Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Big bird clay figure- in progress photos. Part 4

See previous in progress photos (part 3)

Here's a peak inside the kiln as I prepare to fire it up.

After a tiring day at work, I was excited to be going home to open the kiln,
and see how my bird fared in the firing.

As you can see, he's fine :)

I ate a quick soup & sandwich to finish the last of the turkey (thank goodness),
then got down to painting.

I always do the eyes last, so he'll be blind for a little while yet, but he's close to
being complete & ready to fledge...

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Big bird clay figure- in progress photos. Part 3

Click here to see Part 1 or Part 2

Now that Christmas is over, and there's lots of turkey leftovers to feed on,

I can focus on my big clay bird. He's dry enough to clean-

(sanding, smoothing, wiping the dust away with a wet sponge, touching up details, .)

I usually fire my kiln once I've got enough greenware to fill it,

but I've used all my clay so I'm going to fire what I've got now: The big bird,

a couple of round bowls, a couple of leaf shaped dishes, and a bunch of tiny sun faces.

I spent a good part of today- Boxing Day "cleaning greenware"

and am ready to fire the kiln tomorrow.

This is a major step in my birds' development, firing it into bisque…

a trial by fire- literally.

May the kiln gods be kind to us.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas greetings for my family

Merry Christmas to my dear sister, and family

You know,
I wanted to send you a card and some presents, but I didn't.
I want to give you some long, warm hugs and kisses, but I can't.
It would be nice to visit and chat for hours, but is hard to do.
Instead, I'm making this blog for you.
It's not showy or fancy, no casting or crew
but it's real and it's me...
and the best I can do.

(I hope this translates properly)


Boldog karácsonyt kedves húgom, és a család
Tudod,Azt akartam, hogy küldjön egy kártyát, és néhány ajándékokat, de nem tettem.Azt akarom, hogy néhány hosszú, meleg ölelést és puszit, de nem tudok.Jó lenne meglátogatni és beszélgetni órákon keresztül, de nehéz megtenni.Ehelyett csináltam egy blog az Ön számára.Nem mutatós vagy fantázianév nem casting vagy ha a személyzetde az igazi, és ez nekem ...és a legjobb, amit tehetek.(Remélem, ez azt megfelelően)

Hyvää joulua perheeni
Tiedäthän,Halusin lähettää sinulle kortin ja joitakin lahjoja, mutta en.Haluan antaa teille vähän pitkä, lämmin halauksia ja suukkoja, mutta en voi.Olisi kiva vierailla ja chat tuntikausia, mutta on vaikea tehdä.Sen sijaan teen blog sinulle.Se ei ole näyttävä tai fancy, ei valu tai miehistönmutta se on todellista ja se olen minä ...ja paras mitä voin tehdä.

(Toivottavasti tämä merkitsee kunnolla)

This year we are keeping the holidays simple and economical...
It's our 1st Christmas as empty nesters, and weird, since Eric won't even be
coming home, so we decided to take advantage, and save ourselves some time,
stress and $. So, no tree, no decorations, a few little gifts and a nice turkey
dinner with Jeff & Meagan. Looking forward to it tomorrow :)

Here's some photos of us, taken this year...

Eric and me...
Taken the morning he moved to Richmond... it's only
9 hours away...

Jeff & his new truck

Meagan's new Jeep.

Spike turned 13 this fall...

Some funny holiday links of music & videos:

Carol of the Bells- Claymation (one of my favourites)

Jingle Bells

Enjoy the holidays:)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Big bird clay figure- in progress photos. Part 2

Day 2.
December 18, 2011
(working In the living room).

Still in leather state, after waiting
4 days in a plastic bag.

One wing attached.

I cut a hole in the body, where I'll attach the
other wing. This way the clay won't be too thick
in those parts.

Wings attached.

Here's a short video where I place his eyes on.

He's ready to dry -slowly in an open plastic bag,
so he doesn't crack.

Ready to dry, so I can give him a fine sanding
to smooth out the unwanted bumps. Then I can
fire him in my electric kiln.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ainsworth Hot Springs

There's something very special about having a relaxing soak in a hot spring, especially one with a cave and hardly anyone there.

Virtual tour- Ainsworth Hot Springs ...

Awesome views... outside, and in... I finally brought my camera out,

to get some photos from inside the caves.

(Something I've wanted to do for years.)

However I didn't expect so much condensation,

so only a few pictures were good enough to share,

but here they are.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Big bird clay figure- in progress photos. Part 1

I've been asked to make a ceramic bird,
to replace one that had a mortal accident.
So I'm taking pictures as I go...

Wed. Dec. 14, 2011
I didn't realize this is all the clay I have. I
hope it's enough! Time to get another block.

Making the head.

The beak, attached to the head.

Here's the head and body.

I've got the basic shapes made, the body, head,
feet and wings. Now to assemble them.

After working on him for about 4 hours, I've got the head, beak, body and tail
assembled. (I've used the feet to hold him up, but they're not actually attached yet.)
It's a good stopping point. The clay needs to rest, and so do I. However he'll have to
wait 3 or 4 days before I'll have time to continue with him.
I'll wrap him loosely in plastic, so he doesn't dry out in that time.
I need the clay to stay in a leather state, in order to add his wings, feet and eyes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A trip to the museum

Touchstones Museum in Nelson, BC, Canada. Nov/11

Short version:

Growing up in Toronto, I enjoyed trips to the Museum - The Royal Ontario Museum...(not to mention the Science Centre, CNE, Zoo and more), but I'll stick to the museum, because that's been on my mind, since a recent visit our local Museum), which got me thinking…

We may have a tiny Museum, but it invokes some big thoughts.


The rest of the story:

The new Exhibition in Gallery A - Two Views: Photographs by Ansel Adams and Leonard Frank.

Looking at the stark black and white photos of Canadians (of Japanese descent) during the "internment" of the 1940's, was moving and eye-opening.

It is disappointing to see how my country treated our Japanese residents. Taking away their civil rights, homes, property, way of life, dignity, families, livelihoods and detaining them in camps.

This isn't the 1st time, and maybe not the last either! Our country has treated it's native peoples the same way! Maybe even worse! I thought Canada was better than this...

However, some of the photos showed touching moments, capturing the love, strength and resilience of the human spirit, finding hope and even happiness, under bleak conditions.


Gallery B- The White Line: Wood Engraving Prints from the Studio and Collection of Gene Leavitt.

Wood engraving and printing may be a primitive technique, but the results are amazing. It's inspiring to see the span of design and detail that is possible within its limitations. Complex, yet simple at the same time, this presentation made me realize how much printing and illustrating techniques and mediums have changed over time, and how much effort it takes to make even a simple design, in this.

I loved the subtle humour in some of the pieces on display as well.


Both exhibitions were presented in black and white. The contrast of the artistic prints were a "relief" and most welcome after viewing the sober black and white photos of the Japanese internments.


I didn't know how lucky I was to be able to visit the ROM (Royal Ontario Museum)

… until I moved to Calgary.

As a young mom, I took my kids to Calgary's Glenbow Museum.

Small as it was (compared to the ROM), it had a lot of interesting displays to see…

I didn't know how lucky I was to be able go to the Glenbow… until I moved to Nelson.

Now Touchstones is a small Museum!

However, size isn't everything.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Winter's here

Poof… it's winter in the Kootenays.

It started snowing yesterday, with our 1st snow warning and as I type this, I hear a snow-plow clearing the road.

I love the clean, whiteness of a fresh winter snow… as long as I've got a hot cup of coffee and a window to watch it through.

The reality is, a white knuckled and slow drive to town in the morning, and a bus ride home after work, at the new scheduled time (5:12pm).

It was heartwarming to see people going out of their way, to accommodate new passengers, by switching seats, so that a young dad can sit beside his child (instead of being separated in the last available seats.)

By the time our bus got to the bridge (BOB- our Big Orange Bridge), it was standing room only.

By the way, it's pitch dark here by 4:30, and I forgot to bring a flashlight, so when I got off the bus I had to fumble my way along the highway and down our driveway. There are no streetlights here, and the snow muffles all sound but I looked up to see an amazing display of stars. Yup winter's here… it's a love/hate thing for me.

Note to self: "Remember to carry mitts, hat, scarf, and a flashlight at all times."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

New Nelson Transit Schedule

I hope I'm not the only person excited about the new Nelson Transit schedule for the North Shore that starts next week -Monday November 14, 2011.

I live about 30km from Nelson, near Balfour, and am glad to have bus service out here.
It costs $2.50 and is about a 45 minute ride- one way from downtown Nelson to Balfour.
Here's some links for Nelson Transit:

I enjoy taking the bus. It's nice to let someone else drive, save gas, and there's usually someone to chat with, read a book, or just look out the window at the scenery (although this time of year it's too dark to see much, but in the summer it's awesome!)
Unfortunately I rarely use our Transit, because the bus has me arriving in town 1 1/2 hours before work, then waiting 1 1/4 hours afterwards to go home, it makes for a long 12 hour day. So, I only take the bus when the weather's really bad, or when my husband needs to go to town, (he drops me off ) then I take the bus home.
With the changes to the North Shore bus service, I'll have a choice of 3 buses home (5:12pm, 6:52pm, 8:40pm), instead of just the one at 6:15. (There is another bus that leaves town at 4:45pm, but I don't finish work until 5:00, so I never take that one).
I'll bet a lot of students will appreciate the new 8:40pm run too. I know it would've been handy when my kids wanted to visit friends in town, after school.
Anyhow, I look forward to this change, and hope to see more of us taking the bus.

Note: I've since heard from a couple of people that live in Nelson, saying that services in town have been reduced. I didn't realize that and it's a shame...

Monday, October 17, 2011


Tonight it's hard to calm my thoughts...

Short version:
I've been stepping out of my comfort zone and am trying to return to it, so
I fired my kiln today and wrote a simple poem.

Long version:
These past 11 days I've been caught up in a whirlwind. The Occupy Wall Street movement and a Global show of support- planned for Oct 15/11. I thought I'd help get the word out about it, and see if our Community was wanting to participate in this worldwide event.
Occupy Nelson was created by an expanding group of concerned people...but there were many things that needed to be done... without knowing if 20 people, or 200 would show up for this event. There was one week to organize.
The event was an amazing success, and where it goes from here I don't know. (I'll write a separate blog about it, but there's some photos here.)

I've been busy helping to get the word out. Reading, learning, talking, Twittering, Facebooking, etc... But being an "activist" is not my nature. If you know me at all, you understand that. Wherever there's a crowd, I'm usually quietly, headed the other way, so it wasn't easy for me to be a part of this. Here it is Monday and my head's still buzzing, with a different kind of energy, thoughts, questions ...

3 pieces from the decal firing.
I'm finding it hard to get back into my calm, creative place, so last night I decided to prepare to do a firing. I had promised someone I'd fire a decal on a vase for her, so I went through my stash of ceramic decals and gathered together some of my plain white dishes so I'd have more items to fire.
Decals are easy to apply, but the ones I have are about 20 yrs old and I wonder if they'd still work ok.
It's a sparse load, of 4 mugs, a plate and a vase, but the vase is the important piece.(See the photo).
It was very dark when I went out to the shop (to unplug the peek holes and flip the breaker off.) As I write, I'm wondering how it turned out, but they have to cool slowly, so I can't open the kiln until the morning.
Walking back to the house, I stopped to enjoy the cool, quiet, night and gaze at the dark, clear sky and this poem came to me, so I thought I'd share it...

I looked at the night sky
and saw a star.
It made me wonder...
the longer I looked,
the more I saw.
It made me wonder...
even more.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Our awesome walnut tree.

Our walnut tree in all it's glory.

Close-up of the leaves and an unripe walnut.

Our walnut tree must be about 50 years old.
It creates a spacious environment, under it's
canopy of leaves. (Photos taken-Aug 15/11)

It's the beginning of October and truly feels like fall.

Spike and I collected the 1st batch of nuts from under the walnut tree.

I don't think they fell down on their own, because the squirrels have been up in the tree, chewing the stems, dropping them to the ground-the husks are green and very hard. I'll let them sit in a covered bucket for a few days and hope they soften up, so it's easier to get at the walnuts inside.

The squirrels are upset that I am gathering their nuts, but I don't care, they just bury them all over our yard, and I want to get our fair share. Every year I have to compete with those darned rodents- they love walnuts too… oh yeah, so do the bears! They'll eat them… husk and all!

This big old tree is a lot of work in the fall.

Any day now, all those leaves will suddenly start dropping until they are all on the ground, it only takes a couple of days.

It's pretty cool actually, and sounds like rain falling, since the leaves are substantial.

The walnuts of course will be dropping too and it's not a good idea to hang out under the tree. They hurt. They also make a lot of noise when they hit our garden shed.

Too bad the leaves are no good for composting,

so we either burn them, or take them to the local landfill.

Last year there were hardly any walnuts on the tree.

I don't know what happened, but we only found about 20 nuts! Very disappointing.

But it looks like this year's harvest will be much better.

Even in winter, it still looks pretty awesome.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

New paintings

I've been painting a lot this summer, and am making more of my paintings
available on-line (and in person of course) in my Etsy shop.

I've been nervous about adding them, because I know everyone has
a different opinion on what "art" is.

However, I've had good responses and feedback, so I'm putting more of my work
out there, and hope that you'll see one that speaks to you.

I'd like them to be available as prints too, so they are more affordable, so I set-up an account with Deviant Arts. They print everything from cards to canvas prints, and you can even get them framed, all from my uploaded photos.
When I have a bit of extra funds, I will buy a canvas print- ready to hang, so I can check out the quality for myself, but I've heard good things about them and their prices are awesome.
As always, there's a learning curve, but I have set up a profile, added a couple of photos, and
one of my paintings ... there's a lot of other talented artists there too.

If you would like me to add a particular painting there so you can get a print, let me know and I'll do it promptly. Otherwise, I'll just be adding them at random.
Well, time to get cleaning the house, as we have company tonight.
Enjoy your day,