Tuesday 21 December 2010

The Winter Soltice

In case I don't get another chance, Here's a toast - Good health and happiness to you all!

.....and here are a few numbers:
Snow fall Saturday 5 inches (och, that's nothing compared to some I know, but nevertheless......)

Hours to dig away snow to get car out, two

Temperature today -15c

Six layers worn in workshop today

Five doves nestling in the snow (waiting for their breakfast)

378 Years since the the lunar eclipse occurred on the Northern Winter solstice.

Time I got up to watch this spectacular event, 6.00am (Brrrr)

Fourteen years since the schoolboy Oskar recorded his first Album, 'Chicken in the Winter,' so named after this scrawny bit of winter topiary.

Enough of numbers.

It has been a week of icy wonders and a lot of time has been taken up with keeping warm, shovelling, clearing and ice breaking, and I have to admit, one afternoon, sledging. Apart from the sheer breathtaking beauty of every vista, and every sun lit icicle, I love the muffled calm. I crawled out in the car to the Feral Choir's Forgotten Carol performances which took place on three hairy driving evenings. The old Winter songs and carols are researched, arranged and some composed by our director Aly Burns, who we are so lucky to have living in Dumfries and Galloway. Picture sparkling frost, the smell of mulled wine and wonderful harmonies.

But the cats are miserable - one is bored, when she does venture outside it is to rush around for 30 seconds (another number there), and fly back in again to warm up her toes, while the other has given up going outside at all.

Today the inevitable happened, no water in the workshop. The fire has been tonking out heat and the new insulation doing it's bit, but this is extreme!

And pots, well, I have actually got loads underway. More than I can handle in the run up to Christmas, so what doesn't get finished will have to be well wrapped up. The damp cupboards are full of dishes and tiles waiting to be slipped, and I have several larger pieces underway.

This is number one of a commission for a large dish, to have a spotty fish design.

I'm making another version, similar but longer. It's still resting on the curved plaster mould and I've been adding the edges today. It goes through a stage of looking like an aircraft carrier but it should come out the other side.

Cutting into the edge helps and gives it a bit of character. It will get its handles tomorrow, they are bent and firming up tonight.

I am experimenting with the same extrusion, using it to form a square 'bowl'. A 'Flappy' bowl, this one. I have six of these in the damp cupboard. If I don't get them slipped they should keep sweet until after the break, as long as they don't freeze.

Wednesday 8 December 2010

It's Cold!

Did I really say that I was getting too hot in our extra insulated workshop? Well, that was before the BIG freeze and temperatures of minus 12c. It makes me wonder how cold it would have been WITHOUT it all.

This week, despite the new underfloor insulation and home made perpex double glazing, it's back to dressing up like a rotund orange Michelin man.

But what a beautiful winter scene outside. Beautiful that is as long as you don’t have to GO anywhere. Rodger and I had front row seats to hear Afrocubism at the Usher Hall in Edinburgh last week, a long anticipated treat. Edinburgh however was all but cut off and although we looked at every mode of transport possible, it was never going to happen. Boo!

Saturday's icy drive to Castle Douglas to meet friends and enjoy the opening of the McGill Duncan Galloway Exhibition was quite a mission enough. Apart from the special Dark Sky pots, I also made a few Christmas penguins for the show. It's ridiculous, but these fellows never seem to take long to find a home.

Sunday's was an even more adventurous drive, mostly in low gears on icy ungritted roads to Corsock, for the renowned ‘Corsock Christmas Craft fair’. Crawling along at almost a cyclists pace was really rather a treat. The snow covered road was overrun by red legged partridges and iridescent pheasants.

It is amazing how such a tiny place puts on such a great fair and has such a good turn out of devotees. It was rewarding to have such a good response sales wise at both events, so I’m pretty pleased especially after all the manic firings I’ve been fitting in.

Although it’s pretty off-season for us it’s always exciting to re arrange the showroom display with new work, and Allie and I set too and put up some Christmas lights and generally made it all look very festive. Not that many brave souls are coming by our way. I even got out the nativity which I made many years ago and could never bear to sell.

There are one or two Christmas orders still to post, but that's about it for current deadlines, well, lets not talk about January. That's the other side of Christmas, miles away...ha