Laura is in her garden. Spring has visited us. So has Winter. Winter, ferocious and cruel, Spring, optimistic and kind.
The white, fragile flowers of the wild plum trees bringing honeyed fragrance on still evenings.
The odd, but compelling Hellebore plants with their toothy leaves and pale green flowers.
The return of colour. Blue, red, white and yellow chasing away the grey, brown, and ashen pastel shades of winter.
A daffodil trumpet, following the sun.
The bell shaped flowers of the Fritillaria.
A double daffodil!
Then winter returns. At first it is exhilarating, later it is tragic as thousands of lambs and ewes perish in the storm that lasts for days.
I have done about 3 more firings since I last posted. I have been trying to get some stock put aside for when I am away, and also to have pots for three exhibitions that I am taking part in through October.
This is a small sample really, but should give an impression of the palette of colours that I progressively expanding, and the different shapes and characteristics of the crystals.
This glaze has manganese, iron, and copper added to the base glaze. I really like the smoky look that the glaze has about half way down the pot.
Here is a detail of part of the pot. You may notice that several of the pots have very definite thin, dark margins around the crystals. This is something that I am playing with at the moment.
Iron and manganese do nice things together in a glaze. I find that the iron gives a warmth and texture to the "background" colour surrounding the crystal.
Cobalt and manganese are a nice combination. Cobalt colours the crystals and manganese mostly goes to work on the surrounding colour. I found this hard to photograph. The surrounding colour is a bit too yellow, it should be more of a raw umber colour.
These colours and shapes make me think of Australia, for some reason. I think there is a bit of a feeling of gum tree bark about it!
Hummm, if truth be know, this is one of my favorite pots. I nearly put it in an exhibition today, but couldn't part with it! There is cobalt, copper, and manganese at work in this glaze.
Here is a detail. The pot is H22.5 x W22 cm.
I love what happened to the crystals on this pot. There are little yellow stars in some of the ones near the top of the pot, and the ones further down seem to focus the light like lenses.
This one is also a favorite. The same glaze again with manganese, cobalt and copper.
Here is my largest crystalline pot so far. It stands at just over 37 cm high and is about 28 cm wide. I put this one in the Gallery-on-Blueskin Spring exhibition that opened today at Waitati, just North of Dunedin. Very hard to photograph this one unfortunately. The background colour graduates from a sort of yellow ochre at the neck to a very warm, rich red/ brown towards the foot. The crystals are shades of blue-grey and ivory. The pot took up most of my electric kiln, I just managed to fit in two small test pots with it.
These crystals are up around the shoulders and neck of the pot.
These crystals are further down.
My firings are getting quite long now. I mostly seem to take 8 or 9 hours firing to the top 1250 Centigrade temperature, then spend about 5.5 hours growing the crystals in a 1040 - 1100 Centigrade range of temperatures. You will notice that the crystals have growth rings in them, which I make by dropping the temperature 40 -50 degrees then bringing it back up again. I make dark margins around the crystals by dropping to about 1010 Centigrade and holding for half an hour at the end of the crystal growing portion of the firing.
Tomorrow (Monday) I'll hopefully find time to pack for the trip to the USA. That commences on Tuesday (28th). I leave NZ on the 28th, and arrive on the 28th... not long before midnight, but still the "same" day. Strange what time zones will do. It will take me "two" days to fly home again!
I am not nearly prepared enough for the trip. The potting things all took longer than planned. I had some battles with a tummy bug that hit me just over a week ago. I'm well over it now, but it made me rather weak and tired which didn't help with the work that I really wanted to get done..... and so many "unimportant" things took over most of my time and attention. I even had a simmerstat die on the kiln at a difficult moment. Oh, well...
When I contemplate the travel, I do confess that there are moments when I feel a bit like a cat going to visit the vet...., I'm not really much of a traveler, but it will be very special for me to be able to visit potters and see lots of work, and I do so much want to meet up with people that I have corresponded with via the blog.
Not sure if I will get a moment to post anything more before I actually start this voyage overseas... or should that be "over skies". So, best wishes and happy thoughts to you all, and thank you so much for your comments and kindness. I look forward to meeting up with as many of you as I can very soon!