Tuesday 30 June 2009

Earth and Fire

Here are a few images from the weekend at 'Earth and Fire'. It didn't rain at all, apparently a rare event. In fact it was delightful to be outside for the three warm gentle summer days. As my first time exhibiting here I didn't really know what to expect - I had never even managed to travel down to visit it before. The venue was stunning with a very different feel depending on which area you were in. I was in the 'turning circle' which was spacious and relaxing, while the stalls within the old abbey quiet and contemplative and in the courtyard where everone was closer together it had a bustling market feel.

The two ceramic seats I took were very useful. The snake one was well stroked and after a bit of encouragement, ('Yes of course it's strong enough to sit on'), sat upon. The nearest I came to possibly selling one was to a woman who seemingly couldn't decide which, then ended up saying she would see what next year's were like. She's being hopeful!

It was really good to meet so many lovely people and put faces to some potters whose work I have seen but never met. At last I met Anna Lambert, she and her family were camping next to us. I have admired her work for many years and I knew that she arrived at Corsham, (Bath Academy of Art), as I left but had never met her.

There were in fact so many nice potters, as well as some very nice pot-lovers. I haven't talked so much for ages.

We got back home in the early hours of Monday morning. It took yesterday to unpack and generally flop but re-energised after a good night's sleep I spent the day throwing, I have a lot of MUGS to make for Potfest. I didn't take enough to E and F as I had really wanted to show the new bigger pieces, but the ones I did take vanished. One of the bigger pieces I did sell was the black upright wave, or 'Harbour wall' as I nick named it. I was surprised, as it is probably the first truly non functional piece I have made. When I made that comment to Liz Robison she said that it was useful, 'it was useful to look at'. I liked that!

Wednesday 24 June 2009

Will it Rain?

'Will it Rain?' ( the title of this pot, but also a valid question). We are off tommorow to 'Earth and Fire' a largely outdoor event.

Well, I got the kiln unpacked this morning with the last minute pieces. It's been a very long day, unpacking and packing, writing lists, ticking things off, losing things, finding them again (usually under bubble wrap). In between our cat became impossibly hormonal and had to be taken to the vet for her injection to ward off the tom, not that some kittens wouldn't be nice but our cat has this complicated condition of........oh forget it. Anyway it was rather a last straw today! Oh and Rodger had his finger bitten, and the trailer lights didn't work and the lock got jammed. BUT that's IT. All ready to get off early tomorrow for the southern reaches of Nottinghamshire.

These were quick shots taken outside today as I was wrapping things up.

Packing, packing. What a lot of work! It should be a good weekend though. I am looking forward to being part of it whatever happens sales wise. Once we have set up that is. I really do hope that the weather stays as lovely as it has been for the last week and that it doesn't rain. (It's been roasting in the workshop with a kiln on).

Thursday 18 June 2009

Creature Comforts

A few new designs for the extruded dishes, included this lemur. Still lovely in wet freshly trailed slip.
At last the dog seat is finished, and a long steady slow drying out is ahead. I tried to lighten the seat, both visually, ( it did feel as though the dogs were carrying a heavy burden), and physically, by cutting away the decorative triangles along the edge. At the moment they do seem a bit dominating, but I think that the balance will change when the rest of the clay is fired black. They should also help the top to dry more easily and evenly.

I am still trying to think of a good name for it. I thought of 'Creature Comforts' but that would be stealing from Nick Park.

Sunday 14 June 2009

Sunday went to the dogs!

I had to get this creature construction to the stage where I could get the top on while there were two of us to lift it. As a result I spent a lovely sunny Sunday, not to mention Saturday, adding heads, bottoms, ears and tails and levelling the top ready to take the curved seat. (I had to ignore the beckoning wind and high tide, but I did have a great sense of achievement instead).

I needed a good idea of a dog's bottom, and as I don't have a dog I typed 'dog's bottoms' into 'Google Images'. Usually a brilliant source, but this time what a load of junk came up, some pretty tasteless. If my computer was ever investigated there may be questions! Not that dog's bottoms are a strange concept - they used to be the to family name for those pasta parcels otherwise known as tortellini.

There is still a fair bit of finishing off to do when everything has settled down, and I am dying to lift away the supporting extra central props.
At the moment the eyes are just balls sitting lightly to give me a feel of where they should be, but I will think about how I am going to do them properly tomorrow. I started to coil the noses but then realised that they were much better thrown. The tails are hollow extruded tubes with cut and rolled tapers.
This is Rodger being a living model for the Pru Cooper plate which I gave him for Christmas.

The opening of my friend Sue Dunne's exhibition was at the McGill Duncan Gallery on Friday. She makes beautiful delicate white earthenware pieces - bowls, tiles, and framed botanical calendars, with embossed grasses and flowers. She and Rosie Villiers-Stuart the painter also on show at McGill Duncan, are off to Mull for a week to draw and paint. I was invited, and would have loved to have gone too, but I just seem to have taken on rather too much this summer. With Earth and Fire only two weeks away there is way too much to finish still.

Thursday 11 June 2009

Another die

I made a new die for a tall vase/jar last week. It worked well and we has fun twisting and bending them as they were extruded. It was a treat that they did look as I had hoped and imagined, (not always the case with dies). The bases, rims and general tidying up take much longer than I care to admit, though I do treat each one individually, I have to as they have their own characters. This in turn suggests how I draw on them.

I had a trip to Glasgow yesterday to attend an event run by the Scottish Arts Council and the Cultural Enterprise Office 'Reflect, Refresh, Replenish'. The day out was rather sandwiched into a busy schedule of preparing work for 'Earth and Fire' and I perhaps wasn't in the best of mind spaces to 'Reflect' or 'Replenish'. However it was good to get out of my beaver hole and be forced to TRY to reflect a little - (where I am post-funding and where I would like to be/go etc). It was also good to meet other makers and have the company for the day of Lizzie (artist and basket maker).

Friday 5 June 2009

Lots of legs

I am getting the next seat underway - lots of legs to support the bodies of two creatures who will eventually support the seat.
It was pretty difficult to guess where the legs should actually go, as who usually builds a creature from the legs up? Also I need them to be an effective structure as well as interesting legs. I think I should still be able to get some life into them with the addition of paws etc. We shall see, it is one of these things that I shall really have to work it out as I go along.

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Squid dish and canoists

These are some of the larger dishes which came out of the kiln just before the Open Studio event. Rodger tried some shots with rather more 'studio' lighting' to show the ripples, I think these were the best shots. This long squid is about 80cms which is the max front to back of the kiln. I really must stick to that. The long narrow dish which I fired on a slant last week has warped horribly this time.

It was back to a delightfully cooler workshop today and I was looking forward to a clear run of work on my next seat. It just wasn't to be. I just got the creature's body attached to the side of the legs, ( second attempt as the first one rolled off the table), when the year's supply of clay arrived and had to be unloaded along with other materials to sorted and put away. Plus a hospital run in the afternoon. Oh well, tomorrow.