|A 1.5 kg porcelain vase.|
|Small pots drying. Below the pots a crop of pyrometric cones all prepared and waiting for future firings.|
It was difficult coming back to clay work after such a long time away, and a lot of my initial attempts ended up as scrap. Being limited to making so few pots at a time also was a problem, as it is much easier to sort out technical issues by working on a series of a dozen or so pots, than having to stop after two pots and come back a day or two later, but after a few weeks of this, it was nice to find a growing collection of new pots on my drying shelves.
My first attempts were in stoneware, but then I moved to porcelain. I find that porcelain is easier to throw than my stoneware, and I can throw thinner, and make pots that are probably 20 percent larger out of the same weight of clay. The porcelain will also suite my crystalline glazed work.
Most of my work has been with just 1 kg of clay, but I have been able to increase this to 1.5 kg the last two sessions that I worked in the studio, and this makes a pot of a much better size for me.
I tried throwing standing up at the electric wheel, but it felt like I was creating other stresses in my spine working that way, and I have found that the Leach style kick wheel is more comfortable. The seat on the Leach wheel is slightly higher at the back than at the front, and this does make it easier to keep a better posture when working. Sitting on a flat seat, there is a great tendency (in this potter) to slouch over the wheel. The Leach wheel has a certain dignity about it, and I always think that I should wear a cloth cap, tweed jacket and tie when working on it!
|A potter from Israel at the Leach style wheel.|
Speaking of the Leach wheel reminds me that we had a delightful visit to our gallery from a potter and his family from Israel recently. The potter's eyes lit up at the sight of my Leach style wheel, and he had a try of it, evidently he had always wanted to try one, but had never had the chance before. It was lovely to see the great pleasure that he had working on it.
|A pair of welcome swallows are on the dead branch of wood in the foreground,|
I went for a walk to the lagoon yesterday, and took some photos. I had not taken the camera there for a few weeks, and I noticed a difference almost straight away. The birds had Spring Fever! Most were in pairs, and some were quite noisy and aggressive to interlopers. A bit far away I know, but I was pleased to photograph a pair of welcome swallows as mostly these birds are on the wing moving at speed.
|A yellowhammer, playing injured!|
The lagoon water was glassy and almost still. I say "glassy", but it had a silvery look to it that was probably closer to light on certain kinds of polythene or plastic ("glassy" sounds more romantic somehow!). Anyway, that silvery look reminded me of a series of paintings that the French Impressionist painter Alfred Sisley made of a flood at Port Marly. You might like to track down Sisley's Port Marly paintings with a Google search if you have not seen them before. (Here is a link to Alfred Sisley on Wikipedia. There is one of his Port Marly paintings on the wiki page). I think Sisley would have made a splendid job of painting the lagoon.
As I said, the birds had "Spring Fever". This was OK if they were paired off, but became a problem if a third bird had "intentions".
I was really pleased to capture these pied stilts having an altercation. Every time pied stilt number 3 would move in on the pair, there would be a sudden burst of activity that was over in about 2 seconds. After this had happened a few times, I waited with my finger poised over the camera button, and was really pleased with the result!
A black swan was keeping guard over its nest. I liked the "decoration" of feathers on the bush beside it.
|Paradise Shelducks in the foreground.|
The headland was a fine sight yesterday. The tide was almost full, and the sea ruffled with a breeze.
I met a friend and her dog out when I was walking. This is a 6 year old greyhound. Retired from racing, but still possessing a most impressive turn of speed.
Spring is here at last, and Laura took this photo of one of the beautiful daffodils that is out in bloom at the moment. The yellow against the blue sky looks full of hope and promise!