I would like to report on how the chicken I roasted on one of those roasting jars turned out. Although I’m trying to follow a vegan diet, I did take a couple tastings of the bird I roasted for my parents. I used vegetable stock and put lemon and dill in the jar as well. Although I couldn’t taste either of the added flavorings, the chicken was moist and tasty. I added veggies to the oval baker, which I deemed too small for a family, but didn’t sample them. There’s a larger oval baker on the website. I didn’t feature the one I used, as I’m keeping it.
Staying on that theme and the promise I made in my last newsletter, I did make my first square baking pan. It’s about 12” and would afford plenty of space for a chicken to stand up or be placed the traditional way with room for veggies. I did make a roaster to go with it, just in case anyone wants the full set. I think the square one will work much better, given the increased capacity, for plenty of vegetables to roast along with the bird. I added handles to it as well. I am pleased with the way it turned out and think it’s going to be very functional.
There was also a more traditional covered casserole in this firing.
Most likely because of the grip that winter seems to have on the Northeast, there was another soup and cracker bowl. This one is a bit larger than the one made last month. I think it will be more useful. The mate will be in the next glaze firing.
More oil and vinegar bottles were in this firing, as were a couple of garlic keepers.
Early in the month, I looked at my ware shelves where recently thrown pieces were drying and had to shake my head. All I had there were bowls! I really didn’t realize that I was only doing bowls for a couple of sessions. Can’t explain that because I like mixing up what I’m making, which isn’t how a full time potter works. I took a stab at nesting bowls and the large and medium nested correctly but the small was a tad too high. However, when I had all the bowls assembled, I found that one of the others happened to nest as the third bowl. There’s one small catch, though they are glazed the same, the small one was made with the clay that produces speckles and the other two were with clay that doesn’t have speckles. I knew I’d used both clays during the month and, unfortunately, after they are bisque-fired there’s no way to tell them apart. I hope the pictures show the difference. They can be purchased separately or as a set, with a reduced set price due to the speckles.
Soap dishes seem to be a popular item and I can’t keep them in stock so I made a few more. I’ve been glazing them in neutral colors since it’s difficult to guess what colors people have in their kitchens and baths. Unfortunately, only one survived the firing. The rest cracked.
At my open house, I discovered that pie plates that I made smaller than the typical 9 inches sold well so I made one, along with a 9 inch one. One friend who bought a smaller one said the size was perfect for a couple living alone. So, I may be on to something there.
A cousin’s daughter is having her first child and I wanted to make something that she could use in the nursery. Assuming that her mom’s love of pottery was passed down, I made a tray and jars for things like cotton pads, Q-tips or anything else she’d want handy. The young couple was stationed in Japan for a few years so I looked up how to write baby in Japanese and added that. Then I recalled that after the first ultrasound she nicknamed the baby Bean because he looked like one at that stage so I added that word as well. I’m not sure if anyone in Japan could read it but I’m claiming it as authentic. Baby Bean is a boy who will be named Kellan. We have a few more weeks before he’s born.
Included in this firing was another snack tray with matching coasters, which can be purchased separately or as a set.
I was making more of the bud vases that resemble pier pilings with ropes on them and assembled the extruder with one part in upside down, causing the tube of clay to split and me to be a bit miffed. However, I ended up being glad it happened because a new form was created, my flower vases. By splitting it toward the top and thinning and feathering the edges, I created an illusion of the vase being a flower head similar to an Iris. Carrying the flower theme a bit further, I thought that I’d try making roses and attaching them to something, in this case a slab-built pitcher. I could see that motif going on teapots and decorative bowls as well. I am going to keep expanding the flower applications because it’s a bit different than most pottery pieces that I make. The pieces pictured aren’t for sale but I’ll gladly take orders. I need to refine each a bit more but thought I’d include pictures so you’d get an idea. I’ve been thinking about Dogwood flowers . . .
Something interesting and unintentional occurred when I glazed some pieces with the turquoise and purple combination that I like so much. The purple must have been a bit too thick and when it dried, it cracked. Thinking that it would melt and re-pool during the firing, I let it go into the kiln. Instead of doing that, the cracks in the glaze remained, making an interesting effect, like an alligator’s hide. It’s still food safe but it is textured a bit and could require some cooking spray to avoid food sticking.
The month’s work has been fun, exploring new looks – both intentionally and not, learning to write in a foreign script and even making a couple sales and taking some orders. I also signed up for Market Days at my old company’s corporate office. The event is held twice a year and a percentage of each vendor’s sales go to support the Booster Club which holds events such as the children’s Christmas party. So, little by little, Earth and Water Pottery is expanding its reach. In an attempt to get a wider distribution of this newsletter, I would like to offer an incentive for my existing customers – unlike some companies that lure new customers with deals and ignore the loyal ones who have been customers for years. For every new email address you give me, I will take $5 off your next order. The only thing I ask is that you please check with the person to make sure a monthly pottery newsletter would be welcome. I’d hate to start out on the wrong foot as somebody’s junk mail. You can use the “Contact” section of the website so I’ll be sure to give you credit.
So, till the next firing, please think spring. If we all join in the effort, maybe we’ll be seeing warmer weather soon. For those of you in the Northeast, I can report that I did see Daffodils in Virginia when I was down there Palm Sunday weekend. I can also report that I made a hasty departure to avoid the snowstorm that was racing across my entire route. The flowers got snowed on and I did not, arriving back in New York in time, even if it did cut short time with my cousins that some of you met at the Open House in the fall.