Monday, May 25, 2009

It's been an exausting few days glazing pots

Whilst the cat has been sleeping, I have been preparing pots for a firing of my wood fired kiln.

Glazing tires me. I generally find it more of a burden than a joy. I am slow at it, because I am doing many different pots, rather than a line of similar ones. Sometimes it would be grand just to cover everything with one glaze. A Henry Ford approach to glaze selection, "You can have any colour you like sir, as long as it is black!"

I am weighed down with the knowledge that I haven't quite got the right glaze for the pot. This is not just a technical thing, it would be a lot simpler if it was. It is a striving for something that is occasionally glimpsed or felt, but not yet understood.

It is as much to do with finding out who I am, as finding a practical glaze that complements the pot. Sadly, my inexperience can easily turn a pot with a nice figure into a frumpy pot.

I went for a little drive a few days ago and took some photos on State Highway 85 that connects Palmerston with Ranfurly. This road is known as "The Pigroot", and climbs up to just over 600 meters at its highest point.

I didn't ascend to the highest point, as snow had blocked the road the day before, but I took a couple of photos of some of the hills near the start of the climb. The silvery gray day was dreadfully cold, as a "lazy" wind was blowing ("lazy" as in the wind that doesn't bother to go around you, but goes straight through!).

I got side tracked from my objective of taking snow phtos, by the sight of the brightest autumn colouring that I had ever seen in a willow.

Strange ghostlike trunks of a group of gum trees made the willow seem like a bush fire.

The combination of colour, and texture, was exhilarating, and slightly frightening. I felt an urge to do a painting of the trunks.

It would have to be oil paint, thickly applied.
I will have to dust down my tubes of paint.

I hope to fire my wood fired kiln in about 3 days from now. It's been raining for nearly a week, so I am hoping that I still have enough dry wood to be able to reach stoneware temperatures.

I will be trying out a carbon trap shino this time, in addition to my usual shino glazes. Other glazes include two copper reds, a saturated iron glaze, some chun blues, some ash glazes, and a celadon.


Arkansas Patti said...

Sorry to hear that glazing pottery can be WORK. Takes some of the glamour off an artistic endeavor. But I am sure Michelangelo had an aching neck and looked at the scaffolding with dread.
Loved your pictures. You really have an artists eye.

Amy said...

I'm glazing a bunch of yunomis tomorrow. I agree with you, for glazing is tiring for me at times too. I am using mostly shinos.... spotted shino with alfred's blue on mine.

Linda Starr said...

Hi Peter, your photographs are wonderful, the cat photo looks like a painting and so do your willow and gum photos. That willow is so vibrant - is it a weeping willow? The textures and colors are great.

I sometimes feel the same about my pots, they look so nice and then I go an flub them up with a poor choice of glaze.

Peter said...

Hi Patti, poor old Michelangelo, I once painted something on a ceiling from a lying down position, it was a very frustrating exercise, with most of the paint overflowing from the brush in big gluggy torrents down the hands and accumulating around the elbows. Quite how he managed to do the Sistine Chapel Ceiling is beyond me.
Hi Amy, I like your shinos, and I do like the way you use the blue with them. I've just been having a look at your work on Etzy.

Peter said...

Hi Linda,
Yes, I think the willow is a weeping willow. I am amazed with the colour though. We have a weeping willow here, but it never gets as spectacular. Winter has come rather suddenly, and jumped over Autumn. I do wonder if some of the extreme colouring is to do with the shock that the trees are getting?? Glad you enjoyed the photos. Ginger, the cat, is propped up against some of the cushions that my mum made. I meant to say so on my blog.

Sylwia said...

I love photos of your pots as much as I love winter photos. I don't even know which I like more. As the bard said "Beware; The woods at night; Beware; The Lunar light"

Pat - Arkansas said...

I hope you find enough dry wood for the kiln. I'm looking foward to seeing the results of the firing. I know the pots will be beautiful, and your glazing labors well rewarded.

The willows are beautiful! And, yes! You should paint the gum trees, which are quite exotic to someone who is used to seeing mainly oak, maple and southern pines, and a few flowering trees.

Peter said...

Hello Sylwia, thanks for that. Winter can be a time of hardship, but the first snow is always exciting, and awakes some sort of childish desire to skip up and down and dance in carefree circles. I love seeing the snow on the hills.

I do like the quote, "Beware, the woods at night; beware, the Lunar light". I'm having a chuckle about Bards. I think it would be fun to be one (I'm not sure if I can grow my beard long enough, but I am trying!). Imagine having "Bard" listed as profession on your passport!

Hello Pat, Ahh... dry wood when it has been raining for 14 days out of 21 according to my father's trusty rain gauge. It is a problem, but a mammoth amount of work has yielded what I hope to be enough for the firing. I should complete loading the kiln today. I had hoped to have managed that yesterday, but there was still too much work to be done in getting the kiln ready. I'll probably fire on Saturday.

Glad you liked the willows and gums, they just seemed such a glorious combination of colour and texture.

Becky said...

Hi Peter, found your blog via your comment on Amy's and am so glad I did. Love your orange tabby (name?) your photography and your pots which are quite lovely. I hope to visit New Zealand one day...the closest I've been is Sydney, AU.
(I don't suppose a girl could be a bard, eh?)

Becky said...

Hello, Peter! Just found your blog via Amy's blog and am so glad to find it. I love your sunny tabby (name?), your photography and especially your pots. They are lovely! (One day I hope to visit NZ. The closest I've come is Sydney, AU.) Mind if I add a link to your blog on mine?

Peter said...

Hi Becky, Welcome to my blog, lovely to hear from you. I've just hopped over to your blog and had an enjoyable visit. I see that you are at Clayworks. It sounds a great place, and I wish it were closer! I do like your Canada Goose that you are working on. Quite a difficult project, I should imagine, but It will look great when it is finished.

Please do add a link to my blog on yours, it is nice of you to ask. I will gladly put a link to your site on mine, and it will be good to keep in touch with you.

We call the cat Ginger. It really belongs to our neighbour, but it spends almost all day and night here and has a really lovely nature. He seems to find the pottery a great place to hang out, and keeps discovering new things, like how to get into the kiln shed roof, but not out, and the best place to sit in the morning is as high up as possible on my shelves where I dry my pots.

Bards, hummm, I was taught that "girls can do anything!" so I'm sure girl bards are highly possible.