After the Deluge

Been busy in the studio the last while, the push is on to get one last batch of stuff made and into the kiln before K closes up her studio and moves it into town, which will be the 30th of November. I’m still a little distracted as to how I’ll manage with taking my green ware into Nanaimo for firing now; which translates to : loading delicate greenware (cushioned with copious amounts of bubble wrap) into bins, then into a wheel barrow, push it a quarter mile down the bumpy gravel- heaven forbid it’s raining– road to the dock, load into the boat, go carefully across the water, dock the boat, walk the quarter mile to parkade to get car and drive back down to the marina, park, walk back to the boat, carry bin up the dock to car, then to the ceramic studio and their kiln. It feels like a daunting process. But I have no alternative at the moment, I can’t afford a kiln at this time, and I don’t want this hiccup to dissuade me from continuing with this work. I’m fully enjoying working with clay and feel I’m improving as time goes on.

Squilly is good company

I picked up some alphabet stamps so I can incorporate words with the under glaze, and pretty happy with the outcome. They are all lower case letters and a little tricky to dip in underglaze just enough without blurring out the entire letter. Also the letter “r” can look like a “p”, and the “s” can look like an “f”; so for instance when I printed “sun and rain” around the rim of a cup a friend asked me what I meant exactly by “fun and pain.” I don’t want to have to explain. So I’ll keep my eye out for a capital letter set and also a larger lower case alphabet set.

“small cup big heart”
“sun rain”

I had a surprising request from a neighbour too. She had recently lost her mother and asked if I would make an urn for her. I told her I was honoured she’d ask, but that I’d have to give it some thought. In reality I had to jump on the wheel to see if I could even make one. It must have a lid that fits securely, it must big much bigger than what I’ve been throwing, and it must have a nice shape. I went on You tube and searched out some videos by potters as to the shape of the average vessel and amount of clay I’d need to work with. One potter used three and a half pounds, so I went with that for the first attempt. Looking at it when I finished I thought it seemed on the small size, but then that was likely my inability to utilize all the clay properly when doing my “pulls.” I scaled three more out at four pounds and jumped back on the wheel. When finished these looked more the right size- gosh I hope so – next I scaled out clay for lids. I threw them as I would a small bowl but with an inner rim that would sit down inside the vessel’s opening.

At this stage the deluge descended upon us, the Atmospheric River weather forecasters call it. British Columbia became awash in rain, as did our basement -my studio – 5 inches in fact, while in other parts of BC certainly had much worse. I wrapped the vessels and lids up in plastic to keep them from drying out before I would be able to get back to them to finish, and manned the pumps!

Here it comes! It will fill the entire floor in 5 inches of water

Took a couple of days for the water to go down with three pumps running full time, and luckily we had one day of sun to dry the ground out a bit. As soon as I could get to my wheel I finished off the vessels and lids, did some under glazing on two, let them dry then carted everything over to K’s. Now I wait.

Each lid has a different detail to it. I under glazed the leaves on this one, but I think I’ll leave the body of the vessel with only a clear finishing glaze because I like the grain in the clay that came out when I ran my metal rib around it. And as usual I have my fingers crossed everything comes out nicely in the final firing!

And guess what? There’s a forecast of another “Atmospheric River” headed our way again, but hopefully we’ll stay ahead of the river filling my studio again!

Cheers ~