Thursday, February 28, 2013

six and seven

I love love love seven.  Six, ugh.  But I think liking six out of my first seven is pretty good.  Back tomorrow with eight and nine.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

put a bird on it: vintage style

 Several years ago (2009?) an acquaintance came to my home for the first time and was, to be frank, aghast at the number of birds in my house.  Birds in art, birds in upholstery, a nest here and there, birds on lamps.  Nearly all of them are antique to vintage- dating to Victorian transferware plates to 1940s-60s chinoiserie designs.  Not too many contemporary pieces, but yes, I like birds.  At the time, I had a single bisque stamp of a swallow or dove in flight that I'd use on cups and bowls occasionally.

In 2011, I saw the hilarious Portlandia skit for the first time and promptly stopped using bird imagery in my work.  Of course, I kept all of my vintage bird china, artwork, and home furnishings, but I've been wary of using the imagery in my pots (excepting the chicken cups, of course).  This summer, when I found my giant vintage bird transferware platter, I changed my mind about birds on my work, and when I borrowed Marion's pitcher to copy, I abandoned that no-birds resolve completely.  

This platter is the first in a series with the birds, vintage style.  I'm very happy with it and am sending this piece to a new antiques and art gallery that opens on Friday.  I'm not abandoning my bees by any means, but right now I'm very much in love with these sweet blue birds.

I have 2  completed pitchers to show you and 2 unfired pitchers ready to photograph.  I'll be back here tomorrow.

Have a good week, friends.

Thursday, February 21, 2013


More hope.  to be quite honest, we have been going through a LOT over here.  For the past, oh, four years.  There have been moments of fun and sunshine and peace, but this time's been marked by a lot of loss and uncertainty- more than I'd wish on anyone, much less on my own family.  What I would give for some stability- but that's not my lot in life, apparently.  Faith and hope and love help to balance the chaos, which I am finding myself remarkably equipped to deal with in very small doses (she says sardonically).  Since late October, the normal stresses have grown and I'm less able to put up a happy front, somewhat less hopeful for the future, but clinging to it nonetheless.  Emily Dickinson's poem has become a mantra for me, repeated almost liturgically (and liturgy also helps; I'm a very high-church person- the ritual and familiar words are a balm)

So, back to Emily Dickinson's hope.  I have been talking with a dear friend who feels like she's in a spot much more dire than mine- different pressures, grief, instability.  We share them, but hers are even deeper.  I thought about her when I made this pitcher and inscribed the first stanza of Emily Dickinson's poem across its wide belly.  I think that this will go to her when it's fired- the first to leave me- because she needs it more than I do.

The details- 2 thrown pieces, strap handle.  My regular stoneware.  Assembled once leather-hard and cut down to make the flared lip I love so much.  I actually saved the back half of the top to use for this week's pitcher (which I have yet to make).  I inscribed the first stanza of the poem right where the pieces meet- hope is the thing with feathers that perches/
and around the foot: in the soul & sings the sweetest tune without the words & never stops at all.  There is a feather inside the lip/spout and they're all filled with cobalt inlay.  I think I will make more of these for sale, eventually.  I also made a bowl while I was doing this,  but my memory is fuzzy on how much of the poem I included.

I do hope to make my 8th week pitcher tomorrow, but I'm behind where I want to be and need to get the little kiln loaded and fired with some pieces that are overdue.  There may be a two-pitcher week next week.

Have a good weekend friends.  Thanks for reading.

Friday, February 15, 2013

five of fifty two

This was a very happy kiln opening. 
from the left:
1- underglaze transfer zinnias on stoneware.  I reglazed it, so I did, indeed, work on it in 2013
2- sprig molded fiddle heads on porcelain.
3-vintage hobnail glass inspired stoneware.  I immediately made a second version of this that I'm even happier with.
4- etched and inlay on pale blue underglaze over stoneware.
5- the watercolor style underglazes over stoneware, based on a friend's vintage hand-painted English Ironstone pitcher.  This one is my favorite.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

happy valentine's day

Thanks for the love, friends.  Have a beautiful day!

Monday, February 11, 2013


I phoned last week's pitcher in.  I meant for it to be very simple, handle-less, modern.  Yeah. 
I was busy with my teacups this week, getting ready for my sale, and babying my arms. 
So they're not all stellar.  Oh well.  It broke as I was carving the spout down.  I think I may remake this one this week.  Or not.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

do small things

On Monday I put 10 of these cups into my shop and they left in a flash.  Thank you, thank you.  On Friday, I'll have another 20 or so available at my Bridgman Pottery Teeny Tiny Valentine Sale.  719 Dickinson St, in Midtown Memphis, between 5:30 and 8.  A few vases, a few other cups, a few sweet little trays.  Not all my work, just a small selection of small gifts for your love (or to show some self-love).

If you didn't get the cups you wanted when they were in the shop, I'll be listing them again in batches of 10 this weekend and will make them through the end of February.  I think I'll be bringing them back next February.  They're sweet and they make me happy.

Happy mid-week, friends!

Monday, February 4, 2013


it seems that this pitcher took twice as long as the rest have, not because of difficulty of design or surface design, but because I hurt my arms and had had several bad working days in a row and then just had difficult motivating myself to sit down and finish it.
The inspiration for this pitcher belongs to my friend Marion.  Marion lives in a wonderful old house filled with antiques.  Her husband is Irish, and many of their dishes are English and Irish.  This milk pitcher is an old hand-painted English one and I was entranced by the birds flying up and down its sides.  I borrowed it in early December, knowing it would inspire something, but not sure what.

I spent a day or two working on the birds- drawing and watercolor and imagining how I'd use them in my work.  I thew a stout cylinder and cut and shaped a slab to attach for a spout.  I've never made a squared spout of this sort before and I'm still not sure how I feel about it.  The handle was also cut out of a thick chunk of clay rather than pulling, which is how I generally make my handles.  After I attached the handle and spout, I cut them both down to fit and put the pitcher away for several days.  I used mishima inlay to decorate the pitcher and then used the underglaze watercolors to add some color to the birds, the rim, and the handle.  I also used the watercolors on a piece that had already been bisqued, and I think I prefer painting on bisque more than on greenware, but we'll wait and see how it turns out.

Later this week I plan to bisque and glaze pitchers 2-4.  #5 is still too damp to fire this week, so it will go in February's batch of pitchers.