Tuesday, March 6, 2018

February that was!

Summer has officially ended, the evenings are drawing in and it is getting more of a challenge to rise from bed in the morning as it is dark outside.

I completed some pots for a wood firing in February, took photos for the blog with the intention of posting something interesting, and on the morning of the 15th of February, whilst the kiln was just passing through 600 Celsius, Laura had a message from her parent's doctor to say that it would be a good idea for her to travel up to the North Island as soon as possible, because her father was "fading". He had been in care for quite some time and not at all well, so this wasn't entirely unexpected. Travel arrangements were hastily made, Laura would join her brother and sister in law in Christchurch and they would fly to the North Island together the next day. As I had started the firing at 3.25am, I was able to get it finished by early afternoon, and Laura got packed and ready to go, but news came in the early hours of the next morning that Laura's father had died. Laura hopes to be back here tomorrow after a very busy time helping sort out the things that have to be done after someone dies, and spending time caring for her mother.

Laura and her mum and dad when they visited us in 2003

Unfortunately I was not able to travel up to the North Island myself, so have "held the fort" down here and kept cats fed and the gallery open most days.

 Laura's father, Andrew Todd, will be greatly missed.

Sadly, on the day of the funeral, Brian, the black cat that was making himself at home here, got run over on our busy main road. His twin brother, Smaug, was very upset for the first day at the loss of his brother (he probably saw it happen), but seems to have settled into a new routine here. Nigella Stopit doesn't approve, but she will get used to Smaug eventually!

Smaug and Brian playing together on our shed roof.

As you can see, February was a rather sad month for us, however there was also much to be thankful for. It has been good to have our little gallery, and some really delightful people have dropped in and have made life enjoyable. A lovely couple from France, with their very young daughter, bought a teapot to take back to their café.

A mug by Sebastian on his first day at the potter's wheel!
Sebastian, a young man from Germany spent a day here learning to use the potter's wheel for the first time and made a very nice mug after a few hours of learning how to center clay and make cylinders. A fellow potter from Christchurch who had seen my work on this blog, visited and we were able to talk glazes, kilns, and other potting related things. I have also met potters from Canada and the USA. I have received mystery gifts of yummy food left at our back door on two occasions from caring people in our village, and good friends organized a film evening that got me out of the house where we watched a movie and enjoyed a shared meal.

We are lucky with family, friends, and those that we meet through our gallery.

Here are a few of the pots from the 15 February wood firing.

I like this runny ash glaze over the white matte glaze.

A large, heavy bowl for bread making.

The ash glaze on its own looks nice on this thrown and modified bowl.

Copper red two person teapot.

Copper red two person teapot. (Holds 3 standard cups.)

The 15 February wood firing was OK, some good pots came out of it. Some failures too, but any failures were mostly due to a glaze recipe that I foolishly "adjusted" rather than anything the kiln did wrong. The kiln actually behaved extremely well, and we had very good control of temperature rise and atmosphere. The kiln used about 7 or 8 wheelbarrow loads of firewood for a 9 hour firing with much of it in reduction.


gz said...

Sending condolences..even when expected its sad,but it sounds as if Laura's father's memory can be happily celebrated.

Good looking pots there.Nice work

Linda Starr said...

sorry about Laura's father; and your poor kitten; too much sadness; we are just getting a bit of light at the end of a long winter but still the cold nights are hanging on. the copper red pots are wonderful, glad you had a good firing.

cookingwithgas said...

I am sorry for your loss.
Life always throws you a curve ball when you least expect it.
Many hugs from Whynot.

Anonymous said...

Laura and Peter, my condolences on your loss. One of these days I hope to visit your studio and visit. New Zealand has been on my list for ages. Cheers, Owen in Oregon

Peter said...

Hi Gwynneth, Linda, Meredith and Owen,
Thank you for your kind thoughts. I have passed them on to Laura who has recently arrived home again after nearly 3 weeks away.

Owen, please do visit us in New Zealand one day, it will be very nice to meet you!

Michèle Hastings said...

Sorry to hear of the passing of Laura's Dad. Glad to hear that she was able to spend time with her mother and siblings.

Peter said...

Good to hear from you Michèle, yes, a sad time but spending time with family and friends certainly helped!

Anna said...

our sincere condolences to Laura and yourself. Our partners parents become as close as our own.
Your copper red glaze is outstanding.
best regards

Peter said...

Hi Anna,
Good to hear from you, thank you for kind thoughts. The last few weeks have been rather up and down, but we are getting back into the swing of things again. Another wood firing planned in the next few days, and hopefully more of those copper reds!

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to hear of your sad February. We all know that life comes to an end but it still takes a lot of getting used to when a significant person is no longer there. Here in the UK many people find February difficult due to the weather. That "Could Winter please be over now?" feeling. I've never felt that way because my birthday falls in February so as a child that was something to look forward to. These days it's something to be ignored and soon something to be dreaded, but somehow I still feel optimistic in February. I hope joy will creep back into your lives in March.

Peter said...

Hello Mike,
Really good to hear from you all the way from snowy Tonbridge! Thank you for your kind thoughts. The few glimpses I have had lately of the UK on the news have looked your end of the globe has succumbed to another ice age (something that was predicted back in the early 1970s when I was still at school!). Interesting that February was a month to look forward to for you because of your birthday, that is nice! I know what you mean about the "ignoring" and "dreading" aspect of birthdays as we get older, but I've been starting to find them fun again due to some wonderful friends of similar age and decrepitude. We are all in the 55 - 65+ demographic now, and somehow seem to collectively make birthdays hilarious and memorable... and on almost zero budget! A shared meal, balloons, bubbles to blow, songs to sing, stories to tell, presents to unwrap (often very thoughtful ones), a cake with candles to blow out... I'm enjoying birthdays now. And..., as intimations of one's own mortality arrive more frequently, birthdays become precious and treasured! A slightly belated Happy Birthday to you!

PotterMiller said...

Peter so sorry to read about Laura's Dad, sending you condolences. Yes, a tough February for you and Laura and the furred ones too.

The pots looks fab! The copper reds are stunning and that bread bowl is a keeper for one lucky customer! A very nice first mug!

enjoyed reading your latest post very much and love reading about the people who venture through your front door.

thank you :)

Peter said...

PotterMiller, Good to hear from you, thank you for your kind words! I'm pleased with how the copper reds are going, but they are still rather "fickle" and need to be in a place in the kiln where they won't be over fired, but will still be well reduced! All part of the fun!

We are lucky with people we have coming through the door, many of them from overseas. We get to travel the world that way!

Melissa Rohrer said...

Sorry I've come across you post this late. Fortunately I was occupied with a good family event- a wedding.
Late condolences to you and Laura on the loss of her father.

Peter said...

Hi Melissa,
Lovely to hear from you. I'm very glad that you had something happy to celebrate. Thanks for the condolences regarding the loss of Laura's father. It is sad, but it is good that Laura's father is now at peace as he wasn't well for quite a long time.