pitchers, 34 and 35, and socks

DSC_9352.jpg

Finally, I actually have a backlog of pitchers to share.  Somehow I made and glazed pitchers out of order and had to wait for #35 to be finished (oh, a week or so ago), but #36 is currently cooling in the kiln while 37-40 are entirely finished and have been for three weeks or so. 

First things first- 34 is possibly my favorite pitcher so far both because of its design and because of changes it brought about in my studio.  It is porcelain, thrown in two pieces*  I let it dry to leather hard, trimmed it, attached the handle, drew on it and inlaid the piece, then covered it for another day.  After I uncovered it, I discovered the handle cracked in two.  I tried to mend it with slip (that was adulterated with cobalt, which I couldn't see then, but can see now.  This piece is entirely about the process rather than aesthetics), and had a small rant which ended in figuring out how to keep porcelain from drying too quickly.  I have two damp boxes (plastic storage bins with a layer of plaster at the bottom which keeps pieces damp until I'm ready to work with them again), but they're not so good for letting things dry slowly.  My mind wandered until I thought about the seed starting kit I'd bought late this winter, which had a plastic lid that held in moisture to the point that there was condensation rain (bad for seeds, FYI).  I poked around online and found a 5 ft tall, 24" wide, 16" deep "mini greenhouse" that had four shelves and a zip-up closure.  And it was cheap.  Unlike my damp boxes, which will keep pottery WET for weeks, this greenhouse slows the drying so that I can get back to pieces at my leisure.  I have really enjoyed this improvement to my studio practice, and it more than makes up for the pitcher with the clearly cracked handle.

#35 is an old style that I've all but abandoned because I've found that people don't want to pay for the time it takes me to glaze, wax, and glaze again individual fern fronds.  I still like these simple pieces, but not enough to make them as part of my ongoing roster of work. This piece immediately went to live at a friend's house who has a small collection of these pieces.

Another huge project that I've just finished is the completion of these socks: 

DSC_9390.jpg

I've done color-work socks before, but not at this level. I took a large break from knitting them when we got Ajax because he was very interested in yarn, but after I picked them up again in September and finished the first one, I was motivated to finish the pair and wear them this fall.  I knit them at the same time, chart by chart- first the toes, then ankles, then each calf chart, which you knit two times.  Very excited about them, and yes, I do plan to actually wear them. They weren't difficult, but time consuming and at times tedious.  I'm not sure if I'll knit something like this again, but I am glad that I did, at least this once.

Later this week- the rest of the completed pitchers.  Have a great week, friends. 

*when I wrote this, I'd just talked to my Dad, who's been dabbling in pottery pretty seriously for the past year. He told me that he threw a 6lb lump of clay recently and made a 14" vase.  Both that weight and that height are a challenge-to-impossibility for my little lady hands (really, child-sized) and tender tendons.  So WAY TO GO DAD!