A Library of Teacups: Half Organized

The show is almost here! Shelves were installed today, and I spent the evening putting cups on them. The non-fiction wall is done:

Just have to finish up the rest of the room, which is all fiction. Comics, graphic novels and BDs on the two plinths when you come in, sci-fi and fantasy on the bookcases, a plinth and a cube out-of-frame for children’s lit, and a windowsill of less interesting forms of fiction. And I should probably cart away the giant pile of recently-emptied boxes.

Monumental

So. Almost my entire backlog of bisqued gallery cups went into the kiln this week. Only a teensy few to get through now. My task for this week, I decided, was to take all my books off the shelves, unpack the teacups, and match them all up. Whatever books are left still on the table (or on the chairs, or on the dresser, or in boxes on the floor where they’ve been since I moved into the new house) are books I still have to interpret into cup form.

This has done two things. 1) It has given me a great big list to make (in visuo-spatial form, but a list nonetheless), and it lets me mentally cross things off the list, which is great because crossing things off lists is one of my favourite ways of dealing with anticipatorystagefrightstress. 2) It has pointed out to me, very concretely, how much work the last year has been. It has made me stop thinking “Oh god I’m so tired” and made me think “Holy cow. I’m proud of myself.”

Grad School Flashbacks

That’s “Old English Handbook, by Marjorie Anderson and Blanche Colton Williams”, “Sweet’s Anglo-Saxon Primer, by Henry Sweet” and “Sweet’s Anglo-Saxon Reader in Prose and Verse (Revised Throughout by Dorothy Whitlock), by Henry Sweet”.

One more kiln load is ready to go tomorrow (assuming the hurricane doesn’t throw a wet, windy spanner in the works). Oh glod I hope it goes well… something like a quarter of my show is in there.

Geekery and starch

From right to left: The Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Core Rulebook, X-Wing Rogue Squadron: Blood and Honour, and Legends of the Ferengi.

Didn’t quite capture the texture of a TIE fighter wing panel, which is what I was hoping for, but that’s pretty hard to do in clay anyways. The leafy business on the Pathfinder rulebook is inspired by the marginal illustrations on every page in it, and the other cup is going to be glazed to resemble one of those Ferengi head thingies. (I love this project. It’s a lot of work and it’s taking forever to wrap up, but it lets me do things like watch Star Trek for art research purposes.)

Aaaaand because I was curious and impatient, I pulled up one of the potato plants in the backyard. Lo and behold, there were potatoes!

Body Count

Whew! I’ve been holding off on posting until I could find my card reader back and upload pics, but that’s just led to a stupidly long delay between posts. So. Last week I was wrapped up in sgraffito and crewelwork. Out of the four cups and two bowls thrown….

One cup had its handle crack off.
One cup was too ugly to fire.
One bowl exploded enthusiastically in the bisque firing. Argharghargh, shards all over kiln, much time spent vaccuming and lamenting loss of five Robot mugs and one Robot bowl neighbouring it.

In the glaze firing, the glaze crawled off the footrim of the two surviving cups.

One bowl survived.

It has been submitted to the Craft council Gallery’s Annual Members’ Exhibit. We shall see what the committee thinks of it.

What I Did This Weekend

I worked on my Annual Members Exhibit Submissions.

White clay, black underglaze and sgraffito. The shape is inspired by Victorian porcelain, and the design is inspired by crewelwork embroidery. It’s not as elaborate as my original plan… I figured I’d see if I could get the hang of the “grammar” or crewelwork before I went and complicated it with other shapes… but I’m still happy with it. I started off with two bowls and four teacups. The goal is to submit one or two bowls and two cups. So far, one cup was lost to handle crackage, and one cup has been deemed to ugly to submit, but the rest soldier on.

I also organized cups.

Some to the shop, some to Model Citizens. A handful held back for Fresh Fish (June 23rd! Tell everyone you know!), and more thrown and waiting for firing. The rest of them are gallery teacups. Lots of Star Wars comics and textbooks in this batch.

That’s Wildflowers of Fogo Island and Change Islands, by Todd Boland, The Illustrated Star Wars Universe, by Kevin J. Anderson, and From Roman to Merovingian Gaul: A Reader (Readings in Medieval Civilizations and Cultures:V), by Alexander Callander Murray.

Garden

TWO of my tomato plants have wee green tomatoes on them! TWOOOO! Also, three of my pepper plants are in bloom. They are doing such important-to-the-development-of-food things when the temperature has dropped to unconducive levels, but hey. I’m still excited. Google tells me their babies risk turning out “cat-faced”, but quite frankly, hat does not sound like a bad thing. I am quite curious to find out exactly how a vegetable can appear cat-faced. I bet it’s cute.

In other news, pots continue happening. I put another dent in my pile of bisqued book teacups this week; they’ll be fired tomorrow, along with a special request and sundry robots. Lots of medieval textbooks in this load. I’ll have to set them aside and figure out how to get gold luster on them. (Gold luster not only requires firing to a different temperature than I normally hit. It’s also incredibly toxic stuff. The gold is held in suspension with a bunch of very nasty, highly absorbable chemicals. Gloves ain’t gonna cut it for safety gear. I strongly suspect the respirator I have is the wrong sort[1], and the ventilation system in the studio may not be good enough for the length of the firing… What I need is an outdoor kiln or something. Hrm. )

[1] It’s rated for mineral and other dust, not chemical fumes.

Cup #213

Medieval Europe: A Short History, by C. Warren Hollister. I’ve had it wrapped in plastic for daaaaaaays, waiting for the chance to carve it. I think it may be the most complicated thing I’ve ever made. It was the textbook for my very first Medieval Studies course at university. Just over a decade ago.

Cream stoneware with black underglaze and sgraffito rose vines. All the roses are at different stages, from bud to flower to rosehip. The plan is to brush some cobalt stain over the parts that are bare clay, and leave the outside unglazed. So you’ll get a nice texture contrast between the glossy black underglaze and the design.