anyone for nibbles ?

Making ceramics starts with an idea ... in this case the idea to make bowls, small bowls that stack well (not to be taken for granted with individually thrown pieces). Uniformity of size plus an attractive shape are important starting criteria.

Having got that right and the pots bisque-fired, the next goal is to achieve some form of attractive surface treatment. On this occasion,
 I decided on a multi-coloured fruit theme hand-painted around the outsides of the bowls. A labour
of love - it took me TWO full afternoons to complete just seven bowls! Just as well that the weather was kind so I could work in the garden - in the company of Basti, Polly and Kipps of course :).

Opening the kiln and seeing the finished 'creations' is always a tense moment. Will I like the results? The trouble is that the final products are often very different from the initial vision. There are so many variables at play here that it's hard to be sure that the effects are as planned. Which means that quite often I have to LEARN to like what I've made. Sometimes I do - sometimes I don't. Deluding myself is not an option!

Well, enough said. Here are some more pictures of what I've been talking about. I may use the bowls for nibbles or put them on Folksy. Haven't quite decided yet ...


meet the family

OH NO! There're no future in-laws being introduced here??! 
Of course not! I wouldn't do that to anybody - lol.

Instead I thought you might like to meet some of my fluffy friends starting with ...

Think you can get to the house? You'll have to get past us first!

My two independent and aloof chowchows. They are alert but only bark briefly when they feel there's a threat to all they protect, they aren't attention seekers, won't grovel for affection and - oh joy - don't stink to high heaven when they get wet.

Kipps loooooves the snow
Meet Kipps: He was an only pup without siblings to ever put him in his place. As a result he is headstrong beyond belief! He's also highly intelligent and that combination makes him a challenge to own. He won't be fooled and is not to be trifled with. 

Did I mention his eagle eyes? Kipps spots all that moves on the ground and in the air ... in daylight and at night 
As it happens I am pretty single-minded myself. Which is probably why I have a soft spot for him and protect him from the wrath of others when he's being naughty.

Meet Polly: She's quite different to Kipps. Smaller in build, she came from a large litter and constantly tries to entice Kipps to play - even though she mostly gets a gruff response. She's a darling with a funny face and transient deafness which sets in whenever she does something she shouldn't.

Polly as a pup. She loved sleeping on this step but kept falling off whenever she woke
Chows are known to select their favourites from amongst the family they live with. Polly's favourite is my daughter Zanna. Kipps' favourite is me ... hurray :)))

Polly loves her bed and sleeping with her head on an obliging teddy
Meet Basti: Basti belongs to Zanna. He came to us from an animal sanctuary when he was 3 months old. He's almost 10 1/2 now. On average domestic rabbits live for 7 years. So Basti is doing extremely well. 

Basti: One smart bunny in his home-crocheted bunny-harness
As a veteran he has very specific culinary requirements: he eats his food soaked, carrots and apples grated, spinach defrosted ... in short: he gets whatever he wants whenever he wants. 

In good weather, he spends the day outside in his 2-storey rabbit house complete with his own little garden. He loves it there. He's also fond of wanders in our large garden. As we're not short of hungry foxes around here, Kipps' and Polly's daily task is to guard their little long-eared friend against unwelcome furries looking for their dinner. 

Being house-trained (it is easy to house-train rabbits!!), Basti comes in at night and can hopple around the house freely. Kipps and Polly love that too because with Basti comes all that yummy food and - to their delight - there are plenty of opportunities to steal it and then wait for second helpings!

Heading for the veggie patch with his keeper in tow
I'm here so Basti's safe from the fox


glaze glorious glaze ... or a recipe for disaster ?

A good glaze can make a mediocre pot look great - a bad glaze can ruin an otherwise perfect pot ... that's what my first tutor told me and his words have been ringing in my ears ever since ... Maybe that's why I get worked up when it's time to glaze my pots. Not one for an easy life though, I keep trying out new formulas from basic ingredients. What fun!!?!

I'm into books - so OBVIOUSLY I've got some on the subject.
They are a bit like a chemistry textbooks cum recipe books all in one. 

This time I opted for a cream glaze and a violet one ... I love blue you see - I think because my mum kept dressing me in blue because of my reddish-blond hair ... 

WEELLLLLL ... the cream turned out distinctly speckled
 and the violet ended up a subtle shade of green. Crazy!

The night I fired the test pieces, I dreamt - as I often do - of many a kiln disaster - including that the glazes had exploded off the pots and got plastered over the kiln walls and lid.
Nightmare springs to mind!

Luckily the kiln still looks as clean as the day I got it and the baked glazes are
beginning to grow on me. But I'm still after that violet blue!!!


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