First Pottery Wheel – Candle Holder!

My wife and I recently took our first pottery class (involving the wheel — we had made other sculptures many times before) and it was very difficult, to say the least.

The lump of clay on the wheel is spinning, and in order to make anything of any use (let alone beautiful) one must keep it centered on the wheel, which is to say perfectly centered, so that one’s hands can shape the clay into a bowl or vase or cup, or a candle holder.

I was practicing my “coning” (raising the clay up as it spins, and then squishing it down into a hockey-pick share as it spins) and had inadvertently left a fat middle. Seeing this, the instructor said “Looks like you have a candle holder going there…”, and I took her advice immediately (a very good idea when one is a beginner…).

I really liked the way it turned out — it’s the one on the right in the photo below — and tried to create a second one to match it. This image was obviously after applying the glaze and before firing the pieces.

Candle Holders.vinchesi

As you can see, my attempt to do a second one did not work out well: I couldn’t keep it centered on the wheel, and the result really showed the bad results when this happens.

The cool thing about pottery is that the glaze really makes it look good in ways you just can’t predict.

Here is the final piece, I’m very happy with it!

Candle holder.Vinchesi


New View of Hardwood

I grew up in an all-American suburb where inexpensive wall-to-wall carpeting was the norm and in my 20s in New York city I didn’t like at all the idea of hardwood floors and area rugs. But some years later I realized that some of the familiarity of childhood is not necessarily consistent with aesthetically superior choices, and so now I certainly adore a beautiful hardwood floor.

In almost every room I’ve seen, hardwood is laid in parallel across a whole floor (whether the two-inch or ten-inch varieties, etc.), and it always looks great. At a restaurant yesterday I noticed immediately a unique pattern and wanted to share it.

Hardwood floor in squares instead of straight

I’m sure this is common in many structures, but I don’t recall seeing it before.

I like to say that Design is Destiny, and this includes the building components themselves, the way they are arranged, and the way they are built.

All of the home-improvement shows on HGTV and other channels suggest to me that appreciation for quality design is on the upswing after 50 years of building components turning into garbage and after countless stained glass windows having been painted over.