A Call for Rocks and a New Page

Saturday I went down to Felkins creek which is near the end of our driveway. It’s not that I needed more rocks. I just wanted to see what the recent rains might have turned up. So I should probably have not gone looking.

Limestone and fossils.
Limestone and fossils.
Look at all of the fossils in this one little piece! There's that many more in the larger chunk.
Look at all of the fossils in this one little piece! There’s that many more in the larger chunk of fossil rock.

 

I only needed one rock. Or one color of rock. And I did get it. But all these other rocks wanted to jump in my bag, too.

It's the red sandstone without a black shell that I wanted. Not sure how all these other rocks got in the bag...
It’s the red sandstone without a black shell that I wanted. Not sure how all these other rocks got in the bag…

 

Have any rocks to share?

I’d like to make a collection of paints from other regions. A single colorful rock will work if it’s about hand-sized. I’ll send you a little pan of paint for a single rock (or handful of clay!). If you’d like to send me a medium-sized priority box of rocks (or clay) from your area, I’ll send you a whole palette of paints from those rocks. Choose a few rocks (or clays) of about 5 different colors if you can. Email me for my address.

How’s that fall in line with the ‘I don’t need any more rocks’ line of thinking??

New Page and Menu Item

I decided to put my paintings on a single page as I finish them. You’ll see that page now in the menu above. Next up will be a brown pelican, the State Bird of Louisiana. It won’t be for sale as it is a custom order but I’ll still post the progression of it as I’m doing it. Not sure I can do a pelican, so it’s an experiment!

A Book to Finish

I haven’t forgotten about the book I’m supposed to be wrapping up this summer. Summer is almost over… I know. If you’ve been waiting, please know it’s on my mind and I’m trying to work on it between making paints and painting.

Treasure Found on a Misty Autumn Morning Walk

Most mornings, after I feed the animals, I go for a walk down the driveway. Today I brought the camera, so it wasn’t as much for exercise as it was for pleasure and to gather treasure.

I look for botanical treasure because I use it to decorate my Forest Folk creations. There’s an example of what I mean at the end of this post. Sometimes I find things as soon as I step out of the house, but this time it took a little more time.

This morning wasn’t particularly cold but it was overcast and misty, which makes perfect weather for taking photos that show the beautiful colors of autumn. Some years are really gorgeous here in the Ozarks.

The view from underneath Gloria's limbs.
The view from underneath Gloria’s limbs.

The Order of Things

So first I fed the dogs. Badger always checks the first bowl I fill and then runs to check the next one. He’s making sure I didn’t hold out some leftovers for Bobbie Sue.  She sometimes has trouble chewing the kibbles, so on occasion I do slip her a little something tender. Well Badger caught on to that.

The cats and chickens are waiting their turn to be fed. The picture above is on the way to the hen house. Almost always I gather treasure beneath that oak tree. Usually a tuft of moss or a slab of mossy bark will fall out of it overnight and wait patiently on the ground for me to find it the next morning.

Nothing eye-catching this morning, though. I fed the cats in the shed loft after putting horse and chicken feed into the buckets. Next it’s on to the horses after throwing the scratch to the chickens.

Beautiful Autumn colors at the horse gate this morning.

After giving the horses their food, I leave the buckets on the side of the driveway and head toward the mailbox.

Heading out to Walk

Badger and Bobbie Sue leading the way down the driveway for my treasure hunt.
Badger and Bobbie Sue leading the way down the driveway for my treasure hunt.

I didn’t plan to walk that far today, though, because I had the camera and it would have taken me far too long for that reason. I’d have to stop and take too many pictures and I had things I needed to get done back at the house.

Here’s some of the things I saw along the 1/2 mile route to the camper and back up to the house.

The oak leaves are turning red.
The oak leaves are turning red.

A closer view of the oak leaf. I like the shades of color and the black dots. This is one I think I'll draw when I get some time.
A closer view of the oak leaf. I like the shades of color and the black dots. This is one I think I’ll draw when I get some time.

Maples are turning gold.
Maples are turning gold.

And maples are turning red.
And maples are turning red.

It was both a fortunate AND an unfortunate meeting in the moonlight. Something had dinner here last night.
It was both a fortunate AND an unfortunate meeting in the moonlight. Something had dinner here last night.

There’s a healthy population of both predator and prey animals here. It’s a great study in perception to reconcile the death of one making life possible for another. The same scene can be interpreted different ways by creatures looking at it from different perspectives.

Rocks and Dead Flowers and Native Clay

There are so many rocks here and some of them are too large to haul back up to the house with me. I’m sure Rob’s glad of that.

I love the leftover flowers that leave behind interesting shapes.

Along the landslide there was more clay oozing out of the cut. This layer of clay in there is probably why the hill keeps sliding. When it rains, it gets slick and the section over it just slides down into the driveway again.

Clay oozing out of the landslide.
Clay oozing out of the landslide.

But it does offer a treasure to me in the form of raw material for sculpting the heads and parts of my Forest Folk! I didn’t need to gather any more of this today, though. Rob brought me plenty in the first load.

Baby bear track or a little bigfoot.
Baby bear track or a little bigfoot.

Most of the clay we have around here is the color of this driveway. That dark clay is unique to that spot and I’m not sure there’s more anywhere else. I haven’t looked for it since I probably have a lifetime supply right there.

Found the Treasure I Was Seeking

Finally found the treasure I needed.
Finally found the treasure I needed.

It wasn’t until I was on the way back to the house that I found what I needed. The small twig with the vine attached is the most prized treasure. It’s going to make a fabulous wand for a Forest Folk.

I also found a twisty stick that I’m not sure yet how I’ll use and more seed fluff from the fireweed that hadn’t let go of all of it yet. That fluff makes the hair on the Forest Folk. If you haven’t seen them yet, take a look over at my Etsy shop. I think you’ll love them as much as I do.

I hope you enjoyed today’s treasure hunt!

And that you weren’t disappointed by the size of the finds 🙂 It’s the little things like that perfect vine wrapped twig that makes each of my works unique and appealing to me. That’s why when I find something like that, I feel like I’ve just struck gold.

Test Firing the Native Clay – Failure and Success

Yesterday I posted about cleaning the native clay and the test firing I planned to do once they dried out enough.

I’m too impatient. I should have waited another day, maybe even longer because the clay was pretty wet when I first worked the little ball and circle.

They exploded to smithereens almost as soon as I put them in the coals.

Plan B

So, I pulled out the first test ball I’d made a while back. It was in storage in my studio/office and I KNEW it would be dry. I had already fired it for a short amount of time last winter. I hoped this would compare to a “bisque” firing, because what I planned to do with it would test the limits.

It wasn’t as smooth and I hadn’t burnished it, but it was made the same clay. This was just one of the small clean clay lumps in the chunk, so it hadn’t gone through the sieves and process the others had.

Test Firing and Pushing the Limits

I opened the wood stove, made a nice little bed of glowing embers, where the previous test pieces had been but now were nowhere to be found, put the test ball in the embers and covered it with more hot coals.

Test firing underway, and quiet so far. Unlike the previous episode that sounded like fireworks going off inside the wood stove. Whew.

When the little ball became red hot I pulled it out with the tongs and dropped it into cold water as if I were making a Raku pot and ducked for cover.

It survived!

This was once the same color as the test pieces I just blew to smithereens in the test firing.
This was once the same color as the test pieces I just blew to smithereens in the test firing. It was not as smooth or “finished” as the original test piece.

Now it has some blackened areas and some rust colored area and I like it. More tests to come once the new pieces dry much longer. Very encouraged in spite of this little setback. I learned some things!

More Stress Testing

Next I wanted to know if I could drill into it with my Dremel tool. Sometimes I just need to put a hole into pieces I’m working with. If I’d think of it before firing, I could just put the hole in before the clay hardens.

Anyway, it did take the drilling okay. I lost my grip on it for a second and it twisted, resulting in a flake chipping off of it, but not too bad.

After the test-firing, I wanted to put a hole in the top of this so I could insert the stem and glue it. Now, this little "Folk" will have an interesting hair piece made from the clematis seedpod.
After the test-firing, I wanted to put a hole in the top of this so I could insert the stem and glue it. Now, this little “Folk” will have an interesting hair piece made from the clematis seed pod.

So that’s it for the reporting on my experiments for now. Tomorrow we’ll be at AFIC cooking more of our Burnt Kettle Shagbark Hickory Syrup. Then I’ll be getting ready for the market.

Market Plans

I’m not planning to bring my Forest Folk out again because they’re too fragile to keep boxing them up and setting them out, then reboxing and bringing them home over and over. If you want one and want me to bring it to market for you, just email me. Most of the market-goers are there for vegetables and bread, and crafts just aren’t doing very well, anyway.

If you’d like some hands-on fun at a Forest Folk Workshop, plan to attend in Winslow on December 16.

Next round of tests

Here’s the two I fired yesterday on 11/3/17. The one in the back hasn’t been fired yet. The one on the left was burnished before firing and the black one on the right was not. Both were dropped into water as soon as I pulled them from the fire. Both performed exceptionally! I can’t wait to make more things.

The second set of test pieces - they survived!
The second set of test pieces – they survived!