Thursday, December 10, 2009

The race to Christmas ...



This week has seen the last of the holiday show throwing in our studio. I finished up Wednesday afternoon with some small orders of white clay pots. Alli came in after I finished and got a few more pots done, which with luck will end up in the firing next Friday.
All of this is in preparation for our holiday kiln-opening and multi-artist show, which we've done for about six years now. It's an idea I happily stole from Malcolm Davis, the Washington D.C. potter, whose home we used to visit at holiday time every year when we lived in that part of the world. Malcolm sold pots downstairs and friends of his sold jewelry and other creative things upstairs. That's more or less what we do here. I'll open the kiln in my studio Saturday morning at 11 and upstairs will be jeweler Kim Collins, glassblower Bryan Randa and paper artist Ruth Bleakley.
People bring food for the weekend crowd, I make New Mexico red chile for chile dogs, and lots of local folks show up to share the food and conversation and maybe buy a few things for their last-minute gifts.
We also stole an idea from Harry Holl's Scargo Pottery by giving away eggnog cups to the first 20 people who come to the opening. I make it as complicated for myself as possible and actually fire the eggnog cups in the kiln the day before. So as people show up, they're given a numbered piece of paper and after the kiln is empty they come up as their number is called and choose a cup. I spent an hour or so one day earlier this week throwing the quarter-pound faceted eggnog cups from brown stoneware. There's a photo here of some of them.
A fair number of three-pound vases were thrown this week for the top and bottom shelves of the kiln. I thought I had that part covered last week, but an unexpected miscalculation in the bisque kiln resulted in many, many, many vase shards Tuesday ... many shards. So I threw another batch and it's drying now. Good thing I was ahead of myself for once. Also, a good thing I didn't write this blog entry right after I cleaned the shards out of the kiln ...
More to come. Stay tuned ...

14 comments:

ang said...

that sounds like a brilliant show ...hope all goes well

Hollis Engley said...

Same here, Ang. And happy holidays to the other side of the world.

traceybroome@mindspring.com said...

Ohhhhh, I am so familiar with those shards! The show sounds like much fun, wish I lived closer!

Kellie said...

I wish Ben and I weren't both working on Saturday so that we could come! I sadly didn't win your bowls in the library pottery raffle, so I'm in the market for a good oatmeal bowl. :)

Hollis Engley said...

There are plenty of oatmeal bowls in the gallery, Kellie. And we're open every day, so you don't have to limit yourself to that weekend. Sorry I missed the party.

Hollis Engley said...

And come on up, Tracey. We'll find room for you.

Dan Finnegan said...

I'm missing the pressure of this year's season, Hollis, so it's good to see that it still goes on. I hope that the weather is kind to you.
A couple of days ago a wonderful box of baked goods arrived here from JANET!!! A perfect prescription for a recovering potter. You have good friends...

Hollis Engley said...

Janet's a demon baker. And a good one. I'm glad you got to share the bounty we get at the coffee shop every now and then.
And yes, the season goes on ... you'll be back in it next year, Daniel.

ZDENNY said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Hollis Engley said...

Regarding the deleted comment above, which I have deleted: I have Christian friends and family, Buddhist friends, Jewish friends, Taoist friends, agnostic and atheist friends. And probably some others I'm forgetting. But there will be no religious proselytizing on this blog. There are other places for that.

imagine said...

I read an article by Janet Leach many years ago when I was a much younger man in which she described how she decorated her pots " bashing and scoring them with whatever was to hand". For the first time I understood her work and grew to love it for its freshness.
Although different that is what these wet pots of yours
remind me of.

Hollis Engley said...

I do like to work on the surfaces of the pots where it's appropriate. I have a pretty good idea of what my five or six glazes will do with the marks in the clay. Usually good things.

mengley said...

As I read this, I was wondering "does anything ever blow up in the kiln?"... Sure enough, there it was at the end. Reading the blog immediately after that would have been perhaps less Buddhist. All life is suffering, right?

Great stuff -- I'd like to claim the "virtual" #1 spot in line for the egg nog cups :)

Hollis Engley said...

You can always claim any pot, Marcus. First one goes to you on Saturday.
Things do blow up in the kiln, but usually only in the bisque kiln, when there's still water in the clay and it can't escape without blowing up the clay. Once they get to the glaze firing, things are pretty dry, though it does happen rarely.
And yes, Buddhists are not known for throwing things against walls. Very perceptive ...