Friday, July 17, 2009

Hello, my name is Pam and I have an addiction to clay.

Finally.


After almost thirty years as a potter, I've finally moved to a new level of understanding of this mind-blowing-in-it's-complexity hobby/occupation. What can I say? I'm a very slow learner. Also, I've been busy birthing seven babies. And canning tomatoes.





When I fulfilled my twenty year dream of having a gas kiln for reduction firing three years ago, I knew I was embarking on a new learning adventure. I knew it would be long and arduous because I had no teacher and had to figure things out for myself. It's the hard way to learn and I don't recommend it.

My kiln is not the best one I could have gotten but it was affordable and available so I got it. It has taken me this long- ten firings- to start to learn and understand its idiosyncrasies.

With this last firing this week, I decided to be bold and try some things at the risk of losing sixty or seventy pots.




Firing a gas kiln is all about the atmosphere occurring in the intense heat of the kiln. It's about CO wanting to be CO2 and starving the fire of oxygen and producing just the right amount of carbon and not wasting any fuel and keeping the temperature climbing to past 2300 degrees Fahrenheit and doing so evenly in the top, bottom, back and front of the kiln. And figuring out How To Do It! It's predicting and prognosticating how certain glazes in their raw form will react in the heat and atmosphere of the kiln to produce specific colors and effects.

My brain is tired.




I was tired of so-so glaze effects and symptoms of under-firing like blisters and flat, lifeless glazes. I decided to take some risks with this firing and I'm glad I did. I learned a lot and I've got some cool little pots to show for it.





I played a bunch with this glaze combination. As a result I have quite a few of these drippy blue pots. I hope my customers like blue this weekend.




Also, I made lots of small, easy on the pocket book pots that I hope people will buy. I didn't take my firing risks with my higher-end work. I also predict I will sell more lower priced work this weekend than higher priced things in this depressed, oops, I mean recessionary economy that we're in.

This is an ikebana. It's for arranging flowers in the Japanese style. I LOVE what the glaze did on this. I think I'll set it aside for my son who declared his affection for ikebanas publicly on my blog.





This is a soup tureen that I made years ago. The glaze on it was not very attractive because it had been underfired. The glaze hadn't gotten as hot as it should have. So I took a BIG sweaty-palm inducing risk and refired it. It could have cracked, warped or heck, blew up in the refiring. But it didn't! Hallelujah!!





And the glaze now looks so much better. I really love the new effects the kiln had on it. Maybe now it will sell!





So because I am so happy about my newly acquired understanding of my kiln and all the cool pots I have to sell this weekend....


I'm having a little contest.




Here's the scoop.
See this?




Huh?






What the?






Yeah, everyone wants to know what these are.

What are these?





Take a guess.

The person who guesses what the use of these odd things are will win their choice of pottery from several pieces I will show you next week.

I will also give a piece of pottery to the most clever guess.

Winner announced Monday night.

So you have all weekend while I'm frying, burning and sizzling in the sun at the art fair (while also making bucks I hope!) to figure out what the heck these things are!

Go ahead. Tell me what you think they are.

P.S. You can enter the contest as often as you'd like (in case you get a 5am Eureka! inspiration after you've already tried) and IF there is more than one right answer, there will be a drawing for the winner.

32 comments:

  1. Um... I really have no idea, so I'm going out on a limb here.
    I think they are made for filling with dirt, and planting flowers in- little raised bed thingys. Even if they aren't made for that, they would really make cute flowerbeds! Ok, I was brave, and took a huge guess! That should count for something, right?

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  2. Amber! That's what I was going to say... I guess now I'll have to go with turtle corrals.

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  3. Um. Maybe you should have hidden the comments. BUT I was going to say raised bed borders for flowers and such before I saw Amber's answer...if you want what I think is the correct guess. For a creative guess? A fancy schmancy pair of bicycle tire rims???

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  4. I'm going to say: Ankle bracelets for an elephant with edema.

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  5. Why does the elephant have edema? Do the bracelets help?

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  6. Tree rings. That's it I know I'm right you can just go ahead and send me that BEAUTIFUL soup tureen.

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  7. cold frames for your greens? raised bed for your herbs? A turret for a giant cast iron pan? Giant napkin rings?

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  8. Not sure what they are but I would put a piece of glass on top.

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  10. Three rings, huh? Well, the Regentin household IS a three ring circus, but that's not it. I think they are wedding rings, one for The Incredible Hulk, one for the Jolly Green Giant, and one for the giant in Jack and the Beanstalk.

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  11. Hey DD! (hmmm....what does that stand for?) there are only two rings!

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  12. Because the elephant is pregnant of course! I can tell it's edema because the bracelets have plenty of room. And as for helping? You bet. They make her feel pretty.

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  13. Only two rings. Well then, that changes everything. Martin brought up elephants, and he is partly correct. They are not bracelets, however, but earrings.

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  14. My first serious guess was plant borders...BUT... giant cookie cutters? Bean bag toss targets or seriously heavy rings for a ring toss?

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  15. How about pizza helpers. You place these around the pizza you are topping to keep the cheese from falling all over the table. When you are done you can pick up the ring and have a clean table...Voila!

    Regardless...I love the brown one! Beautiful!

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  16. Book ends. For giant books, of course!

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  17. In the horse and buggy days you would heat this up and then put a pillow in it to sit on to keep your but warm on cold night

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  18. it is either a beaver pelt stretcher or a border for a firepit

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  19. how about a cheese or bread mold?

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  20. BWAAAHAHAHAHAhahaha!!!

    You guys are makin' my day.

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  21. My guess is that the pottery piece is a used firing ring that is now doubling as edging for a plot of flowers or herbs.

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  22. are they plant protectors? to protect plants from mongo-sized cutworms? 'cause I got 'em and they're of Biblical proportions. Think Jonah...

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  23. I know! It's a measuring tool for wool, cotton or straw! That's it! I know! I won!

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  24. I think they are what you put a large clay pot or vase in to stabilize it so it doesn't tip over. Not that anyone would make a tippy or unstable pot or vase, but just in case.

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  25. I guessed turtle corral, planter border, bad firing left-over when one pot blew up and messed up all the rest, but now I think they are slug inhibitors for lettuces, and since I have the most and biggest slugs....
    Pam, your devoted followers dearly LOVE your blues this weekend. Wonderful glazes. And the son who had the foresight to complement Mom's Black and blues glaze is one bright boy.

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  26. Okay, I'm guessing a base for something..uh birdbath? Or a drum, I had one pottery teacher that made the prettiest drums, but they don't look anything like yours, so I'm sticking to a base for something.

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  27. I believe it is a base for a flower pot.

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  28. Oh, Oh, Oh!! I know they are the goals for Lawn darts!!!

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  29. I would roll the garden hose up inside it. It would keep it nice and neat.
    I'll take the green one thank you! lol

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  30. Oh... I thought of a really good one this morning right when I woke up and now I forgot it...

    But now I'm thinkin' that maybe you decided to dress up Dad's tractor by making it some new front tire. Yeah, they're impractical, but aesthetics are always more important than practicality, right?

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  31. I have no idea.

    Guesses?

    Uh... give Sam and Pete some sticks and they can push them down the road for their own entertainment. That's all I have.

    I like the new glaze, and you should save that ikebana.
    And to Im Voegeli- the son who loves mom's pottery is none other than your sometimes-surrogate family member that currently resides in Peru.

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  32. Hi Pam, I looked and you have done some very creative stuff. I used to always buy blue glazed pottery at art shows so now I have a bunch of pieces. (can u fix handles?) I like the refired dish, turned out well. Did u sell it? The hose keeper is a good guess but I'm thinking its a playground for fairies and wood nymphs that take care of all the outdoor plants and things we can't get to regularily. Throw some bird seed in so the birds will know where to bring them. Just a guess. Don't even know what time it is there. In Florida its bed time. 'Nite...

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