As I sit down to write this I have just turned off the gas for the last biscuit firing of the year. I will be glazing tomorrow and firing again on Saturday – the kiln should be cool and unpacked by the evening of Sunday 23rd December. With quite a few people relying on the fruits of this firing for their Christmas bounty it will be all fingers and toes crossed! On several occasions previously I have vowed to be more organized in future and not leave it all to the last minute. In truth though I think I probably thrive on a bit of adrenaline fueled hurry and flurry.
I have been flat out for some weeks now – making some more unusual items along side my standard production. Oval seems to have been the flavour of the month. These large platters had flat bases thrown on a bat with spiral added. These were then wired through and thrown in a controlled fashion at the bench so as to elongate them and stretch the circular spiral into an oval. In the past I’ve made oval platters with a slab rolled base but when I was commissioned to make these I decided to throw the base on the wheel and employ a technique I vaguely remember seeing Walter Keeler demonstrate when as a student I visited him about 25 years ago. It has worked well and with the thrown and altered rim added the plates look handsome indeed – hopefully the fire will be kind.
This one is as large as can fit onto my kiln shelves and is about 55cm long.
Most of my pots as you may know are usually associated with food in one way or another and I have particularly enjoyed making some oval pie dishes this last week. These have been made oval in the traditional way as described by Bernard Leach in ‘A Potter’s Book’ first published in 1940 but now available again by Faber and Faber. A still wet, thrown round vessel has a willow leaf shape cut from the center of the base, it is then pushed from the sides into an oval and the cut base is rejoined. These dishes also have decorative cut rims for crimping pastry onto – I’m looking forward to baking left over turkey and leek pie in one of these in the very near future.
Merry Christmas and a Prosperous New Year to you all!