I know many people have had tragic events this year. I am thankful that I have not experienced tragedy this year. But I am one of those people who have found it hard!
I started January 2020 with big dreams and High Hopes. I purchased a house that needed a lot of TLC with the intention of making it a secondary studio. It’s a place I’d dreamed about for a very long time; a place where Potters could go anytime and spend as long as they wanted on their projects. Not having to rush or be confined to a three hour schedule.
Just as I started fixing the place up Covid hit. No problem! The studio is going to take months to get ready! I can fix the house while we wait out the pandemic. I was working 8 hour days to get the studio ready, all while April, May and June ticked by. Covid scared the students who would otherwise have loved a studio opportunity. When July came around I realised that I needed to make a decision. Covid wasn’t going away and with months of paying mortgage and utilities I could not financially hold everything in place until it passed.
Especially with no teaching income coming in.
It was such a hard decision to make.
By the end of July, it was clear that I was going to have to make the house into a place where somebody would want to live. With the help of Cathy and Chris and many, many others, I was able to get the house ready. I started 10+ hour days between August to December, we got the job done.
I’ve had some time to reflect on what happened. This was a dream that Covid threw off course. So the sting of failure for the studio still sits in my throat. However,
I am buoyed by the kindness of neighbours Ryan and Tanya and the joy that somebody has a bright newly renovated Home.
I am filled with gratitude for the students that were with me and were ready to support me! You hold a special place in my heart. I am sorry if I got you excited just to let you down.
Thanks to my parents for covering the cost of the kitchen and the bathroom I did not have to borrow more money.
To mend this hurt I have found listening to some podcasts Oprah's master class January 31, 2019 and mind your business 432 How to bounce back after a failed launch. started to read Radical Acceptance.
More recently, I am also thankful for the Bee Well project to direct my energies to. Which allows us to continue connecting online even though things can still feel uncertain.
I think the best thing will be getting back to work and hanging out with my students again but who knows what plans I can come up with over the next 4 weeks. Pat says I should start with cleaning my studio lol - so maybe I’ll start there.
If you're signed up to my newsletter then you know I had my first solo show this month.
Because we're all staying indoors a little more, I decided that bringing the show online was the best way to brighten your days and bring a little more art into your sight!
The Immersion show came to life after I spent time thinking about my childhood, my continued love of water and my fascination with nature.
Today, I wanted to tell you a little more about the process of raku.
I mention raku a lot but I wanted to take the time to tell you more about this traditional Japanese process of pottery.
This type of pottery is fired at a low temperature, which can be hard to attain in a more modern kiln. To keep things consistent, I build a temporary kiln and use propane to run it. The temperatures are still scorching but comparatively lower than your everyday firings.
The pieces are fired until they're glowing red (the benefits of a temporary kiln is that I can take a peek to see how things are going). Then, they're placed into a container full of combustible materials (think straw, pine needles, hay etc.), which ignite from the intense heat of the items. The containers are quickly sealed, producing an atmospheric effect, which alters the colours in the glazes and clay.
Raku glazes are metallic and shiny, which is exciting and so different from the subdued colours of other firing methods. But I don't just enjoy raku for that reason alone; it's a break from the regular pottery process, which allows me to get outdoors and fire in nature.
It's also incredibly fun watching pine needles alight because of a burning hot pot!
I also love that each raku piece is one of a kind. The colour effects cannot be replicated because the combustible materials will never be positioned in the exact same position and the oxygen exposure will never be exactly the same. While they are beautiful pieces, I do want to note that raku only makes decorative items - it doesn't produce food safe functional pieces.
Bulbette was inspired by making wine goblets, where I developed a system to build these towering pieces from one piece of clay.
The “tallness” of these pieces allow me to showcase a Ron Roy glaze called ‘Waterfall’. Both me and my students think this is a spectacular glaze and have to resist putting it on everything! However, like a waterfall, this glaze can flow all over the inside of the kiln. Care is required or a hammer & chisel are needed to clean up the mess.
Offering pottery classes to adults and kids in Athens, Brockville, and Kingston, ON.