Thursday, December 12, 2013

Mugs N Birthday Hugs!

I have fired more crystalline glazed vases since we were last in touch!

I also have experimented with using crystalline glaze as a runny overglaze. The fluid nature of crystalline glazes makes them do very exciting things when put over a regular stoneware glaze. Usually no crystals form, but there are glorious intermixings of the two glazes.

Crystalline glaze over Peter's Red
Crystalline glaze mingling with Black Tenmoko and Peter's Red

Here Comes Santa Claus!
Laura has been making Christmas Decorations.
December arrived with haste, and not much warning! All this talk about Santa and Christmas has me rather bewildered and confused. It is all too soon and it is the wrong season of the year. We are just starting our summer here! Santa's sleigh will bump along busy, dusty roads, there is not a patch of snow to be found, and Santa's thick red coat, fur hat, and big beard will probably overheat him. Someone should warn him, the poor fellow could have a nasty turn!

I have spent the last few weeks trying to make a start at completing some orders that people have placed for my pots, many of them months ago, and it has been difficult, or almost impossible, to keep a balance between work and rest. I really don't "do" balance!! Making pots is a bit like being responsible for a herd of animals. You do need to make and tend a kiln sized collection of them. You have to attend to them at all the right times, nurse them through the night if necessary, and sometimes it means neglecting other things in life! It is good to have completed some of the orders, as they had weighed upon my mind and conscience, but I still have more to go!

One of the first completed commissions was a set of coffee mugs. As I had not made mugs for months, I was "rusty" when I started. I made small batches of them every day for a week or so, and it was pleasing to see progress. I actually got to where I was enjoying putting handles on mugs! I did the first ones in porcelain and I also made a quantity of them in stoneware. After making mugs for a few days, I was able to make sets of them. The order was for a set of 8 stoneware mugs, and I was able to find 8 that matched quite well!

porcelain mug

stoneware mug

I was interested to see how differently I made things when using another clay. Making pots is not a simple case of designing something and imposing the design on a lump of clay. Clay has its own personality, and it is good to try to find out what this is, and to work with it and learn from it. Well, I think so!

People seem to like the more adventurous glazes that I have used on the porcelain mugs, and I have sold the ones that I unloaded from the kiln at the beginning of the week.

Recently Laura managed to have a birthday! Laura was all prepared to be depressed and miserable about getting older, and older, and older..., but it all ended happily! Laura worked that day at the local shop. This was very handy as I was able to do some preparation towards a surprise party for her. I picked her up from work at the end of the day, and a thunderstorm was adding a bit of drama at the time, so I had a good excuse to come to her rescue. Instead of driving home, I took her out to visit friends, where the surprise party was all set up and ready to go. Rhonda and Mark, Jane and Swanny made it a delightful evening, and we all really enjoyed ourselves. I don't think Laura minded getting a little bit older after all! How good it is to have friends!

*Party Photos!

Rhonda made a lovely birthday cake, gluten free for those of us who needed it, and very nice it was too!
Laura tried very hard to blow out the candles....
but those candles just would not blow out!
Laura looking happy!
Jane and Mark

(*party photos were provided by Mark and Rhonda)


cookingwithgas said...

Happy birthday to your sweet wife. What a great surprise.
You know that coffee mugs,or tea, are the perfect hand art.
Christmas is coming fast.
I hope yours is merry and bright.

Michèle Hastings said...

Happy Birthday Laura!

Love that light blue/turquoisey crystalline vase, it's a stunner.

smartcat said...

Happy Birthday, Laura!

Love what the crytalline glazes do over the regulars!

Sandy miller said...

Peter! Oooo Lala on those glazes!!

And Happy Birthday Laura!

and why do all potters seem to have the same kitchen? mine looks very similar.......

Armelle Léon said...

Happy birthday Laura !!! The party look great. Peter, nice vase the turquoise one have nice crystals and color.
Hope you will enjoy Christmas :-)

Peter said...

Hello Everyone,
Thank you for your comments, I have past the "happy birthdays" on to Laura, where they were much appreciated.
Happy Christmas to you all! Sorry not to have replied sooner, but we actually went away for 2 days and had a very special time away in Christchurch where we saw Leonard Cohen performing. We were so fortunate to have been given this opportunity, and it was a very precious time.

Hi Meredith, I like the "perfect hand art" when it comes to mugs and so on. How often such little things can be taken for granted, and yet in such things a whole world of art can be held in the hand!

Hi Michèle,
It is wonderful what 2 percent copper carbonate will do! I was very tempted to fire this one again in reduction to get copper red, but I like it the way it is too much to do that!

Hi Smartcat,
Crystalline glazes are odd things really, and sometimes they can look a bit too much like a skin disease rather than something really beautiful!!! but one of the things I do like about crystalline glazes is their fluidity, and it is often the area on a pot where they meet another glaze where real magic can happen.

Hi Sandy Miller,
Good to hear from you! Ha, ha.. the wonders of the internet..., the kitchen that was in the photos of Laura's birthday was a "stunt double" and not our own! Friends Mark and Rhonda are actually the creators and owners of that lovely place!

Bonjour Armelle,
It was so good to have a celebration with friends. Christmas..., yes it is almost here again! It is so strange for me that Chrismas happens in summer here, it is one thing I probably won't get used to. For us the evenings are long and light and Santa must find it very difficult to find enough hours of darkness in the night to deliver Christmas gifts undetected! But we will do our best to have a Merry Christmas, and I hope you will have a very happy one too!

Amy said...

Peter- balance? I think it's so hard in these days approaching Christmas. For me, it's either way busy or way quiet….. and happy birthday to your lovely wife!
Great to see pics of your mugs and read about what's going on there. I long for the day when I like making mug handles. I guess I need to practice some to find out! So thankful your back is better- and that you're back at the wheel…. how is healing?
All the best, Amy

Peter said...

Hi Amy,
Lovely to hear from you. Laura says to say "thank you very much" for the happy birthday wishes.

Balance... I guess it is something to aim for, but deadlines do make this difficult and can't always be ignored or extended so something has to give. I got exausted last week, but we had a rare and wonderful weekend away which did a lot to restore things.

The back is lots better and I can often forget that is is there! I do have to be kind to it though!

Sue said...

Happy birthday Laura! Sorry I'm a bit late. It looks as though you had a fun birthday, I hope you got the better of those candles.
Peter I really like the mugs, especially the stoneware. I think the cup I bought from you is stoneware, it's just beautiful.
Happy Christmas, even though there's no snow for sleigh rides.

Linda Starr said...

happy belated birthday to Laura so nice to see the party photos, interesting how the crystal glaze overlaps and the edges are different than the usual overlapped glazed I like the rippled look to the edges.

Peter said...

Thank you Linda for the comment and the birthday greetings for Laura. It is good to hear from you.