Monday, January 25, 2010

Bloggiversary. A special bowl. Otago Museum.

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.

A 17th Century Watering Pot, dug up under London.

This post marks the first anniversary of my blog, and a year ago, my first post was "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.

I wonder if this Bideford harvest jug is the furthest South harvest jug in the world?

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.

The oldest car in the rally, what a beauty, and still ran like a charm!

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!


Armelle said...

Bonjour Peter,
Bon anniversaire à votre blog !!! Et merci à vous aussi de partager votre travail et les liens avec tous ces potiers.
Happy birthday to your blog and thank you very much to share your work, your words and all the links to so many potters.
I love the little bolws too and the old watering pot.
And also thank you to makes me learn english.

Salut à la prochaine !!!

cookingwithgas said...

Great old pots- thanks for sharing!
And nice test going on there!

Linda Starr said...

Hi Peter, what a wonderful tour of your day you have shown. I feel like I was walking just behind you and Laura. The pots in the museum are wonderful, expecially the last one. You're doing amazing things with your crystal glazes, they are so wonderful. The large crystals look like floating flowers especially in the second photos. said...

If I didn't already have a thousand things on my list, I would like to try those crystals. They look like such fun! I think with your great sketching/painting skills you should do a still life of your little friend, the blue bowl. Wouldn't it be beautiful as a painting!

Matt Grimmitt said...

Happy Anniversary Peter, here's to many more. Nice to see all those old pots all the way over there in NZ. Looks like you had a great day. All the best.

doug Fitch said...

Happy anniversary Peter! You always write a blog with beautiful words and beautiful pots - wow that Harvest jug, what a beauty!

Hannah said...

Happy Anniversary Peter. We were talking about you today, were your ears burning?
I like that bowl at the top a lot too, it is a beautiful form, somehow my bowls end to feel a bit frumpy always in comparrison to something like that. Hmmm, will work on that thought.
best wishes,

Christine H S said...

Thank you for the tour of Otago Museum, those bowls were beauties - the very kind that got me into pottery in the first place. That harpie was bursting out of the bowl, I can see why it looked bigger than it was.
I noticed when I was last in the British Museum that pots which I used to draw, I was now allowed to photograph and I became quite snap happy, but it is the ones which I drew that have remained with me, promoting a better understanding, as you say.

Happy Blog Birthday, and great stuff with with these glazes.

Peter said...

Dear All,
It is so nice to hear from you. Thank you for your comments. I'm glad that you enjoyed the museum bowls and pots, we are so lucky to have such things to marvel at and enjoy. I think that a bowl in particular can have great humanity, especially those of soup bowl size. Hannah saying about her bowls feeling "a bit frumpy" in comparison to the little Persian bowl, made me smile a bit, as a "frumpy" bowl is just the very sort of bowl that I would like to have in the kitchen to have warm comfort food out of. The Persian bowl feeds the spirit, but an honest "frumpy" bowl can feed the whole person.
I guess that the honest warmth of earthenware is a quality that I love.

I'm in a rush now unfortunately, so I have to go, but thank you again to all of you, your comments, good sense, and support over the last year have been very precious to me.

Amy said...

Wow those pots of yours are simply gorgeous! I hope you make many more of those. thanks for sharing the pics and the blog...

Peter said...

Hi Amy,
Lovely to hear from you, and thanks for the encouragement! I have got a bisque firing of more work that I am intending to do crystal glazes with as I write, so... more is on the way!


Happy Anniversary, Peter, and hope you are still happily blogging and sharing with the rest of us years from now. I've enjoyed visiting your blog and sharing your adventures.

Those crystal glazes are stunning, although I'm sure the photos don't do them justice.

Peter said...

Hi Julia,
Thank you for the nice comment, glad you are enjoying the blog.

Photographing the crystal glazes seems almost more difficult than making the pot! They just seem to pick up colour from all over the place, and it is hard to get the glazes looking their natural selves (of course there is always the (alarming) possibility that the photos might be making them look better than what they are!!) Probably the macro photos do improve on reality, in that you see the crystals so much better than in "real life" (a bit like looking at snow flakes through a magnifying glass. Anyway, I do my best.

Jewels said...

You have a delightful blog Peter! I appreciate that you are so generous with your knowledge and encouragements! I am still crazy about the watering can and enjoyed reading your first post about it! It has such a great personality. How tall is your finished watering pot? The dark glaze with the creamy brown crystals is wonderful. It has a warmer feel to it than the other crystal glazes which I like very much. Happy one year blog anniversary!

Peter said...

Hello Jewels,
Good to hear from you, and thanks for the nice comments. Regarding watering pots, my best guess is that the one in the Otago Museum is maybe 13 or 14 inches heigh. My own ones are 14 to 15 inches. Must away now as have just opened our studio for the afternoon. Unloaded some more crystal tests this morning from the kiln. Some interesting results which I will post soon.

Best Wishes,

Anonymous said...

hi peter, i didn't realize our anniversaries were so close together... mine is today, 1 year. congratulations! i finally added your link to my blog (something i always forget to keep up to date). the crystalline work is progressing very well... i bet it keeps you excited about opening that kiln. laura's painting came out beautifully too. that blue and white bowl is a beauty too, reminds me of the one at my friend's house... posted here
anyway, congratulations on 1 year!

Peter said...

Thanks Jim,
Nice to hear from you. I'm a frequent visitor to your blog too, always a pleasure to see what you and Sophia are up to.