Sunday, July 19, 2020

Share a Cuppa! A video and Winter Vegetables!

The last few blog posts have been about how I work with crystalline glazes, but that is not the only thing that I do! Whilst working on new crystalline glazed pots I was also making some cups that will be part of an online exhibition that should take place soon. I think that somewhere between 40 and 50 New Zealand potters will be taking part in this event so it should be really interesting to see how different people creatively solve the puzzle of making a cup that is beautiful, practical, and just right for a cuppa. When the exhibition goes live I will let you know.

Whilst making the cups I recorded the process on video, from the centering of the clay, to making the cup, turning the foot and adding the handle. I enjoyed editing the video footage, it made a pleasant change from my usual activities, and I hope that someone might find the video useful if they are struggling with making things on the potter's wheel, or if they simply want to watch something being made.

I have signed up for a YouTube channel and have uploaded the video there and two other ones that I had on here a little while ago. It was an interesting exercise doing the YouTube thing for the first time, and I must say that the process has been made quite straight forward and there is a lot of useful help available to guide one along the way.

Having now watched a few "how to" videos about making videos I can now appreciate how much I have to learn, and I can see that I need to invest in some studio lighting if I am going to do many more of these "how to" videos, and I also need to think more about sound, but it is a start.

Here is a link to the video about making cups

Winter is "biting" this month with frosts most nights and fairly chilly day time temperatures. Really this is how it should be, last year we had no real winter at all with only 3 or 4 frosts and few genuinely cold days.

To ensure that I could still have some hope of growing something green and edible over the next month or two I rounded up some old concrete blocks that were left over from other projects, and built a raised vegetable garden that is in a sunny spot close to the chimney end of the wood fired kiln.

The concrete blocks looked very grey and like something out of a totalitarian regime, but planting out my vegetable seedlings and giving them a polythene cover to shelter under has made it more cheerful!

Mr Smaug supervised the construction of the raised veggie bed and the process was so exhausting that he fell asleep a few times on a handy chair in the sun!

The poly tunnel cover has proved irresistible to him, indeed he assumed that I had made it especially for him to occupy. He was disappointed when I closed off both ends of the tunnel, and spent quite a bit of time over the next two days circling the bed and testing it for hidden doors or weakness.

On one frosty morning he climbed on top of it and walked along the wooden ridge a few times before becoming excited by the chunks of ice that were on the polythene and batting at them with his paws. He then discovered that it was fun to slide around on the polythene itself!

It was funny to watch, but a worry too, as 6.5 kg of a playful Mr Smaug is quite a lot for a poly tunnel to put up with. I managed to distract him and happily no damage was done!

We have been opening our little gallery most week day afternoons and also on Sunday afternoons for the last two or three weeks now. It being winter we have some days where we see no one, and others where we can be moderately busy. It has been delightful catching up with returning customers and new ones. When there was community transmission of Covid-19 we kept shut, but things feel reasonably safe in New Zealand right at this moment, so we are happy to be open.

It is sad to hear news from the rest of the world, and we do think of family and friends in far away places. We have been very lucky that our government "locked us down" here so soon and so completely as they did, before the virus got too well established. It would have been a tough call for the government to make at the time, but it was the right one.