Tuesday, May 4, 2021

A Stay in Cherry, AZ

Here I am standing in front of the  cemetery in the mountains  near Prescott, AZ. I was camping with two friends and we took  a  3 mile derive into what is technically  downtown Cherry AZ.   I have seen it listed as a ghost town, but with the graveyard, volunteer fire department, a bed and breakfast, and vacation homes,  it is still alive. When you camp, you better bring Everything, because there are No stores in Cherry, so named for the cherry tress growing near the creek. It gets cold up there at 5,200 feet, where we camped .
 It served as a stage stop between Fort Whipple( now the VA hospital in Prescott )  and Camp Verde, AZ. There was a post office established in 1884, a school in 1898, a general store and some saloons, no doubt. At one point it had a population of up to 400 people. There were six mills to process the gold, silver, copper and lead pulled out of that area.  When you hike around you can still find old  abandoned mines. But the ore played out, and Jerome became the  next bonanza in the area. Finally in 1943 the Post office was closed. But if you want more  history, walk into the cemetery and look at names and dates. Quite a few stones marked "Baby". I enjoyed being there. Comments?









 

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Here I am in Boynton Canyon with family. Recently,  my older brother, niece and family said they were coming to Phoenix for a short visit and wanted to see me. I asked them " Have you ever been to Sedona? People come from all over the world to visit here" . She admitted they had not, so in the midst of flakey winter weather they came to see my home town. We had a ray of sun from the west that day.
We did all the usual tourist things. Lunch at a lovely Sedona restaurant with views; touring uptown and driving by  my former home, and  then we headed out to Boynton Canyon. This is where I go to raise my spirits in the midst of this Covid  lockdown. There is always a path to follow, and a vista to survey . After thirty six years I am never bored by what I see living here. Where does the time go? 
I also realize how wonderful to stay connected with people you have known since birth. The stories and secrets you share. The tall guy on the right is my Great nephew. He'd grown since last  I'd seen him and i have shrunk an inch. Nature has a way. This to me was a special day and will stay in my mind as a lovely creation.


 

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Turquoise Touch to a Sedona Creation

Here is the latest in my Large white bowl series. It measures @ 12" across and @ 3 1/2" in height. As with all handmade art , it it is not  is completely uniform, but then again, neither am I. What makes this so unique are  the decorative touches of  real Arizona Turquoise. It doesn't go in your oven or the microwave, but it is fully functional for food or decoration.
 This glaze is actually totally clear. Fired to a temperature over 2000 degrees F, it is food safe and very strong.   What you are seeing is the white porcelain clay beneath it. I intentionally leave the outside with a rough exterior , so I can decorate with the iron oxide that makes the  Sedona rocks red in color. I like the juxtaposition of the smooth inside with the rough exterior. Kind of like life I guess. Comments?                          

Wednesday, December 30, 2020

Standing on the corner


    Here I am , standing on the corner of Winslow, AZ on a cold December day. It has been about 50 years since my sister and I were travelling on Route 66 from California heading east. Jackson Browne and Glenn Frey had yet to publish the iconic song "Take it Easy". I think we were heading  to the Petrified Forest , so you  gotta' go through Winslow, AZ. I remembered it as a small western town with not too many people and not much to see. Id like to say a lot has changed but...                                                                                       It was a railroad town, headquarters for the Santa Fe RR.; Hubell trading post had its warehouse there, and Fred Harvey  built his luxurious hotel, La Posada in 1929 for travelers to eat and perhaps spend the night. Harvey, an Englishman, was the original entrepreneur. He hired single women of "good moral character  who had to have an 8th grade education. The designer of the hotel was Mary Jane Colter , who also did buildings at the Grand Canyon.               But everything did not stay the same.People stopped taking the RR; Route 66 was replace by interstate 40 in 1965.  My sis and I travelled route 66 where we could. This lovely sculpture was not there yet, and La Posada was a deserted building. In 1994, Allen Affelt and artist wife  Tina Mion started its transformation. It is now fairly close to what it looked like in the beginning: Southwest design with real Navajo rugs in the rooms; the delicious Turquoise room for dining  and for us art aficianados , Mion's large surrealistic paintings in an upstairs gallery.  So Winslow Arizona is back on the maps and it was such a fun sight to see. Comments?                                                                     

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

The Art of the Large

Here is the latest and greatest of my turquoise bowl series. It measures eleven inches across and @ six inches high. It is Large. Actually, it is as big  as can fit into my kiln and still have enough space around it to high fire. High fire is 2300F. Most ceramic artists use a gas kiln to go that temperature, but living in Sedona, AZ. as I do, I now fire in an electric kiln.
 This is the second firing where I add the final colors, using the white porcelain clay that I like. It starts out larger than this by at least fifteen percent and as the moisture dissipates in the initial bisque firing, the clay body shrinks. Then it does its real disappearing act when you go to the high temperature, and it has a mind of its own as well. There is always uncertainty depending upon so may unscientific factors. This makes the clay strong enough to use and even put in the oven. However, this  is Not Pyrex; you must go slowly. 
 I add texture when I am first making the bowl and then I decorate the indentations with iron oxide, that great color that we see here in our red rocks. So copper and iron, a very southwest combination. Comments?

Tuesday, August 18, 2020

The Art of Firing


 
Here is my small  kiln in all its glory, red hot and raring to make my fragile clay into solid vessels. Bowls and mugs in this load.I bought this  small used kiln last year, and use it to fire my green ware, (i.e. unfired pottery ) Then it becomes hard enough to take a glaze at a much higher temperature. Those glazed pieces go into my Bigger kiln to fire at a higher temp, @ 2300 F.But the process is similar. You can see the glow of the temperature inside. It is firing as I write. In the front are the peepholes, with an open one in the top to vent both  heat and moisture. Measuring  about 20 inches tall by 20 inches wide on the inside space. It is lined with firebrick  all around the edges. 
I fire this to about 1900 degrees F. There is a little " cone" that   that sits on a rod which drops at the desired temp and turns off the kiln. The newer kilns are run by computers. Not this one. I control the firing, so I must take it up  in incremental degrees so the clay does not explode from rapid changes. Slow and easy is the best way to go. See those little knobs? I adjust them hourly to move up the temperature. It takes hours to fire this porcelain clay . 
Since it is now August, I get up Very early to start this baby and hope it finishes before the midday heat hits. I will wait until tomorrow to unload. No rude shocks permitted.Since my studio is smallish, it suits my needs to get the pieces fired as I make them. Easier to store and much less chance of breaking. So here's a little tale of firing my kiln, here in Sedona, Arizona 

Tuesday, July 7, 2020

White Bowl with Turquoise

"How can I add some pizzazz to my lovely, white porcelain bowls?" I  asked myself while unloading my last kiln load of ceramics, here in my Sedona, AZ.  studio. My solution was to add real turquoise nuggets  in the crevasses that come with my delicately coiled decoration on the edge of this bowl, and others.
 This is a serving size bowl, measuring  nine inches across by @ four and a half inches tall. Perfect for food or decoration, but requiring hand washing.This is a high fired piece of ceramics so it is very strong and long lasting. Heck, they find ceramics that last much longer than do  we mere mortals.You are actually looking at the color of the clay here, with a simple white glaze on top. The outside I leave rough, and stain with iron oxide, which you see when looking at the red rocks of Sedona. The finished and the unfinished. Just like the nature i see when I look outside my studio window. 
Which style of these bowls do you the viewer prefer: the plain white, or with the turquoise?