Sunday, August 23, 2009
Cats, jugs (pitchers), slip, and finger wipes.
Big Puss posed for the camera yesterday morning, and it was quite a moment. For the last couple of weeks or so, Big Puss has been a doorstep feature. Whenever we have seen him, it has been as a lump on our doormat; and like a mushroom he would appear there one morning, and not be there the next. Speculation abounded in our household as to what means of transport Big Puss employed. There were no apparent legs under his thick skirt, and we thought he might have wheels, or powerful electromagnets, or slide along on a cushion of air like a hovercraft. Big Puss was not ours, but he liked to be here, and I would rub his head gently as I stumbled over him. He was frightened at first, but became progressively used to me, and started to show affection.
I think it was three nights ago when I was aware of an extra occupant on the extreme end of the bed. The occupant was trying to be light as air, and not draw attention. When I made a slight move to ease agony in my hip joint, the occupant was off, down the hall, and out of the cat flap. A short time later, he was back, and Ginger a lump near my elbow, and Little Puss snoring blissfully on my computer chair, I knew the occupant could only be... Big Puss. Later, another slight move from me, to relieve more aches and pains, resulted in the same style of speedy exit as before, but Big Puss was noticeably more affectionate when he met me in his official capacity as door mat mushroom later that morning, and rubbed my hand with his head and gave it a tentative couple of licks.
Anyway, yesterday morning Big Puss posed for the camera, and showed the world that he does at least have front legs, and a fine pair of front legs they are!
I'm going to miss the old fellow, as Big Puss will be moving to Dunedin today, and Little Puss with him. Sadly, their nice humans, our neighbours, have decided to shift to another place. As for Ginger..., he may be staying on with us, but I quite understand if there is a last minute change of plan. We shall have to see what the morning brings! I'll be sad to see our neighbours go, it has been good getting to know them. In a sense, that was a gift from Ginger to us, as Ginger's real mum visited him every day, and brought him an evening meal here.
Laura has been away for a few days, she is currently visiting her parents who live in the North Island of New Zealand (Laura's mum had a birthday, bless her). I took her to the Dunedin Airport last Tuesday, and deeply regretted that I had neglected to bring my camera, as I think the airport and the aeroplane, with its twin propellers, would have been of interest to some of you who live in different parts of the globe. The airport terminal has recently been extensively upgraded, and is actually very nice, but I was amused (when thinking blogging thoughts) to watch the passengers walking out of the terminal building, and across open area to where the aeroplane was waiting. As I watched, a happy scene floated into my imagination, it was a picture from a Rupert Bear story, with a colourful party of holiday makers walking across the grass to their waiting biplane, with its wicker seats, cheerful boy pilot, and curvy, but sensible, stewardess.
So, I have been on my own.
Well, not really, in that I have had Feline company and lots of things to do, and still more to do.
have managed to get my hands in the clay, but not nearly as much as I would have hoped to, as things have cropped up. On Saturday, for example, I hired a trailer for the day, picking it up at 10 in the morning, and delivering it back at 6pm. I used it to get a couple of loads of demolition timber from the old Presbyterian church which is having to be pulled down due to severe structural problems. The timber was the thin laths that were under the plaster that covered the interior walls. The demolition people hauled out a pile of it on Friday, and said I was to pick it up if I wanted any. Just two trailer loads was a big job on my own, as the hundreds of lengths of thin timber had to be pulled off the other timber they were joined to and stacked in the trailer, then unloaded and stacked here. There was still a lot more that I could have taken, but the end of the day got there first! So, Saturday came and went, and other days in the week had similar pressing things that kept me mostly from my workshop.
I did manage a few earthenware jugs, and was getting them taller for a given amount of clay than in my last post, and the walls are now an even thickness of a quarter of an inch thick for a 9 to13 inch high jug. I have been playing with throwing and then adding a coil of clay to the taller jugs, which does seem to make them slightly lighter than if I had thrown a 12 or 13 inch jug in one. It does slow the making of them down a lot though.
I made up a quantity of slip and have poured it on three of the leather hard jugs, and brushed it on a fourth. In the past my basic slip has been a 50/50 mix of ball clay and china clay. This time I have done 90 percent ball clay and 10 percent frit 4125. I'm interested to see if the frit will improve the bond between body, slip, and glaze at earthenware temperatures.
I am also trying predominantly ball clay in the hope that it will improve the fit of the slip to the body. My 50/50 brew has worked when brushed on and relatively thin, but has sometimes cracked or fallen off where thicker.
I have been trying finger wipes and also drawing in the wet slip with a stick. I think I prefer the softer look of the finger, but it will all look different again when glazed.
For those of you who are not sure what slip is, it is just clay that has been thinned down with water to a creamy consistency. I have put a white slip over clay that will be a reddish brown colour when it is fired in the kiln.
Thank you to those of you who are following this blog and welcome to Jesse Spaeth, who I see has recently joined up.
I have “discovered” Mark Titchiner recently, having seen photos of his work on the Doug Fitch's “A Devonshire Pottery” blog , he is a wonderful potter who works away in Suffolk in England. I have added a link to Mark Titchiner's web site in my list of potter's web sites that is just below Followers.
Gas Kimishima was another delightful “discovery”. He is a Japanese potter who lives and works in England. Gas has a website called “Anagama”, and I have also placed a link to it near Mark Titchiner's.
It is now nearly 7 in the morning, so I will have to send this off on its journey into the land of blogs. I am without a proof reader this time, and my silly brain has no spell checker...