Little plates, big ideas, and old friends

I have decided this year I will do my best to finish all those works that have got stuck midway between for one reason or another. I have a lot of those - Seldom because the work in question doesn't work but more frequently because I have been missing the specific glaze, or because having created the thing itself, I have realised that I have no idea about what surface to apply to it, in terms of glazes and stains. So they sit on my shelves, and, I swear if a stack of wonky plates had eyes, I would be getting some nasty glances. So now I will spend this year, getting my head around producing things in time for the significant dates where people like to buy something for others and themselves, and taking those plates off my shelves several times throughout the months, looking at them, sighing and putting them back again, but hopefully I will at some point take them off the shelves permanently, and remove them from being the ceramic universe's version of wall flowers.....

 

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Facing the fact that time is what it is

The girls are almost back at school. In the meanwhile I am trying to get the work done that I normally do but too excited about the possibility of a large window of time with no interruptions. So until this starts, I am almost tingling with the possibility of making all those things I have dreamt of, and the thought of time without anyone.  

It is a wondrous thing - solitude - and not valued enough by far. I always saw it as an admirable thing - the ability to be alone, and to find comfort in oneself. 

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Colours and and eggs and such

I'm sitting down to putting colours on my earthenware plates, and it is such a pleasure focusing in on this one task. Eggs and bananas - picked because of the similarity of colour, and the combination of the yellow tones pleased me, but also because I liked how incongruous these two things are. How strong the colours will emerge from the kiln, I have no idea, but it is so very exciting.

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Life in the rainbow hues

Testing glazes today - may have got a bit carried away - had to tear myself away from making it aesthetically pleasing, and remind myself that this is a practical piece.

I love the way there are so many variations to the colours, and how they respond so utterly different to mixing, and heat and material. It is never-ending.

There is no definitive way of just one colour, and getting to one way of being. One just has to keep experimenting and trying out new ways. Despite that tortured metaphor to all of humanity, it still strikes me as a very nice thing.

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Gorgeous George is off to America, not expecting any letters....

Made Gorgeous George a few years ago, and he's been one of my figures I have liked the most - the pedestal was around, but wanted something there which nodded at a Classical Greek statue but still didn't conform to that ideal. Like a handsome greek model taking a break from sitting in a heroic pose, and just wanted to relax. He was complete in my mind before I made him from one piece of clay, and I was attempting that looseness of form that comes with not trying to sculpt too detailed. 

He is now off to America, and I will miss him, because he was a relaxed little happy man, and because despite his lumpiness he always had great balance. You know...what more could anyone ask for?

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Love is love

An old school friend and her wife recently had their first child, a lovely little girl, and it inspired these many little groups of body pots. They can be mixed to make up whatever family fits, but I did make them with specific family groups in mind - so there are two with single parents, two with parents where they are the same gender within the unit, and ones where the child is identified as one gender or the other, whichever chosen by that child. And also, of course, ones with a more traditional set up. I shall be selling these in the autumn from my Etsy site. 

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Funny Old birds, and itchy hands

Will be sending this lovely one off soon to its new owner, so thought I'd put it down as a "here's one I did earlier", as I don't want to forget it, and have not had time to sit down today, and get started on anything new, despite being in a generally making mood. The summer holidays are here and must not, will not, and can not be denied.

The bird is from earlier this year, and is from a sand coloured stoneware decorated with a mix between glazes and exposed stain, which gives it its matt beak, tips of wings, and base. I do like its questioning lilt of the neck, and its flapping wings that are more up in a gesture of goodnatured surrender. 

When a failure feel like a perfectly good win....

So I started the 'a plate a day', and I ended up with a few pieces, in the end it was not a plate a day, and it wasn't even a plate, but I found that the first time I attempted that kind of thing, I had for one thing slightly more time, and several designs rattling around my mind. 

This time, it was small bites of time, snatched at very random intervals, and the few designs I had were discarded, because, as with so many ideas, that sense one has of something changes when examined closely. Much like a dream my ideas often tend to loose their feel, and then either reveal themselves as good ones, or ones that were just a mash of nothing. I also found that the ideas that I had, had to change because of the medium - one thing which might worked in that traditional medium of terracotta, seemed cheap and almost pathetic when done in the black clay.

So I ended up with a few things, and I am still continuing, not with the plate a day, although I like thinking of it still being in force, because it promotes a sense of keeping on working. 

Companion pieces and freehand attempts

I like doing my designs freehand, -one either does ,or one doesn't, but whether this shows a specific personality, in this case I am thinking one which is messy or measured, I am not so sure. There is a strange desire with many people who see themselves as creative and/or artistic, to take on this type of personality - the one of the flighty, dreamy, and perpetually late - but it is, I think perhaps in most circumstances the desire to explain away faults, or if one accepts their explanations, quirks which have little or nothing to do with artistry. 

But that is beside the fact, so here are the plates - hands and feet - for my plate a day, which has turned into more of 'a plate whenever I can find some time', and that challenge in itself has been interesting. I have a tendency towards making lists, and too quickly I guess it becomes too easy to pull ones own personal things down the list, until there is no time to do them.

I have realised that the sense of calm that I find by making, and which is needed to keep things in perspective must be made to be had, by that necessary little act of selfishness which comes from shutting oneself off from family and time, and just doing and doing and doing until the hands and the mind is satisfied, and emptied of all other thoughts than those concerning making. 

procrastinating, or rather working round to doing the job..

Been getting familiarised with my round of black clay, and getting used to working with it. I am so used to porcelain clay, but black clay is growing on me, to the extent that I meant to get going on a plate a day, and I just couldn't help making a few of these vases, beautifully adorned with some glorious white slip nipples. Yummo!

Trying out black clay for the first time...

The clay doesn't look of much - it doesn't even have the beauty of terracotta clay which is so beautiful while new and moist, but then loses it even when at the leather hard stage, so it will be a case of keeping in mind that blackness.

A fellow ceramicist turned her eyes up when I excitedly told her I was going to try out this clay. She even scoffed, and muttered "Black clay!" under her breath. I didn't ask - due largely to social awkwardness - but I did wonder whether it was a case of not liking it, because it is temperamental, or whether it's because it's seen as faddish, and the type that will make plates that you are served small splodges of foam made from spittle of a hipster's dreams in a restaurant in Scandinavia somewhere.....

The faddishness is turning out to be something I can't quite dispel the thought of, or at least I am wary of wanting to avoid that hipster restaurant look, even if I do like those plates that one sees in cookery programmes that visit fashionable restaurants. For the last couple of years I have realised I no longer stare at the food, but just look at the plate underneath. Thank crumbs the food is often very sparse.....But I do know I am very excited to try it out despite any overthinking I might be doing on the side, so I shall try and do what I did some weeks ago which I enjoyed - a plate a day....

Black clay plates

Ceramics of the past and the present

My great auntie - that is my grandfather's sister on my mother's side did ceramics as well. I love her green bowl, even if it is by now a bit ragged around the edges. This is the only thing of hers I own. She seems to have been quite well known in Denmark, but unfortunately she was also working in the 50s and 60s, and, well you know how the colour scheme went in those days.......browns and oranges and yellows....so perhaps I am lucky, because this green is wonderful. The muddy brown bears that my parents have of hers, hmmm, well not so much....

Her dish is with my two little guys, singing or shouting, or just being surprised....they are both in stoneware clay, rather than porcelain clay, because these glazes, in my opinion, come out much clearer and more interestingly. 

 Green and cream, what a lovely combination. My auntie's danish emerald green bowl, and my little singing men

Green and cream, what a lovely combination. My auntie's danish emerald green bowl, and my little singing men

Very old friends and the wish to give the perfect gift

 Recently a very old friend from my school days had a baby. She and her wife have had a lovely little baby girl, and the news made me start thinking of a gift on these kind of occasions which would celebrate the modern family, as well as the uniqueness of love, so here is my work in progress. A little gift for dads and dads, and mums and mums, and of course the more traditional set up should not be ignored, so there is also for mums and dads - each pair is waiting for my work today, the addition of a little one. 

Recently a very old friend from my school days had a baby. She and her wife have had a lovely little baby girl, and the news made me start thinking of a gift on these kind of occasions which would celebrate the modern family, as well as the uniqueness of love, so here is my work in progress. A little gift for dads and dads, and mums and mums, and of course the more traditional set up should not be ignored, so there is also for mums and dads - each pair is waiting for my work today, the addition of a little one. 

Genitals, Pineapples and the scruffy Outdoors

 Went outside with the girls on a sunny day. There is something good about living in the world's scruffiest house - photos always look so chic and worn. Caught in the right way, things never look decrepit, instead they look vintage-y. As long as you can't see the massive squishy dead spider that I accidentally caught in the shed door. It was its own fault - if you are getting so big I can see the curls on your knuckles, I will scream and slam the door, even if you have evolved to the size where there is a chance your brain will be trying to learn to communicate intelligently.   These fruit are some I did a while back but, although liked by others often, favourited many times on Etsy, no-one has wanted to make them theirs. I shouldn't put genitals on fruit, is the possible lesson I perhaps should take away from this, but if not on fruit then what? fruit deserve genitals. They look like genitals too often for this not to be a recurring thought.   Been looking at other ceramicists for a while, and am slightly obsessed by the work of Bonnie Marie Smith. I can't get enough of her figures' tiny hands and feet. They have an amazing amount of sadness to them without ever becoming sentimental, and therefore chintzy and little old lady trinket-y - something not easy. Well worth checking out on Instagram. See https://www.instagram.com/bonniemariesmith/?hl=en  Also my constant companion are the podcasts of Adam Buxton at the moment - I adore that little trampy man. I would have him popping out of my bins saying hello any day of the week. He and his little band of walking wounded middle-class middle aged men - I just want to give them a big hug, a cup of hot (grown-up) tea, a hair ruffle and get them on their way. And of course Adam Buxton's interview with the person who I could listen to swear, and smoke all day - Kathy Burke, is a joy. 

Went outside with the girls on a sunny day. There is something good about living in the world's scruffiest house - photos always look so chic and worn. Caught in the right way, things never look decrepit, instead they look vintage-y. As long as you can't see the massive squishy dead spider that I accidentally caught in the shed door. It was its own fault - if you are getting so big I can see the curls on your knuckles, I will scream and slam the door, even if you have evolved to the size where there is a chance your brain will be trying to learn to communicate intelligently. 

These fruit are some I did a while back but, although liked by others often, favourited many times on Etsy, no-one has wanted to make them theirs. I shouldn't put genitals on fruit, is the possible lesson I perhaps should take away from this, but if not on fruit then what? fruit deserve genitals. They look like genitals too often for this not to be a recurring thought. 

Been looking at other ceramicists for a while, and am slightly obsessed by the work of Bonnie Marie Smith. I can't get enough of her figures' tiny hands and feet. They have an amazing amount of sadness to them without ever becoming sentimental, and therefore chintzy and little old lady trinket-y - something not easy. Well worth checking out on Instagram. See https://www.instagram.com/bonniemariesmith/?hl=en

Also my constant companion are the podcasts of Adam Buxton at the moment - I adore that little trampy man. I would have him popping out of my bins saying hello any day of the week. He and his little band of walking wounded middle-class middle aged men - I just want to give them a big hug, a cup of hot (grown-up) tea, a hair ruffle and get them on their way. And of course Adam Buxton's interview with the person who I could listen to swear, and smoke all day - Kathy Burke, is a joy. 

Starting a new line

I have just started making a new group of body pots. They shall, I have decided, primarily be for new parents, and more specifically be for new parents in same sex relationships. 

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- the first couple are of non-specific gender. I shall over the next couple of days make all the many and varied combinations of the modern family

Funny face

Sometimes the expressions of my pots just surprise me  

 Scared or surprised? 

Scared or surprised? 

#funnyface #ceramicpots

The separate existence of ones own pots

My interest is in trying to make pots that with the minimum of curves and bows still have expressive faces that make you sympathise with them, love them

 Pots in dialogue

Pots in dialogue

They might be saying something just out of ear range #ceramic pots #dialogue

Paranoid or relaxed?

Trying out a darker stoneware clay, missing my porcelain clay already.....

 In Motion or at rest.....the idea of a vessel but caught in a motion of movement, I don't know why that seems strange to me 

In Motion or at rest.....the idea of a vessel but caught in a motion of movement, I don't know why that seems strange to me