Friday, September 25, 2009

New pots for my cacti?

I have joined a pottery class! I took a class on wheel-thrown pottery some years ago, and learned just enough to know that I have a LOT to learn about this, and to know that I really enjoy it.

That first time around I made a series of lopsided pots that are serving time now as holders for my cactus plants.

This blue-green trio usually sits on my kitchen window sill and adds some crooked cheer to that space.

We learned to make all kinds of pots, using one color of clay and two.

My pots are really thick-walled and quite small. I really like playing with clay though, and have been wanting to get better at it.

So since then I've been looking for a chance to take another class, and finally the stars aligned this semester to allow this chance. I have been making pinch pots and pieces using coils and slabs. None of the pieces is finished yet though.

I will get on the wheel next week and see if I remember anything. Only time will tell if I will end up with more crooked pots for my cacti or if the pieces will find other purposes in life. In the meantime I am having lots of fun with this, and keeping really busy.

Hope all is well with you!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Texas Mandrone, Some Desert Critters and a Strange Storm

All over the Guadalupe Mountains National Park area in Texas, we found this gorgeous little tree, the Texas Madrone. This tree is a native of Texas, and has the most gorgeous red bark I've ever seen. This particular tree was near the wash area of our campsite, and I spent a lot of time one evening photographing it lit up with light from the setting sun.

It's deep red and orange-brown bark peels off in thin sheets, exposing the light green surface underneath. The contrast of red and green was so beautiful!

I was standing under the tree with my camera, trying my best to hold still to take slow speed shots, when I saw a tiny movement on the branch near my face. It turned out to be this showy little catterpillar. It looked so pretty, its bright green colors blending well with the reds and greens around it.

Later on, on one of the trails we spotted this pair. They were pretty tiny, and so cute and colorful! I have no idea what kind of insects they are. Just haven't had the time to read up on it. Any clues?

On our drive back from this trip to the Guadalupe Mountains, we experienced the wide open Texas skies. It was very hot, but it was also beautiful in a stark and rugged way.

We also had the oddest experience with this tiny little storm. I have never seen anything like it before, though it probably is common in this part of the world. Though it was generally bright and sunny, there was this one cloud to the left of the highway that was darker than the rest. And there were sheets of rain coming down from it on to the ground directly below. It was moving towards the highway, and kicking up a lot of dust too. We could feel the force of the wind, and drove faster to get out of its way.

This wasn't the only one - we saw more small rain clouds like this a couple more times on this 9 hour drive back to East Texas.

As it got dark, I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw this - the sun setting in the West, on the Guadalupe Mountains, as we sped away from it back home to the East.

Have a great week.