I’ve been busy. We’ve been traveling all over the place, visiting family, going to parties, doing Christmasy things, and now getting ready to go back on the road again in just a little over a week. I’ll be honest, I’m already exhausted. I need to figure out a way to relax, even on tour. sigh. Anyways, I do have a little time now to show some of the many things I’ve been working on, arts-wise, over the past months. Let’s start with ceramics, since most of those have come & gone already.
As you might’ve seen earlier, I was working in my mom’s ceramic studio in her basement in Schefferville, Quebec, while we were there for 2 months this past fall. I started out trying to get back into throwing (having done none at all for over 3 years) with one of the simplest shapes, a bowl:
My mom is only able to perform low-fire glazing, so I decided to get creative with some stripes in the bowls. I made 20, sold a few, gave a couple away, and decided to keep around 5 I think. I still have a few extras I might sell or give away, but for now they’ll be collecting dust on a shelf in our basement.
Homemade ceramic mugs are one of my favorite things. I own & use homemade ceramic mugs from at least six different artists, and I love how they’ll all so carefully crafted and unique. So that was the next thing I tried my hand at. And quickly remembered, pulling handles is one of my most least favorite things in all of ceramic making:
I started out glazing the mugs just like the bowls, but because the glaze pooled in on itself in the bowls but pulled away on the mugs, I wasn’t a huge fan of the outcome. Luckily I glazed the mugs in two separate batches so for the second batch I did all solid colours, which I liked much better.
I’d actually thrown 21 mugs, plus an extra special and unique mug, with a message engraved on the bottom for Eric for Christmas. However, that mug ended up in my last glaze firing, which malfunctioned during the night and didn’t automatically turn off like it was suppose to. The next day we opened the kiln to find pools of coloured and melted glass fused to the kiln shelves. It was pretty devastating but I am at least glad that I did get quite a few pieces finished before this disaster happened.
When I mournfully told Eric that his Christmas gift was now a solid glass puddle he suggested I just let him pick his favorite from my already finished mugs. He ended up picking one of the striped mugs (which, as I mentioned, I wasn’t a fan of, but I was just happy that he really seemed to love the glaze on it). Then, about 2 or 3 days ago, I was struggling to open something in the kitchen, my arm shot out to the side, and I accidentally hit Eric’s mug, watching it tumble to the floor in slow motion. I almost cried when it shattered. Eric was great about it though, and today he chose a third mug, the turquoise one with a purple interior. Now if only I can avoid sending that mug to it’s death as well…
After the bowls and the mugs, I was beginning to get really bored with the simple shapes. I wanted to see about making some small Japanese style teapots. I set a goal for 5 sets, and completed 5 sets… but one set got lost in the kiln malfunction.
The last teapot, in turquoise and gold, was by far my favorite. After experimenting with mixing glazes on the bowls, I was really happy to know which glazes might react well to each other for the teapots. So I kept the turquoise one, and the other three were sold within days.
I feel like back in college, when I had access to all the throwing, hand-building, and glazing I wanted, I didn’t value it in the least, giving away 99% of everything I made. Now I kind of wish I’d kept more of my pieces, but I’m glad I now have a new set of mugs, bowls, and a beautiful little tea set that I made. I’m beginning to see the value in homemade things much more than ever before. Or, to express it better, I’m beginning to see that mass-produced and manufactured consumerism is not something I want to accumulate.
P.S. To see more photos of all these pieces in one place, check out my Facebook art page album.