Blue Clay, Japan and ‘Clay in my Garden’

September is here and suddenly there are masses of activities in the calendar. The Raiders were mostly still away on holiday so we haven’t got together recently. I have plates ready for them but have mainly been trying to concentrate on making as many of my own pots as I can and have a firing soon.








Linda Doherty gave me some old dried-out earthenware clay that she had had made up for a special project years ago. It’s blue, like Wedgwood I’m told, so I soaked and reconstituted one large bag and have ‘wasted’ a bit of time. I threw some mugs which I plan to glaze inside only, leaving the outside just blue. Of course I mused as I wedged the clay about whether it is compatible with my usual red clay, and possibly the white clay I use for Raiders’ plates. I mixed up equal parts of all three and threw them together. A short video I made of trimming said bowl drew lots of viewings on Instagram and Facebook but I am still waiting to see how the three survive together in bisque and clear glaze firings.

12th century Korean Duck-topped celadon lidded pot

very early Chinese celadon ewer with a chicken headed spout.

My husband Al is currently in Osaka, and has given a talk to a ‘Canada 150’ Anthropological Symposium at the National Museum of Ethnography. He is having a very interesting, if exhausting time and will have lots to tell me when he gets back. We are so pleased that he is able to take this trip after last year’s surgical drama. The other day he took himself to the Museum of Oriental Ceramics and has sent me photos of these two inspirational bird pots.

Yes of course I would have liked to accompany him to Japan but we thought it best if he kept the trip reasonably short this time, and make it easier for his hosts. Me, I have opted for a trip over to visit my family in Salisbury, London and Berlin in early October. Meanwhile I am using my solo time to spend consistent hours in my studio. Bless them, Primavera Gallery in Cambridge have asked me to bring some more jugbirds over in my hand luggage so I’m assembling a group of English bird jugs.

Bird Vessel 1

Bird Vessel 2 (for bread sticks?)










We popped in to Alcheringa Gallery in Victoria when we were there recently and since then the manager, Elaine, has asked me to participate in a special show of  ‘Vessels’. Vessels.. ships, drinking containers? In a gallery of mainly Ethnographic Art I imagine there will be wooden boxes and woven baskets. I’m being asked to have my entries ready by the end of September. So you can see why my calendar seems to be teeming already. So far I have completed one bird vessel, assembled one which is now ready to paint and a third is almost assembled. If anybody is travelling over to Victoria in the last week of September and would take them to Oak Bay for me I shall make it worth your while!

The other upcoming pressure is the fact that the TriCity Potters’ executive volunteered my garden as a venue for a presentation on clay processes, for September 30th and October 1st. Our event will be part of Canada-wide Cultural Days. To be fair, the executive know that I thoroughly enjoyed ‘Art in the Garden’ three years ago and have wondered if the event could happen again.

Members of our pottery group will demonstrate throwing, hand-building and decorating and show some of their work. I intend to do some throwing and possibly slip-painting. We hope to give adults and children a chance to play with clay.

But let’s hope that it’s not a rainy weekend! It seemed an impossibility after the drought of July and August but the merciful rain that has fallen this weekend leads me to wonder what the weather has in store for us all. As fires are now dampened in our Interior, but may burn until Spring in places, hurricanes pound the Eastern seaboard, and an earthquake devastates parts of Mexico one wonders how to remain optimistic about the future.

I’ll post photos of current work when it’s all fired, but my journal-writing self wanted to record how my time is being spent. I’m looking forward to attending the opening of Eric Metcalfe’s show at West Vancouver Museum on September 19th. and shall probably take some photos that evening.

Otherwise I’d better spend some of my ‘spare’ time tidying up the garden..

If you’d like to see photos taken on our Vancouver Island holiday check this link. Sadly Google, unlike now-defunct Picasa, doesn’t provide a system for attaching captions.

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