THIS PAGE IS ABOUT MY CURRENT PASSION – CERAMICS.

In March 2016 I enrolled in a 6 week beginner wheel class and I have never looked back! I record my progress on this page mainly for my friend Cara who inspired this blog, but also for anyone who might be interested in pottery and the creative process.

Here are some things that got fired over the past month that I have neglected to post.

 



 

My little tea pot finally got fired. I ended up choosing a very forgiving glaze combination that gives a smooth black with a satin finish and the chrysanthemum relief design is subtle but clearly visible. I learned so much during this project, and now I am experimenting with slips and underglazes on white clay for my next tea pot! Stay tuned for the curly willow handle I am going to craft.

And Voila! This is OK for my first try, but I am eager to make a better tea pot now.

It feels like I was being very productive with my first edition of Tree Medicine. It’s been fun selling them to friends and neighbours, and giving them as gifts.

Now I want to play, experiment and make messes!

 

 

I have this new inspiration that isn’t fully formed yet. Ultimately I will be working with white clay to realise my vision, but I decided to start experimenting with red clay because that’s what I’ve got and I can’t wait!

The basic concept is the cup or plant pot as a metaphor for our body (a vessel for our infinite spirit, where possibly thousands of lifetimes of information may be stored). 

At first I carved miniature faces which I pressed into freshly thrown clay, but that didn’t turn out the way I had imagined. That’s the plant pot in the far left of the image below. I then decided to carve faces into leather hard clay instead. That’s the teacup next to the plant pot.

I have a clear idea of how I would like to glaze these pieces when I will be using white clay… Not sure what I will do on the red yet.

Here are the glazed and fired pieces… took so looong for these to get fired, Xmas production is in full swing at the studio and the shelves are chock full of everyone’s precious work. Patience is key.

 

Change is in the air. I chose a clay called Navajo to make my first teapot.

Here it is  4 days later, after a full day of trimming and fitting the spout… so hard! I learned that it’s a good idea to make your lid a bit big so that you can trim it down to fit perfectly. I made three more and I will have to keep the teapot wet and well wrapped until all the components catch up to each other before I can fit the new lids. Clay shrinks up to 12% as it dries. It’s still a long way from being done, but it’s been a rewarding learning experience so far. I plan on making a handle out of curly willow.

I also made a few more salve jars. What will I do with all the extra lids you ask? Probably use them as glaze tests.

 

Finally all of the mishima cups have been fired. My favorite is on the far left, it has a very ergonomic shape that doesn’t photograph well.

The dented shape inspired me to make this pair. I still have some sanding to do on these…  I look forward to glazing them.

The two toned marbling experiments fired as well. This one is my favorite because it reminds me of a tropical fish.

TREE MEDICINE will be available at The Flower Factory in Vancouver BC the first week of September!

So much new growth.

I just got the tags for my new line of limited edition salves TREE MEDICINE which will be launching in September. I have been working on container ideas for about a year, and decided to create one of a kind jars with rough cork lids sealed with beeswax.

The first edition is a blend of Calendula, cottonwood buds, comfrey, plantain, pine and lavender. The jars, like all of my work, are stamped with the word love on the base as an homage to the research of Dr Masaru Emoto. That’s where the alchemy comes in…

I am also making more vessels for plants and cut flowers, and of course my never ending quest for the perfect bowl continues.

 

It has taken over two months for stuff to be fired. I’m OK with that though… The gorgeous weather has me up to my neck in the Pacific and eating blackberries of the bush instead of sitting at the potter’s wheel. Finally some of these little textured, sea-inspired dishes are coming out.

The feather cups have finally all been glazed, as of yesterday… Looking forward to seeing my newest ones, which are inspired by those Japanese tea cups that have a little indent for your fingers. It was fun incorporating the feather design with a more organic shape.


Smaller things make it through the firing process much more quickly. I already have most of my little salve jar experiments. Originally I was working with closed form jars but I eventually decided to go with a cork lid which could be sealed with wax if necessary. I underestimated the clay shrinkage and so far they are all too small for the corks I purchased. Some slightly larger ones are in the works, fingers crossed!


Glaze experiments brought mixed results, I’m still learning how to make the glaze do what I want (if that’s at all possible!) I was a bit disappointed at first but I’m still having a ball and once I let go of my initial expectations I appreciate everything so much more.


I am making vases right now, and more marbled tea cups. This time I’m adding adding a second colour. Excited to see how that turns out…

Almost everything I make  these days is very time consuming. I spent a good portion of the day applying wax to little spikes on these dishes…

At this point, 9 out of 10 are glazed and in line for their final firing sometime this month.

I spent the rest of today trimming and carving.

When these cups are dry enough I will fill the grooves with slip like the ones in the foreground here.

A few planter components came out of the kiln this week, some successes and some surprises.

 

Feather cups: I haven’t been able to reproduce the crazy drop shadow I got on the first black and white feather cup. Our technician thinks the kiln got too hot and the pigment bled which created the effect. I will continue to experiment.

I am waiting impatiently for planter components to come out of the kiln. I work very intuitively, making separate elements and combining them after their final firing. Combinations I never would have imagined just happen. Once the pieces come together I start looking for the right plant.

Next up are more vases and a series of small textured dishes and shallow bowls.

It took almost 4 hours just to create the stippled surface on these yesterday. Now they must dry thoroughly before the first firing.

 

It’s so funny when things come out of the kiln and you can’t even recognize your work because the glaze over-fired or under-fired. I’m not sure what happened with the moss green, the test tile was such a lovely muted green colour…