Several years ago (5!) I taught a workshop for the Cape Cod Potters group that was very well received and I’m happy to be going back for a second command performance this weekend. The CCP asked me to judge an exhibition that opened a couple of weeks ago at the Cape Cod Museum of Art and the weekend will begin with a talk there by yours truly followed by two days of demonstrations at the Creative Arts Center in Chatham. I understand that the CCP is offering bargain basement prices for the workshop, including lunch, so if you’re in the neighborhood, there’s no reason not to join us! I usually tell lots of tales of my days in England while making a variety of pots. The photos below are from my last appearance there.
I won’t load the kiln until I get back from Cape Cod in the middle of next week, but I’m doing all I can to be ready before I leave. Painting shelves always makes takes my mind back to Winchcombe. The wood kiln has about 140cu.ft of packing space and was fired every 3 weeks or so! That’s a lot of pots made by a team of 6. Anyway, one of my jobs was painting about 120 shelves, often in a cold, unheated kiln shed listening to BBC Radio 1 (Rod Stewart’s ‘Do Ya Think I’m Sexy?’…early Police…the Talking Heads). The kiln wash mix we used was alumina hydrate and wallpaper paste. After the firing we just brushed the alumina off and used it again because the paste, being organic, just burnt away. I’ve never tried this with the salt kiln. I ought to at least try? Today was a perfect day for this chore. I’m not feeling all that well and a nice mindless job in the sun was all I was up to.
I just got the Annual Report from Penland and it includes a ‘Donor Profile’ of myself…pretty cool. I’ve taught 4 different workshops at Penland and I happily donate a nice pot each year to the annual auction. It’s a wonderful event and makes that amazing place a pile of money. One year I volunteered to help which was a lot of fun.
I threw a few dozen beakers/cups the other day to use for tests. I’m looking for a copper green that might work in both chambers and to improve on a a couple of shinos. Our brief but refreshing warm weather is being chased out by some strong cold and wind. Scary thunderstorms expected. That’s just not right in February.
I finished slipping and glazing all of the wee bottles and then threw a dozen 4 pounders ’cause this is my newest obsession. I have to force myself to make other things, but this is what I’m most excited about lately. We would call these ‘Cider Jars’ at Winchcombe, especially if they had a spigot at the base. Turning fruit(pears, apples, grapes, rhubarb(rhubarbs?), parsnips et al) into alcohol is a noble and ancient craft and there was a time when we potters were essential to the preservation, distribution and serving of that elixer. I wish it were still true. Hopefully these will all find homes in spite of their archaic roots. I’m going to make one more batch of large ones soon. I’ve been carving more face sprigs at night. Good fun.
And, of course, miss Ellie Bird Cymrot, looking too cute.
I should have been cutting wood yesterday for the firing because it turned warm and sunny, but getting to finish pots when they are ready trumps almost everything. I spend w-a-a-y too much time on the littlest details, but I also truely enjoy this part of the process. I said it before here, but I could put a handle on anything.
The game was a classic last night, so was the food and company. Thanks Michael and Shanti!
I raw glaze and slip most of my pots, but rather than dip them I invert them over a series of containers set in a wide plastic pan. This is a typical group; it varies pot to pot. This allows me to pour everything which gives me more control of thickness and drips. This whole arrangement is sitting on a banding wheel so I can rotate it with ease.
Here’s a planter perched upside down.
This 1 quart pitcher has been my #1 glazing tool for more than 20 years and I’ve never found another.
I was holding the camera left handed while I poured with my right.
It’s been a quiet week as I’ve been staying on the farm looking after dogs, cats and horses while the Cymrots are away. Our freezing temperatures have remained and I’ve been chopping through ice to keep the horses in water. But the days are clear and this is my kind of weather. In case you aren’t in the know, I grew up in Buffalo, N.Y. (average snowfall…96″) and I still like to have a taste of winter. Sometimes we seem to skip it altogether here in Ol’ Virginny.
The rest of the week has been full of potmaking…mugs and planters and finishing up a group of lidded ‘ginger jars’. I started making these only recently at Emily’s request. It seems my love of big fat jars is at odds with the counter space she is willing to devote to storage. I remembered this shape from Nick Mosse, an old Harrow student and friend of Toff’s. Now I call them Emily pots.