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.


  1. Lovely photo of the Lunar Eclipse Christine. I was in Glasgow when that was happening and didn't see it :-(

    Have a great Christmas if I don't see you before.

    Zoe xx

  2. Happy Christmas to you. Amazing to see your lunar eclipse photos, we could see it down here too... (I've put a photo on my site). For some reason it hadn't occurred to me that the eclipse would be visible from both the northern and southern hemispheres at the same time (but I'm a simple soul!). Well done keeping up the good work with everything so cold! Our cats send their sympathies to yours... Our ones have the opposite problem, as they are currently too hot, and are having to make do with cooling off on the lino in our hall! It is a tough life being a cat!

  3. ha party penguins....i was just cruising through this post and read the commission line...i'm having flashbacks my venture into commission land is fraught with massive challenges and disasters.. do you have those moments too or is it that your commissions are the work that you already do so there's not the major dramas anymore ? anyhoo happy new year...

  4. Commissions Ang, - now that is a whole blog in itself, I can feel one coming up in fact. Generally speaking they are often pretty fraught, but I am getting a LITTLE better at saying no to the ones which are way off track, (I can hear Rodger snorting), and only accepting the ones which feel good to do. Well, that is the plan. In some ways they can be seen as giving me that push to do something extra, and those ones can be most rewarding, but I have definitely had my fair share of absolute shockers - which are invariably the ones which go wrong and have to be repeated. And don't even begin to ask me about mispelling/wrong dates etc on commemorative ware!

  5. Christine, I love your work! Your platters have a lovely form. I too do slab work and I have spent a very long time searching for moulds and various other ways to support my pieces. You mention a curved plaster mould above----- could you tell me if it was purchased or if you made it?

    1. Thanks Maya! I make the plaster moulds, I have never looked at buying them. But if I see anything which might be useful as a form I pick it up. I expect, like me find yourself looking at everything as potential!