Juggling pots and family!

The last few days illustrate how my life is a blend of pottery-related activities, household stuff and days when family is top priority.

pots ready for bisque firing

Last Thursday I finished applying terra sigillata to the undersides of all my pots, fast-dried some still slightly damp plates in my convection oven (on ‘warm’), loaded the kiln for the bisque firing and turned it on.

We’d set aside Friday for grandson Caleb so Steve dropped him off with us on his way to BCIT. The day wasn’t promising but we packed a picnic anyway and Al and I drove Caleb over to White Pine Beach on nearby beautiful Sasamat Lake. This spot is packed on a Summer day but this day we almost had the beach to ourselves.

First priority was to ‘explore’ the trail which wends its way all around the lake. Going about one third of the way and then returning to the beach for lunch and sand digging was just right for us grandparents and the explorer.

Story time back at home was much appreciated. Luckily the kiln was scheduled to turn off just then so I was reassured that it had, and we headed out again for Port Moody’s rec centre playground and the library. After Steve took Caleb home again we treated ourselves to the delicious food at our local Thai restaurant!


No chance to get back to the studio on Saturday as grocery shopping loomed. Suddenly the plot was to have the family here on Sunday for Fathers’ Day and a one-day-early birthday cake for Jennifer. But what a joy that was! Steve and Jen brought Caleb and the twins, Bennett and Lucas, and the two Chinese students they’re billetting while they attend school in Pitt Meadows, and son Mike came out from Vancouver.

What to do with all those boys when it’s raining? Caleb showed his little brothers where I work with clay and for quite a while the three were happily doing what a four-year-old and two just-two-year-olds do. I was delighted to see them poking, squishing and cutting some soft clay.  I also gave the parents a little bisqued clay pot I’d made from a lump of clay dug up in their new garden! It’s fairly poor quality clay from Pitt Meadows but I was pleased to have processed it for them.

So today the pots in the kiln were certainly cold enough to take out, wax and glaze and repack. The ‘Raiders’ plates and some test pieces of mine have all been glazed in the new G1916Q Tony Hansen glaze so I’ll report how they behave in a couple of days. The rest, my bird mugs and yunomis, are glazed with my usual Deb’s Clear.

Glazed pots ready for firing

I want to mention that I was pleased to catch Tony Clennell’s lecture at the Shadbolt Centre on June 8th. He is out here from Ontario to give workshops at Shadbolt, at the Hub in the Cowichan Valley and at Vancouver’s Aberthau Cultural Centre. I see from his blog that he also paid a respectful visit to ‘Chosin Pottery while he was on Vancouver Island. As the Shadbolt lecture was his first engagement after flying out we had first choice of some pots he’d brought from a recent gas (not wood) firing at Pinecroft. I selected a footed, nicely thrown cup with a comfortable statement handle, and an interesting crackle glaze. Thanks Tony. It joins a couple of other Clennell pieces from his stay with us on his last visit to BC.

Tony Clennell mug

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