Just back from presenting a 2-day workshop at the lovely Peters Valley Craft Center in Layton, NJ. Great people at Peters Valley and in the class. Pretty country location: I saw deer, bunnies, wild turkey, and a heron. They have a big anagama firing coming up next. Thanks to everyone who came to the workshop and gave such good energy, and thanks to the nice people at Peters Valley.
Before I left I got a few cups out of the kiln from a decal firing. Lindsay Rogers is curating a cup show at Crimson Laurel Gallery for later this fall, and chose a theme of water. Initially, I was a bit flummoxed about what to do for the show… water? One of my early pottery teachers said you are destined to make pots like your body shape. In reaction to that, my studio life has been a quest to make rising volumes that lift in response to gravity. For the water show, it seemed right to make a cup with a low, drop-shaped volume.
In 2008 I had the opportunity to go back to Jingdezhen, China, for an NCECA symposium on ceramic education. Jingdezhen is the home of porcelain, with over 1000 years of continuous porcelain production. Ceramics is a major occupation in the city, and you see it everywhere. They make both screen-printed underglaze and overglaze decals there. I fell in love with the overglaze orange carp decals and the pink-and-green lotus image and brought several sheets home, waiting for a good excuse to use them. This seemed the place. Not only do lotus grow in water, but the story of the lotus-eaters is about forgetting. There is a huge local flap here about a permit for a mammoth cattle facility and slaughter-house in FL that will pump 13 million gallons of water per day from the Florida aquifer. One of the local paper articles here. So, I think in some ways we are all lotus-eaters about the way resources are consumed. Looking forward to finishing up a few more water cups in this shape. Below, cup in terracotta with majolica glaze and Chinese lotus overglaze decals. If you’re interested in exploring the Chinese overglaze and underglaze decals, Chinese Clay Art has them for sale online inexpensively.