The Month that Was. In which we encounter Bigger Pots, Ink Pots and relief decoration, and a wood firing!
May was a month of making things, and I suspect that June might become a month of firing them! I felt the need of working at a larger scale, and spent a week or so near the beginning of May, doing just that!
I made 5 pots on the wheel by throwing, then adding a coil and throwing some more. I had only a fairly unformed idea in my head as I made each pot, and allowed them to take shape and I would try to follow and prompt a bit as the adventure developed!
I also experimented with surface decoration, allowing myself to entertain those "what if I did this"? ideas.
It was nice to give myself licence to "play" in this way, it was a welcome release from the constraints of 450 gram mugs, 550 gram bowls. I do realise that such things don't have to be boring, but every once in a while I need to work bigger, to sweat a bit, make muscles ache, take more risk - doing so nourishes the soul!
The larger pots mostly averaged about 19 inches high (about 48 cm), not huge, but big enough to occupy space and cuddle with both hands when carried!
It is a privilege of anyone that makes things, that the object shares space with us; it is not just a flat thing on paper that pretends to be in three dimensions, or a glowing "virtual" thing on a screen, but it is something in our world that can be touched, weighed, measured, cared for, or fallen over!
Sometimes the work we make can provide its own inspiration. A neck, foot, belly or shoulder of a pot - aren't those are wonderful, human terms - these can suggest other forms to try with the next pot that is made. Nature can also inspire, often not immediately, but what we see and experience can be accumulated and stored.
Right at the beginning of the Month of May two busy spiders toiled through the night making their webs near my wood fired kiln.
One web hung vertically like washing on a line, and the other was suspended horizontally. The threads, weighed down by tiny droplets of morning dew, formed a series of catenary arches. If you traced a catenary curve and flipped it up the other way, and used it as a pattern to build a brick arch, it would be largely self supporting without the need of elaborate bracing and buttressing, this can be of great help to kiln builders!
After making the larger pots, I then embarked on a very different project which has been set in motion by a commission.
I have been making small vases that are in the form of antique ink pots.
Some of the vases have relief decoration, and others are having slip decoration.
I still haven't glaze fired them, but the first batch of them that I made were bisque fired in the wood fired kiln a couple of days ago when I also bisque fired the large pots.
It may seem a bit strange to some people that I used my wood fired kiln for a bisque firing, but to fire the 5 larger pots that I made would have taken 5 firings of my electric kiln as I would have only been able to fit one at a time of the big pots in the electric kiln!
The bisque firing was, for the most part, quite enjoyable. "Tiny", the cat, kept me company for some of the time, and I took advantage of the quieter moments in the first hours of the firing to read the newspaper!