“Can you do some local robots?”

Robot was originally created as a nameless, genderless, guileless entity. It had no place and no history. Robot was meant to be the sort of character anyone could identify with. A sort of naive, open, ever-honest stranger.

But because characters either develop histories or get boring, bits of me, and of the place I live, started to creep in around the edges pretty quickly. “Robot disapproves of these shenanigans”, inspired by the headlines of Fark (my favourite news source for the last decade or so), was the first to appear. Then there was the first Newfoundland Robot (“disapproves of snow in June”). Then for Christmas there were the Mummerbots.[1]

Then some more people started asking about locally-inspired Robots for the summer. Tourists and people Coming Home, y’know. Droves of ’em. Gotta have something to sell ’em.

So far, I have “Robot goes fishing” (in a green boat, of course), “Robot aspires to stardom” (accordion variant), and “Robot doubts that kissing a dead fish is a real tradition.”

I really hope I don't lose the fine detail on the fish (by fine detail I of course mean the X for the eyeball).

I’m a little bit scared of the reaction to that last one. But honestly, in my heart of hearts… screech-ins baffle and frighten me, and I will be forever grateful that we happened to move here when I was well under drinking age[2]. So there.

[1] You would think that the cross-section of the population that likes both robots and mummers would be small. My research tells me you would be wrong.

[2] Not that being four years old will actually keep your parents from giving you the odd sip of booze. Not when one of them is Dutch and the other’s from Quebec. It’s just a deterrent to them doing it in public.

Friday Night

Robotized some plates and mugs for Model Citizens… they should be delivered sometime mid-week.

Did up some colour tests. Duncan’s Really Red and Paprika underglazes on light and black clay, and also some pinks and purples. One side of the tile is under the studio’s current clear glaze, and the other is under a new one that’s been proposed. The current clear is a recipe from Pottery Supply House, and has the advantages of being reliable, forgiving of temperature fluctuations, and really sturdy. It’s also very simple–just four ingredients, and they’re things things any pottery studio has lying around. The new one is less simple, but is purported to be more compatible with colourants, especially chrome-tin pinks. If it also turns out to fit the clay and stand up well to use, I will be one happy potteryist. And there will be more pink Robots around.

Then I broke out the black clay. This stuff is not very plastic, which means it’s hard to center, hard to keep centered, and difficult to throw. Keeping your forms–no matter WHAT shape you try–from collapsing in on themselves or twisting on the wheel is really hard. On top of that, the dark base has a strong effect on any glaze you try to put over it, so the colours always come out really dark and sombre. But it’s the first clay I fell in love with, and now and then I always find myself going back to it. It has this wonderfully smooth texture, and you can make the most glorious mess with it.

Long post is loooong

What a commotion yesterday! First part of Duckworth and Water Streets were blocked off due to a fire. I came across the smoke waaay up Torbay Road, around the intersection with Newfoundland Drive, on the way in to work that day.

It didn’t seem too bad from this side. But then around the back…

It’s probably a good thing the building belongs to a law office that specializes in insurance claims.

Next door, Model Citizens was getting into the spirit of things:

I’d gone down to see if they’d be open today, because I have some Robot things to deliver. “Sure, you didn’t need the kiln today! You could have just left everything next door overnight!”

Other things that came out of the kiln yesterday: the very last two Viking bowls (finally!), and the first of the rowhouse mugs.

Now I’ve got a cephalopot teaset to finish up and a wedding present to puzzle over, and then it’s full-tilt Folk Fest production.

Mmm, rootleaf…

Some custom Robots that got fired recently:

And in the mail, I got a parcel of goodies from a friend who’s away, teaching English in Japan. In amongst the candy[1] and the books, there were:


I am never eating with any other utensil ever again. They even made the Yoda ones shorter than the Vader ones. That’s the kind of attention to detail that shows someone cares, people.

[1] Nothing scary this time, since it’s the husband’s birthday package and he “doesn’t trust” Japanese chocolate ever since he discovered the existence of shrimp and squid chocolates. But at least banana, strawberry, and tea flavoured Kit Kat bars are fun, if not very adventurous.


Fresh Fish 4 has come and gone. After an exceptionally stressful morning[1] I managed to get myself, my pots, and my shelves to the Masonic Temple and all set up on time.

We had a great crowd this year; not so busy the place was crowded, but never really quiet, and pretty steady through the day. I recognized a lot of people from previous years, and even a bunch of conference-goers who’d turned up at the shop on Saturday and been handed fliers for the event. Alexis Templeton was doing a lot of promotion for us at her open studio this weekend, and that probably helped a lot.[4]

My first sale happened shortly after the doors opened[2], and I hit last year’s sales figures around quarter past one. I sold out of Robot mugs entirely, and got two requests for custom designs. Lots of compliments, and several repeat customers. I’m pretty darn happy.

Here is my booth and a delicious candied apple:

And today it was back to normal. Making Viking stuff. Getting an order in the mail. After Vikings, it’ll be manylots of Robot, and then rowhouses, and then the Folk Fest and then the Great Big Craft Fair. So much time stretching out in front of me, and so much of it’s full already.

[1] No, really.
[2] I immediately marched across the room and bought a candied apple from the Uke of Duckworth. It was delicious. Also, my sales suddenly spiked.[3]
[3] Could there be a link? Sales slowed down again once the candied apple was gone, and slowed to almost nothing when the pasta salad came out, despite the fact I was very careful not to add tuna or garlic to it. Clearly, seller eating candied apple = cheerful person who is enjoying and sharing the festive, carefree fair spirit. Seller eating pasta salad = tired person on desperately needed lunch break who nobody wants to bother.
[4] And her son makes wonderful cheesecake. I bought a slice.


A little technical whizzgiggery later…

Pictures are insertable again, in an odd and roundabout way.

Anywho. I am very, very pleased with my wine cups and my robots. (Or, perhaps, iterations of the one Robot? I get the feeling it’s the same one.) The shouldhavebeenpinkbutturnedoutwhite mug has been my tea mug at work for the last few days, and has been getting lots of positive comments. And today a customer absent-mindedly picked it up and almost walked away with it. I’m taking that as a good sign.

Mister Roboto

Remember Robot? He didn’t stop kicking around in my head. I’ve been putting together some prototypes for a line, to be launched at this year’s Fresh Fish.

Bright colour inside, with something small in the same colour outside, and plain line drawings of Robot. The big box o’ underglazes was ordered for this and another project (those house mugs a few entries back).

I gave up on the glaze pen, and switched to a slip trailer for the black. It’s easier to use, I can change the nibs for thicker or finer lines, and it’s refillable. Yay!

These first three are all made with white stoneware, but I’ll be switching to cream… it’s a much softer clay, which means working with it is a lot easier on the wrists, and the warmer background colour will be nice.