I’ve been watching Mark make pots for several decades and I still find the entire process intriguing. He keeps coming up with new ideas for shapes, decorations, glazes, clay recipes, firing techniques ~ or at least they are new to me. They are gleaned from the thousands of pots he has stored in his memory, pots he has seen and handled, and from his life-long study of ceramics from around the globe. He is vehemently loyal to classic shapes and glazes that need no improvement, no clever or cute reworking, and he continues to make them in staggering quantity and quality, ever in search of creating the very best mug, or pitcher, or jar, or whatever is on the wheel that day.
Every so often I fall completely in love with a new shape or decoration, or glaze, and these robust, high-shouldered celadon glazed vases has become one of those times.
The celadon glaze is made from grinding local pink granite in the ball mill to a fine powder, and adding that to the recipe. For more detail you need to ask Mark, as ceramic science is not my forte. What I know is how lovely the color is, and how it changes when I take it from indoors to outdoors, or move it from one room to another. It is calm, easy to be with, confident, and wise.
I love how full and yet elegant the shape is, and if you enlarge the photos you can also see all the crazing on the surface.
These four vases are from the second firing of the big gas kiln fired this spring (Firing ‘g’.) The usual crew we needed to pack and fire the wood kiln had been sent home mid-March because of COVID-19. But Mark was able to fire the gas kiln on his own, with the help of a visiting intern from the UK, Grace McCarthy. Soon after she had to cut her visit short as well to return home before they closed the borders. This kiln usually is usually used for test glazes and biscuit firing, but a quick re-purpose resulted in a wonderful kiln load of pots!
We put a selection on the new online store, which was a massive project in and of itself.
We are in new territory now, shifting from our much-loved kiln openings to an online store, and letting folks shop here at the pottery Tuesday – Saturday, 10am-5pm, by appointment, or with curbside pick-up if requested. It's quite a change.
But people have said again and again that they enjoy having the barn to themselves, to relaxedly shop and let their children play on our swing set, as the playgrounds in their towns are closed!
No doubt there will be kiln openings in our future, but for now we are enjoying our occasional visitors.
I hope you have found some silver lining as well in this pandemic redesigned way of life.