Monday, July 29, 2013

25, 26, 27, 28

Finally, four more pitchers.  I was really pleased with this batch.
25- porcelain, thrown, handbuilt spout, carved.  I really didn't know what to do with this pitcher when it came time to glaze it but wound up choosing the bucket of "mystery glaze".  This is an ever-changing bucket of glaze solids left over from my day's glazing.  I wash my brushes in a bowl of water as I'm working and at the end of the session, there is a half-inch or so of glaze sludge at the bottom of the bowl.  I mix the water and glaze up and pour it into the 2 gallon bucket, let it settle, scoop out some of the clear water (for the next round of glazing), then mix the resulting glaze with my drill attachment and dip vases, pitchers, bowls into the resulting glaze.  This time last year it was a light celadon green, but this year it is a transparent glossy pale blue.  Because I am mostly working with white, clear, and aqua glazes right now they form the base, and odd bits of cobalt wash also wind up in the bucket.  It's one piece of my sustainability practice.  I only wish it were as easy to recycle my clay!

26- also porcelain, thrown, trimmed, and cut away for the spout.  Floral mishma decoration that turned out quite well here but I'm not sure I'll use it again.  I was working with this sketch-like floral design for wedding platters but they don't work as well as I'd like somehow.  Still, this is pretty.

27- front- a shamm, short, squared off stoneware with cascading circles in cobalt mishima.  The spout is handbuilt and added when the body was leather hard.  This is one of my favorite new patterns.

28- rear- stoneware pitcher, thrown in two pieces.  I went back to my love of antique china for this one and added a scalloped border at the top and bottom, painted with cobalt wash.  I used the edge of one of my platter templates to make the scallops and will repeat this for my work for the cookbook I'm working on.

And lastly, I'm just tickled with this cake plate.  The top is a slab of faux bois clay fitted into a flat (like, abnormally flat) glass IKEA plate.  The bottom is a thrown/flared cylinder.  I bisqued the pieces separately and then glaze-glued them together.  I was afraid that the plate would slump over the base and dithered about firing them separately and using epoxy afterward.  In the end, I ran out of space in the little kiln and decided to risk firing them together.  YAY! It worked!

This is our last week of "summer".  School begins next Monday and we have lots to pack in this week.  I'm looking forward to a regular routine and work days again, and being in this space a bit more regularly.

Have a lovely week, friends.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013


This summer I have been working on building a body of work to serve as photo props for some friends upcoming cookbook.  I'm tickled to be included and stretching my skills to come up with a diverse but unified collection for them.  These ramekins are part of what I've made.  Working in less figurative, more abstract manner is difficult for me, but I'm pleased with these.

Also this summer I've been talking to a good friend, Brian Pera about art, work, working at home, and film.  The week N was at camp he came over for the morning while I worked in the studio.  I was nervous and reticent to participate, but I'm glad he talked me into making this short film.  I shared it last week over twitter and my personal facebook account, but neglected to post it here.  Quiet Brain: Melissa Bridgman from Evelyn Avenue on Vimeo.

I hope you enjoy it.

Friday, July 12, 2013

This week my boy has been at camp all week so I feel like I've had so much time to be in the studio- both working and cleaning.  I feel like I was really productive and have been so happy to have uninterrupted days.  Countdown to school has begun- we start again on Aug 5, so I will be spending the rest of July doing as much fun summer stuff as we can stand, and very little time in the studio.

As promised, here are my chicken tiles.  I'm planning to install them on a beam that spans the length of the run from the door to the coop.  There's a lot of red with some aqua accents- the faux bois and chicken wire impressions.   My favorite tile isn't visible in this shot- a drawing of chicken feet!

And also promised, there's a batch of honey pots in my shop right now.

Have a good weekend, friends!

Monday, July 8, 2013

blue and white party in the studio

On Friday I unloaded my super-full itty bitty kiln to find a veritable blue and white party.  I did a lot of work in porcelain a few weeks ago- some cups, three pitchers, some cafe au lait bowls, and a few little pieces to experiment on.

First, a happy little bud vase with a botanical sketch rendered in mishima I drew directly from here.  I'll be using this again.
This may be my absolute favorite pitcher from this series.  #22, porcelain, thrown in two pieces, and etched with this loopy garland on the bottom and the inside of the top.  Happy happy happy.  I'll be making many more things like this.  Two pictures because I like it so much.
#23, also porcelain, with a much wider strap handle than I usually make.  Thrown, altered to a squarish shape and etched with a herringbone pattern at the top.  Instead of working with mishima, I watered down my cobalt wash and brushed it over the etched area and the top ice blocking portion that I copied from some of my silver pieces.
#24 porcelain, and I tried to make this a more simple, modern, minimalist shape.  it really doesn't work for me but it's fine.

Lastly, a set of 4 honeycomb impression cafe au lait bowls in porcelain and cobalt.  I like these a lot.  I made them for a friend with whom I trade horticultural knowledge and goods for pottery.  I like how simple and happy they are.

Later this week: the new chicken tiles I made and a batch of honeypots.  Have a lovely week!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

high summer

we've hit a blissfully cool spell this week- yesterday's highs were in the 70s, today's, low 80s.  So it was a very good time to suit up (and I'm so glad that I did!) and go into the beehive to fix some messy situations I'd observed from the window and then a big huge mess at the front of the hive.  Top bar hives are supposed to be REALLY good for the bees.  More like natural cavity hives, good for bee health and population growth.  Not so good for honey harvest, because sometimes the combs are built in a crossing, intersecting pattern, especially if they are near full honeycombs that are big and fat, broaching into territory that is meant for other combs.  So I knew I had work to do.

In the photos below, you'll see a straight, perfect comb.  The hive was full of these.  And next to it, a bowl of uncapped honeycomb that was built perpendicular to its surrounding combs.  I cut these out and preserved the straight combs.  There was one section that had 3 honeycombs fused together at the back of the hive.  I left those and marked them so I'd know not to move them, but could let the bees eat them.  After I removed the crossed combs and combs that were fat on one end, skinny on the other, I alternated these straight combs with empty bars to encourage the bees to build new straight combs.  One doesn't really reason with bees, but this was my attempt.  The uncapped honey doesn't keep but ferments easily, so I will either use this immediately (ice cream?) or give it to a friend who makes mead.

Above, you see the brood comb.  I was happy to see lots of larvae, capped brood, and eggs.  I checked three frames but didn't go back further than that.  There was plenty of cleanup at the front, some of which I harvested, some of which I set aside for the bees to clean up and reuse.  Lastly, you see my half-gallon jar, filled with chunks of capped honey, which I then crush and strain.  The cleanup at the front of the hive was quite intense, and the bees were less than happy with me.  I was grateful that I'd accidentally ordered a full suit instead of just a jacket.  They were ready to sting, but so far, the suit's kept me sting free.

My garden is going- tomatoes coming in.  Ajax enjoys the unripe roma tomatoes a little too much (he, incidentally, is never allowed to be outside while I'm working with the bees.  He is curious and looks too much like a small brown bear for his own good), and the yellow pear tomatoes have all succumbed to wilt.  I have pulled them out and will replace them with pole beans and cucumbers for the rest of the season.

Later this week I'll show you a) pitchers and b) a tile project I've been working on in preparation for the first city-wide Coop Tour in Memphis.
Have a lovely week and a happy Independence Day, friends!