Sunday, March 11, 2012

Wobbley Pots!

These handles look sturdy enough, and they need to be as they belong to a fairly large pot that has a very small foot.

As usual, I have been experimenting, asking questions "why" and "why not"!  I have often noticed the old Greek, Roman, and Egyptian pots that almost come to a point at the bottom end.  You could push these into sand or soft ground to help them stand up, or leave them lying on their sides.  I love the shape of pots like these, and have sometimes speculated about how they were made.

I did not attempt to copy a museum example of such a pot, but as a little experiment I made something of my own that also came to a narrow base.  I made the bottom half upside down, then turned it up the "right way" two days later when it was stiff enough.  The narrow foot of this inverted cone-shape was placed inside a suitably sized pot on the wheel to give it some stability.  Coils of clay were added to the top, one at a time, and thrown higher until the pot was finished.

One thing leads to another, and I made a further two pots, and added handles to these ones.  The pots are all about 23 inches tall (58.42cm), but they will lose some height as they dry, and when they are fired.

Other tall and unstable things that are in our area at the moment are my sunflowers.  The biggest of these are now about 10 feet tall (3 mtrs).  One is just starting to show a flower at the top.

My tomato growing saga is reaching the "end game" as we came perilously close to frosts on two nights recently.  I had some success with my attempts to vibrate the flowers to help them pollinate, but the little tomatoes that have set really need about 3 weeks of good sunshine to colour them up.  We did pick the one and only tomato that went a reasonable shade of orange.  Some local people who are far more clever than me at growing food for the table have had more success (although I believe that everyone has found tomatoes difficult this year).  We were delighted to receive this lovely basket of good things from someone who had recently acquired some of my pottery.

Nigella Stopit found an alternative use for my ukulele case when I was busy practicing.  I must say that she looks rather lovely curled up in it. One of her back feet kept slipping out of the case because everything was on a steep angle, but she was determined to sleep in it never-the-less!


gabi said...

Beautiful pots and funny to see how garden life is on the other side of the planet.

Here in little Denmark we are almost ready for spring, the frost has left the soil and in a month it will be relatively safe to start planting crops in my little garden, without everything getting spoiled by a frosty night.

Love the determination of cats, - so much fun to be found there.

Peter said...

Hi Gabi,
Lovely to hear from you, thank you for your comment, and welcome to my site. How nice to hear about Denmark. It is funny how our seasons are opposite; here we are getting ready for frost and cold, and you are soon to be planting crops in the garden!

Our cats keep us entertained, and make sure that we do not get enough sleep! Both of them caught one mouse each last night and were very pleased with themselves!

Best Wishes to you, P

gz said...

narrow based jars can sit in a tripod stand as well.
very is the cat, too!

Arkansas Patti said...

Those narrow feet would terrify me and I would probably suspend the pot for its own safety.
Nigella Stopit doesn't let difficult stop her.

Judy Shreve said...

Your large pot has such elegance! Hope Nigella doesn't knock it over! She's so lovely curled up in your uke case.
Yes we can plant our gardens here soon too - can't wait to have fresh food - that basket of veggies looks beautiful.

Michèle Hastings said...

love the narrow foot on those pots, beautiful! I too admire those ancient pots with pointed bottoms.
My cat Sophie won't miss an opportunity to sleep in a guitar case either.

Armelle said...

Nice pots Peter, I like the third one, and it's so high !!!
Nigelle Stopit is really beautiful in its black case, as a black pearl its one.
Have a good sunday :-)

cindy shake said...

What beautiful photos!! I also love your Blog banner :) the handles and shapes are poetic. xo

Peter said...

Hi Gwynneth,
We really do have an elegant cat! I've been having some thoughts about stands for narrow based pots, and will experiment with them soon. It occurred to me a couple of days ago that one approach might be to make a strong plinth type base with a socket in it to locate the foot of a pot. The pot would be easily removable, but also very securely held. You would have to make the pot with an extra couple of inches of foot that you didn't mind being hidden when located in the base. Anyway, all good fun!

Hi Patti,
Nigella is one of the most persistent cats that I have ever met..., she certainly knows how to get what she wants! Mmmmm... narrow feet, sometimes I think the potter (with his wide feet) also needs to be suspended (by the ears) for his own safety!!!

Hi Judy,
All my most recent tall pots are locked up in my shed whilst they dry..., this is mostly to keep them "Nigella proof!" I must say that I have enjoyed being able to have several varieties of lettuce from the garden this year and the prospect (at least) of some tomatoes; so I hope to be more organised and become more self sufficient with vegetables next season. We are just starting to enjoy apples from our trees now and a few semi wild blackberries (autumn food!).

Hi Michele,
So your Sophie is a musical cat too! The ukulele is the only instrument that I play that our cats do not object to! All other attempts to make music since we have had cat companions have usually been met with protest!

Bonjour Armelle,
We have often noticed how cats do their best to display themselves with maximum elegance, and will surround themselves with objects of just the right colour and texture to enhance their beauty!! I think that Nigella would appreciate your very poetic "black pearl" description.

Hi Cindy,
Good to hear from you. We had two lovely visitors recently from North Carolina who worked on fishing boats every year off Alaska. Whilst out on the boat, one of them had (almost certainly) tuned into a radio broadcast where you were interviewed. It was nice to think of you and also of the potters in North Carolina too.

cookingwithgas said...

Oh peter- love those pots with those tiny bottoms. Like overbalanced ladies on tall heel shoes.....those are some favorite shapes!
and we are always asking whynot around here!

Peter said...

Hi Meredith,
I hear that tall heel shoes are back..., and why not is a great outlook on life! I like the "overbalanced ladies" thought, as there is something very human about those pots. I'm getting impatient to make some more. Good to hear from you, Px

Linda Starr said...

yes I would worry that the cat would tip your new pot over, love the shape and the dots and handles. that tomato looks delicious, i have planted some heirloom ones this year and hope they do better than last year. we shall see.

Peter said...

Hi Linda,
Mmmmmm, the cat! She threatens to make even non-wobbly items wobbly, but she is improving with age! Good luck with the heirloom tomatoes, it is really great to see the old varieties still being planted, and good to be reminded that tomatoes can look and taste different from the uniform round things seen at supermarkets!

Amy said...

wow- great handles in particular! hmmm I need to practice those more.

Peter said...

Hi Amy,
Thanks for that, I was pleased with those, but handles are something I need to practice more too... just don't do enough of them to feel all that confident, and usually end up taking far too long. Those ones I tried to go faster with a good thickness of clay, and it really helped.