French Salt Boxes and Ceramic Wall Baskets

A French Salt box that hangs on the wall, with a hinged lid, made of ceramic… what am I nuts!

When I was on vacation this summer I saw a french salt box (metal) in an antique shop. I knew at that moment I had to try making one in ceramic.  After a little research and many attempts, I have a couple worth sharing.  This whole endeavor has been quite the challenge… but I need to be challenged with new forms, I’d go crazy if I were making just cups, bowls, plates and vases.  Give me some technical thing and I’m happy to see what I can do with it.

One of the reasons this salt box is challenging is because I work in porcelain.  I am dealing with warping of the body, sagging of the lid, then trying to get the holes for the hinged lid lined up after this warping and sagging.  I am no where near satisfied with the end result.  I like many aspects of the form, but I have not had one come out of the kiln 100%, working technically correct.  I have fired about six of them.  I have about three more to fire.  I will learn what I can from those, and make some others in my spare time… which is non-existent now with the all the holiday shows.

A bonus of working on this form is that it spurred on a couple of other nice forms , some wall baskets, and salt cellars with sit-in lids.  Creative mistakes really don’t exist… they just make you think more.

salt box with red dotssalt box with red dots open

Salt Box Drying

The top red dot one is almost there, just some slight warping on the lid.  The two above drying did not make it through the glaze firing… too much warping, so the lids did not fit.  Below are a couple of wall baskets that worked out very nicely.  More salt boxes to come soon, with the sit-in lids.

ceramic wall basketRed Dot Wall Basket

Goodies to Gather Before the First Frost

Waking this morning to see light frost on the field.  Yet the Dahlias, marigolds, and zinnias that I picked ruthlessly last night seemed to have survived close to the house.  I love that last picking… a bouquet in every room of the house brings the last of the outside beauty in! The past weekend also brought in the last of the garden crops, like carrots and beets to be stored layered, in buckets of sand in the root cellar.  Some things like leeks, broccoli, and kale can stay a bit longer with straw piled high around them.  We left some carrots like that too, but I’m sure they will become food for the voles soon enough.

October carrots for root cellar

before the first frostEnjoying the kitchen bouquet with my morning tea, and the new Ceramics Monthly, then off to the studio.  Today I am putting the handles on little berry strainers and brie bakers, then making large batter bowls.  Below are the little oval pitchers I love to make for maple syrup. Also some hanging salt boxes that I have been working at every little maddening technical detail for months now… they are challenging to say the least, but I love the challenge!  More to come on those in the next post.

little pitchers

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

 

 

 

500 Teapots, Volume 2

peek into 500 teapots

morning tea

I am very happy and honored to have one of my teapots in Lark Crafts, 500 Teapots Volume 2.

I remember when the first 500 Teapots book came out 12 years ago, I was in the thick of raising two toddlers and was barely making any pottery at that point in my life. I would look at that book and drool… just wishing I had time to be a full-time potter. Progressively each year as my boys grew and became more independent, more time was spent in the studio. In a few years time I submitted images for 500 Cups and two of my pieces were selected for it. A couple of years later one of my pieces was selected for 500 Pitchers. I thought about submitting images to the Plates and Chargers book, but thought better, as I found my plates at the time to be quite boring!

Lark 500 Series books are such an inspiration. They are my go to books when I need a little pick me up.

Citrus Juicer Photos

Back a few months ago I posted photos of this sweet little citrus juicer that I make.  It fits nicely over a measuring cup, and it also hangs on a hook in your kitchen so you can have a little functional art on your wall.  I thought I would show some photos of how it is used and how I make it on the potters wheel.

Good Morning Sunshine

After a whole lot of rain here in the Northeast, the last week of heat has been welcome. 

Went out to the garden this morning and picked a handful of raspberries… just enough to fill my little mini hanging berry bowl!  I then sat at the back porch table to enjoy them with my morning tea and toast.

I love these little basket like bowls.  I”ve made this with the intention of it hanging on a hook near the sink for easy access.

 

mini hanging berry bow1 mini hanging berry bowl

Strawberry Season and Lucia Pottery

It doesn’t get any more local than this… strawberries from Nourse Farm in Whately, Bread from El Jardin Bakery in Deerfield, syrup from Sunrise farm in Colrain, honey in my tea from Warm Colors Apiary in Deerfield, eggs from my chickens, and pottery made by me. A good way to start my work week.

Looking forward to picking many pounds of strawberries this week at Nourse Farms. We will be making lots of jam, and freezing bunches for shakes and strawberry sauce all year long!

Pictured below, berry basket and mug, available at my etsy foodieceramics shop.  Plate is special order.

Berry bowl with strawberries Breakfast on Lucia PotteryTea and StrawberriesStrawberry french toast