Archive for ‘Art/Ceramics’

May 22, 2014

Because I’m sure you were all dying to know…

by Janie Jones

The grades are in.  The last semester of the year from Hell are in.

Biology II:  A

Ceramics:  A

Calculus:  B

Organic Chemistry:  B


I worked my ass off last semester and endured a horrible year of emotional turmoil, and I am so relieved that my grades are thoroughly respectable.

This may be one of my last posts for a while.  Now that spring semester is over, I have to earnestly apply myself to moving out of my beloved home.  I will be living with Leif out at his newly purchased farm as I can’t afford to live on my own in the Big City, and we are not sure yet when we’ll be able to get the internet hooked up or what the service will be like out there.  Plus the next couple of weeks I’ll likely be weeping my eyeballs out while trying to magically get all our belongings out of the current house and down to the farm and have little opportunity for blogging even if the internet is set up and working like a dream.

If I’m not haunting your blogs for a while, know I’ll be thinking of you and hoping to be back soon…

Hugs, Janie


April 14, 2014

What I learned last week #12

by Janie Jones

Coil pots ROCK!  But camera batteries suck.  I was going to take photos of all the new pots I threw on the wheel, ’cause I made some really nice ones finally, but my camera battery was dead.  So I tried to take a few photos with my cell phone but this was the only one that turned out.


My coil vase rocks!

I will miss pottery class, there’s only 4 more class sessions, it’s been a lot of fun.  But, I’ve met my project quota to pass the class so I’m also glad that it’s almost over.  It was a night class and it really put me in a bind this semester.  Janie just don’t do nights.

I’m getting pretty sick of all  my classes this semester, biology has shifted into studying plant anatomy, which I find incredibly dull.  I am getting so burned out on calculus homework I’ve ceased caring about much of anything and dread the mountain of homework we have thrust upon us daily.  It’s only my inhuman level of duty and the absolute fear of having to take this course over again that keeps me showing up to class and even trying to slog through the homework.  Not that I’m retaining much.  But I started out the semester strong with an 88% at midterm so hopefully that will carry me through so I can at least get my C so I can put this nightmare behind me.  And, poor o-chem.  I’m so overwhelmed by calculus and am so far behind in my study time for o-chem that I’m only sitting at an 83% going into our final unit.  This does not please me.  I need to pass calculus.  I NEED to PASS calculus.  But I will be so crushed if doing so ruins my 0-chem grade.  O-chem is not that hard, it just requires a lot of memorization that I don’t have time for and that is why it is so very sad.  It would be different if it was as hard as calculus.  And, my o-chem teacher doesn’t give any points for any work you do except 4 tests, a final and your lab reports.  Would be nice if we could get some other points to buffer our grade.  C’est la vie.

So, on account of having little to say that doesn’t sound negative, I’m going to borrow a topic and refer you to a link from a blog I read.  It’s by Jess, and it talks about the difference between cement and concrete.  I found it interesting, it fits my topic of what I learned last week, and it reminded me of a funny incident from my childhood.  I’ve kept thinking about it all weekend, so I decided to share my comment there here, for the benefit of you who don’t normally visit Scratching to Escape, but I recommend you take a peek at his post first, so my comment makes more sense.

I did not know that. I haven’t given the difference between concrete and cement much thought since I was a wee small kid-butt. I remember being in a car with the family and being stopped, stuck in a particularly bad patch of traffic where there was some construction or road work or something. It was a long, long time ago and the details are foggy but I remember seeing some kind of truck with a huge yellow colored barrel thing tilted to one side. The only frame of reference in my limited kid-butt experience was of the Plochman’s Yellow Salad Mustard jars that are yellow barrel shaped. Not realizing I was speaking out loud I said, “Wow, that’s one big mustard truck!” My dad said, while my mom laughed, “That’s a cement mixer.” And, pretty much from that day forward I assumed that cement was the “liquid” form of concrete.

For some reason this one incident, and a wonky sense of kid logic, stuck with me and formed my whole life long understanding of concrete and cement.  At least until I read Jess’ post.  The mind moves in mysterious ways.

17 more days of Calculus.

April 7, 2014

What I Learned Last Week #11

by Janie Jones

Actually, I learned some really cool things about math during my “research” for the paper I have to write for Calculus class.  I enjoyed reading books on math much more than I ever enjoyed actually “doing” math.  I amassed enough interesting ideas to write several papers, but alas, I don’t have time to follow up on all these topics, so in true harried student style, I picked the one easiest to follow and threw some words on a page.

You know what else I learned?  It’s really, really hard to write anything good when you are limited to 600-700 words.  That’s about 2 and a third pages double spaced with the format requirements given.  Just giving proper transitions to citations eats up a lot of space, and leaves you with very little real estate to do much beyond a lame book report.  As much as I don’t have time to write a lengthier paper, it just seems so half-assed it’s like why bother.  But I remind myself, it’s worth 25 points, that’s half a test grade.

Anyway, I decided to do a very brief overview of Fibonacci Numbers and the idea that math is the “fiber of our lives” even if we don’t know it.  I am thinking of posting it after it’s been turned in, so if you should ever be interested in reading it, I’ll let you know when it’s available.

In biology we’ve moved on to study plants.  I’m not much interested in plants on a biological level, so I’m not much looking forward to the last few weeks of class.

In chemistry we had a very fortunate happenstance.  We ran out of reagent and our lab was canceled last week.  Which is awesome, because I am so woefully behind in Chem.  We have a test on Wednesday over the last 3 chapters, which I’ve only read the first and half of the second.  So, now that my math paper is written I’ll have to really devote some time to catching up and hope Calc teacher doesn’t get crazy with the Calc homework in the next few days.

And, finally in ceramics we’re down to the last 2 or 3 classes to work with wet clay.  Leif has made over 20 beautiful bowls/pots/cups.  I did manage a better showing for myself last week, but forgot to take pictures.  I have so much glazing to do now, I don’t know that I’ll have much time for making more pieces.  We will see.  And I will endeavor to remember to get pictures!

Now, I’m down to just 4 more weeks!  I can almost start the countdown in days….


March 31, 2014

What I Learned Last Week #10

by Janie Jones

Not so much what I learned, but what was confirmed:  I suck at story problems.  Calculus class spent 2 days on them last week.  I just am lacking something in my brain that is necessary to make heads or tails of them.  So, I am hoping to focus on my “research paper,” (which I don’t have a concrete topic for yet) to save my grade when it comes time to take the next test which will cover story problems among other inscrutable calculus concepts.

I also learned that Leif is a better potter than I am.  You can see and compare:


These are my pots from my 2nd time on the pottery wheel.  Now have a gander at Leif’s 2nd time on the wheel:

0325141743-00Since these photos were taken, he’s been in to the studio 2 more times and made a total of 12 additional pieces, each better than the last and thoroughly professional looking.  Now, my first 4 pots aren’t horrible, but upon close inspection one can very much tell they are clumsy and amateur.  They will suffice to get me a grade and I am relieved for that, but, they are only my first 4 pots.  I hope to improve.  So this week I have to get some more wheel throwing time and try to make a better showing for myself, even if I don’t reach Leif’s genius status.

Biology last week was filled with tests, so there was no new material to cover.

O Chem had a lab that gave some interesting solid products.  I don’t know if you can really see what is in these photos, but the first product was light and fluffy almost like snow or tiny lint fuzzies:


The second formed these interesting suspensions in the aqueous solution they precipitated from:


Don’t ask me what they are, I haven’t actually finished the lab yet, but I thought that was a little cool and exciting.

Okay, so, 10 weeks down, 6 to go.

March 26, 2014

What I Learned Last Week #9

by Janie Jones

Somehow the last 3 days have totally escaped my grasp of time management.

Not that I have much grasp of time management these days.

Anyway, last week was another thoroughly unremarkable week.  Despite coming off a week long break I don’t remember much of it due to bad attitude and fatigue.  What I do remember is that Tapeworms and Roundworms are some of the most disgusting organisms on the planet, IMHO.  Thank you Biology class for devoting an entire week to their study.

I made the executive decision to spare you photos of tapeworms and roundworms (thank you Janie) and I’ll even spare you photos of me pulling my hair out and wailing and gnashing my teeth whilst attempting Calculus homework, but I will show you photos of fully glaze-fired Spongebob and Patrick:

Misc Photos March 003

March 3, 2014

What I Learned Last Week #7

by Janie Jones

This past week I learned to make coil vessels in ceramics class and I made a really cool vase.


In Biology we moved on to study Annelids (segmented worms).  I dissected one:


It was pretty boring.  But I did learn some interesting factoids about various members of the Annelid phylum.

1. earthworms can eat their own weight in soil in just 24 hours

2. some species of leeches can suck up to 10 times their body weight in blood in a single feeding

3.  it can take a leech up to 6 months to digest all the blood they sucked up in a single large feeding

Gross, but fascinating.

We also studied Molluscs (the phylum containing snails, slugs, clams, octopi and the chambered nautilus).  I dissected one of those too:


Dissecting clams is even more boring than dissecting earthworms.  But, I learned that a sting from the comb snail can kill a human being.

Have you noticed that I have way more interesting factoids to share from biology class than say, oh, my calculus class?  That’s because calculus is an utterly boring obligatory duty that despite having swallowed my life is still a senseless enigma.  I go through the motions and still have no clue really what is going on.

Have you noticed that I also tend to have little to say about my Organic Chemistry class?  Well that’s also because calculus has swallowed my life.  I spent about 7 hours on calculus homework Sunday.  I spent 3 hours Saturday on biology homework and, believe it or not, 3 hours writing a paper for my ceramics class.  Yes.  That’s right.  I had to write a paper for my ceramics class.  But, the moral of this story is, poor Chemistry once again got snubbed by other homework and I have nothing interesting to say about Chemistry except that the biodiesel we made in class on Thursday smelled nothing like I thought it would.  While it was no where near the worst smelling lab we’ve performed this year, it still smelled extremely peculiar.

I am now entering my last week of class before spring break, which means I am just 45 days of class shy of being done for this semester.  Hoo-ray!!!!

February 24, 2014

What I Learned Last Week #6

by Janie Jones

Last week was a short week.  Monday was a national holiday, so no school.  Friday we got a doozy of a snow storm and the school actually shut down.  Community College NEVER shuts down, so it was shocking and I enjoyed every minute.

It is possible I may yet learn what one must do when you run out of places to put snow.  But I hope not.

So I guess I can say I learned that Hell must be frozen over before Community College closes, and Friday, despite being Hell on Earth was actually pretty wonderful.  I caught up on reading a lot of your blogs.  Sorry I’ve been so desultory a reader lately.  I hope you’ll understand, and I am really doing a lot more studying than these posts might imply…

Biology class didn’t actually meet last week, so I have nothing new to report there.

In Calculus I learned that the asymptote will come back to haunt me.  We were studying limits last week.  I get the impression that limits are the place in mathematics where being precise actually doesn’t matter, but you get so close to being precise that you sort of are.  It makes my head hurt.  But you do very little actual math with limits, it seems mostly like a logic puzzle, and if it sounds sick, twisted and wrong, I’d rather do that then actual math.

I had no O Chem lab this week, so I have no exciting explosions to report.

About the most exciting thing happening last week was I had my first ever try at the potter’s wheel.  I didn’t manage to make anything worth saving, unless one actually wants a lopsided pot.

So, hopefully this week will yield more fascinating educational trivia.