Sunday, April 27, 2008

I have just finished making a scarf

Okay, so I haven't finished making a scarf. But I am finished except for adding the fringe.
Sorry I have not been around. I am still very busy. Took most of the day off, except for finishing a scarf.
To my friend in the great white north: after you get my email you will have to reply at an alternate email address as my mailbox is full and bouncing stuff and I just don't have the time to fix it right now.
Off to get some sleep before it's back to work tomorrow.

Monday, April 21, 2008

What the hell was I thinking?

Today is the first day of a very busy week at school. Somehow, I had thought that it was next week, but it isn't, it's this week. This week is the last week to work in clay that is at the green stage or the wet stage.

Not that the clay is green. I don't know of any green clay, though sometimes unfired terra cotta has sort of a greenish look compared to other clays. Unfired clay that has been slip-cast is called greenware, and sometimes any unfired clay work is called greenware. After is has been fired once it is called bisque.

Anyway, even the smallest pieces need at least a week to dry properly, so this is the last week to make anything. And really, this is only the last week to make anything if the stuff you are making is terra cotta that isn't going to be glazed, or something that is going to end up being a mixed media piece and painted instead of glazed. Anything that needs to be glazed fired should have been completed last week. But I think that he'll let me glaze some stuff that last week and pick it up during the summer or fall semester.

I hardly have anything finished. The 18 inch pylon-vase is completely finished, though it did end up with a bit of a crack at the top, but I'm hoping that a bit of black ink will make that less noticeable. The other vase is finally in the kiln, so I should see it today or tomorrow. The relief sculptures are nearly dry, and I'm not worried about when they get fired. The plates and bowls have been bisque fired and glazed, and some of them are in the kiln and will be taken out today. Despite my original plan to dip and pour glaze on the plates and bowls, I had to brush glaze most of them, which took about six hours. So using that time to glaze was a mistake, since I could have done glazing during the last week, but I wasn't thinking clearly at the time and was just wanted so much to get something completely finished.

Which leaves just an enormous amount of work to do this week, even if I go to all seven classes and the extra lab time on Friday afternoon. I am nearly finish this stage of the Triffid, but now there are cracks appearing all over it. I'm afraid that's going to happen with most of my projects, since I have been working on them too long and they are getting too dry to work the clay properly. I should make a fork and a spoon and a ladle to go with it, but I haven't started them yet.

I have the bodies of two Martian crickets, but no heads or arms or legs. Not only are they too dry, but I now think that they are too big and should be made in three or even four parts, with the heads being separate from the bodies, and the arms and legs being attached to a third piece. The pieces that were meant to become the heads did not dry properly, and I may have to start over with them.
The Alien egg is mostly going well, though it still needs some work, and I didn't even start the face-hugger dish that I meant to go with it.

And while all of that is going on, at home I've been trying to work on a couple of sleestak, and the teacher still wants a dragon instead. The dragon I have started, but only just. I've started the jaw, but I haven't even put any teeth on it yet. Since he really wants to see that dragon, I suspect that he will allow me to work on it that last week and have it fired later.

It's all quite silly anyway. I don't need the credit for anything, and as much as I hate to get a bad grade, the odds are that I will never really need to worry about my GPA in the future. But I hate to get a bad grade, just in case. But regardless of the grade, I did want to have some nice pieces finished. I hate to get this far and then have to give up on something or have an incomplete set or whatever might end up happening.
This is too much to get done. What was I thinking?

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Drama over the student art show

I believe that today is the opening reception for this year's student art show. Early this evening, the school will be handing out awards for best student art and this year's art scholarship winners, and a few honorable mentions will get gift certificates to various restaurants and art supply places. And people will walk around and talk about which pieces that they like best while eating fruit and cheese and such.

But I won't be going this year. Mainly, this is because I've been so busy that I need a night to myself, so I'm not going to drive to school on a night that I can't even get into the lab. But I'll admit that a bit of sour grapes also figured into the decision not to go.

I won't be getting any awards or honorable mentions or anything like that. Yesterday, I was told for sure that I wouldn't even be in the show, unless maybe I would like to complain to the head of the art department myself. No, I don't think that I would like to do that.

Last week we were deciding which pieces we would want in the art show. I hadn't really given it much thought. There's always an art show going on, but I'm not always in it. I was in the first one this semester, since my teacher was in charge of that one and got to pick whatever he wanted to go in it. I think that he picked three of last semesters projects. Anyway, I knew that there was another show coming up, but I hadn't really paid much attention to it. Most of my stuff was still in the sculpture lab, and he could pick any of that for the show, or if he wanted something that I'd already taken home he could ask for it.

So I happened to ask about it, and he said that he didn't want things that had already been shown and asked what I liked best of what was left. And I asked which semesters I could choose from, since we'd already shown most of the good stuff from last semester, and most of this semester's stuff hadn't been glaze fired yet. He said that wasn't supposed to use stuff from last spring, but I could use some of that since that stuff wasn't fired in time to be in last year's show. Then he gave me a form to fill out.
The deadline was yesterday.
But all your stuff was already here, and you're just turning them in to me anyway. Just decide which two pieces you like best.

Now, until I saw this piece of paper, I'd forgotten that this show was the one with the awards and the gift certificates and such. Maybe if I had remembered I would have given it more thought and asked more questions and such, but I didn't. Anyway, I picked the paper castings of sea life and the glass dragon, since despite what he'd said I didn't want to break the rules and enter something from last spring, and he didn't want the stuff he'd shown before.

Okay, so I signed the paper and thought that was that.

Last year, we put all of the sculpture and ceramics in the sculpture lab and someone came by and looked at everything and decided who was in the show and who got awards and such. And my stuff was already in that room, so I didn't think that I had to do anything else. But I asked when people where coming to look at the pieces, and he said that this year the teachers were picking what went in the show, but someone else would come and look at the show and decide the awards after the show was up. Probably, that would be Monday.

He said that my stuff was all ready, but he was hoped to get someone else's stuff fired before he started taking things over.

Okay, whatever.

Anyway, that isn't what happened.

If you were trying to get a scholarship, you were supposed to take your artwork over to the main building to be judged, and then after that you were supposed to take your artwork to be judged by someone else on Saturday. There were only three of us who had ceramics and sculpture who hadn't tried to get a scholarship, so apparently our stuff didn't even get looked at.

And, our teacher was told that the student art show has already been organized and that there is no room left for the five pieces he was going to put in. After a lot of arguing, they allowed him to put in one piece, not one of mine.
It is all nonsense that they do not have room for the other four pieces in the show. Our pieces would go in cases, which we have several of, and right now only two or three are being used. But I don't want to argue about it. Getting my pieces in the show at this point just isn't important to me. I can't win anything. It's too late for me to get a gift certificate to Trinity Ceramics or anything like that. And when you put something on display there is always the chance that it might get damaged or even stolen. So I don't see why I should risk that happening.

Last year I went and watched my fellow classmates win awards and such, but I don't think that I'll go this year. My classmates and I won't be getting anything, and only one of us will even be in the show. I know that it is partially my own fault, that if it had been important to me I should have found out what was going on last week, and when something didn't sound quite right I should have gone to the main building and asked more about it, but I didn't.
It's just one more annoying thing to deal with.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Today I am unbelievably tired for no good reason

Today I went to class for three and a half hours. I had many things that I hoped to get done. I was going to do a bit of touch-up work on the Triffid and then glaze the bowls and plates before working on the Alien egg, and then if I had the time I'd roll out some slabs and get things ready for what I'd have to work on tomorrow.

Only that didn't happen. I got everything out and then saw a bit of a crack starting on the Triffid, so I put some slurry on it to try to fix it. Then I mostly forgot about it while I moved on to setting up for glazing the plates. I thought that since I'd decided there was only time to glaze everything solid black that I'd quickly get all of that done buy pouring and dipping. There were three pint sized jars of black glaze, so I was pretty sure that would be enough. But after looking at the glaze only one jar seemed to be pourable. Rather than risk mixing in water and making the glaze too thin, I decided to pour glaze inside of the bowls and brush glaze onto everything else.

The inside of one bowl had some little cracks, so I put that one off. The other three bowls have been glazed on the inside. Brushing on glaze requires three coats. So three coats each on the outside of the bowls, and three coats each on the outside of four plates, and three coats on the inside of four plates. And after the slightly cracked bowl is dealt with, three coats on both the outside and the inside.

So, after three and half hours, I am not even done with the stupid glazing. I still have to brush on another fourteen coats on various things. And I forgot about the touch-up work on the Triffid, which means I am still not finished with that and it might still have a bit of a crack. And I didn't work on the Alien egg at all. And I certainly didn't roll out slabs or anything else.

But I am so tired. I am exhausted. I am exhausted from just brushing on some silly glaze. And it wasn't even anything complicated, no little detail work, just endless medium brushstrokes of the same color glaze. I shouldn't be this tired. I didn't do heavy lifting or walk back and forth from the car with supplies. I didn't do anything that required either much physical work or mental concentration. Yet I am just about ready to call it a day and go to bed.

I suppose that I could do that. The teacher has offered to let us in the lab for two hours tonight while he does something, but that isn't enough time for me to waste time driving or gas money. I won't go in again til tomorrow, maybe not even til tomorrow night. I'd like to work on a few things around here, but I guess that's nothing that can't wait a bit longer.

I just can't believe that I'm this tired over nothing.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

My computer sucks

For the most part, the computer is a toy. I know that there are all kinds of useful things to do with the computer. Like I can look at my bank account online and I can get maps online and email is a good thing to have and all that. And once upon a time I did some real writing on the computer. I used to spend several hours a day on the computer trying to get that novel published.

But let's be truthful. We don't spend that much time on the computer doing anything useful. Or, at least, we don't spend that much time on our home computers doing anything useful. We surf the net, we blog, and maybe we download episodes of TV shows that we missed. The useful stuff takes up maybe half an hour a day if we have a lot of emails. The rest of the time is spent having fun, or at least wasted doing things that are supposed to be fun.

So I suppose that I could do without the computer. I could tell my friends that I don't have one and if they really need to contact me that they'll have to use the telephone, and I could actually write down the amounts in the checkbook, and I could just buy a regular map. And on occasions when that just won't do I can borrow a computer or use the one at the library. If I gave up blogging and downloading TV stuff, I could probably do without a computer and in the long run this would probably save me time and money.

But I don't really want to do that, do I?

Even before I was having serious problems with my husband, there was always the computer to argue about. Not serious heated arguments, but he was always spending too much time on the damned thing, and he was always wanting to spend money on the damned thing when we had actual necessities that needed to be paid for first. And of course he is always wanting to buy a new computer, and he broke our agreement not to buy another one when he bought this one in 2002, after we had bought two used laptops the year before. And he wants to buy a new one now, but I won't have it, because he still owes my mother a lot of money and I will not discuss buying a new computer until he pays her back.

But he wants to buy something to replace part of this one, which isn't going to cost as much as a new computer, and I'm thinking about it. If it would actually fix whatever is wrong with the thing. Maybe fixing this one wouldn't cost too much.

And lately it is even worse. Whatever it is that prevents those stupid pop-ups doesn't seem to be working this week. Sometimes, when I type in an address, I get that message that the address cannot be found and I should check my Internet connection, etc.... Except that it appears in a pop-up screen over the very thing that I was looking for, so why the message? And there are other pop-ups. Some of the pop-ups seem attached to particular web addresses. Whenever I go to read the blog of a certain British lady, I get a pop-up for Horny Singles. Not what I was looking for at all. I'm not typing in the wrong address, and the British lady's blog is still there, but I have to close a page about naughty twenty-one year-olds before I can read it.

So I have about had it with this thing, and I guess that I will be going to the electronic store in the near future and watching some of our money get spent on a replacement part for this toy.

Either that or just give up on the thing for a while.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Forgive my absense

I feel like I am very busy, even when I am not really doing anything. I am up to my eyeballs in...uh...clay.

The projects that I have been working on for a while are probably too dry and not going to work at this point. The Triffid isn't what I'd hoped for, and the Martian Crickets are just bodies with no heads or arms and legs. The newer stuff is just sitting there while I wait for it to get dry enough to work with. My relief sculptures are going to warp a bit, and I think that it is too late to do anything about it. For my sculpture in the round, I want a sleestak, while the professor wants a dragon. I haven't started either one yet.

My first vase is finally fired. It has a tiny crack in it, but I'm still pretty happy with it. The other vase is still waiting to be fired, since there aren't enough other pieces to fire the kiln at that temperature.

I had to pick two things to enter in the student show, and since I haven't finished anything except one vase this semester I had to pick stuff from last semester. Professor didn't want it to be anything I'd already shown, so it's going to be my glass dragon and the sea life paper castings. I'm not too crazy about the paper castings. At the time it seemed like a good idea, but after they were done I thought why did I do that? I'm sure every tourist place near a beach sells something just like it. For the amount of time I put into them I could have made more dragons instead.

From last year's show my friend K won a $25 gift certificate from Trinity Ceramics. He gave it to me so that I could buy a screen. I have been so busy that I haven't used it yet.

It's very sad, but things are not going well, and this is probably going to be my last class. I can't picture much changing over the summer, so I probably won't be going back to school in the fall. Maybe not going back in the fall wouldn't bother me so much, if I thought I would be going back in the spring, but I doubt that I'll have money for that sort of thing then either.

Anyway, I don't think that I'll be posting much for a while. My sleep is disrupted so that I don't often wake up early enough to blog in the mornings, and I can't see wasting much time with it in the afternoons and evenings when I might better use the time on artwork and gardening and such.

And of course now that I've said that I'll wake up really early tomorrow morning and have to think of something to write about.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Monday Morons--You're a teacher?

Okay, so I was at the ceramic supply place, and I had ordered some clay and some casting slip and paid for it, and I was just sort of looking around the store to see if I should get something else before I had the supplies loaded into my car. And this woman comes in and talks to the cashier, and the store part of the place is small and I heard what they were saying without really trying.

It started out normal enough. The woman came in and said that she was a teacher and that she had spoken to someone on the phone. So I'm thinking that she's already ordered stuff and that the cashier will ask if she has a tax number and then ring up whatever the woman ordered and send her around to the back. But that isn't what happened at all.

The woman says that she needs to buy some stuff for her students. And she says that they are using some red clay that I'd never heard of. But the cashier knew what she was talking about, and I've only used maybe six clays so far and I'm sure there are a lot of clays that I've never heard of. But I was thinking red stoneware, which is a cone 6 clay and uses high fire glazes. But the woman wasn't using red stoneware, and the cashier took the woman over to the low fire glazes. And the woman says that she needs a few colors and probably some clear. And the cashier says that the low-fire glazes are all on this wall.

And the woman says, "What's low fire? What does that mean?"


So the cashier says something like the red clay that the woman is using is fired at the lower temperature ranges and that these are the glazes used with that kind of clay. And then the cashier shows her where the low-fire underglazes are and tells her that the underglazes also come in pint sizes, but those are kept in the back and she would go and get them if the woman needed that size instead.

So then the woman says that she'll probably need to see the pint sizes and wants to know how much they cost. The woman hasn't picked out any colors, and the cashier can't just be expected to go and get all of them in the pint size. The cashier tells the woman that the price depends on the color, but the average is about twelve dollars.
The woman seems to know nothing about ceramics. She doesn't know what low fire means. She doesn't know that colors all have different prices depending on what minerals are used to make the glazes and underglazes.

What is this woman a teacher of anyway?

The woman says that whoever she talked to on the phone had said that something was eight dollars. She wanted to see the eight dollar stuff. Some of the low fire glazes are eight dollars.

The woman then goes on that she has about six students and that they have been using this red clay because they were studying Greek pottery with the black figures on red clay. So the woman ends up buying only black glaze. She didn't even buy any clear glaze to go over the parts of the clay that are to be left red. You'd think that she'd at least have bought the black underglaze and then the clear glaze to go over it.

Anyway, it all sounded very odd to me. So I'm wondering what this woman is teaching that she has to go and buy supplies for an art that she seems to know nothing about. And I'm just imagining all sorts of problems that her students are going to have with their artwork if they don't know more about ceramics than she does. And who is going to fire the ceramics? If they are studying Greek pottery, do they intend to go out and have an open pit firing too? I can picture this woman just starting a fire out in the middle of a field somewhere, or worse, next to a school or someone's house. And does she know not to glaze the bottom of the pots or they will stick to the kiln? And if she's having someone else fire this stuff for her students, will the know that they are using a lowfire red clay, or will it look like red stoneware and get melted in a cone 6 firing? The woman didn't even know what lowfire meant, so I doubt that she will think to mention it.

The best that I can hope for is that this woman teaches an art history class and that she got this idea to have some of her students make pots for extra credit. Hopefully someone else at the school who actually knows about ceramics told her to use this low fire red clay and will know exactly what to do with it once the student finish their projects.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

And today sucks too

Yesterday I did almost half of the stuff that I wanted to get done. I cleaned just a little bit, washed a few dishes, got started on an art project, and half watched some TV while I was doing laundry and cooking and such. My husband has to eat out all of the damned time, which is a waste of money, so I was going to cook something with lots of leftovers so we would eat the leftovers instead of going out the rest of the week.

After deciding to make something that he really might like and spending about fifteen dollars at the grocery store I started cooking. And after I finished cooking I tried to keep stuff warm until it was time for him to come home. And then I thought that he was going to be late, so I'd be better off putting the whole thing in the fridge for later. I moved some stuff around in the fridge and made sure that there was room for the stuff without moving everything into different dishes, and then I went in the other room to watch TV while I waited for the thing to cool. And then I most have nodded off for a bit. Then my husband came home, and I told him that I'd already put the food away, which I thought I had, cause I remembered moving things around in the fridge to make a space for it.

And this morning before I went to school I found all the food still on the stove. So I had to throw everything away. So of course I was late for class because I was throwing away food and trying to clean up a bit in the kitchen, and we had to waste more money going to Burger King for lunch, and I've been in a really bad mood all day. And the computer didn't work this morning either, so before I found the ruined food I woke up at the usual time and spent two hours in bed wishing that I could go back to sleep.

Yesterday, before I knew that I was going to have a bad day, I agreed to do grocery shopping for my grandmother so that my mom wouldn't have to do it. So I thought that I could at least get that over with, or find out that she didn't need anything or whatever. And I call my mother, right when I said that I would, and she's like, where are you? I'm at home, where else would I be if I'm calling to find out what you need? She's like, I haven't had time to ask what she needs yet. I'll call you later.

Later, when all the idiots pick up milk on their way home from work, right when I said that I did not want to go out. This is why I don't do stuff like this very often. One silly errand that should take about an hour ends up taking the whole afternoon, or maybe the whole day. I should have just said no when she asked yesterday, but it just seemed like a simple enough request. Really, I am going to go to the store, if you need something, after lunch. Not before lunch, and not after dinner. So maybe you could write the list before lunch so you can tell me what you need.

Sometimes class is such a disaster that I feel like just going back to bed and watching TV or something. And that is what I feel like now, but instead I'm waiting for my mother and her mother to decide if something is needed at the grocery store. And I can't really try to do anything useful now either. Like I can't get out the clay, or right then my mom will call and I'll either have to tell her to wait while I put everything away, or I leave everything out and hope that stuff doesn't dry too much while I'm gone.

My professor really, Really, REALLY wants me to do a sculpture in the round dragon. I don't want another dragon. Not that I wouldn't like another dragon, but this one is going to be too much work. I don't think that I have enough time left, and I'm not sure that I'm up to that skill level yet anyway. I should just turn in a sleestak instead and get a bad grade and be done with it. I'm too tired for this stuff right now.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

How I hate just sitting here

I have nothing exciting to write about today. I overheard an odd conversation the day before yesterday, but that seemed like a Monday Morons kind of post. I've already written the draft for that, and now I'm just sitting here.

It's not like I don't have plenty of stuff to do. I recorded three hours of TV yesterday. I could watch that, except that the TV is in the room where my husband is asleep, so I can't do that. Over the past two days I have managed to make these armatures out of stuff like newspaper and balloons and Styrofoam cups, but I'm not working on the clay yet because I have to clean up a work area first, and that might make noise. And I should probably clean the kitchen so I can cook something later, but again that would make noise. And the sheets need to be washed, but someone is sleeping on them at the moment.

I haven't even had a bath yet. That makes noise. Not that I don't sometimes do that anyway when I have to go to school or something, but when I don't have anywhere that I have to be in the mornings, it seems rude to take a bath or a shower when it might wake him up for no reason.

This really sucks. I have so much to do today, and I won't get started on any of it for at least another hour while I wait for him to wake up. And I probably won't do much of the rest of it til after lunch while I wait for him to go to work. Which means that I will probably get about four hours of real work done before I have to make dinner and decide whether or not to go to a night class.

I brought this other bed in here so that if we had such different schedules that one of us could sleep in here and not disturb the other one. But we don't have different schedules. He has his schedule, and except for art classes half of the week, I just sort do things around his schedule. But I don't guess that would have helped me much today. Even if he were sleeping in here I couldn't do much. Well, if I kept the volume down I could maybe watch some TV, and I could go ahead and wash those sheets that he wouldn't be sleeping on, but the rest of it would still have to wait.

It's going to be a long day.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

A bit of a puzzle

Yesterday I was told that I had especially good blood pressure. Like it was 120 over 80. It used to be like that all of the time. I paid no attention to it.

But yesterday I'm thinking, that can't be right. Maybe the thing is broken? Maybe 120 over 80 is the baseline reading and my actual blood pressure is something else entirely?

My blood pressure has been high for about two years, but I don't think that it's been high for the whole two years. I think that it goes up when I have an argument, or when I have to deal with something bad, or when I have to go to see a doctor. Going to the doctor and such used to be no big deal, but now it is very upsetting. So two years ago I was told that my blood pressure was high. And it had never been high before, so they waited a while and took it again. Still, they thought that it might just be some odd thing that would go away. I didn't think anything more about it.

The next year when I saw a doctor who made a big deal out of it and gave me some pills for it. Blood pressure was something I'd never paid attention to before. So I went and found one of those machines at the drug store and took my blood pressure, and it was a bit high, but not as high as she said. I hadn't felt good in a long time, but I just thought it was because of everything that was going on. Then I thought, well, maybe everything that is going on has made my blood pressure go up, and maybe that is what is making me feel bad. So I took the pills for a while, but that didn't make me feel any better.

I quit taking the pills. The blood pressure just seemed to go up whenever I had to go see a doctor. The pills didn't seem to be doing anything, so why take them? And for all I know the pills have side effects that would make me feel worse.

And I didn't go on a diet or do any of the other things that I was supposed to do. The fifteen pounds that I lost came back. A bit of the weight came back between the summer and the Halloween party, and now the rest of it is back. I am now back at pre-tragedy weight. I don't like it, and now that I'm a grown-up gaining weight does not make me feel good, but it didn't make me feel especially bad either. I have other things to worry about.

So I went into the clinic yesterday thinking that they were going to mention high blood pressure and then they would say something about the weight gain. But they didn't say anything about the weight gain. Maybe they thought that last year's number was written down wrong. And since my blood pressure always seems to go up a bit whenever I'm actually having to deal with medical stuff now, I thought that it would be high yesterday, but it wasn't.

120 over 80?

Okay, so what is up with that? You don't have better blood pressure when you gain weight, do you? And I know that chocolate is supposed to be good for your heart or something, and I had some chocolate before I went to the clinic. But the chocolate that is supposed to be good for you is the really dark almost inedible stuff, not the stuff that I usually eat. And certainly the leftover milk chocolate and carmel Easter candy that I was eating yesterday is not supposed to be good for you.

So I just don't get it.