Saturday 12 March 2011

A rather long blog

It’s been so long since I’ve written anything I almost don’t know where to start!

Well, it’s been busy with lots getting finished and still quite a bit underway.
The bird candle holders took ages, I spent WAY too long on them, and then proceeded to use slip in untried, untested colours combinations, using mesh to spray through and give them spotted breasts.

All bisc fired, (above), and I unpacked them from the glaze on Thursday morning, hardly time to get to know them, and dashed over to McGill Duncan Gallery with a hot box for the ‘Flights of Fancy’ exhibition. The show opened last night and my potter friend from college days Sue Dunne came up for the preview. She had some of her beautifully delicate pots with feathers and eggs in the show. Zoe always makes such a great job of displaying the work, with paintings and prints so well and tastefully hung. Everything looked fantastic. The spotted birds looked very happy on the windowsill, and chirrupped, ‘What were you worrying about’?

These are slip decorated and drying. I had an order for one like this, which I made last year. It's always difficult to 'repeat', without losing the initial spark, so as a result things usually get changed. I prefer the second one, where I changed the position of the tiger.

I got my ‘post card’ tiles finished and sent off for the deadline. I was really pleased with them in the end. Especially as they dried totally flat and shrank to EXACTLY post card size. You dancer!

The tiles for the firesurround are drying slowly under suction boards. They are long and narrow and I dare not rush them.

I also enjoyed working on these Coleridge candle holders. Here they are before I went and ruined them. Yes they turned out ghastly, as though I had tipped some dreadful 'evening class' glaze over them. What was I thinking? Still, next attempt they will be beautiful, honestly. I'll do a few glaze tests first. It always happens when you’re rushing and do I learn?

And I had done a hellish thing,
And it would work 'em woe:
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.

Having cleared some of the deadline stuff, I ‘ve at last got back to working on the ‘sidewinder dishes, waiting patiently. Great to design, I’m enjoying them.

I had a really good commission - a large dish with spotty fish. 'Just have fun'., she said. If only every commission was like this.

...and I was happy with this tiger ripple. Win some, lose some!

Another sort of creation, (here modelled by Inigo), was a headpiece for the Year of the Rabbit birthday party the other day. What a lot of rabbits, hares, magicians, white rabbits, carrots and even a fox or so made their appearance at this spectacular 60th birthday. Sorry to anyone who was nearly decapitated/ had an eye poked by some wayward ears.

Deborah Britt nominated me for the ‘Stylish Blogger Award’. Not sure what this means but thank you very much Deborah. I am meant to write seven little known/ unknown things about myself. Hmm, do I say things to sound a trumpet, which are mind numbingly boring, embarrassing.....what a challenge. And which seven to choose, or can I even think of seven?

Mulling it over I got a bit stuck on childhood, but here goes....

1. As a child ....I was asked by my Grandfather what I wanted to BE. I always said ‘An artist’. (He used to pretend to mis-hear and say, ‘An actress)?’

2. As a child ....I was happy for hours as long as I had cardboard, selotape and scissors.

3. As a child ....While at boarding school my friend Pipkin and I lived a double life. We WERE knights - Pipkin was Sir Lancelot and I was Sir Philip D’Aubigny. Amongst many of our ‘BRAVE FEATS’, we made scrolls, charred and sealed with wax which we buried in the out-of-bounds dust of the buildings’ attic. One day some child may yet discover them, if the plumber hasn’t got there first.

4. I made my first ceramic object at school. It was a rearing horse, which I rubbed oxide into and which sat proudly on my parents shelves for years. I was dying to use the wheel they had, and when I got my first shot at it I made ...a teapot! (What a monster)!

5. I spent nine months in Sicily with a group of school leavers from Dartington School working on a village regeneration project set up by an ex -teacher (my role was to help get a pottery up and running). During this period I inadvertently became engaged to a Sicilian fisherman, ( for one night only). It was all a horrible mistake. Giovanni was prattling on to me and I kept politely replying, ‘Si, Si, Si’, (my Italian/ Sicilian not being brilliant). Unbeknown to me I had agreed to marry him! It was sorted out the next day when he came back with a RING and an English (New York) speaking sidekick Michelangelo. Quite a bit of bad feeling ensued and for a while I was in the doghouse.

6. My friend Gina and I hitch-hiked back through Sicily and Italy visiting every art work we had covered in our A level Early Renaissance Art course. We slept in ditches, stayed with people we met, and had one night in a nunnery in Milan where there was a strange upright bath with a seat in it which on arrival we were firmly directed to. (We must have smelled).

7. While at Corsham (Bath academy of Art) I wrote an epic poem illustrated with etchings, set and bound in the college studios, entitled ‘Table’. (The story of a lighthouse keeper).

The first page read as follows:

Table’s kitchen steamed and boiled,
a humble man was he,
He loved his food, his warmth, his bed,
He never missed his tea.
The sea outside would rise and fall
and all the sailors sink and drown,
but high inside his lighthouse tower
snug was he within his bower,
snug and cosy, sleepy
like a noisy bee.

And as I write down that first stanza I can but think of Japan and the dreadful terrifying earthquake and Tsunami. Fiction becomes reality. My heart weeps.