Monday, 20 February 2017

Brand new ruins

 The first photos of finished work are usually taken on top of the washing machine. The kiln is near it, and it's a great place to set warm work while I figure out where it goes next.

Here are the first of the ruins. Back when we lived in the UK, we would sometime go for walks through National Trust properties. There was one to the east of us that was acres upon acres of woods and trails, and somewhere in there was a derelict stone building. Too small for what I would consider a house, shelter that had ceased to be shelter because the roof was missing, a few people could still crowd in there to get out of the wind. Whether walls of crumbling stone could still protect would depend on what the dangers were.

   It also got me thinking about the effort we put into things. Sometimes beautiful or valuable things, but without maintenance, without nurturing, it all goes away. Whether it's a career, friendships and loved ones, a country, a home, a reputation, it needs to be looked after to be useful.

I put fireplaces or shines in a few of the ruins, so I also made them some little dishes and cups to abandon as well.

Over on the work bench, new herds are beginning to gather. I'm doing Silicon Valley Open Studios in May, and I need a few more herds than i have. They're fun to make, but very (very) time consuming.

I paint each spot of underglaze twice, bisque, and paint them all again before glazing and re-firing to cone 10. And yes, they're freehand.

There are also some new sheep herds in progress, but they are a photo for another day.

Monday, 2 January 2017

Fitting, in a way

 Hello there, neglected blogspot of mine! It's a new year and I'm full of good intentions. That seems to have translated into getting into the studio and making things that have been on my mind.

Here we have some small stone huts, which are in ruins. I'm still making one a day, and expect to continue with that until I'm sure what they're really about.
 I think they're about the effort we put into creating things. Safe spaces. Shelter. Refuge. Reputation. Relationships. Anything, really. Those things all need to be maintained, or they crumble and go away. These shelters are no longer safe places to be.
 I started with rounded "stones, as might be found near a river. Worn smooth by the water before being selected as building blocks.

Moving on, the stones are naturally split to flat, but have a lot of crumbling inclusions. Weather is not kind to these structures without care and maintenance. 

Some of the ruins have small shrines included. There is no one around to tell us what they were for, or why they were left behind.

 I made some miniature dishes for the shrine on this one, but they didn't make it into this photo.

But back in the real world, we have a puppy, and we need some new dog dishes. Also, I sold some herd pots and need to make a few to replace them for future shows. 

 I've also rolled out some mixed clay bodies to make the multi-colored stones for the next few ruined huts.
I managed to get a bisque firing going after running a candle kiln last night. Soon we'll know how these huts take their glazes.

Not a bad start to the new year, which apparently started in late December 2016 this year rather than January 2017.

Perhaps the ruins are telling me not to neglect the things that matter in my life. Don't give up on important efforts. And stop neglecting the blogspot!