Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Grey Saturday, a day of rest for some...

Our neighbour's cat, Ginger, had the right idea.

When you think about it, cats have organised life a lot better than most of us.

Cats follow the sun, and, if it is not available will get by with electric heaters, open fires, or kiln sheds. Cats mostly stay dry, and find comfortable chairs. Cat may commandeer chairs that are not always in their real homes, but maybe at the house next door!

Cats know how to get what they want by purring and looking cute.

On this grey day,

I should have been industriously picking the last of the fruit from the quince tree, after all the day was neither too hot, nor too cold, which is quite an achievement at this time of the year.

We have had a lot of fruit this year, and even sold some quinces. Our first ever sale of produce from the garden!

The last of the pink Lavatera flowers

Laura managed most of the day in the garden, and I spent most of it in doors.

I loaded an earthenware glaze firing into the electric kiln and got that going by 11am.

Then I wet mopped the studio floor to get rid of the dust and grime that builds up a bit through the working week. And I had a little tidy up.

I also washed my work aprons (I peg them out on the line and turn the fire hose on them, which works really well ).

The kiln had to be monitored hourly throughout the day as it is manual with no clever computerised gizmo to do ramps, soaks, and other wonderful things. The glaze firing was of things that people had made at my pottery demonstration day, "Wheels To Waitati", that I did three weeks ago. The little bowls and cups were quite thick and took ages to dry, but they came through their bisque firing OK, so.... here's hoping that the glaze works! I have also done some glaze test tiles and other small test pieces for cone 03.

An Important Question.... Does anyone have a really good glaze recipe for a lead free liner glaze for cone 03? I struggle to get a good glaze fit with anything other than lead bi-silicate glazes at earthenware temperatures, but I'm sure it can be done.

I had a look at some blogs in the afternoon.

One that intrigues me is Ceramika Sylwia Kolasinska
Sylwia (Sylka) left a comment on my blog a while ago and I have been trying to follow her blog, which is interesting, but it is in Polish so I can't understand the text unfortunately. There is a beautiful music video on her latest post that is well worth a look at and a listen to, so please do go and have a look.

I have also added The New Sixty which is the work of Ankansas Patti to my list of essential (and sometimes hilarious) reading. I found this blog through Shine On which is another blog I enjoy. Shine On is the work of Jewels who is in the process of building a pottery studio at her lovely place in Arkansas, Jewels is also making the world a better place through her photos and her writing.

I also visited Support Your Local Potter, a blog by Brandon Phillips. Brandon has kindly put two videos on his site of him making and assembling a tea pot. I am always appreciative of the generosity of potters who do make the effort to take good photos of their work in progress, and to share videos of themselves, or others, doing some part of the pot making process. It is so helpful to us folk out in the wider world who can't get to see this sort of thing easily. It must also do a valuable thing in showing people who don't pot, some of the mysteries that potters quietly accomplish daily in their studios.


Arkansas Patti said...

Thanks for stopping by Peter and also thanks for steering me to your blog. Loved the cat series of pictures. Do they have relaxation mastered or what? I am being serenaded right now with some righteous purring from one of my cats.
Glad you have a cash crop in quince. Had to look that up as we don't have them in Arkansas. Do you make jellies?
Lovely pottery you are producing. I know Jewels is envious of your kiln. I'll be back.

Peter said...

Hi Patti, welcome aboard! Lovely to hear from you. Quince has a taste and texture of its own, somewhere between apple and pear. It is very hard and has to be cooked. You would regret biting into one raw, although I have heard of someone who does like them raw, but people can have strange tastes! Anyway, you can make a nice jelly from quince with a good flavour and a beautiful pink colour. We usually have ours stewed, sometimes with apples added. Good for breakfast or any other time that one feels like a simple snack. A Dutch friend of ours makes quince cheese, which is a pink slab that is thick enough to cut with a knife, nice too as it is sweet tasting, slightly perfumed, but with a little acidity, which gives it character (that description sounds like the blurb off a wine bottle label!). Best Wishes, P.

Dad said...

You and CATS Peter! What lovely photos though... almost strokeable... then... some milk??? Yield NOT to alluring felines!
There was an article about Quinces in our local paper the other day. They recommend cooking them at 120C for 6 hours, or overnight... Temperature's somewhat on the low side for you potters, else you might try some in the kiln...
Seriously though, YES Patti, You're right. Peter IS turning out some lovely pottery. It's one of the drawbacks to visiting the OPO... we fall in love with another one (or more!) ... rather like Peter falls for cats,... We really enjoy the ones we've bought already!

Jewels said...

Sweet photo of Ginger stretching, she looks like I imagined she would and has got cute down pat. Your quinces look delicious, though, like Patti, I haven’t had the opportunity to taste one. It is a wonderful feeling to eat something you have grown from the earth. My fruit trees are only a year old, but already one of the Asian pear trees is bearing fruit. It is healthier for the young tree to cut the fruit off, but I haven’t had the heart to do so yet.
Glad you found Patti’s blog and that you enjoy her writing as much as I do. As we would say here in Arkansas, she’s a hoot.

Peter said...

Hi Jewels,
Ginger is a he... I think!?!
We should export quince to Arkansas, you never know, it might be a winner! P.