|Ginger on Christmas Morning....!|
Cats, of course, are also a form of alarm clock... or alarming clock...., that are set to howl, yowl, or rake the bed with their claws, when ever it is imperative that the feline tummy be filled. As alarm clocks, cats are at their most effective. Unlike the battery powered, ticking versions, with bells, buzzers, or beeps, cats are inventive and creative; they can always surprise with newer and nastier ways of rousing a sleeper. If a howl or the destruction of some prized possession with claws doesn't bring a result, then there is always the time honored flying leap onto the legs or stomach of the unfortunate human, with legs braced for maximum effect. A feigned cat fight in the middle of the bed can also shake a human into some sort of life.
|Sometimes you look at a cat and are glad that it is not bigger!|
As I write this, Nigella Stopit is sound asleep in a nice chair. She is exhausted after her night's entertainment. To her credit, her 3AM feed did prompt me to check the kiln at a helpful time whilst it was firing, and my total inability to sleep after that ensured that I was able to fire the kiln efficiently and quickly, finishing the firing by 6.58AM. As you can see, even the smallest member of our household does contribute something to the production of pottery here, in their very own way!
The last weeks of December through to what ever day in January we are now, have been a busy time for me. I was commissioned to make some bowls, hopefully in time for Christmas. The commission seemed harmless enough, but it transpired that the bowls had to be a different shape, size, colour, and fired to a different temperature than I would normally use. From a purely economic point of view, I should have said "no" and taken some days off around Christmas. From a preservation of sanity point of view, I should have most definitely said "no", and taken several weeks holiday. But, I'm a silly old fellow, so I embarked into what has been quite an interesting three weeks or so of work. If I look at it in a good way, which I mostly do, I would say that I have had the benefit of an intensive masterclass in formulating slips and engobes for leather hard clay and dry clay, exploring cone 6 glazes and learning to adjust and tweak them. I've even made plaster hump molds and slump molds, and have done some really interesting experiments with under glaze decoration, and so the list goes on.
|On the potter's wheel making a mold for a very large bowl.|
|Here is another one full of plaster.|
Of course I did this "masterclass" without a master... we make our own entertainment here, so I saved on fees, and I did have exclusive use of an electric kiln without having to compete for space with other students... Yay!
|Last night's firing waiting to be loaded into the kiln.|
|I was delighted with this chrome-tin red (bowl on the left),|
the chrome-tin recipe was from June Perry's Shambhala Pottery site.
|Here is another view of the bowls, the one on the right is "floating blue" but had hardly any blue "floating"!|
I say that I have been without a "master" on this "masterclass", however, I must give huge thanks and credit to those of you out in the wider world of the internet who post useful information about glazes, and the 101 other things that relate to pottery. Some of you have toiled for hours testing glazes, and have shared the information, and it is a truly wonderful thing.
|Sometimes I use bad bowls as testers, the ones at the back have various glazes, and glaze bases with stains.|
Some particularly helpful sources of cone 6 glaze information have been:
Christmas was unexpectedly quiet... let's say that the weekend before was an odoriferous one, with the town sewer blocking and forming a lake on our land..., the tummy bugs that followed ensured that Christmas was just us and the cats. We were able to get together with my parents for Christmas Day two weeks later. I quietly worked right through, and it was nice keeping upright and occupied.
I am excited about some of the cone 6 glaze stuff that I have learned, and am really wanting to develop some of the underglaze decoration further as well. I am most impatient for the kiln to cool, as there are some rather interesting tests in there......
Happy New Year Everyone!