Wednesday 28 July 2010

Extra (to requirements).

Trying to pack for Potfest this afternoon somebody is trying hard to come too. Extra (to requirements).

Sunday 25 July 2010

Pre Potfest Pandemonium

It is amazing just how far half 10,000 gms of glaze can go when you miss the bucket. Well ok, half of it did actually go in the right place, but the other half, oh joy! Half past eleven at night paddling about in the stuff, Crocs full and squishy, and still to get the kiln packed and on. (I glaze the long dishes in a trough and it is is hard to pour the glaze back into the bucket without it building up a back-and-forward-out-of-control swishing movement, and yes I should empty enough slowly with a paddle first)! Eventually with the floor mopped as best as my tired brain could manage and the kiln on, I ran a bath, well I could hardly get into bed half glazed, to discover that the immersion heater hadn’t been on since the last person had a shower, so stone cold it was. By this time it became quite funny in a ‘so tired you have to laugh sort of way’. The trouble then was that though totally exhausted I couldn’t get to sleep. Well a cold bath at 12.30 am is hardly designed to promote relaxation and calm is it?!

But that was yesterday. Today I am smug in the knowledge that there are two more glaze kilns to unpack before Potfest, and I already have one or two new pieces which I am looking forward to showing.

Above is the little top loader with some bits and pieces in it to do with the Potfest in the Park competition piece....

But what a week. Glaze colours mixed at break neck speed. Oh how I was concentrating on getting all the ingredients weighed out, when some customers came in - honey mooning couple to be precise. So nice they wanted to spend some of their wedding money on my pots. Full of this cheery happening I went back to my weighing out, totally having lost the place and suddenly realising that I was following the wrong set of numbers. These new colours were only for a small object like a PELICAN! So rapid firing in the test kiln that afternoon which knocked my whole timetable out!

I am pondering the changing format of my small mix glaze tubs. Several years ago now we got old pill tubs from the local chemist, until they started the plastic bubble dispensing method. Then it was Orchard Fruits low sugar jams, until they stopped making it, followed by Aldi soups. I must admit that just lately I treated myself to BUYING some really nice little new tubs which do stack so beautifully. Such is progress.

....and the Pelican, fast fired, glazed with dodgy distractedly mixed colours survived, and I'm pretty pleased!

Sunday 18 July 2010

Table, comets and a glimpse of Royalty

It was a long wet Sunday, so I was quite happy to stay in the cosy workshop (with two kilns cooling), working on some penguins and some tiles. By tea time I had gradually prised the door of the rather too hot big kiln open, and by supper time I had managed to unpack it and have look at my table. It must work as a table, because I lost the lens cap of the camera shortly after taking this photo - because I had put it down on the ...TABLE!

I'm pleased with the top surface, the glaze is really smooth and tempting, like one big tile. It is still a strange beast, more of a character than a beauty, but I have a certain fondness for its eccentricity.

There has been a lot of glazing this week, and still a lot left to do, but it is great to see some new work out tonight.

It seems ages ago that I started these long dishes. They are difficult to fit in the kiln, so kept missing out. Long dishes need long things on them, hence comets and thin mermaids.

I've just packed the big kiln up again with my pelican seat. It is the only thing in it. I'm not convinced that it is totally dry yet but as the bricks are still pretty hot it's been stewing all evening. I'll see what the steam test looks like before I go to bed, and depending on that may bisc fire it tonight.

I was enjoying drawing on these dishes at the beginning of the week. They're drying out now and hopefully may be ready to bisc as Pelican comes out. It is back to back at the moment to get things finished for Potfest in the Park. Rodger is busy making me some extra display boxes at the moment, doing a little each day - he's on to the sanding stage now and it was a treat to have his company in the workshop this morning. The finger joints are a work of art in themselves, he was enjoying using my scroll saw for them. Pity to paint them over.

As an interlude from pots this week I did have Wednesday afternoon off to go to Kirkcudbright and play samba for the Queen - at least that is what I was told. But of course it was playing samba for the crowds WAITING for the Queen, NOT for her at all.

Anyway we saw the lady, small and bent in her lovely turquoise outfit with matching pill box hat, (surrounded by some even bigger and shinier hats of local dignitaries ). She arrived in a huge maroon limousine, did a quick tour of the harbour - I was told that the brave lady was given champagne and pate to sample, followed by a freshly grilled scallop from the local fishing boat. Then off she flew in her helicopter, at which point the heavens opened with a loud clap of thunder, and everyone dived for cover.
So just a glimpse of royalty but lots of strange cameos which might well appear on a pot one day.

Saturday 10 July 2010

Webbed feet and Web Sites

I have been working out how I am going to complete all that I hoped to make for Potfest, and so it was that I spent Sunday, Monday and Tuesday of last week solidly slip decorating a fair mountain of jugs, card racks, oil bottles and small dishes. I got quite stiff and had back ache by the end, but the reward is a LOT OF POTS on the shelves. One bisc load is now ready to glaze, including the table which fired beautifully flat. I have been enjoying putting a few cups on it.

Oh, and today I finished constructing the Pelican seat. It went pretty well until it came to the feet.

They took quite a bit of sorting out - the same challenge as the eagle seat, how to tie them into those great structural legs in a way which didn't look as though they were an after thought. I had to do a fair bit of looking at webbed feet, lots of images and sketches now lying around the workshop of these wondrous things.

Will it dry out in time for Potfest, and is it SAFE to let it dry too fast, The weather we have been having has been hot and windy, perfect for drying, but it has suddenly changed to humid and muggy. But maybe that will suit better.

I got my disc of photos back from Shannon, so here is the studio shot of the eagle seat. Would be nice to have an 'in situ' one outside, or in a lovely hall way, or landing, if anyone has one to spare.

I've been meaning to mention that Inigo has redesigned our original Barnbarroch Pottery web site. It has some good photos of the showroom and the area around us, though I still have a major job of taking some decent product shots to put on it. It is nice and easy for me to use though, so to be going on with I have just uploaded some 'snaps', with better images to come as soon as I have a moment...(AFTER Potfest).

Our original Barnbarroch Pottery site was one of the first sites Oskar made when still at university and though at the time he made a great job of it, somehow it had got terribly out of date, and I eventually decided to ask him to supersede it with my 'christinehestersmith' site on which I could display more of the one off pieces.

I was going to slowly phase out the Barnbarroch Pottery site but then realised that it still did actually serve a useful function. Visitors to the area needed a site which encouraged them to visit us here and which advertised the area plus something which might remind them of the designs they may have seen over the summer when they rang up later.

So two sites Smith I still am!

One of the many things which I would have loved to have done last weekend was to go to the opening of Jim’s ‘Seventy at Seventy’ exhibition at his Booth House Gallery. I had been a bit of a silly about this, or else missed a week somewhere in my planning, as I had rather thought that it was this weekend. By the time I realised it was all too complicated to organise and I never made it in the end. Never mind, it is on all summer so I will get to see some of his seventy pots even if I missed the celebratory aspect of such an esteemed achievement.