Thursday, November 4, 2010

Head rising above water ...





I have been back in the studio for the past several days, finally making pots again for the upcoming holiday season, and after a four-day visit with our son Marcus, visiting from Seattle.
Our holiday kiln-opening and open house is Dec. 18-19, with my work and work by painter Jean Swann, jeweler Kim Collins, bookmaker Ruth Bleakley and glassblower Bryan Randa. And for the first time in a few years, pots by another potter. Lois Hershberg, of nearby Marstons Mills, will bring her handbuilt and raku-fired work.
So I need more pots, especially more mugs. I threw mugs today to add to the simple tumblers that I threw over the past few days. One result of our visit to North Carolina last month was acquiring a couple of fine little tumblers from Mark and Meredith at Whynot Pottery. (See previous post.) They seem to make them by the hundreds, along with many more complex pots. I often neglect things like that, forgetting that people actually do buy simple, usable, relatively low-priced work ... if given the opportunity. So above you see some of the freshly-thrown tumblers. And a pile of stuff that came out of the bisque kiln that same day. I'm running out of room in the studio.
At the top of the photos on this post are two teabowls, thrown thickly, faceted and then pushed out on the wheel to form a bowl shape. Both are glazed in a white Shino with some carbon-trapping. I put them up here because they come from a batch of bowls made a few months ago, two of which went out the door last week with a tea ceremony practitioner from Thailand. John Toomey is an American, but teaches tea ceremony there. He was visiting a friend in Falmouth and spotted my pots on a shelf at Coffee Obsession. The two of them came to the studio, spent quite a bit of time talking and John left with two faceted Shino bowls to take back to Asia with him.
It's gratifying to have my pots go to that kind of use. I don't intentionally make tea ceremony ware, but my influences nearly from the beginning have been Asian work, especially Korean and Japanese. I don't imitate the work - and I'm not a tea ceremony expert - but I think at least a part of what I make shows that kind of feeling. Here on Cape Cod, it's rare that anyone knows anything about tea ceremony or about Asian pots. And I was delighted that John found a couple of bowls he liked. One, he said, will be called Octopus Skin and the other White Rabbit. Which makes them, I think, my first named pots.


14 comments:

cookingwithgas said...

And here I was just calling mine-my new BF. I am such a white bread!
How wonderful for some one to see and the seek out your pots!
I fully understand why.
I am planning to use mine for a little wine celebration in about 5 minutes.

Those small,simple pots come in handy.
I would be happy selling vases all day long but.... sometimes those little guys pay the bills.
Cheers!
M

Tracey Broome said...

Sitting here having a glass of wine from mine right now! I love the white shino! I've been inspired this week with my new bowls, and got some thrown yesterday that I really like. I mixed up a shino and a black for a wood firing I'm doing later in the month. I think I would have rather done the white, oh well, next time!

ang said...

mmmmm shino :))

Kings Creek Pottery said...

Your tea bowls are stunning- my favorite is the middle photo, YUM, YUM!! I want to reach out and hold it.

Can't wait until my gas kiln is up and running so I can work with the shino glazes more~

Sister Creek Potter said...

Nice!

acte gratuit said...

sI'm reading from Japan and although I know very little about Japanese or Asian pottery, or tea ceremony, I sure do love those beautiful pots at the top of your post!

Too bad I didn't discover your blog sooner! We lived in Rhode Island before we came here and made a few trips up to Cape Cod...I could have visited your studio!

My blog isn't a "pottery blog" but I did visit a cool studio awhile ago. Here is the report:
http://actegratuit.blogspot.com/2010/09/labor-day-weekend-second-third.html

:)

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks, everyone. You're right, Meredith, the small pots come in handy. And people instantly recognize the purpose of a tumbler. Which wine is best in the cup, Trace? Thanks, Kathy. Let everyone know when you get your gas kiln up. I've got recipes you can have, if you want some. How's your own shino, Ang? And everyone should take a look at the link in the Acte Gratuit comment. Wonderful Japanese wood-fired pots. Thanks, Emily. (That's just an educated guess at Emily's name. Couldn't find it stated outright on her blogs ... )

ang said...

howdy hollis the last firing was ok, not at all like my own kiln but then ive been firing mine for years so to be expected really, some good shinos and some not so good, just nothing spectacular :)

janet said...

From the looks of her trip to Kanayamayaki Pottery actegratuit would love Hatchville Pottery. And octopus skin is such a good name. We're anxiously awaiting your next firing.

Paul Jessop said...

Hi Hollis, I love your pots, I have one on my desk in the showroom and I pick it up almost every day, just to hold it feels great. It's great when people realy get what your at. and then buy something. Buying pots from potters must rank as one of the most satisfying things you can do in life.

Hollis Engley said...

You just keep trying, I guess, Angela. Shinos can vary with the phases of the moon, I think. Thickness of application, temperature, atmosphere, temperature, whether it's in the shadow of another pot ... all have something to do with it. And thanks, Paul. I use your big tankard most days of the week. I should bring it in to the coffee shop in the morning, but it's so big, I doubt they'd charge me for a "small."
Firing next week, Janet. Come on over for the opening ...

Peter said...

That's lovely that John Toomey will be using a couple of your bowls for tea ceremony. It seems to me that the best pots come out of who a potter is... and something about their life and their ability to connect with the environment (or not) is manifest in their work. I think that the two tea bowls that you show are very much products of the hand and the heart, and would be delightful companions in any tea ceremony. I especially love the second one with its folds, facets, and asymmetry. There is that lovely crawling of the pearly looking shino too. Good luck, in advance, for your kiln opening and open house in December, sounds like a "must see" event.

Hollis Engley said...

Thanks for the nice words, Peter. I keep trying. I was in Vermont a few weeks ago and met Bruce Martin, your fellow Kiwi from the North Island. Lovely man. You should visit him up there some time.

MVBLH said...

Just got the word from my 2 nephews--they want more Hollis mugs for Christmas! (Envision their dad, 2 thumbs up)

Heading your way soon…bringing my artistic advisor AKA Cullen