Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Beekeeping, mugs, and sketches

I've been trying to draw or make something everyday, and I've been relatively good this past week. I've really been on top of my mug making. Made 12 in the hope of having 10, but so far 4 have fallen victim to clumsiness or general bad luck, leaving only 8. Oh well.

I have really bad luck with mugs. The handles always break off, or I crack the sides when I'm attaching the handle ( I guess I press too hard). I had gotten really good at pulling handles, but they're usually so wet they collapse, and if I leave them to dry a bit, I forget about them and they dry too much. Or the cup and the handles dry at different speeds, and the handles pop right off. I've tried wrapping the cup and handle in a wet paper towel, to varying degrees of success. One tiny but very useful thing I keep neglecting to pick up at the store is a spray bottle, just so I can mist these bastards after trimming and before I wrap them up. I really need a damp cupboard or an old fridge to keep my pieces from drying out. In the mean time, I'm trying to get better at sculpting handles, rather than making pulled ones. I do really enjoy the fluid look of pulled handles, but making them from fresh clay right out of the bag seems to be a little closer in dampness to the leatherhard mugs. We'll see whether these survive the drying process.

Nich checked on his bee hives over the weekend, which I always enjoy watching him do.

One of the hives is doing great, but the other one died. We opened it up to find hundreds of dead, slightly rotten bees and a lot of wax moth larvae. Poor things. We were pretty sad about it - I don't think we took good enough care of them last summer, and we've recently read that it's not good to have too many hives on a small property. I guess having three in your backyard just wasn't a good idea. Hopefully we'll learn and make less mistakes as we go along. Here's a shot of some of the honeycomb we pulled from the dead hive, which I thought was beautiful, despite the belly up bee.
I hope our other hive does better. I love that we get to keep bees - it's one of the coolest things I've ever gotten to do. They're so fascinating! It's also nice seeing the whole of Nich's parents backyard blanketed in tiny wildflowers.

I forget which day I drew this one. I think it was on a day I'd already done a journal entry, so I didn't bother to date it. I'm trying to push myself to practice drawing from life so I can bulk up my drawing skills a bit. Nich and the cats are always freely available models, and I enjoy drawing them (though Nich never likes my drawings of him much - he thinks I make his nose look too big). The beer bottle was left over from when I made beef stew. I wish I liked beer, because I love those adorable little Red Stripe bottles.

I hope the majority of my pottery comes out decent. I just applied for another craft fair today, so wish me luck! It looks like fall is going to be a busy time for me if I can get into most of the fairs I apply for. I have got to bust out ceramics like mad this summer!


eef said...

I want to have bees!!! That's so cool!

Also, pottery sounds REALLY complicated. But you make awesome stuff! When I haz a job I will buy something from you!

15 Painted Cups said...

Hopefully by the time you haz job, I will have some cool stuff up for sale. There are definitely some aspects of pottery that are terribly complicated, but it's learning how it all works that's half the fun:D