Thursday 4 March 2010

Year of the Tiger, (crocodiles and foxes)

I have been wearing a lot of different hats lately, metaphorically speaking.

However I am also genuine hat-aholic, so I rather enjoyed crocheting my tiger tail appendage for a 'Year of the Tiger' party the other week. It was great having dreadlocks for a night. I have plans for another head piece with thinner locks using French knitting rather than crochet, this time in red and black to fit in with the colours of the 'Samba Sisters'.

I was discussing the benefits for the old knitted balaclava with my textile friend Jo Gallant. We decided that this fifties and sixties piece of practical childrens' headgear has been much maligned lately and it is time that it had a come back. If we could but slip it under the fashion designers radar - reinvent it as a must have accessory. Sounds like next Autumns challenge. Maybe a few crocheted dreadlocks to cheer it up?

But I digress!

Last week Allie was helping me to extrude and put together these 'baskets'. She got the boring bit of putting on the ends, (sorry Allie), and at the weekend I got the exciting bit of adding the edges and creatures. I have a nice little extrusion which gives a lovely fat body as a basis of these crocodiles...

and foxes. I wasn't going to add creatures to so many, but I was enjoying myself and got a bit carried away.

Today Allie was in and put the feet on the baskets. We were both surprised at the extraordinarily long time this took, but when we worked out that as we had made 17 in all with 4 feet on each that was 68 feet to be added! But the feet just make them float.

I also added a few feathery outlines to the trailing edge of the eagle's jodhpurs, something I had been deliberating (and suggested by Griffin, thanks)! Yes, it was a good move - just enough to break up the severity of the outline, but not too frilly, I hope. I have incised where I will add some glazed detail later which will also change the feel ot things.

Lots of throwing last week, mugs and jugs. I have been making the same shape of mug for years. I have TRIED to change it, honestly, but people collect them and always want the original tankard style. But I am BORED with it. So fuller bellies it is, and I really like them. New shape - needs a different handle, so another challenge. The way I slip my mugs, I pour the insides, leave to firm up, dip the outsides leaving the rim as red clay and then put the handle on afterwards so that it is also in red clay and picks up the rims. Now this came about, not only having looked at old Devonshire pottery, but also because at one point I had such a bad experience with shimmering and slip flaking.

Now, years later, having avoided it and slinked around the problem, I find that I am really challenged in slipping a mug, handle and all. At least three handles split and fell off, and the weight of the handle distorted some mugs horribly so that a few sagged against their neighbours. I did throw them beautifully light and even, but perhaps TOO thin?! There is no way I am going to start getting the blow drier out for mug handles, but any suggestions would be welcome. Is my slip too wet, too thick, or what. (The ones that did survive look great though).

Rodger was definitely feeling more like his old self the other day. He made me a nice low turn table from this old swivel footstool, on which to work on my eagle seat, so that I was seeing it from the right angle from the start.

But what do the neighbours think of our washing line?

~(and just in case you are wondering, the old tee-shirts are used for soaking down the clay)~


  1. I love the foxes and alligators!!

  2. love the foxes i saw lil guy skipping along the road the other night as i drove home from the club, he looked as pleased with himself as your lil fellas do..luck with the slipping i know naught about it sorry..

  3. I love the reclining foxes! The crocs look good too. I think the eagle's legs do look more eagle-y now. One of the things I love about them is the jodhpur look! That and their wonderful breathtaking wings.

    Well you could always say you had a chocolate pool party and couldn't quite get the chocolate out!!

  4. Love the dreadlocks, what fun! I've been wishing I had grown some of my own in my youth... when I still had a good head of hair.., but knitted ones, now that could be a solution for me! I'm rejoicing with the others about your foxes and alligators, they are really nice.

    I was hoping that someone could have added a pearl of wisdom about the problem of slipping mugs. I do wonder about that myself, as the weight of the handle is a problem, and you certainly don't want them dropping off or distorting the mug. Maybe we are throwing too thin??? Or could it also be a clay problem, some clays wet up more quickly than others, some have more structure?? I dunno! Hope someone can help.

  5. i think perhaps re the slip issue with the handles Hannah or Doug would be your best bet..