Fall, and the Cycles of Pottery

The first day of fall and our New England weather is changing.  The leaves are just starting to show the first hints of color, and the nights are getting so cold.  For me the fall changes are not only in the weather, or the kids back at school.  The cycles of my pottery take a speedy turn into the busy season.  In late August pots are being made for the holiday sales and shows.  By mid September I want to see  those pots made in August glazed and ready for the coming wholesale orders.  Pottery classes also began this week, three full classes, three nights a week.  Plans for the Spring Asparagus Valley Pottery Trail are already being made… the nine potters got our heads together yesterday for our up-coming 10th anniversary tour this April.

Aah, cycles… it seems the older I get these cycles that mark my year come sooner and sooner.  Here are some photos of what is being made , some drying on the sunny table, others fresh from the kiln, and ready to be shared with the world.  I must also include the lovely entrance to my studio, with the zinnias, and morning glories in all their glory on the arbor!

50 Bowls ready for the kiln salt cellars kitchen canisters Kitchen Canisters, and Salt Cellars 22 keepsake urns Salt Cellar Amber Brown Studio Entrance September September Studio Garden

 

 

 

Big Pots, Shellac Resist, and the Flu

Why did I make big pots the first day of the flu?  Well I knew I was only going to get sicker, so while I could, I made ten little pitchers, five large urns for resist work, and three other large urns.  The second day of the flu I made lids, and slept. The third day I trimmed all the pots, and slept.  The fourth day I slept, trimmed lids, joined knobs, and carved urns.  The remaining ten days I’ve slept, carved urns, took photo’s and slept…  and vowed to get a flu shot next year!

Here are some nice shots of the urns in process.  It’s a very long process, between the throwing, trimming, and carving the feet and rim.  Once the pot dries completely liquid wax resist is brushed on to create the floral pattern.  (This process is known as shellac resist or hydro abrasion).  Then comes the long process of rubbing away the clay with a sponge, (which I thought would be a nice sitting down job while not having much energy).  Where there is no resist the clay slowly gets etched away.

willow watching tall urns freshly thrown

Just finished carving_lucy fagella Tall Urns Drying_Lucy Fagella

The carving process_lucy fagella details_lucy fagella Large Urns Drying_lucy fagella

Here is a finished mini version of the large urn… a little keepsake in my son Andrew’s hands. To see more of these and other urns visit my website and or LuciaUrns on etsy.

White on White Petite Keepsake_Lucy Fagella 

If you want to see a nice little video on this method, check out Ron Philbeck  , “Hydro Abrasion”  He explains it very well!  http://youtu.be/d_HHrNdPGIk

 

Getting Carried Away

Ok so last week I got a little carried away making salt cellars.  I made 40… that means 40 bottoms, 45 tops… always make extra tops.  So that is 85 pieces in one day.  I figured they’re small, so no problem… but it’s the following days that I wish I didn’t make that many!  The next couple of days was spent trimming all of them, and throwing a little knob on each top.  Whew, next time I’m on a roll and really in the groove of throwing I’m going to think twice about making that many at once!

Tall Pitchers in Process

Terri and I spent our Sunday in Northampton at the Smith College greenhouses smelling all the beautiful flowers while standing among the palms and banana trees in the 80 degree sunny shelter.  The three feet of snow melted away for just a little while. 

I’m dreaming of a hot summer day, and a pitcher of lemonade.  I guess that’s where these are coming from…  some tall pitchers in the works… these weigh 3.5 or 4 lbs, and measure 11 to 12″, they will end up being about 10 or 11″ after the glaze fire. 

One Cold Potter

The morning weather report… 15 below zero.  By the time my sons were waiting for the bus it was a balmy minus 10!

I got into the studio by 9:00 and did everything I could to avoid wedging the cold clay.  I did paper work, and loaded a bisque kiln.  My fellow potter friend Tom White called.  He was doing the same as me… everything to avoid the cold clay.  He said his throwing buckets had ice on the top of the water!  Tom and I both have nice finished studios, mine a renovated barn, with my chickens living below my studio.  I have a very nice wood pellet stove, so technically it should be fairly warm… but it took hours to warm today. 

Well by 10:00 I faced the clay.  As I wedged my clay my hands became numb.  After ten minutes I held them under warm water to defrost, they tingled for another ten minutes.  So I came back in the house frozen, and ate another warm blueberry muffin (that I made specifically to help warm the house), and had a cup of tea. 

Got back in the studio and finally threw for a couple of hours.  These past two weeks between snow storms, snow days with kids, and freezing arctic air, is paradoxically  reminding of a heat wave in the summer.  When there is a heat wave everything seems to stop.  I’m feeling the same way, my body is having such a hard time getting in sync with this weather extreme.  The amount of work that is getting done is very similar…  a snail’s pace.  It all just reminds me that we are not ultimately in control.   

 

minus 10 degrees, wearing three layers and a fleece to work!

Becoming a Teapot: Part 2

Another little slideshow… this week it’s glazing . 

 After the bisque firing, the teapots are ready for decorating and glazing.  Here is a little taste of the studio on a glazing day.  

Can’t imagine why a potter’s hands are so tired! 

Coming soon… some finished teapots, ready for the Holiday Sale this weekend, Dec, 3rd, 4th, and 5th!

 

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Becoming a Teapot

You really do have to put your heart and soul into the making of a teapot.  It is only when you become a student of pottery that you understand all the time, effort, experience, artistry, and love of clay that it takes to make a teapot.

This past week in the studio was teapot making time!  Here is a little slide show to give you an idea about teapot parts.  The last photo includes a finished mug along side a teapot drying, showing what glaze the teapot will have.

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