Opening my kiln in April is all about spring and how the potter creates items to bring beauty to the home both indoors and out. Spring is about flowers and bright colors, berries and birds.. It’s about prepping for Mother’s Day gift giving and sales. Here is a look at some of my favorite pieces from this month’s kiln opening…
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Making clay baskets can be complex forms to create. They are born on the potter’s wheel, the place where I do my best thinking, as small shapes that begin as bowls and then transform into objects of whimsey. The rim of the pot becomes a place to alter: roll it, split it, cut it, pinch it … each action creates a different result.
Once the wheel thrown pieces are trimmed or finished, hand pulled handles are added to each piece. The shape of the basket determines where the handle is placed in order to create a functional form.
When the clay is still malleable, I take the opportunity to add decoration to the surface. Handmade, found and manufactured stamps are added to make each piece unique.
Once bone dry, underglaze colors are added to “pop” the pieces. These one of a kind baskets are now ready to head into the kiln where they will be fired to cone 06 and then be ready to hold glaze.
I decided on a satiny white liner and an opal glaze to emphasize the underglaze colors. One characteristic of the opal glaze is its movement; it can drag or pull the color down the pot that is vertical. I use this knowledge to create the effect I am looking for. The baskets head back into a kiln and are fired to cone 6.
The baskets are now completed pieces of pottery. They are ready to make their way out into the world as useful and beautiful handmade objects.
Imagine! The theme for Potters Place spring show is “Imagine”, inspired by a favorite quote from Albert Einstein, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited to all we now know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.” Show coordinators, Ronda & Helayne asked Potters Place members to “Imagine” what would happen if they took a piece that they make on a regular basis and did something different with it.
“Imagine!” prompted a collection for me…. I began experimenting with some new floral stamps on both wheel thrown and hand built forms. As I began pressing into the clay, I embraced its malleable surface and began creating a new surface filled with flowers. I used colored slip trailing and carving to further decorate and then turned to watercolor under-glaze for color. After bisque firing my work, I found the glaze I planned to use was contaminated so I had to “Imagine!” using another glaze. By choosing Opal, I needed to embrace the characteristic of a glaze with movement. Knowing my vertical pottery would be affected; I decided to match my watercolor underglaze with actual glaze. The result was better than I imagined and my favorite piece in the collection emerged (see inserted photo).
Photos of the process…
Potters Place Spring Show and Sale 2017 weekend starts tomorrow, Friday, May 5th. Doors open 5:30PM til 9PM. Show continues Saturday, May 6th, 9AM til 8PM and Sunday, May 7th, 10AM til 4PM. We are raising funds to purchase ceramics books for the Walpole Library in addition to thousands of handmade pieces for sale from our 23 clay artisans. More information is at http://www.pottersplace.info.
Photo by Dave Bradley of my green square plates with prelude red petal motif.
This Saturday, I will be selling my functional handmade pottery alongside Susan Brum of Hog Wild Pottery at the lovely Powisset Farm. We will be set up in the Powisset Farm barn… you can’t miss it when you turn off at 37 Powisset Road in Dover, MA. The big barn door opens at 10:00 AM and closes at 5:00 PM.
In the barn, CSA members will be collecting their vegetable shares; visitors to the farm may purchase local produce in the farm stand. This week there are local apples and the first of the fall choices: acorn squash! The two together will made a delicious meal. The farm stand also includes local honey, breads, cheese, welsh cakes, and hand towels by Lucy Two Shoes – just to name a few. There is a freezer filled with pork, chicken and meats all locally sourced. Crescent Ridge milk and ice cream plus local farm eggs are welcome additions.
Two piece bowl and platter by Hog Wild Pottery
Dark blue prelude mugs by Lisa WB Walker
The farm to table approach to living is simple and easy when you have a farm like Powisset where the farmers are friendly, the food is local and varied by season, and the community is cherished. Pottery is the handmade “ingredient” that holds your food and makes your experience complete. One of a kind, user friendly, created within 5 miles of the food that will go on it and in it: that’s farm to table.
It is always a great day when we sell pottery at the farm! See you Saturday!
Every week, I head over to Powisset Farm in Dover, Ma to pick up my CSA share. This year marks my fourth year as a member. Driving onto the farm is therapeutic… it’s beautiful barn, vista of green fields and bountiful gardens, and, a farm crew that is always upbeat and cheerful. I’ve never left there in all my time not feeling happy that I am part of this community.
This Saturday, my potter friend, Sue Brum of Hog Wild Pottery (who is also a member at the farm) will set up tables filled with our pottery to sell and enjoy a peaceful day chatting with new and old friends alike.
We’ll be in the barn, near the farm stand from 10am to 5pm on Saturday.
A call to artists was sent by the Milton Art Association to the public to submit work for “Art in Bloom”. I submitted two of my porcelain high fire vases (pictured above). The exhibit is in place April 12 – May 31 with gallery hours noted on their website. All work is for sale.
I attended the opening reception last night and had fun hanging out with Milton artists Susan Hoy and Elaine Schaffner. It was nice to see work there by Melanie Guerra, Kerry Hawkins, Cindy Mootz and Fred Smith, plus some new artists I did not recognize but enjoyed seeing their response to the theme: “Art in Bloom”.