Wednesday, September 16, 2009

A Quick Post From a Busy Week

One interesting commission that I have been working on, is for a large water jar that will have a little tap in it, and will sit on a stand. The people who commissioned it want a snake to feature as part of the design. I have made the water jar about 16 inches high. The stand that it will sit on will add some more to the height. It is a fair step up from the couple of dozen coffee mugs I threw on the weekend to the larger jar, so I also made some large vases as well to practice.

Laura took some photos of throwing in progress which some of you might find interesting/amusing/whatever! I've converted them to black and white as the lobster like hue of my balding head was rather distracting!

This fellow rather took a fancy to me the other day when I visited a farm, I think it considered that we had quite a lot in common!

Here we are with probably about 5 or 6 kgs of clay on the wheel head. I am slapping it into shape before centering it.

After centering the clay and opening a well in it with my thumbs, I pull it up into a cylinder that gently tapers inward. This is a strong shape which opposes the natural tendency of the clay to want to grow outwards.

After two or three pulls of the clay to gain height and to even out the thickness of the wall, I form and compress the rim of the pot to give it strength.

Holding a wooden rib with my right hand to steady, compress, and help shape the clay, I push out with the fingers of my left hand that is inside the pot and swell the pot out from the original tall cylinder towards the final rounded form.

Here I am giving roundness to the shoulder of the pot. Both hands are in contact as much as possible. I find I use the little finger of my right hand in place of a wooden rib for this operation.

Just about finished now, I am giving a final shape to the rim of the pot.

On the subject of aging and the process there of...., I was amused and delighted to have two young visitors on the weekend who, when it came to guessing ages, assessed my age as being around 80, and made other guesses between 60 and 70 when I indicated that 80 was slightly too many years! Our charming young visitors were 7 years old apiece, and a wonderful tonic to have in the studio.

This is one of several large vases that I made in the run up to throwing the water jar, I think it is around 16 inches high. I have experimented with pouring slip over this one and shaking wood ash, feldspar, and other goodies into the wet slip. Hopefully it will self glaze like one of those self saucing puddings that look so good on the photo of the packaging that they come in at the supermarket.

Here is another photo of the water jar with a bit of its lid visible.

My drying rack is filling up rather. I'll be bisque firing most of them over the next few days. Some will be glaze-fired raw.

Note, I added a couple more photos of the throwing a pot sequence, and some captions to this post after the very first comments came in.


Kitty Shepherd said...

That’s a very nice water jar. It reminds me of the water carriers designed for imploding water although they are more egg shaped. You might be interested in the purification properties of this device I have seen one and it is very impressive.

My daughter was going to do her dissertation on Viktor Schauberger and the effects of imploded water on crops but was talked out of it by her tutor for being too wacky! Check it out I think it is pretty clever stuff.

Arkansas Patti said...

Just love that water jar with the snake. Very clever Peter. Must be a challange to produce something for another and hoping they see what you see. With that jar, you couldn't miss.
Grand looking turkey. Hope he was a pet and not future dinner.

Peter said...

Hi Kitty,
Good to hear from you. I had never come across imploding water before, although I have had occasion to leap back in fear when bath water made particularly sinister sounds as it plunged down the plug hole! Anyway, I followed the link and was really interested to see the water egg. It does seem a nice practical shape and, having two rather pointy ends, would also be an interesting technical challenge to throw on the wheel.

Some time ago I came across an article about traditional Egyptian water pots. These had a somewhat egg-shaped character, also having two pointy ends. It would be interesting if the egg shape did indeed favour keeping water clean and bacteria free. A traditional form like the Egyptian water pot will have evolved for a reason.

The science of imploding water and so on does look a bit strange to me, (but I enjoyed a Google search of references for and against). However, if such a container improved the quality of our local water (which is currently disgusting and has driven many a former teetotaler to the perils of a stiff drink of the alcoholic kind), I would be enormously thankful. I may conduct some research of my own down here!

Hi Patti,
We were careful not to even whisper the word "Thanksgiving" in earshot of the turkey. I think that he is probably a pet rather than a potential walking dinner, but..., on a farm you never can be sure! Glad you liked the water jar. It is a challenge to make things for other people, but a good sort of a challenge most of the time. I think that this could be one of the professions where being empathetic could be an advantage!

Linda Starr said...

Hi Peter, love your water jar and the snake curling about, the contrast between the smooth surface of the jar and the somewhat rough texture of the snake is very nice.

Turkey's are such handsome birds. The wild ones here were very wary, but used to come by and rest in the shade of our deodar tree in the heat of the summer.

I was wondering if the tall pot in the first photo is the same as the ones photographed later and just smoothed out and enlarged? I have mostly hand built and the wheel throwing is still so intriquing to me.

Angie said...

Love the action shots.
That Water Jar is amazing ...hope they love it.

Peter said...

Hi Linda,
Thanks for your comments regarding the water jar.

Regarding the tall pot in the series of photos of me throwing on the wheel, you asked a good question and I will add some captions to the photos. The pot is the same one in the four photos. In the first photo I am just shaping and firming up the rim of the pot prior to reaching back down into it and widening it out.

Turkeys are handsome in their own strange way. In addition to the glorious red and shimmery blues up around its head, this one also had the most beautiful iridescent sheen on the scales of its legs when the sunlight struck them at the right angle.

Hello Angie,
Glad you loved the action shots. It was interesting for me to see them as I get such a different view of the procedure from where I am sitting. Generally the pot seems larger at all times than what it really is, especially when the arm disappears inside it up to the elbow!

Anonymous said...

Awesome, the photos show your work well! Nice commissioned work Peter! The Turkey well just Beautiful and I can see why the chicks are attracted! The colors and tail. GRIN!

Peter said...

Hi Mary,

Ahh, that Turkey! Whilst he and I both share a sad lack of plumage on top of the head, he does have the advantage over me with his glorious tail feathers. I think I will abandon boring beige trousers and see about a kilt!

cindy shake said...

Wonderful water jar! I was thinking it looks Greek, then when I saw the Turkey, the snake design may even look Turkish! Great shape and design.

Peter said...

Thanks Cindy! I must have a look at some Greek and Turkish ceramics, it would be a great Googling topic on a lazy afternoon!

Linda Starr said...

Hi Peter, thought you might know since you are such a computer whiz. I jus did a new post, but it doesn't show on the right side of your blog, even though I pinged it so the search engines would pick it up - and I see that the engines already picked it up - how can I fix that if you don't mind my asking and if you know the answer. I came back to look at your paintings again, they are so wonderful and truly amazing.

Peter said...

Hi Linda,
I have noticed that it does sometimes take a time for my new posts to show up on other blogs too. The strange thing is that it happens some times but not others, and the effect is uneven, some will update straight away, whilst others won't. Agggghhhhh! Computers!

Bonnie Bonsai said...

In my country where I came from Peter, we used to use Water Clay Jar with a tap (faucet) so we can turn it on each time we need a drink. In those days, we fetched our drinking water from a well and store it in the Clay Jar. We had to replace the water twice a day, morning and afternoon to be sure, we were drinking fresh water as there was no water pipe in our remote place, away from the so-called civilization.

This one is brilliant! I like the embossed art of the snake.

Peter said...

Hi Bonnie,
Lovely to hear from you. You don't say which country you are from, but it is nice to hear of pottery being useful, and in your case, essential. A friend has a collection of African cooking pots, and I love them. They are functional, wholesome, and beautiful, and have helped sustain a person, or a family. What can be nicer than that!

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Is there a way you can make Peter? Asians would love to buy them. Gee, your market will be spot on!

I'll try to draw the cooking pot we used to use back home (Philippines) and maybe I can send my sketch via email.

Cooking pot is suitable for what we call dirty kitchen, but am not sure how it will react with a gas stove.

It keeps the food nutrients intact and the taste is different from that one being cooked in a modern stove. That I can guarantee!

Peter said...

Hi Bonnie,

Nice to hear from you. I probably can make a cooking pot and would love it if you could send a drawing. You might also see a pot on line that is like the one you have in mind, if so do send me a link.

Best Wishes,