Paradise can be found on a shelf in a glass case at the Otago Museum in the form of a little bowl. The bowl is probably no more than 6 inches across, and has 12 sides. There is a figure in the bowl, that I think of as being in a garden. A happy, peaceful look is on the person's face, as befits someone who likes kneeling amongst plants, and the sides of the bowl curve up to form a hedge, that is both friendly and protective. Some of the cobalt blue decoration has flowed and run in the heat of the firing, but this does not detract from the beauty of the bowl, but adds to it, for this is not a dry thing stamped out by the hundred thousand, but it has heart and life.
I love the foot ring on this bowl, and the healthy lift it gives to the form. The bowl has the feeling of a flower swelling and opening to the sun.
I have sought out this bowl most times I have visited the Otago Museum in Dunedin. It has been a friend that I have always looked forward to meet, and is something that I treasure deeply. This is the first occasion that I have photographed my friend. In the past I have laboured with a pencil or pen in a little sketch book with the thought that it was not permitted to take photographs in the museum... I am sure there used to be a sign forbidding cameras, but maybe that was years ago... time passes, even in museums! On this visit Laura bravely asked one of the museum staff, and was given the assurance that photographs were OK... so, I took lots and lots and lots carefully without flash.
"Inspired by a 17th Century Watering Pot" . I included a drawing I had done of the 17th century watering pot that is in the photograph above. I don't regret having taken the time to draw the watering pot. Looking at it carefully as I drew it helped me to understand how it was put together, and also to work out that there was a piece missing from the top of it. Anyway, one year on, here is a photo of the watering pot that has inspired several pots of my own.
This Bideford harvest jug, makes me think of Doug Fitch and Matt Grimmitt who live and work not all that far from where this harvest jug was made and are doing a marvelous job in keeping a traditional form of pottery alive and well, not by slavish repetition of what has gone before, but by making it their own. By making it ooze out of the pores of the skin.
One of the really nice things about doing this blog has been getting to know other potters around the world. It has been such a help to me here as I struggle away trying to work out how to make pots and how to make some sort of a living. I have really appreciated the honesty about the ups and downs that potters have shared on their pages, and the technical help that has been offered both by the written word, and also by photos of work in progress.
In addition to the potters that I have "discovered" through this experience of blogging, there have been others that write, or paint, take photos, make sculpture, make bricks and kilns, invent, or just like to appreciate art and other good things. I want to thank you all for your friendship and warmth.
Here is another little bowl that I like. It has incised decoration and a splash of copper green glaze. It has an earthy strength and boldness to it that makes it appear much bigger than it really is. So much can be done with brown, white and a splash of green!
Laura and I visited Dunedin on Saturday, and actually had a genuine day off together. I honestly can't recall when the last one was. In addition to visiting the museum, we had a look at vintage cars that were on the Brighton rally.
Now, I know there is the London to Brighton rally in the UK. In NZ we have the Dunedin to Brighton rally. Fortunately we have our own Brighton here, so do not require vintage cars to travel right round the world. The oldest car at the rally was made in 1900.
I took lots of photos of the cars, and some video footage too. I might put a special post together for those of you that love the sight and sound of cars and motorbikes from a long time ago.
Whilst Laura was at the library, I climbed the stairs of 130 Stuart Street, Dunedin, and visited Lure...., which is a really wonderful studio that is shared by several makers of contemporary Jewelery.
Victoria McIntosh makes something beautiful out of silver spoons, old boxes and everyday things. She likes to fossick in second hand shops, and has a stunning collection of spoons that adorns the wall of her studio.
Of course, life has continued in the potting department, and more crystal glazes have been fired and other pots made. I will have to sign off now as it is getting late and I have a busy day at the Stuart Street potter's Co-op gallery tomorrow in Dunedin. I'll leave you with some photos of some of the most recent crystal tests. They are very hard to photograph as the colours are subtle, reflect other colours, and change a great deal in the light, so these are an approximation only!