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Saturday, April 30, 2011

4-24-11 Firing

This is from the oxidation firing I did on 423/11. I tried out new glazes - but failed to make notes so I'm not sure what is what. I know better than this - I was having brain slush. 

I turned the burners down to what I would have them at to candle the kiln and left them like that for 30 minutes after ^6 was at 3:00. Then I shut down the kiln. When everything was cool, both cone packs showed ^6 and ^7 flat. I've never had that happen before. 

I'm liking the shape of the mugs better although I'm still not wild about them. The ones with the texture were slab made. The others were coil built. The coil built mugs are coming along. The slab built ones are smaller than I thought they'd be. They are huge when wet. Pretty big when dry. Big when bisqued. Small when glaze fired. I think if I make them an inch taller and add another inch to the length of the slab, I will be close to the size I want. 

I like how the coil built covered pots are coming out. 

Feel free to do a critique. 

My Tallit

When I was little, my grandmother would tell me about her family and how it was when she grew up. She told me her mother was born in Germany, that her mother and her mother's family all spoke Hoch Duetsch (a very formal form of German). They were taught to respect all religions, but never to do anything that might make someone think one was Jewish. My grandmother's generation was the first to be born in the US. Her generation only learned English. She told me about how her grandmother had a wonderful, large wedding certificate hanging on the wall. That was how it was done in the old country.

When I went to college, I studied German to try to get back my heritage and my culture. It had been lost in English Only. My grandmother would ask if I were learning Hoch Duetsch. Yes, Gramma. Then she would tell me something her grandmother would say and how her grandmother spoke Hoch Duetsch. Not like that, she didn't! Gramma's German was horrible. Was it my grandmother not learning the words right? 

I remember my grandmother talking about her siblings and saying from their names: Sydney, Benjamin, Esther, Harold, Alfrieda, Naomi, they sounded as if they were Jewish. 

I started to wonder. Then I started to search. First, I discovered my grandmother's mother was born in Dittersdorf, East Prussia. The name of the town is something else now, but it's in what's now Lithuania. Hmmmm..... I wonder if the big wedding certificate was a ketubah. 

By the time my mother was born, the family really was Lutheran. And I was raised Catholic. But I never fit in well. So I tried an assortment of Protestant churches. Didn't fit in there, either. 

After I graduated from law school, I decided it was someday and I went in search of a temple where I could learn Hebrew. To my surprise, I fit in better in the temple than I had in any church I had ever gone to. About this time, my friends started asking when the conversion was going to be. Nope - not going to convert. 

A few years ago, I was reading one of Faye Kellerman's books and made a startling discovery. There was my grandmother's German - but it wasn't German. It was Yiddish. And who spoke Yiddish in 1890 in East Prussia almost in Russia? Not Lutherans. There's a direct female line from my great-great-grandmother to me. I'm Jewish. 

I started celebrating the Jewish holidays. I started going to the temple in Las Cruces. I'm Jewish, but I wasn't brought up that way. I still had one hurdle to jump. 

Tomorrow, May 1, I jump the final hurdle. The rabbi calls it "mutual adoption" or conversion. I call it reversion. As a friend of mine put it, I'm going back to a home I never knew existed. 

To celebrate, I made my tallit. I decided to put five rows of fancy stitches all in assorted shaded of purple. Purple is a color of healing and also the color of the tassel you get when you graduate from law school. Life, at least my life, is a long process of healing and working for justice. The stitches are different and the colors are different because healing and justice frequently take forms different from what we expect. 

The Hebrew on the collar piece is the first line of Psalm 139 - my favorite psalm. 

The tzitzit are made from different color cords. The white is traditional, the blue violet is also traditional but to me it symbolizes Israel, the green is for the Arabs, and the gold is because I like sparkly things. With all my heart, I wish for peace between Israel and the Arab nations so I put my prayers into my prayer shawl. 

The peach thread that I use around the borders is thread that was a gift from a friend. I used simple stitches because simple stitches are the foundation of all sewing and friends are the foundation of life. 

Rather than use a grommet for where the tzitzit go through the tallit, I used a buttonhole stitch. I used my favorite fancy thread and I used a button from my grandmother's button box to make the size of the buttonhole. My grandmother never threw away a button and I remember seeing that particular button when I was a little kid. 

And so wrapped in my prayers, tomorrow I'll step on the bima and go home. If you want to join me, at 11:00 AM MDT, think of me and smile. I know you'll be with me.  


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Racer And The One That's Going Pretty Fast

I really liked the way this one came out. Not that I can remember what I did in the center. Ugh! 
Anyway, I've been working with hand-built mugs. They looked HUGE when they were made, pretty big after bisque, and tiny after glaze firing. I've got two sizes that I used, and I need to go back to the first size, but a little bigger around. 

This is the pretty fast one. The glaze on the textured part is blue braking to brown. It didn't come out like the little tile in the store, but I do like the results. The rest of the mug is glazed with a commercial glaze that I'm starting to love. This is the pretty fast mug. 
I'd have more photos, but there's a 50 mph wind out there and I'm not about to take my mugs and jars outside. Maybe on Friday. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Must.... Make..... Earrings......

I had a hard time getting the colors on the last set of earrings right. The swarovski crystals are tanzanite and they are more purple than blue.