This week, a friend gave me 5 boxes of vintage jars, and my brother brought me a dozen eggs from his chickens.
It's the little happinesses in life, isn't it? I thought I should share some happy little items inspired by my jars and eggs.
Okay kids. I previously extolled the virtues of Moo (and here), but today I am going to encourage you to put in an order for a free pack of cards. It's quick, it's easy, and it's free. Through April 30th. I put in an order last night. These are the regular Moo cards, not the minis I recently ordered. They'll have both the Moo and Etsy logos on them, but I don't think that's a bad thing, to promote the site we sell on and the company that produces such lovely (and sometimes free!) cards. All you do is upload as many pictures as you want that will be on one side of the card (pictures from your shop, pictures from your harddrive, or any other image you want, including any of their pre-set designs). Then you enter the text you want on the other side. I suggest your shop name, your name, and your shop's address be included. Then you confirm that everything is entered right, pay for the shipping (I paid $6), and you're done. Seriously. Free cards.
For those who remember my first attempts at pottery, today's pictures will really demonstrate my improvement over the last year and a half. These pieces are the large piece and the tea pot I started last week at Kevin Crowe's workshop. Below, the large piece sits under the fan, drying before I add the last level.
Below, I'm adding the last piece. Please only look at the pot, not me...
This is how it's looking now. I collared in the neck, and flared out the rim. I think I want to collar it in a bit more next week, so that the narrowness of the neck mirrors the narrow base. At this point the vase measures around 20 inches tall.
Today I added the handle to my tea pot. Kevin's tea pots have the handle connecting at the top, rather than on the back. At this point I think the tea pot is probably around 16 inches tall at the apex of the handle.
I tried to capture the organic nature of Kevin's work, so there is some "movement" in the body, and some uneven carving in the knob on the lid.
Cross your fingers for me that a) there isn't some horrible accident that knocks over either piece before next week, b) I don't ruin them next week, c) they come out of the bisque firing okay, d) I don't ruin them while glazing them, and e) they come out of the glaze firing okay. But I'm supposed to be zen about my pots, so I shall be aloof while your fingers are crossed.
After I finish up some of the pieces I worked on during the Kevin Crowe workshop, I will take some pictures and share them with you. Until then, I wanted to share pictures of the two pots I bought from him. I was so glad to have the opportunity to purchase pots from such an amazing potter, and both of these forms will provide reminders of the techniques and inspiration he gave us.
The first pot is a tea bowl. It seems Kevin is a big fan of tea: it is both a Southern and Far Eastern ritual, and it only makes sense that tea would be a theme in an art that is capable of producing cups and tea pots to bring to the table. You can see from these pictures that the tea bowl is organic in shape, and he has incorporated natural elements (shells and fossils) in its decoration. One of the most difficult concepts of the workshop was letting go of the pursuit of perfection, and actually trying to create movement in the pot. Kevin uses a number of techniques to create the wavy rim and the organic form.
As I mentioned, he fires in a wood kiln, creating the beautiful finish.
One of our assignments during the workshop was to practice throwing the tea bowl form. It is difficult to let go of the desire to create straight, symmetrical pots. But in another way, it is freeing. After we threw the tea bowls, he later demonstrated trimming the foot on the bottom. Again, his techniques were a combination of practices that were familiar to me and mind-blowingly different than anything I had ever contemplated. Some of them were so simple, and producing such lovely results, that any one of them were worth the price of admission.
The second pot I bought from Kevin was this large bottle. There are elements of this pot that will remind me of what I learned in the workshop as well. Kevin alters forms both during throwing and afterwards, resulting in wonderful shapes.
I was also intrigued that someone could know their (gigantic) kiln so well that they would know how to place the pots to get certain finishes in certain areas of any given pot.
I love the chunky rims of his bottles, too.
Kevin creates his own stamps, and though he doesn't technically sign his pots, I think his particular aesthetic and the recurring themes in his work mark them as his, and he will leave a lasting legacy in the world of pottery.
I'm very grateful to Manassas Clay for offering this workshop, and to Kevin Crowe for taking two days to teach 8 potters as much of his wisdom as we could absorb. I'm looking forward to continuing to practice and hone the techniques he taught us, and his influence has surely made a mark on what will eventually become my "voice" as a potter.
I've been in the market for a paper cutter for a while now. I was willing to buy a new one, though obviously I preferred to find a vintage version with some character. I couldn't find any new ones in stores that seemed big enough or sturdy enough to last. Maybe I was swayed by being enamored with this paper cutter table I found in January (along with several other beautiful specimens). A few weekends ago at the Big Flea, I saw a lovely paper cutter. It had a wooden model head with darts sticking out of its skull, but once I moved that out of the way, I was all aflutter. I asked the lady in the booth if it still cut paper. She said she didn't know, but brought a scrap of paper over to try it out. She sliced through it, and it cut through the paper beautifully. I was thrilled, but not totally convinced that the entire blade would be that sharp. As she went to help another customer, I sliced the scrap many times, using the entire length of the blade. Perfection. The truth be told, I might have bought it even if it didn't cut well. But now I had to - I had wanted one for my studio, this one was more functional than one I would ever find at a store, it was sturdy, and it had that vintage character I love.
I just love when things work out.
So I browsed for you, in case you are as inspired by my paper cutter as I am. The lovely paper cutter below is from sadieolive.
I love the scratches and varied finish on this paper cutter from staircasetotheattic.
I am long overdue to share some of my favorite Etsy finds with you. Today I'm featuring three Etsy shops with new vintage items to tickle your fancy. ThreeOldKeys is a fairly new shop, though they already have a number of sales under their belt. The shop owners are near and dear to me, and their inventory is wonderful. I can't get enough of the copper flour shaker above.
I never knew that these existed, but now that I know I need one. A Macon Detector. But what do they detect? Ah - watermarks. Of course!
The last (but not least!) shop I want to share today is enhabiten. She has been selling handmade on Etsy for some time, but just started selling vintage items today. She blogged about starting to sell vintage, and I started the countdown. I checked in a few times over the day to see what lovelies she had listed. These small glass jars were simply poetic.
I think the use of light in her pictures is extraordinary, as in this listing for a vintage colander.
She is also listing pillows made from vintage quilts.
I love old, anonymous paintings. There's something about wondering who the artist was, what they were like, and what inspired them. This watercolor painting is an excellent example of that intrigue. I hope you will visit ThreeOldKeys, lepetiteflea, and enhabiten, and see if there is anything that will help make your house a home.