I’ve been making pottery for so long, that I hardly remember a time when I couldn’t. It’s such a central theme to my life, and has really grounded me when so many other things have caused me to swirl around, stumble and fall. Pottery, even in the darkest moments, has been a refuge, a place I can go, center, and forget the outside world for some precious moments as my mind and spirit realign with my core. I wish everyone could have something as wonderful as pottery.
Last year I focused on design and really nailed my own personal style. It might seem strange that after twenty years I still had problems with my own ceramic identity, but the truth of the matter is that there are just too many possibilities in the world of pottery. The easiest thing in the world to lose focus. Also, I had a few international moves and huge lifestyle changes that challenged me. But I’m hitting my stride and I love what’s coming out of my studio now.
These soft greys and blacks really have a lush texture and feel. I love this glaze so much as it is so variable and so versatile. I don’t like flat, opaque glazes at all (boring and dead looking) and that’s why I worked hard at developing this one because it’s got such great tones and shadings. Developing glazes that work is a long, difficult process that involves a lot of calculating - so once a potter has one that works, it will get used again and again. I just hope my raw material supplier doesn’t change any of their suppliers because even that can alter a glaze. But for now, this works. Here is the same glaze with cobalt on a bowl I thought I would HATE.
The white microcrystals are caused by titanium and are a natural part of this glaze - especially when it reacts to cobalt. The greens and blues come from cobalt and clay impurities. All in all, I pretty much adore this bowl. I normally end up loving all the bowls I think will be ugly, and hating all the bowls I think will be beautiful. So much for planning in the ceramic world.
Toward the end of last year, I started working on a concept which has been nothing but pure pleasure and fun. The birds! I can’t even remember how they got started exactly, although I know it has to do with the awesomely fabulous American artist Jacqui Fehl who paints birds as part of her body of work. Her work inspired me to start drawing and painting birds, and one thing led to another. Pretty soon, there were birds everywhere. And I mean EVERYWHERE!!!
Requests and orders started coming in and now I am designing a line of birds for this year - this is such a wonderful, fun project and has endless possibilities. It’s full of love and darling-ness and joy. It’s exactly what the doctor ordered in these trying times.
And quite honestly, what is artisan craft if it does not bring joy to people? We can all get cute things at stores that come from China or wherever. But to have something that someone hand made and put their heart and soul into is something extremely special. I am referring not only to myself, but to all artisans who work hard to make beautiful things. It’s a privilege to be in this position of making. I can’t imagine anything else that would bring more joy.
Another thing that is bringing me a lot of joy in 2019 is the Fire and Food Artisan Workshop that I will be leading with Letizia Mattiacci in the pilgrim city Assisi, Italy from June 5 through 12th. We’ll be firing pots outdoors, visiting historic artisans who make pottery, glass, tapestry, beer, wine…a guided meditation in the Francis of Assisi woodlands. As of this writing we have a couple of places still open and would love it if you could join us. You’ll find more info right here.
February will be spent in Italy, where we’ll be doing more work on our Tiny House Italia. I’ll be posting from there to show you the updates. It’s by no means finished but it’s getting cuter every time we go down there. I’m also going to be doing some test pit firing for the workshop. while we’re down there.
At least we’re past this point. Not my sexiest moment, but I can’t say I didn’t love doing it….
Have a great weekend!