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Last week I was at the post office shiping an etsy package. The clerk was unusually chatty and asked me about the bee on my business card (I'd gotten lazy and used it as my return address), if it was a bee simply because my last name begins with a "B." I answered that indeed, that was one reason, but also because Melissa, in Greek, means "honeybee."

I think in my last post about bees I mentioned that the shape of classic bee skeps is an inspiration to me, but the bees themselves are on each piece that I make. This image, and the image on the post, is one that I drew freehand. For the clay stamp, I traced the drawing on tracing paper then laid it over a thin slab of clay and pressed it to transfer the image to the clay. After the clay was leather hard, I took my lino-cut tools and carved out the image, leaving only the areas darkened by pencil marks. After I bisqued it, I used this little stamp instead of signing my pieces. The bee became my signature, as seen here on the base of this teacup. Occasionally, I also use this stamp as an all-over decoration, but I find that unless I go back to stamp the pottery at just the right moment, the piece warps and I have a hard time getting it back into its proper shape. These bee-strewn pieces show up from time to time -there are a few in the production line now- but not often.