but decided that it would detract more than add so I went with a flat black, to try and suggest something well, springy:

The lid is presently back in the kiln, I gave the port holes the white gold treatment, to give the impression of glass.
Unfortunately, it's not the only thing that will have to be refired, for I missed a spot on the treads, so after the lid comes out, the bottom part will have to go back in too:

I should have glazed the bottom part last, since it was the area that was going to be handled the most but I usually glaze with whatever glaze is open at the time and forgot to inspect the area before dropping it in the kiln.
User error.
So am I happy with it?
I'm not sure.
On the other hand, I'm not sure exactly what I could have done to make this thingy any better.
Something is just goofy about the whole composition, I'm much happier with the way thingy No.3 turned out.
By the way, officially they are now known as Tea Mechanica No.2 and No.3.
I think it's difficult to determine which side is the face, or front.
Looking at it now, it seems like it could be either way though the face is the side with the short spout:

I guess this is one of those pieces where folks will see what they want to see and front and back will be sort of ambiguous.
Okay, I'll get better pics later, before they get shipped off to be judged by a jury of their peers.
Or something.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Unexpected Results

If you can picture it at home, I have the ability to raise only one eyebrow at a time, sort of like Spock in the old Star Trek:

I don't say fascinating or anything like that, but when I took a look at what happened in the kiln last night, I had to raise an eyebrow.
First of all, to take care of some questions, glazes are formulated to reach maturity at different temperatures.
On the other hand, most have a temperature range of about two cones, or 80 degrees F give or take.
The maturing range depends on what's in the glaze chemically, and the flux differs in the glazes I'm using now, and the glazes I used to use.
Specialty glazes on the other hand again, are well, special, so they tend to have a range all their own as we shall see.
Without getting all technical(and it's not as technical as it sounds, okay, it sort of is) the glazes I used on the Teathingy No.3(working title) are specialty glazes of sorts and are supposed to be fired two cones hotter, again about 80 degrees, than the regular glazes I use.
These specialty glazes are metallic so I'm supposing there's something in them that need the hotter temps.
If I could see the formula I might be able to figure them out, but seeing as how they are commercial glazes, the formulas are not available.
Okay, some glaze goofiness.
First firing and second firing:

As you can see, the second firing turned the glaze a dark dry matte compared to the first firing, which was at the correct temperature, which sort of created a metallic gloss.
The brass glaze held up sort of okay, but the lid did lose some shinyness and looks more distressed than before:

So what happened?
The second firing was done at a lower temperature, for the treads and wheels were done with a different glaze, a satin black.
I didn't want to over fire that glaze, for usually the results are not good when you over fire and well, the glaze is sort of a permanent thing.
In the second firing, I'm thinking the metallic glazes sintered(fluxed), but not enough to gloss over hence the dry matte look.
In other words, the metallic glazes were under fired.
Make sense?
Because I'm using three glazes that fire to two different temperatures, I either over cook one, or under cook the other.
I was actually hoping that the hotter glaze would hold it's finish, because it's a hotter glaze, but apparently that didn't happen.
Typically, when using different glazes, you would fire the hottest first, then the lower temperature ones because once a glaze is set, a lower temp usually won't alter it.
So what to do?
I can refire again, this time to the hotter cone in hopes the metallic glaze fully matures and regains the gloss, and the cooler glaze doesn't over cook, or I can just live with the results.
Which in my opinion, aren't that bad.
Except it's really close to the finish I got the Industrial Teapot, and well, I'm not real happy about that:

There's another before and after.
I actually like the second one better, but again, I wasn't looking for something that was like the other thingy I did.
I have time to do a test on the lower firing glaze, to see if it will take the higher temps, so I may refire one more time and try to get the original finish.
Or I may not.
So in response to your questions, you can "adjust" a glaze by using different temperatures, but I feel the results are a bit risky and it's not really something I'd attempt to do on purpose.
I'd rather adjust the glaze chemically to achieve the desired result rather than play with maturing temps.
In other words, I have a gloss black and a satin black(which you'll see later) that both mature at the same temps.
Anyways, time to move on and finish up Teathingy No.2(working title) and get that in the kiln.


One of my favorite words.
As in just go for it.
Do it.
Jump in, damn the torpedoes, leap before you look, etc.
So I did.
Plunge I mean:

No more waffling, hemming and hawing, getting my panties all in a bunch.
I just picked out a glaze and started on in.
I don't wear panties, it's just an expression.
Anyways, I got tired of looking at teathingy two so I just went with a color combination that I thought would look okay.
I gotta say, doing them wheels and treads were making my eyeballs all goo-goo:

Glazing the interior wheels were making me crazy as I don't have any right angle brushes.
Not quite sure how they are going to turn out for getting in there was a bit difficult.
I suppose that since they are on the inside, so most folks won't be looking in there, but I know they are there and that's what counts.
If you know what I mean.
Teathingy three will be coming out later tonight, so maybe I'll get some images tomorrow.
I finished up doing the wheels on that earlier and it's in the kiln right now:

If all goes well, tomorrow will be when teathingy two gets fired, tomorrow or Thursday.
That will need to fired twice also as I'll be adding some of that white gold lustre glaze to finish the portholes.
More on that later.
It's starting to look like I'll be able to finish up with a day to spare, just in case something goes wrong and I need to fire one last time.
At least I have some margin for error and I may even have time to go out for a ride.
Okay, if you are at all interested in reading more about the teathingys, I'll post up on The Garage a more detailed description of how these things came together.
I'm getting all excited to see how these things will turn out.
Sort of.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


The international distress signal.
If you are using Morse Code.
I know Morse Code cause I got a license that says I know Morse Code but no one I know ever uses Morse Code anymore cause there's like this thing called the interwebz now.
Anyways, not the SOS I'm talking about.
I'm talking about the Same Old S#!t.
Which is what I try not to do.
As a ceramic person, a potter to be more exact, it's easy to get into a groove and make the same ole stuff over and over.
I know, cause I've been there and done it.
As a matter of fact, I still do it mainly cause I like to do it.
I don't do it very often so I guess it's okay, and the fact that I'm aware of it I suppose is good too.
I do it for it's sort of a trademark for me and not a lot of folks work in that shape or form.
Okay, I'm getting off topic.
Lemme try again.
I dislike doing the SOS.
Actually it's sort of easy for me not to do the SOS for once I get around to making something, I usually tire of it and move on to bigger/smaller things.
There are exceptions, sometimes I'll work in a series of related things or themes, sometimes I work a shape or form until I tire of it, sometimes I'll work a glaze until I get it right.
Mainly I dislike being repetitive.
This time though, I had to do it.
The form just fit the glaze, the glaze just matched the form.
The more I looked a it, the more I became set on using those metallic glazes again.
The problem, and maybe it's only in my head, is that I feel these glazes are sort of gimmicky.
I'm disguising the clay, when I should be showing it off.
I'm turning it into something it isn't supposed to be.
The really big issue is that I've already done it, in a show, and I don't want to seem like I'm trying to duplicate my success.
Not this way, not with this glaze.
Very conflicted am I.
Although I'm pretty satisfied with the way it's turning out, the further I go along, the more I get a sense of deja vu; been there done that, and I don't like it.
What I'm hoping is the form will prevent the "aw he did that last year" comments and overall the piece will stand on it's own.
I hope.
Okay, I'm almost done, I should have full shots in a couple of days.
For now, a sneak preview:

One more firing if all goes well.
Hopefully, the glaze doesn't go goofy on me though going goofy may be just what it needs.
If you know what I mean.

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Celeste Avenger!

Riding streets near and far, he slays hills with a single pedal stroke and keeps the legions of folding bicycles in their place.
Behind him.
Young girls and old women flee in fear when they see his celeste blur flash by.
Leaving a trail of crushed souls in his wake, he rides tirelessly on spreading the word to all who will hear of the Italian alloy goodness!
Who is he?
Where did he come from?
Will he ever leave?
Boy, exhaustion does strange things to a persons mind.
So after all that hill slaying yesterday, I can proudly wear my stupid shirt:

At the rest stops, you also get a sticker commemorating the distance you traveled:

That's right crime show fans!
I am now a member of that show that shall not be named!
Okay, not really.
I do like they way the capitalized on the show's popularity though.
Anyways, I adjusted my front derailleur cable which for some reason had really stretched out.
I guess that's like the most I've ever used it, so maybe it just wasn't used to all that work.
Poor front derailleur.
I'll be using you more often now.
I gotta say, I'm feeling way more confident about taking on them thar hills, I mean my heart rate did redline big time, but over all, I didn't feel that bad.
Okay, that's the post ride delusional fantasy right there.
There were a couple of times where I thought I wouldn't make it, but I just concentrated on keeping the Constant Velocity Thighs pumping, and them peaks were crested.
I mean it would have been pretty embarrassing to just fall over sideways in a huffing and a puffing heap.
Not that I'm above embarrassing myself.
Riding with other folks helped, I mean I pushed myself a little further than I would have and I found myself going where I didn't think I could go.
I helps having someone else pace you and riders behind you pushing.
I mean I'm still slow, just not as slow as I though I was.
Now I'm all psyched up to go out and improve on my slowness and push myself a little harder.
Now if I can just bring myself to start glazing those thingys.
Time is running short:

I've decided to do the Art Deco one first, since I pretty much know what I want.
I'm using the glaze I did on the Industrial Teapot, though I was hesitant to go that route again.
The form just called for it.
I'm also trying out something new, and I'll know how it goes in a couple of days.
Hopefully I'll be pleasantly surprised.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Sunday Final Final

So I was pretty proud of myself for not dying on those two hills.
The only thing was that we gotta do them again on the way back.
Still I was feeling pretty fresh knowing I was getting close to Flat Tire Land:

As you can see, only a few puff puffs in the sky.
We didn't get the full on tail wind that we usually get around here.
Still, it was nice to be cutting through some still air.
Oh Flat Tire Land, I can see you now!

We cut through the back roads of Waimanalo, I usually go straight on through.
Then I was attacked!

Not one folding bike, but two!
I was almost surrounded!

They're getting away!
Just when I was feeling so good about making those other hills, I was about to have my soul crushed by two folding bicycles!
Not today.
I passed them both about halfway up.
Oh yeah baby.
Rest stop in the heart of Flat Tire Land:

Since I was in my back yard, I passed on the free handout stuff and went for the gold!
I went ahead and got me a Snickers Ice Cream bar, you know as a reward for passing them folding bicycle attackers.
A bit of rest and then the journey back:

That's Hoku there, setting the pace.
The Twin Evilness was no problem going back, I think the grades are lower on the return trip.
As I mentioned earlier, it was a bit toasty and with the calm winds, we were feeling the heat come off the asphalt.
We couldn't wait to get back.
Hoku took out his Tarmac:

His friend, who we met up with in Flat Tire Land, was riding a nice Serotta:

It was nice to actually ride with other folks as we took turns up front and rode a pretty nice pace.
My front derailleur acted up, I think I stretched the cable so I lost my big ring about five miles out. I did a lot of spinning which wasn't so bad.
All in all, a great day on the bike.
Now, I gotta take take of this:

First though, I need a nap.

Sunday Sort of Final

I'm beat.
It was a really nice day, but it was really hot.
Not Texas hot, but hot enough.
Clear skies and not a whole lot of wind, perfect day for the Honolulu Century Ride.
Here's the Prevaricating Garmin info:

A smaller crowd this year, I think only a couple thousand:

The organizers line us up in groups according to speed, but we snuck in with the fast guys, you know, to get away from the pack.
Getting set to take off:

I rode with Hoku all the way out and back.
Didn't get too many pictures cause we were sort of chasing down some of his friends who were in front of us.
Rest stop at ten miles out:

Sandy Beach, which I guess is the Horn.
It was a really clear day, so clear you could see Maui and Lanai.
If you squint your eyeballs:

This means we're way on the east side of the island.
Riders coming into the rest station with the rising sun:

Since I'm here, it means I didn't die on the Hill That Killed the Widow Maker.
In fact, I made it all the way up except I set a new record for max heart rate!
Riding with other folks invokes what I call the shameness factor and there was no way I was stopping.
So anyways, here we are headed for the Hill That Killed the Widow Maker's Maker:

The folks are getting all stretched out now and the line of riders was way up there.
More good news: I made it all the way up that hill too.
Shameness is an excellent motivator.
More on this and part two coming up.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Sunday Early Edition

Good morning.
Sorry, I'm not really here for I'm out on the road somewhere headed in this direction.
Yes organized ride fans, I'm on the Honolulu Century Ride!

Make that half century.
I'm not doing the whole thing for I gotta come back and start on the teathingys.
I was sort of planning on doing like seventy five miles, going out to the turnaround and just coming back home, since the course passes right in front of The Flat Tire Command Center, but this year, you only get your shirt if go back to the start finish.
So from the start finish, I gotta ride home, then ride back to the start finish then ride back home.
The last leg in the Hokumobile, as he's driving us down there.
So anyways, I'm somewhere on the course, hopefully nothing exploded yet and I'll be back with full documentation for your viewing pleasure.
So as I'm writing this, I'm getting ready, I don't know why since it's only like a twenty five mile hop back here where everything is, but you know, I'm trained that way:

Another patch to put on my poseur tarck jacket, if I ever get around to sewing them patches on.
So anyways, I bet you, the reader, are wondering what's going on with the teathingys.
Well, so far nothing.
I spent the day looking at teathingy two, imagining and discarding color schemes.
I've narrowed it down though, so maybe I'll be starting today.
Teathingy three has been launched and is cooling down so it too should be ready to go when I get back:

That's the kiln cooling down, sort of.
Actually it hit temperature an hour or so ago and now it's coming back down.
So far so good.
I had to do some work on teathingy three as the lid was really tight, so tight it wasn't going to fit once I glazed it so I had to do some sanding down.
I also got me some new glazes:

The red mark on the label means the glaze was discontinued, luckily the ceramic folks still had some in the back so I bought two.
I went through the glaze box:

Hoping something would come to me.
Well after saying non to a bunch of glazes, I finally narrowed it down to a few I think I'm going to use.
This being for teathingy two.
Teathingy three, I'll talk about later as I don't want to bachi myself seeing as it's still in the kiln.
I start talking about it now and things could start falling off.
If you know what I mean.
So anyways, while I'm out riding around today, I'm hoping I'll get some sort of vision as industrial strength perspiration burns my eyeballs, and I'll have good idea of what I'm going to do as far as glazing goes.
More when I get back.
I hope it doesn't rain.

The Part I Dread

The glaze will make or break this piece.
Words of wisdom from Steve A.
Boy, talk about pressure!
So with Steve A.'s words ringing in my head, I started to think about how I'm going to glaze teathingy two:

First, some problems.
Teathingy three developed some cracks:

The one on the top is the one I'm most worried about.
It's on the rim where the lid sits and when they are there, they usually come back in the firing.
The other ones, at the join areas, I took care of last night:

Teathingy three is on the the launch pad, ready to be baked into immortality.
Now, the glaze part.
I was up until the wee hours last night, my brain filled with colorful visions.
None of them stuck.
I don't think I'm going with the dazzle camo.
For one thing, too much trouble and for another, I don't think I can execute it properly.
Getting straight geometric stuff is hard to do and it takes some time, which I don't have.
So I'm back to solid colors:

That's pretty much my palette right there.
Thing is, I used up all my nice combinations on the UFTs so I don't quite know what to do.
I'm leaning towards using the combination I did on the UFT that stayed at home, yellow and red.
The thing is, I'm sort of stuck between going serious or goofy.
The dazzle would have been more on the serious side, and goofy is well, goofy.
Later this morning I'll be off the ceramic place to pick up a few more glazes, so I'll have to figure this out soon.
What will it be?
Maybe yellow and black, like the Ciocc?
Stay tuned.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Coasties! pt. II

When it comes to branches of the military, some folks forget about the Coast Guard.
Okay, I can see if you live in a place where there's like no coast, but for us here in Hawaii, the orange stripe is a reassuring symbol.
Most of the inshore emergencies are taken care of by the Fire Department or Life Guards, but when you get blown out to sea, knowing the Coast Guard is there and looking for you can be comforting to say the least.
Besides search and rescue, I found out today that they do a lot more to help protect and maintain our waters.
Anyways, the Orange Flying Contraption:

If you like gadgets, buy a helicopter.
It's like gadget heaven.
We talked a bit to the crew and they described what they did and how they do it.
The spinning part thingy:

I'd be checking that thing out like every two seconds.
If I was the pilot that is.
I mean I'd want more than a couple of cotter pins holding my rotors together.
Amazingly, it only spins at 365 rpms.
Hell, I spin faster than that!
Okay, not really.
The helicopter is pretty cramped inside:

Capacity is all figured by weight which includes the amount of fuel on board and figures a crew of four: two pilots, a flight engineer and a rescue swimmer.
Not much room for rescuees.
That's an H65 Dolphin which is used for short range stuff; they got a bigger helicopter for well, bigger jobs.
By the way, we also have a Coast Guard Air Station over at Barber's Point.
So anyways, we looked at some other stuff like communications and a really cool FLIR(forward looking infrared camera, which I was told cost like $12,000!) and some base maintenance folks.
Then after lunch was the show:

They brought in another helicopter to do a simulated water rescue.
The helicopter came in and hovered a couple of hundreds yards away and lowered a rescue swimmer in the water:

I gotta say, the water looked sort of cold and they let him swim around for a bit before sending in his partner.
The other "rescue" guy jumped in while the helicopter hovered at around 15 feet:

Then they hooked them up and pulled them using the harness stuff they showed us earlier.
The swimmers were sort of drifting to my left and the helicopter had to follow so this was the only image I got.
You can see the flight engineer sort of hanging out side working the winch and cable:

The rotor blast or whatever they call it was pretty strong and we were getting some salt spray so I was a bit hesitant to stick my camera out in all that.
I also got a chance to talk to one of the pilots as this was all happening which made it more interesting.
You don't really think about it, but after hovering over the ocean like that, those folks have to come back and clean just about every inch of the helicopter, including the engines, to get all the salt off.
After they picked up the chilled swimmers, the pilot did a couple of flybys and the kids gave them a wave:

Thanks guys!
I would have waved too, but I was taking pictures.
Some folks think of the Coast Guard as like a "lesser" service but let me tell you us folks in Hawaii appreciate all that they do.
Awesome job Coast Guard!
I for one, cannot thank you enough for all that you do.