Tag Archives: daily blogging

Jane Street Clayworks is changing to a M-W-F blogging schedule

ReiunIn GaunNoNiwa

Zen Garden: Tofukuji Reiun-in Gaun-no-niwa Kyoto, Japan. Source: PlusMinus via Wikimedia Commons

Sometimes life hands you a chance to make things better for yourself and that opportunity breezed in last week. My car was in an accident but, at the time, no one was in it and no one got hurt. It was a wake up call for me, though. Life is precious and we must take care of it. Also, we are responsible for ourselves and if change needs to be made it is us that needs to do the changing. I paused long enough to see where I’ve come and to get an idea about where I’m going. My action will be a bit paradoxical, like a zen koan, because  I’m going to cut back to move forward. Daily blogging has been a great pleasure for me, as it’s given me the chance to get back in touch with writing again. The blog is not about me, though, it’s about you and, because of that, improvements must be made to make it better for you. Starting this week, I will be blogging three times a week with the following schedule:

Mon. – News Briefs (will begin next week)

Wed. – Open Studio Report (will begin this week)

Fri. – Article (will begin this week)

This new schedule will free up time needed to accomplish much needed behind-the-scenes tasks:

* reformatting photos that are no longer the size they were originally

* redoing slideshows that were lost

* figuring out how to restore the “Georgia” font

* indexing work

* install whatever needs installing to make Google Analytics work (I’m in a class about it Wednesday)

fuku-ji/hojyo east garden. Source: Hiro2006 via Wikimedia Commons

That’s for starters, but I’ll be incorporating what I learn in social media courses, too. It will be sad not writing every day because I so enjoy it, but there’s no time to do the work that needs to be done unless I cut back in some areas and devote more time to others. In addition, I will be investing more time in claywork, as it’s taken too much of a back seat. It’s taking longer to achieve what I want with glaze samples and my production end is suffering. The way to solve these problems is to focus, experiment and use elbow grease. There are other things

Garden of the Blissful Mountain at Zuiho-in, a subsidiary temple of Daitoku-ji, Kyoto, Japan. Zuiho-in was established by the Christian daimyo Ōtomo Sōrin. Source: Fg2 via Wikimedia Commons

waiting in the wings…an Etsy and Facebook. I learned last week that I need to limit myself to two to three social media efforts, so I will begin with those two and decide whether I need to branch out further later. It was my hope that I would be ready for Christmas sales, in local shops and through Etsy, but that’s not going to happen this year. I was disappointed when I made that realization, but I’ve had to concentrate on other things first. That is okay, as it means I can get used to working with Etsy with less pressure when it isn’t holiday-time. Today, after doing some interval walking training, I went out for coffee with Jennifer, then the to the library, then to get bus passes. The courses I’m taking are in Vancouver, a half hour away, so I’ll just take city transit, which I believe in. I’m home now, am sipping h2O, and reading, along with writing to you.

Kyoto-Ryoan-Ji MG 4512

Ryoan Ji, Kyoto zen garden. Source: Cquest via Wikimedia Commons

Thank you for being such a faithful readership. Soon, Jane Street Clayworks will be better than ever!

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Filed under Articles and Interviews, Current Events, Home and Garden, My Work, Videos/Photos/Slides

Subscribe to Jane Street Clayworks!

As many of you know, Jane Street Clayworks recently moved from WordPress to a self-hosted site. Day by day, I am making improvements to the site and soon it will be better than ever! A few things that are on the agenda are as follows: feature stories and interviews, thanks to my new digital recorder, and new series segments, to name two. While it is taking time to get the hang of the changes that have taken place between sites, I’m slowly catching up. Next on the agenda is figuring out how to change fonts because I want to take it back to a serif face, as it is much easier to read.  I have yet to come up with a solution for a slideshow, but  that is also a priority. I also have to add a ‘share’ button at the bottom of posts, as that was a popular function before. Another thing I want to check on is whether people can subscribe to comments on posts. If you have any suggestions, please pass them along, as this is a good time to make changes and I want to be responsive to my readership. It’s all about you! The good news is that the e-mail subscription service is up and running. Please take a moment to subscribe to e-mail posts or a feed for posts and comments, both brought to you by Feedburner. Delivery time is between 1:00-3:00 a.m., so a new post will arrive in your mailbox every day, hot off the press. Just as you would walk outside to your mailbox for your newspaper, you can boot up your e-mail and find a fresh edition about all things ceramic. Whether the story is historical, current, pictorial, or a how-to, or a set of news briefs it will be sure to please. Take the time now to click on the box at the top of the sidebar to receive your daily post from Jane Street Clayworks! Thank you in advance… — Jan

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Learning about self-hosted blogging day by day

I dream of the time when I can experience a new website that is completely set up, functional, and connected to the e-commerce and social media sites I choose.  Imagining keeping all the tops spinning. Bliss, at last…. Of course, sigh, that will be then and this is now. WordPress has transferred all of the data from my former blog to this one and I find myself having to make sense of the new situation, while, at the same time, learning how to use the new tools. This is not only out of my comfort zone but also my range of experience. Therefore, I hope you bear with me, while this writer/artist lives through her newbie self-hosted blogger phase. WordPress.com was Nirvana. I hardly had to think about the thing; all the tools were at my fingertips. In order to open a storefront, though, and have a link for it on my blog, I had to leave the nest. WordPress.org is more customizable, but I was nearly immediately confronted with gross assumptions. I thought all my bells and whistles would be intact. Well, I was able to add a YouTube video by plugging in my first-ever bit of HTML coding. Yet, I know nothing about computer language, so this may take a bit of time. I have yet to figure out how to successfully add little mini programs, called plug-ins, that will allow me to do some of the things I was able to do at the other WordPress, like slide shows or  an e-mail subscription service that works. (And isn’t ‘chiclets gum’? Mind boggling jargon. How about ‘floom?’) I have yet to figure out how to make the e-mail business work, but I’ve been working hard to figure it out. Connie suggested it might have to do with my hosted server, so I’m working on that angle. Clearly I’m on a  steep curve learning and must take it step by step, day by day. I also have had to create beaucoups accounts for all of the sites. Many passwords. Thank the stars for my Last Pass account! Yes, it meant one more formidable password to remember, but guess what? It’s the last! With Last Pass, I can securely keep all my passwords in a virtual safe deposit box. In addition, Last Pass can function through my homepage toolbar and generate and save new passwords for new sites as I need them. So, in goes HostGator, Feedburner/Google, WordPress, and a number of others that are behind the scenes. Gee, no wonder I’m having trouble keeping up! As if that ain’t enough, last night I started a Netflix trial… I was on the couch thumbing through the manuals for our HDTV, trying to figure out the activation code for streaming. Well, folks, that bit of effort, compounded by my blogger mania, made my poor little noggin go honk, tweet, hoot. Smoke started rising from my brain and shooting out my ears. My eyeballs were spinning. When they came to rest, I realized enough was enough. I bagged it all after several early attempts at the email subscription biz. Then, I hit the trail with friends in Shoreline Park at Rocky Point. The air was crisp and the bear kept her distance. Afterwards, we went to a cafe nearby, then I took them home. They live way up in the hills on the North Shore, so I was able to drive through sunshine and fall color. It was the perfect break! At Jennifer’s, I had a fond reunion with her son, whom I’d tutored several years ago…home on a university break. It was marvelous seeing him. When I left, Jennifer gave me beautiful Golden Delicious apples fresh from the Okanagan. Crunchy and juicy, tasting like real apples. I became rejuvenated and calm, enjoying the company of friends…. Tomorrow, I ride with them into the city for Afternoon Tea, what is sometimes called ‘high tea.’ It will be a splendid affair with soothing, aromatic teas, teensy sandwiches, and scrumptious scones and petit fours. This treat will give me the get up and go I need to come back and figure out a few things for you. Until then… Cheers! — Jan

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The translucence of porcelain rice grain ware

Bluish white porcelain with translucent spots the size and shape of a grain of rice. Clear glaze with light blue or bright cobalt accents. The first time I saw rice grain ware was in Montana in the form of a teapot. It was beautiful and exotic. I couldn’t figure out how it was made. If you hold it up to the light you can see through the tiny spots. I’ve read some sources that said it was made by inserting little grains of rice in the walls of a porcelain vessel. After glazing, the rice evidently burned out during firing, so all that was left was the translucent glazed area. As it turns out, it is created much more simply. No rice is used at all, states Jan-Erik Nilsson Gothenburg on his Gotheborg site. This makes sense because, as another source pointed out, the rice would expand by absorbing moisture from the clay as it dried, thereby growing in size. This would cause the vessel to crack before bisque firing. “‘Rice grain’ is a name of a technique rather than actual rice grains,”  according to Gothenburg.  “To make this kind of decoration the holes are pierced through the rather thick walls of the rough and unfired porcelain and the holes are then filled with translucent glaze.” Interestingly, the porcelain vessel is initially quite thick. After the holes are made, then filled with the glaze and dried, the potter reworks the vessel.  This is done by thinning the walls without compromising the integrity of the vessel. Surely this must not be how they are all made, however. It seems there must be a big market for slip cast rice grain ware, considering the amount that is sold. Pieces made the traditional way must be wafer thin. “The highly skilled potters, who are usually young women, after what I saw when I visited a factory for this kind of porcelain in Jingdezhen in the 1990’s – are judging the thickness of the walls and the work progress by the sound of the paring knife against the unfired clay,” writes Gothenburg. He says the technique came to China via Turkey in the 14th century. Another style of pottery is made when the holes aren’t filled with glaze. This linglung work creates a lattice effect. These techniques are much older than I realized and the oldest pieces are quite collectible. I myself have a modern rice grain ware teapot. Such porcelain is common and inexpensive in Metro Vancouver, so my take on it is that the finer pieces are pared thin by hand but, others, like my teapot, are slipcast. It is no less appreciated, though. The translucency makes it appeared delicate and the cobalt blue decorations enhance the whiteness of the porcelain. These pieces are truly beautiful.

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