Letting Fall In

“Fall is my favourite time of year!”  I have heard these words declared so many times these past weeks and I cannot agree more.  Especially after such a glorious sun-filled maelstrom of a summer, this Fall’s gentle coming has been sweet.  Fall is my time to breathe, regroup, get back into routine with school, and brace my being for the cold blasts of winter.  As I watched the leaves blow off from my studio window, the weather change is inspiring some coiling work.   Coiling is one of the oldest methods for building pots in history used by people from Native Americans to the Koreans.  For me, that rolling and joining of clay is not only satisfying in a tactile way, but also references the cycle of seasons, life and energy that we are all part of.

Besides new work and jewelry, I have a new collection of greeting cards reflecting Orcas in the mood of the season.  A set of cards tied up in a bow would make a thoughtful house gift, I think.  I’ll post some of the card images in my next post soon, but stop by when you are in Eastsound.  Call me first, if you like at 360-220 8221.

Maelstrom. Coiled dark and white stoneware bodies, iron oxide wash, glazes, fired to cone 6. Mounted on driftwood (optional), 18″ across.
Work in progress. Cassius black clay vessel.
Work in progress. Cassius black clay glaze.

Palm trunk vessels

The idea was to create a set of vases to set off large fronds of palms, no flowers required.  This is a test set of flattened coil vessels inspired by the trunks of the palm trees you see everywhere in Singapore.  The rings in the trunks are repetitive in such a modern way, and yet so tactile; I always want to reach out and feel its roughness on my palm (no pun intended).  The two on the left are made with white and toasted clay and a single colour glaze – the two toned effect is the result of the glaze on two types of clay.

The vessel on the right features a long oval base that demanded a little more hand control to maintain the shape as I built up, but the result was that the body fits snugly in my hand when I held it, giving it a lot of potential as a drink holder of some sort.

Coiling and toiling

Coiling is an handbuilding technique that has been used for centuries to build very strong, hardy functional ware. Here I was playing with flattened coils.  Basically, I rolled the clay into long ropes and flattened each rope into a ribbon of clay with a rolling pin.  I had to be consistent in rolling out the width of each strip so that whenever I joined the coils to build the shape I wanted, I could seamlessly blend the joints.  The effect I wanted was to make the vase look like it was coiled from one looong flat ribbon of clay.  Do you see the little lip near the neck of the vase?  I designed that so that this piece can also be used as a carafe.