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…

 

I’m feeling pretty energized these days, it’s the magic of Spring, I’m eager to be at the studio and make things. Clearly I’m not the only one feeling this way, the glaze and kiln room shelves are overflowing with everyone’s work waiting to be fired. I have been experimenting with some new vase shapes and glazes. This Pepto Bismol looking glaze will fire a lovely muted moss green.

The little mate for my bashed up yunomi came out of the kiln. Here they are together. The shadows in this picture inspired me to try staining the base of some cups for an ombré effect. We’ll see how that goes…

Here they are from the top with some other new things…

…Tried dipping part of the cups in one of my favorite glaze combos but I’m not sure how I feel about this look.

Many more self-watering planters and plants in vases are in the works.

My current fave, a lithops, is having babies!

Here are some new planters drying.

 

Some new marbled pieces are trickling out of the kiln. The results are unpredictable, like happy accidents!

A cup flew off the wheel as I was trimming it and got smacked around. Instead of scrapping it, I chose to believe that it could be the best thing I ever made and finished it by burnishing the outside and marbling the inside. 5 minutes later it happened again with a second cup. In Japanese they call a pair of cups that go together without being exactly the same meoto yunomi. I love this, and I look forward to seeing this cup’s equally flawed mate.

 

I’ve been feeling very playful on the potter’s wheel this week. New shapes for vases and planters are emerging. Two words come to mind: refinement and imperfection.

IMG_20170330_084356I love these organic shapes and this soft green glaze makes me happy.

IMG_20170330_084619The same glaze combination turned out differently on this bud vase. So many variables…IMG_20170413_203717

This vase inspired me to go foraging in my garden.

 

Here are some plant and pottery combinations I’ve been working on. As the season progresses I will be propagating herbs and other water-loving plants in little vases like these for sale locally.

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If you have read a few posts back you may recognize these two dishes. They make cute homes for little kokedama.

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Some other passions of mine are wildcrafting and fermentation. My initial impetus for wanting to learn pottery was to make my own fermentation crocks. I did make a crock… and I made a batch of purple sauerkraut in it, as well as my usual method using a large glass jar to compare the results.

What I learned is that glaze choice is key. I used a white glaze that wasn’t super glossy and I found the inside of the crock absorbed some of the purple from the kraut. I also noticed a difference in colour and flavour between the two krauts. I have to say I prefer the glass jar method. Next time I make a crock it will choose a dark and glossy (less permeable) glaze.

Another idea I’ve had since the start was making small jars of cottonwood bud and conifer salves that I call tree medicine. I’ve made about 6 of these but only two survived the final firing. This last one had the lid fuse to the jar, which I had to break to open. Back to the drawing board!

IMG_20170322_112257This was a bummer as I still find it quite difficult to create a closed form vessel with a lid.

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Here are the first of my black and white marbled cups. I love how the smooth un-glazed exterior combines with the spontaneous ink blot quality of the inside.  I’m making more of these. I just love playing with this technique.

IMG_20170225_110058I can’t wait to see how these two turn out.IMG_20170225_145253720

And here are some of the faceted Navajo pieces.

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Here are a two little dishes I’m not super happy with. I love the poured glaze, but it feels like the wrong glaze.

IMG_20170209_130144101…Turquoise tea bowls with my brand new business cards!

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I have painted since I was a child, even went to art school in the 80’s, but in recent years I’ve had no desire to paint… After a long dry spell where most of my creativity was channeled  into cooking, the thought occurred that I would like to try pottery. 

Since I started this new creative exploration I have been drawn to a minimalist aesthetic. Another concept I play with is contrast and duality: combining an overall texture of spikes or facets with a spare minimal shape; or making objects that have a pleasing wobble and yet an inherent stability at the same time. I recall a story about a man who was in an earthquake. The building he had been in crumbled, but he was dumbstruck to see that delicate flowers in the garden were unharmed by the quake.

Anyhow I’ve been working with combinations of clay and slips that are very close in shade. Marbling was a failure, but Mishima has potential. I like creating a detailed pattern that is barely visible unless you really look. This cup has butterflies all over it.

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My next attempt will be this bowl with feathers all over it. Last week I started the carving which is almost finished. It’s been wrapped up tightly so it won’t dry too much by the time I can make it back to finish it. Today I will complete the carving, brush all the little dry bits of clay off, apply slip, and wrap it up again. Tomorrow the slip will have shrunken into the lines and I will have to re-apply at least once. Next week it will be a dry mess which I will have to scrape off to reveal a smooth inlaid surface. Mishima pieces take the longest to make…

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Well it’s now March 22nd and I just got to see the results of the white on white Mishima… It has potential. but I’m still not happy with the results. You really can’t see it, here’s a close up.

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I also got this cup out of the kiln today. I’ve never seen this shadow effect before.

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A lot came out of the kiln this week. Some of it was from November…  I have improved so much these past two months, and I can be a bit critical of those pieces, but I’m having a blast making things regardless of the end results. My friend Pat has been a potter for about 30 years, and says she never stops learning.

I am very excited to see more of this glaze combination on the Navajo clay. I’ve been alternating using Navajo for certain ideas, and white clay for others.

IMG_20170128_095813144 I like using transparent glazes on white clay. So far my favorites are a rich chestnut brown and, of course, turquoise.

IMG_20170128_112928665This is a little plate I made in November.

IMG_20170128_122949Finally all of my first bowls have been fired. Using them is helping me decide which shapes I would like to make more of.

IMG_20170128_085647785I will probably have to wait 6 to 8 weeks to see these babies fired. This is black slip on ivory white clay. My first attempt at marbling was a dismal failure. Not for the marbling itself, but for my unfortunate choice of white on white. They looked good until the very end.

IMG_20170128_172342675Here they are in process, and below is what they looked like with clear glaze. The marbling completely vanished.

IMG_20161209_180301Hmm… No marbling : (

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When I started making things on the wheel, I found myself wondering: Do I want to sign my work? I have been a big fan of Dr. Masaru Emoto (best known for his work Messages From Water) and I like the idea of embedding the energy of love, compassion, and balance into the objects I create.

My first pieces were signed with a Yin Yang symbol. Later I was inspired to have a stamp made with the word LOVE, because if there is anything this world needs, it’s more love.

May loving energy permeate your cup of tea, or the water that nourishes your plants.

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I really like making little vases for growing water loving plants in. Pothos is such a cool plant, it simply grows in all kinds of conditions. Soil or water, light or no light… these plants will thrive. Especially in the loving little homes I’ve been creating for them. The simplicity of a plant that grows in water is very appealing to me. I’m also researching other plants I can grow this way.

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