Thursday, 27 June 2019

Pot of Gold?

One rainy/sunny/rainy/sunny day last week I looked out of my back door and saw a rainbow. I grabbed the camera before it disappeared. (Not the camera, the rainbow!).

 Then I thought I'd use my "colour enhancement" button on my little point'n'shoot Canon, and see what happens.
 Oooooh that's really spectacular! So I went to the front of the house to look up into the sky before the sunset faded.
 A nice sunset highlighting the clouds, but let's try the "colour enhancement" button again.
WOW!  And they say the camera never lies.
Well.... perhaps that used to be true but no longer. The camera can't be trusted to tell the truth at all!

Monday, 24 June 2019

All You Need.

This has been attached over the Town notice at the playground at the Community Centre where we have our weekly painting meetings. I'm not sure who left it, or why, but I like it.

Thursday, 20 June 2019

Playing with Fire

Raku is a type of low fire kiln process that involves taking the pottery from the kiln at bright red heat and placing it in containers with combustible materials. Once the materials ignite, the containers are closed. This produces an intense reduction atmosphere which affects the colours of the glazes and creates smoke.
Lots of photos in this post. I spent the day in a friend's back yard firing pottery. And there was a pot luck lunch.... yummy!
This mask was created made by pressing a slab of clay against a piece of tree trunk that had been cut down. All the ridges and textures of the bark were transferred into the clay and two simple eyes and a mouth were cut out. The mask was bisque fired once and was ready to be glazed.

A selection of the glazes that were available. When the glaze is painted onto the clay, there is no indication of what colour it might appear after firing. It's always a surprise.

Hard at work at the glazing table.

Some of the glazed items waiting for their turn in the kiln. My mask was glazed with a black lustre glaze.... no idea what it might look like when fired.

The back yard kiln. Fuelled by a propane tank. Some finished pieces on top warming up ready for the next firing.

This very hot piece is taken from the kiln and will be plunged into a metal container full of combustible materials, in this case crumpled newspaper, and then the container closed. This is where the magic happens to the glaze.

This process makes lots of smoke. Don't stand too near. And have tolerant neighbours!

Here comes the mask out of the kiln. The firing takes about 15 - 20 minutes.

This dish has just been taken out of the metal flame container and is cooling. It still has to be cleaned up to get the soot and burnt paper off, but much of the black smoke colour will be kept on the clay.

This piece has been fired without a glaze. While the piece is still extremely hot, straight out of the kiln, strands of horse hair have been draped over the surface. The hair burns away but leaves a decorative carbon trail. One of the other potters did the same process with large fluffy ostrich feathers.

And here's the finished mask! It still needs a good clean up to get all the soot off, but I'm happy with it. The photo doesn't do justice to all the different iridescent colours that have appeared in the glaze.

Sunday, 16 June 2019

My Dad

Happy Father's Day to all the very special Dads out there.

Brand new Dads; men who will be Dads soon; men who one day hope to be Dads; step Dads; foster Dads; the Dads who have lost children; the Dads we have lost; single Dads, married Dads; veteran Dads; novice Dads; all the Dads who love their children.... have a Happy Father's Day!

Here's my very special Dad.

I posted his life story here a few years ago.
He's been gone for many years now, but he is still loved and missed every day.

Friday, 14 June 2019

Raptors Win!

I'm not normally a basketball fan, but everyone (well, let's just say an awful lot of people) in Canada has been swept up in the ride of the Toronto Raptors basketball team, the only NBA basketball team in Canada.
The Raps are on top of the basketball world today, defeating the mighty back-to-back champion  Golden State Warriors 114-110 in game 6 of the best of seven. And they did it in the Warrior's home arena in California.

Kawhi Leonard - MVP.       pic from CBC
Toronto Raptors have won the first NBA Championship outside the USA.
I watched the game at YoungerSon's house. It was a definite nailbiter at the end.... will they, or won't they? But yes, they did, and we cheered and jumped up and down with the rest of Canada.
Although the game was in California, more than 20,000 jubilant basketball fans watched the game on the big screens at "Jurassic Park" in downtown Toronto, and celebrated the win with confetti and fireworks. Celebrations went on well into the night. Game watching parties were held all over Canada, even in my small town where fans gathered at the local theatre to watch.
I think there's probably a definite lack of productivity at work in Toronto today.

Pic from CBC.
Go Raptors Go!

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

New Neighbours

There are nine Canada geese swimming on the pond today. Two of them didn't want their picture taken. They all look like adults, but could be a couple of parents with seven fully grown youngsters. They'll be gone by tomorrow, once they've eaten their fill of aquatic goodies. The pond is pretty shallow.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

White Iris

The white iris is blooming by the pond at the end of the street. 
The heron in the distance is actually made of metal, but I often see a real great blue heron wading in the shallows, snacking on whatever good things he can find in the water.

Thursday, 6 June 2019


Last weekend was the annual "Doors Open" event, where the general public gets a chance to go inside buildings that are normally closed to them. I went with some friends to the Holy Theotokos Convent..... a small Orthodox Greek convent situated on 20 acres of rolling hills deep in the Ontario countryside.
It is situated only a 15 minute drive from where I live, deep in the countryside, a very unexpected location for a convent. There are 4 nuns who live here, and they run a small industry of producing beeswax candles, beauty products, and baked goods.
Just setting foot in the door, you smell a wonderful combination aroma of warm beeswax and baking and you are greeted with smiling faces. The candles are sold under the business name of Joyous Light Candles, and the nuns produce most of the candles used in religious services at many of the Toronto area churches, as well as candles for the home. They don't keep their own bees, but purchase more than 20,000kg of beeswax annually from beekeeepers across Canada.
Ahhh... the baking! It's worth a visit to the convent just for the spanakopita!

Yes, I loaded up with all kinds of Greek pastries.... all gone now, and they were delicious!