Sunday, 31 August 2008

Harvest Time

This week I was still knocked out by the pinching and carving of my three little bowls (How sad is that?!) and the wet and cool weather didn't help either. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed by melancholy. I'm reminded of the damp, frustrating months of last winter and how miserable I felt in my pains. So I tried to recover and to relax, skipped my class (and still don't know how the glassy stuff turned out), did no crafting at all, but got a lot of inspiration by nature.

Today there was bright sunshine, yet it's very autumnal, also on my balcony. I plucked the little pumpkin because there was no green leaf left on the plant. I love those stripes. Even my green glazed pottery matches them perfectly and looks so natural.

I also harvested the sunflower. The seeds make such a beautiful hypnotic pattern I don't like to destroy.

This is my new heather. (It sits in one of those folded pots, that I like so much and take as an example to try myself.) I've killed my old one by excessive watering. I'm so used to give my tomatoes and peppers a proper amount of water, that I didn't realise that I drown the poor heather. I hope it can recover, but it looks very bad.

The heathers in the woods are blooming as well. (Is there a better smell than the smell of mossy forests?) I was out collecting mushrooms and found 1.110 grams of chanterelles, yellow boletuses and bay boletes (Those English names sound weird. I just had to look them up. It's Pfifferling, Steinpilz and Marone in German.) They made a great meal! They not only taste good, they also look good. Look at those gills!

Friday, 22 August 2008

Using Glass

I wasn't able to work with clay in this week's class because my hands ache way too much. So I sanded the rim of the lotus bowl I made last week and the folded pot got a coat of glaze (It's incredibly lightweight. I wasn't aware that I streched the clay that thin.) and painted the snail plate with manganese dioxide.

The spiral plate was also bisque fired. It's the first of my creations that suffered damage during firing. Two small pieces chipped from the bottom of the plate. Nevertheless I tried something new with it this time. I was inspired by extraordinarily beautiful items which combine clay and glass, that I spotted browsing the internet and pottery markets. Amazed by those gorgeous objects I feel the very deep desire to try this myself. I just have to! My dear potter Birgit has no objections and said this should work in her kiln, so I filled the spiral plate with shards of green glass.

Maybe I should have started in a smaller scale and with less glass. I have some concerns that the tensions between the glass and the spirally walls might be too strong and crack the plate or that the glass might boil over or something. I'm very courious how it's going to turn out!

Thursday, 21 August 2008

Pinch Pots

Last week I made my first real attempt using the ancient pinch pot technique, which means I form a vessel from a ball of clay without using moulds (or a potter's wheel for that matter). It's not easy to use my hands only, but it's also very satisfying to know I shaped it all by myself. I made small low bowls and after I made the first one it felt like this could definitely strengthen the muscles of my fingers and hands and I hoped for a therapeutic effect. After the third one a very bad and unhealthy sort of pain predominates and I know, I tried too much at a time.

This is the first bowl with a textured double rim.

This is the second bowl. I scratched it with a floral motive inspired by the pattern of my current bedclothes.

This is the third one. It's carved painstakingly and in many steps with a freehand drawing. This finished my hands off, but so far I'm very pleased with it. I hope I removed all air bubbles and that none of those stubborn cells was able to hide and could destroy my creations in the kiln.

Saturday, 16 August 2008

A Lotus Bowl

It looks like autumn arrived already and very suddenly. Rain is streaming down all day long and it's quite dark, cool and damp outside. It's great weather to curl up in bed and read a good book, but it also makes my arms ache a lot.

Now to the news from this week's class. I was inspired by a dried fruit pod I bought lately.

I saw this at a flower shop and found it's structure very intriguing and asked what this is. It's a lotus fruit I was told.

As I like to cover the surface of my creations with textures and indentations, I tried to make a pattern similar to the lotus. I used a new mould for a low bowl. It's the largest available, so it's a lot bigger than it's inspiring example.

Thursday, 14 August 2008

Summer Break Is Over

Yesterday the classes started again! But before I show you what I made there, here's what I made at home in the past weeks. (Yes, I don't blog often enough and now I'm behind.)
Inspired by a feast of snails I observed lately, I made a snail plate.

This time I tried not to decorate the entire surface for a change. I really forced myself to stop, but somehow I feel very drawn to more intricate designs and don't feel very happy with this one so far.

This is another snail influenced vessel I built.

The idea for the third item I made probably would be understated if categorised as inspiration. I rather stole the idea. I saw pots with fabric-like folds on pottery markets (and bought one of those last year) made by a potter from Halle, whose name I forgot and wanted to try to make something like this for a long time. So here's my first try. It's not as easy as it looks like to arrange the folds.

I'll post news from the first class after summer break next time.

Sunday, 10 August 2008

The Cachepot

This is the pot I made in the class before summer break. I promised pictures of this one long ago, and now I almost forgot to show these, although I like them.
(New stuff is coming soon!)

Saturday, 9 August 2008

111 Tomatoes

This bowl contains one day's harvest on my balcony. (No, it's not every day this much.)

I've got four sorts of tomatoes. The green cherry tomatoes in the background aren't ripe yet, the tomatoes from my small plants (invisible at the bottom of this bowl) don't taste of anything this year for some reason, but my other cherry tomatoes (in the foreground, they grow on my tallest plants) and the very aromatic new sort (Sorry, I don't know their names) I tried for the first time this year are extremely delicious.

Tuesday, 5 August 2008

Welcome to the Jungle

Last week was frustrating concerning clay. I made a plant pot and used the ball technique, which makes the surface of the object look like cobblestone, but the pot dried too fast due to the hot weather and had a major crack in the next morning and some smaller ones as well. Next time I should cover it with a plastic sheet, so it can dry slowly and evenly. I did not try to repair the cracks. I destroyed the pot (which made me feel like a criminal) and put the shards into water so the clay can become soft again. When I did this, it smelled like the cellar of an old building.

So, it's time for a current view on my balcony. My largest tomato plants reached the ceiling already some weeks ago and my sunflower moved from one end to the other. It grew so high, it couldn't resist the rain storms anymore on this windy corner I'm living at. It's fastened to the lattice on the wall now.

My bell peppers grow unexpectedly well and some of them turned red. I prefer them green though.

This is the last of my climbers I still don't know the name of. The blossoms look like they're painted with a brush, don't they? It doesn't climb or twine at all actually. If I wouldn't wind it around a string it would just grow and fall over. The shape of the blossoms is quite similar to the Morning Glories but much smaller and it's blooming longer. Does anyone know what kind of plant this is?

This is a Morning Glory staring into the summer sky. They suffered badly in the heatwave of the past weeks. Every day up to fifty of their leaves fall off, burnt by the scorching sun.

This is the blossom of a nasturtium. I expected an orange coloured one but I like this subtle yellow a lot.

Finally this is what my pumpkin looks like at the moment. It has the size and shape of a pear and gets stripy.