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!
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.
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.
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
I have the little elf working overtime to get ready for the Holiday Sale. Here is my assistant Jocelyn smoothing the edges of new tiles that I have made… and yes that is a cast on her thumb!
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!
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.
Just some photos around the studio this past week.
My boy’s and their basketball hoop!
Relaxing by the fire after a hard day in the snow!
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!