|First two tagines, I was having fun with those lids!|
Tagine lids were usually tall, tent-like, and narrowed to a small opening at the top. I could see that potters used one of two ways to make them on the wheel. Some looked like they had been made like a widely flaring bowl with a narrow foot, then later flipped up the other way and turned and finished. Others were almost certainly thrown from clay that had been first opened out like a doughnut on the wheel, then the clay lifted and brought upward and inward, the lid being made all in one piece and up the right way. I tried both methods, and preferred the form that came naturally when the second method was used. The second method was less fussy, faster, and I suspect what a "traditional" potter would use.
|Finishing the third lid. Photo by Rhonda.|
The tagine bases were made like large, shallow bowls, each one had a generous flange let into the rim to take the lid and to help make a reasonable seal when the lid was in place.
The third tagine had a lid made to the second method (doughnut, lift, bring in, and finish... all in one go). I did not measure this one, but I think it was about 10 inches or so in diameter. The photo above that our friend Rhonda took when she visited on the Sunday afternoon, is of me finishing this third lid. Once finished, I sloshed some white slip around the lids, then scratched patterns through the slip. Quite fun really. I'll probably put a simple honey glaze over the top of the slip decoration. I guess I will reluctantly "give in" and put a clear glaze on the inside of the base. I do rather like the idea of low firing and seasoning with olive oil though..., even if some may well question if porous clay in the kitchen is hygienic!
|Tagine number 3.|
|Pot with 3 handles.|
Somewhere along the way this week I also made a pot with three lug handles, made some more goblets, decorated some tiles, made three teapots, looked after the Potter's Co-operative gallery for a day, glazed up a kiln-load of goblets, bowls, tiles, and one or two more glaze tests (glaze day was yesterday, Saturday), and fired them through Saturday night, finishing them by 9am this morning (Sunday). I was able to use the waste heat from the kiln to help dry the next kiln load or two of work. This is something that I like to do if I can, and it really speeds up production and ensures that the work is properly dry.
I have not made teapots for a while, and it was nice to make these three. I do take ages making teapots, but I find the process very satisfying, and it is always an interesting task to make something that is useful and "artistic" at the same time. The clay I use is a little "difficult" in that it is quite like porcelain and is rather unforgiving. Handles have to be about the same wetness or dryness as the body of the pot when they are joined to it, otherwise the joint will crack, or the pot may even break where the handle is attached due to stresses being set up as the clay dries and shrinks. To help even out the moisture in the clay, I wrapped the pots in plastic for the first two days after attaching the handles. Hopefully they will dry safely now.
Out in the garden, the battle to grow tomatoes continues. I apply gentle caressing and vibrating to the flowers around mid day, and think kind thoughts... or mutter threats, depending on my mood! I think that our climate is holding all the aces however... To show you just how unfair our summer weather is, I took the photos below this on Friday. You will notice, I hope, that there is a tomato successfully growing on one of my tomato plants. On the right is a photo of a hill that is between us and Dunedin. Umm...., the white stuff is SNOW!!!!
Snow in summer, now isn't that a treat! Needless to say, the wind on Friday morning was impressively cold.... you could have snap frozen peas in it!