bees! and testing

I am very excited- yesterday afternoon I got a phone call from Rita Underhill of Peace Bee Farm that my bees were ready.  I was not!  There was a lot of hustle and bustle to get everything situated so that we could install the hive this morning.  This is the inside of my hive, the comb that they drew down on top bars at their farm, and some pieces that we had to trim (the white is brood that the bees will, um, recycle, and they'll re-use the wax, as well).  We forgot to smoke the box of agitated, truck-shaken bees before we opened it and I got popped for the first time in 6+ years, but she popped me through my clothes so it wasn't bad (obviously, I'm not allergic to bees).  I'm very excited to see their (and my) progress.

I think that I may have mentioned that I needed to find a new clay body.  My old body had been reformulated and the glazes I'd been using no longer fit the body.  There was shivering (where the glaze has shrunk more than the clay and will come off in razor sharp slivers and sometimes cause the piece to break), especially with blue glazes and underglazes, so I began testing new bodies.  My first body was a bust- too much crazing on the inside of cups- the body shrinks more than the glaze, causing the glaze to crack, which can lead to bacteria growth.  Yummy, bacteria with your tea!  No thanks.  I tested a porcelain which did fine with the glaze, but I wasn't happy with its color.  I tested a stoneware that was much warmer and showed through my white glaze, making the glaze look too thin (or maybe it was just too thin) and there were fit problems- crazing in the bottom of cups.  I'm on my second stoneware and porcelain to test with my next batch of pots.  All of this is to say that if you're waiting on pottery from me, this is why it's taking a while to deliver.  I don't want to ship out defective pots, and I appreciate everyone's patience.

Ok.  This weekend is Easter, tomorrow is Good Friday and the beginning of Passover.  If you celebrate, I hope that it is a meaningful time for you.  If not, enjoy this beautiful spring.  See you next week!