Sunday, February 23, 2014

How about some pottery for the pottery blog

Because of the lack of pottery photos you would think I don't ever set foot in my studio. That is not quite the case. I am in there occasionally. I've managed to spend a little time in there the past month and it has been just delightful for me. I love having a few days in a row that I can work. I think my ideal work week would be Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Timing is an issue with pottery so I have a hard time working one day and then not going back for a few days. There are a bunch of steps to follow that must be done in order. Typically this is how it goes for wheelthrown pottery:
1. wedge up the clay, get it ready to be thrown
2. form the piece on the wheel
3. let it dry until it's dry enough to trim
4. trim
5. let it dry out completely
6. bisque fire
7. glaze
8. high fire
9. touch up as needed

The steps are pretty much the same for handbuilt ware but add in a little more drying time between rolling out the slabs and actually forming the piece. The time for each different step varies. Many times I've thrown some work or built some pieces and then have been unable to get back in time to trim before the pieces have gotten too dry. That's a little frustrating. I keep thinking that I've figured out how to be patient through the whole process and then I find evidence that I have not been patient enough.

 For instance, I experimented with some slab plates. I thought I let them dry long enough before I bisque fired them but I guess I didn't. A few of didn't make it through the firing. The next set of plates I made I let dry a lot longer. In fact, I haven't fired them yet. I plan on doing so this coming week.  I did glaze fire the plates that didn't break in the bisque fire and found out that the decoration I added before firing needed to be smoothed over a bit so it wouldn't be so sharp when glazed. Lesson learned and I think I'll have better plates the second time around.

 The top shelf is holding the plates for my second go around. The green plates below have sharpish bumps that I've smoothed out on the new set.

I loved the carvings on these vases and bowls. I actually love this stage the best. I'm so excited when I'm waiting for the pieces to dry out completely. I'm usually at my happiest at this point. Of course I totally love the finished product - except when I don't, which happens way too often. It's much easier for me to be critical of my work when it is finished than before I glaze it. Before I glaze the potential is there for something extraordinary. After the glaze firing it's much easier for me to decide if a piece is extraordinary or something less than that.

So there you have it. Work in progress and a chance for greatness. We'll just have to wait and see how these turn out.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Fun February

 How about I just start right off with a close up of Brian's frozen face. We had the best snow of the year (so far) and came home when my legs couldn't take it any more. Hopefully we'll have a few more of those days before the ski season is over.

 February 8 was Sweethearts dance. Sydney's first dance. She rocked the style department in her dress and converse.
Sam's shimmery layered dress is one I might have to steal. She looked beautiful and had a great time.

The state swim meet was February 14 & 15th. Samantha qualified to swim in the 200 free, 500 free and the 400 free relay. We were overjoyed that she qualified. We were hopeful about the 500 but the 200 was a big surprise. We had an anxious week between the region swim meet and finding out who would swim. She did not qualify for an individual event last year so to have 3 events her senior year was pretty amazing.
Sydney qualified in the 200 medley relay (fly), 200 IM, 200 free relay and the 100 breast. She had awesome swims at region so we weren't anxious about her and she is a sophomore so this wasn't her last meet ever.

 So many swimmers waiting to start the warm up. It is a bit of a mad house when they all get in.

 Sydney is the jumper in the pink suit.

 This is just one third of the pool and swimmers. Crazy!

 The Jordan coaches were pretty happy with their team. 4 girls qualified in 2 individual events, all 3 girl relays qualified and 1 boy qualified in 1 individual event. This is the best the school has ever done.

 Sydney diving in on the relay.

Sydney waiting to start her 200 IM. 
 Sam before the start of the 500.
 Sam after her swim. I love this picture. She didn't know I was taking this. She is just walking back to the other pool so she can cool down. She hasn't talked to anyone or is aware that anyone is looking at her. She is just so happy that she swam so well. Her best 500 swim ever.
 Sydney before the 100 breast. She has combined 2 pair of goggles into one. One lens is black and the other is silver. They look a bit weird to me but she loves them.
 Syd didn't do as well on her individual swims as she wanted to so was disappointed in herself. She had best times in her relays. I am so excited I get to watch her swim for 2 more years.
 The team cheering on the relay girls.
When the meet was over I made the girls and their coach pose for me. The other coach and boy swimmer went out a different door so I couldn't get them. Way to go Jordan swim team!

Going to the state meet is a huge hassle. It's hard to get a decent seat, you wait forever for it to start, it's not really spectator friendly because of how early you have to go to get a seat and then the meet takes hours and unless your child is swimming or you love the sport no one really wants to go. It's annoying and frustrating how little respect and encouragement the school gives to it's swimmers. These students work incredibly hard for a season that lasts longer than football. I feel bad that the only spectators that will cheer them on are immediate family. The high schools cancel class for a state football game but these kids are lucky to get it announced over the pa that they are going to state. I'm sure if I didn't have swimmers I wouldn't care. I bet it's this way for other sports too and I'm clueless about that also. However, I do have swimmers. I do see how hard they work. I am aware of what they give up to compete. This isn't only at my girls' school. This is more often the case than not. I know I'm more bothered by all of this than my girls are. They just smile and do their best.

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Sweet 16

It's another big day in the Hyer house today. Sydney is 16. She is currently in bed, sleeping off an amazing evening of swim. She and Sam swam at the region championships yesterday and they both put in some of the best swims of their lives. I can't stop smiling, I'm just so happy for them! You remember my post from the country club championships this past summer about Sam kicking it on the 100 fly? Well, let's repeat that for last night (except for the team coming in first place, that will never happen). Sydney swam the 200 IM and the 100 breast while Samantha swam the 200 free and the 500 free. They both swam in relays too but this year they weren't on the same relay teams. 
This was a super important meet for Sam because she is a senior and it's only a possibility that she will be able to swim at the state meet.  She has swam the 200 free and the 500 free in most of her meets since she joined the team as a freshman. She got her best time at regions as a sophomore and then had been unable to better it her whole junior year and until January of this year. She beat it once mid January and then again at the final regular season meet. That was pretty exciting because she and another girl from her team who is much slower were the only two girls swimming it. Sam was able to swim hard with no one to pace off of and drop 3 seconds. She danced out of the pool and down to us, it was awesome!
Sydney on the other hand has not been stuck for two years with no improvement but has been a tiny bit intimidated by some particular swimmers on another team (at least that is how I see it, she will probably disagree with that statement). Last night she had to swim against these girls and she rose to the challenge and gave it her all. It might sound a little like I'm being mean but I was thrilled to see Syd pull herself out of the pool after she swam her 200 IM and lay on the pool deck because she couldn't move. I'm not concerned with how my girls place but I am concerned that they swim hard. Sam & Syd both swam as hard as they could last night and Brian and I are as proud as we can be.

So these hard swimming girls dropped time. Samantha - 2 seconds in the 200 free and 4 seconds in the 500 free. Sydney - 6 seconds in the 200 IM and 1/2 a second in the 100 breast. They both swam great times in their relays and now we get to wait and see what happens about state. 

The birthday girl wishes it was a weekday so we could run right out and get her driver's license but alas, that is not the case. She will have to wait, poor thing. Brian works today so we will be driving to Provo when he is between shifts and then we can have a family birthday dinner. We will have to hurry home so Syd can get back in time for her date. 16 means you are old enough to date and how fun for her that she has one lined up.