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Sunday, December 30, 2007

My Heritage Emerges - The Explanation

For years, I have had a strong pull towards Irish things and Jewish things. I could never understand this pull. I love Irish music. I love Irish knitting. I even knit in a way no one taught me. Eventually, I saw the way I knit in a book about Irish knits and there was a photo of a woman knitting in exactly the way I knit.

After doing some massive searching for my family history, I discovered my father's side of the family is Irish. I began to wonder about genetic memory. I had always considered St. Patrick's Day a great day if one was Irish and an excuse to get drunk if one was not. Thinking I wasn't Irish, I ignored the day. After I learned I was Irish, I discoverd St. Patrick's Day is a wonderful day if one is Irish.

I had the same sort of pull towards things Jewish. My grandmother always told me that her mother was born in Germany and she spoke Hoch Duetsch - a very gramatically proper form of German. But the very little German that my grandmother spoke sounded so "off" to me after I had learned German in college. I kept looking and discovered that the German my grandmother knew was if fact Yiddish.

I made this quilt in shades of green to honor my Irish heritage - a heritage that had been hidden from me for more than 30 years. I used two greens of equal value in making the star to show that my Jewish heritage had also been hidden from me. I used a darker value of green to show the discovery of my heritage.

I like the comments I received on the quilt and I appreciate all the input I received. The quilt is saying what I had hoped it would say.

Now.... I get to square up the quilt, put on the binding and the sleeve in the back. I haven't decided where I'm going to hang it yet.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

My Heritage Emerges - In Progress

The other night, I dreamed I was making this quilt. It was such an intriguing design I had to make it in real life.

My Heritage Emerges - Quilted

I know what I'm trying to say with this quilt.... I just don't know if I'm saying it. What does this quilt say to you?

Ballet Slippers

I wanted a pair of slippers I could put in a suit case and take with me for traveling. This is my first try at making ballet slippers. If I make another pair, I think I'll put a strap on them. I'm not used to the feel of having so little on my foot. I had picked up some nifty fairy frost fat quarters at a quilt show and used it for the outside of the slipper. The lining is some leftover fabric from a dress I made several years ago. I used Peltex for an interlining for the sole. I wanted something a little more substantial than two layers of fabric under my foot.

Latest Wood Turner Togs

Jim loves his long sleeved scrubs for turning wood. I made him two more long sleeved scrubs. You can't see the fancy thread or stitches, but they are there.

Saturday, December 22, 2007


My maternal grandmother's mother was born in Dittersdorf, East Prussia. My grandmother had always told me her mother spoke Hoch Duetsch (High German). This is a very formal and gramatically correct German. Of course, until I went to college and studied German, the entire family only spoke English.

For years, I've wondered if my family on my mother's side weren't hidden Jews. I was sure I'd never find any definitive proof.

My grandmother told me what her grandmother would say they met. The words hurt my ears because the grammar was so awful. Earlier this year, I discovered that the phrase was actually Yiddish. I had been right; my family were hidden Jews. I made myself a menorah so I could celebrate Hannukah this year. Finally, 117 years after my family left East Prussia for New York, it's safe to be openly Jewish.

Red Mask, or Why You Shouldn't Take Photos Outside In The Afternoon

It's not a great mug, but it is a better mug

I was having problems throwing cylinders until I realized I was trying to pull the clay up too quickly. Once I slowed down, I threw a cylinder worthy of a handle. The eventual goal is to make a great hot cocoa mug. I attached a strange handle which actually feels good in my hand. I started playing around with carving texture into the outsides of mugs and bowls. This, too, is Pete's Copper Red.

Clay Makes The Best Bread Pans

I discovered long ago that bread made in a ceramic bread pan is far better than bread made in a metal pan. I also discovered I don't make very good handles. So... after making ugly handles on some bread pans, I tried a technique I read about in Pottery Making Illustrated. Jim pressed the cat's paw into wet clay (the cat wasn't real happy about that) and I attached a handle to the paw printed clay. Once fired, I pressed a lump of wet clay into the paw print. Then I attached the resulting paw to the bread pan with some slip. That gives the pot holders something to grap onto when I take the bread out of the oven. This is more of Pete's Copper Red.

Pete's Copper Red ^10 Glaze

I tried out a recipe for Pete's Copper Red ^10 glaze that I found in the Clayart archives. I wanted to have a for-real red glaze. Not something that might could be considered red or worse, some redish sort of brown. I made 40 tiles and got some kiln surprises. I had discovered earlier that a heavy application of the glaze makes for a yummy red and a thin application makes for a clear glaze. I had thought these tiles would be solid red, but instead the red is mostly where I pressed leaf patterns into the wet clay. I like this look far better than I thought I'd like the look of all red. The tiles will eventually go into a table for behind my desk at work. I use my laptop at work, but the electrical outlet isn't where I need it to be.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Wood Turner's New Clothes

Jim has been wanting a wood turning smock that would keep the chips out of his pockets and off his arms. I found a long-sleeved scrub pattern (Kwick Sew) and made him the top. This particular pattern makes an extra long top, which works well for Jim's wood turning. There's some fun fancy stitching with gold metallic thread, but you can't see it in the photos. Jim says the top works really well and the only place the chips stick is to the cuffs which are made from ribbed knit.

Monday, November 26, 2007

And The Winner Is.....

I was asked to donate a mask to the local theater to be auctioned off during the Mardi Gras Gala fundraiser. This semester, I've been working on clay masks after being inspired by seeing a friend's mask collection.

I thought about how when one is wearing a mask, one is free to be oneself. No need to care about outward appearances because the mask hides the identity of ther wearer.

The last mask I made came out as a surprise to me. I was expecting something different. This mask is eerie - no eyes and no mouth. I thought about how it represents hiding from the pain. If I stay very small and quiet, if I don't look, maybe she/he/they won't hurt me.

I've asked for advice, thought about the advice I got, and I'm donating the mask that allows one to be oneself. Thanks to all who gave me advice.

Hiding From The Pain

Behind the Mask, I'm Free to be Myself

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Very Latest in Haute Couture Lingerie


This was a group assignment. We each had to throw 5-6 bowls. Then, all the pieces were put on the table and we could choose 5-6 bowls to make a totem. I assembled, bisque fired, and used my glazes with crystals. The glazes came out a tad differently than I'm used to because we used the class clay which is a garrish orange. I prefer to work with white clay because the glazes come out brighter. I rather like my Dr. Seuss pot.

Affirmation Rattle

"I am whole, happy and at peace."

Low Fire Dish

Majolica Dish

Kiln Surprise Mask

I used a blue/green slip on one side of the mask, and the same brown slip that I used on the high fire dish below on the other side. I've no idea why the slip turned out that way, but I love the effect.

High Fire Dish

Playing With The Slip Mask

A friend has a collection of masks, and I was inspired to start playing with clay and see what kind of masks I could come up with. I'm using a slump mold to make the masks.

Low Fire with Mystery Slip Mask

Majolica Mask

What Happens When I Wash Off The Glaze?

This is one of my test barnacles. I had dunked it in plum glaze. After I dropped the rattle in the bucket, I wondered what would happen if I washed the glaze off one of the barnacles. I like what it did.

I Dropped It In The Glaze Bucket

I meant to dunk this rattle in the glaze - and I dropped the rattle. I then washed off the glaze and wondered what would happen if I glazed it with glaze just in the carved parts. I like the results.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Clay Pants

I had a pair of pants I wore whenever I worked with clay. Alas, they are now fit only for rags. I needed new pants. I went to the local Famous Name Chain store and bought a cheap batik. I used my 50% off coupon so I got really cheap batik. I made me a pair of scrub pants for clay. These pants are remarkably comfortable and allow me to use the potter's wheel as well as do a lot of bending as I'm lugging clay or dragging a glaze bucket over to the glaze table.

I tend to get glaze on me as well as the ceramic piece and glaze doesn't wash out. I thought the pattern of the batik would disguise at least some of the glaze splatter - at least for a while.

The close up is of the pocket. I truly cannot sew without using some of my fancy thread and some fancy stitches.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Architectural Scrubs

I wanted something really wild for traveling. So..... I found some great architectural fabric and spent today having fun making the latest set of scrubs.

New Scrubs

I bought this fabric about a year and a half ago, and I've forgotten what I had planned on using it for. So.... I laid out the scrubs pattern and made this top and the bottoms. I used an iridescent thread for the fancy stitching on the top. I find scrubs to be very comfortable for sewing, lounging around the house and traveling.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Oh, so that's what all the fuss is about!

Jim likes to wear scrub tops when he works with wood. I could never see the attraction until I tried on one of his tops. These things are insanely comfortable! This is also made from leftover fabric.

The Artist's New Lingerie

I'm still working on reducing the fabric stash. This weekend, I used up about 12 yards of fabric, and the fabric pile is just as big as it always was. Jim is going to have a wonderful lingerie collection at this rate.

More Lingerie