Monday, December 14, 2009

Goblets and Compotes

The other day as we unceremoniously drank wine out of plastic cups, Gary said, "Why don't you make some goblets for us to drink our wine from?" Since then I've been thinking of what wine would look like in a ceramic goblet. I wanted the drinking portion to be wide enough to enjoy the color of the wine, especially red wines.

Gary says you can tell a good red wine by it's color. This blended red wine from EOS Estate Winery in Paso Robles called Novella Synergy has the correct color and it's really good. Don't take Gary's or my word for it see what the Budget Vino has to say about it. The color is a clear ruby red, just beautiful. Doesn't the lady on the label look like she should be lounging in a bedouin tent near the Euphrates.

Last night I tried pinching some goblets. I made the two wide ones first and when I looked at them I decided they look more like compotes perfect for some plum pudding. So I tried one more to see how it fared. The taller one looks more like the shape I had in mind. I pinched the tops and then I pinched the bottoms. I let the two pieces harden up and then I attached them in the middle. I am letting them dry top side down since that is the heavier section and I don't want the bottom section to sag. I had fun making these and I plan to make some more, refining the shape and embellishing them.

After I made the goblet and compotes I wondered how I would sign my name. I decided to impress my signature stamp into the base of them. After I put the goblet and compotes together I realized I could have signed my name under the cup. Or if I made a plate base could sign my name there. My bases are open at the bottom. I'm wondering if I should make my goblets with another methods. I'm teaching myself as I go along. How do you make goblets?

Almost a year ago I talked about signing pots. At the time I asked for advice about my signature stamp examples.Lori of Fine Mess Pottery was asking about the "L" with the star in it at the top of my blog banner the other day. That's the signature stamp I decided on - an "L" with a star and I had a stamp made. Here are some quick holiday ornaments I made and I stamped my signature on the reverse side. Don't they look like holiday cookies? For most of my ceramics I sign the piece and also use the stamp. For smaller items or pendants I just use the stamp. You can see my signature stamp lying next to the slip container in the second photo. Do you sign your name or use a signature stamp or both?

I'm browsing a wonderful book from the library, Ceramics from Islamic Lands. There are so many color plates in this book I thought it must have cost a fortune and the price is $39.95. Of course the price to me was my tax dollars supporting the library. The history of ceramics, glazes, and techniques from this part of the globe is outlined in detail in the book.

We needed a water pump in our RV and had that installed yesterday by a shadetree mechanic. The water pump is the one that pumps fresh water to our toilet and kitchen sink in the RV. This week we have a couple of dental appointments and then we'll be off on our traveling spree hopefully to warmer climates. Come back again soon for more RV and clay adventures.


  1. Yahoo! soon to be on the road!
    I like the goblets and they would be great to eat out of as well.
    Your stamp L* looks great.
    Our son was stationed in Paso and we went to visit him.
    We found some favorite wines from a day of tasting there.
    Can't wait until you are on the road.

  2. For the longest time I had an RP stamp. Just my initials. I recently made a bisque stamp that says,'philbeck' I like the lower case. I like that folks could have a piece of my work and Google the words 'philbeck + pottery' and find me.
    I love Istamic ceramics!
    The goblets look great too, that's how I make two parts.

  3. Hi Meredith, thanks, it has been one thing after another here. yesterday the trailer we are pulling (because the treasure bus didn't have enough room) was beeping, we thought it was the smoke alarm, come to find out it was the low battery alarm, we are charging the batteries now. Plus I have had this cough for a week now, the same thing I got the other two times, just like the H1N1 except this time it is more mild but last night I never did get any sleep as each time I laid down I started coughing.

    Hi Ron, thanks, I too hope some day someone will find one of my pots and see my signature or stamp on the bottom and know I made it. These goblets are rather simplistic. Since I'm not feeling up to par I didn't take much time with them to cover the seam or embellish or decorate them. But at least I know I can make them now and now I can make a few more with a little more character to them.

  4. Oh Ron, if you can find this book just to look at, it is well worth it, there are so many color plates and indepth analysis of decoration, clays and glazes.

  5. Linda,

    I throw my goblets and the bottom is not open like yours. I also sign my first name on the bottom of my work along with the year '98'. I don't mind that I'm one of many Amy's.... I like the mystery in that.

  6. Ooooo, that stamp makes a nice clear impression. I usually use a stamp, which I put on the side of the pot near the bottom edge or else near the handle. The pieces I make for class demos I sign differently, in part because my stamp isn't at the teaching studio, but also because those pieces are sort of outside my body of work. Those I paint a srtipe of dark slip on the leatherhard clay bottom, and write through it.
    Are you somewhere that you can fire now?

  7. I like your goblets - homemade butterscotch pudding would be yummy in them. The stamp you had made is perfect. Right now I am signing my pots with a J, but when I decide on a name for my studio, I would like to use a stamp. Very exciting you will be on the road soon. Hope you are feeling better today.

  8. Hi Linda
    I used to throw goblets in tow parts but I found them very difficult to get all the same size and so I got frustrated with them. The absolute best goblet I have ever used was made by Alan Caiger Smith (Google him, there is actually an early goblet for sale on uk) he uses Islamic calligraphy to decorate his pots. I once made one, and a Psalter, for a priest for his traveling communion case!

    My stamp is made of silver and is fashioned into a ring which I wear at previews (how I fancy myself in this!). A jeweler friend made it for me using the lost-wax technique, it works very well and I would be bereft if I ever lost it.

    We had a big snow dump yesterday on the sierra and it is incredibly cold at about -4. Wind chill must be -11 again! Masses of snow forecast for tomorrow, electric is holding out although we are switched off in the early mornings for a few hours. Electric blankets and kilns need electricity though.

    I hope the goblets turn out OK.

  9. Hi Amy, thanks, I'll have to take another look at your goblets which are beautiful. I'll look to see how you make them. If the bottoms are open and the bottom is solid then there is a hollow stem. would it explode if air was trapped in there? I know a woman potter around here who used to sign only her first name and someone else was passing her pots off as that woman's because she had the same name so she changed to something else. You might want to think about that.

    Hi Lori, thanks, I finally decided to have a stamp made instead of a bisque one because it would make a clear impression. One of these days I'll have a few different sizes made. What a good idea swiping slip and drawing your name in there. I also have a ceramic pencil I have used usually when I have forgotten to sign my name after the bisque. You've brought up a good point of signing differently when you are teaching, I think that is something to consider with what an artist might consider experimental or teaching work.

    Oh Lori, I have to take my pottery to the next city to get it fired. If I have some stuff left that isn't fired, I'm just going to take it with me and visit other potters or go to paying studios and have it fired as I go along.

    Hi Jewels, thanks, homemade butterscotch - that sounds wonderful. I love butterscotch and it isn't seen that often even in candies any longer, but homemade pudding - wow I've only ever had the kind made from a package, I might have to try making some once we get settled. I thought about signing Blue Starr Gallery, but I think I am going to stick with my name.

    Hi Kitty, thanks, how fortuitous I posted about Islamic ceramics and goblets I will check out ebay to see Alan Gaiger Smith's goblet. My stamp is made of brass. Silver is such a soft metal I would be afraid I would dent it if I wore it, I hope the jeweler saved his original carving or is all lost if they use the lost wax technique? Hopefully you will post about your signature stamp, that would be so interesting to see. What a good idea and wonderful thing to have a ring made of your stamp. I need to take my camera with me and take some photos of the mountains around here which got a lot of snow too. That sounds really cold where you are, we are in the flatlands so it is not so cold we can see the mountains clearly where all the snow was dumped and more later this week. this is turning out to be a good winter for California which hopefully will help with the drought and fill reservoirs for drinking water and hopefully some farm water. We are using electric heaters in our RV as our rent here includes electric but we also have propane heat, but it is expensive so we are trying to conserve that. I hope the goblets turn out ok too. I too had a hard time making them the same size. perhaps if I want them to match I will just let the glaze be the part that matches and not worry about the sizes - Ha. I'll embrace the wabi sabi of them.

  10. You must be having a great time. The Novella Synergy would go nicely with a boeuf bourguignon,stop by if your on your way to the Carolina mountains. We'll see if we can match up a bottle or two.

  11. I think you could drink out of either part of your goblets. An aperitif in the small side and a hearty wine in the large.
    You must be getting excited to start your adventure.

  12. Hi Ron, thanks, actually we have been recouping our energies and realizing we haven't taken enough time to enjoy life over the past five years and are vowing to mend our ways from now on. We might just take you up on the wine exchange. We are stocking up on some nice wines to share as we go along the way.

    Hi Barbara, thanks, yes the smaller portion could be drunk from too. I might make a reversible shot glass out of clay. Funny how one thing leads to another, clay so much fun. I am kind of excited but also a little apprehensive as the economy is so volatile we are unsure what we should put our faith in; but we will make stab in the dark and hopefully it will turn out ok.

  13. Ooh ... I can't wait to see how the goblets come out ... I'm betting they will be just lovely. And I adore the ornaments. Will you be giving them as gifts or putting them on your own tree?

    I love that you had fun experimenting with the wine goblets. And that's what it's all about, right?

    Wishing you and your family a lovely holiday season!

    Small Footprints

  14. What a great interesting post!..the goblets are great..very useful for more than wine, as someone noted:)..I make mine in two pieces -open bottom. and I sign just up inside the bottom edge. I carve my signature into the piece.
    dPeL -- the small case 'd' is just the 'rounded' part of the 'd' added to the 'P'...all for my initials... I do have a bisqued stamp I made, but it needs to be smaller.
    Thanks for the book title..ohhhhh, one cannot have toooo many books:)
    .and like the ornaments. I have some to bisque, but realized I missed putting a hole in them! so will be using the little dremel after the bisque.
    .have a great day!


I love suggestions, questions, critiques, thanks for your comment