Saturday, September 15, 2012

Inspiration Bowl

Lee Rexrode bowl
I picked up the 500 Bowls book for some inspiration the other day. I guess I hadn't noticed, or didn't remember, that the introduction was written by John Britt. He notes that while the bowl is one of the most basic forms, it is "simultaneously mysterious and transparent." 

In his seminal book Functional Pottery, Robin Hopper notes that the form of the bowl is an extension of the natural cupped hand. In "civilized society" we distance ourselves from our food and eating vessels by using utensils such as forks and spoons. But holding a clay bowl in the hands and eating directly from it makes a meal a more satisfying experience. It is then that, as John says, we can be surprised by "the magical interior hidden inside a calm exterior, or vice versa."
Jane Cullum bowl

Here are some of the bowls I have at home that have become my favorites. The first one is by Lee Rexrode. When I first got it I barely used it because it was "so beautiful" I was afraid something might happen to it. But now it's in constant use. I love the way it opens up and how the glaze leads me back down. And most of all, I love the tactile feel of the lumps of feldspar in the clay body.

The second bowl is by my friend and mentor, Jane Cullum. I love the way the color changes in this bowl and, most of all, how a small pull and the simple addition of little bits of clay on the side changed it's shape.
John Britt tea bowl

The third is a John Britt tea bowl. I love the movement of the lip and the amazing glaze. It really turns my morning tea into a wonderful awakening of the senses.

Friday, September 14, 2012

I'm baaaack!

What a busy Summer! I never found the time or the inspiration to blog, but I did get quite a bit accomplished. 

This Summer's derecho storm caused the loss of a few trees behind my studio which means that now there is a lot more sun in that area of the backyard. So I decided to do some landscaping back there. Of course, a have the proverbial "brown thumb" and there's only so much sun and mosquitoes I can take. That means that I'm doing it little by little. But I'm happy with the progress so far.

The first effort was to do the sides of the studio and create a sort of Zen installation with logs from the felled cedar tree and stones and pebbles that I dug up while planting, including some pumice rocks brought from Montserrat's Soufriere Hills volcano. The second effort was to start to lay down some gravel for a path and work on the area next to the neighbor's fence. I planted 5 azaleas there and, sadly, they're looking pretty bad. I can't decide whether to return them or give them some more time to adapt (although one looks totally dead). I also transplanted some day lilies (that originally came from my husband's grandmother's house), so I'm hoping that next Spring I'll have a lot of new growth.

At the end of the path I put some more of the cedar logs, which makes an unexpectedly comfortable place to sit quietly and enjoy the new space. Now I need to tackle the area behind the studio.