Spilled Milk and this Week’s Progress

Yesterday I forgot to screw the bottom of the blender on tightly so the soy milk spilled all over the table and floor (I walk away while it’s blending to save my ears). This gave me the perfect opportunity to try John Marshall’s “quickie method,” which involves grinding dry soy beans in a coffee grinder and then swishing and massaging the resulting flour around inside a damp cloth inside a bowl of water. I like the slow method better, which is actually faster (provided you remember to soak the soybeans overnight in the fridge).

The old lab cart works well because I can wheel it around my work as needed. The dry pigments are mixed in the soy milk, which is still a bit frothy from freshness. Pigments settle out, so with each application you need to stir them up a bit.

My basement studio has many obstacles I’ve managed to work around! Two vertical 6×6 posts stand in the center of the space about 10 feet apart. The boiler, chimney and water heater are between them. I’ve rigged two stretching areas, one from each post attaching to the concrete wall opposite via aluminum door handles. I added a D-ring to one of the handles, which allows me to move around more easily with a minimum of ducking and crouching. I can stretch approx. 2 1/2 yards of fabric on each side of the room.

Oil design detail ┬ęKit Eastman

Spilled Milk and this Week’s Progress

Yesterday I forgot to screw the bottom of the blender on tightly so the soy milk spilled all over the table and floor (I walk away while it’s blending to save my ears). This gave me the perfect opportunity to try John Marshall’s “quickie method,” which involves grinding dry soy beans in a coffee grinder and then swishing and massaging the resulting flour around inside a damp cloth inside a bowl of water. I like the slow method better, which is actually faster (provided you remember to soak the soybeans overnight in the fridge).

Ready to dye
Ready to dye

The old lab cart works well because I can wheel it around my work as needed. The dry pigments are mixed in the soy milk, which is still a bit frothy from freshness. Pigments settle out, so with each application you need to stir them up a bit.

Today's dye work stretched out
Today's dye work stretched out

My basement studio has many obstacles I’ve managed to work around! Two vertical 6×6 posts stand in the center of the space about 10 feet apart. The boiler, chimney and water heater are between them. I’ve rigged two stretching areas, one from each post attaching to the concrete wall opposite via aluminum door handles. I added a carabiner (i.e. D-ring) to one of the handles, which allows me to move around more easily with a minimum of ducking and crouching. I can stretch approx. 2 1/2 yards of fabric on each side of the room.

Owl detail
Owl detail

Above is a close-up of my new owl design after curing and wash-out.

Potter, Landscape, Ham

It’s possible that today’s post will be the first in a regular feature. Due to the slow nature of my process, there isn’t something coming out of my studio daily, or even each several days, that is post-ready. So, today I’ll share some objects (and a person) I’m inspired by. Potter Christy Wert and I have been friends for over 30 years, and she has been a professional potter for almost that long. She came out of the “Mingei-sota” ceramics tradition, as it is often called, and studied with Warren MacKenzie at the University of Minnesota as well as others in that tradition. Her work is a joy to behold and use. In fact, I am enjoying my morning espresso in one of her cups as I write this. She tells me a website is coming, however until that time you can find out a bit more on her Facebook page, and purchase her pots at Northern Clay Center in Minneapolis. Christy lives and works in Glendive Montana.

She works with a porcelain clay. Her work is wheel thrown and hand-built. The designs are created with a sgraffito technique after the first glaze is applied.

Mikoshika vista

Mikoshika State Park is a 5 minute drive from Glendive, Montana. The name is Lakota for “land of bad spirits.”

Potter and her dogs, Rocco (the Lab) and Louis