Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Japanese Tea Ceremony & Test Trout

Last Saturday, I spent a fun day at Portland Pottery along with my fellow mud buddy, Lynn, enjoying a very informative seminar, the "Japanese Tea Ceremony" with Steve Murphy of Boston Pottery.  It was interesting, I was unaware of the intricacies of the tea ceremony, proper handling of the pots, design of the pots and so forth. It's quite formal and meaningful.  Unlike my Mainiac tea ceremony of throwing a tea bag in any old cup, mug, bowl, bucket... and run out the door to the studio method.

Tea bowls of a variety size and shape depending upon their use. Some tea bowls are used in the Summer, while others are used in the Winter.  A lot of thought and consideration goes into the design of each bowl.

Here Steve shows us how to trim a foot for the bowls. The lower photo is a double bamboo foot. I really like the looks of this one, very classy and elegant. 

 Above Steve is patting the brush into wet slip demonstrating how to get a feathered effect.  Below you can see the results. Using a transparent glaze this effect should stand out and be quite beautiful.

 Steve made this tool to create "chatter" marks over the bowl for decorative purposes. Below he is using the tool to create a sunflower pattern.

 As you can see, the tool has left the effect of the sunflower pattern quite nicely.

The trip to Portland was suppose to last the weekend, but as luck would have it, another storm was headed our way.  Portland is roughly three hours from home, so it was a round-trip adventure making it a long day ...but, highly worth the effort, having been able to spend time with my dear friend and take in a wonderful seminar on the tea ceremony.  I will never look at a cup of tea so casually again, but there will be no elaborate ceremonies over my cup of vanilla infused Earl Gray tea either.  Yet, I will drink my brew with fond memories of this day.
Back at the studio, I began the very detailed work of under glazing and glazing pots.  In this batch, there are the wedding pieces for the upcoming show, as well as a custom carved piece of two trout.  Some of the under glazes I have yet to test fire, so instead of blindly applying them to the carved trout, I created a test trout on a bisque fired stoneware serving dish.  I am happy with the over all application, but as all potter's have experienced, what you see isn't always what you get.  The firing can change up the colors dramatically.  I am hoping that is not the case and the trout comes out looking like a trout, rather than a gold fish!

With time and good fortune, the glazing should be completed by the weekend and firing can commence!  I will post the complete pieces next week. 

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Nemo, Beylah, Annikens & Peasley Pottery

Some are calling it the storm of the century..."Nemo."  I doubt that will hold true, but the dumping of three feet of snow in one shot did break records for Maine.  I find it funny that we are now naming our storms, what's up with that? And Nemo for a Nor'Easter is rather far fetched considering Nemo was a clown fish and not much for arctic waters.  Anyhow, here are a few photo's of the storm...with horses.  Before the horses could get out, Richard did some snow removal and relocation to create a runway into the pasture.
Beylah (front) & her daughter, Annikens (rear) 
The Norwegian Fjord Horse is truly built for this weather.  They LOVE the snow and cold!

The snow was quite deep in areas, but it just made it more fun for these two.  They figured out how to pack the snow by flopping over and using their body weight to flatten it out.  
Anni rested like a dog for quite some time. 

Meanwhile back at the pottery studio.....

I am still working on pieces for the wedding show in March.  I enjoy the detail work and had lots of it today!!

Calla Lily ~ large serving bowl
Lupine vase 

I'm hoping to build a photography booth for shooting more professional photos of my pottery, the only thing is...it is on my list of 5 minute jobs to do, that I haven't found 5 minutes to do...let alone found 5 minutes to write the list!  Maybe tomorrow....

Also, here are a few yarn bowls from the glaze firing the other evening.....hmmm, these sure could use that photo booth!  

Grab your yarn bowl and start knitting!  Have a safe, warm and happy weekend!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Wedding Pottery on the Drying Rack

Weddings, weddings, weddings....my mind is focused on wedding pottery.   I'm trying to get a good selection in the inventory for an upcoming wedding show in March.  It's such an exciting time and a special moment in time for each couple.  It will be interesting to hear about all the different types and styles of weddings people are planning! I have never been to a wedding show, so this will be a unique experience for me.

Here are some of the wedding pieces on the drying rack.   All pieces will be custom made for each wedding party based on their theme, flower arrangement or interest. Each piece is created to bring back fond memories of their special day!  

These pieces also make great anytime gifts.  I'm hoping my mother wants a luminary for Mother's Day....because that is what she is receiving! I know she will cherish it forever and enjoy it throughout the year. It's a perfect gift for her!  I can't wait for a quite summer evening, to be sitting outside with my coffee or wine, by the soft glow of the luminaries...yes, I plan on a couple!  They are so peaceful, yet magical, like lightening bugs in the field.