Thursday, September 22, 2016

Nine-finger Throwing

I threw 28 mug bodies today.

Not impressed? But I did it using only 9 fingers! A couple of days ago I was changing the die on my jolleying machine and hit the 2nd knuckle on my left index finger when the wrench slipped. It didn't hurt as much as I expected given the whack I gave it, but by evening it was most impressively swollen. I couldn't bend my finger at all. The next morning it was still very swollen and a lovely shade of red. It reminded me of the time about 10 years ago that I dropped a rather large rock on my right thumb. Don't ask exactly how I did this, because I never did figure that out. The point was that the long bone in my right thumb was cracked along its length. A torsion fracture, the doctor said. He insisted on a cast, saying that without it I might end up with crippling arthritis in the thumb. They put an odd sort of cast on, not the metal tube thing you see sometimes. It ended up looking a lot like a tiny barbell, fat at both ends with a thin part in between.

Throwing with the cast on my thumb was interesting. Turns out you need your right thumb to flatten inside the bases of things. The cast, except for really small inside bases, worked very well. At first I was careful to put the rubbery cover thing over the cast to keep it dry and clean, but after a while I forgot about that. When I went to get it off the technician said he had never had anyone wear out a cast before!

So this morning I tried throwing without using my left index finger and it worked fine. A bit awkward but do-able. Here are some of the plates I made on the jolley:

I'd show you a picture of my finger, now nice and green, but nah, look at the mugs instead.

Well, maybe not the greatest mug bodies I've ever made, but then I made them with only 9/10ths of my fingers!

Saturday, September 10, 2016


I'm not sure where 'there' is, but I'm getting there. There were actual flashes of normalcy this week.

On Monday I changed the thermocouples in my larger kiln. Before they failed. How's that for pro-active? I felt quite impressed with myself, especially since I didn't need so much as one bad word during the whole process. Really it's pretty easy, but I tend to be a fumble-finger about these things and fiddling with wires and tiny screws is not my long suit. Ha, and it worked perfectly.

On Wednesday I took my trusty (and rusty) truck in for an oil change... and was told that it had little or no transmission fluid. I don't know much about the innards of trucks, but I understand that this can quickly lead to disaster. The good part was that instead of feeling that this was yet another calamity, I was perfectly calm and just saw it as another of life's little glitches, to be fixed, but nothing to get depressed about. In fact, I feel very lucky that it was caught in the nick of time. Then my totally helpful local repair shop got the parts in, a very kind friend drove me from and to the garage, and my dear truck got fixed on Friday. So instead of feeling stressed, I'm happy!

On Thursday a customer called and asked to come over and see what Herb Tiles I had available. This motivated me to finally get the place where I store my for-sale pottery tidied up and ready for visitors. Not much pottery, but now at least what is there looks good. I've been putting that off, it just seemed an impossible job. Guess what, it only took a couple of hours, including cleaning the windows, and I felt so much better when it was done. And it worked, she came and bought a batch of herb tiles. These are something I used to make quite a lot of, from plaster molds I made from herbs from my garden. I stopped making them when the interest in herbs leveled off, but lately it seems to be reviving. Our local Herb Festival has moved (new organizers) and seems to be perking up. I hope it builds some momentum because I still love herbs and all things herb-ish. I did go to the new Herb Festival this summer, but got rather lost. It was at a place called the Waba Lake Cottage Museum, and there is a village called Waba quite near by, so I assumed it would be there. I also assumed there would be signs. Nope and nada. A quick check on Google using my phone didn't help - their 'here it is' symbol covered the whole area...and  I wasn't the only one confused, there were about a hundred cars in Waba, which is more cars than all the residents together can muster, all driving in circles looking hot and annoyed. I finally had to phone my friend (who was smarter than I and had looked it up at home) and then I was able to find it. But I digress. My point is that I got a chore done, enjoyed it, and felt cheered to have it out of the way.

I'm also slowly getting caught up on pottery orders. One is ready to go out, just need to take it to the Post Office on Monday. One tiny problem I keep having, and if anyone knows a solution, please tell me, is that the clear packing tape we all use, sometimes doesn't stick to cardboard. It seems to stick, then the next morning you find it has popped off. I was told once that it is because of a sort of 'mill glaze' on the cardboard, but why does it only happen with some boxes? I bought these at a local big box store, not wanting to drive for an hour each way to go to my usual supplier, and ended up sorry I hadn't. Had to use duct tape to close the boxes properly, and then of course the address label had to go over it and didn't stick, so more clear tape. My customer will need serious tools to get into these boxes!

So all in all a better week.