Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Progress Report

What Have I Learned in the Last Few Days?

That I can hook both computers up to the router using two firewires and run them simultaneously. 
1 point for the old G4
1 point for the MacBook

Bad news for the email accounts that keep loading up with the same messages. I haven't even looked at the server's folder.  Even though the emails are going to two different computer addresses, there doesn't seem to be a problem..... I just have to keep on top of the volume until I can completely transfer to the laptop.

That I did download all my iPhoto library onto a disc, I mean it actually took them all.  Surprise.  But the MacBook will only load what's new on the camera.
1 point for the old G4. 
Another point in favor of getting old G4 it's own printer.
-1 point for the MacBook

That the only way I can download music from my iPod is to wipe the whole library and only transfer that which I purchased online. Forget about all the albums I loaded on already, all the podcasts  and audiobooks I've downloaded.
-3 points for the MacBook
A Nano is looking good for the Christmas list.
I'm going to try and back up all my iTunes library onto a disc just in case. But otherwise, I guess it would be better to just keep the library intact and download new onto the lalptop.   

I did get on the web and am now in the process of editing all my bookmarks and transferring their addresses to new bookmarks.
Even score--I needed to edit the old bookmarks anyway.

I can send jpegs as attachments to myself using two separate email addresses.  A tedious process for sure, but now I know that at Least I can do it.  I guess I'll just have to think of the old G4 and discs as a storage units and transfer the images on an "as needed" basis. 

Fah! I've gotta get back to the studio!

Enough of this whining!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Into the Maw of Computer Systems


I'm waving at you from the bottom of a technological hole.

I didn't dig it myself, really, I just allowed it to evolve beneath my feet.

Into a Gaping Void...........a Black Hole,God's Shredder Machine.

After contending for several months with a growing problem of the old Mac G4's developing senility. it occurred to me that I had better move right along with the new technology and become more portable. I reasoned that a MacBook would be the solution. I could take it back and forth between Arizona and Washington much easier than moving 'the monster' each time.

My G4 had began to have memory problems. It's not like the old Macs that you could get into the guts of the thing and throw out programs you would never use and manually allot more memory to programs by opening them up and changing the settings. Besides, I liked my old system 9 and 10.3 programs like Pagemaker.

Yup the old G4 runs two separate operating systems. The new systems are 10.4 and up. In order to bring the G4 up to current software would be a hefty outlay of bucks and still I would lose access to the programs I run on the old systems. 

 I began to have difficulties running programs and web stuff. I was having memory problems switching from one window to another. And it wasn't my internet hook-up either. My computer began crashing. After my old printer died, I couldn't run anything off--I would have to make it an email attachment and ask my husband to print it. It was a war of attrition.

And it's amazing the things you will accommodate. They just creep into your life. And you bend a bit. Then a bit more. And finally you're reduced to looking at a little spinning ball. Waiting. 

I could've hooked a RUG with the time I spent waiting.

It became even more attractive to move to a new computer after I spent about a half hour with the techie rep picking his brain about the new MacBook. We talked about transferring data between the G4 and a laptop. It seemed so simple; just get a fire wire, plug it into the two computers, open the Migration Assistant and let 'er rip.

I should have known.

I forgot the #1 Rule:

Everything dealing with computers takes at least twice as long to do as you think it will.

After spending all of yesterday trying to figure out why the firewire wouldn't work--the new system disk wouldn't load into the old computer (it kept spitting it out), and trying to back up the G4 data into an external disc drive (IT is only is compatible with the new system 10.4 and higher) and reading pages and pages of other people's similar problems on tech support sites, I've decided the best thing to do is forget about trying to direct transfer. That's just not going to work. Even if I did pull it off, the what's on the G4 still has to be run by old programs. It would just be like taking a big bag of old stuff and dumping it into the new laptop---it's still old stuff.  What was I thinking?

I usually like this kind of thing. The challenge between (wo)man and machine; the pitting of my mushy brain-wits against hard steel and silicon. Yeah, I can beat that pile of wires and chips. With one flipper tied behind my back..............Wait a minute. I'm beginning to lose it.

I've been using the G4 since oh, somewhere around 6 or 7 years now. What made me think it would work?  Cram TWO antiquated systems into that beautiful little laptop? Phhhhhbbbbt.

I'll just have to unhook my G4's life support system (modem cable), turn it into a dumb terminal, so to speak, maybe find an old refurbished printer that's compatible and run off all the written stuff into hard copies or revamp the material. So, okay, lesson learned. If you want to keep anything, make a hard copy at the time.

(Scarlet O'Hara mode ON)
I'll just have to forget my past. Turn my face to the West, pick up my skirts and trudge down that old plowed furrow toward a New Day. (Place hand on forehead) I'll just have to think about read/write discs and Leopard from now on. "Ta-morrow is anothah day!"

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


How can I explain CLAYART? It is an internet community of people involved in clay: Artists, publishers, gurus, authors, equipment experts, educators, amateurs, gallery owners, hobbyists, newbies and old hands.

The physical boundaries have no end. Anywhere that an internet and computer are available, CLAYART exists. It is one enormous club. There are no dues, no initiation, no jury, only the requirements of civility and everyday grace you would exhibit and experience with fellow creatures of this planet.

CLAYART started as an outgrowth of NCECA and the personal computer. About 13 years ago, an email discussion group was formed in which people could dialogue about all things clay. It was the result of NCECA and the desire to continue the flow of information and to network with other potters.

Today it has grown into a huge population with a daily traffic that can amount to around 100 messages or more. (I really don't keep track.) That could be daunting if you set out to read every word of every email, but you quickly learn to pick and choose what is relevant to your own environment and delete (in my case, mercilessly) that which you judge can be eliminated. Most of the time, the Subject Line and the sender will tip you off as to whether you choose to read or not. I pass up raku or woodfiring, for instance.

And, a subject-word-keyed archive can be used to research a particular question that might arise, so elimination of messages doesn't usually mean they are gone forever.

Additionally, once you are enrolled, you can address the CLAYART "Brain" to ask an open question. The avalanche of replies or opinions will almost fall from the screen. We are a helpful and giving folk in the main.

It is helpful, as in any new environment, to sit back and observe the protocols and 'lurk' until you're comfortable, but it you have a bad problem or want to respond right away, that's okay too.

Mel Jacobson (or "The Mayor") runs it most of the time and serves as a basically hand-off moderator yet knows when to 'send us to our rooms' when things occasionally get too hot or protracted. In other words, telling us to 'ride that dead horse outta here.' But in a good way.

Current discussions this week have included the NCECA experience plus the discussion of the cost of attending. And what to see, where to go and the best places to eat in Philadelphia.

Take a visit. Get your toes wet. Google Clayart, click on ABOUT to get the complete background. Go to www.acers.org/clayart/ to find out how to enroll. Follow the directions and wait. It won't be long until your mailbox will be bubbling with a plethora of subjects.

Beside being an internet discussion group, CLAYART is a sub-community that meets within NCECA. Mel arranges with another hotel beside the convention hotel (after all, they have their own fish to fry) and secures a large meeting type room for us to have available throughout the time of the convention to relax, talk, show our work, present mini-programs, meet and talk in real-time with the people manifest in the flesh who we have come to know ethereally. It's nice because you feel you know them already. We all walk around NCECA with our nametags showing a red dot as a way of recognizing each other amid the masses, although people involved in clay are for the most part a truly friendly lot.

Each year the CLAYART room is something different. This year Mel arranged to have a room that was equipped with a very long bar where we could set up an example of our work. It was great to be able to see the work of many of our members and connect the work with the names.

Pictured: A wonderful teapot by Gerry Wallace on display at the bar.

Also this year, the CLAYART room presented a supurb collection of work from the American Museum of Ceramic Arts--absolute benchmark pieces marking the history of 20th Century ceramic art with works by masters of the craft. A sister show from the same collection was set up in the gallery area of the Marjon Clay Company of Phoenix. Just stunning work! (A lot of the shots from the previous posting came from that show.)

One evening, a presentation by Tom Coleman and Frank Boyden about their journey working in collaboration and their new book.

Check out CLAYART before the next NCECA.


Just got back from the annual National Council for Education in the Ceramic Arts convention in Phoenix. My head is still spinning with all the wonderfulness of it all. Too bad you can't s-p-r-e-a-d it out into a couple of week's time. It's impossible to see it all, attend every event, or meet everyone you want to talk to. But I tried.

There were galleries and other venues presenting works in clay, there were seminars, discussion group meetings, receptions, presentations, an exhibitor's hall of vendor's equipment and tools, schools representations, demonstrations of techniques, sales of clay works.

Authors signed their books, students rubbed elbows with famous artists and everywhere something to see, new people to meet, ideas to stir your brains. In short, it was a virtual clay artist's heaven.

I've been to several conventions in the past few years and I always come away with new life and new ideas. I also come away with the thought that I must make it to the one next year. Usually, they are held on alternate coasts or general areas of the US. However, next year it will be held in Philadelphia and the following one in Tampa. I will try to get to both even though it is expensive to travel, the value received professionally is golden.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Bulwer-Lytton Entry Addendum

You know the entry below about the elaborately-carved 16th century yadda yadda yadda chair? Well, this is a true story. However some of the facts have been tweeked to suit the contest style.

When we were in the antique business, we were acquainted with a very fine southern gentleman from Georgia who sold exquisitely beautiful and rare French antiques. He would bring these treasurers to a very tony antique show in Portland, Oregon, that we also drug our choicest bits to a bi-annually.

And this story really happened to him. Only it wasn't a domed porter's chair.

As a matter of fact, I don't remember what (as I do remember, it was something rather bulky and difficult to haul) a rarity he had cherished, yet grown to hate because it hadn't been immediately snapped up by an enthralled buyer. He had had the privilege of presenting this jewel of an item and schlepping it around to his show booths and back to the shop for years.

Finally, a lady became interested in this piece and was seriously thinking of buying it, but announced that she would like her friend to see it first. His shoulders slumped and he quietly groaned and as she left, came over to our booth and said, "Believe me, if someone says, 'Let me go get my husband/boyfriend/sister/girlfriend/etc. to see this,' It is the kiss of DEATH."

Sure enough, on their return, her friend came up with the garage sale comment...........

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It's Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest time again!

The Bulwar-Lytton Contest deadline is April 15th. To quote the famous writer:

"It was a dark and stormy night;
the rain fell in torrents--except at occasional intervals, when it was checked by a violent gust of wind which swept up the streets (for it is in London that our scene lies), rattling along the housetops, and fiercely agitating the scanty flame of the lamps that struggled against the darkness."

--Edward George Bulwer-Lytton, Paul Clifford (1830)

And in honor of this wordy author, an annual contest is held to see who can write the most lengthy and elaborate bunch of silly foo-fah their minds can string together in one sentence. Each year the website publishes the winning entries. You can find the main page at http://www.bulwer-lytton.com/.

The 2009 results will be published there sometime in mid-June 2009.

Hoping to be ranked as the worst of the worst of purple prose, I sent off this year's verbal herniations for consideration. Two examples of which are included below:

Even though she was being tied to the ornately-carved sacrificial post and watching the witch doctor shake fetishes in her face, Valentina couldn't help being impressed by his lavish, yet charmingly primitive jewelry and flamboyantly colorful make-up, all the while thinking he really should do something about his pores and bad breath, but not in that order.


"Don't worry Lucille," shrugged her friend Gladys after she had been retrieved from the crowd at the antiques show to view the beautiful domed-top chair, "because if you are meant to have an authentic early example of an astronomically priced 16th century hand-carved rosewood French hooded porter's chair with the original horsehair padding and tooled Moroccan-Spanish leather upholstery and hand-forged brass studs and casters, you'll find one at a garage sale."

Artisan's Market Show

Last weekend was the Tucson Museum of Art 's Artisan's Market. It was a nice show. The Southern Arizona Clay Association's area was a good one--right at the entrance courtyard.

Outside of set-up and take-down, I was there for my work shift on Saturday morning only, but we were busy the entire time.
This is good. There's nothing worse than sitting around at a show with only a trickle of patrons coming through.

The over-all quality of the show was really quite high with a good mix of choices from two-dimensional work, fibers, sculpture, jewelry,etc.

I was hoping to be able to take a good turn around and spend some time looking at other booths, but didn't even have time to take a break; we were that busy.

There were 17 potters participating in the Southern Arizona Clay Association booth and the variety and range of work was, as it usually is, wide and varied.

My general observation is that the brighter, more colorful work sold best. And as usual, things in the lower range did well--$20.00 to $40.00 or thereabouts.

The customers were a good mix of young and older, men and women. Usually women buy the most pottery pieces.

Some of my best customers have historically been people of Asian heritage and other artists. This time it was a bit different. I usually sell some of my teapots, but didn't at this show, although I did well as far as sales go.

I really enjoy the contact with customers and like to meet people and talk. I got over being shy about my work a long time ago.