Friday 11 February 2011

Manic Momentum

Its been a ridiculously busy couple of weeks. I started too many things at once, which always creates its own manic momentum. In addition I had a couple of glaze firings in both the big kiln and the top loader. As the kilns are both in the workshop the additional heat has been drying out pots behind my back. Silly.

Now I am under too much self imposed pressure, so for anyone who thinks that the life of a potter is a relaxing little dreamy world of spinning clay...

As I write my list of things to work on is as follows:

- 50 mugs, slipped inside and out, sitting in the damp cupboard waiting for handles and slip trailing.

- Tall candle holders which I have all but finished modelling but need to be sprayed with several layers of slip.

- Tiles (for round a fireplace - a commission) extruded, but need to be measured, cut, designed and decorated.

- Five waving long dishes, which need a fair bit of thought as they are the first to be made from the newly moved pugmill, I need to think about ends, handles, and the design.

- Shorter dishes to put handles on and slip decorate, one for an order.

- Several nine by nine wall hanging inch tiles to decorate

- Two glaze kilns to unpack and sort through

- New pots to photograph

I did manage to take a shot of these flappy dishes this afternoon, fresh from Monday's kiln. I'm really pleased with how they have turned out. I had the kiln packed ready to go but had to wait until Monday evening to fire it as I had been called upon to do Jury Service and had no idea how long it would last. In fact I wasn't picked and was home by lunch time, but I did wonder whether 'Pots drying out' might have served as an excuse for exemption!

I have been asked to take part in an exhibition of artists from my old school Dartington Hall. To help raise funds for the project we have been asked to send three postcard sized drawings for an auction in March. I have had a block over this - I don’t draw nearly enough these days, designing pots as often on the back of an envelope as in a sketch book. Amanda suggested I just make some post card size slabs of clay, and strangely even the thought of that has helped to free my mind. I LOVE drawing on clay!

I spent way too long working on these new candleholders. I was really enjoying myself and lost track of time. They are a scaled up version of some I made before, standing around 45cms high with a fatter body and extruded wings. I think I may use colour in a similar way to the flappy guinea fowl dish.

After a run of seven in a similar style, I had two left over to play with. I have in mind the theme of an exhibition for which I have been asked to contribute some pieces. The bird's body became a boat and this time I wanted to put an albatross on the prow. Gannets are easy to throw with sharp streamline beaks but the first albatrosses I threw were far too pointy looking. An evening of albatross research later, and Rodger and I had both fallen for sooty albatrosses. What eyebrows they have.

I should also admit that in January I had taken on way too many outside commitments - again my own fault. The Feral Choir put on two performances of Robert Burns, 'The Giftie Bard', the second of which was in Edinburgh. It was a pacey programme of readings, songs, and tunes on fiddle and clarsach with a stunning soloist Mairi Campbell. I became a Burns convert overnight. (Now its over I can take down the kitchen wallpaper of Burns words to learn).

Oh, and then there was the 'Strictly' charity fundraiser at the Easterbrook Hall in Dumfries, this year 'Strictly round the World'. Our group was Brazil. I'm the one in dreadlocks, luckily at the back.