Wednesday 29 July 2009

Dogs in the Park

Here are some images from 'Potfest in the Park'. I completely forgot to take any so they were all taken by Rodger who thankfully was a bit more with it than I was! The dog seat was the Potfest 'competition' piece, the theme was 'Cultural Connections -Building bridges'. I went through several ideas for a suitable title ranging from 'Bridging the Yap, to 'Canine Connections', but so many people asked, 'Surely you can't SIT on that, will it be STRONG enough'?- that I ended up simply calling it 'SIT!' Rodger caught a shot of someone, namely John Stroomer, doing just that.

The design for the top was based on the building bridges theme, certainly the dogs in question would disrupt the proceedings if they failed to obey the 'sit' command....My 'huge' piece looked so much smaller when it was out in the open. I made the mistake of constructing it at table height, and it wasn't really until it was biscuit fired and I put it on the ground, that I realised that the dogs were much more hidden and slightly 'squashed' by the top than I had anticipated. Next time I will be careful to keep looking at the piece as it will eventually be seen. It is all part of the endless learning.

What a lot of work packing pots is though. Three seats came with us to Potfest and we had to use the caravan as a trailer for both them and the display boards.'Someone' discovered that seats wrapped in blankets and sleeping bags made a pretty cosy nest for cat napping. We were loaded and ready to go, had said goodbye to Allie, when Rodger suddenly remembered something he wanted to check somethng in the caravan. Lucky he did, otherwise we would have had quite a shock to find Timbalada helping us out at Potfest!

It was a really enjoyable show, and it was great to meet so many nice potters and see such a variety of excellent work. It was lovely to meet Margaret Brampton with her very beautiful and delicately painted slipware, it is so interesting when you feel you know someone's work through their blog to see it for real!

Chris Lewis brought some of his wonderful stoneware garden seats of a scale I could only dream of! Quite an inspiration though he does have a walk in kiln which he said he fires only twice a year. I don't think that I could handle that!

Unbelievably I did sell all those mountain bike mugs, so all that frantic work over the last three weeks paid off. I sold two of the bigger pieces, which was great, and got some very nice feedback which makes it all worthwhile. Certainly enough to give me confidence to keep going with them.

It has taken the rest of the week to unpack, put the showroom to rights and generally catch up on all the other stuff that has been piling up. I would love to say that I was able to take a few days off, but I have the Army Windsurfing Prizes order deadline looming. Better press on with that!

Tuesday 21 July 2009

Getting ready for Potfest

Its been a pretty non stop few weeks. I've been making like mad trying to catch up and get ahead for 'Potfest in the Park' this weekend. I don't quite know how I've done it, though some of this work was fast dried both outside and by rush packing into still- warm kilns. Last weekend was a mega slip decorating session. Here are some of the finished results, unpacked and ready to box up.

I had to get a batch of mountain bike mugs made - Potfest is on the edge of the Lake District after all and there may well be lots of bikish people there who will NEED one, (though they don't know that yet)!

Drying tiles outside in between the showers.
Spoons, spoons. The small oval dishes have spooons which go with them. These are bisc fired and being glazed. Small things are so FIDDLY!
....and in between, or rather as well, I had to fit in a deadline commission wedding plate. It is coming out of the kiln tomorrow, so fingers crossed as it took most of Saturday to glaze paint.

The big seat with the dogs is also coming out tomorrow. Talk about last minute!

Thursday 9 July 2009

A worried dog heads for the kiln

We got the dog seat into the kiln today. It took THREE of us. Rodger and I lifted it onto the trolley with the brown paper on top, by sliding it round on its own board to get our hands underneath. Allie held the board steady to stop it twisting round with it. Once on the trolley it was fairly straight forward to slide it into the kiln with the sand on the kiln shelf, one at either side and Allie pushing from behind. It was a bit tight with the door only just closing, but I prefer to say a perfect fit. In fact taking shrinkage into account it was precision mathematics actually. The dog looked a bit worried about his fate, but as long as I remembered to vent all the sections it should be alright. I just hope that where the seat overhangs his head it doesn't warp. Maybe I should have built in another support for the firing?
But what does SHE care?

I had the most lovely letter of appreciation from someone who bought some pieces at 'Earth and Fire'. It is rare to receive such a thing. I remember reading in Mary Wondrauch's book on slipware how she had a thin folder for them which she treasured. I shall treasure this one.

Unfortunately I also had a worrying correspondence from someone who had bought a mug which she described as 'sweating'on the base when she used it for tea. This was most alarming as I have used, and others have used, my mugs happily for years without any problems. I have pretty confidently narrowed it down to a small batch which was thrown from my red body but had traces of the Valentines black in it from the previous pug. I only noticed this when they were bisc fired and much darker. I shall be careful another time if I have used the pugmill for a different clay first, but if anyone out there has this problem let me know.