Kenilworth is well worth a visit. Started as an area of reflection after the Civil War, cheap swamp land allowed a vet to purchase and start growing lilies. Eventually he and his daughter planted many different types that are on display in around 10 large ponds on the Anacostia River in Washington DC.
The stunning beauty of the flowers in this park is unreal. Plus, that it is in north eastern DC and that I had never heard of it add to the mystical nature of the environment.
It is not only water lilies that one will encounter above and below show additional flora that grow in the shallow ponds. The combination of different blossoms adds interest to the mellow walk around the pools.
No, I have no idea what these different plants are, but walking among them was a wonderful adventure that I was able to enjoy with my Mom. I’m glad we had this chance to hang out and spend a few moments amongst these beauties.
It was crowded on the Saturday we chose as a festival was taking place, but I’m sure there are times earlier or late in the day when it is less busy. This was only my second time to the park. The first was in mid-late June and the lilies were only budding; no blooms yet. So, I’d say late June to late July are the times to go. I may go on August 20th to check it out again as I would like to show my niece this place and see if the blooms are still full.
These larger lilies are a type of lotus. Look at the seed pods and leaves as they are just as cool as the blooms.
It is incredible as you walk among the ponds. You never know what you will find. I brought my dog and he loved it as well, though it was a little hot for him.
There comes a time when you need to revisit things and that is just how I thought when I planned my last vacation. I wanted to see old friends and walk the places that had made me the happiest. So, I went back to New Mexico to eat good food, hang with friends and walk amongst the American Southwest and its amazing geology and stunning landscape.
We walked the Rio Grande down at the Bosque in Albuquerque. It is always a good experience to revisit the river. What a significant part of New Mexico and as well as a big part of my interaction there. There is so much to do and see that involves the river and don’t forget how important water is in a desert land.
The Fiery Food Festival: Yes, it is true that his was the main event of my trip to New Mexico. I walked Sandia Pueblo Casino and ate burning hot chili samples until my head exploded and my tastebuds didn’t accept the difference between beer and corn chips. As always good companionship and burning hot sauce was a great combination. I will always cherish going to the Fiery Food Festival. It was a yearly endeavor that promoted good times in New Mexico.
Tsankawi in Bandelier National Monument was another highlight. I wandered the ancient ruin and tread in the footsteps of another time. The day was beautiful and the landscape amazing. I have only been there a couple of times but it was well worth the effort. The cave dwellings are epic.
Not only can you see the how and where people lived, but you experience a time shift that puts you in their landscape. You see the craftmanship of creating livable space and surrounding areas where they grew their food and hunted for survival for thousands of years.
Centuries of walking on soft stone cut deep grooves.
The low road to Taos lets you pass through many environments and ecosystems, but this spot has always been a favorite. To some, just a barren hill, but I love the religious iconography placed upon it and the graves in front.
Spanish influence can be seen in many ways in New Mexico, but I picked this cross as Catholicism is everywhere. On the streets, promoted in festivals and in the museums you see the symbols.
Though an unknown mountain to many, San Antonito just south of the CO border is my favorite mountain. It is beautiful in many ways, but I like how it stands by itself. Powerful, peaceful and ready for life.
Abiquiu is such an amazing place. While I was there a blizzard arrived and the complete white out sent me packing back to Santa Fe. I can see why Georgia O’Keefe moved there and spent so much time making art work.
There is so much beauty in the environment; in the wild of New Mexico. You can also find it in the towns. Above was in Cerrillos, but all the different towns have such history and dynamic spaces it is difficult not to see beauty. Below is in Taos. I enjoyed pizza, great art, unexpected wildlife and some native perspective while I was there.
Went to Olympic National Park and Forest to take care of some business that I have put off for too long.
It started with a camping trip that Chris, Keith and I had planned for the summer of 2012. We were about 1/2 way through planning it and Keith killed himself. Like so many of us, he just couldn’t hold it together. He left 2 beautiful children and his wife Anne to carry on which was so hard on them. What a devastating situation.
It took me almost 10 years to get back to the Olympic mountains to spread his ashes and walk in nature, hopefully with his blessing.
It was Chris’ idea to go on with our camping trip in Washington State and spread Keith’s ashes. So he had me ask Anne for the ability and I took them with me when I moved away from New Mexico.
We came up with this plan hiking just before or after Keith’s Celebration of Life 11/19/11. It may have been during the hike where I took Chris’ image below.
Chris and Anne couldn’t make the trip due to issues with the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic, so I set off by myself to see what the Pacific coast had to offer.
Wow, it was splendid.
Early the next day I awoke and started the climb at the lower trail head. The lower trail head was free to park and allowed me a 2 mile warm-up, which I needed as I am so out of shape.
When I got off the plane, I immediately drove to the mountains and set up my tent in the dark. I arrived at a campground at the base of the mountain around 2am. It was a long trip from Virginia to Washington State and I was exhausted.
Rainier was out as I slowly ascended the mountain. It seemed like everyone was passing me, which didn’t surprise me as I am so out of shape, but everyone was nice and gave me positive vibes as I went up. the sun was out and I met a bunch of cool people.
Keith would have loved this hike except for all the people that were out and about. Oh well, everything else was perfect.
I made it to the top and had someone take a pic as I spread Keith’s ashes. No one said anything negative as I did it, so I was happy that it went well. Though, I asked no permission and told only the pic taker what I was doing. It was just as it should be…
Afterwards, I drank Keith’s favorite beer. It was good and just what I needed.
Olympic National Park had open hiking trails and fewer people. It was rainy and cold, so that kept some away, but most Washington State people are used to the rain.
The beauty of the place was astounding. Everywhere I looked I found a better picture. I took several thousand, but have reduced it down to just a few for the website. I hiked along a river. The moss and ferns were everywhere.
The river’s strength was evident as I left and saw the large tree trunks that were swept into the adjacent lake. I drove for 5hrs and made it to the west side of the park where I hiked for 3 days and 2 nights and Graves Creek.
Several waterfalls were along the road as I left. What a tranquil and beautiful spot. I shall not forget.
Then, I made it to the beach.
I spent the day driving up the coast. I drove for several hours, but spend most of the time stopping and hiking down to the beaches. I visited 3 or 4. It started raining at noon.
I finally made it to my cabin on the coast and then for something different went down to the beach to take some pics.
In the distance islands stood centered above the waves.
It was time to drive for another hike, so I went up the road and hiked to Third Beach.
The light was perfect at this time in the morning. The men camped on the beach were just awakening as were the gulls begging for food. A harbor seal followed me, looking for a handout, but I know better than to feed wild animals.
harbor seal’s head
I headed back to the cabin only to find that the only restaurant in La Push, Wa is closed on Wednesdays, so I bought some gas station food and went to the cabin to sleep. I read and studied music.
I slept in and timed my next hike to get to my destination at low tide, which was at 1pm. I went to Hole In The Wall and it was packed with people, but sunny and warm.
Looking to the ocean were islands and columns sticking out of the water, but behind me were huge trees washed up like toothpicks on the coast.
All the people were on the south side of Hole In The Wall waiting for low tide to hit, so I hiked over the top of a ridge to access the next run of beach. I had it all to myself.
Hole In The Wall
After the hike was over, I went back to the cabin for my last night indoors. I read some more, but before, I went down to the beach to take some pics.
The birds gathered as soon as the sun went down. Kind of cool.
The Hoh Rainforest
about an hour from the coast
The next day I drove back into teh rain forest. I was looking for moss and boy, did I find some. The Hall Of Mosses in the Hoh Rainforest was incredible.
It was not just the moss that was interesting, but how the coated objects lost their definition and it was difficult to tell what was underneath it.
It was lush and dark, even though it was sunny out, it was like you were inside in your own little room. An intimate setting, though many people were around.
That night it rained and then I got up and left for the airport. I had 8hrs to kill, so I drove around for 5 and then called a friend- Willy and had dinner. He was nice enough to let me stay at his house, since my plane was delayed, but at the last minute I figured out that my plane was actually leaving that night (not the next morning), so I drove to the airport like a mad man and barely made my flight.
Who was this trip about, besides me? Who you might ask?
These pots were fired in a 2 chamber woodkiln by Tree Hill Pottery. They fire with revitalized wood scraps and logs found in the Richmond, VA area. The kiln fires from cone 6 to cone 11 in oxidation and reduction depending on the area of the kiln. The following work represents my glaze tests in different locations of the wood/salt chamber of the kiln.
Magnesia glaze on the inside with 3% iron as a colorant. This cup was once fired in a wood/salt atmosphere to cone 10. Cup was hand built over a wood hump mold with texture added to the outside by pressing and paddling with hand made and found wooden sticks.
Wood/Salt fired cup with woodash celadon glaze in the Chinese Longuan celadon tradition.
Trans Clear Pumice Glaze that can be found on Glazy.org This glaze is high in Calcium Carbonate and goes clear green where thick in reduction atmospheres over 1260 degrees cooled quickly. In an oxidized atmosphere this glaze goes clear/yellow. This cup is clear/yellow on the inside and clear/green on the outside indicating 2 different atmospheres at different times in teh firing.
VC Matte base. This cup has crystals from dark brown to green. The clay body looks reduced, but the interior of the cup looks oxidized and is a buttery yellow. My guess is the outside is showing carbon trapping from early in the firing producing the dark brown color. The green color may be coming from the salt in the kiln, but more tests are necessary.
Fake Ash glaze is darker and more brown on the exterior. Interior is showing more rivulets with more yellow coloration. Glaze has over 40% calcium carbonate, but has not run much. So, very possible the temp was not at cone 10. Surface is dry, but mature.
This is one of many tests for a blue celadon. It is showing a blue/green cast, but glaze needs to be much thicker. Glaze analysis was pulled from Nigel Wood’s book Chinese Glazes. Next firing will be same unaltered glaze with thicker application. Slight crystallization is evident.
Current sculptural vessels by Matthew Hardwick are on display now at Black Iris Gallery- 321 W. Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23220. Opening Reception is March 6th from 5:30pm -10pm with accompaning ambient guitar by Hunter Duke.
This work explores time signatures left by textural paddles and sticks that are thrust and beaten into the clay over wooden and bisque molds that are carved with chainsaws, grinders, chisels and knives. The texture left by these tools is a physical manifestation of time; an interpretation of Matthew’s mortality.
The clay bodies are new and were formulated to show off flashing from the atmospheric kilns used to obtain them. The glazes create surfaces that contrast and highlight the surface texture.
The show is open through the month of March with a reception tomorrow, Friday March 6th and a closing reception on March 27th, 8-11pm to correspond with NCECA. This is a venue originated event in conjunction with NCECA and is on the bus tour during the last week of March.
The show was a success and thanks for all the support from those that attended the March 6th reception. The 2nd reception and NCECA was canceled, unfortunately, but it was a great experience to have my work up for a month and have locals get a chance to see more of my work.
I am currently searching for a deep red/orange clay body that flashes this color in atmospheric firings to Cone 8 and above. I have mixed roughly 20 tests and made cups out of them and fired them in Soda and Wood/Salt kilns to Cone 8 and Cone 10 respectively. Here are my findings.
It seems that red/orange flashing is promoted by small amounts of iron chemically incorporated in high temperature clay and dry material ingredients introduced in the clay body.
What Parmelee suggests in his book Ceramic Glazes that clay bodies higher in silica will need higher percentages of iron compared to clay bodies higher in alumina, stays true. Though, iron percentages stay below 3% on a whole.
Also, it seems that the silica/alumina ratio should stay below 4. The current wood kiln has tests that are below 2 (showing a high alumina content)
My tests have 2 different realms. One direction is a grolleg/PV body and the other is a Neph Sy/silica body. Both directions are currently using high alumina materials.
These 3 tests were fired in a first firing on a clay slab to ensure they would not melt down with higher than normal percentages of flux I was a little worried. I believe the firing had too much reduction to promote the flashing and too much soda to allow flashing in some areas. Cup number 6 has engulfed in soda, so no visible flashing is seen except on the foot of the cup.
My belief is that too thick a layer of flux (could be wood ash, soda in this case or salt) will stop the development or cover teh development of flashing. Also, I think that an oxidation atmosphere during 700 degree to 900 degree Celcius is neccesary for red/orange flashing, though I’m unsure if this needs to happen in firing or cooling or both.
This cup is blah blah blay
These 2 tests have 35% Mica with different types of silica mesh in them. Notice the excess iron in the mica has colored them brown as if they were made from EPK or were a dark stoneware, even though they are mainly grolleg kaolin. The silica mesh made no difference in the color. They were fired in different parts of the kiln.
These two tests have lower flux, but more silica and less mica and the color is very light almost a pastel pink. I believe the iron should have been increased to counter the added silica. It seems that 4-5% iron material needs to be added to get a deeper color.
A friend let me use his soda kiln to fire my work last weekend. Here is the open kiln as I saw it a couple days after the firing. The firing was a little cold, but I learned alot from it and hope to use many of the pieces in my shows this coming spring.
What I learned the most was how my glazes work in soda. Some did not turn out how I wanted them to, but some came out great. My core 3 glazes looked great and I can’t wait to use them again. there were maybe three other test glazes that I will mix up again. Also, there were several glazes that did not work and I hope to sieve them to get the materials to mix better in the firing and perhaps work next time.
I’m looking forward to firing soda again, though I dont’ know when that will be, but I hope to do some tests again soon to see if sieving a glaze will improve how it looks.
The images are from the Freer/Renwick Galleries on 2 separate occasions in September 2019. I have seen the pieces in the Freer a million times as it is my favorite museum, but this is only the second time I’ve been to the Renwick. Both have amazing pieces that I have not photographed or seen deep in their archives. I wish they would rotate their collections more often.
Chance led me to the Renwick Gallery in Washington DC this week where I went through the exhibit of Michael Sherrill’s work. It was amazing. He has moved his focus from utilitarian work thrown on a wheel to ceramic, metal, glass sculptural pieces. All were done with explicit detail and professional appearance. In speaking with him he was modest, contemplative and completely involved in his creative ideas.