Well today (at 1am) we put the two small kilns on to biscuit fire. I am doing the first firing of the ‘ready’ pots from my 100 pots collection. I always feel nervous about any firing. I ask myself, will the pots survive, have I prepped enough so they look as good as they can when glazed and were they really ready?
The survival thing must have been much harder for potters who pit fired. So much was dependent on the clay quality, temperature and humidity. How these archaeological finds lasted so long amazes me, especially considering all the variables.
When I have done the 100 pots for the challenge I can start to be more experimental. I have not had time to make more that one pot for the last couple of nights and I get scared that they will not survive and I will not make my challenge. I have 62 pots and I am on my 50th day so I have pots in reserve but I do like to pot each day as that is what makes me feel I am completing the challenge.
As yesterday was spent cleaning, being away from the studio for another day makes me a little sad. I am getting so into throwing that I want to spend huge amounts of time doing the practical stuff. However I am here in Taunton, with my mother, and making use of the internet.
We will not be able to open the kiln until tomorrow. I will video and show you the results.
I was considering the challenge yesterday and thought that if I started the challenge again I would focus on hand building and look at pre roman history and pots. Hand building really has been my love but I must admit the journey to learning to throw is an amazing one. Seeing the pots all in a row with their numbers, shapes and sizes. I think the journey to throwing itself is interesting. Having kept all the pots I am now reluctant to get rid of any. I will be very sad to relinquish 4 to the winners. A little bit of me thinks I should let the 4 winners choose the pots they like but we have said someone will choose the 4 best so I will stick with the original idea.
So amusing from today – I made a tiny and lovely pot. I then dropped it and had to make another. The first was a bit of a catastrophe management but I like those best. This one did not want to survive so threw itself on the floor! Nothing to do with me, honest.
This is Day 50. I am half way through my challenge
We have made £311 so far. We are already using the money to help build the website. We can sell tickets online and books. Getting an income stream will help develop the website and support SANHS to continue. Did you know, together with SWHT, we have one of the largest collections of ceramics in the country and each piece has a connection to Somerset!
Somerset Art Weeks start on Saturday. We are open every day, except Monday, 11 – 6.
We open the kiln tomorrow and I will Facebook the event.
Research reflected into a pot
The social history of humans and how this links to the pottery we see fascinates me. Also how much we still do not know. We understand that pottery making developed alongside more settled farming communities. Did these changes in how we lived happen because we learnt new skills or did immigrants bring them over? This is contested but in these troubled times I like to think that these ideas come from our rich heritage of welcoming people from other lands.
The English Channel was a river like the Thames and people could cross it easily so people migrated from, what is now the continent, to what would become our green and pleasant isles. I have read that we are more likely to have had people living in the Southwest because the climate was more hospitable here. The earliest pots found in Britain are from 6000 years ago. The famous pot that I have read about was found at Windmill Hill in Wiltshire. What are our earliest pots in Somerset? This I do not know but I do know we have found pots along the Sweet Track (4500 years ago) – this is the oldest road we have and we believe that the vessels were left by the side of the road on purpose, possibly as a gift to the gods, in order to improve the chances of a better harvest etc
The earliest pots were earthenware. They had round bottoms, were used for holding things and were hand built, rarely decorated but when they were decorated were imprinted or scratched or burnished. Decoration came later. So in a number of my pots I have tried to reflect the designs described in archeological texts. These include pots burnished with simple scratched patterns. I have not used earthenware or used hand-building as that was not part of the challenge.
Pot of the Day Process Gallery
Clay type: Toasted Stoneware
Turned and decorated
Decoration: Turned on a wheel, decoration with a tool.
Programme: ?Temperature: ?
Win a pot from the 100 days
To enter the draw to win one of the 4 best pots, as chosen by Chris Jessop at SANHS, please donate using either Facebook, the donate box or directly to the office.
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