My poor old blog has been neglected. I feel sorry for the dear old thing so will attempt to blow 3 months of dust away, find homes for the spiders that have moved in, and give the paintwork a bit of a scrub!
|Raindrops on Snowdrops!|
Spring is here, and it is a joy to see snowdrops and hellebores bravely flowering at the feet of the trees in our little half acre of woodland. The more reckless of our plum trees are flashing a glimpse of blossom, but others still whisper, “Too early, too early” and hold onto their winter’s sleep for just a little longer.
Winter was more windy than cold. Huge spiralling weather systems charged across the Tasman sea, or more directly from Antarctica, and roared and spat, and dumped rain in profusion! The clay soil of the farmland around us is easily chewed to a yellow porridge by the wheels of heavy machinery, or the push of the hoof.
|5 cup porcelain teapot with lots of handles!|
The studio has been unusually quiet these last few months. Life has become a little bit more challenging in regards to my poor state of health and I am having to face the reality of retirement. I will still make pots as energy permits, but not for a living.
Whilst I was still recovering from shoulder surgery early in 2017 I was diagnosed as having a very rare variety of blood cancer. It is something that there is no cure for, as yet anyway, but it is possible to manage with medication and regular blood tests and visits to the haematologist. I chose not to write about this on my blog, as I did not really want this blog to be one with a medical focus, but preferred it to be about making pottery. In some ways I regret not referring to it earlier, as I found it increasingly hard to write the blog because there was so much of life that could not be mentioned, and I have always valued honesty.
What Ever Happened to....?
I have noticed that some potter’s blogs that I followed in the past, have disappeared entirely, due to the Siren call of other social media, such as Facebook. I didn’t think this would happen to me, but I have joined an online forum for people like myself that are affected by a family of rare blood cancers that are called Myeloproliferative Neoplasms. These things are usually referred to as “MPNs” as, only the truly linguistically gifted can say the full name! The forum is run by an organisation called MPN Voice, and I mention it to you, just in case there is someone out there recently diagnosed with a MPN disorder, who is in need, as I was, of the wonderful support, care, and knowledge base that this UK based forum provides.
You can find MPN Voice here http://www.mpnvoice.org.uk/
and the MPN Voice forum here at https://healthunlocked.com/mpnvoice
The first few months after diagnosis with something like this can be very difficult. There is the obvious shock and alarm of learning that you have a variety of the dreaded “c”, all be it a relatively unaggressive one, and this is all the worse because MPNs are rare, and it is likely that your GP or even your haematologist may not know much about such things, so you can find yourself feeling very alone and confused. As with many things, there is quite a lot of nonsense online and in consulting rooms in regards to medical matters, so it has been a challenge to filter out the bad information and to find the good, and that is where the MPN Voice forum has been so helpful, and I am very thankful for it.
Anyway, the expectation is that I will go on for a good many years yet, but the combination of the disease itself, and the cytotoxic medication that I take every day, does has a great impact on my energy levels, so I am having to learn to function at a very different pace than before. I am not a particularly good student of life in the slow lane, so tend to “boom and bust”!
|Porcelain flower Pitcher! (A pitcher for flower arrangements).|
We still have our Old Post Office Gallery in Waikouaiti open, and have no intention of shutting our doors at this point. Laura will no doubt keep the place ticking over and I will make an appearance there myself as needed.
Laura has some lovely paintings on display and I have quite a lot of work on the shelves still, and we also have a display at the Potter’s Co-operative in Dunedin. I have almost run out of some of the “essentials”, such as breakfast bowls and mugs, but have quite a number of nice “one of a kind” type vases and pots.
|Porcelain Flower Pitcher (For flower arrangements).|
|Porcelain Flower Pitcher (Detail).|
Apologies to those who have waited, and go on waiting, for commissioned work to be completed. The reality is that some of this will get done, and some may not. I am finding some “simple” things quite difficult to make at the moment, because my time at the wheel has been so interrupted, and the sessions rather short, so it is easy to get out of practice.
|3 cup Porcelain Teapot with ash glaze over red iron glaze.|
There are still pots that I want to make, and things I would like to explore in the world of fire and clay, and I do hope that the wood fired kiln will rejoice in the heat of the flame again from time to time!
Thank you to all of you who follow this blog and who have commented over the years.
Best Wishes from Us here at the Old Post Office,
Peter, Laura, Nigella Stopit and Mr Smaug