Tuesday, September 15, 2009


Originally uploaded by Bridgman Pottery
I had a much, much better day working yesterday. Throwing went well. It's too wet to glaze, but I threw lots (a bit too much, perhaps, as my tendinitis seems to be flaring up again) and I'm happy with the forms I threw. But the flood of emails and comments from y'all really, really made me feel better. Thank you.

Much of what I made yesterday is influenced by this sugar bowl that belonged to my late mother in law. She and my father in law lived in Germany in the mid-late 50s. She bought a set of these Rosenthal factory seconds (she called them the "gypsy dishes," because she bought them from street peddlers). They aren't marked, but the matching salt and pepper shakers are marked Rosenthal, so I believe that's what these are.

Despite my more traditional, slightly toned-down but still a little frilly tastes, I've always loved mid-century design. I think designers like Eva Zeisel are the bee's knees. Mother kept the coffee pot, tea pot, and spouted pitcher (a chocolate pot?) on the top of her fridge. I always admired the pieces, and last week my sister and law gave me all of the pieces to the set that were left. We're using the dishes every evening and yesterday I carted a few pieces up to the studio.

First I made a pitcher slightly reminiscent of these pieces, but I think I got the sugar bowl spot-on. I still need to trim the lids, but really looking at these really helped me think through some issues I'd been having with my work- particularly the lids. I don't know WHY I hadn't been making a gallery for the lids to rest in, but I haven't, not for years. So I had problems with lids sliding around, and in cases where the shrinkage rates were different (probably because some of the clay -for the lid, say- was more wet than the clay for the body), lids would wind up being too small and fall through. Not good if the lid goes on a honeypot. Most of the time I caught this problem, but it is SO embarrassing to have a customer tell you that happened.* Simple little shelf for the lid to rest on does seem to fix all of that.

I think I'm over the pottery malaise I was feeling last week. I sure hope so. It looks like it will be too wet to try to glaze anything this week, but I have plenty of handbuilding to do this week while I treat my tendinitis. I hope your week is off to a good start. Mine is.

*I don't have issues with this kind of criticism, and this isn't the kind of complaint I whined about yesterday.


Mama Urchin said...

I imagine lids are really tricky. Glad yesterday went better.

Sarah Jackson said...

I'm so glad you had a better day. I adore midcentury pottery like that coffee pot. I have some Eva Zeisel pieces (the Hallcraft, not the "good" stuff) that I treasure. I love how they can fit well in a spare modern home, but also look fabulous in a more warm, cozy and cluttered one like mine.

Hope today is productive too. Watch those wrists!

Sarah-potterknitter said...

I have a salt jar that looks a lot like that. I love it so much. I'm always meaning to make more, but it never happens.

Jessica said...

Hurray for a better day in the studio! I do love to use inspiration from my grandma and family when creating as well.