Comfort and Joy

The Craft Council Gallery’s annual Christmas show, Comfort and Joy, opens tomorrow. Two rooms of beautiful, fun, elegant craft by a veritable oodle of artists. Opening time is an hour earlier than usual, at 1:00, presumably to account for all the extra food people tend to bring to this one. My famous whipped shortbread cookies will be on offer. (And a teapot.) Come on down!

Out of the Kiln



The Small Comforts are out of the kiln!

I wound up pouring clear glaze inside, as a liner, and spraying the aqua glaze on the outside. The lid of the tin can teapot also had a little piece of glass (the kind you get at the dollar store for the bottoms of aquariums) left on top of the knob. That’s the crackly blue stuff. I was expecting it to bubble over and pool around the base of the knob, but some serious surface tension kept it contained.

As I don’t have a lot of experience with spraying, and didn’t quite get the glaze even, there are some almost-bare spots around some of the nooks and crannies in the handles. I’m thinking of reglazing those areas (and maybe adding some drippy bits going from the rims down the sides of each pot while I’m at it). Otherwise, though, I’m pleased as punch.

Always make an extra…


The lid I made to replace the one that got broken turned out to be too big. Buggeration. I was going to put on a mask the next sunny day and sit outside sanding it down to size, but then I noticed there are cracks in the bottom. Either the bottom was too thin or I didn’t compress it enough while throwing; either way, stress cracks developed during firing. They only would have gotten bigger in a glaze firing, so I heaved a sigh and hove the teapot out. It was my second-favourite one, too. Oh well. At least there are three others….


The CCNL shop has been holding a summer demonstration series this year; for fifty bucks, interested craftspeople are invited to set up on the sidewalk (or inside, if the weather’s uncooperative) by Devon House and do their thing for an afternoon. The idea is to give customers a better appreciation of various crafts, and to draw in a few people who might otherwise just pass the place by. So far we’ve had rug hookers, a knitter, a flintknapper, a t-shirt painter, a raincoat-sewer… today it was me, with a wheel hauled up from the clay studio and a few extension cords to keep it going.

It was fun. I started off throwing a few mugs, and then veered into teapots[1]. I had a lot of people stop and ask questions, and a few even chatted about their own adventures in pottery. It’s surprising how many people have tried it; I always think of it as one of the least accessible crafts[2], but there are people all over the place who’ve tried it or know someone who has.

The wind was up, and the mugs had actually warped into an oval shape by the end of my two hours, but the teapots, protected behind the line of mugs, look to be in good shape. I’ll be trimming and assembling in the next few days.

[1] The very last of the bug teapots in existence sold the other day!

[2] In terms of facilities available where you can learn and/or practice, not in terms of theory. It’s no more complicated than most other art forms.


Last August, for the shop’s annual Tea Party, I made a bunch of Bug teapots. It was only my second attempt at them, after I made my brother a dragon-shaped one for his birthday two years before, and I didn’t know how they’d turn out.[1]

They didn’t sell at the Tea Party, so I was a bit discouraged, and vowed not to even attempt another[2] until they’d all sold.

One with bees on the side was bought at the Craft Fair in November, for someone’s Aunt Bee. One spider teapot got traded with Michelle Lambert in exchange for a labradorite pendant. Three more (bee, dragonfly, and, just now, my favourite spider, which is in the left-hand side of the header picture) have sold in the last six weeks–two as gifts, and one to some bikers who saw it in the Visitor’s Information Centre in Whitbourne, paid for it at the shop, and picked it up on their way back to the ferry–and now there is only one left.

I don’t think I’m going to wait for it to sell. I’m just going to go ahead and make two or three more this week, after I get my monster pile of mugs bugged and handled. I want to refine the shape a little, and maybe make them a little bigger. Or keep making single-serving ones, and also do one or two larger. We’ll see.

[1] If you look in the header, you can see three of them, along with some early cream and sugar sets. The creams dribbled horribly, so *that* bit of work was never sold, but the teapots came out beautifully.

[2] There’s a shocking amount of fiddliness involved in making a good spout. And don’t get me started on getting the lid to fit…