Sunday, July 10, 2011

On the Wheel Again! Bird Jugs... and a misshap.

There is a lot that I could say about this week just past, but I will do most of this post with pictures!  I did spend one day early in the week throwing big half globe shapes on the wheel, a third of a 20 kg bag of clay per half globe.  The globe halves were thrown as bottomless cylinders, and then the top of the cylinder was progressively collared inwards until they were able to be sealed off as a half globe (another way of looking at it was that the process was like throwing a bowl upside down and working from the rim to the centre).  Working with a large amount of clay for a change gave me a bit more confidence in my throwing skills.  I had a sculptural project in mind, which did not progress quite as I hoped, but I did make two globes from the halves, and then turned one complete globe into the big, heavy, vase that is in the first photo.  The other half globes I will use as slump moulds after they have been bisque fired.

A little later in the week, these fellows started appearing in my studio.  Bird jugs.

A disaster got me started on the jugs, but it was good to be doing them again, and the big globe throwing at the beginning of the week significantly improved my abilities when it came to making the jugs.  Bird jugs are a moderately challenging shape, due to the wide belly and tall, narrow neck that is required.  Also they do need to be light enough in weight to be potentially useful for carrying liquids.  I spent quite a lot of time the day after throwing them, doing the detail work and attaching the handles.  It was funny really, but a friend had called part way through day one, and was rather surprised at how quickly pots were made on the wheel, but I think she would have been  surprised in opposite way if she had visited the next day and seen just how long some of the other processes can sometimes take!

I did mention a "disaster"...., here are two clues, "bird jugs" and the photo just below...

The nature of "disaster"?....

I am making a series of bird jugs so that I can offer a replacement to a client who bought one from me, left it here in my safe keeping and..... Nigella Stopit let herself into my studio one afternoon, and was stuck in there for a couple of hours without me knowing it.  It would appear that she entertained herself by climbing onto my highest shelves and knocking one rather important jug on the floor.

I understand that cats taste like rabbit or chicken!  At times like this I do wonder if we should be assessing little Miss Stopit in terms of her food value!

Whilst you ponder that, here is a wrap up of some of the rest of the week....
I can report that this week I have been making more tiles.
Laura and I managed to get to see a local wearable art show last night.
Today (Sunday) saw me racing into town with some pots that were destined to be included in a lunchtime exhibition at the Otago University.  Nancy Earth, a PHD student, had recently interviewed 4 Otago potters (Neil Grant, Marion Familton, Jo Howard, and myself), and gave a short lecture about us, and some of the ways Japanese pottery has influenced what we do here in New Zealand.


gz said...

I remember a cat winding between my legs as I carried a boardful of jugs from the workshop to the house, about thirty years ago...the cat survived and skulked at the neighbour's house for two days! The jugs didn't.

Linda Starr said...

Nice looking group of bird jugs Peter and I really like the shape of the first pot; cat's can't live with them or without them, what can we do.

Angie said...

Love the shape ... and decorations on those bird jugs.
What can I say about Nigella ...except ...OOOOps. If any of ours are shut in a room there is always some sort of havoc caused .... they must think we have provided an entertainment area for them.

Judy Shreve said...

I love your bird jugs and seeing them just makes me want to make them. There's something so fascinating about that shape to me - the long neck and the round belly -- yours are particularly lovely.

Nigella was just letting you know -in her own way - she didn't like being locked in your studio. :-)

Hannah said...

Ooops, naughty cat.

Pat - Arkansas said...

Methinks you may need to 'bell the cat.' Sorry about your bird jug, but please don't eat Nigella Stopit, she's entirely too beautiful.

I like your globe; it's quite a lovely shape. The bird jugs are beautiful.

Angie said...

Hi Peter ... Just dropped by to let you know our cabbage tree had died ...completely ...aparently its to do with the unexpected harsh winter of low temperatures and icy winds we had last Dec/Jan ...not something that happens here in Fife normally so it was a shock to the system and many were lost.... I think it was the fact that our 5 outside cats ..and their friends ... think the earth around it is their personal litter tray containing a giant scratch post and may have altered the

Peter said...

Hello Gwynneth,
I must say I have been worried whenever I carry boards of work out to the kiln..., it is quite an adventure with doors to open and shut, and a few steps to negotiate... and a cat that really wants to get into the kiln shed! The cats are definitely an additional hazard!

Hi Linda,
Thanks for the nice comment regarding the jugs, as for the cats... I must admit that most of the time I do enjoy them being around!

Hi Judy,
I still remember when we both were making bird jugs at opposite sides of the world! Really must do that again, it was interesting seeing what you did with them, and it certainly is a fascinating form that I can see myself playing with for many years.

I guess we could say that Nigella has great non-verbal communication skills!

Hi There Hannah,
Oooops indeed! :)

Hello Pat,
Not so sure about "bell", BBQ sounds better!! However, rest assured, Nigella has somehow avoided becoming part of my diet. I am going to have to find a way to make her pay her way though... probably I'll do some Nigella cat mugs! I'm looking forward to firing the "globe".. It is rather heavy really, but I do like the shape. Probably it will be an outdoor pot, and become part of the grand garden design!

Hello Angie,
How sad about the cabbage tree. You certainly did have a very severe winter and it is likely that such a stress may well have brought about the tree's early demise.

Cabbage trees are strange things though, and they can suddenly die right back even in a reasonably mild climate. There was quite a scare a few years back in NZ with hundreds of cabbage trees suddenly dying, and people were worried that the trees might be suffering something like Dutch Elm disease, or even finding our high UV levels damaging.

Occasionally the dead looking ones can send out a new shoot or two. I once used a fallen cabbage tree trunk to edge a path that I made amongst our planting of trees, and quite a few months later fresh new cabbage trees started sprouting from the "dead" trunk.

I loved your comment about the "altered" ph levels! Our cats use one of our cabbage trees as a scratch post too, and hate to think what they do with the earth around it!!

Sue said...

Beautiful Nigella Stopit...haha :D

I'm not sure why my photo doesn't show with my comments...??