The opening of a glaze kiln is sometimes likened to Christmas morning, which is a pretty apt description, as you are all anticipation and nerves, and are just as likely to be disappointed as you are thrilled.
Regardless of how many tests you do, the glazing process is still one of taking calculated risks… you have some idea of how it might turn out, but you’re rarely ever sure. That’s both part of the joy and the madness of the process. I’ve been doing a lot of tests recently as I was getting bored with some of my old glazes (I guess I must be a masochist, because as soon as the results start to get too predictable, I get bored with them… go figure). I’ve also started introducing some underglazes into the mix, which I’ve been enjoying, as it has been nice to start decorating at the bone dry stage.
So, here are some of my favourite results from my most recent glaze kiln—5 portfolio-worthy pieces out of 30, which in the ceramics world is pretty awesome. I’d love to hear what you think!
A little “mishima” action here (inlaid slip)
Underglaze with new turquoise glaze
So this one obviously ran too much, but I love the drippy quality of it…
Tea Cups with new purple
Oil and Vinegar set with tray.
Oil and Vinegar set tray detail
I had a stretch of three uninterrupted days in the studio last week, so I finally embarked on some teapots. I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with them—as I think many potters do—I love their complexity and the challenge of making them, but by the time I’ve attached the last handle, I’m honestly a little out of my mind.
For the uninitiated, teapots are so time consuming (and therefore expensive!) because of all the parts you have to make and then assemble. There are at least five parts in total—body, lid, spout, knob and handle—and I generally make several more lids, spouts and handles than I actually need, to ensure that I have lots of options when I’m assembling.
After I finished making this last batch, I posted to Facebook the following: “Dear friends: next time I agonize over what I should price my tea pots at, please remind me that they should be ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Thank you.”
I was only partly kidding.
Here are a few pics of my “Million Dollar Teapots”… I’m pretty happy with the results so far, but I’d love to hear what you think!
The four all together
I just love the knob on this guy.
First foray into an “over-the-top” handle.
This past Friday I had the pleasure of attending the opening of Medalta’s first annual International Cup Show. It was the first of what I am sure will be many openings in the next year, and, if it was any indication of things to come, it’s going to be a great year (not that there was ever any doubt). The show was curated by the lovely and talented Carole Epp, the creative force behind the fantastic blog Musing About Mud. I’ve been through the exhibition several times now, and it really is a wonderful show—a new piece catches my eye each time. I know it has been said before, but mugs and cups have this almost visceral pull that makes it almost impossible not to pick them up, hold them in your hand and see how they fit. It’s why they continue to be one of my favourite things to make.
The only fault I had to find with the show was that none of my mugs made it in. And the worst part is I can’t even blame it on the curator… Nope, it was all me. I didn’t even enter.
I’m not usually one to use a sports reference, but I believe it was Wayne Gretzky who said “you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take”. I saw the call for entry months ago, and managed to convince myself that my work wasn’t good enough to get in (don’t worry, I’ve already kicked myself several times since then, so there is no need to berate me any more friends!). Not to toot my own horn, but after looking at the range of work that was represented in the show, I think I would have had a pretty good shot of getting in, so I only have myself to blame, which is always a humbling realization.
It’s been a valuable lesson; I’ve always known that I can be my own worst enemy, but there is nothing like good empirical evidence to show you the error of your ways. So I’m making a pledge to apply to more things whether I think I stand a chance or not. First up? Beyond the Brickyard at the Bray—go big or go home right?
The mug that could have been?