Sunday, 19 July 2009

Sunday Scribblings "The Plan"

The pictures. Sunday Scribblings "The Plan".
First picture minus 3 degrees Celcius.
Rufus. Warm Puppy.
Tutors teapot body before spout and handle added.
My practice pots, galleries and lids. Made off the hump.
Tutor Kaye Pemberton throwing a teapot lid, upside down.
Pulled handles left to set before attaching to pot.

Tutor pulling handle.
G'day ,
The Sunday scribblings team has set the prompt this week as "The Plan".
Well... to tie my weekend activities in with this writing prompt is easy this week.
Sorry about the pictures before the story, I hope you don't mind and read on, to find out about why they are there.
I have just spent the weekend at a 2 day pottery workshop at the Canberra potter's society. My tutor was well known Canberra potter Kaye Pemberton and we studied Teapots.
Teapots are an everyday item which we take for granted. I have quite a few of them along my windowsill in the family room, none of them either hand made or made by me. I have made teapots before but have never been happy with the finished result. Some of the commercially made teapots I have and have owned in the past do not behave as they are meant to either. They have not been right in balance or design or glaze or function . You see teapots are quite a complicated form to make and get right. So when this workshop came up I thought Oh Yes, I want to do that one.
You most definitely need a plan for making a tea pot.
Take a look at your favourite teapot. It is made up of different parts that need to be carefully joined together to make it work correctly. Symbiosis in clay. There is the body, the strainer, the lid, the gallery ( which is the bit the lid sits on), the spout, the handle, the base and they all have to be carefully planned to fit together just so. Quite complicated.
For example did you know that the spout will not pour the tea in a nice stream if the top of the spout is not level or above and in line with where the liquid inside the body of the pot comes up to and the holes in the strainer are not larger in area that the end of the teapot's spout. The liquid will dribble out and not flow properly if they are not right and make a mess on your table or tea cloth. Also if the end of the spout is too smooth and not sharp on the inside surface the tea will dribble down the front of the pot when you sit it back into the upright position.
Also to be considered is the easy removal of used tea leaves and the edges can not be too thin or sharp and therefore chip easily during use and washing.
If the lid falls off during pouring, it will smash, rendering the teapot useless or fall into the cup and smash it. So lids have to be made and fitted correctly too. I have broken quite a few teapot lids in this way when they did not fit well or were designed badly and fell off and were broken. Lids also aid in pouring. If you put a hole in them they do not create a vacuum during pouring and slow down the flow of liquid.
Then the handle. The handle has to be big enough to fit your hand inside, or at least 3 fingers, depending on the size and weight of the pot, strong enough to hold the pot securely while pouring, have balance for use both aesthetically and mechanically. Your handle must be designed so that it is large enough for your hand not to rest against the body of the pot to prevent you being burned. It needs to line up properly with the spout.
We started the lesson by watching and listening to demonstrations of the teapot gallery. Then we moved onto the wheel and practiced the gallery techniques ourselves until we were happy and more confident of what should be done during that process. Then it was on to making spouts then the body then how to pull handles. That sounds and looks a bit lewd but it is the best way to make clay handles and is quite a feat to master. I actually did o.k. at it this time round. I had not had much success at it before so I was quite pleased with myself.
Another thing I have tried before but not succeeded in is a technique called throwing off the hump. You get a large piece of clay secured on the wheel and centre the top then make a small pot, then cut it off the hump and make the next pot etc without having to attach a new piece of clay each time, it allows you to keep making small pots and saves you a lot of time. This weekend I worked it out successfully with our tutors help and suggestions.
Our tutor had lots of little tricks and ideas that I had not done before and I had lots of fun. She said we were her quietest class yet as we were all absorbed in our work and not chattering and getting off track with what we were supposed to be doing. Good fun, if somewhat tiring. I can't remember ever sitting at the wheel for such a long time without a break before.
At the end of the workshop I had one very nice medium sized teapot to show off, and I bought one of our tutors beautiful little bowls she had for sale. It is a small, fine, pure white, porcelain bowl with a cobalt blue brush decoration and a clear glaze over it. I bought it home tonight and tested it out with some olive oil, some turkish bread dipped into the oil, then dipped into some dukkah. Yum! What use is having pretty things if you don't use them.
Making a functional teapot takes a fair deal of planning and technical ability. I can't wait to complete my teapot and see how it works. It looks o.k but the final proof is in the end product.
Pictures to follow later when I bring home the pot.

The Plan part 2.
The plan I have for my future.
I want to have a base of operations as a home in my retirement, and a caravan to run away from the winter to warmer climes, north, and explore my beautiful country and all it has to offer, for a few months at a time.
I want my children to be happy with themselves and have a life that provides for them financially, and for them to love and be loved in return.
I would like to see that my teachings to them and the upbringing I have given them shows me that I must have done something right sometimes along the way. Well..... I guess I already know that but it is nice to keep seeing it.
I want enough money to do stuff when I am retired and not have to skimp to get by.
I want to keep learning for the rest of my life. My pottery gives me that. When I retire it would be nice to have more time to devote to it.
I want to grow old with my husband. To love and be loved in return.
I want my hands in the earth to nourish it and enrich it with growing things.
I want to think, to feel, to experience, to grow, to be reasonably healthy.
Um! I want to get planning for that ASAP.
Don't I?


AD said...

interesting Linda :)

The Bigger Plan

Old Grizz said...

This is a very earthy and lovely post. can't wait to see your "Pot"
must tell you that clicking on your url in S&S sends me to
hope you get it solved. you have a great blog and I think a lot of people are not finding you.

anthonynorth said...

I hope your plan comes true.
Great, soul searching post.

floreta said...

is that a little jack russell?? i used to have one! i love the name rufus for one. lol. very fitting.

teapots as art :) they are really cool!

Serena Shay said...

Great post, Linda. Facinating information about the teapots. I took a pottery class in college and loved it. I wasn't very good, but it left me with the desire to try, try again!

Tumblewords: said...

Wow! I had no idea about the teapots...I'm a coffee person (tea: toss a bag in a cup of hot water) but pottery is such a fascinating topic - Really enjoyed the read and I'm looking forward to seeing your pot...

Whitesnake said...

Ya too old ta retire........
I mean young..yes yes yes young!

quin browne said...

impressed with your pots, impressed with your plan

latree said...

I hope all your plans work...

Sorrow said...

I love t-pots! I have made so many, and they are all up above the cabinets in my kitchen!
There is something fun and frivoulous about the time that goes into making one. a spout that is just so, and the curves of the handle to the body, the lid and how it fits.
all a great deal of fun.
So glad you have a plan, but it makes me think of the quote " if you think God doesn't have a sense of humor, just start making plans!"
looking forward to your pot photo's!

Giggles said...

Look Up Nellie Vlaar on my blog...really cool teapot I don't own because it's close to 200 dollars. Plus I have a Mary Naylor one,and I have a Britto teapot...well it's my daughters but resides on my table that will be a post on my blog after August 17th, as my friend is getting a britto mug and I don't want to tip her off!

Also check out Gary Rith pottery. He's a blogger you mag enjoy if you're getting into it...he posts often and will answer any questions. He is so down to earth!

Great post so informative. I love visuals on a post so don't apologize for the them!!

Hugs Giggles

aritra the daydreamer said...

wow gr8 gathered some knowledge abt a thing which we use in our daily life....

anyway i am new to the blogging world and also atated writing one of my own..its
it wud be gr8 if u visit and comment..

Merle said...

Dear Linda ~~ Wonderful post - it was interesting to read about the pottery process. Glad you enjoyed that.
And your retirement plans all soung great too, so I hope all your dreams come true, my friend, Take care,
Love, Merle.

spottedwolf said...

Rufus looks great....and so do AD's leggs. Love the pottery Linda...beautiful things come from sensitive hands.

Silver said...

Like the pics of the pottery class- and your plans for the future.. sounds like a great one!