They’re already taking over the world; why not my brain, too?

I was halfway through an order of Viking mugs yesterday. Today I’m only a quarter done.

I was carrying them over to the wheel for trimming, and jostled the board they were on when I put it down. All the mugs fell over; after sorting through the wreckage I saw half of them had dents. I cursed a bit. But then figured, hey, why not make the best of it? The dented ones got banged around a bit more, to give them a squared rim, and are now decorated with fishies and —why not?–jellyfish.

I’m particularly pleased with the squiggle handles. Not sure if I’m going to sell them or keep them for myself. I’m in the habit of keeping the first of every new idea. But my cupboards aren’t getting any bigger…

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.


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.


Haven’t posted in a few days. Between my motherboard dying, my video card dying, and my router committing suicide[1], I haven’t been able to post anything the last few days.

It’s been a busy few days.

First, the wine cups were trimmed and decorated:

The carving went much faster this time, between different tool choices and some finagling with techniques.

Then, there was the entry for the gallery’s spring show:

I used yellow slip for the dandelion blooms, and a mix of green underglaze, copper slip, and en eeensy bit of brown for the stems and leaves. I’m hoping the colour comes out the way I want it to–I haven’t played much with underglaze, and I’m not quite sure I have the hang of it.

Aaaand then this morning was the first day of the kids Easter camp. Two little Star Wars nerds signed up, which is *awesome*. Other people are teaching the rest of the week, but today we got to sit around and make stuff and talk about droids and Jedi. I may bring in some action figures tomorrow, which will be sculpture day, so they can use them as references.

[1] Who knew routers were so susceptible to peer pressure?

First Draft

At the risk of a crack team of librarians rappelling down from helicopters and confiscating my library card for daring to bring some of their books into a clay studio…

Two first drafts of the viking pottery. #1 says “I, Maaike, fashioned these runes” which is a properly historic thing for it to say. #2 has some black slip, to make the design stand out a little more, and a pattern from a brooch that I really liked. (It also took foreeeeeever to carve out, so if that’s what the client goes for my asking price may have to go higher than the original estimate.)

(PS: To any librarians reading: I promise to copy the last bits of info I’ll need and return the books without bringing them anywhere near the studio ever again. Please don’t hurt me.)

Linguistics fun

Did you know the university doesn’t have an English-to Old Norse dictionary? There’s an Old Norse-to-English one, but it doesn’t go the other way. I spent a few days in the reference section with the English-to-Icelandic, English-to-Norwegian, and the English-to-Old English dictionaries looking up words that I wanted, guessing at the Old Norse cognates, and then looking those up to be sure they existed back then and that the meaning hadn’t shifted.

At least the grammar primer at the back of the Old Norse dictionary was better organized than the one in the Old Norse textbook.

Anyhoo. I can now write with confidence such phrases as “I went to Vinland and all I got was this dumb cup/bowl/plate”, “May the Force be with you”, and “My other dekar is a dragon”. I’ve also got a selection of handy quotes from epic poetry and such, because the customer this whole thing is being dreamt up for wants “elegant”, not goofy. (I’m totally making some goofy for my own kitchen, though, no matter where this project goes. It amuses me far too much to let it go.)

Viking project thoughts

1. Although knotwork and interlace designs appear throughout medieval Europe during (and before, and slightly after) the Viking age, they have been heavily marketed in the last few decades as Celtic. It is difficult to find designs that the average non-medievalist will associate with Vikings instead of Celts.

2. Even designs that occur first or primarily in Scandinavia can still be found in Celtic art, thanks to Vikings going out and conquering places.

3. The ones that are definitely, totally, NOT found in any Celtic art I’ve come across just look Greek, FFS.

4. Runes and twisty animals are totally the way to go, here. Knotwork, while having the benefit of being regular and therefore easier to carve once you get the hang of it, just ain’t distinctive enough.


Got an e-mail from someone the other day with a gallery in L’anse-aux-meadows, wondering if I could make some “Viking-themed” pottery. I told her I’d have a think about it, and get back to her in a week or two.

I’ve got a couple of ideas, mostly to do with bands of heavy surface decoration. Simpler versions of the “bird with neck going through hole in wing, biting another bird’s foot, which has a dog’s head for an arse” theme you find in medieval Scandinavia. Probably a very plain colour scheme, to make the surface carving the most eye-catching thing… The big stumbling block would be figuring out how to do something like that in a cost-effective way.