Thursday, December 11, 2008

Making pots in the holiday damp

It's a damp, dark day here on Cape Cod. The cold rain spits across the windowscreen to my right. I can see the dead vines of last summer's tomatoes, peppers and beans beaten down onto the bare, brown garden earth. This feels like February.
But it's December, the holiday season, and I'm making pots for the firing next week. This afternoon I threw about 20 little vases, about a quarter-pound each. These small things can fit between taller and wider pieces and nearly double the number of pots in each firing. Plus, it gives someone with only $10 or $15 to spend a nice little pot to take home.
I've got one more bisque-firing to do, and then I will glaze early next week and fire Friday. I'll open Saturday morning at 11 with an audience of folks who come out every year to our holiday open house. It's always scary to open a new kiln with people watching.
I'll post a couple of photos with this. One is a group of like-minded pots that I threw last week and just bisqued. One finished pot much like these is a couple of posts down in the blog and that inspired me to just make a bunch of them. I do that a lot. There's a Dan Finnegan influence in these pots. That business of taking a sharp-edged piece of wood and pushing it into the soft side of a pot is something I learned a long time ago in one of Dan's classes. That technique creates a dynamism in a pot with bulging sides. Done right, they almost look like they're being expanded by compressed air from the inside.
The other image came to me via e-mail a few days ago from Huguette May, a fine New Bedford artist who is currently spending her time portraying frayed and discarded rope in big prints and drawings. Huguette has a studio in the Hatch St. Studios, opposite Mike Pietragalla's space on that old mill's fourth floor. She took it on herself to photograph some of the artists at the holiday open studios event two weeks ago. This is what she was able to do with me.
Now ... back to the studio.


doug fitch said...

Great to see a picture of you, I always think it brings a blog to life to see the person behind the pots and words. Those bisc pots in the photo are wonderful.

I'd like to see the little vases when they come through. I really struggle making little pots, there's a lot of skill involved in tiny things, my fingers don't want to do it - practice I guess. You're right, it provides something for all pockets - I think it's a good way to do things too with the current financial climate. I'm inspired, thank you, I'm going to make a board of tiddlers next week I think. Damp here too, can't get anything dry.

Hollis Engley said...

Doug: I love "tiddlers." I may borrow that for the name of these little things. I'll do a photo of a few of the ones that were in the last firing. Dan Finnegan's a master at the tiny things. I have no idea how he does it. It would drive me crazy.