Sunday, January 22, 2012
One of the first things children love to do with clay is to press objects with texture into it. The yielding clay surface magically conforms to the pressed object, making a negative imprint. I’ve never lost this fascination, and have returned to it in the past few weeks.
To do this, I roll the clay into a thin slab. Hand rolling in multiple directions makes the final piece much stronger and more durable than using a slab roller. The particles of clay are packed more densely. I select a fabric from my growing stash and use a rolling pin to press the pattern into the clay. Sometimes I press the entire surface and sometimes just a select amount.
A round template is used and the clay is cut with a needle tool. This round slab is then left to dry to leather hard. It should stand upright but have some flexibility. Trial and error will show you when the clay is ready to be formed.
I curl the edges up by hand, rotating the bowl. I like rustic shapes so I don’t force perfect conformity. There is a refined organic flow that can happen if you take your time and allow a unique shape to emerge.
I use a potter’s rib to check the inside diameter, although this is more of a guide than a template. Do you see the rounded rim? That is important for strength and function. I have smoothed and slightly thickened the rim. A thick rim protects the bowl from shattering if it gets bumped. A thin rim will transfer the shock of impact to the center of the plate, causing a crack.
When the bowl is stiff but not yet bone dry, I center it on a hump mold on my wheel. A thin foot rim is thrown, and the piece is signed. The foot rim allows the piece to sit with stability.
I’m waiting on a kiln load to cool now that has some of my first tests with lace textured ceramics, so you can check OneClayBead to see if any are listed yet.
This will be my 2012 line of dinnerware. I love making it, and can’t wait to see where this journey takes me.
Wednesday, January 18, 2012
This is a soup we often eat after working out. It has the high protein, low fat ratio that my trainer approves and is so intensely flavorful that I now prefer it over high fat creamy soups. like all of my Thai dishes, I’ve tweaked it with Moroccan elements.
Thai Coconut Curry Soup with Arugula:
1 lb cruelty free organic center cut pork, cubed
1 T olive oil
2 C vegetable broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 14 oz can Muir Glen Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes
1/2 C chopped roasted green chilies
1 14 oz can organic coconut milk
1 T lime juice
1 T Thai red curry paste
1/8 t cinnamon
1/8 t cumin
Sauté pork in large fry pan over medium heat, using about 1 T olive oil. When meat is fully cooked, add all of the other ingredients, cover, and cook over medium heat until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in 1 C baby arugula greens. Let soften. Ladle into bowls and enjoy!
This soup is great served in my flower curry bowl- check here for availability. Since my current rage is food styling, I’ll be sharing more of my home cookin recipes. let me know how you like them!
Monday, January 16, 2012
The piece is a Tree Roots planter. The idea to make this came spontaneously one day. I suppose I was thinking of family and roots when this lively little piece emerged. It was entirely hand sculpted without molds. The clay is raw outside and glazed in green tea inside. The outside may grow moss over time, making it even more treelike..
You can see the piece for sale at OneClayBead.
Sunday, January 15, 2012
I’ve needed a better graphic look for this blog! It never even had a banner until now and the text scrolled in a tiny narrow strip. I’m a fairly decent writer and love blathering away and imagining that I am important enough to read, so Sarah of Tuckooandmoocow came over yesterday and pimped my blog up. I designed the banner and sidebars, she made the buttons for social media links and created the HTML.
Sarah loved the vintage Zuni fetish beads that I use sparingly in my jewelry. They are hand carved by individual artisans in the 70’s, right before Native American jewelry moved largely into production assembly. These tiny works of art have a powerful beauty. I noticed that Sarah handled them reverently and appreciated the totemic meaning. I traded her 5 beads for her help. She plans to pair them with her landscape painted miniatures. You can follow tuckooandmoocow on Facebook to find out how she uses them.
It is way cool that I bartered for her expertise with beads. Such an old way of honoring someone’s labor.
I’m going to be writing more often now. You know how happy I get when you let me know that my visual obsessions please you, so don’t hesitate to comment here, and on my Lee Wolfe Pottery Facebook, too!
Friday, January 13, 2012
As snow covers my once busy landscape, all but a few stark details recede into the soft white. It seems to reflect our lives, which were filled to the point of strain only a month ago, and now we have entire mornings unscheduled. So I could say that this is where my new affair with minimalist ceramics begins.
A less poetic explanation is that I've spent hours of time on Pinterest lately, creating style boards, and have discovered Nordic and Scandinavian blogs by interior designers and food stylists that I’ve lusted over.
This series of flower bowls is called Winter Lovers:
Winter Lovers captures the romance of frost on the windows, walks through the snow, and melting into someone you love by the fire.
It consists of my Ice Crystal Blue glaze, Satin White Glaze, and Cloud glaze, with the Flower bowl shape.
Hope you find some minimally busy time to do something aimless, something unplanned, something simply for pleasure.
Monday, January 2, 2012
Yesterday I cleared moist dead leaves that clung in crevices of a bush in our garden. The bush had brown spots where the leaves had blocked sunlight all summer long. On New Years Day, as we clear away the old to make space for new growth, I thought of all the possibilities in my own life that have manifested only after I cleared away the dead debris, and opened myself to the transformative powers of sunlight.
And I think there are two parts to the magic that changes and heals. One is the act of protest, of knowing what needs to be hauled away and allowed to compost. It is then necessary to open oneself to the sunlight, to allow the mysterious and unknowable process of renewal to take place in our own hearts and minds.
In 2012, I will be a clearing for the good stuff to show up.
Do you ever lift your face to the warm sun and let it fill you with pleasure? Or are you lost in he world where status matters, and your clothes tell us who you really are?