According to the National Gardening Association, “When you Garden, You Grow.”
Planting a garden is an enriching experience not only for soil and seed, but also for you, the gardener. When trowel pierces moist earth, there is something that feeds the soul, and the satisfaction one feels nurturing the garden and watching it develop is hard to describe in words
Back by popular demand…glazedOver rustic garden stakes!
I make my herb and veggie stakes from slabs of stoneware clay which I first roll out with a slab roller and then allow to air dry until the clay is just shy of leather hard. Then I cut out each stake, smooth out the edges and incise the letters and dots with a ball tip stylus. Like any flat ceramic piece, the stakes need to dry very slowly, otherwise they’ll warp, so I lay them side by side in a single layer and allow them to dry between cut pieces of sheetrock which not only keeps them perfectly flat but also helps to absorb the moisture from the clay. Once they are bone dry, I bisque fire them to approximately 1800◦ F.
When the stakes have cooled, I slosh a coat of glaze on the entire surface of the stakes and then I wipe off each one with a sponge. In this way, the glaze only stays in the incised areas and not on the surface of the speckled clay, which itself has such a charming character that it’s a shame to completely cover it up. As a final step, I paint on the glaze along the edges of the stakes to frame up the composition nicely. One more firing, this time to around 22oo◦ F and viola!
So what are you waiting for? Go plant!
Today I shipped off a custom 16-piece dinnerware set. This was no ordinary custom order, I have to tell you. It was the dictionary definition of “joyous.” It started with a convo from the buyer asking me, innocently enough, if I am able to make 8” dinner plates.
“Absolutely,” was my rapid reply, plus details to proceed with a custom order if she was interested in going ahead.
Then, without skipping a beat, she simply bought some of my tiny dipping bowls in the glaze pattern that first caught her eye.
“She’s coooool,” I thought, “I like her!” She was clearly checking me out in the flesh (in the stoneware!), doing some industrial espionage first. What a smart cookie.
She gave those dipping bowls as a present, she told me. Then she missed them and bought some more for herself. She missed my bowls! Now I reaally liked her.
When it comes to socializing, I’m usually inclined to be very reserved with my buyers. I generally figure that overly-friendly letters from the artist might be more than the buyer bargained for. They like the pottery, but they might not necessarily want to sit and have coffee with the potter. In this case, though, I’d like nothing more than to meet this particular buyer for a coffee. She works for a family foundation working on preservation of history and heritage, and the conservation of resources and sites. The custom order took a little while to manifest, so we’ve had some time to get to know each other. We exchanged not only friendly emails, but personal pictures too. At one point, she and her husband even wrote from an internet cafe during their trip to Peru!
With her freshness of spirit, charm, and admirable worldliness, she has inspired me both artistically and personally. Would that every transaction could be so joyous and so enriching!
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